Reviews for Loreley Island
Saffron123 chapter 1 . 4/17
Perfectly written.

It maintains a perfect pace and draws us into Clay's head. Many times female authors struggle to write males (just like male authors often fail to write women) but I think you nailed it perfectly with what features a guy checks out first. Clay acts, thinks, and talks like a guy.

I don't yet have a feel for Stella's character. She wears a lot of clothes at school, but seems to have no problem being flirtatious. So I'm curious about who she is.

I'm also curious what they look like. I'm sure later chapters will mention Clay's appearance more. Stella I can visualize easily. And the setting is easy to see.

This has me hooked as I feel like something is going to happen. I could be wrong, but I get the feeling that there is something "mystical" about Stella. The plot seems interesting and I get the feeling that there is more to Stella than meets the eye.

Lines I liked a lot:

"Illuminated by moonlight and flecks of phosphorous" - nice imagery.

"The water smacked him in the face..." - yeah, it'll do that. Good description. Though I always notice the taste of salt water. Ocean water tastes really strong to me. I'm surprised Clay doesn't notice it.

"A rolling peak buoyed their conjoined forms..." I like the image of them being buoyed, but also tying in the image of them almost as living buoys on the water. Nice.

I can't wait to read more and see how this will unfold.
TS Conlon chapter 6 . 4/10
In this chapter, a lot of different things are confirmed or hinted at further than the previous chapters. A lot of my suspicions and points I made in the last review are at least speculated by Gwen and Hildy, and there isn’t much to further speculate on. Well, not entirely...

The arrival of Anthony Wydeville came as a shock, and I’m interested to know what part he plays in all of this. He and Stella have the same eyes, so it appears they’re blood related. The nature of his arrival is the question. So far Gwen and Hildy have speculated that Stella is a vampire (I stand by my earlier assertation of succubus). It’s too early to tell if Anthony Wydeville’s appearance is negative for our protagonists; perhaps it is and perhaps it’s not. The only memory I have of him is what we saw through Clay’s eyes and he really didn’t seem to leave any clues to his personality or character. Because of this, I’m really interested to find out what happens next.

Another thing that had been confirmed for me, something I brought up in the review of Chapter 5, was Clay and Gwen’s relationship. It was a thought provoking revelation when it came her personal thoughts on the matter. She asked herself the questions that I had asked, “Did she make it up?”: “Maybe I invented it? Maybe I was projecting my feelings... It wasn’t some big love story for him, he just took what was offered. And I used to be the best thing out there.” Gwen’s thought process for this scene was very much Clay’s explanation when he and Gwen were alone: “It’s not just Stella, Gwen. It’s me. I found out things were different. Things could be different. I don’t expect you to understand.” It seems Gwen and Clay are struggling over the same things, but Clay is closer to accepting the changes. On the other hand, perhaps Clay has submitted and Gwen wants to continue fighting. It’s a strange dichotomy, acceptance versus submission. Both of these characters have similar backgrounds. Clay is realizing that the world isn’t as he had originally perceived it. Gwen is slowly realizing that as well, for a different reason. And I think Hildy, too, is coming to terms with that, although his realization comes from the more supernatural and mysterious aspects of the story. In that case, all three characters are realizing and experiencing truths with the world.

Like “Queen of the Dawn,” this is excellently written. Though the context is different, the reasons I like them both remain the same. I enjoy the attention to detail, the emotions you convey through your descriptions. “A clump of bleed strips heaved inside her ribcage.” That line drives me bananas, it’s so good, so visual and visceral. It caught my eye the moment I opened the chapter up. I cannot wait for the next portion of this story. I’m going to favorite/follow this story, and then cry, ashamed, in the corner for not doing so earlier.
TS Conlon chapter 5 . 4/2
This is becoming interesting, although it seems to me there’s nothing left to do but confirm suspicions. Either Stella and Alix are one in the same or there’s something else going on—but what, I don’t know. I do believe they are.

I liked the descriptions in this chapter a lot—the citrusy scent of the wax, the different vantage points of the island, how Clay discerns locations through the ambient noises of other people’s cellphone calls. The pacing in your chapters are very enjoyable, perhaps because your chapters are fairly short, but because you don’t dawdle. In order words, you know when to end a scene in a way that fits your style. I’ve mentioned it before, but it seems like a lot of planning goes into your chapters. Everything has a place, and you know where it is, which makes it easier for readers like me to pick up where things belong. Everything is so beautiful in this chapter, it makes me kind of jealous.

The more I read this story, the more it seems appropriate to look at names. I wonder if there was something I missed from “Queen of the Dawn” by not discerning names too much? But I digress. This time I speak about the name “Alix.” Instantly I look to Alix of France, a daughter of King Louis VII and Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine, and wife of Count Theobald of Blois. I don’t think Alix Wydeville/Stella Marchand are one-in-the-same with Countess Alix, but I do believe that is where the French connection comes from. (In the first chapter, it was mentioned Stella was fluent—or at least conversational—in French.)

