Vanessa_MD

Literary and Cultural Studies / Film enthusiast / Based in Austria (The country without kangaroos) / NO SELF-PROMO on my WALL! Founder of the Become Hooked Contest

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Hibernation Dreams

This review was written in the context of the MVP Awards and refers to the first three short stories in the collection.
"Hibernation Dreams" seems to be a collection of Karin's various thoughts, creative writing challenges and prompts. It is a testament to the author's talent for juggling words and phrases, shaping them into little stories that warm the heart and make one wonder.
Karin's creative writing style in the first story is supported by the complex narration of "The End of Time" and the inner monologue and thoughts of "The Tree House", each of which is a piece of the author's mind. Distinctive voices and excellently portrayed little moments of life brighten the reading experience and invite you to read on.
Grammar and punctuation are impeccable (minor hiccups, but nothing that can't be fixed or disrupts the reading flow); the end of the stories need a little tweaking, but otherwise it's a lovely reading experiences and highly recommended. Keep up the good work, dear Karin!

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Stories

"Stories" is a story about a young family whose child is on the spectrum. The parents, often at the end of their rope, write erotic stories for each other to reenact on their longed-for evenings together.

Usually, I am not a fan of the erotic genre as many stories lack a good plot, if not almost all.

However, in this case, Cameron Forrest completely knocked my socks off. "Stories" is honest, brave, and for me, truly a game-changer in this genre. I don't have a child on the spectrum, but I am a parent, and I could relate so well to many situations told in this story. Above all, Mark's honest assessment of his life, the unpalatable truth of how helpless partners, grandparents and the system often are, shows an honesty that many already know but now have found a confidant in a story which portrays these struggles in an unfiltered version. I admire the author for that.
Does the story still need polishing? A little, yes, but those hiccups can easily be fixed with another round of editing.
Most of the text has been beautifully realised, and I enjoyed every chapter and character; I felt their emotions and passions. And that I truly found wonderful.

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Remembering Annie

I wrote this review in the course of the Roadmap Awards.
'Remembering Annie' is an adventurous story revolving around a young protagonist whose memory has been wiped for a mysterious reason. Entangled in a love story and an ever-present danger, Annie tries to remember. The story starts strong and focuses on the protagonist's memory loss. Soon the reader learns of the threat, but also of the world Annie is about to enter. I think many like this kind of story, and the comments and reviews so far confirm this. Personally, I would have liked to see it go a slightly different path, but I think that can be achieved with editing and a few minor changes.
In general, I would like to see a strong female main character. Nevertheless, the author has built-in a clear conflict, and there are moments when the story is exciting and full of suspense. But, the text needs polishing, especially in terms of structure/plot, dialogue and pacing. Depending on what the author intends to do with the text, I'm sure all of this can be improved by a thorough and well-structured edit and beta readers.
As I said, the beginning was good and shows me that the author has a writing talent - now the rest of the story needs to 'catch up', and I'm sure M_R will manage to do so.

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A Sparrow falls

A Sparrow Falls is a unique, compelling story driven by a postcolonial subject matter. It reminds me in many ways of novels like Andrea Levy's "Small Island" or Arundhati Roy's "The God of Small Things". The author shows an incredible talent for language and word choice that transforms the text into a vivid picture with authentic characters. Starting with the protagonist Sumi, who returns to her home village as an adult woman, we experience her teenage years in retrospect. The author's writing style is very poetic, and the text is bathed in subtlety, yet a sense of unease builds with each progressing chapter. It is a kind of foreboding that a great disaster is about to happen, and ultimately the reason for Sumi's confused feelings when she returns to her home village. In addition to the postcolonial theme, the coming-of-age aspect is also very prominent. We meet a girl experiencing the emotional rollercoaster of falling in love, the many confusions of growing up, and all the hardships of life many young women and girls have to withstand. There is one thing I would like to emphasise: Hempra has incorporated a great literary symbol - the rough sea and the ever-raging wind; an image that underlines the girl's emotional state but also the approaching threat. Absolutely fantastic!
A lot has been done right in this story, and I was amazed at how the author navigates the reader through the narration.
However, the text needs polishing, especially in terms of paragraph structure, dialogue and general punctuation. I discovered several repeated words, as well as missing articles, pronouns and verbs. However, all these aspects can be easily fixed with thorough editing. I would also have paid a little more attention to the ending, giving the frame story a bit more substance. Otherwise, I guarantee a fantastic book with incredible storytelling - a rough diamond among Inkitt stories, so to speak.
Once the author has revised the text, I am more than happy to give this story five stars.

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Twisted Fate indeed!

Twisted Fate is a compelling but also devastating story that follows (more or less) the lives of six children. But before I start my review, I would like to repeat the author's trigger warning. Many scenes are very unpleasant because they portray, unfortunately, the truth of kids experiencing domestic violence, abuse and homophobia.
And this brings me to my first point of this review: every author should ask themselves when are excessive scenes of violence or explicit sex scenes justified in a piece of work? Sadly, in most Inkitt stories, I don't understand how these brutal scenes contribute to the plot, other than being just sensational to attract many readers. In Millie's case, however, I have to say that this is NOT the case. The themes in her work, although unpleasant, have a 'narrational purpose' as they are at the heart of the story's antagonist: Society - greed and false morals manoeuvring the young protagonists into desperate situations. In my opinion, Millie takes a clear stand against abusive behaviour in her writing by not glorifying any condemnable actions and by using a well-chosen literary tool to do so: she writes from the children's perspectives - she thus gives the victims a voice.
Moreover, I was impressed by how Millie handled six different narrative perspectives. This requires a lot of concentration while writing, well-thought-out plotting, and patience to grant the developing personalities space and time. I think Millie has mastered this wonderfully. She managed to bring together the fates of six children in such a subtle way so that the reader detects glimpses of the big picture with each advancing chapter. Her plot outline and writing style are captivating, encouraging the reader to learn more about the protagonists' fate. I didn't find many mistakes; maybe punctuation could be a little improved; now and then, I would've organised sentences a bit differently; sometimes there was a bit of 'telling' instead of 'showing' - all of them can be easily fixed.
In conclusion, I would like to say that this story surprised me a lot, and no chapter was too dull for me, adding to the overall plot wonderfully. It is a complex narration in terms of subject matter, with excellent and relatable character development. Therefore, I'd recommend the story - again, please be aware of the trigger warning. Keep up the good work, dear Millie!

