What Everyfreakingbody's Reading




Some stories have such a big following that it’s hard to remember where you first heard about them because every-freaking-body you know is reading them.  They're the stories that are recognized by initials or stand-apart details and are immediately connected to an author's name. They get you talking, screaming, and swooning about fic, and often become the standard by which other stories are compared. These are those stories.

We've invited three guest reviewers to share their thoughts on some of our recent ‘we can’t stop talking about them’ favorites.

7/3/14


Darnay Road by counselor
Starts out in summer of 1963. Sweet little ten year old Catholic school girl Bella Christine meets 11 year old smoker with armpit hair who really does live on the wrong side of the tracks Easy. She and Alice May are mystery solvers in their spare time, and Easy (E. C.) and his brother Jap (Jasper) will keep these two little ladies on their sleuthing toes. Warning: Might get hairy. Fiction M - Romance - Bella, Edward

Lay Athomemom~

It’s happening. To me.
Darnay Road, Chapter 27

This line accurately sums up how I feel any time I read a Counselor fic. Through her writing, I’ve lived several lives. Whether it’s the life of a logger in the 1930s, a soldier home from the war in the 1940s, or a 10 year-old girl on the cusp of being a young woman in the 1960s, Counselor never fails to bring the past to life in a way that’s real, relatable and always entertaining. 

In her newest fic, Darnay Road, we get to see the sixties through the eyes of Bella Christine, Catholic schoolgirl/super sleuth. When I think about the 1960s, I picture it as a decade of civil and political unrest and one giant leap for mankind. However from Bella’s point of view, it’s a far simpler time. A time where handle bars were an acceptable form of transportation, TV and music were as wholesome as Wonder Bread and being called by your first and middle name didn’t necessarily mean you were in trouble. 

Counselor is nothing short of brilliant bringing this era to life, but aside from that she’s created a fantastic little world between Darnay and Scutter Road. Everything you could ever want lies between those streets for Bella. A best friend to share secrets and spy with…and slap occasionally when needed, a slew of mysteries to be solved, and a boy as handsome as Gidget’s Moondoggie himself…Easy (E.C.).

It’s hard to narrow down all the things I love about this story. Counselor has once again created a fascinating cast of characters, each with their own rich back story and secrets to be revealed, and a Bella I absolutely adore, which is rare for me.  She’s never written an Edward I didn’t love, and Easy is no exception. But above all, it’s the love story between Bella and Easy. Counselor is absolutely masterful at perfectly depicting the excitement of first love - the butterflies when he’s near, the thrill when you realize he likes you too, and all the vulnerability that goes with it. 

There’s something really special between these two. It’s not puppy love, it’s slushie love. And it’s perfect.

Tgb McCray~

Every Counselor story leaves me wondering how I went my whole life long without knowing the characters I just met or growing with the wisdom from the lessons she has taught. Darnay Road, her newest, is more than a period fic or a story about a bunch of little kids in the 1960s. It’s a first love/coming of age romance that hits you right in the feels. It reminds us, even if we are not from that era, of who we were at age nine or ten. We see ourselves in these characters. 

Bella Christine, our plucky narrator, is joined by Alice May, her mystery-solving neighbor, best friend, and partner-in-crime. Their first crime might be sneaking up to the altar in church, but by later in the story, the pair are keeping an eye on Alice May’s aunt and her special time with their parish priest. The girls are growing up in the 60s, the year after the Cuban missile crisis held the world in the grip of uncertainty. For both girls, uncertainty comes to their quiet summer on Darnay Road with the introduction of the Hardy Boys, aka Jap and EC “Easy.” Pretty much from the beginning, Bella’s inquisitive little heart is all in for the boy from the literal wrong side of the tracks. A roller skating accident means a broken arm for Bella and brings her closer to Easy. 

“Why’d you call me Ballerina?” I say, but I don’t plan to say it or anything, it just comes right out. 

He shakes out the match and pitches that and takes a drag and he lets it out and I’m just so patiently watching. He’s looking at me and he says, “You’re pretty.” 

Riley and Joe go whizzing past and they call to him. “C’mon leave that kid alone,” Riley says. 

That kid?

He takes off after then after them like I ain’t even standing there. Alice is getting back with the pen and she calls to him but he doesn’t even look he rides off into the twilight and leaves us side by side. 