That said, nothing really new about Stella was established in this chapter, but a few things were confirmed. Firstly, it is confirmed that Alix and Stella look identical, like they could be twins or—dare I say?—the same person. The fact that Clay’s father is also in the photograph makes me wonder, if Alix and Stella are the same person, could she be interested in Clay because she once loved his father? The idea isn’t that farfetched. Alix of France married Count Theobald of Blois, the very same count that was in love with, and had attempted to abduct, Alix’s mother Eleanor before she married Louis VII.

Another thing confirmed in this chapter is Stella’s levitation. I was wondering what Clay thought about it—if he would deny, rationalize, or accept it. It seems he accepts it as fact, and I wonder if that has more to do with a kind of mental hold Stella has over him. Not only that, but he also admits—if to himself—that there is energy, or some kind of hypnotizing power in her kisses. In the second chapter, Clay thinks that he had never felt anything like her kiss before. One of the ways we assocate pleasure physically is by connecting with it mentally, so it would make sense that Stella’s kisses are affecting his body as well as his mind.

Mentioning Countess Alix made me think of another famous countess, this one Hungarian. Whether or not Countess Elizabeth Báthory actually bathed in the blood of young virgins remains debatable even to this day, but she WAS known for at least killing young girls. The story goes she wished to preserve her youth and thought the blood of those younger and purer would do the trick. That, in turn, makes me think of succubi—malign feminine spirits that feed off the sexual attention and activity of human males. As the mystery presents itself to me, I wonder if it’s a combination of the two. Is Alix/Stella a seductress, stealing men’s sexual energy to preserve her youthful appearance? Is there something more to it than that? Or am I way off target? I suppose I’ll have to read on to find out—which I’ll definitely enjoy doing.
TS Conlon chapter 4 . 3/29
This chapter, to me, is self-explanatory. It’s called “Information,” after all, and serves the purpose of a build-up chapter. The information provided within takes us deeper into the Stella mystery. However, I believe there is more information lurking both in the background and in the chapters to come. Aside from the first chapter Stella just seems so ... in-the-background. Most of what I “see” of her is hearsay—just the other characters thinking or talking about her. However when she’s in a scene she’s clearly the star of that scene, like the party and Clay’s doorway. I guess what I’m getting at is that her mystery detracts from the other characters. It’s not a BAD thing, but it’s a shame because these other characters have some serious issues that are worth looking into, at least to me. Besides, I’m sure I’ll have ample time to talk about Stella in chapters that involve her more concretely.

Gwen is hysterical. I mean that both ways. Her borderline Tourette’s tirades make me laugh. In all seriousness, the swear words are effective; I can tell she’s upset, but for a different reason than Hildy. She’s jealous, of course, and the first chapter made me wonder if she and Clay were or are together. Now, though, I’m less certain. There’s a level of ambiguity in their relationship. It’s clear that she has feelings for Clay—she mentions that she loves him and she doesn’t hide her feelings from him. In the first chapter she was clearly jealous when Clay was eying at Stella. In the second chapter, she berates Clay for leaving her for Stella. However, there is no confirmation of a romantic relationship. On the other hand, the first chapter does see Gwen speaking with planning their next weekend together. One doesn’t typically do that unless they were romantically involved. Yet even though she fears he’s cheating on her, I don’t recall ever reading mention of her breaking up with him. Perhaps she knows she doesn’t have that authority, or perhaps this isn’t the first time and it’s something she accepts or tolerates. A few times it’s mentioned that Clay has had a string of girls following him in high school (and perhaps a few of the boys, according to Hildy). These girls were emotional playthings for Clay. Stella had been one of them—could Gwen be another? For now, I think more signs point to them not being in an “official” relationship.

I mentioned my belief of Clay’s sociopathy in a previous review, and now I find myself asking, “Is Gwen neurotic or psychotic?” There could be a plethora of things she might be suffering from, but I don’t think she’s halucinating. She may be delusional or perhaps just obsessive. On one hand, she might believe her and Clay to have some semblance of romance. In that case, I’d believe she has some kind of psychosis. She’s not a psychopath, but she has some kind of delusional disorder. On the other hand, she might fully be aware that she and Clay are not in a relationship but does nothing to hide her feelings about him and her desire to be in one. In that case, she has an obsessive disorder (neurosis).

We also learn a little more about Hildy. He seems to be a very caring person, worrying over Clay, taking care of Gwen... So far I’ve seen him do CPR and give an explanation of electrolytes. Tell me, is Hildy studying to be a doctor? I don’t believe it’s mentioned anywhere thus far, but that’s the feeling I get from him. I suppose there could be other reasons for his knowledge—lifeguard at a country club, having so many hangovers... But it just seems like more than that.

