Ebook Review Central, Carina Press, August 2012

I know, I know, it’s October, and Ebook Review Central is still talking about summer books. In this particular case, it’s the August 2012 books from Carina Press.

But hey, if the “Boys of Summer,” in other words, Major League Baseball, can play LONG into the NFL Football season, why can’t we keep talking about the summer books as long as we want–as long as they’re the good ones?

Based on the reviews, August was a pretty good month at Carina. At least the reviews were pretty tightly packed. Lots of titles in the 10+ review group, and then another bunch clumped at between 5 and 7 reviews. That 10+ gang made it difficult to pick the featured titles for the week, they were all excellent choices.

After reading over some of the terrific reviews for the books in that 10+ category, the three standouts, well, stood out after all.

First at bat this week is also the first book in L.B. Gregg’s Men of Smithfield series. When she originally released this contemporary male/male romance in 2009, the title of the book was Gobsmacked, and readers were absolutely gobsmacked from the opening scene of the story. Mark walks into church and whacks his boyfriend upside the head with a Bible for cheating on him and wiping out their joint checking account. Then he gets pulled over for speeding by the state trooper he’s always had a crush on. Carina Press has re-released Gobsmacked as Mark and Tony (the bible smacker and the state trooper) revised and with  new material added. Readers who read both versions say it’s even better the second time around.

Second in this week’s lineup is The Guardian of Bastet by Jacqueline M. Battisti. This urban fantasy/paranormal romance is one of the few times where the shapeshifter main character does not shift into a big powerful predator–Trinity becomes a house-cat. A feline who is also a witch, which makes her something very different indeed. Trinity’s little corner of the paranormal is about to be visited by something very evil, and only her peculiar mix of abilities that have never quite worked makes her suitable to inherit the responsibility of being the Guardian, and the power that goes with it. This one is terrific if you enjoy your urban fantasy with a touch of the snarktastic.

Rounding out this week’s roster we have title number three, a contemporary romance between a hopeless romantic and the anti-Cupid. The book I’m referring to is Planning for Love by Christi Barth, and it’s the first book in her Aisle Bound Trilogy. This trilogy is all about wedding planning, and in the first book, wedding planner Ivy falls in love with Ben, a guy who is allergic to love. This looks like comedy romance of the finest kind.


That’s it for this edition of Ebook Review Central. We’ll be back next time with the August 2012 titles from Dreamspinner Press.

Guest Post: Author Jacqueline M. Battisti on True Names + Giveaway

Today is special! I get to host Jacqueline Battisti for her very first guest post ever. I’ll confess that I jumped at the chance to be part of the tour for The Guardian of Bastet, Ms. Battisti’s debut novel, because even from the blurb it looked like an a scrumptious combination of the paranormal and urban fantasy. And I was not disappointed. (See my review for details)

Without further ado, take it away, Jacqueline…

Hello. This is my first guest blog post and I am so excited to be doing this. My name is Jacqueline M. Battisti and I am the author of The Guardian of Bastet. I am a stay-at-home mother with young children who also writes when time and the children allow. I have always loved romance, fantasy and paranormal books, devouring them as soon as I could find them at the book store. I even collect a few authors that are my absolute favorites and reread their books when I’m stuck and need a break from my own musings. They inspire me to keep going.

The Guardian of Bastet has evolved over time with many incarnations. My main character, Trinity Morrigan-Caine was originally named Misty. But after a few chapters, the image she projected in my head said, snarky stripper. It took me a while to discover my character’s true name. Trinity. Like the trinity of Mother, Maid and Crone of womanhood. She is a cat shifter, a witch and then the Guardian of Bastet. Three roles she must grow into and accept just like her name.

The Guardian of Bastet is the beginning of Trinity’s story. Here is the official blurb:

Cat-shifter Trinity Morrigan-Caine has discovered a demon is killing supernaturals. Magically challenged, she has every intention of letting handsome Alpha werewolf Gordon Barnes handle it. But after a dying vampire gifts Trinity a mystical amulet, she is drawn into the fray as the legendary Guardian of Bastet, a warrior born when the need arises.

