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Early Review: Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston (Honey Badgers #1)

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Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston // VBC ReviewHot and Badgered (Honey Badgers #1)
Shelly Laurenston
Published: Mar. 27, 2018 (Kensington)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars

The last thing bear shifter Berg Dunn expects when he starts bodyguard duty for a jackal shifter piano prodigy is a naked woman to fall from the sky and land on his hotel balcony early one morning. He promptly thwarts the advances of the men chasing after her, gives her a T-shirt and a gun, and sends her one her way. Looking back, it’s probably the most normal thing that happens after Charlie MacKilligan literally falls into his life.

Charlie MacKilligan and her sisters, Max and Stevie, are used to running from something. With a father who definitely fits into the “worst father ever” category, one of his get-rich-quick schemes is always causing trouble for the family. But they are honey badgers (at least half honey badger), and if nothing else, honey badgers are no-holds-barred survivors. Now, they’ll just have to figure out who is chasing after them, and how exactly their good-for-nothing father is involved.

Hot and Badgered was such a delight to read. The funnies just jumped off the page left and right. I don’t think I went more than two pages without cracking a smile or outright laughing while I was reading. The MacKilligan family is certainly a colorful group of miscreants to say the least, with Charlie, Max, and Stevie considered the black sheep of the family.

In fact, Charlie, Max, and Stevie heavily echo the characters of Kera, Erin, and Jace respectively from Laurenston’s Call of Crows series. There’s a frenetic energy around their interactions with one another. They easily get on each other’s nerves, yet it’s clearly the special love and bond between sisters because as we learn early and often in this book, you don’t want to mess with the sisters.

Family is a big part of Hot and Badgered as we see the MacKilligans forming their own unit when their extended family ostracizes them for the crimes of their father. Everything is fast-paced and frantic. On the other side we have Berg and his sister and brother who have a loving extended family and have a more laid-back approach to life. I really like how Shelly Laurenston evokes the true personalities and mannerisms of the animals (badgers, bears, etc.) into the shifters. When the bears offer Charlie and her sisters their protection, of sorts, the women start to see that they can fit somewhere, they don’t have to be loners.

Berg’s laid-back bear attitude, yet the dedicated protectiveness, makes his and Charlie’s romance really sweet. A slightly different feel than the normal alpha-male style romance we usually see in shifter-centered stories.

Probably my favorite thing about the book was how underestimated the sisters were by pretty much everyone. I delightfully relished, time and again, how they would turn this underestimation into downright fear as people started to realize that you don’t mess with the MacKilligans. If there was one thing that brought the story down for me, it’s the fact that there appear to be so many factions gunning for the sisters. So many people weave in, out, and around there were times it was difficult to remember who went where and with what.

By the end, however, most everything is clear. What is also clear is that Hot and Badgered is merely the setup for what’s to come next. I honestly can’t wait for the next book. This fun, fast, read was exactly what I needed right now. If you’re looking for a lighter and funnier read to chase away the last gloom of winter into early spring, look no further.

Sexual content: sex

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