Great Auntie Miranda... I think you can expand on her character a little more, although she was pretty enjoyable. It was mentioned that she was “racist,” but I like that Hildy was corrected and she became “just old.” She seems careless with her word choices to me, as though no one taught her the meaning of “P.C.” This was a wise direction to take with her, I think.

A question—not really a complaint—but why is it that only rich kids have great aunts? It matters not. I found no typoes, but here are some notes.

—[“This stuff has electrolites—”], [“Woohoo! Fucking electrolites!”]: Is this a reference to the movie “Idiocracy”?

—“No. It’s strange, there’s nothing about Stella on the interwebs. I’m thinking local resources.”: I personally don’t think it’s that strange. Hildy, himself, said she doesn’t use phones, so I can also assume she might not use computers. Most person searches are found on social media websites, school alumni websites, and perhaps even ancestry websites. However, most of that information is entered personally. Ergo, if a person is not on the internet, there will be less search options available.

—Hildy removed his hat and twisted the ends of his short woolly hair as he followed Gwen to an old rusted storm door that led to a screened porch at the back of the home.: I feel like this is a run-on sentence. It could be shortened or perhaps split up.

Thank you.
TS Conlon chapter 3 . 3/27
*WARNING: This review may contain spoilers. Be sure to read the 3rd chapter before proceeding. Thank you.*

I liked this chapter a lot. I didn’t find any typos or grammatical errors, but I did find some sentences that seemed like run-ons to me, thus making me misstep the flow a little bit. Overall they’re minor and don’t hinder the story, they just seem to go on a little bit longer than they should. I’m also enjoying the mysteries you leave us with and REALLY want to find out what’s going to happen next. I’ve made some guesses, though.

In this chapter we start out with Hildy thinking about Clay, and therefore get into his mind a little bit. His “cool” is certainly different from Clay’s. Sarcastic though he may be, unlike Clay I get the feeling Hildy cares about his friends. In fact, he finds fault within his own actions and believe it’s his responsibility to “save his best friend.” On that note, I have to wonder if Hildy knows more about Stella than he’s letting on. He says to himself that he thinks she’s the kind of girl that would light the fuse to Clay’s heart. However, he also worries that it’ll make Clay explode.

I like his inner-monologue regarding smoking. He knows it’s evil but finds benefits within them. I had to look up Gitane Blondes—a French cigarette made by curing the tobacco a specific way and using rice paper as the rolling paper. Their distribution is not restricted and therefore legal in America—although not sold here, they can be shipped from other countries within the European Union. Whatever “illegal channels” Hildy is going through to get them are needless.

I like Màrcia, the coy housekeeper. I can practically hear her thick accent. I don’t really have much to say regarding her character, though. Hildy does the explanation internally and there doesn’t seem to be much to her beyond that—at least not right now. They are friendly and familiar with each other, she’s helpful, but similarly she’s a gossip. I have to wonder, if Hildy knows Màrcia and her family get around the island and know everything, doesn’t that stop him or at least make him rethink some of his ideas? Would Màrcia have known that Stella was at the party last night and would she also know that Hildy had been asking about the castle where she lived? If so, would she be able to draw some kind of conclusion, and would Hildy care? Probably not. He doesn’t seem to feel like he’s taking a risk by asking Màrcia.

We also see more of Stella this chapter and things to come are hinted at even further. There are two mentions of her “gold-rimmed blue-green eyes” that seem to glow unnaturally, and she even floats off the ground for a moment, something Clay doesn’t seem to dismiss. Also, her hair was “flowing wildly in the air even though there was scarcely a breeze.” More than that, her kisses seem to have energy of their own. During the first chapter and even Clay’s monologue in the second chapter, I thought the kiss was intense because he’d wanted it so much. Now I think I understand further that there’s some of force she’s putting into it.

I suppose now would be a good time to begin speculating about the names you’ve choosen for the main characters. Clayton—though everyone knows him as “Clay”—is a very “earthy” name. Clay is a soil with different mineral and metal oxide deposits in it, usually found near water. Stella is Latin meaning “star.” It’s other-worldly. More than that, unlike clay it’s base elements are helium and hygrogen—less stable gases whereas clay has solid metals and minerals. However, stars are known to have other heavier elements as well. I’m getting off-topic. The point is I see a dichotomy forming in their names—Clay represents earth, the known, the familiar; and Stella represents the star, the heavenly, perhaps even the unknown and the supernatural.
TS Conlon chapter 2 . 3/24
I’ve mentioned it before, but I enjoy your succinct sentences. A lot of authors don’t realize how powerful a shorter sentence can be, so it’s nice to see them here. Even in a story less involved pick your words carefully. This review is going to be slightly different from my others, but I hope you’ll find that it doesn’t lack the theme or the explanation that I usually incorperate.

