And we’re back!

Courtesy of pinterest

So my break was a bit longer than I had intended. That’s alright though, I most definitely needed it. So we’re going to start back with one of my current favorite authors, Rob Thurman. I love her (yes, her) Cal Leandros series. And her Trickster series. I hope there are more of those.

At any rate, her latest Cal Leandros is Nevermore(book 10 of the series). We start out with Cal apparently coming back in time (whoa, where did that come from?!) and more than a little crazy. I mean, Cal’s not exactly stable on the best of days, but right now he’s extremely unstable.

You see, Cal came back in time 8 years in order to prevent a secret human government organization decided that he was too dangerous, having gated in full view of humans in the light of day. At night, it could be passed off as a trick of the light or some such thing, but in daylight…not so much.

They figured the best way to do that would be to bomb Cal’s usual haunt, Ishaiah’s bar, when all of Cal’s friends were there. It might have worked, too, if Cal hadn’t forgotten to get the pizza and gone back out again. As it was, he merely had a front row seat for the two (yes, two) bombs took out his entirely family, his world.

With the thanks of some pre-planning by Robin Goodfellow (who died in the blast…supposedly. Not sure what, exactly, could kill a Puck who is easily 1 million + years old), Cal gets shoved back in time to try and beat the organization’s back up plan.

Known only as Lazarus, this person was sent back in time 8 years to kill Cal before he became too Cal-like. Sometimes I hate time travel stories. It’s so hard to keep things straight. Cal doesn’t know what Lazarus is, he just knows he has to keep himself together long enough to save himself and his brother.

To do this, he reveals himself to early Cal and Niko, who don’t really believe him but he knows enough about them that they at least marginally trust him. Unfortunately, Robin sticks his nose in, coming into early Cal and Niko’s world a full year earlier than he should have. So already, the time travel is having consequences.

This book is one of the best Cal Leandros novels yet…and it ended on a cliffhanger. Noooooooooooooo! It’s at least a two parter, could be even more. I really can’t want to see what happens. Argh! Cliffhangers are the worst and the best because you know there’s at least one more novel in a beloved series…but you won’t get that book for another year (usually).

Well, you can pass the time reading this book. It’s good and gritty and dark. Very pulp urban fantasy. Rating: A+

Trick of the Light

I love writer Rob Thurman. She’s got two great series, Cal Leandros and her Trickster series. Her first book in the second, but interconnected, series is Trick of the Light. Starring trickster paien Trixa Iktomi, this series takes place in Las Vegas. Because of course. Where better for a trickster (or two) to pull their tricks.

Trixa owns a dive bar in Las Vegas with her best friend and bartender Leo Rain. Leo looks like a very large Native American man but don’t let that fool you, he’s probably the most infamous trickster in history. I’ll give you a hint: He’s Norse. The two of them take great pleasure in foiling the plans of the city’s demon population. Demons as in fallen-angel type demons. They’re everywhere in Vegas which…duh, really. Makes perfect sense.

At any rate, Trixa and Leo keep their heads moderately down, doing just enough to have their fun and play on whatever Trixa’s long game is, because she does the long con like no-one’s business. They took two young orphans under their tutelage some years before, two now young men named Zeke and Griffin. These two young men are a telepath and an empath, respectively. And they very much enjoy killing demons. They do, in fact, do it professionally.

In this book, Trixa gets herself in a position of having to find an extremely powerful artifact called the Light of Life. In the wrong hands (see: Demons), it could be utterly devastating. In the right hands (hers, naturally), it could be a savior. The paien get hunted by demons and this Light could provide them with an impenetrable safe haven.

I loved this book because it kept me guessing the whole time. And the finale was amazing. I love a book that can surprise me to the end. I highly, highly recommend both this and its follow up Grimrose Path. In fact, I think I will go ahead and re-read these both. 🙂 I hope Rob Thurman writes more of these because I love Trixa. Rating: A+

Downfall: A Cal Leandros novel

Courtesy of goodreads.comAh! A day late! My excuse is that I spent the weekend having awesome good outdoor fun with the hubby. 🙂 So anyway, on to Downfall by Rob Thurman. This is the latest book in the Cal Leandros series. At this point, Cal has managed to kill off every Auphe except for himself and his fairly newly discovered half brother Grimm. Grimm is trying to make a new Auphe race out of succubae but that isn’t working so well. Cal and Niko can wipe the floor with those suckers and Niko is one hundred percent human.

