Great Reads: Dive into a new genre: ‘romantasy’

Published 11:00 am Monday, April 29, 2024

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“Fourth Wing”
and “Iron Flame”
(also referred to as the Empyrean Series)
By Rebecca Yarros
Reviewed by Jennie Makowsky

I am back! Doing a tandem review on the two books by one of my new favorite authors. If you are on social media at all, you know that this series is getting a lot of hype. I am here to share with you that I am here for all of that hype, and every ounce of praise for this series is 100% on point! This is a newer genre “romantasy.” Some of you may already be in the fantasy era. I was not one of those people. I always shied away from this and find myself wondering why I did that to myself? I am now putting as many of these that I can find in my to be read list.

“Fourth Wing” by Rebecca Yarros

You will meet many characters, but the two main, I would say, are Violet Sorrengail and her main nemesis, Xaden Riorson. You enter a brutal world of a war college with a feel of Divergence. The general of the college (also Violet’s tough as nails mother) orders her out of her projected path of the “scribes” into the dragon rider quadrant, which follows her mother, brother and sister’s quadrants as well.

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In order to get to the elite dragons, many tests have to be passed, all amid the threats of being killed by your fellow dragon riders or a dragon if you are not worthy enough. You follow Violet’s journey using skill, wit,  book-smarts and humor to get to graduate and become a cadet. No spoilers allowed, but be warned that these books do contain a medium level of spice.

If you end up reading “Fourth Wing,” nothing will be able to stop you from wanting to know what occurs after Yarros takes you down the emotional path of book #1. “Iron Flame,” carries this torch and was released late 2023. Every day that passes the college of war and surrounding areas are besieged with war, death and destruction. Violet’s brilliant brain finds the real secret of what is going on, now, how is she going to not only stop it, but live through it? The scenes take you through schools, friendships, enemies, love and lust, war and a little magic. You root for the underdogs and want the enemies to be squashed. Both books have you trying to schedule as much time to read them and know what happens next.

“Iron Flame” by Rebecca Yarros

Honestly I do not have one bad thing to say about either book. I liked “Fourth Wing” more than “Iron Flame.” However, I loved “Iron Flame.” Rebecca has a way of writing that takes reading to a new level for me. I have read two books after these, and I still find myself thinking about this book and the characters.

My only regret is not reading them sooner. The third book is coming out late 2024 I have heard, and it is so hard to have to wait!


Reads you shouldn’t miss

“The Stolen Marriage”
By Diane Chamberlain
Reviewed by LuAnn Mannes

“The Stolen Marriage” by Diane Chamberlain

It is 1944 and Tess DeMello is pregnant, alone and filled with guilt. The only solution she can think of is to find the man who she made the big mistake with.

Henry Kraft shocks her when he suggests she move to North Carolina and they get married. Tess agrees and hopes that eventually she can learn to love her new husband and he her. Henry shows her no affection and hides many secrets from his new wife. Henry’s mother and sister seem to hate Tess, and she is miserable and lonely. The polio epidemic soon hits the small town where they are living, and Tess begins to work as a nurse at the new hospital. Will Henry and his family finally begin to accept her?

I was astonished to read about how women had very few options for an unplanned pregnancy and how married women also had very few options for how they could live their life. The information about the early days of the polio epidemic was shocking as well. It all made me thankful for how much change and growth the world has made. I’m thankful for scientific research and progress. My grandpa had polio, and I never really knew how scary that time was for everyone.


“The Maid”
By Nita Prose 
Reviewed by Annice Sevett

“The Maid” by Nita Prose

Molly Gray, the neurodivergent narrator of “The Maid,” is navigating life on her own after the passing of her Gran. A maid at the Regency Grand Hotel, Molly takes great pride in the quality of work she does, returning each room she cleans to a state of perfection. Her life is upended when she finds Mr. Black, a wealthy guest at the hotel, dead in his room. When Molly becomes the prime suspect, she finds herself in a predicament she is not quite sure how to untangle. Her fellow employees, who believe Molly is innocent, rally around her as they try to solve the mystery, and save their friend, before it’s too late.

Molly Gray is a captivating narrator that readers will want to root for. The first person narration provides a unique perspective on a mystery that keeps you guessing.