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review 2016-01-31 17:52
To Light the Dragon's Fire
To Light The Dragon's Fire: Dragons, Griffons and Centaurs, Oh My! (Volume 1) - Margaret Taylor

Dragons, Unicorns, Goblins, Griffons, Harpies (and more) oh my! Sounded interesting and it was free!
Terra (one of the twins, her sister Lannie played a prominent role too) is all down on herself and has no hope of ever finding true love, blah, blah, blah (feel sorry for her yet?). So, she's going to martyr herself for the sake of her family and marry for money.
At least that was what she was planning, until kidnapped by a dragon. The instant attraction: Terra: "The air stuck in her lungs and her heart stopped dead in her chest." Draven: "His three hearts seized roughly, each catching on a beat and staining to start up again." Oh and I can't leave out that Draven, "...slept with HUNDREDS of females in just about every type known, but no one had ever lit his Dragon Fire." Oh yes, Terra is DIFFERENT. I. Get. It.
I just didn't care much for this one. The cliffhanger was the nail on the coffin for me. My 3 stars (generous, I thought) got knocked down to a 2. I'll put up with cliffhangers in books/authors I adore, but generally find them annoying as hell. (Done with rant).
On the positive, both Terra and Lannie were decent characters who were smart and didn't need saving.

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review 2015-11-02 08:00
John Of The Rhine
John of the Rhine - Margaret R Taylor,Kelsey King

I'm not completely sure what I expected from this short story, but because there was so much going on in so few pages, everything felt too rushed and undetailed.

 

John is made of a hump of clay. A sentient hump of clay, as he tries to keep his master happy he's also trying to explore the world.

 

The beginning of the story reminded me a lot of the sperm whale and petunia scene from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as John goes trough a process not unlike the sperm whale with all kinds of existential questions. I couldn't really decide whether it was meant as a youth book, but the story seemed a bit simple other wise. While entertaining, I didn't feel like it was something special.

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review 2015-03-27 19:46
Shifters & Chimeras, Oh My!
To Light The Dragon's Fire: Dragons, Griffons and Centaurs, Oh My! (Volume 1) - Margaret Taylor

Twin sisters Terra and Lanni Heegan go caving in the wilds of Wyoming. For Terra, it is her last hurrah before entering into a loveless marriage. However, things take a turn pretty quickly and soon they are swept up in another world where shifters and chimeras rule. They will each face numerous foes, and perhaps even find a mate.

 

Draven is a shifter and lord of the land. He is use to being obeyed and his every word taken seriously. That is, until he is presented with two examples of the mythical being known as human. Terra is pretty sure Lanni has set this up. Perhaps it is with actors. Perhaps it is one of those all submersive vids that you can buy. Maybe even a dose of mushrooms. So when she doesn’t take Draven seriously, things go awry. He has to shift into his dragon form to save her from a nasty fall. Unfortunately. Draven’s guards take Terra’s actions as an act of aggression and she and Lanni are tossed in a dungeon, only to be rescued by an unlikely being.

 

The action picks up really quickly and Terra and Lanni, neither of the shrinking violet variety, do their best to hold their own. Periodically, they are being rescued. Sometimes they do the saving. Draven and his wing man (Arin) make a good duo for the twins to alternately argue with and fight evil side by side. The world building is full of fantastical creatures, such as talking animals, all sorts of chimeras, the shifters, and magical creatures who don’t appear to do any shifting (like the unicorns and rhocs). Arin is a bit of an outcast as he is part of a small group of beings that are never fully human, always retaining some traits of what they shift into. So I pictured him as looking a little like the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, but more disgruntled and trimmer, being the war commander he is.

 

While Terra is a bit more kick ass than Lanni, they both contribute to the plot and are not simply there as romantic interests. They do tend to do more thinking than the men, but this is required by someone if they are to outwit their foes. And the foes are many, with several of them hidden.

 

My one quibble is that Lanni becomes a trauma medic without having had any hands on training or experience, but just from having read a medical book or two. At one point, a character is injured, passes out, and Lanni stitches this character up. That’s fine. Lots of people can do stitches in a pinch. Once the character wakes, she goes on to say how they must have had some internal bleeding. Uh… well, if that is the case then it is pure luck they didn’t die and that the bleeding either stopped on it’s own, or slowed enough to leave the injured stable until a real medic could be called.

 

The romance is a light thread that carries throughout the book. For some of the characters, the connection is made really swift, and others it takes a while. It did not detract from the plot and in certain instances, added to it. There’s also a touch of modern and just over the horizon tech. I liked how this was done lightly, so that we could stay focused on the characters and the plot and not get hung up on whether this was fantasy or science fiction. The ending left us on a very dramatic note (which I liked) and then a bit of a cliffhanger. So be ready to jump right into Book 2 because there is plenty of plot left to unfold and resolve!

 

The Narration: Fred Wolinsky did a good job with all the character voices. I especially liked his slightly furry voice for Aaron (and since he has whiskers and a kind of leonine face it totally fit). His female voices were believable and he had a range that allowed for distinct characters. There was a true challenge in doing voices for Terra and Lanni (who are twins) and yet making them distinct for the listener and he met that challenge with excellence.

