The bonkers adventures of the McKilligan sisters continue in the second book of Laurenston’s Honey Badger Chronicles. Stevie, the baby sister of the chaotic trio and a musical and scientific prodigy, is struggling. Her meds aren’t working to control her panic disorder anymore, her good-for-nothing father and her dangerous uncles seem headed toward a confrontation, and at the same time The Group needs her help to figure out who is targeting shifter hybrids.
Shen Li doesn’t let a lot rile him. His seemingly infinite patience makes him the ideal bodyguard for Stevie’s good friend, the utterly obnoxious but undeniably talented Kyle Jean-Louis Parker. He is used to fielding unreasonable demands, and keeping the little whelp from getting killed on a regular basis, but when Stevie gets drawn into a dangerous plot, his easy-going nature might not be enough to keep them all safe.
In a Badger Way is more romancey than Hot and Badgered but remains strongly focused on Charlie, Max and Stevie. Their relationships and history remain at the center of the story. Laurenston gives as much focus to Charlie and Max starting therapy and learning let go of some of their overprotective reactions to threats against Stevie as it does to Shen and Stevie’s relationship. Like all Laurenston books, this story is filled with 500% more named and interrelated characters than most other books, and has at least 3 different plotlines going at the same time. There is over-the-top violence, madcap hijinks and crass jokes a plenty.
The depictions of mental illness, depression and panic attacks in these books are far from respectful but at the same time also taken very seriously. Stevie's panic attacks might be portrayed in an ridiculous way, yet the fact that people have reactions and feelings they can’t always control is treated as normal, as is looking for help.
I really enjoyed that Shen and Stevie’s dynamics. He is no pushover with Stevie, but at the same time so different from her overbearing sisters that Stevie can trust him to be a partner that is not out to control or overprotect her. I also loved that Laurenston does not shy away from having former leads looks utterly ridiculous outside their books. It just such a refreshing thing to see. They absolutely have their HEAs but that doesn’t mean they all get along with each other or are always right. Can’t wait to see what Max’s book is like and who she will get paired up with.
Content Warnings: depression, kidnapping/abduction, Medical Procedures,mental illness, sexual harassment