Posted in Book Review

Famine by Laura Thalassa

Dates Read: June 17, 2022 – June 20, 2022
Publication Date: October 1, 2020
Source: Owned paperback

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Ahhh. We’re back to the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and I am SO HAPPY TO BE HERE. Especially with Famine. Is he my favorite? Yes. Yes, he is. Pestilence was my favorite up to now. Now Famine takes the cake.

Famine is the most brutal of all his brothers I would say. All of them are “duty-bound” and are willing to commit some atrocities to see their purpose carried out but Famine… Famine really goes above and beyond. He claims a home for his own and has the owners brutally killed and thrown in a giant hole in their own backyard for heaven’s sake. Famine does make mention of being “the least human of all his brothers.” He says he can “feel everything”. THAT is one consistency I really appreciate about this book.

So, our heroine in this story is Ana. Ana is a worker at a brothel called the Painted Angel. Ana was displaced as a child when her entire family was killed. She was taken in by the madam of the Painted Angel and started working to make money to live. Until Famine comes and takes her with him.

You see, the two of them have history. She first met Famine years before while she was on the way home with groceries for her abusive aunt. She saw Famine in the street, nearly dead from being beaten by villagers. She nursed him back to health and sent him on his way. Once he recognizes this girl, who is now in a woman’s body, he keeps her and refuses to let her out of his sight or become hurt.

And so begins the next seriously messed up love story in the series.

“That’s the difference between me and my brothers,” he continues. “We are all meant to ravage the world but we have our distinctions: War is the most human, Pestilence perhaps next. But even Thanatos – Death – is intimately connected to life.
“I am the one least truly alive. I have more in common with wildfires and clouds and mountains than I do anything else. So to be something that lives and breathes is a stifling, unpleasant experience. I am … trapped in this flesh.”

I really did enjoy these two. I don’t know why but I think they’re my favorite with Pestilence and Sara coming in at a very close second.

I glance over at the horseman, frowning. I’d do all of it again for this man, because wicked or not, violent or not Famine might be the only being who has ever truly seen me and cared for me. And . . . I might be the only person who has ever really seen and cared for him.

Once again, I wasn’t sure how the author was going to give us something fresh being that this is the third book in a series about these horsemen who all have this duty-bound, driven-to-destroy attitude. However, she delivered. Once again. Once again there was a different couple with different mindsets and experiences who ended up with a not-so-happy happy ending.

Famine crouches next to Rocha and laughs. “You’re not going to die Heitor. You haven’t begged enough yet. But you will. And even then I’ll make you linger. Because, believe it or not, you are not the worst thing to walk this earth.” The Reaper leans in close. “I am.”

Technically the first two books end on a “cliffhanger” as well but this one REALLY did. The first two books ended with a happy ending where the couple could live out their lives together with no issues. This book’s ending pretty much depends on the way the next book, Death, plays out. I was excited to read Death already because, I mean, c’mon… that cover. Now I’m even more so excited because I get to see how Famine’s story plays out AND I get to meet a new hunk of a horseman.

Let’s see if Death can top him. (I doubt it.)

“Because around you,” he says, “I feel the oddest urge to use my power to create rather than destroy.”

Just going to jump right into the next one so stay tuned!

Posted in Book Review

War by Laura Thalassa

Read Dates: February 6, 2022 – February 23, 2022
Publication Date: July 11, 2019
Source: Owned paperback

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They came to earth – Pestilence, War, Famine, Death – four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all.

The day Jerusalem falls, Miriam Elmahdy knows her life is over. Houses are burning, the streets run red with blood, and a traitorous army is massacring every last resident. There is no surviving this, especially not once Miriam catches the eye of War himself. But when the massive and terrifying horseman corners Miriam, he calls her his wife, and instead of killing her, he takes her back to his camp.

Now Miriam faces a terrifying future, one where she watches her world burn town by town, and the one man responsible for it all is her seemingly indestructible “husband”. But there’s another side to him, one that’s gentle and loving and dead set on winning her over, and she might not be strong enough to resist.

However, if there’s one thing Miriam has learned, it’s that love and war cannot coexist. And so she must make the ultimate choice: surrender to War and watch humankind fall, or sacrifice everything and stop him.