I’ve been a Counselor fan from way back. I’ve read all of her stories multiple times (except for Finding My Thunder, my favorite, and oddly the only one I cannot yet reread). Where Darnay Road is leading, with a pair of brothers from an abusive home and a young girl with an innocent heart in the right place makes me nervous. Vietnam is coming and young Easy is already fighting his own war at home. With Counselor, I often just grip my phone and hang on for the ride. This tale of Americana kicks me right in the feels when its young characters stumble and makes me laugh and swoon sentences later with gems like:

“He has hair under his arms. Ain’t he eleven? Lord a mercy what am I doing with a man?” 

It may hurt sometimes, but it will be worth it. Don’t miss this one. 

Mel (edmazing)~

It is no secret around here that I love Counselor stories. I've always loved historical fics and she takes them to another level, splashing the imagery with the familiar objects and filling your heart with the beliefs of the time. Of course it's more than just the detailed settings, it's also the quirks and individuality that bloom in each of her incarnations of Edward and Bella. They have all been so real and unique; they stand apart in a world filled with our favorite duo.

Darney Road is a first person story told by 10 year old Bella Christine. I love being inside this innocent spy girl's head,and I'm not typically one for “kid” stories. Life is full of mystery to her and it's no wonder with a strict Catholic granma raising her. Her life has been contained to her safe and trusted block, the private school she attends, and little else. She's spent her time sleuthing with her best friend from across the street, watching evening programs with gran, and reading Hardy Boys books.

But times are a changin'.

Alice has moved away and the dangerously cute boy from the wrong side of the tracks keeps coming around. Oh boy.

Easy, a knock off for E.C., is everything that kid rebels are supposed to be. He is cloaked in questions that cannot be answered. He's tough, runs with a bunch of moon chasing roughians, and smokes. Basically he is hell on two wheels. And I think he is as over the moon for Bella Christine as she is with him.

..."I know the things you don't need to," he says so firmly.

I am looking at him. "But I…."

He turns toward me again. "No. You are just a little girl and you got your nice pink room and your pretty little…toes and your nightie." He's flustered looking me up and down and I knit my fingers together. I am so throwing a leg over my high horse. "You're the prettiest thing I've ever seen," he says. "Smartest too. And you make me laugh all the time. You're like that little doll that winds up in the jewelry box…going round and round."

I don't know what to say. I'm not mad anymore, but how he sees me, it can't be true. And I don't want it false cause it's so nice. And so wrong too. It makes me feel all lumpy in the throat and it worries me hugely. Really enormously. Going round and round?

Lines and emotions that like definitely hit me right in the heart. They follow me around and have me jumping out of bed to google draft facts at the crack of dawn. I have no idea where life will take these two, but I know that I want to be along for the ride and I think you will, too. Counselor has a gift for putting words together and breathing life into them.

JediSc has done an outstanding job putting together a Pinterest board for Darnay Road. It is a fantastic visual accompaniment to the story. To enjoy her efforts click here.

7/2/14


Hollywood by allihavetodoisdream
"She's Audrey Hepburn, and he's Cary Grant. She's Marilyn, and he's James Dean. She's timeless elegance, and he's old grace. She's searching, and he's already found, already taken. She's sixteen. And he's twenty-seven. But that doesn't matter. Not to a girl in love. Nothing matters, then." Edward & Bella in the definition of a forbidden relationship.Fiction M - Drama/Romance - Bella, Edward 

VampiresHaveLaws~

Nic knows what I love, so as soon as she rec’d Hollywood to me, I knew I would be all over this story like a fangirl on Rob… Just minus the whole screaming thing because I didn’t want to scare anyone.

(There might have been a little screaming.)

I think Hollywood was about four chapters in when I started reading, and my God, I was instantly hooked. In fact, I loved it so much, I went all 007 and contacted Lila to ask if she’d like a beta… which is something I’ve never done before. (Thanks for not saying no, L.)

Hollywood has everything I go crazy about in a story: heartbreak, scheming, a truckload of UST, seduction, forbidden romance—so much uniqueness I weep—and my old pal, angst.

And the writing style? Just so amazing and so unique. I’m forever obsessed with the stylised sections like the one below:

I am sleepless nights.

I am continuous restlessness.

I am troubled.

I am a beautiful train wreck waiting to happen.

And I am lonely, most of all.

The detail and imagery, too, is so incredible, it feels like you’ve been dropped right into a scene with the characters. Which brings me to Bella: She is hands down one of my favourite Bellas. Ever. Always. I love her. The whole hearts-in-my-eyes emoji deal. And Edward? What a life-ruiner with his suits and messy hair and that thing he does called breathing. So rude.

