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Book Reviews: Lifting the Veil #3-4, by Susan Laine

Hunter's Moon - Susan Laine Monsters Under the Bed - Susan Laine

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Book 3: Hunter’s Moon

Ten years ago, the Great Unveiling revealed the presence of supernatural beings living on Earth, but not all humans know much about them—or care about them as anything other than a paycheck.

Kieran Knight is a freelance mercenary who hunts mythical beings for money. He abducts a man called Gabriel King, intending to turn him over to his client. But Gabriel isn’t any ordinary cowboy. He’s a powerful werewolf and the beta of his pack—and as he and Kieran soon discover, he is also Kieran’s mate.

Kieran knows next to nothing about how mating works, and he isn’t gay—but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel the chemistry heating up between them. To save Gabriel, Kieran orchestrates an escape, but his clients won’t give up their werewolf without a fight.

Book 4: Monsters Under the Bed

When PI Sam Garrett is hired by eccentric billionaire toy maker and child genius Mozart “Mo” Chance—after his apparent suicide in the hills of San Francisco—Sam takes the case out of sheer curiosity. In a world where the Veil lifted a decade ago and exposed mythical beings living among humans, Sam faces a big challenge as the mystery surrounding the case deepens.

The inheritors of Mo’s fortune—the uncle, the butler, the nanny, and the bodyguard—all possess secrets, and some are willing to protect them at any cost. The trouble is that Sam’s partner and lover, Rex Ford, is suddenly under suspicion as well.

Clouded by doubt, Sam continues to search for answers as tapestries of crimes begin to unravel and powers beyond his imagination are unleashed. If Mo endured horrific nightmares about monsters under his bed, there’s no telling what dangers await a nosy PI. What dangers lurk in this darkness? Sam is about to find out.

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Book – Hunter’s Moon (Lifting the Veil #3)

Author – Susan Laine

Star rating – ★★★★★

No. of Pages – 206

Movie Potential – ★★★★

Ease of reading – very easy to follow

Would I read it again – Definitely!

I absolutely loved this book! The story is set not long after book 1 in the series, with connecting characters. Kris and Rafe make an appearance, which is awesome. Knowing all the books would take place in the same world, this is more along the lines of what I’d expected of book 2 – some crossover of characters. Well, I got what I wanted in this one.

This story is about Gabriel King, Rafe’s brother, who is the peacemaker and the kindest, most controlled, contained member of the pack. Even after being kidnapped and taken down South to become a husband to a wolfie, Gabriel maintains that calm, until he realises his mate is one of the men who kidnapped him! Talk about awkward, but brilliant.

I loved the way that Kieran reacted to Gabe. It was instant, but unfathomable and there was a whole lot of ‘tortured soul’ moments that really told us how hard he was finding all of this. Yet he trusted his instincts enough to rescue Gabe and get him out of there. Not that it lasted long.

Kieran is that fiery, volatile person, who has secrets and no-go topics, because of all he’s experienced in life. It hasn’t been fair to him and he hasn’t had the best experience with the creatures that came through after the Unveiling. Yet, he can’t resist Gabe, although he tries. Gabe is this innocent soul through most of the book, cool and calm, until something threatens Kieran and then he’s got this righteous fury that is lovely to see.

The really inappropriate and downright weird comments Kieran makes during sex are hilarious and brilliant! They’re natural observations, from someone with no filter for their mouth.

There was such frustration, antagonism and playful back and forward between the two MC’s. There was this undercurrent of tension, both from danger and the sexual currents passing between them. This was a story full of fighting, chemistry and making up. Nothing ever went smoothly, especially that waterfall scene, but everything worked out somehow, because Kieran and Gabe tried so hard to make it work.

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I have one note about this series, so far. It’s more about books 1 and 2, which are clearly the same world and situations. Now, I don’t have a problem with Kieran bottoming, but I’m concerned over the expectation – from the author and the characters – that he has to. Are there no werewolf bottoms? It was the same with Kris, except that they actually discussed it in a roundabout way. There was never a moment where Gabe said to Kieran that it was okay for him to top instead.

