Alexandra

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Good Start

I do like a good sc-fi horror. A nice idea; if a little cliched - The Island of Dr Moreau springs to mind. The opening of a horror should immediately grip the reader with a horrific event, or have a leading atmosphere that gives the reader a foreshadowing of what is to come. The first chapter has a lot of sentences/short paragraphs that say, basically, the same thing, you need to reduce these down; like a rich stock or gravy, to give greater impact. Think how you might distill this opening chapter to become an Introduction, with sights, sounds and smells from someone's viewpoint. Throughout, there is a lot of telling. You need to show your reader by action, what is going on. Like Rhonda in a childhood event; give us more dialogue, more character thoughts and ideas of who they are - I'm not sure I had much of a feeling for what any one person was really like. Never write 'Anyway' at the begining of a sentence; unless it is a character speaking, this is how people speak, it reads as if you couldn't think of another way to begin your sentences.
Careful with past, present and future tenses.
A good start. Thank you for sharing.

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A decent start

I'm not much of a fan of romance stories, but I do like action. There are some nice ideas that with development will stand out. I like that there is a strong female lead - Kiara, but some of her behaviour is confusing and out of synch for a successful business woman in North America. A few particulars I noted are -
I do everything in my hands...? Did you mean to say 'I do everything I can for my daughter.'?
Give us examples rather than a telling us about her thoughts, feelings etc
'An evil grin crept appeared on my face' – How does she know? Is she looking in a mirror? You can say- 'I imagined an evil grin on my face' – or – 'my reflection in the elevator mirror showed the evil grin creeping across my face'.
In North America I would be very surprised if a successful business man a) was surprised a woman ran a company and b)would put his arm around a woman in a business environment. This behaviour in too overt and a little cliched, try making the characters attack where it hurts - in business.
Slap, don't punch – if she really must. NOT business attitude.
The protagonist keeps telling us she is cold, and evil, show, don't tell.
I was unconvinced that a mother would need approval from her 4 year old – they have absolutely zero fashion sense!
Have Kiara call him Mister Cruise – it's more professional and still remains chilly.
A slap in the face isn't enough for a businessman of Cruises magnitude to feel the for revenge, you need for Kiara to have ruined a business deal, or caused him to lose out some how.
I stared at the TV for a solid 30 minutes – an news article wouldn't be on that long. Then Amelia enters and turns on the TV – wasn't it already on?!
I think there are lots of good ideas here, you just need to take your time more and expand the events, don't have each character suddenly rushing to the next thing. Also, what's going on with the guns and gangs?! This was a rather odd turn, I found the action a bit forced - I hadn't seen any real reason for these two characters to hate each other so much. If the protagonist is physically capable and has underworld associates, this needs to be hinted at earlier. You might want to include memories to fill in Kiara's back story, don't tell us she's a kick-ass business woman - show us.
A decent start.

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Unexpected Delight

I have to admit, I was not overly excited about reading another romance - however -
God's Country, though 'old'fashioned' by today's styles of literature, is none-the-less a well-written exploration of the life and times of, predominantly female, individuals in 19th century America. Protecting one's claim, one's rights, one's family. Hard living makes for tenacious characters who emerge in beautifully written sections of interaction and dialogue.
I did on occasion struggle to realise whose POV we were currently in, and there is a little 'head-hopping' that occurs from time to time - even that of horses, nothing too obvious.
But, the language is very believable, the descriptions make the environment wonderfully vivid, and though I kept thinking that somewhere there was a feeling of cliche, this never fully took root as the author wound her tale from one decade to another and back. There is a lot of 'tell' not 'show', but this works really well due to the voice that the writer uses, made me think a little of F.Scott Fitzgerald.
This was an unexpected delight to read.