And then we get to Lila, dealer of my word addiction, who seriously blows me away with every chapter. She’s so young and so talented and she often accuses me of being too nice to her when I compliment a particular section or phrase (because she’s crazy and doesn’t think she’s good enough), when in actual fact, she has more talent in her pinky finger than most people twice her age. 

If you haven’t read Hollywood yet, or think the subject matter won’t be for you, give it a try. I think you’ll be more than pleasantly surprised.

I am so excited for the future, and what else Lila decides to share with us. Thank you for writing a story we’re all crazy about, L. And thank you for becoming a great friend. ILY.


SusanQ~

Don't you love it when you start a story and can tell in the first chapter that it's going to be great? Hollywood, by first time author, allihavetodoisdream, is one of those stories. This is not your conventional Edward and Bella fic, but if you hang in there, you'll get your reward.

"I'm very simple, despite what they say about me in school.

I live by shoes and grace and Audrey Hepburn.

I live by elegance long lost and famous poise.

I am an old Hollywood starlet: tall and curvy, with retro waves of mahogany hair. I'm red lipstick. I'm fifties glamour and sixties chic. It's how I move and breathe and function.

But some people don't understand it."

Bella is a precocious sixteen-year-old with her sights set on an older, ambitious, and not quite available Edward. He seems amused by her at first, but he soon appears to be drawn to her.

"You're sixteen. You still believe in happy endings."

I roll my eyes. "Oh, please," I scoff. "What I believe in is pretending. It gets me through when reality is being a bitch."

Edward exhales more smoke and a laugh that makes me crazy. "How's that work for you?"

"It depends on the day."

Bella's confidence and poise seem to help her through her loneliness and her mother's selfishness and neglect. There are some secrets about her past, and as sad as they seem to make her, Bella seems determined to protect her mother.

"My father was a good man," I say, and my voice is quiet and stripped too bare and I try to stop, but I can't. "He tucked me in every night, and he put princess Band-Aids on my scraped knees, and he played tea party with me even when he hated it." I blink rapidly and look back at Edward, who is listening—who's really listening. I whisper, "His only fault was that he wasn't ambitious enough. He was small town, and Renee wasn't."

"That's why they divorced?" Edward questions, and his voice is too gentle, too soft.

I blow out an irritable sigh and smear the end of my cigarette out on the concrete. "I don't know. You'd have to ask Renee. I was too little to remember." It's all lies, of course, but I'm done talking about it.

There is so much I'm not saying about this fic because I don't want to spoil it. But I will say this brand new author has just finished high school and is quite a talented storyteller. I'm curious to see how the story plays out, and I'm looking so forward to what we'll see from allihavetodoisdream next. She has a bright future ahead of her.


Carrie ZM~

In the past three years of reading fanfiction, I’ve fallen in love with many Edwards. There have been Sweetwards and Mobwards, Possessivewards and Daddywards, to name just a few. I fancy myself a bit of an equal opportunity Edward lover – but really I’m not, because there’s a certain one that trumps them all.

The Olderward.

There’s just something about an older man. Maybe it’s their maturity or the sense of power or even just the whole taboo idea of having a relationship with someone so much older. Let’s be honest, who didn’t have a crush on the orthodontist or the hot dad next door as a teen? Or maybe dress up a bit for the American Lit professor when your flannel pajama pants just wouldn’t do?

Crickets.

I obviously have a thing for mature men and definitely Olderwards in fanfiction.  The only problem is trying to find a fic with an equally dazzling Bella – that is until I started reading Hollywood by allihavetodoisdream.  Wow! This first time fanfic author came along and blew me away with her top-notch writing and perfectly imperfect characters that made my head swim, namely Bella.

I often find that the Bella in this genre is made to seem either too promiscuous or too pure. However, with Hollywood, we meet a Bella who is intelligent and witty, seductive to the core.  She’s in love with Hollywood starlets from the past and their glamour and romance. She carries herself with elegance and poise, yet there is so much more behind the red lips and old-school glam. Her relationship with her mother is complex, as well as the secrets she carries regarding her father, and with each chapter, we learn a little bit more about the past of this young woman.

Hollywood is centered around sixteen-year old Bella who has come home from boarding school for the summer. She meets her mother’s new boyfriend, Edward, who is twenty-seven and the epitome of old Hollywood grace. There’s an instant attraction, and the two characters spend many a night getting to know each other over cigarettes and Bella’s midnight swims. Edward brings something to Bella’s life that she never knew she was missing.