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Inner Woman

Inner Woman is a collection of poems that revolve around the author's life experiences. With her beautifully crafted verses, the author shows a gift for conveying emotions. The stanzas are well organised and the rhyme patterns make this collection a pleasant rhythmic read that emphasises the feelings of each poem. Themes of sisterhood and friendship, symbols, small word creations and extended metaphors not only convinced me of the poet's wonderful skills, but give reason to write a full 5-star review.

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Haunted Chapel

If you like horror, then you will love this book. So go and read it!

I'll try to write a review without spoiling anything, but this much I can say - Brian Zylla has done an amazing job with Haunted Chapel. It's quite a long story, but believe me when I say that every page and every chapter is worth the read.

Brian shows an incredible talent for creating a world that we readers can empathise with. I have never been to the USA and yet, I can vividly imagine the small town where the story is set. The characters are tangible and vivid. Brian goes to great lengths with details and descriptions, resulting in a relatable protagonist Mason and superbly developed secondary characters. I won't talk about the antagonist of this story because I'll spoil everything- so, you better find out for yourself ;-)

Brian's writing style is captivating and unique. Every bit of information adds to the plot and in the end, ties all the puzzles together. I really enjoyed this and it speaks for the quality of his story. In one of my comments I wrote that Brian has something in common with Stephen King; both can describe an ordinary scene or the daily life of a character in such a way that the reader can't help but feel that there is something bigger going on. It is a talent for building up the horror subliminally so that readers always have the eerie feeling something wrong is going to happen. Well done, and another reason why the story is so great!

Also, the book demands an attentive reader - the plot is very complex, each storyline holds a secret, and this makes the turning point or climax of the book an impeccable composition, peppered with many unexpected twists and cliffhangers.

The story is interspersed with many metaphors and symbols that bring the text to life. I loved the many quotes from famous songs that emphasised a scene, as well as other references to famous films and books.

Brian's text revolves around two major conflicts - the haunted chapel itself and who is behind it, but also the inner conflicts the main character Mason has to deal with. Beside the religious theme and the moral aspect of believing in the good, I have already told the author that 'lost love' is a theme that is reflected on so many levels in the story. I would love to hear other opinions on this.

In conclusion, all I can say is that Haunted Chapel is for me one of the best written and best thought out stories here on Inkitt. Brian shows a lot of promising talent with this book, and I hope to read many more stories from him.

Brian, you have earned every single star of this review.

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Interesting 🌻🎉

Such an unique idea for a werewolf book. So far, only the opening chapters are online, but I can't wait to read more. It's archaic, brutal and yet somehow beautiful at the same time. I will write another in depth review as soon as the book has been finished...but for now, all I can say is that I'm hooked. 😊

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FOREVERMORE

Honestly, I don't know where to start.
Well, the army of five stars already tells you that I love the plot and the writing style. I couldn't find any grammatical errors, and if there are any, they must be so minor that I didn't even notice them. And now I will do my best to elaborate :-)
The author shows a wonderful sense for language. From what I understand, this story has been a long term project and a lot of heart and soul has gone into it; and you can see and feel that. The descriptions are beautiful and eerie at the same time, adorned with lots of symbolism and metaphors, but also peppered with foreign languages that bring the characters to life. Excellent - a book doesn't work without good characters, and the author has passed this challenge with flying colours ;-)
You love, but also hate the main characters - strong emotions that captivate you. Each character has their own distinct literary role in this story: protagonist, antagonist, villain, symbolic figures, confidants and love interest....especially Roland strikes me as very interesting as he fulfils several roles at once. Well done, but I can imagine that was quite a difficult task to accomplish!
I also loved the "what if" aspect. From a historical point of view, the character of the infamous Count Dracula is super exciting, but also holds a lot of secrets. The author has managed to write a story that is not only based on Bram Stoker's classic, but also tries to fill the many gaps around the historical person Vlad Tepes through her creativity. There are quite a few successful authors who have done the same and whose books have captivated me.
I interpret the book as a modern gothic novel: there are many elements of the classic 19th century gothic narrative mixed with themes characteristic of contemporary literature, such as the coming-of-age theme, but also feminism!
Thorough research, philosophical thoughts, believable characters, a compelling plot and even a well-written poem at the end of the book make the story a real reading experience.
It is indeed one of the best books I've read so far here on Inkitt, and I'm glad there is already a second part online *Yeeh*.
Other than that, I wish the author all the best with her future writing career - keep up the good work! Believe in yourself, it will pay off. xx

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Baby, Let Me In

Baby, Let Me In is a modern romance story, mixed with humour, serious themes, and some steamy chapters 😉 I love the author's vivid writing style, and her lovely descriptions of characters. always with a spark of humour to it. Phrases like, "Smelling funky" made my day and I am looking forward to reading more of these expressions. So far, only three chapters are online, and I am curious how the love story will develop; If there are any troubles ahead, and how the characters will solve them. I would also like to point out that I am normally not the biggest fan of explicit sex scenes - not because I cannot handle them - it's because most of them are badly written. In this case however, the author has surprised me, by using metaphors and symbolism to establish the sex scene. Good job. You also feel for the female protagonist and for the other couple as they represent real-people-issues. Keep up the good work! Best, M.

