Review: Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston

Format: trade, ebook
Pub Date: March 27, 2018
Publisher: Kensington
Length: 432 pages
POV: 3rd, past
FTC: Digital galley via the publisher

Honey badgers are one of my favorite characters in Shelly Laurenston's shifter series. This new series is about hybrid honey badgers, which means they're even more over the top than the regular honey badgers.

I admittedly struggled through the first 25% of the book. It was disjointed, with a lot of chaos and confusion. If I hadn't read Laurenston before, I might have given up. The story really doesn't start coming together until about 30% through, which is probably typical for new series, but seemed weird given that this wasn't a new world, but a new spinoff in an old one.

The thing that makes Laurenston books different from the vast majority of paranormal romances out there is how the women are portrayed. There are no passive women waiting for their "fated" mates. Every single one is a warrior, and most are actually considered more dangerous than the men. That is the case with this book.

What I also love about Laurenston heroines is that just because they are badass, it doesn't mean they eschew things that are considered "girly" or feminine. Charlie bakes when upset or stressed (something I loved, because I am totally a stress baker). New here, but greatly appreciated, is the matter of the fact way that medication for mental health is dealt with. It's just a fact. Like taking a vitamin. It was simply discussed like any other health condition, which I liked and which made me realize how little we see of that in fiction.

I think this book needed an outside eye, someone who maybe hasn't read all of her books twenty times, because there is a ton of back story and world building that is just assumed here. There are also some incredibly brief cameos that won't make any sense unless you've read her other books. Don't start with this book if you're new to Laurenston!

More disappointing was the lack of heat between Charlie and Berg. It may have been me, but there was zero sexual tension here. It may also have been that most of the book is about the sisters and their antics, so the romance takes second (or even third) place in the narrative. At any rate, it felt like the author was far more interested in the caper aspects and sisterhood aspects than the romance. I really liked Berg, liked Charlie, and liked their slow slide into a relationship, but I wanted more desire.

My Grade: B-

The Blurb:

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.

Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up . . .

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