Allihavetodoisdream gives us the perfect balance of reality with right vs wrong and a big dollop of UST with the undeniable chemistry between the two characters. Is age really just a number? What if the love of your life was born eleven years before you? What would you do? I know what my answer is ;)


Hollywood will whisk you away into a world of privilege and have you swooning with the stars. Allihavetodoisdream brings her best game forward giving us a cast of characters that all have a story, a secret. What a way to make an entrance into fanfiction!

7/1/14


Masen Manor by drotuno
Masen Manor, home to a prestigious boarding school, Masen Academy. An immortal hiding from the world has his faith tested by a hundred-year-old fortune and a broken, silent girl. AU…E/B…Slightly OOC…Fiction M - Romance/Supernatural - Bella, Edward


Nat (evilnat)~

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of drotuno's Gravity Series, which, in my opinion, is one of the best action series in the Twilight fandom, so when Deb teased us with a banner for Masen Manor, I was all-in, even before chapter one was posted.

Masen Manor is an sweet, well-written, exciting read. Edward is complicated and brooding, protective and passionate, and Bella is intelligent and sweet, yet broken. She's one of those characters that you can see growing stronger with each chapter and you just know that when the action kicks in that she's going to really come into her own.

I like how the storyline touches on a lot of canon elements, but has it's own life with an original backstory, and it's not a simple storyline either, there's a lot of effort and detail put into this one. Much of which is still unfolding twenty-eight chapters in.

With a huge cast of characters, and a lot of likeable and love-to-hate supporting cast, it shows that this story is planned out perfectly. You can tell Deb knows what she's doing. It's also got a lot of mystery and keeps you guessing about what's about to happen with each plot twist.

I would recommend anything that drotuno writes, but in this case I'd say that you wont be disappointed with Masen Manor if you are unfamiliar with her work. If you like protective, vampy Edward, UST, chemistry and a Bella that has so much potential to be a really strong protagonist, you will love this story.


Becca/GothicTemptress ~

There is something extremely captivating about Masen Manor, written by drotuno. The enchantment begins at the very beginning of the story, where we are introduced to a Bella that does not speak. Learning about the traumatic event that led to her with-holding her voice for so long, the readers are truly pulled into the magical mystery that develops as each chapter reveals small clues, building slowly as the romance and UST simmer in the plot. This story progresses at a meticulous pace because there are many junctions to the motives, actions and reactions of the characters - the weft of this carefully woven story is slowly plaiting into a design that is beautiful and quite addicting, exciting me every time I see an update alert come into my in-box.

Vampireward will steal your heart in this story, especially when he accepts that changes are coming to Masen Manor, and embraces the gift of happiness and companionship that has literally come through his front door. Watching Bella's emotional and physical transformation has been one of the most moving parts of this story so far. The motion of drotuno's loom seems meticulous and thoroughly balanced, and while I have no idea where this story is going, I look forward to seeing how the counterbalance of the various characters will deliver justice and resolution to the mystery in motion. The textile-quality of this story is tangible, quite easily felt by readers and formed carefully weave by fastidious weave as the softness of the “hurt/comfort” eases the harsh realities that constrained Bella to that realm of silence. Wrap yourself up in this story and see what I mean. You won't be disappointed!


Fanfic Maplestyle ~

One hundred years ago, forced out of his house by an abusive father, Edward Masen meets two very different women. One a fortune teller, who foretells his death, and death herself. Fortunately for us, his death is not of the permanent kind. With the help of kind Doctor Cullen, Edward awakens to find his life altered forever. He awakens as a vampire.

Edward, remembering the events of that fateful night, tells Dr. Cullen about the predictions made and eventually they come upon the woman again. She retells Edward’s fortune and it hasn’t changed, 100 years from the date of his change he’s to meet his soulmate, a beautiful but scarred swan.

One hundred years later, enter Bella, an extremely talented, extremely broken young girl. A tragedy has taken away her ability to speak, whether she can’t speak, or won’t speak I’ll leave up to you to discover. Invited to join the prestigious school, run by the Cullen’s she accepts her position and the beautiful, scarred swan and Edward are on a crash course to meeting.

One of the things I love the most about Drotuno’s writing, are her characters. She gives us, not only strong Edward’s, but strong Bella’s as well. This story also brings us a fantastic array of side characters, including a likeable Jake, that’s right, a likeable Jake. A quirky Alice, who helps Bella learn the ins and outs of the Manor, as well as helping her to avoid trouble in the form of classmates that are not understanding of the fact that Bella doesn’t speak and label her a freak. She gives us a Jasper who is fighting his feelings, but extremely loyal to his family and in my opinion, one of the best written Leah’s ever.

