Hey! Since I'm reading over all the entries for the prefects' challenge, I wanted to stop and review this.
Because, omg. OMFG. This was absolutely adorable.
As someone who likes to cook, I loved that aspect of the story - I'm not sure whether it's an ongoing feature of the Chai series or specific to this story (this is my first one, I think!), but either way, I loved it and you made my mouth water. The way you interspersed it with Hannah and Neville trying desperately to get the words out was so perfect, too - it's so hard to put yourself out there like that, even with someone you're dating and who you're pretty sure likes you. Their dynamic was really the best thing about this piece, too - the needling at each other over their houses was particularly amazing. "Gryffindork" + "imagine me naked" is one of the best ways to tease a person that I've ever read in a fic. :P
Amazing job - I absolutely adored this!
Thanks for dropping by and reviewing! I imagine you're super busy, so it means a lot.
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it! Adorable is what I aim for in this series!
Cooking is a central feature of the Chai series. I am rather enamored with the idea of cooking as a form of cultural expression - in theory, if not in personal practice :P - so I take every opportunity to showcase that through Hannah. One of the aims of the series is definitely to make people hungry! I love writing these two fumble and flounder through the everyday of a romantic relationship. It's a lot of fun. I'm pleased you enjoyed the dialogue, too!
Thanks for the wonderful review :)
This was so cute and so happy and I have an enormous smile on my face right now as I read this.
I love the dynamic between Hannah and Neville. Their relationship is so cute and their banter is amazingly written (teach me your skills pls ;)). The dancing was perfect as well and I love the mirrored hesitation and nervousness at saying “I love you”; I think the paragraphs where they said it to each other's back right after the other were perfect.
I love how they cook together – it just makes me so happy. Also, Neville immediately picking up a gujia and burning his tongue on it made me laugh. It seems like a very Neville thing to do.
I really like how they awkwardly told each other their “I love yous” while cooking omelettes in the morning. I also really like your matter-of-fact description of how Hannah calmly waited until the omelette was back in the pan before reciprocating the statement; it contrasts nicely with how Hannah must have been feeling during that moment.
I really enjoyed this and I'll be back to read some more of your writing later!
Yayayay! That's exactly what I wanted! Smiles and happiness to spring forth!
I'm glad the banter is good! I've written their relationship chronologically - until this story, so I was a little worried about getting the dialogue correct. The hesitation and nervousness was to demonstrate that these two are basically perfect for each other, and I hope they live happily ever after.
Neville burning his tongue is just one of my favourite things I've ever written. You're right - it is something very Neville!
The awkwardness is also part of their relationship. Considering the way Neville proposed, their respective "I love you"s were basically setting the precedent!
Thanks for the lovely review, Olivia :)
Hi there! I'm here for the winter wonderland event.
I was over the moon to hear that you're writing again and then flat out ecstatic when you published another Chai story about Neville and Hannah. I'm sure I've sung all sorts of praises regarding these two, but you never fail to elicit all sorts of emotions from me with your writing. There's something about the way that you manage to involve and depict so much of Hannah's culture and background into the story without making it overbearing. In fact, it's always interesting and enlightening.
And I don't think I will ever get bored of reading about you making these two cook together. I don't know why, but I find it so sexy. It's like some kind of dance between the two of them, but even a little bit better than dancing before food is involved. I especially liked this one because a. I love palak paneer; it's one of my favourite Indian dishes and b. Where I come from we have a dessert just like the guija that they were making. We only make it during the month of Ramadan. It's exactly the same. We fill it with nuts and shredded coconuts or cream, fry it, then dip it in syrup. And now you've made me crave it and its season is 7 months away. But I'll forgive you because you've written this beautiful story and made my little shipper, food-loving heart flutter.
It feels good to be writing again, I must admit. I never "stopped" writing, but I totally did. When real life got super hectic, alas, I deprioritised writing, and I didn't realise how much I missed it until I finished this story.
I'm glad that I'm not info-dumping about Hannah's culture. It was especially difficult here, since I did want to explain quite a bit about Diwali.
Haha! That's good, because I guess I'm not bored of writing them cook together! I love writing them like this, because they find the joy and beauty in each other through the everyday. Palak paneer is great, everyone should rightfully love it :P Ramadan is still a few months away! Maybe you can reread the story just before Ramadan, to get you really hyped for gujia! Must admit, the extra dipping in syrup sounds delightful - and delightfully decadent.
Thanks so much for the wonderful review, Manno :)
So I recently reviewed that carrots story so I was so excited to see that this story was the follow on because I haven't yet read the others (I will, I will!) but I'm loving that I can review this one now without missing too much out.
I love that this story picks up with them dating for 8 months but still in this 'unsure' fresh stage of their relationship. I'm glad meeting Hannah's family went well for Neville. They are unbelievable cute, I love the dialogue between them because it always come off so naturally and believable you know? you have a very good flow which I think comes from knowing these characters as well as you do. It's obviously that you care very much about their story and shows in your writing.
