Early Review: Badger to the Bone by Shelly Laurenston (Honey Badger #3)

Badger to the Bone by Shelly Laurenston // VBC Review

Badger to the Bone (Honey Badger Chronicles #3)
Shelly Laurenston
Published: March 31, 2020 (Kensington)
Purchase at: Amazon or Bookshop
Review Source: Copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4 stars

Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it may reference previous events in the series. If you haven’t yet started, check out VBC’s review of Hot and Badgered.

When Max MacKilligan is kidnapped by a mysterious band of mercenaries hired by whichever family member has it out for the MacKilligans this week, she is: 1) ready to show these fools a thing or two about messing with a honey badger, and 2) surprised to find a fellow shifter among their ranks. But all is not as it seems.

Zezé Vargas is not really working for the mercenaries he’s working undercover. At least, he was until their kidnapee starts talking like she knows him. With his cover blown, he’s got to figure out a way to get him and the woman out alive. Well, she actually takes care of that problem all on her own, but unfortunately Zé is injured in the process. When he wakes up he learns that he has been taken to a house full of people who believe they can shift into animals, and apparently Zé is one too, a cat shifter.

While trying to show Zé the side of himself that was hidden away from him, Max will have to continue to dodge murderous family, her mother’s sudden return from prison (and no it wasn’t an early pardon), and her sudden interest in the cat shifter. All while making sure her basketball team makes it to the playoffs.

Badger to the Bone is the third (and final?) book in Shelly Laurenston’s Honey Badger series with middle sister Max as the lead. Max has been my favorite MacKilligan because I feel like she’s such a loose cannon. But really that’s not even true because every action she takes is super calculated. She just calculates at a speed quicker than normal people can blink.

I’ll never tire of these sisters. I’ll always get a little giddy feeling whenever they’re put into a situation where they are clearly not taken as a threat, and then they quickly turn it around on those misbegotten people.

The problem is that I think Shelly Laurenston almost set Max up as too much of a sociopath to the point where it would be difficult for her to carry a story on her own. Because I felt like the Max we’ve gotten to know over the course of the first two books was dialed down a little bit. But honestly, I don’t know any other way to have her be front-and-center if she’s just manically laughing the entire time. So I understand it, but I kind of missed the more sinister aspects of Max’s character. And with everything that is piled on in this book, and in this series in general, getting a Max that’s a little more sociably approachable was nice.

Plus, we get the addition of Zé. Which I really loved for the fact that he’s a shifter that doesn’t know he’s a shifter. I thought that was a unique approach. His reactions to this new world are hilarious. Like seeing these characters we’ve known for two books now through new eyes. It’s great and I wish we could have played a bit more in Zé’s new perspective as well as why he wasn’t told early on that he is a cat shifter.

On the whole, Badger to the Bone is what I’ve come to expect from this series and from Shelly Laurenston. It was a fun—at times hilarious—wild ride. Sometimes you just need the expected. I would be fine with revisiting the MacKilligans again, but if not, there’s a whole cast of kooky characters just ready to step into the limelight.  

Sexual Content: Sex

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