I have a lot of favourite stories written by Drotuno, in fact I’ve read her Angel and Gravity series at least five times. I have to say though, that Masen Manor, so far is my favourite Vampward of hers. I urge you to read it and come along for the ride. Drotuno really knows how to suck you in, she writes in a way that makes you fall in love with the good characters and wish death on the bad ones.

If you haven’t read Masen Manor, what are you waiting for? If you haven’t read anything by Drotuno before I urge you to catch up on Masen Manor, then read through her entire list of stories. You won’t be disappointed.


JenRar ~

If you’re a fan of Drotuno’s writing, especially her Angelward and Mercward series, as well as her short standalone, Hard to Love, then her latest, Masen Manor, is a great one to read because it’s kind of a mix of the three. Edward is a vampire (and we know how well she writes those!), while Bella is a human who’s had a traumatic past and is a little…damaged. Much like they did for Edward in Hard to Love, the other characters support her and love her so much that it makes you just want to cry sometimes.

There’s also a great blend of canon and AU, which makes for a lot of nods to our favorite parts of the books, but also gives readers some fun twists. Edward can read minds. Alice can see the future. Jake is a wolf, but he’s Leah’s son, and Leah is a future-seer herself: she reads tea leaves, crystal balls, and tarot cards. Rose and Emmett are great people in Masen Manor. You still manage to love them, though, even though they’re human and, sadly, not a huge part of the story as a whole.

The best part of this story, though, is the relationship between Edward and Bella, as always. The way they love one another is truly one for the ages. He worships her without being smothering, while she is able to lean on him while learning to be strong herself. It’s a slow, smoldering relationship that burns hotter and hotter with every chapter, yet underneath all the heat and lust is a bond of friendship and love that can endure anything.

Masen Manor is one of my favorite stories Deb’s ever written, and if you haven’t jumped on it, you’re missing out!

4/5/2014

banner by Debbie Wilson

My Ex-Con by Counselor
https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10093961/1/My-Ex-con
Edward is fresh out of the big house and Bella is his new boss.

Nat (evilnat)~

These days I often find myself waiting for stories to complete, with a baby on the way and just everyday busy life it's easier for me to keep track of what's going on; they all tend to blend together after a while, but with My Ex-Con I haven't been able to do that.

Pretty much everyone in this fandom has heard of Counselor. Whether you love her stories and devour them as soon as she posts, or whether you can't quite grasp the language, you know she writes quality. She never just hands you all the information you are craving, that's something you have to work for, but I think it's more satisfying and definitely makes you went to keep reading. Being Australian, sometimes I don't quite 'get' what's being said or going on, but her authentic colloquialism just makes each story even richer.

That being said, with My Ex-Con I don't have that problem, maybe it's the era and location are more universal this time, or maybe it's just the characters themselves are easier for me to relate to. Either way, I'm there reading each update as it arrives in my inbox. 

My Ex-Con centres around a Bella who hasn't had an easy life, she is strong, she's been through a lot and is not proud of some of the things she's had to do to survive, but you gain this respect for her as you get to know her. She's a survivor. And she helps people. Whether it's her brother Jasper who seems to have more problems the further we get into the story, or Edward, who's just finished serving time and needs a place to start over. Bella likes routine, her life has become easier the more she stays in her own little rut, until Edward comes along and throws everything off kilter for her and you're not sure how she's going to deal with it. 

Edward is quiet but says a lot, I know that doesn't make sense, but he seems to convey what he's thinking without even saying very much. He's struggling, but he's not, and once again it's a contradiction, but that's just how I feel, and I think it's all because of Bella. There have been moments I'm this story between Bella and Edward that have been some of my favourites ever, all because of his quiet intensity.

Then you have Charlie. A child character you will actually like.

My Ex-Con doesn't have a really complicated storyline, though new information is dropped every now and again as we go along creating more twists and turns, but it does have this richness that gives it substance, even when you think the situation might be quite simple, it's probably not, but finding that out is half the fun. I could go on, but really I don't want to give too much away. If you're not reading it and you like Counselor's work go and check it out, you won't be disappointed!


Lay Athomemom ~

Through her brilliant characterizations, clever turns of phrase, and fantastic storytelling, Counselor’s words often leave me feeling like a Rolodex of emotions depending on the story. My Ex-con is no exception. On the surface, it’s the story of two people living their lives with a cage mentality. Edward, a recently released ex-con returning to civilian life after years in a cell, and Bella, an independent woman with a plan who’s living day to day in a figurative box of rules, roles, and routines. As the story unfolds, it becomes a tale of unconditional love and how each day they learn to give, receive, and realize that they’re actually deserving of that love.