—“Fuck you!” It was Gwen.: Here we see Clay’s lack of concern for Gwen coming full circle. Part of this makes me question these characters’ upbringing. Clay doesn’t seem to care about the consequences of his actions, despite knowing that he will or has hurt someone he might even consider a friend. Later in the chapter, when Clay thinks nothing of Gwen’s texts and ignores her voice mails, he shrugs it off with very little care. I admire the thought you put into his character. His behavior seems to border on sociopathy.

—“Swimming naked, naturally.” snipped Gwen.: The first period here should be a comma because it does not end the sentence.

—“Do you give a shit about me?”: There’s just something OFF about this sentence to me. When I hear it in my head—and even try saying it outl loud—it does’t sound natural. I wonder if including the word “even” would make it ring clearer. [“Do you even give a shit about me?”] I dunno, this is completely subjective of me, so there’s real need to change it. I was just sharing my thoughts. Also, the whole idea that “Stella just let you drown!” is funny to me, but in a natural sort of way.

—Clay briefly turned to Gwen. “I’m not sorry.” He looked at Hildy again. “I need Stella's number.”: He IS a sociopath!

—Clay glared at Hildy. “What the fuck? You know her. What’s her fucking number? Don’t you understand? I have to find out what happened.”: To illistrate my point, I’ll use this as an example. The first couple times I read this, I imagined him yelling. I thought, “Shouldn’t those periods be exclamation points?” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized Clay likes to be in control. His temprament is often very controlled; he’s often keeping up with appearances while maintaining his own. A psychopath displays a lack of empathy and conscience, but they're also prone to violence. I think Clay is just a jerk, causing emotional trauma rather than physical. He is capable of anger, but he’s capable of controlling that anger, so the periods work—I imagine him speaking slowly, enunciating. Then again, it’s indicated several times that things get “creepier,” and I have to wonder, “THRILLER creepy or SUPERNATURAL creepy?” It feels like it could be either, and I can see Clay transfigured into a psychopathic murder.

—Hildy plays a different game than Clay, it seems. Clay doesn’t care. He pretends he does, but he does not. Hildy works by omission. He’s like a master of being coy, like a spider that waits for prey does he wait for reactions. Once he has one, he’ll go further to drop another line and wait for another reaction. He’s playing a game of Chess in that sense, always one move ahead. At least that’s what I gathered in his interactions with Clay.

—Gwen could not be right. Stella may have been knocked out too, and carried ashore. She might think he abandoned her.: Hmm... I wonder, would Clay be thinking this and can this be expanded at all? After all, Hildy mentioned that she left with her “cousin” but doesn’t remember her hair being damp and doesn’t mention that she appeared upset at all. Then again, he also mentioned that he saw her leaving, but they did not interact and he was far away. As for expanding Clay’s thoughts, when he thinks that she was carried ashore, does he mean by the waves, or by someone physically?

—It didn’t make sense she would leave him comatose on the beach.: Is there a dropped word here? [It didn’t make sense that she would leave him comatose on a beach.] If not, I understand, but otherwise it seems archaic to me to not have “that” as a conjunction.

—The whole bedroom scene was really nicely written and really helped me get into Clay’s head a little more. Even alone he struggles to maintain his “coolness,” denying the outbursts from his own body. In his fantasy, used to placate instead of entice, he thinks, “It was going to be cool.” He is completely in control in his fantasy and I believe he has gotten used to being completely in control in reality as well. It appears as though he may suffer from parental neglect, his father always on business and his mother wrapped up in her personal life—another indicator of sociopathy.

—[He selected a single malt scotch...] and [He sipped the scotch and enjoyed the warmth it fired within him.]: “Scotch” should be capitalized. The true term is “Scotch whiskey” meaning “whiskey from Scotland” and is a proper noun.

In the review I’ve made many cases to Clay being a sociopath or at least having sociopathic tendencies. From the knowledge I’ve gathered on the subject—and I’m far from an expert—psychopaths are violent, vain, egotistical and lack empathy and conscience, but are good at manipulating and hiding their feelings even though they can’t TRULY grasp social norms. Sociopaths are antisocial, but know how to manipulate as well. They can fit in with the crowd, but they don’t LIKE the crowd. They’re controlling and calculating, but mostly and usually with mild to eccentric tempraments, and non-violent. That, of course, is according to criminal profiling. Psychologists, however, believe psychopaths and sociopaths are very similar, that their behaviours can vary across the board. The only real difference is that psychopaths are heritary and sociopaths are environmental due to different social settings including abusive or manipulative friends or neglectful parents. To put it differently, psychopaths are born and sociopaths are made.
TS Conlon chapter 1 . 3/20
Hello!

