Anna Rose's Picks

Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons

This book was an itch that crawled under my skin and gnawed at my heart. It demanded my attention - I couldn't put it down!  The world-building is phenomenal; the characters are fierce and diverse. The magic, emotions, and descriptions are audacious and well-developed. The main characters are dynamic and driven - carving their own path in a demanding world. It is Avatar: The Last Airbender meets The Gladiator. What more could you ask for! 

The Unspoken Name by AK Larkwood

Words fail! AHHH. I loved this book - I started reading this book; the next thing I knew, I was 300 pages in, and my day was gone! Larkwood has changed the game for fantasies - this book indulges in classic high fantasy tropes while peppering in fresh notes of science fiction elements (Hello, inter-terrestrial travel!). The world-building is expansive, and the characters are complex and original. Csorwe is a slaved orc priestess turned badass assassin. This is a complex tale of gods, games, and confidants with high stakes, epic rivals, and wizard duels!! This book is unputdownable and deserves its place on a shelf with other great fantasy books.

Spellhacker by M.K. England

Spellhacker is a fun, spunky romp through an exciting, technologically savvy world. Diz and her fellow band of insurgents are the best heist-mongers for Maz, or magic, in their sad, industry-controlled city. With their last official heist complete, Diz faces her nightmare of losing everything she cares about. In efforts to retain her loved ones, she ends up mucking up everything a losing more than she bargained for. With a dangerous truth exposed, Diz and her friends must join forces one last time before the world collapses in chaos. All while fighting the Maz industry and government, Diz faces internal angst and conflict with those around her. The biggest threat might be Diz, herself. A dazzling story about friendship that is relatable and emotional. Spellhacker will hack its way into your heart with its wondrous storyteller and need for human connection.

Confessions of a Dork Lord by Mike Johnston

Life is not easy for the Dark-Lord-to-be when you cannot cast magic nor command respect from your fellow Grimmies. Wix is utterly and undeniably a dork - which is one of his most personable qualities. Stuck in the Grim World equivalent of middle school, Wix has to figure out a way to save his kingdom and take claim to the Grim throne. This is a wild and unique story told from the "bad guys" perspective. It is relatable and humorous. This is a story about the discovery of oneself and embracing who you truly are. This is a fun read! I want to be a "Dork Lord" too! :)

Reverie by Ryan La Sala

Immensely captivating and original. Reverie is filled with a unique type of magic that is utterly explosive; quite literally, dreams manifested! The characters are diverse and spunky, intertwining a niche for everyone. With an evil drag queen threatening the very fabric of the universe, Kane and his friends must join forces to extinguish ravaging nightmares before they consume reality. Out-of-control dreamscapes aren't the only hazard, lost memories and distrust are rife within the group of friends. Kane must rediscover himself and his friends to defeat the menacing drag queen from destroying the world. Excellent storytelling!

Saving Fable by Scott Reintgen

Every character has a story, but the stories don't contain all the characters. In the wonderful world of Fable, characters exist before, after and during stories that Authors have created. Indira is a character in waiting, trying everything she can to get noticed by an author. One day she is chosen to go to the revered city of Fable to train as a character in the Protagonist Preparatory. With her sights set on becoming a protagonist, Indira works as hard as she can to be the best, but not everything is as it seems at the Preparatory. An evil force is working to undermine the students of the school to take glory for themselves. Only Indira can save the day! Join her wild journey to save the Real World and Imaginary as she and her friends uncover an evil plot and fight powerful forces! Strong characters, a unique world, great story!

Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan

A stunning sequel to Girls of Paper and Fire! This book is enticing, powerful, and filled with a fierce romance and a hungry struggle for survival. Hunted down and pursued to the ends of the kingdom, Lei and her fellow rebels struggle in their pursuit to overthrow the cruel king, who narrowly escaped their assassination. Internal turmoil dominates Lei's thoughts and actions as she battles with the gruesomeness of war and the fine line between necessity and otherwise. Is their sacrifice vain to replace the cruel demon king with an equal just as power-hungry, domineering? Brilliant and astounding! This book will take your breath away!