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Lovely

Firstly, so you know, I don't usually read this genre.
I do think this story is very age specific, YA; whereas some YA can tip over into adult. It is quite a lovely story describing the protagonists love affair with books as well as a blossoming love for a young man. Some of the dialogue is a little stilted in parts, but can easily be dealt with - for example, Chapter 21, the three way conversation between Johnnie, Nathan and Nichol is a wee bit confusing and loses it's realism - if you add more dynamics; explosions of emotion (they are teenagers after all), descriptions of Nichols internal dialogue in more depth, would open it out more. I like the character of Nichol, her self-deprecating, slightly sarky nature - more of that would add colour to this character. This is a girl with a pretty sharp wit, has learned to be self-contained, loves literature, is a loner - possibly she could use quotes from books she has read as a defence mechanism? I didn't know teens discussed sex before they had it, these days, but it's nice to read that they don't all just get drunk and go for it (I'm from England too!!) Not sure where the story arc is going, but maybe needs a little more 'action' earlier (no, not sex!) I would also like to see more contrast between her love of books and her growing love of people.
Some editing and polishing will bring this to a satisfying finish.

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Expand it!

I really like the overall idea - the visitor (cousin Annabelle) who turns out to be in another country. Who may, or may not(!) have been a visitation from the Lord.
We have a pretty clear idea of Rachel as a young single woman aiming to be a good Christian, however, we don't get much of a feel for her - you need to give your reader a reason to like/follow/root for her.
You tell us, in chapter 1, she is basking in the joy of sleeping in - yet - in second following sentence, she gets up - allow her time to lie in bed, why does she usually have to get up early? Why is she not in work? Why does she feel the need to limit her 'snuggle' time on her day off?
She makes coffee and washes up - then savours her coffee - try not to jump ahead too much and then return to an action. Let Rachel take her time maybe.
'by george' - what a strangely archaic term. I'm British and have never heard anyone say this, except in old fiction - or with irony. It sets the story back in early 20th century - is it?
I'd like to see this as a longer story, not a novel, but novelette length perhaps - give us a little intrigue - have Annabelle extend her visit - a few hours maybe - give Rachel a hurdle to get over and show us how she does it.
The changing of the diamond ring into a small crucifix is perhaps a little obvious - maybe make it a very simple ring - as in the kind a nun might get when she becomes a Bride of Christ?
I would like more emotional description as we are allowed an insight into Rachel's thoughts - this could be the opportunity to get reader to ally with her.
Overall, quite a lovely idea!

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Poetry in motion

Two people meet on a train. A poet and a philosopher.
No, it isn't a poem, but does have a certain poetic quality - and that isn't just because that is the trade of one of the passengers on the train journey herein.
The author has a light touch and comic overtones, that belie the poignancy within.
A lovely short story, definitely worth attention.

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Que sera, sera

A lovely little vignette of two 'old' friends who have little in common other than what they don't have in common - including their wives. They drink beer. They chat very little. They take a trip to France.
Really well written and poignant without being saccharine.
I liked this very much, it took very little time to read and can imagine it as part of a collection of short stories. Apart from one or two grammatical errors, the story flows seamlessly, is concise, and brought a smile to my face.

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Make me care

What an unusual idea - love it. I also love the idea of the mirror as narrator. Some interesting characters here too. However, I found myself getting lost in trying to work out who is narrating now; especially in Chapter 3 - who exactly is telling this part of the story?
When Roxalana first meets Karl, how does she know his name is spelt with a K? Why does she not think it is who she is meant to meet? None of this is explained. Your POV's aren't always clear and this may confuse the reader. Too many 'great's - when the mirror first speaks. Feels childish.
When the mirror is narrator, you say 'I', then next sentence 'It'. POV!
A very unique idea that could go either way with readers. You need to give the reader a reason to care about the characters; or one or two of them - I didn't feel any connection to them, so whatever happens doesn't matter. Ultimately, you want your reader to care; even if it's an 'evil' character.
Time and place - I wasn't always sure where or when I was - I know you can play with a reader sometimes, but if you have an unreliable narrator, this is going to annoy your readers, you have to play fair.
I think with some re-writing and editing, this can become a really unique, curious and ultimately satisfying story. Good luck and thanks for sharing.

