|Reviews for Like Eiderdown & Disendowers|
| 4 REAL SANTA chapter 23 . 12/18/2013
Heyyyy Secret Santa here, from the RG!
I think I'll just approach answering your questions and then gather my review through there, if that's okay. I think I know what was happening in the first scene - Rebecca was either recalling being in a counselor's office, or she was actually there. Either way, the scene ended up fading into her being in her bathroom at home cutting her hair. So I kind of lean towards her reminiscing, like two moments happening next to each other - it felt like a more cinematic move. I overall liked it - especially when I figured out what was going on, because I think you're demonstrating the use of a more advanced technique of juxtaposing two scenes.
Umm, no lines really stuck out to me - so I don't have much to offer there. It all seemed to mesh. I've read some things from this story in the past and I remember that sometimes you would have a little bit oddly worded figurative language, but nothing like that stuck out to me here. Your writing overall was great, which I liked because it helped everything reach a very nice flow. Plot-wise, no complains here. No big questions or points of confusion - I'm liking how this relationship between Dan and Rebecca feels so different from where they were say, ten chapters ago. A lot has developed there and I think you really capture that by the ending. Pacing of this chapter was also good - nothing dragged. Overall I thought this was quite strong, especially in the opening scenes. Well done, and happy holidays!
| Secret Santa D chapter 21 . 12/18/2013
Holy ****. This, I think, was above all my favorite chapter so far *_* I love the writing, the POV switches, and just how much effing sense Phelan finally made. And you know what? I feel bad for the guy, I really do. I’m not saying that he is doing is right because it isn’t, and it never can be, but losing someone you loved?
While I think he was being extreme, I also think it made sense.
STILL let me comment on the backstory. So Phelan was rebellious, had a tattoo and took drugs? :D Awesome! I just love the backstory, like you can believe. I love how you wrote it. I love the hints, and I kind of want it to have its own story. The romance between Brett and Roger just seemed so tender, and kind of like a train wreck (but those are my favorites in slash). I like how you wrote them together, and how those short and subtle sentences still managed to show their desire, fascination and love for each other.
I want more ):
Also: love to how you described New York (the R train :D). Some of the paragraphs made me further go fkfjkfjf because I’ve just recently finished ‘Mysterious Skin’, and some of the themes of ‘broken boys’ kind of reappeared here.
Back to the present: I am curious how things will unfold now, but I’m not really commenting on that now because distracted by the backstory which I really liked a lot. Damn it. You really surprised me with it. So I’ll just say: awesome backstory.
It made sense. You have nothing to worry about. I don’t think you offended the LGBT community with it? Why would you? I’m part of the community myself, and I’m not offended. I mean, I know what it’s like to love somebody to lose them, and I know what it’s like to be bullied too. Several things here struck a chord in me.
And you definitely managed to make Roger more likeable to me. So much that I DEMAND a backstory. Just because so many FEELS omg. (Just kidding, but it touched me this much.)
I loved the third person pov. It definitely blended in well with the present.
I like the past Phelan. Present Phelan is more tragic now because I can see what led him up to this (but … yeah, it doesn’t excuse his actions :/). Still, I wish I’d be able to read more about past!day Roger. And Elise. And Brett. You have wonderful material for a wonderful prequel there.
I don’t hate Elise, I think? I’m sure she had a reason. I’d have to read more to determine.
I have nothing to complain about. This was an AWESOME chapter.
Keep up the great work, and have a Merry Christmas!
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 20 . 12/18/2013
I admit I don't know anything about SATs. We have graduation exams (oral and written) that cover all of the material discussed/taught of a four year 'high school' towards the end of grade 12, but there's no such thing as a SAT (the graduation exams are centralised now, but we shall how that will pan out). It's Kind of interesting to read about SATs, though I really know nothing of them :P Cheating on those exams? Not really possible. The penalty if you cheat on them is that you just don't get to graduate and have to delay signing up for uni by at least a term.
Yeah, I never wanted to be a kid, so I studied hardcore for those exams (and passed - with flying colours).