This was an interesting first chapter. I was drawn in right away by Clay’s nonchalance. The boy doesn’t seem to care. Your prose expresses how bored he is at the party, and that he isn’t paying attention to Gwen (who I believe is his girlfriend although nothing is explicitly expressed). Their chemistry interests me. The way he admits that he knows she loves him, and even admits that he doesn’t like being cruel ... but it’s clear he doesn’t want to break his image of “coolness.” Despite what he may think to himself or say to Gwen, still ditches her for Stella. He sees his friend with cocktails and takes them, offering them to Stella. I get the idea that appearance is everything to Clay, and why not? After all, when you come from a prestigeous family and a prestigeous preperatory school, it’s part of his upbringing and comes with the social status.

Speaking of interesting chemistry, Clay’s interactions with Stella are different. Clay mentions that he knew Stella from high school, even that they’d shared some moments of little intensity. She wasn’t a crush for him, although I can see Stella possibly having a crush on him. It harkens back to his “cool persona.” He something similar to himself on his way over to her at the party, psyching himself up. He was proud, counted Stella as another feather in his cap, another girl that wants him but couldn’t have him. Stella, perhaps, sees through those “cool barriers.” She takes off, leaving Clay behind as she runs towards the ocean. It startles him—“She’s crazy!” he thinks. It’s something he’s not used to, and even argues with himself about jumping in. Even at the end, when he’s cold and out of breath, he tells her he’s fine.

The details are well thought out and the pace remains even throughout. I’ve never been to a seaside party, but I can imagine this is what it would be like if a rich playboy had acquired his parents’s house for the weekend whilst they did something far more extravagant. I also enjoyed the subtle hints of things to come, such as the flickering lights in French class, Stella’s wild behavior, and her mention of the club “Mephisto,” named after the demon “Mephistopheles” of Germanic folklore and becoming famous in the story (and subsequent opera) of “Faust.” I wonder, could “Faust” play a role in the story to come?

Part of me wondered some of the same things mentioned in other reviews such as the “flickering lights in French class.” Ultimately, though, I take things like that at face value. If the author says that, I take it literally until proven otherwise. I’m just a passenger in your car. This is why I don’t read more than one book at a time. Below are some notes mostly regarding punctuation.

—I presume “Hildy” is short for “Hildegard”? It struck me amusing how many people commented on this person’s sex.

—...into their first period ‘Civics and Ethical Traditions’ course.: Because this phrase dose not appear within a quote, please change the apostrophes to quotation marks. [... into their first period “Civics and Ethical Traditions” course.] Or you can remove the quotations completely; they’re unnecessary for the titles of classes.

—Clay beamed his ‘buddy’ smile at Tushar.: Again, change the apostrophes around “buddy” to quotation marks, or remove them altogether.

—The blue-green brilliance nearly threw him off balance; but he managed not to spill the cocktails.: The semicolon says it is a separate clause related to the original sentence. However, the word “but” is throwing me off. If it were me—and I apologize if this is nitpicking—I’d change it to a comma. [The blue-green brilliance nearly through him off balance, but he managed not to spill the cocktails.] The comma works because the “not spilling” is related to him “losing his balance.”

—... causing Madame Garnier, the French teacher, to murmur, “Mon dieu...”: This is optional, but usually words in langauges different than the original writing are usually italicized.

—Everyone on Loreley Island was familiar with ‘The Castle’.: Quotation marks again. Also, in fiction, the quotation marks go out the outside. [Everyone on Loreley Island was familiar with “The Castle.”] For whatever reason, they’re inside in non-fiction.

—Hildy had been uncharacteristically stand-offish ...: “Standoffish” is one word; no need for hyphenation.

—Was she really going to jump into the ferocious ocean at night?: Love the alliteration here—it needn’t be the letters at the beginning of words, nor the singular letters, just a repetition of the same sounds stressed within the syllables.

Thank you.
LightningBolt21 chapter 2 . 2/26
I saw that in another review that they thought it was freaky that Clay was worried about Stella after drowning, but I don't think so. I found it kind of sweet that he was worried about her.

I do find Clay's "lust" for Stella kind of odd. I mean, he hasn't known her THAT long. It's a bit disturbing in certain areas.

{"Stella let you fucking drown!"} I'd remove the "fucking" also in the next couple lines where Clay says, {"What the fuck? What's her fucking number?"} I can understand using curse words, but I think that they shouldn't be used a lot in a single chapter. They can become a bit overwhelming, especially for those who aren't comfortable reading stories with strong cursing in.

Final line {"Stella," he said} I would remove the "he said" and maybe replace it with "he breathed" or leave it as "Stella?" I also don't understand why you placed lines between the part where Clay is deleting voice mails and when Stella shows up. What purpose does it serve? i mean, it's kind of odd that you have this small section between lines. I'd maybe have Clay go to sleep, have a dream about Stella and then wake up to find her standing outside the door. It seems like it might flow better.

I didn't see any grammar mistakes except for what I said about the final line but that's more personal opinion than anything else.
LightningBolt21 chapter 1 . 2/18
The first chapter was an odd start, to me at least but a good start too. It’s a party on a beach with a bunch of teenagers. This is VERY different from your “Queen of the Dawn” I can’t believe the same person wrote these two stories, just shows how versatile a writer you are.

