Title: Frostfire
Author: Amanda Hocking
Series: The Kanin Chronicles, book 1/3
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, YA
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: January 6th, 2015

Set in modern-day Canada, Frostfire ushers us into the magical world of the Kanin – one of the five breeds of trolls. (Yes, this story is about trolls.) The five breeds of trolls are the Kanin, the Trylle, the Skojare, the Vittra, and the Omte, who are a more aggressive and less attractive form of trolls called, you guessed it, ogres.

Our story is told by Bryn Aven, a strong-willed 19-year-old tracker aspiring to become one of the Hogdragen (an elite guard that protects the Kanin kingdom).  Bryn has been sent on a mission to collect the person who is next in line to the Kanin throne, a changeling. While trying to get the changeling, Bryn has a run-in with the last person she ever thought to see – the exiled Konstantin Black.

When the King orders the trackers and the Hogdragen to pair up and collect all the changelings, Bryn and Ridley (her attractive boss) begin tracking a teenage changeling. Before they can locate her, she is already missing. They split up, Ridley finding only her body, and Bryn meeting Konstantin Black. Konstantin seems to warn her of something: he knows what is really going on. He leaves Bryn unharmed. Bryn and Ridley return home, feeling the shift that has begun in their relationship – both of them have feelings for each other that a tracker and her boss should not have.

When the Skojare Queen goes missing, King Evert sends Bryn and Ridley to Storvatten to locate the her and investigate the wealth of jewels in the Skojare tribe. Things in Storvatten seem enshrouded in mystery. Bryn and Ridley are prevented from investigating the situation too closely. When Konstantin shows up, yet again, it appears that he is more involved than ever. Bryn discovers that he is working for the most wanted man of all the Kanin – Victor Dalig.

This book kept my attention, with an interesting perspective on trolls, a nice amount of love interest, and plenty of action. I would recommend this series to fans of YA Fantasy.

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Title: Endure
Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: The Defy Trilogy, book 3/3
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Publisher: Scholastic Press

Release Date: January 5th, 2016

Note: This post reviews the third book of The Defy Trilogy. You may like to read the first two books in the series, Defyand Ignite, before reading this review. 

Alexa and Damian, now engaged to be married, have defeated the sorcerer, Lady Vera, who threatened to tear them apart. But their troubles are far from over. King Damian faces an imminent attack from the kingdom of Dansii, and Rylan – now a prisoner of Dansii – will surely die if Alexa does not attempt to rescue him. On top of that, Alexa is still being controlled in her mind by the evil sorcerer Rafe, who can force her to harm Damian at any moment.

No one is safe.

Even though Damian begs her to stay with him, Alexa makes the difficult decision to go to the aid of Rylan, helpless in the hands of the enemy. Damian is convinced he will never see her again and struggles to hold onto any hope. But Alexa cannot bear to forsake Rylan. But she does not go alone. Her friend and sorcerer, Eljin, accompanies her, and together they seek to rescue Rylan.

No one is safe.

In this breathtaking finale to the Defy Trilogy, you can never fully prepare yourself for what is to come. As the kingdom of Dansii, equipped with an army of black sorcerers, attacks not just Antion, but Blevon as well, it is almost impossible to see a happy ending in sight. Will Alexa overcome the power that Rafe holds over her mind? Will Damian be able to deliver his people from the hands of their enemies? And will both of them find their way back to each other and live happily ever after?

No one is safe…

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Title: Ignite
Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: The Defy Trilogy, book 2/3
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: December 30th, 2014

Note: This posts reviews the second book of The Defy Trilogy. You may like to read the first book in the series, Defy, before reading this review.

King Damian has recently ascended to the throne after removing his own father from a reign of tyranny. As he strives to rebuild Antion after so many years of suffering, Damian can see no one at his side but Alexa, ruling the kingdom with him. Even though they are both desperately in love with each other, Alexa cannot allow herself to become his wife, and ultimately his queen. She convinces herself that she would not be good for Damian, or the kingdom of Antion. The scars she received from defeating King Hector and his sorcerer marred more than just her face. She resigns herself to remaining Damian’s personal guard, and tries to make him believe she does not love him.

Soon after the death of King Hector, two powerful sorcerors, Lady Vera and her brother Rafe, come to the palace disguised as friends from Dansii. As Damian falls under the enchantment of Vera, his younger brother Jax is abducted by Rafe. Alexa hates to leave Damian, but knows that Jax will die if she does not rescue him. She and her fellow guard, Rylan, who is still in love with her, set out to rescue him and they succeed, but not without Rylan being taken in his place.
Leaving Rylan with the promise to rescue him, Alexa returns Jax to the palace, only to find her beloved Damian fully under Vera’s control. Vera has made him believe that he really loves her, and orders him to kill Alexa. As Damian fights against Vera’s spell, Alexa is forced to admit the truth she has tried so hard to hide – she admits that she loves him, and that she always has. But is it enough to break Vera’s hold over him? Is their love more powerful than any enchantment?
Sara B. Larson put herself in a difficult position with this sequel, after her first book was so captivating. She did not disappoint, leaving us once again on the edge of our seat! This is by far the best middle book of a trilogy that I have ever read.

