Reviews for Sweeten the Blow
FreeSpiritSeeker chapter 7 . 8/10/2015
I have to tell you, your writing of this is incredible. I've read the book and enjoyed the mini-series for Streets of Laredo. In fact, cruel as he was, Joey Garza as played by Alexis Cruz was one of my first crushes. Even with throwing in characters from Young Guns II, you still have managed to capture that sense of desperate poverty and yet hope that I feel/see whenever I think of this series.
Goddess of Wraiths chapter 64 . 5/22/2014
Now, a long story, indeed. Do you know it has as many words (if not more) than the Harry Potter books? You literally wrote a book. That's awesome.

The first time I watched The Streets of Laredo, I fell in love with Joey Garza. I doubt you remember me but I used to watch your videos on YouTube and I even attempted to write a story about Joey on my own and you sent me a long lengthy review on it (years ago) and I kind of forgot about it.

Now you've inspired me to start anew and write my story. Maybe not right now, but in the future. But still, thanks for the inspiration.

This story was really in depth and detailed and I liked how I felt like I was reading a book on and not a short story.

I liked how you developed joey's character. I loved the tension between he and Ella in the early chapters and I kept thinking and hoping she would help him become a better person and I have to admit, I was sad when that didn't happen.

When Joey died, I thought it was great how you had him take Ella with them. It seemed befitting. I liked how you talked about their crosses having the same dates on them and what people would wonder about their life and death. Because that's what I always think about when I see something like that.

Anyways, I really enjoyed this. I took a look at your profile to see if you ever wrote any one shots on Joey and I'm sad to see you didn't. You haven't updated a story in over a year so maybe you've moved on last all of this. Whatever the case, I know I'd love to read some more about your concept of Joey!
southernvampirepirate chapter 57 . 9/29/2010
This story is so awesome! on question though, what did Joey say to her right before he fell into the water? i don't understand spanish. :)
lacryma chapter 64 . 9/20/2010
As much as I despise Joey I have to admit he is a very distinct character and I enjoy all his scenes! Was good to see him for a few moments here. He's such a little brat! He has this sort of eternal feel to his character as well in the sense that he's almost like a force a nature. When I read one of his scenes it's like an elemental shift occurred and the living embodiment of a storm flew in. It makes him interesting but also hard to sympathize with in the sense that it feels like he was just immovable and nothing could be done to save him. I feel so much regret for him though as I do not think he needed to end up like this. If he hadn't been sold off as a child, I do not think he would be the man he became.

It is so sad watching Ella be put to rest in the coffin but a very fitting end to the story. It feels like Doc really is putting her to rest and I really enjoyed where you have him saying that he won't be dwelling on this forever. That she will always be in his heart and he will visit when he can, but he's going to move on and live. In a sense it feels like in the end this became Doc's story, because he carries with him the knowledge of what happened and in the end, he is the one that was changed for it even though two people had to die.

I've really enjoyed every moment of this story and though I am sad to see it end I feel it ended in a way that does justice to all the characters. I feel the story leaves something behind to ponder because the characters all have aspects that we can identify with on some level. Watching them suffer, grow, laugh and love has been a true delight and I will always remember Ella, Joey, Maria and Doc. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story with us all.
lacryma chapter 63 . 9/20/2010
Again, such a great chapter! I like the moment where Doc is standing over Joey's body. I really felt the emotion coming out of him. Just the raw appraisal of what life in the west truly costs. It makes me respect Doc all the more that he didn't stand there curing Joey. He blames himself I think just as much as he blames Joey. And it really takes a mature, wise soul to be able to stand over the body of the man that the woman you love ran off with, and who eventually got her killed, and be able to say he must not have been all bad if Ella saw something in him. That made me teary eyed. It shows just how much Doc loves Ella and how much he respects her to be able to truly say those things. He's such a good person. But I also like how he doesn't sugar coat it and says that surely Ella won't be wherever Joey is and i believe that.

The last scene was moving. Even after she is gone, Doc will not allow ill to be spoken of her. I get the sense from everything that she just truly is a precious gem to him and he will always treasure her. There is nobody else like Ella, and he knows it. And there's nobody else like Doc. That's waht makes it so hard that they couldn't live out their lives together.
lacryma chapter 62 . 9/20/2010
I really liked this chapter. It was a nice wrapup to the memories that started for Doc in the last chapter. Obviously it is bittersweet but I think these memories help bring some closure. I liked the part where Chavez says Ella is on a path to destruction, having seen how her life played out that rings true. But it says a lot that Doc doesn't believe it. I honestly don't think it's that Doc knows it's true and doesn't want to believe it. I think he honestly just does not believe that is true of her, and that is what makes their romance so sweet but also so heartbreaking.