You introduced a lot of characters, but I had the feeling that I’d known them for a long time. I always thought that Hildy was a girl’s name.

{“I read your mind.”} I’d write it as, {“I can read your mind”/”I’m a mind reader.”} It just flows better that way.

Stella really is a wild card, jumping into the ocean. My favorite character so far.

The final line, about what Clay felt was BREATHTAKING. Some people make scenes like this sloppy, but this was wonderful. You certainly do have a way with words. I can’t wait to see what’s in story for the two of them. I didn’t see any grammar mistakes expect what I pointed out which wasn’t a grammar mistake but a suggestion. Still surprised that you wrote it, and I mean surprised in a good way.

Onward to chapter 2 : )
Jitterbug Blues chapter 6 . 2/4
Okay, this is going to be a shorter review, since I'm reviewing outside of any pressure to be *good*. But: this story is creepy, and I'm in love with it. I'd marry it, if I could. There are just so many unexpected twists and turns, and the way you weave in gothic themes with a modern drama is kind of amazing.

What I mean by contemporary is that I loved those hints of modernity in the chapter: like the reference to the BBC, Khan and just those antics like drinking games. Gwen's voice, I feel, is particularly young and fresh, and I like, because even if she's spoilt and rich, I think she's caring and rather observant too. I also feel that her backstory is interesting, especially regarding her little games with Clay and how they never got together, even if they have been so close (and kissed once - which I thought was a beautiful scene).

I think Clay is definitely obsessed by now, as he's no longer capable of thinking rationally and is just so intent on being with Stella, despite everything. I do think that Gwen is freaking him out, but he still won't listen, despite the hints of Stella never aging or the other hints of her being a vampire.

And wow, those hints were creepy. I just like how you reveal them through dialogue and thus creep the reader out even more. No, I really love your dialogue: it’s just so natural and you don’t fill it with useless banter, but plot-relevant stuff.

And, before I forget, I like Gwen – she’s a lot smarter than you’d assume.

I liked your descriptions at the beginning – very lucid and clear, and they definitely conveyed a scene of eeriness. Just like the descriptions at the end of when Hildy’s phone burned down and that weird British guy appeared out of nowhere. I'm not sure whether I should be worried or intrigued by his last name :/

I forgot to say too: I liked your racial diversity in this chapter - it's cool that you mentioned a few Japanese names (which were all correctly used too :3).

I'll just say I'm intrigued and a bit saddened that you've not updated since last August. In spite of that, what you have here so far is a delicious mix of horror, mystery and intrigue. I'm looking forward to an update :)
Jitterbug Blues chapter 5 . 2/4
I’ll try very hard not to spazz on you right here and now, but this is awesome, and all those hints are so much darker than I had anticipated. I’m not easily scared by stories, and I’m not someone to feel easily perturbed by disturbing scenes either, but this story is eerie. I think rather than just telling you why, scene by scene, I’ll do this because my thoughts are scatter-brained and I rather feel like yelling in capital letters how awesome this. Anyhow:

*So Stella doesn’t age. So much is clear from the photograph (the awesome and very much concerned) Hildy shared. I’m kind of frightened that she’s eyeing both the late Mr Marchand and Clay’s father in the pic: it seems like there was some sort of love triangle going on here, and it sure explains why she’s interested in Clay. (And your descriptions of the photograph were lovely, very clear and concise, and eerie in how detailed they were).

*Clay’s dream at the opening of this chapter was creepy. I find the image of people floating and/or flying eerie and unsettling, and I definitely felt unsettled by what you described here. It was beautifully written too, very clear and yet detailed, and definitely memorable.

*I like that Clay seems to be slowly waking up as to the fact that Stella is strange. What’s creepy is how obsessed he sounded when he described his infatuation towards her to Hildy. He sounded possessed, enthralled, and I am really convinced that the source of his love/lust is not natural. There are just a lot of hints that point to that too.

*The descriptions of the castle, brief as they were, were lovely. I find it creepy that there is no electricity, and I felt your descriptions captured the castle in an eerie light. They seemed a bit gothic, certainly.

What I’m further enjoying and/or just intrigued by is the fact that Clay wants to go the castle, together with Gwen. I think that’s smart on his side, and I’m definitely going to read the next chapter now, even if my review is going to wind up shorter. I’m just really tired and my fingers hurt XD. But this is a lovely story so far :)
Jitterbug Blues chapter 4 . 2/3
First things first, this story is turning out to be quite a mystery :D I’m really enjoying that – your clearer prose for this story works so well with mystery (I think I want to bribe you to try a hand at genre noir; I feel you’d be really good at it :P Kidding but not really, because this story has quite a few elements of it: the femme fatale, the dark atmosphere and the suspense). I really like how sublime your writing is for this story: there are a lot of hints I just caught now, like Hildy being black (his woolly hair, for example, and Gwen’s aunt taking back her racist statements when she noticed Hildy’s presence).

