Penname: Mariana [Contact]
Real name: Christine
Member Since: 01/02/07
Membership status: Member

Hello, my name is Christine and I'm addicted to writing.  My dad always told me to find a job that makes me say, "I can't believe they pay me to do this," and I can't think of anything that fits that description better than writing professionally.  So here I go on the road to fame and fortune!

Beta-reader: Yes

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Reviews by Mariana
Liquid Library by Naga [General]
starstarstarstarstar [Reviews - 12]
Ana, a young woman so recently in a fight with her roommate, wanders into a nondescript building in efforts to ease her flustered mind. What she finds is something at once wonderous and frightening: a library...of sorts.

Categories: Horror Fiction; Characters: None; Chapters: 1 Table of Contents Series: None
Word count: 2417; Read Count: 727; Completed: Yes

Updated: 01/02/07; Published: 01/02/07
Reviewer: Mariana (Signed)
Oh, that last paragraph just gives me the creeps!!  Very nicely done, creating an eerie and foreboding setting.  I think horror is most effective when the reader can picture herself falling into the same predicament, and who wouldn't love to go to a library where you can drink books?  Overall, the descriptions and action were great.  There was just one line that felt off to me:  Her eyelids flew up and a cool rage found itself struggling to explode out her chest.  I thought "cool" sounded too laid-back and easygoing for a rage that struggles to explode out of one's chest.  But I love all the little touches, like her not walking on cracks, feeling like she was answering incorrectly, and the way that even though she was more afraid than curious, the curiosity still factored in as she ran.  Things like that make it feel real.  Nice job!

Chapter 1: Liquid Library
Past Featured Story

Dad left Mom. Mom was fine. Mom met Paul. Mom married Paul. I was fine. I met Kimberley.

...Stepsisters aren't all that bad, you know.

Categories: General Fiction; Characters: None; Chapters: 1 Table of Contents Series: None
Word count: 3919; Read Count: 1051; Completed: Yes

Updated: 02/02/07; Published: 02/02/07
Reviewer: Mariana (Signed)

I'm dead tired and honestly only planned on skimming your first paragraph before bed, so it's a testament to your writing that I ended up plowing through the whole thing!  You have a great writing style; it flows effortlessly, and the strong characterizations and hints of humor kept me captivated.  I think the awkwardness of having a stranger turn into a family member was well done; you showed a nice balance between Kimberley's disregard for the established rules, but also her sincere regret about breaking the snow globe.  I have two small questions, though.  First, Heather describes herself as a "sensible prude" in the beginning of the story, but prude-liness never really comes up after that.  Would "bookworm" be more appropriate, or is there a reason you chose prude?  Also, about this line:  I had come to the conclusion that having a teacher-parent did not at all guarantee smarts or logicality about the time my insufferable brother Trevor came along.  Very funny line, but if Trevor came along when she was only one, she wouldn't be able to make conclusions like that.  :)  This works nicely as a one-shot, but I'd love to see more chapters, too.  Can't wait to read more of your work!

Author's Response:

"Very funny line, but if Trevor came along when she was only one, she wouldn't be able to make conclusions like that." 

Ugh, I know. I had a hard time with that, but what I wanted to convey is that she realized this later, by the time her brain actually worked properly, yet still young, but I couldn't figure out how to put it. I'll probably work on changing that, though, now that you pointed it out.

And about the prudeness, I know : P. This assignment was really limited on length, so I couldn't go into further explanation on anything (part of the reason I want to extend it). The prudeness is because she really is a prude--she never gets in trouble at school, she always follows home rules (with the exception of sneaking food from a stash : P), she's not rebellious in the least, and she has enough conscience and possible guilt for every careless person in the world. I'd really like to go further into that in more chapters, though.

Anyway, thank you SOO much for being the first review, and for reviewing at all! It makes me feel so good that someone read it, especially after planning just to "skim the first paragraph"! Thank you for all your lovely compliments--I really appreciate it!

Chapter 1: Chocolate Night
Prejudice by Caitlin Tam [Young Adult]
starstarstarstarstar [Reviews - 6]
Gabriella Thomas knew that being a daughter of a suspected witch at the height of the Salem Trials had dire consequences...