I think for Doc the hardest part is that they both in a way come from similar material but ended up so different. Doc had a hard life until he was offered help. And now Doc wants to offer that help to Ella. I think what hurt him the most was the continual rejection, in his mind, of that help. They have something between them and Ella and he care for each other. He's offered to give her the world and take her away and Ella knows he is a good man by her own admission. But she refuses. And her excuse seems to be that she has no options but here Dave is giving her one. Both she and Doc know that option is no good, but Ella chooses it despite Doc's continually offering to give her the life she deserves.

Obviously Ella has issues and was scared. I think it was probably easier accepting Dave because when he beats her, she can put it all down to him being a bad guy at heart and that she doesn't deserve better, when in her deepest self she knows she does. But Doc, if Doc ever turned on her. how could that pain ever go away? How could the betrayal of a kind and dedicated man ever heal? How could she ever believe deep down that she deserved better if even Doc would hurt her? Ella knew so much disappointment in her life that I truly think that she sold herself short just to avoid the bitter disappointment of being hurt by someone worthy. Of course the irony is that Doc would have rather die than hurt her.
lacryma chapter 61 . 9/20/2010
I really liked seeing Doc's point of view and getting some snippets of his backstory. Up til now we've really only seen things from Ella's perspective. I know how Ella sees Doc and all her insecurities but haven't seen it from Doc's point of view. I sometimes wondered earlier in the story what Doc saw in her because they seem so opposite. But now I see that they came from the same place essentially and want the same things at heart. The difference is that Ella was not in the same place as Doc fully. It's really a tender moment between them here and punctuates all the emotions Doc must feel. At the same time there is a connection, there's also a pull back. Even as she's drawn to him you can see the dance between the two of them and that in fact Ella can never truly belong to anybody. Doc wanted so desperately to create a life with this woman but it could never be. It's very sad and really makes her death so much more poignant.
Joshi chapter 60 . 7/21/2010
Wow, just wow... tears... tears and all. It was wonderful the overall plat was amazing! and the fact that that ending happned was like woah! but wow fantastic job... amazing job i personally see no flaws:) woop woop!

lol sorry i didn't feel like signing in, by the way so anywho you did amazing i love how you killed Joey off it was so much better than the film! i cried even MORE! lol i shall learn alot from you:)
EllieJaneAmaruq chapter 60 . 7/20/2010
You know... i don't remember the last time the ending of a story surprised me. It was masterful.. and i have to say, as bad as he was, I totally loved Joey... what did all the Spanish mean?
lacryma chapter 60 . 5/2/2010

I am completely sobbing. I knew this would probably happen and I just adore the way you handled it but I've been reading this story for...what's it been now 6 months? So I feel like I've watched Ella for a long time and seeing her die was really upsetting.

It was good that you let them have a moment to say goodbye. I think without that neither of them would have had any closure. I can't imagine what Doc feels though knowing that he is the one that shot her.

But honestly I do agree with Ella, it was not his fault. It was her fault and Joey's fault - they just got in too deep and too entangled in their dance to be able to full come away from it unscathed. I almost felt like this is a darker Romeo and Juliet. Especially the way that he is laid out by Maria with Ella next to him dying, it felt like a version of the final scene in Romeo and Juliet where they lay dying.

I feel like in that final moment, when Doc is recounting White Oak, I feel like that was her redemption. Ella may not think much of herself, it seems like she feels she is a sinner. But I don't think so. I think when she passed out she saw her faults and in so doing made amends for them. And I think in those final moments, Doc showed her she is a good person because if she weren't, how could she have so positively affected someone's life like that? It's clear she was the reason he gave up crime and bettered himself.

But I feel so sad they will never be together. I only hope Ella is in a place of peace and rest and not being tormented by Joey. And I hope Doc is able to find a way to forgive himself and live a peaceful and possibly happy life.
lacryma chapter 59 . 5/2/2010
Really great job. You really set the mood right and I felt this sense of dire urgency as I read this. I think you also did a great job in the sense of creating confusion. Not in the sense that I didn't know what was going on, but I was wondering how Maria got back to the house, how Doc was going to get the bullet out, concern for Ella. It helped to mirror what the characters must be feeling.

As usual I'm very impressed with Maria. I felt really bad when I learned that Gordo was the one who brought her back to the house, but then what happened was going to happen - and it was best Maria and the children did not see. Besides he would have died anyways, but that image of him being hoisted up is not one that can be gotten rid of easily. I really respect the way she focuses on the task at hand and is able to separate out her emotions without stuffing them. I'm sure she doesn't blame Doc for Joey's death but she'll have to process it later.