I’ll keep my review for this shorter, because there’s not much scenery porn I can comment on, and this chapter really only does consist of two scenes – but two scenes I really liked. As already said, I like your simpler writing style for this story: it’s more contemporary and I also think it moves the plot forward. Plus, I feel you balance out the details well with dialogue. I kind of toss those words around a lot in the games and other reviews, but I think that’s quite important, actually?

You see, I’m quite wordy on my own (for reference: Hedonistic Opportunist on FFN dot net and here too – it’s all awful work though XD), and it’s only in the collab that I tend to tune down my own writing style. I used to have *huge* problems with dialogue because I love to dither, meaning I’ll write a lot of introspection and scenery porn and leave huge gabs in between dialogue. Haha, so that’s why I always harp on about the balance between dialogue and description.

You’ve been doing great :)

Things I really enjoyed about the first scene were:

*HIldy is terribly informed about hangover cures. Is he a medicine-related major? I’m just curious XD. I love how smart he is regardless, and how he’s the one insistent on carrying out a little investigation. I like how he coaxes Gwen into joining him. I’m serious: he’s awesome and really, really smart. I hope nothing bad happens to him!

*Gwen is likeable too. I feel she’s a bit spoilt, but she seems genuinely fond of Clay. And I do feel sorry for her, because Clay was a jerk to her, all things considered.

*I liked the dialogue. It was very natural and smooth, and that includes the vulgarity XD. I mean, young people do cuss a lot (myself included lol).

Now, with the second scene: I really liked the aunt – she’s a bit scatter-brained and racist, but she’s clearly got a lot of plot-relevant information to share :D And I love how you set up this scene, slowly, slowly dishing out those important details: like Stella looking like her mother, and her father having died before her birth. It’s even intriguing that the aunt hadn’t seen Stella’s mother for a while :D

Yeah, I’m grinning because I’m exciting and I’m seeing a lot of *lovely* plot things happening soon :)
Jitterbug Blues chapter 3 . 2/3
I'll am going to tell you this - I'll probably review all six chapters of this, though it's taking a while. I don't want to read this when my brain is too foggy or I'm constantly interrupted by my mother. I’m just saying I’m interesting in continuing this review trade outside of any games, since I like your stuff (I’d be sure to read your stuff if you update, once we run out of even chapters or so). Anyhow, I actually try to make my reviews *good*, so they take a while in coming XD.

I like the length of your chapters, I must say. Before I joined FP and posted CW, I actually liked longer chapters, but with the copy/paste function no longer there, I find that shorter chapters are easier on the eyes and brain :)

Anyhow, I liked the focus on Hildy in the first scene. I immediately took a liking to Hildy, and it’s nice to see more of his thought processes here. I like that his objective is to protect Clay and Gwen (I garner that he’s interested in her, right?). What I found inherently creepy about this scene was that, despite his best intentions, he wasn’t able to protect himself from saying anything about the party, despite his suspicions of Stella (I like how he views her as mysterious, inhumane nearly if the description of her eyes is anything to go by). I think this scene really hints at Stella’s mysterious aura and nature. It’s as if she spellbound people to do her bidding. The other thing I liked about this scene was the good-natured banter between him and Marcia: it just showcases how intimate they are, and how much good-natured affection there is between them. I also thought that this scene was significant as it revealed an important key aspect regarding Stella and her family. I find the fact that Mr Marchand died quite disturbing. What’s even more disturbing is that his wife didn’t mourn his death visibly.

Before I forget: I was really amused by the hint that Clay was so attractive that even the boys want him :D

I really liked the second scene: Clay’s affection towards Stella was very tangible, and his awkwardness towards her initially was endearing (like him rushing to the bathroom to brush his teeth). I loved the kiss scene, and how it focused on little sensations, like her being pressed up against him and his being physically affected by it. I also liked, earlier, how you referred to her appearance – delicious details like this really stand out. I also liked (and wondered over) how abruptly the kiss ended, and how avoidant Stella was when Clay was asking her to spend the day with him. There’s definitely something up here – she’s either got a good reason that she’s unavailable or she is playing coy. Whatever it is, I’m curious :D

I’ve noticed that you’ve toned down your descriptions in this chapter. I don’t mind. I like it, as I feel the simplicity captures the emotions a lot better.
Jitterbug Blues chapter 2 . 2/3
I’m beginning to realise that this story is very creepy, and that in many ways. I thought that Clay’s reactions to nearly drowning were more than freaky. All the while, his friends are worried, but he only wants to see Stella, as if she had branded herself into his mind. Furthermore, I thought that the last scene, with Stella popping out of literally nowhere was kind of frightening, in a manner that you’d usually only find in Japanese horror manga (I wonder if you’re familiar with them or have drawn inspiration from some of them; I’m thinking of one mangaka in particular …).