Sorry for the side info. I enjoyed this chapter. While I admit that beginning got a bit fluffy for my tastes, I liked the soothing quality of it, and the writing was pretty. Very calm and just painting a nice picture. I’m also glad to see that Dan and Rebecca’s relationship is free of any drama or needless angst; it’s interesting to see how they connect with each other, and I guess I enjoy that you’re rather subtle about showcasing their relationship (though not afraid of dropping the occasional hints of them being intimate).
I admit that, sometimes, I’m still torn on whether I actually ‘ship’ them, you know? I can’t like about the fact that Dan’s being a teacher still bothers me, but – on the other hand – Rebecca is close to graduating, and she lampshades that their relationship might not last (at least, I hope she won’t be delaying her *career* for the sake of a man). But I’m not complaining: this story makes me think, and I can enjoy the characterisation, as well as the plot centring Phelan, Rebecca and how she’ll escape that ordeal.
Maybe, in regards to the romance: just be careful that you don’t idealise it, but then maybe this is what makes the story so interesting; it’s clearly labelled as a romance, but it’s also, I think, very much character-focused and maybe a bit coming of age. It’s more Rebecca’s story than Dan’s, I’d say. I just feel that, lately, his voice has been a quieter, and I wonder why. Has he resigned himself to the fact that there’s nothing he can do about his attraction to Rebecca? Is he happy to be finally loved again?
A lot of points I wonder about. I liked the first scene with the forest, of how he’s musing to the past and also how oddly wistful it is. It seems, to me, that he’s in sort of trance and that reality hasn’t caught up to him yet (or that he’s delaying the inevitable fact that he is, in fact, having an affair with his student. Or he’s just enjoying her company for long as he thinks he can?)
Hmm, there were a few tenses issues, but it was a very pretty scene.
The SAT scene: oh Rebecca, what are you doing? I liked her thought processes in this section because you showed how torn she is between saying and building a life for herself (and making her deceased parents proud). I like how you hint at university being, often, something that is idealised (I think I glorified university a lot before I actually turned into a university student; my first year actually burnt me out a lot because uni was nowhere near as glorious or as a site of knowledge as I had expected.) So yeah, you struck a chord with me.
I really liked that metaphor about the dinosaurs and the metaphors. Really clever.
The scene with at the end was maybe bare bones, but I don’t think it was crappy. It got things rolling along?
Haha this is a long review. I love this story because it makes me think, even if I might not necessarily here for the sake of the romance (but we shall see 3).
| Epic Myth chapter 13 . 12/17/2013
It's Epic, and here's some criticism, but nothing I think that's too serious. I was never a math guy, but when I rolled into that portion with physics, I stumbled a little and was pretty much at lost. However, to your credit, I wasn't as lost as I thought at first. The more I read, the more I understood that I didn't need to know all that much about physics to get through it. And it turned out to be really entertaining as Rebecca and Hannah chit-chat and Rebecca got in trouble and had to prove her worth. If I haven't stated this before, I am stating this now that Rebecca has certainly grown on me as a really, really unique and creative character. Especially since she's a math nerd and bringing up the past when she and her brother demonstrated physics on a see-saw. Now that was a really cute moment.
The beginning is awesome as usual, never do you falter giving me something to take my breath away or grab my attention. Sometimes I can't start off a chapter really strong, but it's nice to look to you for inspiration, or at least to go back and revise like hell when I get the chance.
Also, quick notes:
The condom... god damn, that was a shocker!
Dan and Bec staring at each other across the room. The best part is how natural you made it without seeming overly stated. It was really really good.
The ending is a page turner. All and all, Mr. Phelan is a creeper and Dan is coming off as very overprotective. Even I felt what Rebecca felt when she mentioned a slap would have hurt less.
Words are powerful and so far, out of everyone I have read. You have consistently shown to be the better user. I hope I can get like that one of these days.
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 19 . 12/16/2013
Haha, I realise I'm very *close* to catching up, and it always make me wonder how the review trade will continue then, but eh, I'll just review the newest chapters then XD (and hey I actually love this story 3).
