Thursday, November 30, 2023

Review: Born to Be Badger by Shelly Laurenston

Born to Be Badger by Shelly Laurenston
Series: The Honey Badger Chronicles, Book 5
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Paranormal Romance 
Born to Be Badger cover
ISBN: 9781496730176
Release Date: November 28, 2023
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

Emily “Tock” Meyerson-Jackson is on a mission to rid the world of shifters trafficking humans for hunting and cash. And now that she’s narrowed down her suspects to a brutal coalition of male lions, nothing will get between this honey badger and her prey—not even a dog-loving Tiger with absolutely no time management skills. Doesn’t matter that Shay Malone is ferociously adorable. With a war brewing between cat families, Tock doesn’t have time to lounge around with a football-playing tiger shifter. But when she realizes the coalition is also responsible for the death of Shay’s father, she’s forced to partner up with the flirtatious feline…

Revenge is most definitely on the menu for Shay and his tiger shifter brothers. But when it comes to Shay’s alluring partner in crime-solving, so is seduction. Tock might be a bad-ass of a honey badger, but she’s awfully cute when she’s flashing her fangs, which she’s pretty much doing all the time these days. Good thing revenge is a dish best served hot. Because when it comes to Tock, Shay knows just how to turn up the heat…

Born to Be Badger is a wild ride filled with action, adventure, and big personalities. Shelly Laurenston’s newest entry into her ever-expanding shifter world is seriously fun.

Tock is a honey badger who is no-nonsense and obsessed with time. She’s blunt to a hilarious degree and has a way of just taking care of things that I really liked. Shay is a tiger with soft, squishy feelings, absolutely no time management skills, and a daughter to get to math camp on time – even when bad guys are after him and the woman he’s supremely attracted to. Tock tries to ignore him at first, but you can’t ignore a tiger trying to get your attention. Shay and Tock just click from the start and I loved them together. They’re funny, her relationship with his daughter is sweet without being saccharine, and I just enjoyed reading about them. Their romance is slow burn and understated to the point that I wish there had been a bit more time devoted to it, but I honestly didn’t mind too much because I just liked them together. There’s an easy chemistry between them that makes them stand out and the two of them stand on their own without being overwhelmed by the giant personalities of the sizeable supporting cast.

Born to Be Badger continues several plots from the Honey Badger Chronicles and Laurenston’s other shifter series, but doesn’t entirely have one of its own outside of Tock and Shay’s understated love story. Normally this would bother me but it kind of works in this book because the daily lives of Tock, Shay, and their friends and family are interesting on their own. I liked seeing Tock and her teammates continue their chaotic (sometimes bloodthirsty) ways and Laurenston introduces several interesting plots that I expect to see continued in future books. So in terms of the series, it’s a bridge book, maybe even filler, but it doesn’t feel that way. Quite simply, this book is fun. There are shenanigans, dozens of shifters, and intriguing hints of what’s to come. I had a blast reading Born to Be Badger and it’s zany, frenetic energy, unique characters, and Laurenston’s entertaining storytelling make it a book I’ll enjoy over and over.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.