I generally review romance, paranormal and urban fantasy. I tend to pick review books that I want to read, so generally my reviews will be positive. I always give my honest opinion: good, bad, and indifferent.
Note: on my blog I use a letter grading system. I've listed the ratings below. For sites with stars, I have listed the equivalent rating. If I didn't finish the book, I will not rate it with stars.
A+ Personal Favorite (5 stars)
A Loved It (4.5 or 5 stars)
A- Enjoyed A Lot (4 or 4.5 stars)
B+ Liked It A Lot (4 stars)
B Liked It -- Recommend (4 stars)
B- Liked It -- But I had a few small issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C+ Liked It -- But I had issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C Finished It -- Liked some, didn't like some (3 stars)
C- Finished It -- Liked a little, didn't like a lot (2 or 2.5 stars)
D Not A Big Fan (2 stars)
E Don’t Waste Your Time (1 star)
TW: Reading this book was like watching a Train Wreck
DNF: Did Not Finish
updated July 9, 2015
Rating: C+ Liked It, but I had issues
Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About
Review copy provided by NetGalley
In Turned, Virna DePaul introduces readers to the Belladonna Agency, a top secret section of the FBI that knows all about (born) vampires and uses rogue vampires to turn human agents to made vampires. Special Agent Ty Duncan is one such agent that was turned against his will by a group of rogues who captured and tortured him, along with his sister Naomi, Peter Lancaster and Ben Porter. Ty is now helping to recruit human females who will help the Belladonna Agency bring down the renegade rogues.
Ana Martin grew up on the streets, protected by the Sangre gang. She and her sister had a rough life until one night when everything went wrong. After spending some time in jail, Ana escaped her past and made a new, anonymous life for herself as the owner of a Seattle coffee shop. Yet she yearns to know what happened to her sister, and after meeting Ty, she realizes that maybe her life isn’t as wonderful as she makes it out to be. Taking a big chance, Ana agrees to join Ty and the Belladonna Agency.
Like many first books of a new series, Turned is packed full of new characters, complex backgrounds and intensive world building. I appreciated the idea that the FBI is keeping the vampire secret from humans while simultaneously using the vampires and double crossing their queen. Unfortunately, sometimes the story becomes weighed down by the sheer volume of information. At times, I got characters confused, and I had to take detailed notes to understand the different layers behind both the FBI’s and vampire’s plans. In addition, part of the problem for me was how the information is doled out in bits and pieces. Often the reader is only privy to a part of the bigger picture with hints of “more,” and it isn’t until much later that we discover the whole story. It was the constant reminders that I didn’t know the whole truth, which really began to wear on me. Yet, the world is an interesting one, and I throughly enjoyed the concept at the core of the series. I’m hoping that the next book will be a bit more streamlined now that we have the basics of the world.
Right from the get go, we find out that Ty has an insatiable attraction for Ana, yet he doesn’t even understand why, only that he has difficulty keeping the vampire side at bay when he thinks of her. The pair share some extremely sexy dream time and make for a lovely couple while asleep. However, in real life, both characters attempt to keep a tight leash on his/her emotions. Of the two, I found that I liked Ty a bit more than Ana. I like that he is smart and on top of things rather than being easily mislead. For a long time I had mixed feelings about Ana. I found her strength and determination appealing, yet when she does things like leaves Ty before he can leave her... ugh! I got so frustrated!
A big part of the storyline comes in the last half of the book when Ty and Ana go undercover to find out if the Hispanic Community Alliance is really a front for rogue vampires to illegally collect human blood. This part of the story is pretty exciting, especially given who the leaders of the group are. I enjoyed the detailed scenery and play-by-play of the pair’s infiltration. I appreciated that the pair finally had the time to take a good look at their “relationship” and what it meant. Although I wasn’t overly excited by the mysterious man who created key plays in the climax of the story, I liked the end results. And I liked that even though the story has a definite conclusion, there are still many unanswered questions in the grand scheme of things.
Overall, I enjoyed Turned, but it was a mixed bag for me. At times the book kept me completely engrossed, while during others, I found myself wanting to skim through. After a while, the constant mysterious tone felt forced and became tiresome. In addition, the world building and character introductions were a bit overwhelming. However, I am intrigued by the core mythology and definitely want to read more. I liked the ultimate direction the story took and found the cast of characters full of potential future tales. In the end, I find Turned worth the read for fans of paranormal romance.