Tuesday, 27 March 2018

ARC Review of Hot and Badgered & Happy Book Birthday!

Hot and Badgered
The Honey Badgers, Book One
Publishing Date 27 March 2018
by Kensington Publishing

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 received an Advanced Reading Copy of Hot and Badgered from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. As always, the following review consists solely of my opinions and mine alone. I then reread the entire series so it was all nice and fresh before I dived into the ARC.
In Hot and Badgered, we meet a whole new set of shifters and see the return of some of our favourites as well. I was almost fooled by the prologue and was worried I wouldn't have any Blayne, Dee-Ann, or Livvy cameos in Hot and Badgered, but I shouldn't have doubted Shelly Laurenston to deliver. I'll never doubt you again, Ms Laurenston.
Hot and Badgered focuses on an ostracised branch of Livvy's family, the MacKilligan sisters. The oldest of three sisters, Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is an anomaly. She and her youngest sister, Stevie, are only half honey badger which isn't a thing since HB genetics totally dominate in every other pairing with honey badgers involved. Together with their middle sister, Max, the MacKilligan sisters are on the run from the the first paragraph. Their guesses as to who's behind the hit squad after them varies from a Peruvian drug lord to government types, but one thing they know for sure is that it's definitely their no-good useless father's fault.
Charlie jumps off her hotel room's balcony and lands on Cooper Jean-Louise Parker's balcony (yes, the JLPs are baaaaack!) and Berg Dunn is Coop's bodyguard on duty. Berg and Charlie take on the black-ops types that crashed the party and while Berg has no idea who she is, he starts falling for Charlie then and there, even as she takes off again. She meets up with Max, and the two go to Switzerland to break their genius sister, Stevie, out of yet another 'mental health spa' and then they head to Manhattan and a Yang Family safe house (aka Livvy's house that is most decidedly not a Yang Family safe house).
Eventually Berg takes Charlie and her sisters to a place he knows will be perfect for the sisters to hideout until they figure things out. It doesn't hurt that it's a house in the same neighbourhood as the house Berg shares with the other members of his triplet set, Britta and Dag. The safest place he could think of was in a bear-only neighbourhood and as long as Max doesn't raid their hives and Charlie keeps stressbaking, everybear is more than happy to welcome the sisters to the neighbourhood.
It isn't until we're introduced to Dee-Ann's daughter that I realised that Hot and Badgered takes place at least 7 years after Livvy's story, Bite Me, which I wasn't too happy about. If you've read the entire series of Laurenston's from Eggie Ray's short story to Sara Morrighan's introduction to her true self to Mace Llewellyn's reuniting with his Bronx love to the mighty bearcat that is Novikov (who is not a serial killer), you've seen the craziness that I love and adore in Laurenston's books. And I was so upset that I missed the pregnancy crazies that I just know Dee-Ann and Blayne experienced through their pregnancies. I will literally get down on my hands and knees and beg Ms Laurenston for a book that has flashbacks (which I steadfastly despise) just so I can read how wild Blayne got or how terrifying Dee-Ann was during their pregnancy days.
Moving on before I start that wailing again (I get emotionally invested in my favourite books!).
Due to a few miscommunications (I totally blame Max's best friend), Dee-Ann and Cella (yes, the cat killer is back!) end up chasing Charlie and her sisters around Manhattan, including at the Sports Center where so many things I love happen and I can't tell you about them because it would spoil the story.
We get to see Sissy Mae and Mitch crash a house party, the sisters gain a Jean-Louise Parker prodigy roommate, Ric gets back in the kitchen (while Dee-Ann is teaching their daughter what her daddy taught her), Stevie faces her fear of bears in Shen Li, and Charlie gets a job to do what she does best that pays over $80K for a few days work. And we get a new shifter breed introduced! What else can I say to convince you that you need to read Hot and Badgered? There's moderate bloodshed, funny moments abound, and favourite characters return in cameos!
There are only a few things I disliked about Hot and Badgered. Mostly the fact that we skipped witnessing pregnant Dee-Ann and pregnant Blayne being in the same room. Because if you know Dee-Ann and Blayne, you know things happened. I'm not a fan of horrible fathers like Charlie, Max, and Stevie are cursed with but that's pretty much my daddy issues popping out of the closet to say howdy-do. But the likes by far outweigh the dislikes for me.
I love that the MacKilligan sisters are half-sisters (Charlie is half-wolf, Stevie is half-tiger, and Max is full honey badger) and they're all raised by one of the moms until they end up having to go live with Charlie's grandfather. Max is outright unstable but then you have Stevie who is heavily medicated for her anxiety issues and when she goes off-meds, she's just as unstable. When Stevie isn't hiding in trees from man-eating bears (don't judge), she's got her sisters' backs too. And then, there's Charlie, who's the one who always has her head on straight and always has several plans to keep her sisters safe. I love how Stevie and Max advise Berg on how to win over Charlie, "stray dog it!" is now a thing that shall live in infamy. Novikov trying to recruit the sisters repeatedly in the strangest moments.
If this book were human, I'd marry it. Therefore, I give Hot and Badgered 5 out of 5 stars (le gasp!) and a nice mellow 2 flames of sexytimes. Ms Laurenston focused on the storyline and didn't overindulge in the love scenes so I didn't feel like an unwilling voyeur reading through things. I wholeheartedly suggest y'all check it out.