I'll first comment on the romance then. It's all good and very sweet, and still very tasteful, but what worries me is that we've not heard anything from Dan's perspective. I wonder how he went from being reluctant to accepting Rebecca's advances, you know? While I really like the quiet and sweet moments between the two in this chapter (like him asking her about college or being very patient with her), I'd like to see more of his perspective, because I'm not sure I ever got his *change of heart*. I'd just like to know what he thinks of the whole thing because Rebecca's POV, seeing how she's young and really inexperienced in the matters of love, is bound to be optimistic, fluffy and over-romanticised (but I don't have problems with it). I think I'll say more, later.
1. I don't go by strongest or weakest. I admit that Hannah's outing seemed to come out of nowhere, and I'm not really sure what it's supposed to add to the story, but I wouldn't say it's weak? Maybe just a bit random, lol. The strongest one? Hmm, probably the beginning scene because of how it further showed Rebecca's guilt and constantly repeated how her mother would have been disappointed.
2. I think what's slightly awkward for me is how we go from those sweet dates (and the romance really just started in chapter 18) to her suddenly expressing interest in sex, and him just ...tagging a lot with it. I guess I would have needed more build-up, but then again, maybe it's good that you're avoiding this whole sex is such a big deal cliché/trope? Still, a bit more build-up would have been desirable, because it does seem a bit sudden (though, on the other hand, I liked how natural the sex scene, and how comfortable they were with each other).
3. I've already addressed the pacing, I think? And the sex was okay: I don't mind explicit, but I don't need it, and I think explicit sex would have cheapened the story. This, more natural approach, worked better for me :)
Haha, I didn't mean to come across this critical: I like the tone of this chapter and all, and those are just my general 'thoughts/two cents'. I will be back for more :P
| alltheeagles chapter 16 . 12/16/2013
What I said about Rebecca earlier: GUILT. She’s accepting the torment from Phelan because she feels guilty. Correct? I like the inclusion of Arielle in detention for something that she didn’t do and something that humiliates her as an honour student because of the subtle message Phelan is sending: I know who your friends are and I know how to hurt them. Yes, I’m lauding Phelan again, nasty old me. Should I apologise for that? It’s just that Rebecca’s troubles are presently just a tad too suffocating for me to take.
So now we know what effect the kiss had on Dan, but Rebecca? She just seems worried that Phelan would find out about it. Why? He already suspects her of being involved with Dan even when she wasn’t. Or did the kiss inspire her to go, What the hex, I’m going over to the dark side! That was certainly suggested by the ending paragraph.
Yes, I did catch the inconsistency about the test that Dan was supposed to give Rebecca, and I was waiting for her to go to his office and run into Marybeth and what would transpire then, but when that didn’t happen I just thought that she was too embarrassed or too guilty to see Dan in the end so she went home. Now you’ve made me question what was the significance of Phelan saying that. Is he going to turn up at their home demanding payment in the next chapter?
Typos: ‘they weren’t her allies’ should begin with a capital T. ‘five times THE DISTANCE that separated’.
| sophiesix chapter 23 . 12/16/2013
1. YUS! They were awesome. Love Rebecca's perspective.
2. All the lines were good. I couldn't remember what she 'really is trying' to do, but it sounds vaguely familiar, so it didn't bother me that I wasn't clear.
3. Only those I've mentioned before. I just had to shake my head with Tom. he never learns, and I don't think he ever will - I'm so uncharitable! - but he's consistent.
4. First section was well paced, second section felt mebbe a titchy bit slow, but that depends on what the balance of pacing is in the last chapter, so I trust you.
Looking forward to the next chapter to see how it all ties up, but at the same time it will be very sad not to have anymore chapters to read. :( I've really enjoyed this story and Rebecca and Dan are real people for me now (well, you know, real people in an alternate universe, but still). Still, I can go back and reread anytime :). So, that sorted, bring on the last chapter! :D
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 18 . 12/15/2013
[[I should be in bed, yo. Why am I even still here? XD Oh yeah, I kind of wanted to read as much as possible of this XD]]
No, there wasn't anything particularly confusing, really? Maybe the only bit that *confused* me not recalling when Pete had offered/told Rebecca about that job? But eh, I'm not sure this scene needed any explanation once XD. I just accepted it as something that had happened, at some point.
I think the stuff about Rebecca's Ma was very clear: I think you hinted, in an earlier chapter, that she'd liked to drink? (Nothing hardcore, but still.) So no, nothing confusing there.
