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for The Etch Artist (Nick Tate, Book 2)

2/4/2015 c12 Hedonistic Opportunist
Haha XD. I guess you could see this chapter as funny - Nick's determination is kind of funny, even though he's bleeding all over the place. I kind of more saw it as a statement of how serious he's about his job, and how desperately he wants to keep the town safe. I like that he's so proactive and passionate about his job :)

But yeah, I would say that the dialogue in this chapter is fun, like the kids begging for Nick not to arrest them, and Nick being all OMG I NEED TO KEEP CHASING AFTER THEM, while ... Sanders is all D: It does keep the chapter light, and evens up the tension a bit.

Because in all earnestness? Those kids freak me out - they've physically assaulted a cop, and that's just bad news all the way. I mean, I kind of draw the line at assaulting figures of authority. They're hiding something, I'm sure of it.

Short review, but I'm still around :3 Just reading very-very slowly.
1/21/2015 c2 6SenatorBlitz
hullo again! from the roadhouse!

first things first, the whole scene with palmer was both educational and enjoyable. in highschool, i was the kid who adored writing but goofed up on essays all the time and i could never figure out why. her calm and patient explanations were actually really helpful and it made me wish i'd had a teacher like her back in the day. it made it all believable that palmer would seek her out to ask about his essay in the first place - not only does it show her approachability, but also her fairness as a professor, i could see how a student would feel /heard/, which is a credit to portia as a character in my book.

in terms of enjoyablity, i loved the call-out to fanfiction! especially harry potter fanfiction. although it was discussed in the way of confidants sharing an interest that no one else knows, it was also insight into a world few people who do not write really think about. it also touched, albeit shyly, the thin wall of the argument about whether fanfiction writing is really "writing" despite the hours that were spent on it. i actually really liked this part and i read it over again so i could mull it later.

i also loved that she tried to share this moment with nick and it went over his head, albeit in a hilarious way (LOL wizard fantasies). i believe they have enough in common that his lack of appreciation for something she used to wouldnt be such an issue, but what if it were deeply important to her? i wonder how nick would have reacted then?

the sex scene at the end was hot, but the reason i mention it is because you write it in the way a couple who has been together for a while would have sex. they were still madly in love, but there was comfort in it and safety and also a bit of familiarity. you could tell she trusted him wholeheartedly and he trusted her as well. amazing that you can show the placing of a relationship just by how they have sex ;)

in answer to your question, yes, i can totally feel that there is a lot more than meets the eye here. especially with palmer. in terms of cc - this is just me being an idiot, but i wasn't aware that we had already started another day, so i was surprised when nick mentioned he'd seen palmer the day before (and was also surprised when he appeared before his teacher when id assumed he'd gone home)/

anyway, kudos!

SB
1/21/2015 c1 SenatorBlitz
hey there from the runninghouse! i've been meaning to take you up on your offer, but i was in school, so i didn't want to promise things and end up failing. in either case, i started reading this, and sort of couldn't stop. so here i am reviewing because this chapter is that good. aiie!

i remember i got about a third of the way through the first book in this series, so a lot of the things nick is referencing i remember (like him punching the seventeen year old!). there were things that i didn't recognize though and i really wish i had finished the book because it sounds like one hell of a ride!

the bullies that dani and nick had to deal with gave me the all mighty creeps, especially those three older ones he mentioned. i also like to pretend im a psychologist from time to time so i enjoyed reading nick's observations of the boys and reading through his analysis of them, deciding if i did or didn't agree. for the record, i think that kid should have taken the ride from the police. hell i would have had an escort every single day - those older boys sounded like death-heads. very very well described.

i also really like dani. she seems to be someone who is toe for toe with nick and i always love a story with partners who are equally matched and can pull the other up by the boot straps. the fact that she's lesbian and thus probably not going to be interested in him also adds a spin to it - in that this feels like it is going to delve a lot more into their relationship as friends and what that means as opposed to sexual tension (which is fun, too! not knocking that at all).

your writing is smooth and always, very clear and precise. i never run the worry of purple prose form you, which makes the mystery and drama all the more intriguing when i do run into it, because you dont waste words. im always trying to figure out what seemingly innocuous thing you've said is the CLUE TO SOLVE ALL CLUES.

to answer your questions: there definitely was enough set up to keep me reading - especially with those flashbacks from the old cases and the sheer horror/gore attributed to them. love dani already, can't wait to see more of her. her absence in the first book is believable, especially since i cant see a reason why she was obligated to be in the first one, you know? it is perfectly rational for her to have taken a leave of absecne, especially given the circumstance. the connection between this book and the first one, like i said for me, is based on only 6 or 7 chapters, but i like that it is passingly familiar, but definitely a new story. helps to feel less lost!