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Don't Smile At Me

Don't Smile At Me is about young love (and it's harships?) with a coming-of-age theme to it. You will encounter characters who struggle with insecurity and anxiety, as well as, lost friendship and newly found love. Since there are only 7 chapters online, I am curious how the story and protagonists will evolve. Besides that I would like to point out the author's wonderful talent for describing characters and their surroundings. Furthermore, I thought the very first sentence of the book was superb - it's catchy and the reader wants to know more. Well done so far, and I am looking forward to reading more. Best, M.

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Tales of the Throne

'Tales of the Throne: Queen' is an adventurous fantasy book with a very good storyline and relatable characters. I appreciated the story's good pace and the vivid descriptions of scenes. I was also fascinated by the high amount of imagination and creativity the author has put into this book, and in doing so, 'forging' a complex plot with a political theme - well done! The main reason why the story is so captivating is due to the two main characters Katherine and Lucian and their relationship, and I'm curious what will come of it :-) I am also glad that it is not one of those typical werewolf stories. Thank you so much for that!
One small point of criticism, however: it took two or three chapters to get into the story. I read the chapters again to find out what it might be, and I think the issue is 'telling vs showing'. This however, could be easily fixed by editing, All in all, your story was a quick read and I enjoyed it very much. Keep up your good and lovely work, and I am looking forward to reading more of it :-) Best, M

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The Chamber of Sins

In the course of the Roadmap Awards, I am now writing a review for this story for the second time. This is interesting because my focus has changed a bit due to the judging criteria, but it also allowed me to soak up all the details I missed the first time reading.
In general, I can say that I still love the story as much as I did when I came across several months ago. A.E. Roberts shows incredible talent and enormous creativity, which is reflected not only in the plot but also in the story's writing style. Wonderful word and sentence construction create vivid images. We get to know scary and funny characters who all show their personalities, and even a little love story finds its place in 'The Chamber of Sins'. The conflict is complex and leaves the reader guessing about the saboteur until the very end. Action scenes alternate very well with emotional scenes and turn the story into a smooth reading.

A lot has been done right in this story, and you notice that writing is not new territory for the author. Sometimes, however, the story picks up too much speed, so important key scenes and character traits come off a bit too short. A bit more 'showing' here and there could remedy this.
There were also a few sloppy typos and punctuation errors, but this can easily be fixed with thorough proofreading.
All in all, this story is well done and a real creative treat among the many same storylines here on Inkitt.

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Gunslingers 🤠

I loved it! Clint Eastwood and Roland Deschain salute Zeke 😊 great story with a lot of action...and of course a love story. Pace of the book is also excellent as well as the vivid characters and the fabulous detailed descriptions of guns, horses and landscapes. I was also impressed how the author managed to give each character their very own dialect! Great job!

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Fated Enemies

The authoress composed a clever story, including a complex political issue as starting point. Especially the character development is impressive and dialogues are well written and relatable. The plotoutline sounds very promising, and so far I have read an intriguing story about werewolves and vampire with a little touch of the Underworld-Universum. I also like the story's pace - well done! Considering that the authoress is not an English native speaker, I think we should give her credit for publishing in English - this is not an easy job to handle as I'm in the same situation 😉 Sometimes words do not exactly fit the context which is probably a translation issue, but could be easily changed, maybe with the help of a proofreader. Thanks for sharing your story! Best, M.

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Lycanthrophy

I just finished chapter 16 and I enjoyed the story so far.
The authoress has managed to compose a clever plot with a good and interesting underdog-theme. The story starts with three werewolves united by their fate and abandoned by society. This little pack of wolves introduces three important types of literary characters: a female protagonist, a confident in form of Terrence, and a foil in form of Amy. Excellent! For those who like romance, you will not be disappointed: there also seems to be a love interest, and I am curious how this relationship will develop in the upcoming chapters. The authoress surprises with her creative mind and vivid descriptions. In my opinion the pace of the story could sometimes slow down a bit, occasionally resulting in 'telling instead of showing'. But this can be easily fixed. All in all it is surely a book many readers will enjoy. Keep up the good work :-) Best, M.

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When No One is Looking

This review was written in the context of the Green Exchange Awards.
When No One is Looking is once again proof of Hollie's talent as a writer. I think the story is still in its infancy and therefore needs a bit of work to bring out the best. But the foundation has definitely been laid for (another) successful crime story. It never ceases to amaze me how much creativity Hollie brings to this platform. What I like about the story is the popular motif of two contrasting police officers who have to work together to solve a mysterious case, accompanied by events in the past that affect their work. It's a very classic plot line in the history of crime fiction, and that's a good thing because it's been successful so far. I am very excited to see what Hollie is working on and how the story will develop.

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The Way I See It

This review was written in the context of the Green Exchange Awards.
I think it's great that someone so young is interested in expressing their feelings through poetry and also dares to enter a competition. Overall, it's a nice, entertaining collection that reflects Bookworm's thoughts and ideas about the world. I don't mean to sound patronising, but I think that as life experience increases, so does maturity in writing, especially when you work as hard and diligently as this author does. There really are some shining moments in this collection, and I love that these poems give a positive, uplifting voice to an entire generation facing a world with a future that has become so uncertain.

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Last Chance

This review was written in the context of the MVP Awards and refers to the first seven chapters of the story:
According to literary post-structuralism, one should not be too distracted by the usual rules of writing techniques as long as the reading is engaging. I have the feeling that this is the case with "Last Chance". Although I recommend some polishing in some areas, I cannot overlook the fact that I "liked" the narrative – "liked" it in the sense that it was compelling with regard to plot, subject matter and themes. The characters are very relatable, the dialogue captivating and yes, also devastating. I read an earlier review and agree that this is a story that needs to be told and should be read by people to break the vicious cycle of homophobic and discriminatory behaviour that our society has not been able to free itself from even in the 21st century. There is a strong message in the story and I believe the impact can be enhanced by a little revision here and there. Keep up the good work, author!