Still, Grimm is getting trickier and more persistent. He wants to break Cal, wants to prove he’s the better Auphe. And the way to do that is the get rid of Niko in one way or another. The problem is, Robin Goodfellow knows this. He also knows that if Cal dies, then Niko dies with him. Even if Niko survives physically, he’d soon follow Cal wherever Cal ended up. Robin has been watching it happen over and over again for millenia. He won’t let it happen again.

Rob Thurman does an excellent job of keeping us guessing by throwing Robin’s perspective in this book, as opposed to just Cal and Niko’s. We learn a lot more about my personal favorite character in this series, both in how much he can care and how devious he is. And even then, it isn’t a guarantee that things will turn out well for our favorite underdogs.

I enjoyed the hell out of this book. It was full of sneakiness and deviousness and yet there were warm fuzzies too. And I’m not just talking about the werewolves. 😉 I think it would help to read a book or two of the rest of the series but I came in about half way through and I’ve managed to catch on just fine without reading all the books. Still, a little background reading would not go amiss and I don’t think you’d be disappointed with any of these books. Rating: A


I am a big fan of Rob Thurman. I feel I can safely say that now, since I usually try not to say I’m a fan if I only like a couple of things an artist has done. But I’ve truly enjoyed all the books of Thurman’s I’ve read so far. I am really, really looking forward to the next Trickster (or is it Trixter?) novel. At any rate, Slashback is the latest in the Cal & Niko books. So, fair warning, SPOILERS be here.

Cal has his memories back and he has come to relatively peaceful terms with the fact that he is in fact a monster. Cal is one of my favorite characters. He is a snarky anti-hero. He doesn’t really care or want to do the right thing but he will never, ever let down his brother Niko.

In this book, we get a bit more of Cal and Niko’s back story. I’ll admit that I came into the Cal & Niko series about mid way and I don’t really have a desire to start at the beginning, though I might do so if I run out of things to read from Amazon. 🙂 Thurman goes over previous information in her books, so with the exception of the first book I read, I don’t really feel lost.

At any rate, we learn that Cal and Niko, who moved around a lot due to their drunken harlot Rom mother (I’m not not saying that because she is Rom, she’s a drunken harlot. She’s drunken harlot that just happens to be written as a member of the Romany peoples by Thurman, so please no trolling). We flash back between a particular move and present day as is often the case with the Cal & Niko stories.

In this case, they’re in the northeast somewhere (Connecticut I think), Niko is about fifteen and Cal is about eleven. Niko is working as a janitor at his school to make money to feed them. This means that he doesn’t accompany Cal home at the end of the day, which worries him because they have been chased by Auphe since the day that Cal was born.

One day, Niko comes home and Cal announces the next door neighbor is a serial killer, just as cool as you please before he goes back to his comic book.  Needless to say, Niko does not believe this but Cal insists on investigating. He smells the blood and death from next door when he walks by because his Auphe half increases his senses, especially smell. Cal can’t hardly go by a hospital let alone in one. Used clothing or bedding can, at this point in his young life, cause actual physical sickness.

Now what does this have to do with present day NYC where Cal and Niko now live? Simple, Cal gets attacked by a group of nutball humans who feel they have to save him or cleanse him or some such thing. They try to kill him, which is a bad idea. He sends them to Tumulus (the Auphe home dimension) for just a few seconds and drives them all even more bonkers than they were. But the strange thing about this humans is that they seemed to know precisely where the division between “safe/human” NYC is and the paien (supernatural) NYC begins.

It becomes clear after a while that there is a creature much more powerful than them pulling the strings of these weirdos, as that creature attacks Cal in the home he shares with Niko. It takes a while, but eventually we get the connection between their recollections and their current situation. The creature that is controlling this modern day nutballs was the same creature that was controlling the serial killing next door neighbor.

Now they know who it is, they have to figure out what it is and how to kill it. I won’t go into too much detail on that part, being that it’s a fairly new book. But I do strongly recommend this one: Rating A. And I recommend the rest of the Cal & Niko books and Rob Thurman’s Trickster novels.