I like the way you make it clear Ella may be done for but create suspense in that there may be a glimmer of hope due to the fact the bullet didn't hit her directly but rather passed through Joey first. I can't imagine how hard it must be for Doc to know that he was the one that shot her but also that he is the one responsible for getting the bullet out. On the one hand I'm sure it's best in that it allows him to correct his mistake but if she dies, it will doubly be his fault.

I really liked at the end when Ella passes out, how she reflects on her past. I thought it was just really insightful and poignant that she realizes that she was running away and seeking out people who had something she felt she didn't. Like she reflects, it seems she felt she needed to have thick skin and the courage to defend herself. The irony, also as she notes, is that these people who lived callous, tough lives weren't any happier. I'm not sure what she was seeking but it almost seems like she felt to have that simple life of a farm and children was wrong - and that she felt she needed to be some tough cowgirl instead. I think if she were to accept that it takes courage to live the life you want, she would then not feel shame in wanting that simple happiness and would be able to live that life out.
lacryma chapter 58 . 4/11/2010
This is one of the most amazing chapters in the whole story. You did such a great job handling some pretty delicate stuff. I have to be honest that at first when Ella got up to go after Joey I was a bit annoyed with her. But you handled that so well and so subtly that it made perfect sense. Joey has always been a monster, capable of anything - and at a moments notice he will do what is in his head. Despite that, Ella did love him and stayed by his side. He's beaten her many times, done things that humiliate her and put her in horrific situations. So, it's not that big of a shock that even though he stabbed her, she would want to be by his side in the end and make sure he avoids lynching. Because to her, stabbing her really isn't that big of a switch from how he'd always been, I think.

It was touching that she held his hand and wanted to be there as he died. And I thought it was beautiful the way Joey finally gave in. Despite his protests and telling himself he doesn't want her there, seeing him admit to himself that he wants to see her eyes as he passes and have her there with him was a beautiful way to end it.

I have to say I loved the last scene even though of course the visual of it is disturbing. I thought that was great, because it shows that despite any emotions Joey may have shown in his final moments, he still has to pay for what he has done. The monster in him is all he has shown to the public, so there's no reason that the crowd would back down. I also thought doing it that way was a very tragic and sad end for him. Because Joey always has been larger than life, he has always seen himself as invincible and epic and someone who will go down in history as the most feared bandit. And that's not how it happened. He passed in pain and suffering - and his dead body was lynched as an example. It wasn't at all what he had pictured, I think, both in terms of admitting he wanted this woman by his side and in terms of how his body was displayed. Also having no sort of reaction from the body as they hoisted it up put a very somber tone on it as it symbolizes the "emptiness" that Joey showed even when alive.

I think you did an amazing job with ending Joey's story. Now I'm interested to see what happens to Ella and if she will survive her wound. And if she does, I'm interested to see if she can build a future for herself with Doc.
Hiding Harmony chapter 57 . 4/5/2010
HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL! I was holding my breath the whole time! Oh crap my heart is racing so fast lol! Wow, i am so happy that was not like the movie, i was afriad it would be.

You did amazing! I love how you had Joey's feelings pour out in one chapter, i didn't expect him to do that to Ella at the end, it shocked me, but i laughed cause i was right if he can't have Ella no one can.

Wow, this is the best chapter so far and i'm seriously excited to read what you have next.

It's so sad since the beginning i just didn't like Doc i wanted her with Joey now i just want her with Joey, but since death got in the way i'm happy doc is still around.

I don't get it is she gonna die? Wow i'm so confused. Its not your fault though, i love this chapter i was just reading so quickly with excitment that i missed alot. I'm gonna go back and re-read it lol, but i guarentee i'll start with chapter 1 again hehehe

I'm ashamed of myslef i'm Mexican (like Joey hehe) and i don't know spanish, wow what a mexican right? I had to use a dictionary because i was so desperate to know what he said. And now i know what he said... oh my i cried lol it was so beautifull yet so sad you did great! I'm so excited to see what happens next:)

You did fabulous the story changed so dramatically and you handled it well, i love how you made it all come together, it was very sweet. I love your creative-ness... yet again you rock my SOCKS, keep it up girl lol!:D ehem yes i am upset Joey died, but you made it better than the movie this death is better and makes it more dramatic, i love it!:)
lacryma chapter 57 . 4/2/2010
Wow. Where to start?