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review 2014-12-18 21:56
Interesting Fantasy-Comedy story with a Villain as a hero
Cannon Fodder - Margaret R Taylor,Kelsey King

I received this book a while back for an honest review. I've tried to read it a few times on different occasions, but only recently finished.

 

Cannon Fodder follows the exploits of Alec Nightshade, a 15 year old boy who is an evil overlord in the making, with hopes to stop heroes from killing everyone he knows!

 

I definitely think the idea of the book itself has an interesting premise. I think there were points that I didn't connect with as much as I liked, but I think the book itself is an interesting story.

 

I'd rather break the plot down with things I could, and didn't connect with, as it would be easier to tell whether this is a story is or isn't for you.

 

What I liked:

 

The plot itself. I think you have to actually read the book to come to this conclusion, and while it isn't down to a science or anything, it reminds me of "Despicable Me" , maybe even a little bit like "Sky High" just not as kiddish.

 

I think I'd like to read more villain-kind-of-hero stories more often, mainly because I think the best villains are three dimensional characters, who should have goals and strong character development as much as the hero of the story, otherwise they come off as rather campy.

 

I suppose Alec isn't a true evil overlord in the making. To quote Rocky from my favorite show "Some Girls"

 

"Tryin' to be bad but, not very good at being bad"(Imagine in a hot Cockney accent XD )

 

Being raised in the Norgolian Society of Evil Overlords(or NSEO) environment, he has a lot of street smarts(knowing to trust no one, even your own kind, because, who can really trust an evil overlord right?) but I think there was too much good in him to truly be evil.

 

Alec was a hero that was flawed and made mistakes(really questionable ones, those types you can't go back from, good or evil) which is what I found relatable about him. I think that I liked his character so much, I kinda thought most of the other characters kind of paled in comparison. I'd rather talk about that a bit later though.

 

The story has it's own world, which seemed interesting. Villains and Heroes seemed to have their own networks, ways of communicating with one another, transits they used, and many other things that matched the world.

 

While the character names were pretty out there, I'd rather give an A for effort, because they were different, and I always go for different versus common. The only thing I'll say about them, is I'd have no idea how to pronounce a name like "Ionantha!" 

 

The humor! It was funny. I thought that was very cute, especially because most books in the YA category aren't very funny. Sometimes it was most funny, when the characters were trying to be taken seriously, and after a few books that were really serious(no breather moments) it was a breath of fresh air to read something that didn't give me a night terror or two.

 

What I didn't connect with:

 

The language. Not the writing style itself, but much of the terminology that was specific to the story never slowed down enough for me to understand what it meant. Much of the time, I'd have to read further into the book to understand something, that took me chapters to understand, well I'd read and forgotten the detail. 

 

I know books only have a certain amount of pages to grab you, but I think if it's intended for children or young adults, with their short attention spans, they may not continue a book that doesn't gain their attention long.

 

I didn't always find the POV clear, but it could've been because it was 3rd person, and I just assumed the story would be told from Alec's POV, even if it was a bird's eye view. Whenever it wasn't told from the POV of Alec's I was a little bored, and couldn't wait to get back to him.

 

Race didn't seem like a huge issue in this book, but because of the world, outside of someone being dark skinned, I couldn't always tell if there was a ton of diversity. There are a bunch of cool female characters, and as far as I know Alec is definitely a man of color(possibly something else too XD lips are sealed) but I just think I would've like to see more.

 

The title. I think it suits the plot(or at least to me, considering the clash between hero and evil overlord) but I don't think the intended audience would automatically get the reference unless they read it. The title wouldn't normally provoke anything from me, even though it's not a bad one. I just don't connect to it.

 

I think the cover is ok. Im not saying it could've been better, because it is a cool picture, Im just saying I wouldn't pick it up in a bookstore. I like that Alec is front and center, but maybe I would've liked it better if it'd just featured him on the cover.

 

Scrolling up, Im realizing this review is longer than I intended it to be XD I just really want a reader to make up their own mind, as these are just words. What I didn't connect with, might the fews things another reader loves.

 

I definitely think anyone who likes reading a non-conventional hero would really like "Cannon Fodder!"

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review 2014-09-11 00:00
To Save The Broken Heart
To Save The Broken Heart - Margaret Taylor Book: To Save The Broken Heart (Dragons, Griffons and Centaurs, Oh My #2)
Author: Margaret Taylor
Publication Date: 7/15/2014
Reviewed by: Tammy Payne- Book Nook Nuts
My Rating: 5 Stars

REVIEW

This is book 2 in this series and I enjoyed it very much.

In this book we still have a huge battle going on with many of the paranormal beings and we have a few who are trying to save Lanni.

King Draven and Terra do not know that Lanni is still alive and are in a battle of their own to save Bra’ka which has now been over taken by the Unicorns.

Well she is alive but not in good shape. Will they be able to save her? And If they can what will become of her?
And Draven has lied to Terra what will she do to him?
And what will Arin do when and if Lanni is alive now that he has Haydn.

And Golix has escaped to the Human world can they get him and kill him?

This book has so much suspense and action I truly enjoyed it and would recommend it.

I was gifted a copy of this book for my honest opinion
[b:To Save The Broken Heart|22694565|To Save The Broken Heart (Dragon, Griffons and Centaurs, Oh My!, Book 2)|Margaret Taylor|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1404872668s/22694565.jpg|42207643]
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