Bingo Square: Cannonballer Says (emmalita’s review here)
I picked up the first novel in the trilogy based on emmalita’s recommendation and ended up reading the entire trilogy back to back. I figured out I’d start with some general observations and commentary about the trilogy as a whole and then go into book specific.
I have never read anything by Laurenston before but I quite enjoyed this trilogy – it focuses on the Mackilligan sisters, Charlie, Max and Stevie – they all share the same honey badger father but have different mothers. Normally when a honey badger shifter has a child with another shifter species, the honey badger genes win out and the resulting child is pure honey badger. Not with the Mackilligans – their deadbeat dad also had some “fucked up genes,” so Charlie’s personality is still very much part wolf and she can’t fully shift, Max is a full honey badger because of her mom but displays levels of happiness unheard of from your average badger, and Stevie is a genius half tiger shifter with anxiety disorder and a tendency to hang from ceilings with her claws when startled.
While this is its own trilogy, it places the Mackilligan girls in a pre-established universe filled with characters and locations from her Pride series. However, the Mackilligans are new to this whole order so they are good guides to learn about the extended shifter politics and organizations. The other characters that are obviously reoccuring add depth to the world rather than making it things confusing.
While these are romances novels, they were also very much about the sisters – though the individual books focused more on specific sisters, each novel still had chapters and scenes set from the perspective of the other sisters. Generally, in romance trilogies like this, I would expect the other sisters to show up, but nothing would be set from their view point.
Freddy Mackilligan is a screw up – his two older daughters hate him while Stevie still has some loyalty based on his status as their father. This trilogy is the result of yet another one of his failed schemes placing his daughters into mortal danger and making them targets, and follows their adventures as they deal with the fall out. The women are insane and hilarious and so much in here is inappropriate – they will do whatever it takes to survive and protect each other, and it is so entertaining to watch the rest of the shifter world reacting to them, and all their quirks and oddities.
Hot and Badgered
This novel is the Charlie focused one, and begins with an assassination attempt. While she and her sisters are on the run, they are pulled into the broader shifter community, something that they had kept themselves a part from (outside of Charlie’s grandfather’s wolf pack). Her love interest is a bear, who offers them shelter in a bear neighborhood. Since Stevie discovers that she has a deadly fear of bears and Max won’t stay away from the bee hives, hi jinks ensue with their presence – good thing Charlie stress bakes, and her creations more than make up for her sisters’ oddities when it comes to keeping the neighbors happy.
In a Badger Way
The sisters are still dealing with the fall out from their father’s last scheme but now that they are more involved with the shifter community, Stevie is asked to help out with a case. Her reputation in the science community should allow her to get close to the potential suspect, and it’s a good thing she already has Shen, a panda shifter body guard, to help (because pandas are exempt from her fear of dangerous bears).
Badger to the Bone
Max discovers a jaguar shifter who didn’t realize he was a shifter until after she meets him while on a special mission to track down some leads. This one gets much more into Max and her hobbies, and some of the dynamics between the sisters as they are all convinced to start therapy.
Obviously there is a lot more going – the plots are fast paced, there is a lot of action and violence, and also just so many laugh out loud funny moments. In addition to that, there are also multiple appearances from the extended Mackilligan family – while they are all criminals, Freddy is an incompetent annoyance to them all.