cockstrutRating: 4 stars
Buy Links: 
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Length: Novel

Louis has always enjoyed his pampered life as a cockatoo. He adores his owner Mrs. Green and she makes sure he has everything he needs.  Except for the occassions when Louis gets the uncontrollable urge to shift into his human form and get out and dance.  Otherwise, he is content living most of his life as a bird with his loving owner.

When Louis gets sick, renowned avian vet Sebastian Grant is called in to help. As much as he appreciates the care Mrs. Green obviously takes with Louis, Sebastian doesn’t believe birds should be locked up in cages.  When Sebastian examines Louis, he is shocked when the beautiful bird turns into an equally beautiful man in his arms.  Sebastian has never believed his friend Simon’s assertions that avian shifters are real, but now he has proof.

Sebastian doesn’t want to leave Louis behind, especially because it is clear from their short meeting that the men are mates. But how can he get Louis away from Mrs. Green without letting on that Louis is a shifter or getting accused of bird-napping? And as much as Louis is determined to be with Sebastian, he still loves his adopted mother Mrs. Green and doesn’t want to hurt her.  Sebastian and Louis are certain they are meant to be together, but now must find a way to get Louis out of his cage and into Sebastian’s arms.

Cockstrut is the second book in Hoff’s Undercover Peckers series and it is a fun romp into a world of avian shifters.   This series is definitely meant to be lighthearted and doesn’t take itself too seriously, which makes the stories a lot of fun and a great light read.  While the first book, Jay Walking, was full of puns and lots of silliness, this one is not quite as goofy, but equally adorable.

I think the set up here is kind of clever, making Louis a pampered pet much more comfortable with his bird form than human one.  He has lived all his life with Mrs. Green and knows no other shifters or any life other than as her pet.  He finds his need to shift on occasion more irritating than anything else, but he does enjoy the occasional night out dancing.  When Sebastian enters his life, the mating bond is pretty much instantaneous and suddenly Louis is torn. He loves his life and his adopted mother, but he also knows he wants to be with Sebastian even more. But how can they be together when Mrs. Green won’t let Louis out of her sight and he can’t tell her what he really is? It is a clever set up and an interesting take on the shifter world.

Undercover Peckers is an organization started by Jay and Simon, from Jay Walking, where they are attempting to track down and support other avian shifters.  Jay and Simon appear here as friends of Sebastian and try to help Sebastian figure out how to spring Louis free. We don’t learn too much more about the larger avian shifter world here.  Undercover Peckers is still getting up and running and so there isn’t a lot of interaction with other shifters, although we do meet a third bird shifter in this book.  I do think the larger world building is the aspect these books are missing.  There is a lot of cleverness in terms of the parallels between Louis’ bird and human forms (such as his spiky mohawk that matches his bird crest).  But we don’t know much about the larger world at all and things aren’t dealt with with much complexity.  For example, when Louis shifts to human form, where is he possibly finding clothes? And where does he get money to go to clubs? Not to mention he lives the vast majority of his life as a bird.  How is he so comfortable interacting in the human world?  These things are never addressed and you just have to kind of roll with it because this isn’t really the type of story that is going to delve into these typical world-building type of rules.

As I said, this is a lighthearted book and it doesn’t take itself too seriously, between the bird humor and the instant love.  But it is a lot of fun and I think the plot is quite a clever approach to shifter lore.  I am enjoying this series and the books are a nice choice when you are looking for quick, breezy, and fun.

Cover Review: I think this cover is super adorable and totally fits with the tone of the book.  I love Louis’ mohawk here. It is just how I pictured him!

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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