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Interesting

This review was written in the context of the MVP Award, and the feedback relates to the opening chapters of the story.
Crowns of Shadow and Vine is a fantasy tale that will enchant any fan of the genre. Kylie captivates with her vivid characters, the interesting and unique plot embedded in a world full of fairy-like creatures, magic, even Greek gods. The triangular relationship between the female protagonist Genesis, the Dark Prince Orion and wolfman Jareth makes for an even more exciting read, far from clichés and generic narratives. Much has been done flawlessly, yet a few things still need polishing, like grammar and punctuation - nothing that can't be fixed with another round of thorough editing.
I am looking forward to reading more about Genesis' fate and how her relationship, especially with Orion, will continue. Keep on writing, Kylie!

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The Silver Lining

This review was written in the context of the MVP Award, and the feedback refers to the first chapters of the story. 'The Silver Lining' is a gripping thriller with great characters and plenty of suspense that keeps the reader guessing with each new chapter as to whether or not the protagonist's father is involved in the murders. I have a feeling Hollie has something up her sleeve, and this is proof enough that she is not only an experienced writer, but also very comfortable with this genre. I myself could not write a thriller as I would not be able to incorporate logical but intriguing twists and turns. Hollie, however, seems to be able to do this perfectly and certainly, 'The Silver Lining' has everything I would hope for in a good thriller. The writing needs a little tweaking here and there - the first two chapters in particular could be improved in terms of momentum and creating a hook. But don't let this minor criticism put you off, because this narrative will have you hooked. Nice job, Hollie - keep up the good work!

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True Colors

True Colors', as the title suggests, is a colourful, romantic Young Adult story that follows the destinies of two young people whose passion for art and personal tragedies pave the way for them to understand each other better and grow closer. Set in beautiful Florence, centre of the fine arts, residence of the powerful Medici and home to great artists and scientists such as da Vinci, Michelangelo and Galileo Galilei, the two young protagonists try to find their own (artistic) path while dealing with their traumatic past.
Nana has a sense for language, culture and art. Many scenes were vividly portrayed, always with a breeze of youthful lightness but also a dose of the real, complicated life. True Colors is definitely a rollercoaster of emotions, interwoven with the numerous ever-present cats that sometimes take the lead in telling the story from their perspective and give the narration a magical touch without magic being part of the story at all.
Nana has already done many things well in her narration. The first-person perspective suits the story, and the author seems comfortable with it. Grammar and punctuation are on point, almost perfectly executed, and therefore ensure a nice reading flow.
However, I agree with previous readers that the beginning feels a little slow. I would like to see the story more in media res. Yet, be aware that the more the tale progresses, the better the momentum and the dynamics between scenes and characters become.
I'm not quite sure what Nana's goal is - whether she 'just' likes to write for herself or there is a desire to publish - but since I know that she is always working on her stories and that there is also a further revision planned for this one, I would personally suggest going through passage by passage first and seeing which scenes are really relevant for plot and characters. I know the feeling of just writing away and the difficulty of parting with one's text (they are our children, aren't they), but I think certain parts should be 'slimmed down' to get more to the point. Another step would be to check sentences and paragraphs for wordiness to see if statements could be more straightforward.
In general, Nana has already done a lot of crucial basic work in writing a successful story, and she definitely has what it takes. Now it's down to the final touches to give every aspect of the story the polish it deserves.
Dear Nana, I hope my review is encouraging and motivating for going a step further in your writing. I made notes while reading the book and can add them in the comments section if you like. However, there is still a chance that I will become your judge, so I have waited with these. Otherwise, if you have any questions, just let me know.

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Soren

This review was written in the context of the Green Exchange Awards and refers to the beginning chapters.

'Soren' is definitely a promising tale. A young female protagonist, half-orphaned and hidden away and neglected by her family in the castle of the realm, experiences an epiphany about her own existence and, with the help of a mysterious boy (and love interest), embarks on an adventurous journey for which she is destined - at least that is what the beginning of the story hints at. Set in a dark fantasy parallel world and a darker version of the Cinderella theme, "Soren" contains much that readers and fans of the fantasy genre love and find captivating. So much has already been done right; now, it is a matter of fleshing out the idea to reach its full potential.

For this reason, some points need a bit of polishing. For example, the formatting of the dialogue needs a rework, as do certain aspects of writing in the first-person perspective. The tale already has the makings of a good story in the first few chapters, but I think a little restructuring could make the plot flow even more smoothly and focus more on the conflicts and the hook. I don't think it would require a major rewrite, but I suggest rearranging certain sentences and passages differently.

As I will also analyse Mary's story in detail for another contest, I will address the above criticisms in more detail and update this review at a later time so that the author gets the best possible feedback.

Dear Mary, keep on writing - you are definitely on the right track.

***
This part of the review is an addition written in the context of the MVP Awards and refers to the first half of the story: In general, I felt that the dynamics of the story got better and better as the book progressed. It was especially lovely to see that Luna - the protagonist - had a good, relatable character arc, and you became part of her internal process, which also led to her thoughts and desires being put into action. Please don't let my star deduction put you off - Mary creates an excellent fantasy story here, and she works hard to accomplish this mammoth task. As I mentioned earlier, there are a few things that need tweaking, but the road to writing a book is arduous and challenging, and Mary has already understood and implemented many important basics to get one step closer to that goal.
I look forward to reading more from the author.

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The Worshippers of Pan

This review was written in the context of the MVP Awards. As I have not yet finished reading the book, my feedback mainly relates to the first chapters.
The Worshippers of Pan is a story that will delight any fan of the fantasy genre. The plot is unique and is supported by the author's extraordinary talent to turn her creativity into a story. I felt the world, I felt the characters, I felt the hard work Fiver has put into this narrative so far. The world building is exceptional and intriguing, as is the protagonist and the creatures she will encounter. From the cover to the blurb, the author has put a lot of thought into her work. Don't be 'put off' by my star rating in the 'plot' and 'writing style' sections - Fiver has got the nitty gritty right - now the text needs a bit of restructuring to keep the complex world complex but not confusing. Apart from that, I love the story and am really intrigued. And once the revision is complete, I'll gladly give this fantastic tale an army of five stars.