Categories: General Fiction; Characters: None; Chapters: 1 Table of Contents Series: None
Word count: 1092; Read Count: 271; Completed: Yes

Updated: 02/02/07; Published: 02/02/07
Reviewer: Mariana (Signed)

Nice work!  The opening paragraph is great.  The description is done simply and starkly, which helps paint the picture of cold and stillness.  I thought the second paragraph was a bit choppy, though.  The sentences all got to be about the same length and the same format.  I think if you mixed that up a bit, maybe combined two sentences into one, that would help.

 I liked the way the story showed mostly her fear, and not much of the consequences.  (i.e. we never see her mother, and it cuts off at Colin's attack.)  I think that's an effective way to tell the story since it increases suspense.  The one part that I thought needed work there was the way she realized Colin was deceiving her.  It all happened very suddenly; I think it would be more suspenseful to draw that out.  Have her be wary and suspect him while he's still acting nicely, so the reader will wonder if he's good or not.  As it is, we have no time to wonder.

As for mechanics, I saw just one mistake: "A painful snap echoed abnormally loud" should be "A painful snap echoed abnormally loudly."  And this isn't a mistake, but I think that putting "Crazy Dorothy Thomas's daughter, etc" in italics would be a clearer way to show what the townspeople have been saying.  Also, I think an exclamation mark after "what a scandal" would be appropriate.  I like that whole part, since what we've learned about those times is that everyone was gossipy and suspicious of their neighbors.  It adds to the feeling of unwelcome in the town.


Author's Response: Thanks for the awesome review! I agree with everything you pointed out; it does need some work. When I get the time, I'll edit it with your suggestions in mind. :)

Chapter 1: Prejudice
Unmorality by Naga [Young Adult]
starstarstarstarhalf-star [Reviews - 4]
Even the brightest days can yield to our darkest demons.  A young woman finds herself in a place of laughter and joy after escaping a dark night in the South, only to find a man who wants to hear her story.

Categories: Horror Fiction; Characters: None; Chapters: 1 Table of Contents Series: None
Word count: 2208; Read Count: 258; Completed: Yes

Updated: 03/02/07; Published: 03/02/07
Reviewer: Mariana (Signed)

This story is so moving; it's the kind that affects you even after it's over.  He father is such an evil character, but unfortunately realistic.  You really believe that his "religious" fervor will drive him to violence against his own daughter. I’d known him forever, and he was a God-fearing man. He had been in church that very morning. Usually, people are good for all of Sunday. - Best line.  (I like religious cynicism.)  :)  The ending was great, too.  I was wondering why he was being so calm and unreactive, and I have to admit I thought it was just to make the story more interesting, but then the last line was both a surprise and made perfect sense. 

I picked up on one typo:  "I smelled his breathe" should be "I smelled his breath."  And the POV switch Oracle mentioned: '“Would I ruin your perfect, sunny day?” I answered.' 

Now please, go out and write more!  Your public demands it!

Chapter 1: Unmorality
You Are by animimares [Young Teen]
starstarstarstarstar [Reviews - 7]

Why were you, of all people, damned to walk through life alone? Religious and homosexual themes.

Categories: General Fiction; Characters: None; Chapters: 1 Table of Contents Series: None
Word count: 3849; Read Count: 603; Completed: Yes

Updated: 05/02/07; Published: 05/02/07
Reviewer: Mariana (Signed)

I am amazed at how wonderful this was.  It was very moving, very powerful.  The combination of second person voice, heartfelt and emotional writing, and the highly effective asides in italics all worked together to paint a very intimate portrait of the protagonist.  It all just worked so well; I can't think of anything to criticize about your style. 

I did find a couple of grammar mistakes, and I hate to bring them up at all because you write so well in a second language, but here they are: "heads and tails" should be "heads or tails," "makes you steal yourself" should be "makes you steel yourself," "a, impeccable red line" should be "an impeccable red line," "No sounds has announced" should be "No sounds have announced," and "Everything that is you surge towards him" should be "Everything that is you surges towards him.