I think they were fine. Rebecca's decision to finally just take what she wanted, I think was realistic, considering that her emotions had been further *spiked* when she realised that Phelan was everywhere - like literally everywhere. I am not saying her reactions are right; I think she's spurned on by the wrong motivations - she's desperate and needs help, but it's not unrealistic. People have done crazier stuff when upset.
I think it kind of is apparent that he gives up, because he's lost the only person who might have been on his side, otherwise. I think it's kind of heart-breaking to see that his assumptions went literally nowhere.
Any other opinions? Hmm, I still like how you're developing the romance so tastefully; you are making it clear that it's not healthy, but at the same time I'm still intrigued. And well, very involved at this point.
As to awkward things, I noticed some small errors during this chapter, but it didn't tear me away from the writing. Otherwise, I liked the small imagery here and there, especially towards the end of that job interview scene (that yellow beetle car again :D).
And yes, I'm even more interested in why Phelan is hunting down Rebecca, considering his life seems perfect O.o
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 17 . 12/14/2013
This was definitely a longer chapter, but I didn’t mind too much: D I mean, look at the length of the ‘Carnations’ Wake’ chapters XD. Also, your writing style and pace is so good that I don’t feel like skimming (admittedly, the worse the prose is, the more I feel like wanting to stop reading and watch silly Youtube videos. This didn’t happen here, so don’t worry).
While I admit I cared more for some scenes than others, I don’t feel anything dragged? My favourites happened to be the Dan-Phelan confrontation scene, the car-racing scene and the Rebecca-Dan ones. I cared less for the scenes with Rebecca and her gym/training instructors because they didn’t really seem that important. I mean they were nice, but – beyond the fact that I can identify with Rebecca’s wish to have some astounding talent – they didn’t strike me as particularly meaningful. They weren’t bad though.
I liked the action scene in this chapter. You used very short sentences to augment the tension and suspense. I liked that, and actually re-read that passage a couple of times just to grasp all the details. I liked them, especially because they were creative and unusual. And slightly creepy, because – wow – you did liken a car to a beetle; that was just a very vivid and compelling simile – wicked, I really liked it. I also think you captured Rebecca’s feelings well and highlighted them with those short sentences too. I really enjoyed that because it kept the action tight and compact, without making it boring or dragging. So kudos on that.
I really ‘liked’ Phelan in this chapter, because he voiced some necessary truths. I think he really served as a wake-up call for Dan in this chapter. I am glad Dan finally realises he can’t keep doing what he is doing without comprising either himself or Rebecca. At the same time, I like how you lampshade that he probably won’t be able to stay out of Rebecca’s business: he’s too deeply involved, as you hint at him nearly punching Phelan and saving her from being chased/trailed by the yellow car.
But let get back to Phelan: I think he’s really charming, oddly so. And I want to find out more about him and his motives. I mean, he’s got to have one. Why else would he invest so much time and effort into destroying one mere girl and her brother?
Also: I like how you keep the romance realistic. You don’t sugar-coat the situation. It is dangerous. It is a lot of things that it shouldn’t be, and yet I feel like I want to read more because you still keep it very tasteful, especially since they are both aware of the risks and dangers.
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 16 . 12/14/2013
I'm in a bit of solemn mood, and I don't know why this chapter put me in an even more whimsical mood. I think it was that paragraph where Rebecca thought back to her mother, and her liveliness, and how *vibrant* she had been (I thought it was lovely how you described her appearance and habits, especially towards the end where you likened Rebecca to a sort of protector and observer of her mother; it just showed so much tenderness and sadness). That paragraph touched me a lot, because it was beautiful and simple, and yet very powerful. It just shows how much Rebecca loved her mother, and how much her death still affects her. I like that, because it shows respect to the subject matter, and gives this story the realistic flavour it has. I also think it links Rebecca to Dan (who also, in many ways, is still affected by the death of his wife).
I liked that you linked that scene (re: her reflections about her mother) with the kiss to Dan too, just to showcase Rebecca’s innocence and her guilt (over having disappointed her mother that way, of having *forced* a kiss on Dan, maybe? I’m sorry if I am totally wrong). I liked the tension in the detention scene, just the way Phelan seemed to follow Rebecca with his eyes, and how he slowly made her feel increasingly more unsettled. I admit to not having caught his lie immediately, but I did notice, I believe, how he was just trying to get under her skin, and how he succeeded on many levels. You had a lot of good writing there that made the tension very clear – and that in a very visual manner.