First off this connects up well with what I said at the end of the last review in that now we do get to see what Ella's intent was and the fact that she really is over it and is ready to leave. She's ready to go start a new life. Doc seems uncharacteristically angry but it's understandable. I think he knows full well what a monster Joey can be and he is definitely right that if Joey does heal he will come back to finish the job. But I do also think a bit of his anger and urgency is tinged with fear that Joey stands in the way of he and Ella being together. I think he feels as long as this guy is alive, Ella will be tied to him and they won't truly be together. But I really liked it when Ella said it's that she doesn't want Doc to be the one to kill Joey - because if he does it will just bring more guilt and bad energy between them regarding Joey - and it can never be undone. I don't think she wants him to have the last laugh by having that level of power over them.

But I think it says a lot about her though that she couldn't just leave him to die. And I found their exchange very sweet though I felt uneasy and worried during it. I don't speak Spanish so I don't understand the things he said to her but it felt like the fact he was speaking in Spanish was not an accident. I don't think it was because he's near death and is reverting to his native language. I think it was so that she would not understand what he was saying. Not because he's saying something of emotional value that he's embarrassed for her to hear...but I think it was to hide what he is saying and remove her from the equation. If he speaks Spanish and she can't understand, then she's not a participant in the conversation and therefore almost not even there. That's what tipped me off he was about to do something bad. It felt like a final farewell to her, like he recognized she meant something but he's going to make her obsolete.

That was really tough to read the part where she's attacked. It's like watching a friend get hurt and not being able to do anything. I really wanted to reach through the page and help her. I think you did a great job the way you wrote it and it was very unique. Because it's 3rd person narrative but the way you structure that moment felt more first person. So even though I had a vague sense of the macro level happenings, I felt like I was right there with Ella seeing it from her perspective - which made it more terrifying and surprising to find how injured she was.

I assumed she was stabbed and was certain it was mortal. Then I was happy it was not. But I was shocked she's been shot! I didn't remember that and had to go back and re-read that sequence. You'll have to tell me later if this assumption is correct, but it seemed like Doc saw Joey coming for Ella, took aim and accidentally shot Ella first? It had to have been Doc that shot Ella, it wasn't Joey right? And did he fire twice or did the bullet in Ella's chest go clean through and hit Joey? My assumption was he hit Ella accidentally and then took aim again and hit Joey?

Great job - this is a very intense and well written chapter. It seems pretty clear Ella is going to die - I'm hoping not but I'm preparing for the worst. Upload more soon please! :)
lacryma chapter 56 . 4/2/2010
For some reason I was surprised he went after Maria and the kids! I knew he would eventually but for some reason I thought he had some sort of pride left over Ella or Doc. I thought he took Call's gun to kill Doc and frame Call. But actually this makes sense. Am I right in assuming he wanted to kill the kids and Maria with Call's weapon given the irony that Call killed their father?

It was really good to see Ella literally and figuratively take up arms and become involved. And I felt it was symbolic. She just fought for her own survival by crawling out of that cave. And now she's not only fighting to protect what is her adopted family for all intents and purposes - but it felt like she was fighting to also protect the part of her that is a mother and the part of her that was and maybe still wants a child. I kept thinking "shoot him!" but it doesn't work that way - she had to do what she had to do and she was very brave. Great stuff.

I wonder if Maria would have been upset with Ella if she had killed Joey when she shot him. My guess is she wouldn't have been, provided it was to defend herself or Maria or the kids. It seems like her issue is in killing him in cold blood - which I think to her, letting him stay with the law men on the way would be the same thing to her. I understand it but was slightly surprised given she must know if he does heal, he will return in time and kill her family. If it were just her I could understand but she has other children and I would think they'd come first. But I understand for sure she's not going to watch him be gunned down - it's a hard situation and she is a mother afterall.

I really liked the scene where Ella wades into the water to speak to Joey. Very rich imagery and I felt very symbolic. I saw it as a sort of cleansing for them both. For her it elucidated the fact that whatever she thought she felt may have been a projection on her part, wishful thinking on her part. It must be sickening to realize that all along he had just been a husk devoid of a soul - and further that she was told that straight up by Joey himself. But she dealt with it with such grace and I was really amazed and proud. She didn't waver, she was just calm and objective. It was such a great scene.

It was great that Doc showed up. I was curious, though, to see how things would have played out had Doc not shown up right then. What I mean is that Ella just had this major transformation of seeing Joey for what he is...for finally getting it. I wanted to see her walk away completely and Joey to leave or do whatever it is he has to do. Before we always saw Ella relent a little and feel something for Joey. I wanted to see her literally walk away to show that's not the case, but I also think in keeping with how I said this is all symbolic, that Doc showing up fits in with what was happening: she's finally seen things for how they are, and therefore her true love can be hers and she his. Great chapter.
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