We’re back, baby!

Another GEM of a story by Laura Thalassa.

(1) Bend the rules – but don’t break them.
(2) Stick to the truth.
(3) Avoid notice.
(4)Listen to your instincts.
(5) Be brave.
Five simple rules that, while not always being easy to follow, have kept me alive for the last seven years.”

I’m honestly so glad my best friend picked up Pestilence and tempted me to join her in reading these books. I am two books deep and I am NOT disappointed. Pestilence and War have BOTH scored a 5-star rating from me. I’m excited to read Famine and especially… DEATH. *shudders* I’m willing to bet he’s going to be my favorite.

I will say, I teetered between a 4.5 rating and a 5 because I didn’t like these characters as much as I liked Pestilence and Sara. I ultimately decided that I definitely liked all the characters in War and there was no reason to deduct just because I connected with one couple more than the other. I tell ya what I did connect with… that cover art. *drools*

So you would think this book would be no different from Pestilence but… this book had its own feel and its own plot and resolution. I admit I was trying to figure out how Thalassa could concoct four totally different stories that held up by themselves and weren’t full of recycled content from the previous book(s). So far, that has not happened. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I had no idea where she was going to take these two characters and the many supporting characters in the story.

You are the one He sent me.
“You are my wife.”

Miriam is a strong-willed young girl from Jerusalem who has lost her family and is all on her own. Until War crosses her path. War claims that Miriam is his fated and calls her his wife, holding her within his camp and having his subjects tend to her and guard her.

My favorite thing about Miriam was how real she was. She tried to get away from War at every turn… as most would do when a man is reanimating the dead and allowing them to kill thousands and thousands of innocents.

War gave me some serious Khal Drogo vibes and I was absolutely here for it. Did I mention the cover art? I mean, c’mon.

War is duty-bound. He is driven, much like his brother Pestilence, to carry out the task he was created for. But Miriam challenges him. She throws him curveball after curveball causing him to rethink his entire existence. What follows is heartbreaking and beautiful and soul-crushing and maddening and frustrating and so so touching. This book takes you through it all.

You are painfully human. Your bones want to break, your skin wants to bleed, your heart wants to stop. And for the first time ever, I am desperate for none of those things to happen.”

I’m not gonna lie, I cried. Which, I guess, these days isn’t saying much. Since having a kid I’m a big ol’ emotional wreck.

Another thing I feel I should mention, which I think I mentioned in my review of Pestilence, the author doesn’t romanticize these horsemen of the apocalypse. You are taken through gut-wrenching scenes where the reality of what they are on Earth to do… is done. I, for one, love that about these books. At first, it hurt me. It hurt me deeply. The old couple in Pestilence’s book… omg. But I was more prepared in War’s book and it hit just as hard regardless.

I do highly recommend these books! I can’t wait to start Famine. However, I have found myself newly obsessed with Sarah J. Maas and I must continue on to A Court of Mist and Fury before I totally lose my mind wondering what is going on with Tamlin and Feyre. And… Lucien. *Does a little eyebrow wag*

Anyway, until next time! (Which will be soon because I’m catching up on reviews as we speak!)

Posted in Book Review

Pestilence by Laura Thalassa

Read Dates: January 19, 2022 – January 22, 2022
Date Published: September 14, 2018
Source: ebook

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From Goodreads:

They came to earth–Pestilence, War, Famine, Death–four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all.

When Pestilence comes for Sara Burn’s town, one thing is certain: everyone she knows and loves is marked for death. Unless, of course, the angelic-looking horseman is stopped, which is exactly what Sara has in mind when she shoots the unholy beast off his steed.

Too bad no one told her Pestilence can’t be killed.

Now the horseman, very much alive and very pissed off, has taken her prisoner, and he’s eager to make her suffer. Only, the longer she’s with him, the more uncertain she is about his true feelings towards her … and hers towards him.

And now, well, Sara might still be able to save the world, but in order to do so, she’ll have to sacrifice her heart in the process.

Is this my first five-star of the year!? I think it is!

So this was actually a spur-of-the-moment read because my best friend started reading it and told me she was about 70 pages in and felt like it was going to be a 5/5 for her. So I took a pause on the book I was currently reading and dove into this one. I’m so glad I did.