I liked that paragraph where Dan mused over how he’s once been happy to be lonely a lot. I thought you had some very poignant lines there, and I liked how he realised how his dream of having mused over a faceless woman was a silly one. I liked how useless he felt, and how *confused* he seemed. I think that’s very unexpected but also realistic?
It’s nice to see that he’s been thrown out of the loop just as much as Rebecca has. It showcases that they’re equals. And I really like that – it’s what makes this entire story work for me. You’re not shoving the romance down our throats, and you also have a great main plot going in the form of the intrigue Phelan is plotting against Rebecca and Tom. And you have lovely characterisation; I will always applaud you for that.
Also before I forgot: the scene between Rebecca and Tom was so painfully bleak and uncomfortable; I think that scene made me sad too.
I'm aware of the tense issues in this chapter, but I am going to submit this review as it is, without more editing. I just want to show that I've been genuinely affected.
| GossamerSilverglow chapter 23 . 12/13/2013
So I remember Phelan holding her at gun point, and I think I vaguely remember Dan breaking up with her even though she wanted him to take her to Alaska…and now she’s seeing a counselor? Is this to indicate that some time has gone by since that point in time? I’m really worried about Tom and his sudden rich scheme and I hope he’s not gonna drag Rebecca down with him. I’m glad this isn’t the last chapter. I almost thought it was with the way you ended it. I know not everything can end happily, but I do hope it’s not going to end something like the way this chapter ended. It seemed like one of those bittersweet endings, ones I’m never too pleased with, but ones that almost every writer I’ve ever read falls towards. Chant it with me now…happy ending, happy ending, happy ending…I’m only partially kidding. Looking forward to the next (last) chapter
| thenutrunningthenuthouse chapter 23 . 12/13/2013
Hmm, as usual, your writing is wonderful, and really does reflect the unique way you chose to tell your story, but I would say that this chapter is a bit, erm, slower than usual? But, like I said, I'm not sure if this is an actual problem, or if it's just me.
What I did especially enjoy: Although the first scene with Rebecca and the scissors confused me, I think it's starting to make sense, and it's very powerful. I suppose I just didn't catch such a clear transition between Rebecca as she leaves Dan's car after the Phelan incident, and her with the scissors. I think italics *could* help, but it's all a personal preference - that would just help separate her memories and what's going on in the current moment.
Oddly enough, I wasn't really paying much attention to what Rebecca said about sensitive issues. Does that mean I'm a bad reader, or that she honestly didn't say anything that crazy. In fact, I really liked those lines about survivors, and what separates them from the condemned. It was deep, and it really seemed to add to the scene.
Dan's bit was interesting, because I see where it was going - by seeing the older man with the woman and children, it perhaps gives him home that him and Rebecca could work out, or aren't the most horrible thing in the world? I do like it as is, but perhaps it could be shorter.
I really like the way you dealt with the sex scene. So much of student-teacher love is all smut, but this story just seems like so much more than smut, and I love that. Honestly, I thought I *loved* this one smutty, very well written teacher-student story, but when I came back to this, it was like, NOPE, this story is on top! It's realistic, it's poignant, and it's more than just a teacher-student relationship, it's two people struggling to get through their tough lives, and it developed so naturally, and it's just so wonderful. Honestly, thank you for letting me read this. It was such a pleasure.
Update soon! I honestly have no idea how this story is going to end, but I don't think I'll be disappointed.