The Chosen by Taran Matharu

This book is unputdownable! It is a fast paced, action packed book that melds notes of The Hunger Games and Jurassic Park together with a splash of Roman and South American history. The words weave together to create a world and characters filled with diversity and complexity that will keep you on your toes as the story twists and turns. Cade is a brilliant, passive teen who has been thrown into a world of monsters who want nothing more than to gorge themselves on the weaker beings. He is not alone in the unfamiliar world; he soon happens upon some of his classmates, who are quite possibly worse than any monster. Unknowingly thrown into a brutal competition, Cade must figure out a way to survive, not only the fatal obstacles, but also his allies. Brilliant!

Sal & Gabi Break the Universe by Carlo Hernandez

I loved this book! It is a silly book that deals with real problems and hardships of our world in a manner that brings light to a different approach to hard times. This book is centered around family, friendship, and forgiveness. Sal is a sweet-talking, sarcastic, light-hearted magician; Gabi is a hard-head, determined and intelligent girl. After meeting on undesirable circumstances, the pair become fast friends. Together they try to figure out how to bring their families together during rough times, all while trying to fix the universe. Sal has the power to rip holes into the multiverse. These rips can either mean trouble or nothing at all. Only Sal's power can save Gabi's dying brother; can he control his powers to do so? This book is so diverse and powerful. Truly a great read!

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young

Amazing illustrations and personable characters. Feeding off the marvelous and vicious world established in Sky in the Deep, Adrienne Young has delivered another powerful and phenomenal book! Inspired by the Vikings and Norse Mythology, this is the story of coming together to fight for what you love even against the odds. The characters are flawed and well-developed; the battles and fights are realistic and emotional. This book proves that old wounds can heal and enemies can put aside their differences. Adrienne has a way with words - they are powerful, raw, and filled with emotion. You will not regret getting sucked back into the wonderful world established in Sky in the Deep!

How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall Munroe

This is a hilarious, laugh-out-loud, absurd, and scientifically-over-the-top guide to basic everyday things. With brilliantly simple cartoons and dry, sarcastic syntax, this book will have your head spinning with equations, break-downs, and implausible situations for real-world problems. This book will have you laughing! Perfect for science nerds, geeks, or the mechanical handyman in your life. An quick and enjoyable read!

Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao

Dive into a world filled with terrifying demons, unique, engaging gods, and kick-butt warrior heroes who are destined to save the world. Faryn is a mixed blood outcast from the Jade Society. She and her brother have been isolated and uneducated from the rest of their peer group. During Chinese New Year, Faryn defeats a terrible demon and is chosen as the Heaven Breaker, soon to be General of the Jade Army. No one believes that a girl, let alone mixed blood, can be the revered Heaven Breaker. Faryn, along with her brother and friend-enemy set off on a quest to prove themselves. This book proves that girls and boys can both strong heroes. What an engaging and interesting book!

Spine of the Dragon by Kevin Anderson

This is a fast-paced fantasy with epic world building! Humans are the survivors and inheritors of a world destroyed by the powerful superior race, the Wreths. More than 1000 years after a war that stripped the Commonwealth of magic, the Wreths have returned to finish the epic bloodshed that they started, disregarding the humans that have not only survived, but thrived, and created their own world. While the Wreths rise to power in the kingdom of Commonwealth, the Commonwealth's enemy state across the sea has started to raid and attack their shores. The high Konag of Commonwealth is torn between declaring war on his enemies who control powerful magic or defending his country against the Wreths who are determined to wake a giant dragon and slaughter everyone. What a unique world and wonderful characters! Can't wait for book two!

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Tyler is the perfect legionary - perfect grades, top of the class, highest ranked. He was the best and was going to get the best squad to fight under him; that was until he saved Aurora. Missing his opportunity to get the crew of a lifetime, Tyler was stuck with a motley crew of outcasts and sociopaths. Together they head out on a nothing mission and discover Aurora stowed away in their hull. No punches are held back or sarcasm unsaid as Squad 312 gets sucked into a conflict bigger than imagined. They are left to save the universe from certain destruction, only if they don't kill each other first. With the odds stacked against them and the fate of everything on their shoulders, this squad can do no wrong! (Expect maybe declare an intergalactic war on the Terran Defense, The Unbroken, The Galactic Assembly and their own Aurora Legion... OPPS!!)

Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

I LOVE this book! <3 This book is fiercely beautiful and powerful. The imagery is outstanding - the culture is rich with colors, clothes, food, and people. Every word will engulf you in the emotions and strengths of the characters as they deal with religious, cultural and supernatural threats and differences. This book will teach you the power of names and the importance of finding and defining yourself. Fatima has the fire of a djinn, because of that, she, her sister, and one other are the lone survivors of an attack that killed everyone in the city of Noor. Now, she is a messenger in the same city and loves spending time with an old bookseller. When with the bookseller, they are attacked by a Djinn and the old man ends up dying. Before he does, he transfers his power of Naming to Fatima. Her life is changed forever. Her life becomes intertwined with the Emir of Noor and evil plots begin to unfold. Great read!!

Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi

In a world heavily influenced by Virtual Reality simulations, nerds rule the world. Silicon Valley is at the center of the biggest advancements. At a school dedicated to creating the world's best and most influence computer geeks and coders, Opal Harper is determined to be the best. She is a strong-willed character with a tragic past. When a contest starts that will potentially lead to Opal in resolving her father's disappearance, she jumps to the opportunity. She and her friends play host is a Virtual Reality show that is centered around exposing the truth. As their show goes viral and viewership skyrockets, it becomes increasingly more difficult to keep the viewers happy. Opal and her friends find themselves in over their heads. Can they meet their goals with the growing pressures from school, a turbulent country, and a blinding spotlight?

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

This Korean inspired urban fantasy is captivating. The romance that buds between the two main characters are fierce and sweet and will have you rooting for the couple. Miyoung is a power fox spirit whose is cold and distant to everyone around her. Jihoon is a social, guarded teen who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. When these two cross paths in the chaos of a goblin attack, their fates are forever intertwined. Jihoon knows Miyoung secret that could destroy her. When she turns up the next day at school, he does everything in his power to befriend her. After being forced to trust him, a formidable friendship forms between them. This book is sweet, unique, and exciting.

Greystone Secrets by Margaret Haddix

This book is a clever middle reader mystery with a splash of science fiction. The Greystone children have doppelgangers that have been abducted. The day they discover their doppelgangers on the evening news is the day their lives changed drastically. Their stable, loving mother leaves suddenly the day after without any explanation. In an effort to find their mother, the Greystone children team up with the daughter of the woman they are staying with. They uncover strange and mysterious clues and discover that their mothers need saving. They travel to a parallel universe in order to save her and their doppelgangers. This is a clever gook! Quite enjoyable.

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

If I could jump inside of any book and live alongside the characters, it would be this one! This book is rich with imagination, magic, darkness, and love. What happens when you stick the two best assassins (a crowned prince and a general), a deadly huntress, an elite warrior, and a perfect immortal together on the darkest island with the most corruptible magic and evil and a singular goal to retrieve a lost book?? Only chaos, maybe murder, and definitely an abundance of quick jabs, sarcastic remarks, and an overload of bitter, brooding angst. Zafira is a hunter with pure intentions to feed her people and restore magic to her broken land. Nasir is the crown prince to a mad king and known as the prince of death. When their paths cross on a mission with conflicting goals, one the save magic and the other to kill, they must become allies of circumstance to survive the brutal island thirsty for their blood. Monsters are not what they seem and neither is the darkness in the thrilling adventure. Can't wait for book two!!

Tiger at Midnight by Swati Terrdhala

I love all these Middle Eastern inspired fantasies that are coming out, this is no exception! Simplistically, this is a story about a soldier hunting down an assassin, but it ends up being much bigger than that. The characters are former friends, raised worlds apart from each other, in a dying kingdom under a false ruler. The events that unfold test them both morally and physically, and they are both forced to make decisions that will change everything they know. This book is sensational and breathtaking. If you liked Ember in the Ashes or Rebel of the Sands, this is the book for you!

Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

Inspired by feudal Japan and mythical lore, this book is a battle of wits, self-awareness, and magic versus magic. With strong, stubborn-headed characters taking the lead, they face treats beyond imagination. The motley crew of Taigas, Spirit, Wolf, Fairy, and Broomstick, discover Prince Gin and his army of magical renegades hellbent on bringing their kingdom to total anarchy in pursuit of an unattainable paradise. The four friends try to warn the Taiga Council of the newly undead Prince and his plot to overthrow the Empress, but the council is blinded by traditions and a set way of thinking. It is up to them to forge their own path and save thousands from being brainwashed and brutally murdered.