In my mind, this is where Counselor absolutely shines; illustrating perfectly how love opens your eyes to new possibilities of a life you never knew you wanted. It can open your heart as well, widening it to make room for what you didn’t know you needed. In Bella’s case, that would be a stray pit bull and a soft-haired, foul-mouthed little boy.

I find myself anxiously awaiting each update of this story and absolutely devouring it upon posting. I often go back and re-read a couple of times just so I can savor each and every word, not wanting to miss a thing. My Ex-con is a perfect example of Counselor doing what she does best, taking perfectly imperfect characters, immersing them in the everyday business of living, and adding the subtle anecdotal nuances that resonate with readers in a way all her own.


Billi Cullen ~

Every time I start a new fic by Counselor, I know I'm in for a thrill ride.

My Ex Con is no exception.

Counselor has a unique way of writing. She weaves her characters so intricately, their personalities, their features, all thrown together to make you believe they actually exist. They're so real, so flawed, they are like your neighbors down the street.

This Bella is smart, moral and motherly. She's not perfect; she wears paint splattered glasses and hearing aids. There is no mention of her perky breasts, chestnut locks or small waist.

This Edward is an ex con. He too isn't perfect. He's handsome, of course he is, but he's still not someone you'd be able to take home to mom. A criminal, having done his time because of the relationship he has with his friend, Bella's brother, Jasper.

Edward is the perfect fodder for Bella. Their relationship is believable, so real and so loving, you just want to crawl through the computer screen and hang out with them.

The story twists and turns around Edward's release from prison, Bella's inability to say no to him staying with her and some surprises along the way that make this ride well worth every moment you spend reading.

Counselor is the epitome of a great storyteller. Read it, you'll be so happy you did.


Mel aka Edmazing~

I don't think it's any secret that I am a big follower of Counselor's. I love how she boils things down to nuts and bolts of life's journey while flavoring each of her stories with their own voices, dialects, and flare. It takes talent to make things so universal and yet so individual all at the same time. Yeah, it sounds like I might be contemplating my own Counselor tattoo. lol

In the initial chapters of My Ex-Con I was immediately taken with Big B and her strength, but the jury was still out on Edward for me. Sure, he was rough and rugged and all man, but my mind kept flashing warning signs and asking what KIND of man was he.

Slowly, slowly I came to find that he was a man of action and, dare I say, integrity. Life has thrown them more than a couple of lifetime's worth of curve balls, but they're weathering them together just fine. I can't wait to see where these two will go from here. Do yourself a favor and dive into My Ex-Con because these guys should not be missed. 

4/4/2014

banner by Lola-Pops

We Were Here by Lola-Pops
Upon waking, there's a brief, blissful period in which you don't yet recall the sins of the night before, but eventually, you have to open your eyes. I'm Bella Swan, seventeen years old, cheerleader. This morning I woke up in the wrong bed.

Rochelle Allison ~

Upon waking, there's a brief, blissful period in which you don't yet recall the sins of the night before, but eventually, you have to open your eyes. I'm Bella Swan, seventeen years old, cheerleader. This morning I woke up in the wrong bed.

Like most of us, I read a lot. Lots of fanfiction, lots of books. Over the years, quite a few have impacted me, but because there are so many more stories to be read I rarely reread. I do make exceptions, however, and Lola’s stuff makes the cut. I’ve reread Summer of Salt more times than I care to admit, and We Were Here...I just finished my fifth or sixth re-read. Sometimes it’s favorite passages or chapters, other times, it’s the whole story.

We Were Here recently completed. Because of life stuff (marriage, a baby), it took Lola a while to post the last chapter and then the epi, but it was so worth the wait.
You see, Lola’s brand of angst is the real kind. There’s nothing contrived or melodramatic about it: it’s real people living real lives. The events might not be exactly like ones we’ve encountered, but the emotions behind them resonate because we’ve all been there. I love that. I love being so invested in a story that I breathe with the characters. It’s easy to write crazy, overblown drama - much harder to create subtle, nuanced moments that hit home and drive the story along.

We Were Here is about a Bella on the cusp on a late-teen crisis. Seemingly overnight, she goes from a popular cheerleader with a jock for a boyfriend to a girl wanting way more...