I do really enjoy your writing because I feel like I learn more about cooking as I read. it's nice to feel more educate after I've finished one of these pieces! All the little details about cooking really add to realism in their relationship and interactions with each other. I adore the little details that the characters notice about each other like Neville says 'her dimples' because when you love someone everything about them seems a bit magical. I like their teasing with 'gryffindork' and that again silly little things that make up a friendship and then relationship. they know how to be comfortable with each other so important. Your writing captures the essence of this perfectly.
How could he have possibly stopped himself from falling head over heels in love with Hannah Abbott? If he lived a thousand years, he didn't think he'd find the answer. < this is the cutest line! my favourite, it just captures that crazy unexplained thing called love.
the ending with the nearly 'i love you' was basically the pure thing that I've ever read. I adore it, it was perfect for this pair of cuties. I just love how cute, innocent they are. they both have such beautiful intentions towards each other. I like the image of Neville blurted it out over Christmas. This piece was just gorgeous. <3
- Abbi xo
Haha, there's no pressure to read all the stories - yet *glares menacingly* :P Thanks for dropping in!
It was a very different experience writing these two feeling a little unsure about each other. On the other hand, I really got to write them all flirty and loving, since they're still in the first blush of their relationship. I'm pleased that you found the story flowed well - I struggled in parts in this piece, which is a little strange :P
Haha, if you ask anyone who knows me in RL, they'd be amazed that I can convincingly write a cooking scene! I don't particularly enjoy cooking, but I do seem to love writing it! For me, it's the little things about a person that make them wonderful, and I really wanted to show that for Neville and Hannah - the devil (or the love, as it were) was in the details.
That line may have been too much cheese, but neither I nor Neville care. I'm very pleased that you enjoyed it so much! It is one of my favourite declarations of love I've written, I think.
That ending took a while to appear from the aether, so I'm exceptionally happy that you liked it so much!
Thanks so much for the wonderful review, as always, Abbi!
A NEW CHAI STORY!!!!
Ah, this made my little heart so happy. Honestly, I think you could keep writing these stories about Neville and Hannah forever and you would just keep making people's days. Just in case you need any more convincing :P
This was so perfect - I love the way that Neville and Hannah are together, and the fact that they just seem so sweet and perfect together. It's so wonderful to read the way that their relationship is blossoming, and how natural they are. They play off each other so well, and I love their flirty banter and the way that they tease each other; it's just a joy to read the two of them falling more in love with each other right there, as they talk and cook together, and try and work out how to tell each other that they love each other.
I don't think that 8 months is too early for either of them to say "I love you", but I think that the doubt is natural and the two of them are still feeling their way into the relationship and meeting all these landmarks together, and it's so sweet and adorable to read. Kind of frustrating when the two of them mouth the words to each other's back, but I was so happy to read that ending and know that at Christmas they told each other properly <3
I also really loved the way that you flipped the narrative halfway through this story, just at that moment that we think Hannah's about to tell Neville she loves him, and his disappointment that she doesn't is so tangible and real - Hannah definitely doesn't need to worry about saying it at this point, even if she does.
I love the way that you've included Diwali in this piece - Hannah's enthusiasm and excitement for it is so believable, and I really enjoyed the fact that Neville spent it with her and her family, when it's so important to them. It means so much that he's making so much of an effort to learn about the culture that means so much to her (and is slowly picking up on the food and cooking, too) and that they're sharing their special holidays.
The little detail about the magical tealights made me so happy - I love the idea of there being a magical version of the Diwali tealights and someone who's set up a business that caters for it in the wizarding world. You manage to evoke Hannah's culture so strongly and vividly, and it's just such a pleasure to read a story which is so rich and beautiful.
(Also, I'm hungry. Again. It shouldn't be a surprise now because it usually happens after reading your Chai stories, but thank you very much for that :P)
Keep writing Neville and Hannah and Chai forever, please - and thank you for sharing another story about them with us!
Yay! I am also very excited to have written a new Chai story. They bring me great joy. So I guess I don't need that much convincing to keep writing them, apparently :P
I tried really hard to show a sense of nervousness, despite how comfortable they are. Their romantic relationship is still relatively new, but on the other hand, they've been friends for quite some time, now - and that discounts the fact that they sort of knew each other when they were kids and teenagers. I've kept the flirting rather minimal in the other stories, so I really wanted it to be overt, here. They're enjoying learning each other!
Eight months isn't too early, in my opinion, as well. But DRAMA! :P
I played around a lot with how I wanted to end this story. When I planned it out, I hadn't quite figured out the end, hoping that something would pop up naturally. After a few iterations, this is what I came up with! I'm glad you liked it. I'm trying to get better at building suspense and tension, even in fluffy, romantic stories, so this was a fun technique to try out.