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FAVOURITE QUOTE

““With you I feel weak and disorientated and happy and so fucking wigged out. But without you…? I feel like I can’t breathe, like my heart can’t beat. You and me…we can’t not talk. I don’t know what the hell I’m supposed to do or what will happen between us, but I’m asking you now; Are you gonna run from me?””

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Book – Monsters Under the Bed (Lifting the Veil #4)

Author – Susan Laine

Star rating – ★★★☆☆

No. of Pages – 156

Movie Potential – ★★★☆☆

Ease of reading – easy to read, but not captivating enough

Would I read it again – Probably not.

This was a really strange one for me. I really liked the first and last 20%, but everything in between didn’t work for me.

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PLOT

Unfortunately, this story failed on two halves – the paranormal aspect, which felt really out of place and didn’t fit with the storyline, and the crime/mystery aspect, which fell flat and didn’t hold my interest. The “Unveiling” world that has been created for this series only briefly touches the plot and in ways that are ridiculous and silly (I’m mostly referring to the weird dreams and the Cupid incidents). The crime, on the other hand, didn’t work for me either. I’m a major crime buff – TV, movies, books and in both the fiction and non-fiction areas. This crime didn’t feel questionable. And every time we were given “new” suspects for Sam to interview, they all said the same thing, just in a different variation. There was nothing “new” about it.

Plus, the blurb made Sam’s partner Ford seem like a real suspect, but it takes until 76% of the way in, for him to be questioned or considered an actual suspect. Previously, he’s only been loosely attached to the will and briefly associated with Mo, our victim, in a mystical dream. That doesn’t make him a suspect. I get that Sam would be reluctant to challenge him, but anyone with a spine would manage it before now. It feel likes a delay tactic.

The claim that Sam has a photographic and impeccable memory is just a tool for that the author can tell this story in 1st person – a deviation from the previous books in the series – and make it Sam’s journey, written after the fact. Without that ability, it would be impossible for anyone to recollect precise conversations, thoughts or events the way that is detailed here. I still find it hard to stomach, even knowing he’s got that ability.

Also, this unfailing memory somehow allows Sam to forget social plans. Which is not really likely, since “he” wrote this entire story after the fact. So if he can remember all those conversations, details and events in such perfect clarity, even his dreams, then there’s no reason he should forget about social plans, which have more importance.

I have a problem with the word “omnivorous” being used instead of bisexual. This is the second book in this series that does that and it sounds very predatory and negative. It’s kind of sleazy, to be honest.

There is very little essence of the world Laine has built in this series, within this plot. Other than the solution in the last 20%, one very strange Cupid incident and a few weird nightmares, there’s nothing about the Unveiling that is more than a mere mention on the radio or a tidbit thrown in for good measure. But, saying that, it’s not your normal P.I. story either. The mystery over the missing Haydn and Mo’s death is too flat to ever be a real crime drama. For me, there was no whodunit.

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CHARACTERS

Sam is a typical P.I. – ex cop, nosy, inquisitive and hard working. But, I don’t really get a sense of his personality through any of the book. The most personality comes from Ford, who is more of a side character, and from Mo, who is dead for the entire book. To be honest, when it comes to Ford, I knew nothing was going to be simple. People just don’t do a one eighty with their personality like that. And I pretty much knew who he was from at least the halfway mark.

The side characters – Lovell, Giulia, Parkinson, Cecil – all have their little quirks. Not one of them really stands out in any way. They’re all typical suspects too – each with a motive, though the means and opportunity are never really questioned.

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OVERALL

The romance was good. The crime wasn’t. The link to the Unveiling and that world didn’t sit right.

Those, in a nutshell, are my problems and positive experiences with this story. The romance of Sam and Ford was, by far, the best part of the story (though they’re a little heavy handed with the sex).

Despite this being book 4 in the Lifting the Veil series, only books 1 and 3 were actually linked. It would be more accurate to say that this series (other than 1 and 3, so far) are actually all stand alone novels, that all take place in the same universe. There is no link between any of them other than the Unveiling and even in this story it was a very, very tentative thread.

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