SB
1/11/2015 c11 Hedonistic Opportunist
Oh wow. This is a bit overdue, but not as overdue as I expected :3!
All in all, a very cute chapter XD. I’m not going to say how cute, because I feel a bit weird about babies and these things (also because these characters are roughly around my age). But anyhow: it’s heart-warming to see Nick and Portia that settled. I especially like how you emphasise them being best friends: that feels more honest and truthful to me than grand passion and romance XD. I do see that they are a very good couple, with common interests and life goals. In some ways, I love how Portia is the more practical of the two, with Nick being the one who’s less aware of things XDD.

The first bit of the chapter … very tense. I really don’t like reading about Nick getting in trouble with these people, but I see why it’s necessary, and I understand his motivations. In the same vein, I understand why the other party would get offended, too. Overall, it’s a difficult situation, and I just hope that Era didn’t get involved in anything nasty ): Also I loved how Portia understood Nick here, and reflected on her own experiences – that was a very gorgeous passage.

There’s not really much more to say? :3 It’s a lovely update, and as always, looking forward to more :3
12/29/2014 c10 Hedonistic Opportunist
Oh man. This took way longer than expected. I'd give you the usual spiel of school, RL and just being tired all the time, but let's not waste time. XD I hope this review will be useful to you, as I'm typing it out really tired :3 As always, I enjoyed this: your writing is soothing, and the thing I come to read when I'm a) down, b) tired or c) depressed. Anyhow, bulletin points:

*Nick and his mates getting high was really funny. I like that they're so-called responsible adults and yet still behaving like a gang of teens from time to time. It's realistic, you know? I don't know why some people get the idea that adults are supposed to know it all, when the truth is that you rarely ever become more mature. I kind of liked that this little scene here demonstrated that, with all of them just having fun and relaxing (or trying to). It didn't really go that well for Nick, did it? But still: very funny scene, which definitely earned a chuckle or two from me :3

*Nick's mum was a porn star! I'm not sure whether I should laugh or feel as weirded out as Nick did. XD I mean, it's just so weird! I'd probably just have a heart attack if it was my Ma! O_o Hehe, I do wonder how Nick will confront his parents over that lel.

*I love how Nick is so into Portia all the time, wanting to kiss and so forth. I thought it was great too that she didn't do the higher drugs and more quickly calmed down that he did it. Her actions towards the end were hot :3

*I loved how Nick was watching some show he didn't even know the name of XD.

*I really liked the darker aspects of this chapter, like Nick worrying over the case, and just wanting to relax, but not being able to. You can tell that he's still haunted by the events of the first story, poor baby ):

*The more crime-aspectey parts of this chapter I really liked to: it's definitely leading up to something that's not good, and I'm eager as to how you'll solve this. I am XD I just have nothing smart to say about this right now :3
11/26/2014 c9 Hedonistic Opportunist
Back again, using the calm to catch up :) I really liked this chapter - didn't see it as slow or anything. Rather relaxing, and fun, because we got to find out more about Era, and her various life problems. I relate to her in some ways, like wanting to explore life and relationships before settling down. I think that's only natural, you know? And I like how she is unnerved that she still has no experience – it's so much fun to see a female character acknowledge her sexual frustration. What I find interesting too is that she loves Luke, but does not want to be with him currently, because it would be too soon (it makes me worry though: what if Alice is what Luke will want later too? What makes Era think that Luke will be single and around when she finally wants to be in a relationship with him lol?).

At the very least, I appreciate that she is supportive of him and Alice, even if she doesn't think they will stay together (not that I really think so either; they are both young and Alice will be studying in a different uni …). Haha, she is fun :) I like how she and Luke interacted in this chapter, with them about just being so comfortable around each other, and trying to move on from the darker aspects of their life. It's nice especially to see how Luke is more comfortable in his skin, even if he hasn't forgotten about the murder ): It's nice that Era hasn't either. In many ways, this chapter felt like a nice tribute to the prequel.

