Rummanah Aasi
 With the fifth Chicagoland Vampire book, Drinking Deep, comes out next month, I'm trying to catch up on this awesome series. The Chicagoland Vampire series is a must read for those who like feisty and strong heroines, great world building, humor, and steamy romantic tension. I just finished the second book in the series, Friday Night Bites, and really enjoyed it.

Description (from Amazon): Ten months after vampires revealed their existence to the mortals of Chicago, they're enjoying a celebrity status usually reserved for the Hollywood elite. But should people learn about the Raves-mass feeding parties where vampires round up humans like cattle-the citizens will start sharpening their stakes.
  So now it's up to the new vampire Merit to reconnect with her upper class family and act as liaison between humans and bloodsuckers, and keep the more unsavory aspects of the vampire lifestyle out of the media. But someone doesn't want peace between them-someone with an ancient grudge...

Review: Friday Night Bites begins about a month after the events of the first book. Neil does a good job in recapping in the first few chapters that new readers to this series will appreciate. I, however, think you would get a better appreciation for the characters if you read the first book.
  Merit is still struggling with her transition to a vampire, but things are getting worse now because almost every single relationship in her life is undergoing major changes. Her best friend, Mallory, is caught up in her own identity crisis. It was painful to watch these friends who are more like sisters slowly begin to drift apart because they belong to different worlds. I really hope this change is temporary because I really the bond that Merit and Mallory share. Merit is trying to adjust to her new life as a member of one of Chicago's most elite vampire houses. She is recruited to solve a new mystery by using her well known family connections. What is distressing Merit the most is hiding her dark secret- the fact that she feels separate from her inner vampire and has to spend a lot of energy trying to control it.
   Unlike the first book, the action and mystery takes a slight back seat as the character development and relationships are explored, which is not to say the book is boring. Friday Night Bites still contains all the reasons why I enjoyed the first book so much: wonderful characterization and character development, interesting plot and world building, humor, and crackling romantic tension. What is even better is that the book ends without a major cliffhanger but more of a lead into the next book in the series.
  I absolutely love Merit. She is a character that I wish I could be: feisty, strong, smart yet not immune to vulnerabilities and self doubt that plagues all of us. The portrayal of Merit's pain and struggle is both sensitive and sympathetic. For once, I couldn't help but nod my head in agreement as Merit made her decisions instead of throwing the book across the room due to the heavy handed melodrama that is usually found in paranormal books. What is remarkable is that Merit can call herself out when she is being unreasonable and for the most part can admit to it. 
 Merit's relationship with Ethan has grown even more complex. It's hard to give their relationship a name: boss and employer? friends? would be lovers? Regardless it is very entertaining yet frustrating to watch because these two are clearly attracted to one another. I found myself alternately wishing she would just realize how destructive their attraction was, and hoping that maybe things would work out.
  I still have a hard time to pinpoint my exact feelings for Ethan. He is distant, cold, and definitely calculating but you know there is something more to him beneath his hard exterior. He has his small moments where we get a peak at the real him, the human Ethan, but they are gone in a blink of an eye. I think Merit feels the same way about Ethan, which makes it hard for me to not feel offended on her behalf for the way Ethan treats her most of the time but at the same time I can't help but wonder what will happen with their relationship and whether or not they will let that relationship form.
  There is more plotting and intrigue in Friday Night Bites than action scenes mainly because there are many mysteries left to unravel. With each book we learn something new about the Chicagoland universe and the various political figures.  I can't wait to find out what happens next in the third book!

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: Some strong language and violence. Recommended for mature teens and adults.

If you like this book try: Twice Bitten (Chicagoland Vampire #3) by Chloe Neil, Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
4 Responses
  1. Missie Says:

    Had to skim because I want to read this series someday and though I've heard a lot about it, I'm still trying to keep some surprises in store.

    Merit sounds like a great heroine to tag along with, and I'm a big fan of romantic tension, so I'm sure I'm gonna love this series. :)

  2. Jenny Says:

    "I found myself alternately wishing she would just realize how destructive their attraction was, and hoping that maybe things would work out."

    YES!!! Exactly. That's part of the fun of reading this series I think, I'm as confused about my feelings toward Ethan as Merit is and we all just kind of struggle together. Love it:) So glad you're enjoying these books Rummanah!

  3. " couldn't help but nod my head in agreement as Merit made her decisions instead of throwing the book across the room due to the heavy handed melodrama that is usually found in paranormal books."

    I agree and I think it's one of the reasons I enjoy this series so much. But I must admit, there were times I wished she would either strangle her family and childhood friends or tell them the truth about how she became a vampire.

  4. Missie: She is an awesome heroine that I would love to have as a best friend.

    Jenny: Ethan is just so unpredictable. Just when I think I have him figured out he does something totally different. I wonder how long they are going to do their flirtatious dance.

    Jennifer: Her family gets on my last nerves, especially her father. I also wonder if she'll tell them the truth too.

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