Book Chat Bonus: Hot and Badgered
Okay, okay, I’ve heard so much praise for Shelly Laurenston’s Honey Badger series for what seems like forever now and I finally took the dive during an Amazon KU trial. Let’s start with the usual basics for our book chats even though this is a bonus.
Book 1 of 4
Amazon: 1,805 ratings, 4.6 avg
GR: 8,948 ratings, 1,404 reviews, 4.19 avg
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 . . .
I’ve been burned by LOL books before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. As usual, I started with the 1-2 star reviews on both Amazon and GR. Many of these critical reviews were people who said they love the author and have read/ enjoyed earlier books. We’ve seen a lot of plot/ character issues in past chats and those are somewhat repeated here, but there are 2 new ones I haven’t seen previously so those are listed first!
Negative Reader Comments:
–romance didn’t happen for ¾ of the book
–insults beloved characters in previous books
–too many characters and view points
–plot is undeveloped
Too many characters – romance takes too long
I’m lumping these together as I feel they are related. Typically, romances give you the POV of the 2 MCs. I lost count of the number of POVs we got here. The fact that we bounce around so much was part of the reason for the delay in the romance portion. Technically, I could probably lump the plot issues here too. There was a lot going on and it was difficult to keep characters, histories, and plot points straight as I didn’t really connect to them.
It truly didn’t feel like an actual romance to me. I wasn’t particularly invested in whether the couple got together. It felt almost like an afterthought.
Insults characters from previous books
Again, as there were multiple POVs I am assuming at least some of them had previous books. As the 3 sisters were the MCs here though, they did come off much stronger and more powerful than anyone else. Typically, seeing past favorites in a new book is a good thing. I’m going to have to assume those reviewers upset by this had reason to be so though.
To delve slightly into the plot, it’s not resolved. Again, there are a lot of characters and actions and this felt basically like an intro. I assume the later books in the series build and resolve the plot issues.
I didn’t expect to find this funny, but I really did. It’s definitely more slapstick with the sisters constantly hurtling insults at one another and joking about death and murder. However, it suited my mood and made me smile. If you’re looking for more grounded, less dramatic chaos, this may not be the series for you. It’s definitely a wild, crazy ride with unbelievable action and drama.
“I should let him shoot you? What kind of sister would I be?”
“Especially when Stevie could go from zero to panic in six seconds. She was the Ferrari of panic.”
“She’s a serial killer.”
Overall, I’d give this one 2.5/3 stars as a romance. Now, I actually did enjoy it, but I don’t feel it delivered on the romantic aspect. As with some of the negative comments, my expectations from a book with ‘shifter romance’ in the title was for more romance. However, as humorous fantasy I’d give it 3.5/4 stars. There were definitely some absolutely funny moments throughout the book and it was a fun read.
It’s overly dramatic and exaggerated in so many ways, but that’s what made it different and fun for me. If you’re looking for more romance and less reality TV/ B movie campiness then this may not be the read for you. If you are looking for a more absurd take on shifters and want to laugh, this may be the perfect series for you!
It is again time to review from an author’s perspective so feel free stop reading now if that isn’t your thing (so sorry to report there’s no cat picture with this particular book, but I added a regular kitty picture below for fun)!
I am more excited to review this as a writer than a reader. While there are clearly, many reader reviews and my thoughts aren’t new, there are some new to this blog series things to chat about from a writer perspective.
This one started with other POV characters and when the FMC was a child. We are often advised not to start with a Prologue. Have you used one? What did you need to accomplish with it? Here, we got a glimpse into the sisters’ early scars that helped explain the bond and attitude we saw in Chapter 1. However, I’m not sure it was necessary.
Are you using a Prologue?
Guest starring characters/ Universe timeline
As mentioned above, many negative reviews came from readers who love the author’s earlier work. They were particularly upset that characters from those series weren’t treated well and appeared weak here. This is something we haven’t discussed and won’t apply to all fellow writers. However, those who are plotting series and crossovers, I think this is worth discussing.
How are you going to handle powerful characters playing guest stars in new stories? How will your former MCs relate to new ones?
This is of particular interest to me as I continue to expand and link new and upcoming series with my Rahki world. I won’t bore anyone with details, but after these reader comments, I’m definitely paying more attention now.
Correct Genre/ Effective Marketing
The top complaint seemed to be people who expected more romance. The title of the book includes ‘shifter romance’ so I think that’s an accurate expectation. The reviews also seemed to note that this book isn’t like previous books/ series in that regard.
If you’ve read previous blogs, you might know what’s coming here. Stay in your lane. It’s a sentiment I first heard from Alessandra Torre and Inkers Con. Readers do make certain assumptions and that can work for or against us. Here, it seemed to work against the author. While I’m not trying to debate the ‘stay in your lane’ idea, I think knowing our books well is the important lesson. We need to pick the correct genres and market to readers who want what we are delivering. Clearly, this didn’t severely impact a well-known and successful author and the majority of readers still loved it. It might impact the rest of us with little following and fewer books.
That’s it for this bonus chat but the October chat for Fury of a Phoenix will be up soon! If you have a book suggestion for our chat, please comment or contact me. If you’d like to do a guest post for the Book Chat series, please let me know that as well.
Here’s the link to the Book Chat blog series!
Until next time, happy reading and writing!