I’m so fucked. Literally. Figuratively. But I get ready for school like it’s any other day, and as always, my cheerleading uniform feels constricting, but looks perfect. It’s a metaphor for my entire existence.

 ...and that includes the sexy, brooding graffiti artist Edward...

He’s always been...cool, I guess....attractive in a way that makes girls unconsciously lick their lips, but he doesn’t seem to care much about dating, or maybe he just doesn’t care about the girls at our school.
...The things that are said about his sexual prowess solidify him as a legend, but most of the time you don’t hear those things from people who’ve actually done them.
It’s all true, though. I know it is. I flush and cross my legs, my heart beating hard.

These two burn for each other, when they’re together as well as when they’re apart, and while the story opens with their beginning, it takes a lot for them to realize that they’re truly meant to be.

This story isn’t always easy to read. The characters are authentic, so they make mistakes, doing and saying things that frustrate and upset. I related so much to Bella, even when I wanted to shake some sense into her. Her pain was so tangible, as was Edward’s.

And I won’t even discuss how hot this Edward is. I can’t. Let’s just say he’s a top 5-er for me.

This story is amazing. It hurts, and it feels so good. It’s got a great, well rounded cast of characters, a driven, sometimes-gritty plot, and plenty of good lovin’. So worth the read...and the inevitable re-read.


Jayhawkbb ~

Memorable characters.  Great plot.  Incredible storytelling.  Three of my favorite things in fic.  All three of those things come together in a way that feels effortless in We Were Here by lola-pops.  If you haven’t read it yet, please don’t waste your time reading this.  Go read that instead.

While reading this fic (again and again), I devoured each chapter like I’d been on a low-carb diet and it was a warm slice of sourdough.  The characters are deliciously imperfect and behave like real people – they make bad choices along with the good; they have fears that sometimes consume them; they fight for what and who they want.  Through all their ups and downs, I felt what they felt and wanted what they wanted.  I rooted for them even when they didn’t deserve it, and I think that speaks volumes about the talent of author lola-pops.  It’s not easy to weave a multi-layered plot with such complicated characters into a cohesive story, but she does it brilliantly.  It never feels contrived or forced.  It never reads as through she’s fitting the characters to the plot or vice versa.

As I write this, I know that we only have part two of the epilogue left, and then we will say goodbye to this fantastic story.  It’s always bittersweet to let go of characters we love, but how can we complain?  We’ve been lucky enough to live through them as they’ve grown – and grown up.  I will savor the final chapter like it’s the last glass of wine from an expensive bottle of cab.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I’ll scarf it down… and enjoy every second of it.


VampiresHaveLaws ~

Teen angst is my fic weakness. So of course when I read the excerpt lola-pops shared in her Spotlight Interview with Fic Central many moons ago, I knew there was no way I wasn’t going to become obsessed with this story. And I was right.

I can’t go any further without talking about Bella and Edward’s initial hook-up. Because it’s the best.

"Bitch."

He's looking at the ground when I look up, but I know it was him. I throw my books in the back seat and slam the door.

"What did you say?"

He shifts uncomfortably and won't meet my eyes. I stomp around the car and right up to him.

"Damn, E, who is this chick?" One of the guys asks. I don't look to see who it is, though, because my eyes are trained on him.

"No one," he says, and turns his head to nod toward the shop. They file through the door talking in low voices, leaving us standing in the dark spot between street lights. He leans back against the brick wall and finally makes eye contact. I realize that I haven't really looked at Edward Cullen in a long time. I lose my breath for a second at the intensity of his expression, the symmetry of his face...and something else that I can't put my finger on. There's anger, which I expect given the fact that I just called him an asshole, but also lust, which is so out of touch with his words that it doesn't make sense.

His words echo through my head. No one.

"Fuck you," I whisper, but there's no fire behind the words. Maybe that's because I know he's right.

He moves that slow gaze to my lips and then...and then I'm not really sure I can explain what happens next. I take another step forward and he drags his teeth across his bottom lip, and then I'm fisting his shirt and that bottom lip is between mine.

I mean, right? For the two people in the fandom who still haven’t started this story, I forgive you for flouncing what else I have to say in favour of reading this. It’s the smart thing to do. Also, don’t even get me started on chapter 18. I spaced out twice while typing this just thinking about it.

What I love most about lola-pops is her style. She manages to capture a certain feeling not many authors can achieve. Like, I can instantly tell if it’s something she’s written, without having to look at the penname at the top of the page. It’s a really special quality to have.

Now, I could go on and on about this story, but I don’t want to spoil it any more than I already have for those two people, so I’ll end it with this: dog tags. Just dog tags.