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Six Underground

This review was written in the course of the MVP Awards. As I have not yet finished reading the story, my feedback relates mainly to the first chapters.
Six Underground is a fantasy story with a paranormal background. The author shows an incredible talent for 'telling' a story and giving depth to the characters. Word choice and a nice balance of 'show' and 'tell' create vivid imagery and engage the reader with all their senses. The first chapter needs a bit of polishing to establish a strong hook but don't be deceived as the story picks up momentum from chapter two onwards. I felt very entertained and recommend Six Underground to anyone who has a thing for demons and angels. :-)

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Fragments

This review was written as part of the MVP Awards. As I haven't read the entire collection, my feedback refers mainly to the first two poems.
The first poems of "Fragments" are playful, romantic and create beautiful images. They strike me as sensitive and melancholic - and evoke a certain longing for a time in the year when we welcome silence and reflect on things close to our hearts. There is not much to criticise, except that I would like to see more symbolism and a little more depth. Otherwise, I think lovers of classic, romantic nature poetry will greatly appreciate this little collection. However, a quick look at the title list shows that there will also be poems with different themes - as the title says: 'fragments' from our lives :-)

(P.S. It is difficult to give stars for poetry collections as Inkitt does not distinguish between fiction writing and poetry in its rating categories).

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The Before

This review was written in the course of the MVP Awards. Since I haven't finished reading the story yet, my feedback relates mainly to the first six chapters.
'The Befores' is a science fiction story of the apocalyptic-archaic kind - at least, that was my first impression, and fans of 'The Island of Dr Moreau' or 'The Time Machine' will enjoy this narration. 'The Befores' has everything it takes to hook a reader and thus, has great potential for a lot of suspense and conflict. Thrown into a time when so-called 'giants' and ape-like 'hunchbacks' walk the earth, Sam, the narrator and protagonist of the story, finds herself in a hostile environment whose dangers seem to come NOT from the inhabitants of the village on the ground or in the trees, but from outside the 'wall'.
Although there are some issues with pacing and with 'showing vs. telling', I find the narrative promising and the idea fantastic. I am looking forward to reading more and find out about themes and character development. There might also be a love story – who knows. I will find out :-)

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Perfect Illusion

This review was written in the context of the MVP Awards and refers to the first five chapters of the story.

'Perfect Illusion' is a romantic American college story with a dark twist. The narration fits Kali's style of her previous stories - it's provocative, the characters aren't cute-cuddling, and the writing style features many potshots and references to current pop culture. It gives the text charm and a certain momentum that makes it vibrant and colourful yet requires a very focused reader. There were great moments in the text, especially Destiny's, but also the protagonist's situation hooks the reader.

However, this contrasts with passages that seem a little long-winded. Mainly the beginning left me a bit hanging in the air. There is clearly a hook: Amber's past/present as a trouble-maker, her position and welcome at the new college, the mysterious bruise, all this make for a good conflict. However, these great moments are sometimes buried by the too detailed descriptions of the other characters - their looks as well as lengthy descriptions of the settings. I think there is a good plot at hand, but it needs a bit of polishing. Each chapter should work towards the hook, something that brings the individual conflicts and themes together and moves the story in its style and tone forward. A little work needs to be done on punctuation and formatting, nothing that can't be solved in another round of editing.
In general, I imagine that 'Perfect Illusion' will very much appeal to fans of the coming-of-age genre, and I am curious to see in which direction the plot will move. Not bad at all; it will be interesting to observe Kali's process while writing this story.

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The Artifact

The Artifact is Gwen's second book, and I have to say I really enjoyed it. Life is hectic, and I found it so relaxing to follow Wahya and Morgan's story between work, family, and partnership over the last few days.
In this story, Gwen stays true to the adventure and love genre and manages to balance the themes of friendship, happiness, love and responsibility, just as she did in the first part of the trilogy.
Without giving too much away, I understand the text as Gwen's attempt to express her understanding of our world. With questions of ethics and morality, the story sheds light on the injustices committed by the colonists and the "white man" against the indigenous people. Morgan and Wahya's relationship thus also becomes a symbol of bridge-building. That also is why I find the end of the story necessary and the only right decision from a narrative point of view. Anything else would be unreal, wouldn't feel right.
As always, Gwen demonstrates a knack for the technical aspects (just FYI, Inkitt is a beast and messed up a few paragraphs), and as an archaeologist herself, researching the Tsalagi must have been a lot of fun.
I really could sympathise with the main characters Wahya and Morgan, and I was pleased to meet Samantha and James again from the first book. Besides this, another character has been introduced who will play a significant role in the third part (or first part, depending on how you look at it): The Time Traveler - and I have to say, I'm really looking forward to meeting him and getting to know his story.
I deduct one star because I found some passages a bit long-winded, and I wasn't sure how they contributed to the plot. But I know Gwen, and I know she is always willing to work on her writing style and improve her storytelling.
Also, I enjoyed the last third of the story so much that I'm now sitting here, writing my review with a brutal book hangover. Lol. Please, Gwen, take that as a compliment :-)
I'm definitely looking forward to more stories from you, my friend!

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What a Ride!

This is now my third review of the "Forevermore 45 Chronicles", and I have thought long and hard about how to write a review that doesn't give too much away, but makes people who stumble across my text want to read Jacky's series, because believe when I say: you won't regret it!

I've already said a lot about the main characters in my first two reviews, and yet it never ceases to amaze me how much Jacky surprises the reader with her story about the famous Count Dracula and young Julia. On the one hand, I find the subject matter generally very challenging - so much has been written about Dracula, several film adaptations have been produced - and yet Jacky has managed to find a niche, to create a new twist, a new perspective. What an achievement, and one that the author has mastered beautifully, right down to the very last written word.