If you want the most convenient option, I'd say just leave these three reviews on 'Edgeport' (later chapters preferred, but earlier ones work as well). But, if you still want to, hey, you were reading 'A Criminal by the Picking' on my site, and if you want to continue, that's cool. Hah, if only I hadn't waited so long to return to your stuff. So, honestly, it's your pick.
| thenutrunningthenuthouse chapter 22 . 12/13/2013
I really liked this chapter. You have this amazing way with making your characters truly unique with their dialogue, and the way you describe things. I know I've probably said this before, but I love Phelan. He's awful, but he's also charismatic, and I think a lot of what he says makes sense. In particular, I really liked how what Phelan says to Rebecca all made a lot of sense, and it fits with his odd sort of intellectual side to him. He's creepy, but he's also that cold, calculating, oddly sexy (I don't think that's the right word...maybe charming? gah) character where you honestly want to hear everything he has to say. I think you do a really good job writing this form of a psychopath, because at least from psych class, I remember them saying that psychopaths aren't good liars, they're just so charismatic that you *want* to believe them. And, I think you did that perfectly when you had Rebecca see right through his lies, yet I as a reader felt something when reading what he said.
Also, on a lighter note, I love how you had Rebecca attack him with a hedgehog. It never seemed like a weapon to me, but it worked really well. Also, Phelan's line about how Rebecca would kill a friend was chilling.
Rebecca's an interesting one - she's still, well, bland in a sense, but there's so much complexity to her that I really don't mind. Her inner thoughts here were fascinating beyond belief. I love how she came to that realization that she was totally alone, and that no one was going to help her. I love how she thinks about Hannah when she says she'd never hurt anyone the way Elise hurt Brett. I think it's great when writers actually use the parallels they set up, and that one worked perfectly.
Hmm, if there's anything I can say about you writing faster paced scenes is that it's weird, because the scene doesn't feel fast paced just because of the poetic nature of your prose, and how you have to wait and think about it for a moment while reading, but I wouldn't call your writing slow either. It reads fast, and I really like how this book is like literary suspense. It works well.
Onto chapter 23! (and then I'll finally decide where I'd like reviews given...)
| carlalegre chapter 1 . 12/13/2013
Let me just start by saying that your definitely can write. You seem to have quite the extensive vocabulary which works so well for this piece.
Anyways, I'd like to applaud you on your characters, POV, voice, and structure. Your characters are believable in the sense that they're not carved out of marble and flawless. Like you stated in your closing, "there are enough hot, young teachers….strutting around Fictionpress." I really enjoyed how you changed your POV's effortlessly. Between Dan and Rebecca's perspectives, your voice also changed in order to accommodate both of their ages adequately, which I found refreshing. It's also a great skill to have.
So far, I don't have much constructive criticism. As I read along, I'll let you know if that changes :)
| thenutrunningthenuthouse chapter 21 . 12/13/2013
Hey you! Sorry I haven't been reviewing recently - I just felt like I needed a clear mind to review your stuff, cause it's so damn good, and I wouldn't want to miss a second (I hope this is where I left off - either way, I'll be updating from now on [hopefully])
Okay, your prose - gorgeous. Like, honestly, honestly, I think your prose is the most beautiful thing I've ever read. Everything from the initial way Phelan picked his college to the way you described Brett's dead body with cyanide. I loved how you said that Elise killed Brett, despite them calling it a suicide. It's all so simple, and so elegant, and such a clever way to say so much without having to say that much. You tell so much of Phelan's story with that concise, lyrical prose, and I think it really worked well.
This chapter had an odd feel to it - I think it had to do with how you didn't use italics to go between Phelan's memories and the current situation. So, in a way, it was all muddled, but I don't mind that. In fact, it seemed quite intentional, and I think it worked really well. I think it was a great way to get into Phelan's mind in a way that's not typically done, because really we do have memories barging in between what's happening in the real world. It's cool how the incident with Dan and Rebecca felt so far away, yet so there. Honestly, you are so clever.
I just read another student-teacher relationship book, and I gotta say, you have something special here, something realistic, and I really dig that. I love how Dan and Rebecca aren't beauty queens and kings, and how there's some real pain behind their decision to do what they do.
Now, for your questions...
1. I am not a member of the LGBTQ community, but I don't think there's anything offensive. I think Phelan is a complex man, and his sexuality is just a small piece of that. If people are insulted, they're far too sensitive.
2. Like I said, I LOVE Phelan's POV. No issue with the change.
3. I wish I could be more verbose with this, but yes, I really enjoyed the dynamic. It felt unique, and you developed it subtly. I'd almost be interested to see a plain ol' scene seeing them, but the way you just slid into Brett's death was really cool.
4. lol there's nothing badly written here. Go you!