Originally from Long Island, New York, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelly Laurenston has resigned herself to West Coast living which involves healthy food, mostly sunny days, and lots of guys not wearing shirts when they really should be. Shelly Laurenston is also The New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author G.A. Aiken, creator of the Dragon Kin series. For more info on G.A.’s dangerously and arrogantly sexy dragons, check out her website at www.gaaiken.com.


That's another review finished, I'm starting to make a dent in my TBR review mountain, very slowly but still, a dent is a dent. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Hot and Badgered and I do hope you take the opportunity to use one of the links provided above to purchase a copy. 
Also, my charity choice for this post is Villalobos Rescue Center. Why? Because while I was working with Manatee in-store over the weekend, we were targeted by a teenaged boy who started screaming "That's a Pit! He'll kill you!" in the middle of Walmart. While Manatee isn't a member of the 'pit' family, he and my other dogs do get mistaken for pits and get that reaction a lot. Don't blame a breed for owners misbehaviour and choosing not to properly train their dog.
Until next time, my darling readers, have a happily ever after!

Friday, 9 March 2018

ARC Review of I am Justice

I am Justice
Book One of the Band of Sisters series
by Diana Munoz Stewart
Publishing Date 1 May 2018
by Sourcebooks Casablanca

Justice Parish was rescued from a brutal childhood and adopted into a loving family. But the scars from her past cannot be forgotten, and she vows to protect and avenge others who haven’t escaped the cruel hands of injustice. She becomes a skilled assassin—a vigilante. Her next target: a sex-trafficking ring in the war-torn Middle East. She just needs the perfect cover to get close and take them down…

After years of witnessing the destructive nature of war, Sandesh Ross leaves the Special Forces and puts his heart and soul into founding a humanitarian group. Saving the world isn’t cheap, and when Justice walks through his door, claiming to be a PR agent who can help with donors, he thinks his prayers are answered. They’re both too busy saving the world to get involved with each other. But they might not be able to help themselves…







I received an advanced copy of I am Justice from the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. The following review consists solely of my own personal opinions and mine alone.

I enjoyed reading I am Justice and I'm interested in reading Book Two of the series, but to be honest, it was kind of unrealistic and a bit all over the map (literally and figuratively). Again, I liked it but it was a little too off for me to love.
Justice experienced a childhood of hellish trauma (please be advised, content can be triggering to those with a history of sexual violence) and was rescued and adopted by her 'mother' who has all the money in the world and all the pull that goes along with it. Together with innumerable adopted sisters (no, really, innumerable) and brother (just two), Justice works to eradicating sex trafficking worldwide. A noble goal and something I wholeheartedly support, but still fantastical. Now this is a bit of a revenge mission for Justice since her sister got the full brunt of their childhood trauma and was killed by a big bad. After she and her brother shut down a sex slave massage parlour type establishment, Justice recruits one of the freed girls and then goes off to protest her desired mission's (killing her sister's murderer) cancellation and runs into hunka-hunka Sandesh in her mum's office (after doing a lovely vault routine over her mother's secretary - what?). We're told over and over that Justice dislikes men, they're for sexual use only, but at the same time, Justice gets the hubba-hubbas for Sandesh. I actually thought we were finished it much sooner than the story actually finished, but we had more and more loops pop up. I kind of got tangled up in them. I enjoyed the actual final show but, at the same time, I couldn't see the dots connect on the final twist. Things just seemed really forced all over the book.
I'd like to have been able to give this book 5 stars, but it just didn't seem very believable. So I'm giving I am Justice 3 out of 5 stars. I'll be looking for book 2, but I won't be holding my breath waiting for it.


Diana Muñoz Stewart is the award-winning, romantic suspense author of the Band of Sisters series, which includes I Am Justice and I Am Grace and I Am Honor (Sourcebooks Publishing). She lives in eastern Pennsylvania in an often chaotic and always welcoming home that—depending on the day—can include husband, kids, extended family, friends, and a canine or two.

When not writing, Diana can be found kayaking, doing sprints up her long driveway—harder than it sound—practicing yoga on her deck, or hiking with the man who’s had her heart since they were teens.
Diana is represented by the wonderful Michelle Grajkowski of Three Seas Literary Agency.



I'm not really sure what's going on right now, but I'm trying to catch up to my review schedule since it ran away last month. Until next time, dearest readers, have a happily ever after!