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Title: Defy
Author: Sara B. Larson
Series: The Defy Trilogy, book 1/3
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: January 1st, 2014

Defy, book one in a young adult fantasy trilogy of that name, is the kind of book that I am constantly searching for. It is filled with action and adventure, and royals and romance, and a perfect amount of magic and fantasy. Not surprisingly, this book and the other two books in the trilogy, Ignite and Endure, are now among my other favorites on the shelf. Defy seems to be made up of all the good stuff for young adult literature.

Seventeen-year-old Alexa Hollen is forced into a life she didn’t want, but had to choose after her village was burned and her parents killed in the flames. It is the life of a palace guard, and she is so good at the position that she is elevated to the Prince’s guard, and charged to protect Damian, Prince of Antion, with her life. I should say, his life, because no girl is allowed to do a boy’s job and she is forced to disguise herself as a boy. Her twin brother Marcel, who works alongside her in the guard, is the only other person who knows her true identity – or so they think.

Alexa became the best swordsman, the best archer in Prince Damian’s guard, which is why she was chosen to be his personal guard. It was during this time that Alexa and Damian began to understand each other better and form a relationship. Up till now, she had thought the prince to be lazy, untrained in combat, uninterested in the affairs of his kingdom, and spoiled. But Damian allowed himself to relax when he was with Alexa and let the mask he wore in public fall away, revealing an intelligent, strong, and devastatingly attractive young prince who was living in pain caused by his ruthless father.

After an attack of a sorcerer, Eljin, in the middle of the night, Damian, Alexa, and a fellow guard and dear friend of hers, Rylan, are all taken as prisoners. Their captors are from the kingdom of Blevon, the enemy of Antion, and they are taking them all the way to their country. During the long journey from one kingdom to the next, Alexa realizes that not only Rylan, but Damian too, have known her secret for quite some time: they know she is a girl. This immediately changes her relationships with both men. Rylan has confessed to Alexa that he has cared for her for years, but was never allowed to express it to her because it would only endanger her. Damian, too, knew who she was all along, and loved her ever since she became one of his guards. When he lets her see his true nature, Alexa can’t help falling for him, to Rylan’s dismay. It’s not long before Alexa and Damian are in love.

Once they all reach Blevon, Alexa and Rylan are both in for more surprises – the prince is not who they thought. She is even more surprised when she learns that she has an ability to fight against sorcerer’s, and Damian needs her more than ever.

I’m going to admit that I read the first two books of the series in one day. They were that good! Defy gets your attention from the first page and grips you till the end. It is one of those books that is nearly impossible to put down, between the action scenes and the gorgeous love story. Sara B. Larson has woven this tale so beautifully that it leaves you breathless for more!

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The Siren

Title: The Siren
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: January 26th, 2016

(first published July 9th, 2009)

Kahlen is a siren – beautiful, magical, and deadly. In her service to the Ocean, she must sing her toxic song to lure seafarers – not just men, but women and children as well – to their watery graves. The Ocean sustains all life on earth, and must be sustained in return. 80 years into her 100 years of service, Kahlen is still not entirely happy with this life, despite her love for the Ocean and her sisterhood of sirens. After a singing, she mourns over the lives she has taken. She sees them in her dreams. She is consumed by sorrow and guilt over the lives she has taken to feed the Ocean. She knows that it must be done to keep all life in balance, but she still hates doing it.

She becomes even more dissatisfied with her life when she meets Akinli, a boy who changes everything. Even though she cannot speak to him (for a siren’s words are like poison that compel people to throw themselves into the Ocean), Akinli is drawn to Kahlen. It is difficult not to be drawn to sirens because of their otherworldly beauty and perfection, but it is clear that she is more than just a beauty to Akinli. He sees her wit, her old-fashioned charm, her intelligence in all of the words she can’t say. Little does he know that she is a siren.

And they fall in love.

Of course, we have reached our conflict of the story. As you have probably guessed, sirens and humans cannot be together. Sirens, during their 100 years of servitude, belong to the Ocean. In 20 years, Kahlen knows that she will be released from the Ocean and made human again, with no memory of ever having been a siren. But by then, Akinli surely would have moved on, wouldn’t he?

Will Kahlen and Akinli’s love be stong enough to overcome the waves?

I definitely enjoyed this debut book by such a captivating writer. Kahlen’s story of love and loss is as beautiful and as deep as an ocean. If you get can get through some of the darkness amidst the deaths at sea, you might enjoy this modern-day fairytale as I did.

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