Heya, I think it's great that Era is sharing her story online, and I really liked that scene where you 'renacted' a PM conversation with another fellow reader/writer. It's kind of realistic and a nice nod to us Fictionpress users :) I am kind of interested in WHO that person is, and how this 'relationship' will develop :D

I'm kind of freaked about Alec. What did he and Era do? O_o That text message was creepy, reminding me of 'I know what you did last summer...'

Good chapter. I wasn't super helpful or anything but I'm still reading :D
11/7/2014 c8 Hedonistic Opportunist
I'm back :D

Yeah, this isn't going to end well, is it? This whole thing reeks of danger, and I'm worried about Damian now. I'm seriously worried, because he's a) not only smoking weed and liking it, but b) joining a bunch of crazy and angry boys on a vigilante mission. What worries me the most is that he seems excited and way too confident in the knowledge that Nick will protect (what if he can't?). Ugh, the boys also seems a bit … well too keen on killing someone O_O

So yeah, great chapter :D It's tense and get the plot rolling, with great hints of what could happen. What I also really like is how you build up on Damian's insecurities: like his friends abandoning him, or him not having a girlfriend. You already know that he's reeling over not getting to college, and I fear that being with these kids is just going to have a bad influence on him :/

But yeah, good chapter :3

I liked seeing Alice and Luke again: it's even nicer to know that they are still together, and hanging out so much. It would only make sense, given their past experiences. It makes me sad though that Luke cannot be entirely there for Damian, but what can you do …

Sorry, that's more of a rubbish review, but just wanted to let you know that I am still reading :)
10/19/2014 c7 4Jitterbug Blues
Heya :D!

It's been a long time. But I'm back, and I liked this chapter. I have to say, as always, it's your writing style that pulls me in: it's really clear and concise, with just the right amount of detail and good dialogue to polished and fleshed out, but not overwhelming or dragging in terms of flow. But more on that, I just like the direction the plot is taking, with those kids clearly hiding something and trying some rather questionable tactics on Nick (referring to his dead brother was a really shady and mean thing to do; a total low, if you ask me). I do think that those boys are scared - really scared, but I also think that their behaviour is very odd - too evasive, and definitely hiding something.

There's also something else: I keep wondering how Palmer is involved in all of this. I can't keep thinking that he was up to something, and his behaviour in earlier chapters seem to suggest that; I just cannot help thinking that he'd have a traceable motive when it comes to murdering those two bullies.

Also, I like the Damian move: I don't think it's stupid, and I think that Nick is smart for hiring him. I just worry that Damian might fall in with the wrong sort of crowd. He's clearly bitter, and I think it'd be easy for him to be feel lost right now, because of not getting into university. I do hope that he eventually finds his path in life though. He's a nice character, and I'd be sad if something bad happened to him.
9/12/2014 c6 Jitterbug Blues
*SPOILERS*

I don't necessarily think this is chapter is a set-up, as I'm really beginning to suspect that Palmer is up to something. It's just the way he seems to seek Portia's attention (as if he had a crush on her), and always want her to read his stuff. It's like he needs someone to admire him, to give his work proper credit/life (which can only be achieved by someone else reading it and appreciating it). What really strikes me as suspicious though is that he chickens out of the 'date' as soon as Portia means the two days boys that were murdered. For someone who was eager to have his work read earlier, he sure seems suspicious XD. It really might be that he doesn't want to discuss their deaths, and that he feels relieved, but still his behaviour is really weird in this chapter. And I do wonder, towards the ending, that Portia is being a tad bit too unsuspecting (she does suspect him of something, but ...even she realises that he's up to something :3 Maybe he witnessed something?).