Though Trinity initially rejects the role, she warms to the idea when Gordon agrees to train her—and their passion for each other grows as he teaches her to embrace her animal instincts.

As she begins to accept her destiny and believe in her growing powers, Trinity realizes the danger is even closer to home than she ever imagined—and she and Gordon are going to have to face the demon in a fight to the death…

I am currently working on the sequel to The Guardian of Bastet. It was the reason I left a couple of loose ends in this one. I’m just as excited to see where Trinity’s escapades lead. I hope you are too after reading The Guardian of Bastet.

This reader is overjoyed to know that there will be a sequel to Guardian. I want to see more of Trinity’s world, and find out Trinity’s circle adjusts to her being the Guardian instead of the family magical dud. Her new life is certainly going to be interesting. “May you live in interesting times” kind of interesting, that is. It should make for more terrific reading.

**~~~~~**TOURWIDE GIVEAWAY**~~~~~**

In celebration of the release of her new book, Jacqueline is giving away 5 copies of The Guardian of Bastet (EPUB or PDF)


3 Pewter Egyptian Bastet Cat Pendants (The Goddess Bastet has a very important role in The Guardian of Bastet

(Contest open to North American shipping addresses only)

Please fill out the Rafflecopter to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: The Guardian of Bastet by Jacqueline M. Battisti

Jacqueline M. Battisti’s new urban fantasy/paranormal debut, The Guardian of Bastet, had me from the very first word in the blurb. Her main character is a cat-shifter. Not a jaguar or a puma, oh no. At the full-moon, Trinity Morrigan-Caine shifts into a house-cat. The book might as well have jumped up and said “Here reader, reader, reader…”

The story made me purr with delight.

Trinity Morrigan-Caine is a half-breed. Her mother is a powerful witch of the Morrigan line. (Yes, that Morrigan. Morgaine. You know the one. She had a little something to do with a fellow named Arthur. Way, way back.) But Trinity isn’t a powerful witch like her mom. Because Olivia Morrigan went and fell in love with a werepuma, and that just isn’t done. So Olivia Morrigan got disowned and disavowed, and went to live with her husband, Ben Caine, in the Genesee Valley of upstate New York.

Which turned out to be kind of like Sunnydale in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Complete with demons and Hellmouth. Olivia Morrigan found herself the head witch of the Genesee Valley Society of Others (GVSO) because witches are just so much better than everyone else.

The only problem is that Olivia and Ben’s daughter, Trinity, isn’t quite what Olivia had in mind. Trinity isn’t much of a witch, and she doesn’t shift into anything fierce. Dad’s an alpha werepuma. When it’s Trinity’s time of the month, Trinity turns into good old Felis catus, otherwise known as an ordinary house cat. She even (ugh!) hunts mice. Very well according to her cousin and housemate.

Tracy’s other power? Well, since she turns into an animal, she can also understand them. Which makes her a fantastic vet. Her patients just adore her. And she does work miracles with the animals.

The other problem with being a were-kitty is that Trinity has all the morals of, well, a cat. She likes men. Frequently and often. And isn’t horribly particular. Which comes to bite her, and pretty much everyone around her, in the butt when Trinity brings a demon home on the worst booty call ever.

But at least Trinity didn’t summon the demon. She just didn’t pay attention when he started mesmerizing her. There’s a hotter place in hell for the ones who summoned him. Figuring that out and growing up and into her powers enough to take that bad boy out, is what makes this story sing.

This is Trinity’s story. She starts out as a damn good veterinarian, but a dud in everything else. Only one person believes in her, and unfortunately for Trinity, it isn’t one or both of her parents. (Dad did better than mom, but still…) The only one to believe in Trinity was the GVSO’s one and only resident vampire, Vincent. His last act is to gift Trinity with an ancient amulet, a powerful talisman that he has been keeping for centuries, waiting for the one person capable of meeting its potential.