**SPOILERS** Do not read if you don’t want to have some plot revealed!

Rob Thurman is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors. I really like her Cal Leandros and Trickster books. I just finished the latest Cal Leandros book, Doubletake. It starts out with our favorite brother Cal and Niko (I love this name by the way, don’t know why) getting hired by everyone’s favorite puck Robin Goodfellow to act as bouncers at apuck family reunion. If you think think your family reunions are awful, just imagine having 75 physical identical men, all con artists, trying to kill each other in the midst of an orgy. Yeah…just a bit disturbing and yet, funny as hell how it was written.

After that, we get introduced to Niko’s long lost father who is trying to get the brothers to help with some ancient Vayash (Romany clan) burden. No one believes that he’s here to reconcile with his son and everyone treats him quite like a leper. What is this man really after…? Read the book! Since it’s brand spankin’ new, I won’t give away the end! 😀

And then we find out what was in the empty cage at the end of the last book. A half Auphe who named himself Grimm who is trying to connect with Cal as a brother/fellow half-Auphe. Grimm is a total psycho who is bent on world domination. Yeah, a little cliche but its less that he wants to rule the world and more that he wants to tear it down and dance on the ashes. VERY good book and I can’t wait for the next one on either this series or the Trickster series. Rating: A+

Cal Leandros, Part I

I often use’s recommendation list to look for new books to read.  This doesn’t always come out well, as I’m sure you well know.  However, sometimes it pops up with some gems.  I found author Rob Thurman through the recommendations list on

The first book of hers the list came up with was Deathwish. Unfortunately this was book 4 of a series that is 5 books total so far, so I was a little confused when I started reading it. Actually…I was a lot confused, and it put me off reading it for a while.  So did her writing style for this particular series.

Each chapter would start off with the name of a character (Cal, Nico, Promise etc).  That chapter would then be written from that character’s perspective.  Occasionally she will go over an event twice, once from Cal’s POV and once from Nico’s.  Generally speaking, if she went into details on some sort of action scene while under Cal’s POV, she would not rehash it in equal detail under Nico’s POV, which was good.

Deathwish kind of starts out in the middle of an action sequence that would have made a lot more sense to me if Amazon had bothered to inform me of the fact that this was book 4 of a series.  They do now list it as Deathwish (Cal Leandros, Book 4).  However, once I got over the fact that I was picking up in the middle of the series, it’s actually an enjoyable book.

The main character is, obviously now, Cal Leandros.  Cal being short for Caliban. Those of us who either had to read Shakespeare in high school or rather enjoy the Bard now that we have free time, will recognize the name from The Tempest as the sad and comic monster figure who was working for Propsero, though not because he wanted to. Cal may be a monster (being part Auphe) but he isn’t sad and is only occasionally comic.

He has an older brother by the name of Nico who basically took care of him from the moment he was born to present.  Nico knew what Cal was long before Cal ever did and he trained his brother from day one for the fact that one day, they were going to have one hell of a fight on their hands.

One of the more enjoyable characters of this arc is a puck named Robin Goodfellow. This character could, has and probably will again starred in pornos, written to Penthouse and authored the Kama Sutra.  And he is willing to expound upon it at length. Not that she ever gets truly graphic with it, but it is there.  The character of Robin Goodfellow is quite entertaining though and is definitely the main comic relief (just don’t say that to his face).

As you may have guessed, Rob Thurman isn’t afraid to break out the cussing, the violence or the sex.  There isn’t really an instance of overt sex in the book, but it is talked about ad nauseum by Goodfellow.  I don’t mind.  It makes it a little more realistic. If you’re getting into the situations that these two brothers get into on a regular basis, and you aren’t cussing a blue streak then, as Lewis Black says, “you have anger issues”.

At any rate, Deathwish was an enjoyable book and one that kept me guessing quite a bit.  I have a problem with being able to fairly accurately guess the outcome of things like books, TV shows and movies. It impresses my husband and sometimes my friends, but it also can make it hard to really get into a book.  When I think I figure it out, I start mentally going “please don’t let it turn out like I think it’ll turn out”. I didn’t really have that thought with this or the other two books of hers that I’ve read.

Eventually I might read the first three books of the Cal Leandros arc, but for now I have this one and Roadkill under my belt.  I grade this book as a B since I did have a tough time starting it and staying with it, but it was good overall. I would recommend starting at the beginning of the series because I would have if I’d known it was a series.