I had the experience of teaching Diwali to my housemates this year, and whilst I didn't celebrate it with them, as such, just describing our traditions for the festival made me realise that a) not many people know all that much about non-Christian festivals if they don't celebrate them, in a way that's very different to people knowing what Christmas and Easter are about, regardless of personal celebration; and b) I really love Diwali! I wanted to share that joy with my readers, especially the exceptionally wonderful HPFT community, who have given me so much, in as natural a way as possible. Ultimately, this piece is a romance, but it stands out to me in this series because it's also celebrating a love for Diwali and the holiday season in general. I hope it wasn't too expository, which is always the danger when you're trying to set up something with which you know many people aren't familiar. It's another writing skill of mine that I'm trying to work on, since writing fanfic means that a lot of the exposition is already done for you. Like, I don't have to describe what a Gryffindor is to a reader - if you're reading HP fanfic, there's a good chance you already know what that all entails.
As long as I keep on making people hungry with these stories, I feel like it's a mission accomplished!
Thanks so much for this wonderful review, Sian. I got a little detailed in my reply - sorrynotsorry :P
OMG OMG I AM SO EXCITED FOR ANOTHER CHAI STORY YOU HAVE NO IDEA
well maybe you have an idea considering i just swarmed in here with capslock but I AM EXCITED
I absolutely adored this, and it's as magnificent as the rest of the series. This is everything I want from a fluff story. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, your writing of Neville and Hannah is my favourite I've seen anywhere, and the rich detail you put into each of these stories just makes it feel so alive. And, of course, after reading this I am once again very hungry. That gujia they were making sounded delicious. I love that Neville is catching on by this point and has learnt enough from Hannah that he knows what else to get out when he sees that fry pan, haha.
I also love that you chose to set this during Diwali, and Hannah's enthusiasm for this time of year is just infectious! I loved the scene with her dancing in the kitchen and Neville literally just falling in love with her right there. Like you can actually see the hearts in his eyes. I can't say I blame him. I love these two almost as much as they love each other.
Their flirty banter is as fun to read as always. Omg, is it possible for anything to be cuter than this? And then they whisper I love you to each other's backs. Aaaah!
So yeah, I loved this, and I wish I had some of the food they made because it sounds amazing, and this story is amazing, and you are amazing. Thank you for writing another one of these, it totally made my day!
Hahaha! I cannot believe how excited people are for this series! I am blushing right now.
I was worried that this one was a bit too fluffy. I love fluff, myself - the fluffier, the better. But there's usually something a little more serious in each story. In this one, I just wanted to celebrate the holiday spirit! I'm glad you enjoyed it :D And I am always exceptionally pleased with myself for making people hungry! My cooking skills are average, but I'm glad I make up for it in my writing :P
Gosh, I really loved writing that dancing scene. I've always written Hannah as being quite serious, with Neville being more of the sillier foil. But Diwali is the perfect excuse to dance around in your fancy lehenga to a bangin' Bollywood song, sometime past midnight. How could Neville resist, really? Heart eyes everywhere!
It took me a while to figure out how to get them to say "I love you" to each other without actually saying it. But I love writing these two dorks being dorks. I've been saving that Gryffindork for a while, now. I am excited to use it in other stories, too!
Thanks so much for this super wonderful review! Replying to it has brightened up my day significantly :)
AH, you have utterly made my night with this story! <3
Of course it is every bit as adorable as all the others. You could cut the sexual tension with a knife here though.... I was rather in favor of neville's proposition before they started cooking lol.
The descriptions of Diwali are really charismatic and beautiful. Also, I'm Jewish, and Hanukkah is also called the Festival of Lights, so that made me smile. :)
but mostly. omg, they are so cute. No one writes this ship better than you do, either. No one. Hannah's total swooning over him, the way she dances around. I think I have a crush on her myself! And their mutual love coupled with their mutual nerves is, as ever, a wining combination. Although I must admit, I do not think 8 months is early to say I love you? Especially not if you've nown each other since you were eleven. But i digress.
They're adorable, regardless. You always pick just the right details.I love how in the first ones, neville is arather clueless about cooking, but now he knows how to help. it's so cute how he's learned that from hannah. I also enjoyed that hannah was still ale to be flirty and coy, lie with the burnt tongue. ust perfect.
Thank you for the gift of another chai story. HANNAH AND NEVILLE AND CHAI FOREVER <3333
Thank you so much! I haven't written in a while, especially Hannah and Neville, so I'm pretty nervous about this one.
Haha, I'm trying to be a bit braver in my writing. I usually shy away from sexual tension, but I gave it a go here. I'm glad you enjoyed it!
It's amazing, isn't it? Two festivals from different religions celebrating light? I think several festivals around this time of year are like that.
Oh, gosh! That's high praise, indeed! There should just be more Neville and Hannah out there! And honestly, I think I have a crush on Hannah, too :P Eight months probably isn't too early, especially for these two - but nerves. And drama, of course!
Neville is a smart cookie - he was bound to pick up something eventually :P But it's been fun writing his cooking evolution.
Thanks so much for this wonderful review, Renee. Replying to it has made me smile all over again.