I like the relationship between her and Era - not only because Portia is helping Era with her homework in such a nice way, but because you can tell that they have met before and will grow closer. I think it's nice that Portia acknowledges her talent (even if she's not a writer), and does her best to offer her advice. I like that, in the end, Era asks her about Palmer. Maybe they will grow to be friends? :3

As for the rest of this chapter, I really liked the beginning scene with Portia and Nick, because it was cute, but also reminded Portia of how obsessed Nick could get (not eating, etc..). This reminds me of the Saud episode as well. I liked that you dealt with the whole grief/situation of two students being killed as well: it was realistic and makes one realise that, even if those two boys were bullies, they didn't deserve to die (bad comma placement here XD).
9/9/2014 c5 Hedonistic Opportunist
*SPOILERS*

Sorry for the delay. I have been sitting on this story for *days* actually, and I was either always too tired from shopping, random errands with the landlady and so forth to actually finish reading. So this will be a shaky review, because I am freaked out because I saw a huge brown spider crawling towards me a few minutes ago too (nearly as creepy as the content in this chapter ;_;). So, I don't really know what to tell you, other than that I am intrigued by the direction this taking :D It's nice to finally see the murder mystery kicking in, especially such a grotesque dark one (with the boys being literally gunned to death, and the murderer writing cryptic signs on their bodies exciting!).

I feel, as always, that you're being convincing in your description of the case - I especially like that you did it so clearly, because I admittedly wasn't necessarily at my brightest reading this :3 But your descriptions are so clear that I could read this half-sick and still understand what's going on. Thanks for that - thanks so much for your good writing and lack of any heavy detail. But you know, that's a boring thing to focus on...

What I really liked was the psychological component to this chapter, with Nick just musing over those dead boys, looking at their corpses like Sherlock, but then not dissociating his own emotions like Sherlock. Instead, he's clearly affected by their deaths. It shows in scenes like the father telling him not to be sorry before Nick withdraws, or him feeling bad when he has to report the death to one of the mothers. It's compelling, because it humanises Nick and places him into a position where the reader can relate to him. It makes him a character that you can love, because he understands and is *affected* too. Not to the point that he gets unprofessional, but enough that he connects the cause to Saud and his own experiences with grief.

I liked the scene with Sam - interesting character :D I'm not going to comment too much now, because I just like Sam XD. I also liked the lighter earlier portions of the chapter, but my favourite were definitely the darker ones, like the last scene. I think the doctor had a huge point about Nick forgetting to be human sometimes: he has a hero complex and needs to stop taking himself so seriously.
8/4/2014 c4 Hedonistic Opportunist
You know, I'm really liking how Era and Damian are like ... polar opposites. Sure, Era works hard too, but I feel like she's far less earnest about it: she's going to Yale, because it's expected of her/something she's been geared towards. As much as she tells herself it's because she wants it, I think the last scene makes it pretty obvious that some parental pressure is definitely there. Now Damian, I feel, really wanted to get college, so he could lead a better life - he's not as privileged as Era, and it's highlighted in the earlier chapter that he didn't have anyone who could 'fix' things for him. I feel this might have been the case with Era, maybe? (I'm not denying she is smart; it just seems like she's also very much geared towards being a straight A student). Hmm, this chapter makes me think how unfair the world is: everyone says hard work pays off, but in the end, it's all about family connection.

Maybe. It does seem like Era might not get everything after all - she's got a D in English, and that might ruin her chances of getting into Yale. I like how that opens up the possibility for a lot of conflict :D (with the genius writer mentioned in the previous chapters, with Portia ...). I just think it's a good starting point to get the plot rolling, so to speak :P

Okay, I'm rambling a lot, but another thing about this chapter: the 'Mafia' :D :D :D I like how you mentioned 'New York' and there being a sort of boss to this whole thing. I like the hint how Era's Dad might be a lot more than he seems to be (at least he's familiar with violence), but more than anything l like the hint that someone might be after Era (what with the dead animal and all - I thought you had some lovely descriptions there 333).
8/4/2014 c3 Hedonistic Opportunist
I guess that this chapter made me sad? There's something bitter about someone like Damian, who might not be an overachiever but still works hard, not getting into any of the colleges he applied to. I'm not a US citizen, so I don't know how closely this relates to reality, but it really makes me sad that, just like that, all of his dreams and that of his parents' have been crushed, leaving him (as he might think now) with little choice but staying in Edgeport forever and working an awful job. I don't know: I just think you captured the bitterness and disappointment of his feelings very well there, also his frustration just before he got his final rejection. Lovely touch of realism there.