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Good Beginnings

So, here we have not a novel; or even a short story - it is a collection of poems and flash fiction pieces on the theme of love - including a parents love (or lack of). The only section that I really didn't like was Chptr 3, Part ii - Ode to Viceroy, Suede Car Seats, and Mild Confessions. For me, these read too much like a teenagers diary of angst and brought nothing new to the collection nor added anything substantial. There is a lovely piece about chocolate which I wished had been longer - if you tease the reader with those chocolatey descriptions more and eek out the moment, then the last line will have more impact. If you are considering publishing this as a collection, I think you might want to consider forming a loose 'timeline of events', so that the reader is taken on a journey from point A to point B, as it stands it is a lot of similar feelings and expressions about lost love that are unconnected and are so free-form as to be random. There is the beginnings of some lovely poetic writing and in time could become really good. Poetry is, I believe, the Tai Chi of writing. Thank you for sharing.

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Rough it up a little

I don't usually read this genre, and I think I might be in the wrong age bracket!
However, it is clear that the author is skilled in her craft. I admit I skim read some of the chapters as all the teen stuff didn't grab me that much. The characters are nicely portrayed; though I would have liked more internal dialogue from Hannah - she seemed very contained even when the serious stuff was going down.
Dialogue is well-written, but, where is all the swearing that teens do? (If published in UK, teens will expect some foul language; it's how they speak here)
I looked up the word 'hleo' - 'shelter'; I like when outdated words are used for effect or names or some-such, whilst retaining their true meaning.
The writing is very clear and succinct, but, would have liked a change of pace; a little samey.
What I really liked about this story was -it includes a character that is long-lived/immortal? (Ethan) and he's a good guy.
An interesting premise, if a little too 'Twilighty' for me, however, I am absolutely sure that the teen market will love it. Toughened up and with added grimness, will be fantastic.

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Psychological Realism?!

Interesting.
I enjoyed the opening chapters; during which we get the first person account via the titular character, Mr Gabriel. A difficult thing to pull off - creating a pretty awful character yet keeping reader interested, but well done.
Some issues arose in the mid-section:
*The term Bi-polar was not used originally. This scene shows Jack telling Gabriel he is Bi-polar, set in 19th century (horse and carriage) it seems. Discovered in 1851, was called Manic Depressive Psychosis; or Circular Insanity. The term Bi-polar was not coined until 1950s.
*"walls are chipping green and white paint" - I think the word is chipped. The walls themselves cannot do any chipping.
*Overuse of the word 'flip'.
*"standing in line" - in this scene you have Addison and Jack; in the guise of the tall, black man, facing the wall, just the two of them. 'In line suggest a number of people, should it be "Side-by-side"?
*Chpts 19/20 - POVs jump about a bit and becomes confusing.
* You don't need to put exclamation marks around a persons name - 'Evan'/'Rosemary'; unless that is, they are not their names.

I found the late middling chapters somewhat confused. Vampire story great, but all the creation/alien/hallucinations/telepathy/serum-venom/dead-not-dead gives impression that too much is being squeezed into one story. Takes away any psychological realism, for me.

Enjoyed how Gabriel came out the other side of the Reuben/asylum situation not knowing who or what he was. This could have been drawn out until the end (especially as you have intimated this is part 1 of 2 or more) The concept of a vampire not knowing he is a vampire and having to rediscover himself, is a really great idea, don't rush it.

Needs a little editing to address a couple of grammar issues before publishing.

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A good start

Hi NewfoundDreams, Am I correct in assuming that English is not your first language? If so, congratulations on writing so much!
I am a little confused - the reader is not made aware of where these events are taking place; I assumed it was somewhere like India. I think the location needs to be made clear as 16 year old boys in many white western societies would not be so caring!
Lyron is a lovely boy; as evidenced by his behaviour towards his mother and the women who come to eat at the pancake bar(?) I am getting the impression that he comes from a not very wealthy family, so how does he have a car?
There are some basic corrections in grammar and vocabulary to be made - 'then added two things of butter' - the word you're looking for is knob of butter.
-'a pair of thongs' - I think should be a pair of tongs.
Instead of having Lyron tell us what he is like - he sounds too good to be true - show the reader what he like through dialogue with other characters - so when he is leaving school, show us a conversation between him and the teacher when he asks for homework.
The title, His Father's Journal, is intriguing, but you have not mentioned a journal yet, it needs to be done sooner. Give your reader reason to want more, why should we be interested in Lyron? What is so important or interesting about his father's journal?
A tip is to read your written work out loud - you can then hear where things don't run smoothly and make adjustments. A good start though.

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