But what makes ALWAYS Jacky's masterpiece (apart from the, continuing, incredible research of Romanian folklore and historical incidents) is the proof of Jacky's path as a writer. ALWAYS is a testament to hard, never-ending work, to a constant enhancement of writing techniques, culminating in a story that shows a clever yet complex conflict, full of politics, dark intrigue, human abysses and a newly introduced antagonist that will make your hair stand on end. And it's this antagonist (I won't give away any details) that gives the story a new, sinister momentum, and Jacky proves with her fabulous writing skills and familiar flashbacks why a good antagonist is just as important as a good protagonist. And oh boy, Dracula's nemesis packs a punch. Creepy, fascinating, beautiful, historically accurate and above all, a worthy antagonist for the father of all vampires. For me, definitely one of the best characters I've met here on Inkitt so far.
But read for yourself - I promise you: it's absolutely worth it! And for this reason, a more than well-deserved army of five stars.
KUDOS, dear Jacky!

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Roadmap Awards

The Roadmap Awards were truly an experience. And although I didn't submit any text myself, I got to read and judge some great stories. Rebecca, the founder of the awards, not only managed to create a format that encouraged writers to give their best, in the hope of winning one of the many extraordinary prizes, but she also proved one thing above all else: professionalism, professionalism, and I say it again, professionalism!
As a founder, she had to manage so many things at the same time - coming up with and executing a new concept, organising the submissions, judges and writers, posting updates, moving the contest forward, and then, also staying calm and composed when tempers flared. And this, folks, is what Rebecca has done in her spare time, next to job and family. For this, she deserves all the respect, and I said it at a contest before and I will say it again: without such motivated people like Rebecca, Inkitt would be a very boring place, without nice challenges, but lots of algorithms.
Dear Rebecca, dear Roadmap Awards - this is just for you: KUDOS! 💐

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The Bad Boy and the Angel

This review was written as part of the Roadmap Awards.
As the title suggests, "The Bad Boy and the Angel" deals with an all too familiar phenomenon
that haunts us here on Inkitt and other platforms, literature and films: a romantic story of the
innocent girl and the rebel, bad boy. This story, however, tries to turn things around a bit. It's a
concept that I liked very much, and especially the ending surprises the reader and brings the
moral of the story to light. We encounter friendships, high school life, family problems, even
angels, demons and witches. All things that could promise a great story.
But although the concept of the story is very good and original, the narrative needs a thorough and detailed revision since style, technique, and grammar need a lot of work. I have the impression that the text is more of an early draft, so I would suggest the following:
First, I would recommend revising the narrative structure - check which information is really
needed in the story, which contributes to the plot and character development and which does not.
Then, I would focus on the aspect of 'showing vs telling' - telling is done to move the story
forward, showing when it comes to emotions and actions that are crucial to story and characters, but also to establish a strong connection between readers and characters; the reader wants to be involved with all their senses.
And in the end, proofread the text thoroughly for grammar and punctuation issues.
Details and examples elaborating my criticism in more detail were forwarded to the writer in the form of a judging rubric and a Docx document.
Although the review may seem discouraging at first, I am convinced that with a lot of work, the story has great potential, and I hope that my comments in the document and the judging rubric will be helpful.

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Broken Halos

This review was written as part of the Roadmap Awards.
Broken Halos is a devastating story revolving around two strangers with terrible pasts for whom the farm of the town's old football coach is a safe haven.
I want to stress that the trigger warnings at the beginning of the story and before each chapter are
to be taken seriously. The author does a damn good job of narrating, but the difficult scenes are
heartbreaking to read. The story of a former soldier and a young woman who is a survivor of
human trafficking is told in the present as they get to know each other on the farm. Then
flashbacks to the characters' pasts help the reader understand why Jackson and Thia act as they
do. It is also a cleverly chosen stylistic device to raise general questions of morality and show the
state of greed and power in this world. Jackson and Thia represent those who share the same fate
and did not make it; they also represent the survivors who cannot return to a normal, peaceful
life. The story is brutal and yet so necessary. A lot was done right, but a few technical aspects
need improvement. Nevertheless, it was a story you can't put down, with a lot of philosophical
food for thought.

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Unforgettable Love

Unforgettable Love is a romance story set in a mafia world where the female protagonist unexpectedly finds the man of her dreams under dangerous circumstances. This review was written as part of the Roadmap Awards, and detailed feedback will be shared with the author. First of all, I would like to point out that Akitsu uses a theme that could turn the story into a gripping thriller, full of suspense, the darker side of human life and yes, also a love story. However, the plot and the structure of the story need a lot of work and adjustments to make the text more coherent and focused. I had my problems with some aspects of the narrative, and I sincerely hope that the author will reflect on my criticism. There was a lot of telling, but I will say that there were also great moments of showing - the author just needs to find a way to stick to showing more. Other issues were grammar and punctuation, but this can be easily fixed with thorough editing.
Romance novels are challenging to write, especially with various POVs, and I guess many writers find it hard to come up with an original twist. However, I am sure that with a lot of work, significant improvement can be achieved.
Dear Akitsu, don't be discouraged by my feedback - one lesson I had to learn (and am still learning) is that criticism is one of the greatest teachers and motivational boosts in becoming a better writer. Don't be afraid to change a text - I know there is a great story to tell somewhere in your writing.

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The Feud

The Feud is a classic coming-of-age story. It includes central themes such as growing up, self-discovery, family and school life, and most importantly, first love - wrapped up in a great drama created by two rival families, or rather fathers. Does this sound familiar? It should. Because the greatest love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet, finds not only a place in The Feud via excerpts of individual scenes at the beginning of each chapter but runs throughout the narrative on several levels. However, this story is NOT a rip-off of the classic. Not at all. It merely borrows its basic theme to create something new, coupled with humour but also serious topics. It was an enjoyable read with a likeable heroine/protagonist who, to my delight, is not portrayed as the 'perfect girl'.