I think what makes this story so successful is the way you make the struggles of belief and homosexuality so easy to relate to.  Everything is so believable, her joys and sorrows and fears... Great job; I look forward to reading more!

Author's Response:


I am so happy that you would take your time to leave me such a detailed review. I'm so honoured that you liked this piece of fiction so much.

Second person PoV is one of my most favoured voices. When I come to think about it, most of my original work is written in second person PoV and I've never even wondered why.

Thank you once again, the grammar mistakes shall be corrected.

~ S.

Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Little Garrett lives on a perfect street in a perfect neighborhood where nothing ever happens. He just happens to have a wild imagination and an interesting trip into the woods.

Categories: General Fiction; Characters: None; Chapters: 1 Table of Contents Series: None
Word count: 2166; Read Count: 442; Completed: Yes

Updated: 06/02/07; Published: 06/02/07
Reviewer: Mariana (Signed)
I think what I liked best about this story is the way you kept me guessing about the castle.  You showed Garret's imagination in play with the dragon and the sword, and when you moved on to the castle, I assumed it was more of his imagination.  But it was just slightly off... why would he be surprised by the lack of people?  Was he really touching the walls?  Then you had him pretend to be the guard and I was convinced the castle was his imagination again, but then Alden came and turned it all around.  I love it when a story can trick me and have me wondering what's real or not.  Great job!

Author's Response: I was so worried that people would be TOO confused because of my switching back and forth between reality and imagination. It's good to know that at least you weren't. Thanks so much for the review. I really am glad that you liked the story. :)

Chapter 1: Stick to a Sword
starstarstarstarstar [Reviews - 6]
Katheryn Marlow has been condemned a heretic and a Witch, to suffer and be burned at the stake upon St. Valentine's Day. In the small hours of the night, as she contemplates her fate, Katheryn receives an unexpected visitor who brings a gift most precious.

Categories: General Fiction; Characters: None; Chapters: 1 Table of Contents Series: None
Word count: 1881; Read Count: 287; Completed: Yes

Updated: 13/02/07; Published: 13/02/07
Reviewer: Mariana (Signed)

Wow, that was fantastic!  Her fear and her peace in the beginning were both described wonderfully, and the glimpses of the torture awaiting her made me cringe.  You have a way of making your characters' emotions very relatable.  I saw just one typo... " I am Herne and Lugh  There's an extra space after the quote.  (Out of curiosity, who were those names?)   This story is so well-done; I just loved it.  Great job!

Chapter 1: Thy Gentle Loving Friend
starstarstarstarstar [Reviews - 9]

In defiance of Emperor Marcus Aurelius Claudius II's explicit order, young bishop Valentinius continues to perform marriage ceremonies for young Christians in Rome. Will these young couples live to enjoy their troth, and will Valentinius find a love of his own before his life is ended?

Categories: General Fiction; Characters: None; Chapters: 1 Table of Contents Series: None
Word count: 1238; Read Count: 283; Completed: No

Updated: 14/02/07; Published: 14/02/07
Reviewer: Mariana (Signed)

This was beautiful, both tragic and hopeful.  The ending was especially poignant, knowing that Gaius was going to his probable death, and then that Valentine was doomed as well.  And your writing is just... flawless.  The language is lovely and it flows effortlessly.  The arguments against Claudius's edict were well-presented, too.  Sometimes when an author wants to write an argument against an idea, it comes out school-essayish, but this flowed well with the narrative.  I have just two small concrits.  Like most other Christian churches of the time  The "of the time" part took me out of the story briefly, making me remember that I'm in their future.  I think just "Like most Christian churches" would suffice, and the reader would infer that it's referring to that time.  Also, (this is the first time I get to use my one semester of college Latin!), his name would be Valentinius when speaking about him and Valentini when speaking directly to him, like Brutus and "Et tu, Brute?" but with an i.  (But if you don't want to get that pedantic, I would recommend just using either Valentine or Valentinius.)  But those are minor points.  All in all, this was a beautiful story, which I'm sure would have won if you'd been eligible for the challenge!  

Chapter 1: The Secret Wedding