That person is Trinity, the forbidden child of a witch and a shifter. Only she can be the true Guardian of Bastet. But only if she can accept herself and her own powers, powers that everyone has told her she does not have. She’s always believed she’s just a dud.

But only a true Guardian can send the demon back to the nether-realm he came from. And to do that, Trinity will have to accept that she is powerful and capable, and worthy of being the true avatar of Bastet.

Bastet was a warrior-goddess, the woman with the head of a lion. Her Guardian must also embrace the warrior within.

Trinity will need to be a warrior, and a shifter, and a witch. And powerful in all ways. Because that warrior within her will need to fight against a traitor who is way too close.

Escape Rating A-: The mother/daughter dynamics (and grandmother/mother/daughter dynamics) remind me a bit of Brave, and that’s a good reminder. A lot of what drives this story is the mother/daughter issue. Not just that Olivia makes no secret of her disappointment in Trinity, but also Gwendolyn Morrigan’s rejection of her daughter Olivia for marrying a shifter. And most of all, Trinity’s cousin Lily, and her feelings of rejection by her witch mother for also being an under-powered half-breed.

Trinity comes off as a bit self-absorbed at the beginning of the story (her mental dialog about turning into a cat once a month and playing with her cat-familiar as a cat is hilarious), but she definitely has reasons for where she starts out. And she certainly redeems herself.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 8-19-12

It’s so hard to believe that we’re sliding down towards the end of summer, isn’t it? But we really are.

High temperatures in Atlanta seemed to have finally dropped out of the 90s. Only down into the high 80s, mind you, but out of the 90s. It’s some kind of progress. Less beastly. I love winters in the South, but the summers are probably a foretaste of Hell. (I reviewed one of Eve LanglaisHell books this week, I loved it, but her Hell sounds like the U.S. Deep South for climate)

It’s good to be home. The cats missed us. They’ve mostly forgiven us for leaving them. (If you are owned by cats, you know exactly what I mean!)


So what’s happening at Reading Reality this week? Let’s get out the old calendar (actually Google calendar) and take a look…


After Monday’s Ebook Review Central feature, which is the June multi-publisher post, this week we have…drumroll please…

Tuesday I’ll be reviewing Only Scandal Will Do by Jenna Jaxon as part of a tour from Sizzling PR. Only Scandal Will Do is a terrific historical romance romp which starts with the absolutely opposite of a “meet cute”. The heroine gets sold to the hero at an auction in a whorehouse! This shouldn’t end well, and it doesn’t in the beginning, but of course it does in the end!


Wednesday is for The Memory of Roses. That’s not a commemorative, it’s a book by Blaire McDowell. Ms. McDowell also wrote Delighting In Your Company, a ghost/historical romance that I found, well, absolutely delightful when I reviewed it in June. So I couldn’t resist The Memory of Roses when it popped up on this Bewitching Books Tour.


Thursday I’ll be interviewing Gwyn Cready, the author of Timeless Desire. Since I’ve already reviewed Timeless Desire, I’ll be very interested to see what she has to say. The book was very good, a kind of Outlander-lite. And that feels right to me, after all, the subtitle is “An Outlander Love Story”.


Speaking of cats (well, we were a few paragraphs ago)…on Friday, I’ll have a guest post from Jacqueline M. Battisti, the author of The Guardian of Bastet as part of a tour from Bewitching. I’ll also be reviewing the book. I couldn’t resist. Bastet is the cat goddess.

And that all makes for one busy week!

But looking ahead to the next week, there’s one big event already on the calendar. Susan Wiggs’ will be here for an interview on Thursday, August 30 to celebrate her new book, Return to Willow Lake. And I’ll be doing a review. Naturally.

And then, and then, and then…it will be Labor Day. And Dragon*Con. Where did the summer go again?