4/3/2014


Troika by Mortissues
Waking up, not matter how long it takes, should be a wonderful thing. Powerful and liberating. Like emerging from the chrysalis. I should have known it wouldn't be like that for me . . .

Staceleo ~

Troika, oh Troika, how much do you thrill me? Obsessively thrill me. So much in fact, that I have been known to pull over on the side of the road to read updates, while my small children yell at me, while pelting the back of my head with stuffed animals and fruit snacks. Mother of the Year, I am not.

You see, Mortissues, I have read you other stories. I place bets in my head on who you are going to pair with who, and how exactly you will rid yourself of Edward. I was doing pretty well until this story. There was a curve ball every chapter. I would start shaking in anticipation for my Troika fix. You had me swooning over Carlisle, keeping my fingers crossed for Garrett, and even thinking Bella and the jail bait puppy were smoking hot. I mean Jacob. That last one made me want to bleach my brain, but that dear author, made me also truly appreciate the power of your writing.

The introduction of Freya was inspired and even that made me question what your end game would be. Would poor Bella ever be changed? Then I didn’t really care. Freya was fun and what I wished Stephenie Meyers wrote the canon Bella to be like. Following her change was interesting and when many original characters fall flat in being added into fanfiction, you made her a vibrant addition to the group.

Quick question about Edward, if you will allow me to ask. How much alcohol did you have to drink to have his ending with Bella be what it was? I’m completely serious. I imagine a computer screen, a bottle of whiskey, lots of screaming of creative curses, and crying uncontrollably when writing about him. I understand, dear author, I do the same thing whenever I write about Emmett.

What is it exactly that I’m trying to say with all of my ramblings? Thank you for this story. It has been a constant joy these past months. I don’t review like I should, but I will try harder. I’m really enjoying your new story, Bachman Twilight. It’s making me like Emmett and harder to kill him off in my own stories. What did you do, Mortissues? What did you do? Where’s my whiskey bottle?


Jiff Simpson ~

I have such mixed feelings when it comes to Troika. It was the first fic of Mortissues’ that I’d read and I was immediately hooked when I started reading. It was different and I was intrigued by the plot and the new characters that were featured. After a while, though, I became sad, angry, confused, and frustrated. That’s a crazy thing to admit when writing  about a fic, I know, but here’s the thing: this story made me FEEL.

Did I want to slap this Bella and shake some sense into her? Yes. Did I want to skip around the room, showering myself with flower petals when certain characters fell in love? Of course. Did I want to fall to my knees and beg Morti not to break my heart? Absolutely. Many, many times, in fact!

I swear, this fic had me running the gamut of emotions but I still felt refreshed from all the ‘feeeeels’, even the negative ones. That’s what great writing does. It makes you experience many different emotions while making you thirst for even more.

What I loved the most about reading Troika were the friendships I made and/or strengthened while reading it. With every update, there’d be a discussion thread with other ladies who were reading along. We’d talk about theories, our fears, and how a particular chapter made us feel. A lot of times, we felt differently about the same update! It was great.  There was no judgement, just sharing with a ton of freaking out thrown in. It made the fic even more fun to read. So, thank you, Mortissues. Thank you for your words. Thank you for leading me to a wonderful group of ladies. Mostly, thank you for making me feel. By the way, you’ve done it again. I just became hooked on your new fic, Bachman Twilight. Hopefully, my girls are reading it, too!


Susan Q ~

How far out of your comfort zone are you willing to go? Would you step into a story that is based on canon, but has an Edward that didn’t come back…right away? Could you enjoy a single mother Bella who’s been missing something—someone—for nearly two decades?

Once in a while I’ll start a fic with a fabulous premise and hope that the execution is as strong. Troika delivers. The title alone will get you thinking: a group of three people. But which three people? We follow (a great) Bella on a journey that at times is not for the faint of heart, but the return on your investment of time and emotion is so worth it.

The author, Mortissues, is a brilliant writer. She can have you laughing, gasping, and then flailing all in a 2,000 word chapter. Her stories are fun to read and she always takes liberties with canon and you just aren’t sure where she’s going to go.

I love Edward and Bella. Love them together. But Mortissues has a way of making me appreciate other pairings, and care so much about an original character, that I’m on the edge of my seat worrying about her. That is masterful writing.

When you finish with Troika, go read An Unobservable Entity and Rosalie’s Baby and start her new WIP, Bachman Twilight. I don’t wholeheartedly recommend a lot of stories, but Troika is first-rate.


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