Anyhow, that is to say, I really like where you are taking this, even if I feel a bit wary of Stella: I thought she was a vixen at first, but she’s more of a siren now. I think what attributes to that is that no one seems to know where she comes from, and she also lures Clay into her web of seduction far, far too easily. It’s a bit weird how Clay, who seemed so aloof in the opening of the last chapter, is suddenly so into her that he can barely control himself.

But, anyhow, what bothers me even more, on a purely ‘normal’ level, is what a callous jerk Clay is. I think how he treats Gwen in this chapter is very mean-spirited, though I’ll admit that she seems to be a piece of work (this hysterical, self-obsessed kind of rich girl who gets everything she wants). Yet, I also feel that she cares for Clay, and that some of her anger is justified – Stella’s leaving Clay so suddenly and abruptly on the beach was …rather off-putting to stay the least. But I’m curious where you’ll take this :) Someone mentioned that Gwen was overdoing it, behaviour-wise – hmm, I don’t think so? I’ve known girls like this, and I might have behaved like this myself in the past (mostly when I was younger, and a silly girl still).

I like Hilde. He seems like a cool and laid-back guy. I like how he berated Clay for his behaviour but also helped him pick up his clothes on the sand. He just seems nice :)

I will admit that I thought the scene with Clay in bed was hot, but it also made me feel uncomfortable and awkward, maybe because it was so frank and honest? But I think that was the intention, and so I won’t criticise you for that, because the scene really hammered home to me how desperate Clay is to be with Stella, beyond reason. I also like how you kept the scene tasteful, by interspersing with flashbacks to the kiss on the beach, even while use vulgar words (but I don’t mind the vulgarity at all!).

Other things I loved :D:

*Clay’s looking in the mirror and noticing how bad he looked. You had some very vivid description of his eyes there that made me cringe, but that I thought were wickedly creative.

*I liked how you described the morning sky in this scene too: very pretty and picturesque.

*I felt a bit sad that his parents were so far away; the hints of divorce made me feel even sadder. It kind of implies that, despite his wealth, Clay is not happy at all…
Jitterbug Blues chapter 1 . 2/3
I’ve actually been sitting on this chapter for at least two hours, but reading has been slow/interrupted due to me being side-tracked by other things (google chat, and cooking in between). I’m sorry XD. I’m telling you this though, because – despite my horrid attention span - I got through this chapter easily. Your writing style *is* detailed, but it’s perfectly readable: you really know how to balance out dialogue with introspection and scenery porn. I’m really fond of that aspect of your writing because I feel the one drawback to writing in a very detailed manner is that you often lose readers due to them being overwhelmed or maybe even bored.

I wasn’t bored at all. I find your take on a modern setting very refreshing, as the contrast to this story with ‘Queen of the Dawn’ is quite interesting. You’re far more casual in style here, and your writing is lighter, but not less detailed (though it feels more contemporary – in a good way :D). I’ll be blunt: this chapter was very sexy. It was pretty and erotic, but also very sexy. I’ll tell you why:

*Your descriptions of Stella. She’s a vixen! I like how you highlighted her slim waist, her breasts and curves. I like how you described that summer dress. I really liked how you made Clay’s attraction to her so tangible, but not seem vulgar or too distasteful. I won’t lie and say I appreciated your description of Stella’s physique for a very particular reason, but that’s off topic XD.

*The last scene with them kissing was beautiful, but I really liked the build up towards it. The scenery porn – that of the water splashing around them – was very soothing, but I liked how you focused on his desire to touch her, to be close. I rather liked how it was quiet attraction to, and not a fast, frenetic kiss. A lot of romance novels would have written out this kiss as something very passionate or steamy, but yours was quiet and …because of this … really gorgeous (slow kisses are way, way too underappreciated).

*The way you made French lessons seemed a lot more intriguing and steamy than I ever recalled them being XD. No, I just really liked how you highlighted that Stella and Clay have wanted each other for a while.

Anyhow, I also liked a lot of other things:

*The opening scene, with Clay being bored by Gwen’s presence was a lovely and gripping way to start this chapter. It just very *young* to me, that scene. I also liked a lot of the other scenes when Clay interacted with his friends – it all felt very young, modern and natural to me.

*I love your scenery porn. I was in Long Island that summer, and I felt that way you described the beach was very realistic and it made me remember that one lovely walk I took one evening. So I’m just saying that your descriptions are very vivid (and no, I’m not American at all). Also, I'm aware that this story isn't taking place on Long Island, but I was reminded of it.

ALSO, before I forget, I like how you painted Clay and his friend as this tight-knit group of rich, elite kids, and Stella being the outsider. I'm really interested in how this will continue to pan out.
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