I like Damian. I feel like he's just very sad in this chapter, which explains why he's all fired up and why he does finally lose his temper. I just think that a person can only take this much rejection (and having to work in the service industry is hard, with customers often being rude and snobbish). I was worried that Damian would go too far (and he did), but there was the obvious hint too that he got why he'd misbehaved. You generally had the idea that, if he'd not been pushed that much, he might have never gotten that upset. You also can feel the influence Luke has had on him, what with him saying that Luke is such a good friend and all. There's so much admiration there that it touches him. Anyhow, I like Damian: he's definitely realistic, and he deserves a hug for being in such a bad place. I really hope that he finds a solution to his problems.

I definitely feel that the tension is mounting, what with those other guys causing so much trouble, and Damian noticing it, but being too immersed in his own problems to really report anything. It's often the case, I think, that we just fail to perceive how scary other people can be, because of how much our own life tends to demand this much attention. But yes, I don't blame Damian for not reporting these guys: he has his own problems to worry about, and he nearly did fired. Still, I'm utterly sure that he will feel sorry for this later ):

OH OH. I loved the hint of what happened to Alice and Luke. Not only are they still dating, but Luke got into school, and he's made peace with himself :D. While some might consider it sad that Alice lost her popularity, I don't think it's a bad thing, since she's got truer and better friends now, I guess? :) But yes, it was nice hearing about them again :D
8/4/2014 c2 Hedonistic Opportunist
You're updating too quickly again, but then I shouldn't complain, because people are usually happy that their favourites update. I'm happy too, I just fear that I can't keep, and I'm worried that I won't be able to leave the quality feedback I like as I try to catch up as much as I can :P But anyhow, here we go :D (also, this is Jitterbug Blues/or the A.P part of it).

I honestly don't know what to say about this chapter either XD. The smut stuff surprised me a lot actually, by being so explicit and not at all uncomfortable (you stated you were uncomfortable with smut somewhere, earlier). In fact, I thought there was a lot of fetishism to this chapter, what with the uniform kink, or Portia just like to watch, desiring to *touch* Nick everywhere. I thought those scenes really weren't just there for our ahem, reading pleasure, but really showed how close the two have gotten. And how much Portia has grown to love Nick over the past few months. I like how comfortable they are around each other sexually, with the two of them fully wiling to pleasure the other and so forth. I just felt that it added cuteness but also some realism to their relationship :)

I really liked the bits about Portia being a former Snape/Harry fanfic writer. XD It's adorable, but also shows just how much she used to flee into the world of the net herself, establishing a connection between her and this one kid, Palmer. It shows that she's no stranger to the desire to create something fictional in order to escape the world (and she's still doing it, in a way - using text messages and twitter messages to get over a hard day). But yes, I like how you referred to her father, and how that severed the desire in her to write anymore teacher/student romances. So, while the bits about her having been in fandom were funny, I also think they say a lot about her past (she was withdrawn, possibly shy) and also establish the fact that she and Palmer have a lot in common.

I really liked the scene between her and Palmer, where she shared her past nerdiness with him, and he told her about his writing. As I already said before, they have a lot in common, and I like that Portia recognised his talent, without being too indulgent. She's still a teacher, and she cannot favour him. What I also liked about the build-up to this scene is how you focused on so many terms that an English major would love (topic sentences and all that 3). I think they added even more realism to your story :)
7/21/2014 c1 Jitterbug Blues
Okay, finally got around to reading this :D I actually started a while ago, but got distracted - sorry! I'm going to answer your questions right away. No, I don't think that Dani's absence is odd; I know that joining the Peace Corps would take a while, and I think her absence is believable. I'm pretty sure you mentioned her at some point? :3 Anyhow, I think her being works quite well now, because you establish their closeness by having her tease Nick. It shows that she knows him and his ways well :D I especially like how she keeps reminding him of his ex-womanizing ways 333

Yes, I like her :D I think she's fun, feisty and makes a lot of good points. I like that she's got problems with sexism, and I'm intrigued by who she is/what she's going to represent. I'm quite interested in why Nick and Dani are both so curious as to why she'd have solved the Saud murder earlier. Also, there was enough connection, because you mentioned important plot points from the first book, and also gave us some important extra hints, like Nick realising that Saud had been killed *alive*. That part was horrible to read and made me feel sick too ): I also feel worried for Alice and Luke - are those bullies going to come after them too?

Yes, those bullies were creepy, especially because of how you described them ): I fear they'll do bad things ;_;

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