PS. In Shakespeare too, we are left in the dark as to why the Capulets and Montagues fight with each other in the first place.
PPS. The young man on the cover reminds me of the Austrian chancellors - I found that quite amusing.

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The Shadow Men

The Shadow Men is an eerie story about loneliness, finding trust and love. The horror of the faceless men suddenly appearing in dream-like sequences sets the dark mood of the narrative, followed by glimmers of hope and the message that everyone needs an anchor in life. Clever dialogue writing and a first-person narrator immerse the reader deeply in the dark world of the protagonist, whose struggle against a seemingly omnipresent force appears hopeless - at first... but you'll have to read the rest for yourself ;-)

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Worms

Immerse yourself in the muddy, wet world of 'Worms' and meet unique characters. A compelling plot, good storytelling and fantastic worldbuilding turn this into an outstanding narration. The author has an exceptional talent for building suspense, coupled with extraordinary imagery that makes the setting seem vivid and gritty. A fine balance of good pacing and well-placed details makes this story a real page-turner. A little work is needed in terms of grammar and dialogue punctuation, but this can be easily fixed with thorough editing. Happy reading!

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The Harrowing

The Harrowing is a story that promises goosebumps. It begins with a car accident - at least that's what the author would have you believe - and focuses on the surviving passengers who must embark on a hellish journey to save themselves. Because hope dies last... Meet characters who are compelling despite the brevity of the story, and an antagonist who will teach you the meaning of fear. The excellent writing style, good dialogue, imagery and figures of speech transform the story into a true reading experience, and therefore, deserves 5-star reading recommendation.

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The Rift

The Rift is an impressive coming-of-age story that revolves around the intimate friendship of a group of college students. The narrative is both compelling and emotional. The reader knows from the start that something has happened which led to a falling out within the group. The particular writing style is characterised by the chapters alternating between past and present, manoeuvring the reader towards this fateful moment. The focus is on the protagonist, Bethie, who is supported by excellently written secondary characters, making the story a narrative delight. Good pacing and finely crafted dialogues not only make the characters relatable, but also transport the reader into a world of wild college parties, love complications and the traditional rafting trip (I hope I used the correct term - or is it kayaking?) to The Rift, which is not only the story's eponym, but an metaphor for the work's symbolic atagonist: their friendship on the verge of breaking apart.

I haven't finished reading the story yet, but so far I'm impressed by the excellent writing style. I'll be happy to write an additional review as soon as I've finished reading it.
Here and there I would have structured the sentences a little differently, but that is purely a question of style. Therefore, my army of five stars is absolutely deserved, as well as my recommendation to everyone to read this work.

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Eternity ⭐️

I think this is my first review for a sequel...so here we go....

As some have mentioned before me, ETERNITY is the second book of a fantasy/horror series written by the wonderful Jacky Pringle Velasquez, who already had me enthralled with her first book FOREVERMORE.

FOREVERMORE already thrilled me in many ways, but I have to say Jacky has outdone herself with the second book. The story is sophisticated, superbly crafted and thought out, and plunges the reader deep into a world we only glimpsed in the first book.

The story picks up where it left off in the first book.The reader not only follows a love triangle, but witnesses new conflicts with political and social implications in the human and vampire worlds.

What sets this story apart, however, is Jacky's relentless thirst for knowledge and exploration of the famous mystery surrounding the character of Count Dracula. Historical records are used to not only breathe life into the character, but the author also gives us a way to understand the atrocities surrounding Vlad. The message is clear: no one is born evil or cruel, things can go wrong, but everyone has what it takes to change that. The Count's past is again told in flashbacks, in which Jacky not only shows incredible courage to reveal even the gruesome details, but again demonstrates her incredible talent with language - she gives Vlad a voice.

I thought the character development of the female protagonist was great. From a scared sixteen year old girl, she develops into a young adult who can morally stand up to a centuries old vampire. Jacky has created a character that is strong on so many levels. Always self-reflective, always standing up for herself - that's what I look for in good books. Love, redemption, friendship and trust are just a few of the themes the series explores. Old characters continue to develop, but new characters also bring the story to life and are a breath of fresh air.

A third book in the series is coming soon, and I can't wait to see how the story continues, what obstacles our heroes and heroines have to overcome, but most of all, I'm excited for the grand finale, which I'm sure will be GRAND.

Go Jacky! You are doing a fantastic job.

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Love and Time Travel

Dear Gwen, thank you for your story and for sharing it with us. And here is your well-deserved review:
The book is a romantic adventure story about a woman who travels to the past where she has to find not only herself but also love.
The plot captivates the reader and convinces with its uniqueness. The author not only uses rich vocabulary but also shows great talent in using terms and words to create vivid characters and scenes. From a narrative point of view, the author has mastered difficult passages such as the time travel itself or love scenes wonderfully, and I really felt for the characters. The author uses an omniscient narrator, but the focus of attention is on the main female character - I enjoyed this very much, thank you. Furthermore, I loved the little details that makes the story so relatable, like how Samantha's mother worries about her; or the professor who takes on a kind of father role.
But what I appreciate most about this story is the choice of conflict - remember, a book only works if there are conflicts and tasks/quests the main character has to overcome. In this case, it's an internal struggle Samantha, but also James, have to deal with. The struggle turns out to be both conflict and the story's 'antagonist' at the same time. I find that very interesting, clever, bravo. What's more, it adds quality to the book. I'm usually a bit sceptical when it comes to romances because a lot of conflict is about a toxic on-off relationship. However, Gwen Thame's protagonist has moved past that stage. It's a love story about trusting someone else again, trusting yourself and last but certainly not least, it's a story about letting go. Who wouldn't relate to that. We've all been there.
I would also like to talk a little bit about the book's aspect of time travel. This theme fulfils two functions. Firstly, in terms of a narrative point of view, which I will talk about a little bit later, and secondly, in terms of a literary device. For me, the story's time travel is a symbol par excellence. Samantha has to travel into the past to face her past, and then accept the quest of returning to the present to finally live in the here and now, and to welcome her new self and life. The historical journey stands for her own story - for HERstory ;-) Wonderful.
From a narrative point of view, I enjoyed the fact that the author didn't try to overpower the reader with the time travel. She focuses on individual, clear aspects and scenes, such as the healer or the festival, and thus underlines the individual developments throughout the book. The plot is embedded in the Neolithic period, but the focus is clearly on the inner process of the characters. Great job.
From a grammatical point of view, I have nothing to complain about. Everything seems very smooth and coherent, and if there are errors - my god, who doesn't have them in their text – I didn't notice them and they don't disturb the reading process.
All in all, I can say that I enjoyed the story very much, and the characters have grown on me. For this reason, a well-deserved 'army' of five stars, and to all who read this, a reading recommendation. There is a second book, but with other characters, I believe. I think it's a good idea, because I find Samantha's and James' story to be coherent and complete as it is.