Now, I get the mixed reviews. This isn’t your conventional romance novel. It doesn’t really fall into any one romance category for me. It was just… different. It was so different from the romance novels I’m used to. I read contemporary, paranormal, historical, YA… this book doesn’t fit into any of them. It was in a league all its own.

So, our main characters for pretty much the entirety of the book are Sara and Pestilence. Sara is a firefighter who volunteers to take the last shift before evacuation. She also happens to be the firefighter who pulls the black straw, meaning she is the one who will stay behind and carry out a plan she and her coworkers came up with to attempt to kill Pestilence and end the plague that he carries with him. Despite shooting him point-blank and setting him on fire, Pestilence lives and he takes Sara captive intending to make her suffer showing no mercy the way she showed him no mercy. And so begins the story.

“Oh, for the love of—” “God?” he finishes for me, raising his eyebrows. “Do you really think He is going to help you?”

Now here’s the thing… this book stood out from its brethren in substantial ways. First of all, there wasn’t that immediate sexual interest that you get from the very first encounter in most of the romance novels (especially paranormal ones) I read. It wasn’t immediately, as my best friend put it, putting fire into anyone’s loins. Some of the things Pestilence did to make Sara “suffer” were particularly cruel. It wasn’t just one cruel instance, it was many. It went on until it didn’t. It was BELIEVABLE. That’s the big one for me. The way this book was written was completely believable. Sara tried to kill him and didn’t waver when he asked her for mercy. Then Pestilence caused Sara to suffer and, in turn, did not show Sara mercy when she asked it of him. We don’t get to hear Pestilence’s side of things but from Sara’s perspective, she hates him. She hates the way he keeps her alive and causes her hurt and it all makes SENSE.

Now, I must say, I do have a strange fascination with Stockholm Syndrome type books. I mean, Beauty and the Beast is one of my all-time favorites… so… I guess maybe that’s the difference between me and the people that didn’t care for this book. But I thought it was incredibly refreshing that the beginning of their relationship wasn’t romanticized. It was anything but. As most of these situations should be, right? Even if you *are* kidnapped by a tall, handsome, RIPPED specimen of a man.

Pestilence frowns. “Anyone who tries to get close to us is doomed. You are safe, Sara.” But I’m not. Not from him, and not from my own heart.

Another thing I noticed people complaining about was the decisions the two made being questionable to their characters but, if you ask me, they really weren’t! They totally made sense to me. I don’t want to give too much away here but there were moments when, even though Pestilence was coming to care for Sara, he would do things to upset her. Let me just explain this to you guys in one sentence, “He IS Pestilence.” He was made to spread disease. It’s his purpose. He doesn’t know human customs and values. He only knows what he was made to do and what he’s been existing to do all his life.

He rises to his feet then and walks to the door. He pauses there. “For good or for ill,” he says over his shoulder, “I have been indelibly changed by you.”

Both of these characters were just really likable for me and I’m definitely, without a doubt, going to read through the next three books in the series. I just worry that they won’t live up to this one because this one, for me, was so so so good. I mean, I gave it five stars. That’s a really hard rating to get out of me. This book had me feeling frustrated when I couldn’t get any free time to read. I wanted nothing more than to sit and read the entirety of this book in one sitting. It made me feel all the things. I had literal pangs in my chest multiple times. It made me cry for heaven’s sake. The scenes we got where it showed normal everyday people in their homes getting the plague and how they handled it… just everything about this book was so incredibly wonderful and refreshing and startling and I really hope the next three are just as good. I am especially anxious to read Death’s book.

If you like paranormal romance novels, chances are you’ll like this one. As long as you’re not super attached to the immediate sexual tension. As long as you’re willing to witness the ugly truth of this kind of situation in order to get to the romantic parts. I loved Pestilence and he was so worth it. Onto the next!

Pestilence, his crown perched upon his brow. War, with his steel blade held high. Famine, a scythe and scales at hand. And Death, blighted Death, his dark wings folded at his back, a torch of bilious smoke tight in his grip. And so it was, and so it shall be, for the Age of Man is over, and the Age of the Horseman has begun. They came to earth, and they came to end us all.

✌💛