tufted and tattedRating: 3.5 stars
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Length: Novella

Atticus is a puffin shifter who has just escaped from an Australian zoo with the help of his friend Irwin. Atty was being kept by the zoo for breeding experiments and it was only through Irwin’s help, along with the rest of the Undercover Peckers team, that Atty was finally able to get free and make his way to America. He is looking forward to a new life and the freedom to finally do what he wants. When he arrives in California, however, a hot surfer spies Atty shifting and Atty fears his secret will come out and once again he will find himself captive.

Scott is shocked to see a man turn into a bird on the beach, but moments later, he has forgotten all about it. A car accident last year has left Scott with anterograde amnesia — he can remember everything up to his accident, but most new memories are gone as soon as they come. Scott relies on reminders from his phone to keep track of the most important stuff and occasionally memories will stick, but just as often he will experience a total memory wipe out.

When Atty meets Scott, he instantly recognizes Scott as his mate. Bird shifter mates bond immediately and now that he has met Scott, Atty knows he is in this for the long haul. Fortunately, Scott is easy going enough to happily take Atty along for his road trip to a surfing championship in Florida. Along the way, the guys get to know one another and act on their mutual attraction, growing the bond between them. But Scott still doesn’t know about Atty’s shifter status — nor is he likely to remember once he is told. On top of that, Atty still fears he will be recaptured, and when a stranger seems to be watching a little too closely, Atty’s freedom may be gone before it has barely started.

Tufted & Tatted is the fourth book in the Undercover Peckers series. This is a light, fun, easy-to-read series that doesn’t take itself too seriously and readers shouldn’t either. They are the kind of books that are great when you want something easy and quick with a bit of quirky humor, and I like them for that reason. The books each feature different couples, but the series ties together with the Undercover Peckers organization. It was founded by the MCs of the first book, Jay Walking, who were determined to help out other shifters in need. The characters appear frequently in each other’s books, but you can easily jump in without having read them all. In the case of this book, however, Atty’s actual rescue/escape from the zoo was the subject of the previous book, Masked Booby, so having read that book will give you a little context for the start of this one (though the events are recapped here).

Atty and Scott are both likable characters, Scott in particular. His amnesia leaves him having trouble remembering things that have just happened, so at times he appears slow, but it is really just a faulty memory. But he has such a positive outlook and is charming in a surfer dude kind of way. Although Atty is kind of stunned to realize his plans of being unattached have come to a quick end, he accepts Scott unconditionally and is very patient with helping him through his memory issues. There is no real relationship development here; these books are all about the instalove. As soon as Atty meets Scott, he knows Scott is his mate and then its done. Scott falls almost immediately as well, so this book is definitely more about the fun than it is about growing a relationship.

Plotwise, the story is pretty much Atty figuring out Scott is his mate, learning about his amnesia, and the guys getting to Florida. There is a little bit of intrigue in terms of a stranger who is following them and might be a threat to Atty, but that isn’t really developed into anything and is resolved quickly. Honestly, I never fully understood why Atty was so scared. Once he shifted out of bird form and destroyed his tracker, how could anyone (even if they had bothered to track him from Australia) recapture him in human form? Even as a puffin, who is going to recognize him? I may be way misremembering, but I don’t believe the zoo knows he is a shifter. So it is not like they are going to try to kidnap a human and bring him back to the zoo. It just seemed like a very contrived conflict that never fully made sense to me. I also felt pretty unsatisfied with the resolution here. It felt unfinished to me, as a key issue between them is technically settled, but felt… not good enough maybe? I’m not quite sure how to explain it without giving it away, but the way the guys choose to deal with Scott’s amnesia with regard to Atty’s shifting just felt very unsatisfactory to me and I kind of wanted an epilogue to show how it was better dealt with in the future.

So as I said, this is a cute series and a light and easy book. Don’t go into it expecting more than you are going to get, as things stay pretty much on the surface. But I enjoy each installment and these stories are a nice way to break up reading more intense books.

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

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