Review: Unleashed (Amoveo Legacy #1) by Sara Humphreys
Life in her sleepy little seaside hometown is not as tranquil as Samantha believes. Being stalked by an assassin with a centuries-old grudge against a race she doesn’t even know she’s part of would be scary enough, but not knowing is even more dangerous. Can Malcolm, her perfectly matched Amoveo shifter mate, convince her to accept and embrace her hidden heritage and protect her from murder at the hands of the zealous Caedo before it’s too late? Unleashed is a GraveTells Recommended Read!
- Title: Unleashed
- Series: The Amoveo Legacy – book #1
- Author: Sara Humphreys
- Prominent Characters: Malcolm, Samantha
- Recommended reader age: 16+
- Sexual content level: moderate
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
This book is like a Darwinian chameleon… constantly evolving to keep the plot moving and the characters growing. Sometimes the flow of the story felt a little slow, as Ms. Humphreys thoroughly sculpted the world of the Amoveo shapeshifters, and other times it was a frantic, heart-pounding mad rush of action (more than one kind too, if you get my drift) and story progression.
The slower parts were, for me, the sections set in Sam’s little home town after she moves in with her grandmother. I think the reason these parts of the story didn’t resonate with me was strictly personal and not necessarily a reflection of Ms. Humphreys’ skill as a writer (I just don’t like small towns – grew up in one and they bore me). That said, Malcom’s initial personality did grate on me a little. I find it frustrating when authors, especially female authors, write men as “prissy”. Not that Malcom was really prissy or feminine, he just used vocabulary and phrasing that felt less than “alpha”, “powerful”, “masculine” (yes, I know, not all men are “alpha” – that may be just another personal preference). Maybe that’s just his personality (although I did notice it with all of the other Amoveo men except Dante and Steven, so maybe it’s an age-propriety-stuffiness cultural thing?), but later in the book his character began to feel more organic and grounded. Like he’d finally found his voice. About halfway through is when things started to pick up for me, both with the pacing and the characterization.
The mystery in Unleashed is well designed. I wasn’t actively trying to figure it out, but I wasn’t blindly ignoring clues either, and I didn’t “get it” until the very end. I like it when a story surprises me (on multiple levels) and isn’t formulaicly predictable. I especially enjoyed the characters of Nonnie, Sam’s grandmother, and Tony, the Caedo baddie. The Caedo are racist religious zealots obsessed with obliterating the Amoveo. They’re definitely well written antagonists because I absolutely hated them! Sam’s friend Kerry was also a really great contribution to the cast; she had a vibrant personality and I especially liked that she’s a plus-size model who is still considered beautiful despite her dress size. Once Sam and Kerry meet up, the dialogue almost immediately becomes less stuffy, and more moderate and comfortable.
Once the story picks up momentum, the connection between Sam and Malcom is intense. Tender, passionate, protective, supportive… they are, to borrow from The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’s Jacob, exactly right for each other. I like her personality, Sam. It reminds me a little of Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse, except heavier on the smarts and common sense and lighter on the country twang. Sam has country hospitality with determination, spunk, and a great sense of humor. The heat between Malcolm and Sam is steamy without feeling dirty- intense but not explicit. Malcolm is yummy. Aside from the aforementioned speech quirk in the first half of the book, he is damn near the perfect mate. The ladies are definitely going to love Malcolm!
Yeah, you tell em Gunther!
Gunther hung up and let out a loud, exasperated sigh. “I hate dealing with new buyers. They always call up and ask such stupid questions. When are you open?” he mimicked with a grimace. “I mean honestly. What in gay hell? Haven’t they heard of the Internet? We have a website for a reason people!”
Vampire, shapeshifter… semantics! *grin*
Sam turned around and sat on the windowsill, staring at him through narrowed eyes. “So do you want to tell me what you are? Or do I have to guess?”
“What do you think I am?” He didn’t take his gaze off her for a moment.
“Well, you’re not a vampire. Although I may have a hickey or two, you didn’t suck my blood.”
Being Punk’d is serious business…
“You did all this for me?” she asked in disbelief.
“You find it so shocking that I would make you dinner?” He handed her the ornate crystal glass.
“This is more than dinner. I feel like I’m on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous or more likely Punked. Is Ashton hiding under the table or something?”
An excellent start to the Acknowledgements section…
“Really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.” – Mark Twain
If you liked Unleashed of the Amoveo Legacy series…
If you enjoyed Unleashed, you might also like The Lost by Caridad Pineiro, the first book in her new Sin Hunters series. Both books are starters for promising new paranormal romance series and have both capable heroines and sensitive yet strong heroes, with an appealing mix of personalities in their extended cast.
You might also enjoy the Lost City Shifters series by Eleri Stone and the Children of Twilight series by Maggie Shayne.
As I approached the end of the book and the action still hadn’t wrapped up, with the number of remaining pages quickly dwindling, I worried it was going to be a serious cliff hanger, which really wouldn’t have been fun. Instead, Ms. Humphreys wrapped it up wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am style, keeping it relevant, edgy, and a little bit shocking. Unleashed may have had some pacing issues in the first half, but the ending was most definitely a dynamic finish, leading right into the next book in the series. Some of my favorite series (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Midnight Breed) have started out with less than mind-blowing first reads, and developed into addictively strong, mature worlds with complex characters and story arcs. Sometimes it just takes a little time to get the ball rolling. You’ll have to read the second book in the Amoveo Legacy series to find out if Unleashed will join that elite list.
I dare you to finish it and say “nope, I’m not reading the next one!” because the momentum created by the final sequence of events in Unleashed is very promising for future stories. The world of the Amoveos is a fresh new interpretation of shapeshifter lore and I’m definitely putting the series on my to-read list.
Unleashed is a GraveTells Recommended Read!
Did you enjoy this review? Rate it up on Amazon and Barnes&Noble!
Amazon review link ❦ Barnes&Noble review link
Buy Unleashed: Amazon
Here are a few places you can find Unleashed author Sara Humphreys:
- http://www.sarahumphreys.com/ (website)
- http://amoveoromanceseries.blogspot.com/ (blog)
- http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2909019.Sara_Humphreys (GoodReads)
- http://www.authorsden.com/sarataneyhumphreys (Author’s Den)
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