Fire and Heist by Sarah Beth Durst

Were-dragons - honestly, what more could you ask for! This is a snarky, light-heart twist on a classic heist story. Sky and her family aren't your typical humans; they are descendants of dragons and can breathe fire. A coming-of-age tradition for the wyvern society is successfully executing their first heist. When Sky organizes her first heist, she does it in secrecy, going against her family and the ruling council in power. If she fails, her family will lose all of their wealth and power, or what's left of it, if she succeeds she can unite her family and society back together and regain her family's position of power. There is a dark secret that lies within the Council, only she can expose the truth.

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Four Queens are murdered; one is dead. Will the others survive? This is a murder mystery fantasy that will have you running around in circles. It's about an assassination plot against the four rulers of a kingdom divided by cultural differences. The people, as well as the Queens, are sick of the old rules they must follow to keep order but have two drastically different approaches on how to better the kingdom. It's left to a thief and an outcast messenger to save the Queens. The unlikely pair struggles against cultural and historical differences but are the only ones with the knowledge and will to save their rulers from a bloody fate. This is a heart-pounding thriller racing against time.

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Mythical, Korean, shape-shifting, epic space adventure? YES, PLEASE! This book is built on a strong foundation of outstanding world building, filled to the brim with weird and exciting characters and personalities. Min, a quirky fox spirit, is on a quest to find and rescue her brother accused of treason. She finds herself in over her head when a group of mercenaries attacks her hijacked spaceship. Min ends up going undercover as a cadet in the Space Force, which came to her rescue. Her mission to save her brother turns into a plot that could change the fate of the universe! Another exciting read from Riordan Presents!

Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith

This book crawled under my skin, grabbed a hold of my heart, and wouldn't let go! It is twisted, dark, and filled with intrigue. I have never read a book before so filled with emotion that you feel the impact and devastation of every lost and tribulation the characters endure. The writing and imagery are breathtaking. This book has the feel of Games of Thrones mixed with the Salem Witch Trials. Princess Aurelia is a prisoner in her own kingdom; everyone thinks she's a witch. When she flees for her life, she ends up in the capital of the neighboring kingdom, home to the prince she is to marry. She uncovers a plot bigger than imagined, entangling both kingdoms, gods, ghosts, and blood magic.

Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Don't let this book's size detour you! It is an epic fantasy like no other and well worth the read. This book is fierce and dangerously enticing! Words are inadequate to describe it. In a queendom of strict rules and pious religion, magic and dragons are seen as upbringings of evil. When the leader of the Dragonic army, monsters of fire and death, starts stirring, the foundation of the queendom is shaken. They must turn to that which they fear to defend themselves against the Dragonic beasts. Priory of the Orange Tree has earned its spot next to Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

How much would you sacrifice to save the ones you love and everything you hold dear? To find light and hope even in the darkest of places? To be strong and fight for your survival? Mehr's life changed forever when she called upon the dreams of the Gods to help her during a storm. She was forced to marry a servant bound to the cruel and cunning Mahn for her mistake. Despite the control the Mahn demands from Mehr and her husband to commit heresy against their Gods, they resist him in every possible way they can to fight for their freedom. What a fantastic world building! Great characters, message, and development. Can't wait for the next book!

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

If you are a fan of science fiction, or even if you're not, this is a MUST read. This book is addictive - I LOVED IT. Spensa, the strong and stubborn female lead, has everything going against her. She is branded and coward because of her father, and therefore an unwanted outcast because of a "defect" that runs in her blood. Despite everything wrong in her life, she finds the strength and will to pursue her dream of being a fighter pilot to protect her people from the Krell. The humans, locked in an intergalactic battle, are losing; can the Spensa and her flight crew save them all from extinction?? You will never see the plot twist coming at the end! Incredible story and gripping till the end. <3

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Purely original and beautifully captivating! This book will have you hanging onto every word; I couldn't put it down! Strength comes from within, you must find the ability to fight within yourself, which is exactly what Lei does. She strives to make her life a meaningful one and not just an obedient one. In this broken kingdom ruled by a cruel King, the people are divided into three classes: Moon caste, Steel caste, and Paper caste. The paper caste is for the humans, lowly and disgraced in society, only a handful of Papers hold a position of power and grace. Lei is a paper girl, rather known as the King's concubine. It is seen as an honor in the Paper caste, one that all paper girls are forced into, but that doesn't mean that they have to like it. This is the story about finding yourself, even in the direst situations and rebelling against those who oppress you. This book is filled with romance, beautiful imagery, and the desperate struggle for survival.