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1969

First of all, thank you for your story and for sharing it with us. 1969 is still at the beginning, but I can say this much: the book contains everything a young audience would want. It is a mixture of coming-of-age and young adult genre leading into fantasy. The story focuses on a female protagonist fulfilling her dream by living the 'American experience' at college. The protagonist is supported by a group of young adults who, like her, share the same fate and, I believe, later also the same adventures and mysteries. We may already have a love-interest, a best friend, and a rebel who has distanced himself from his former best friend. The story begins by showing the relationships within the college, and I think many readers can identify with the characters. What I like is the transition of a supposed college story to a fantasy/mystery adventure. My first guess would be that the adventure of this young group will deepen their friendship, including of course obstacles and other challenges they will encounter on their quest. I'm curious to see how it will develop.
If I may give a small advice: I would organise the dialogues differently. There seems to be a 'rule' in creative writing that says every character who speaks gets a new paragraph. This has the advantage that readers find their way around the text better, but, and this is my main argument, you as an author have more possibilities to bring variety into dialogue-writing, instead of just resorting to 'he says, she says'. In general, I find scenes driven by dialogue very difficult, and many people, myself included, struggle with this. I think the key to success is to find a balance between dialogue and storytelling in the terms of letting the narrator speak.
The scene when the four of them were talking about what was happening to them is dialogue-driven, and that suits this chapter wonderfully. Now it's a matter of letting the reader rest a little by concentrating more on the telling or as they say 'showing'. This is not really a point of criticism now, but more a question that every author should think of while writing.
Anyway, the last chapter was very action-packed and gave the story a nice momentum that leaves the reader curious.
As I said, the story is still at the beginning and this is my first impression. So, there will be a new review when the book is finished :-). Keep up the good work, it pays off. :-) Btw, I love the cover, and title of your book - very intriguing.

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Go, read it!

Go and read it! Excellent writing style, good plot structure, perfect pace. Loved the characters and the twisted love story 😉

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What a surprise 🤯

I have to admit I wasn't expecting such a good story at the beginning. First I thought, some typical werewolf-book, but believe me folks, it's far from that! There are many twists, an excellent, vivid and hilarious writing style, steamy scenes for those who like the erotic genre, and relatable characters. I read the book in no-time due to it's thrilling plot. I'm really surprised there are not more reviews, and I hope this will change. Just saw that there is a second book - lucky me 🥳

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Creature Seers

I would like to congratulate the author on this wonderful and exciting story. In the beginning, it might have taken me a few paragraphs to really get into it, but then it was such a great reading experience. You will encounter vivid characters, great dialogue writing, and a fantastic job in terms of describing the scenery. You can see how much effort the author put into this story. I love her take on the mythical creatures and the many referrences to other great fantastic stories such as Harry Potter and Narnia. I was also impressed how excellent the author dealt with pace. I know many readers do not like long chapters, but I thought it was brilliant how the author established a scene, especially those packed with actions. I loved the description of this 'slenderwoman' - creepy and therefore, well written.
I'm curious how the story will evolve and if there is also a sort of coming-of-age theme to it (which would be great).
I hope to see more of it and can only recommend reading it.
Best, M.

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Oh wow

Ok, to be honest, I don't know where to start - I am fascinated and shocked at the same time 😂. Usually, I'm always a bit sceptical concering Erotic Novels as most of them are not well written; this one however, is indeed a completely new experience. The hot scenes are well conducted and the author made sure to show many different kinds of sexual fantasies - very interesting.
What else can I say:
- the book's organisation reminds me a bit of an anthology: each chapter is a new scene, a collection of the characters' experience and history...what a good and clever Idea
- the author takes a completely new turn on Vampires and their existence...it reminds me a little bit of Jim Jarmusch
-the author does not rely on stereotypes and the urge to develop top-model looking characters - how refreshing, thank you very much!
- Sex scenes are very explicit, and sometimes also rough, but cleverly put into context which is very important
- characters are vivid and the storytelling about their personal history is excellent
-sometimes I would have used different vocabs, especially in the hot scenes...but that's just a matter of personal taste
Otherwise, and if you are into Erotic Novels, go read this book - you will be 'satisfied' 😉

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Very engaging 🌻

I hope there is soon a new chapter!? 😱😉 Love the writing style and also the two main characters. I guess so many of us can relate to Kelly's school situation - all this pressure by successful parents and teachers. I bet Kelly has a creative mind and these just work in different but beautiful ways 😍 as for the relationship: from a plot-perspective, I am very curious how you going to solve this 😉 btw: I love the slow pace!

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On Orchid Hill

On Orchid Hill is a short story about two sisters and their love for each other. The author convinces with a great writing style that makes the narrative, with its poetic influence and beautiful metaphors as well as symbolism, a pleasure to read. The episodic chapters highlight important moments in the sisters' lives, each introduced by a certain type of flower, symbolising a particular moment/stage in the girl's lives. And although the narrative is very short, I was amazed at how well the sisters' characters were highlighted. Well done!

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