Rummanah Aasi
  If you thought about jumping into the urban fantasy genre and wasn't sure where to start, I would suggest picking up Chloe Neil's Chicagoland Vampire series. The series has a great blend of humor, action, mystery, and romance. There are currently 4 books out right now with the fifth book coming out in less than 2 weeks. Here is the reading order, which I highly suggest you follow, to prepare you for book five: Some Girls Bite, Friday Night Bites, Twice Bitten, and Hard Bitten.

Description (From Goodreads):  Shapeshifters from across the country are convening in the Windy City, and as a gesture of peace, Master Vampire Ethan Sullivan has offered their leader a very special bodyguard: Merit, Chicago's newest vampire. Merit is supposed to protect the Alpha, Gabriel Keene-and to spy for the vamps while she's at it. Oh, and luckily Ethan's offering some steamy, one-on-one combat training sessions to help her prepare for the mission.
  Unfortunately, someone is gunning for Gabriel, and Merit soon finds herself in the line of fire. She'll need all the help she can get to track down the would-be assassin, but everywhere she turns, there are rising tensions between supernaturals-not least between her and a certain green-eyed, centuries-old master vampire.

Review: Twice Bitten picks up shortly where Friday Night Bites left its readers. We find out who was sending Merit those mysterious unsigned invitations, which sets up a really cool plotline. Unlike the first two books that solely focused on the houses of vampires stationed in Chicago, we get a sneak peak into the shape shifters. The shifters are coming to town and Ethan tells Merit he needs her help in providing security for them during their convocation. His hope is to convince the shifters to stay and become allies. A pending yet inevitable war is on the horizon so an alliance amongst vampires and shifters may be fruitful to all involved. Working as Sentinel for the Cadogan House, Merit continues her training as she excels at her sword work but still struggles with sparring.
  The romantic tension between Merit and Ethan really heats up in this book. I'm not really sure what to call their connection, but it is definitely entertaining and frustrating to watch and observe especially as Ethan seems to slowly break his defenses in one moment and then quickly builds them back up the next. I couldn't help but feel emotional whiplash in this book as these two try to figure out what to do with themselves.
  As I mentioned before, I love Merit, our heroine who is snarky, smart, honorable, and loyal, but most of all she doesn't let her world crumble over a guy. She makes mistakes and picks herself up from the ground when she falls. I enjoyed seeing her grow as a character over the course of the series. She starts as a grad student with a closely defined, much smaller world outlook. After she is converted, her world becomes much bigger and she grows to fit into it without changing who she is.
   I also continue to love the secondary characters in this series. The relationships in this series are organic which make them real to the reader. I actually picture them chatting and fighting, which doesn't happen a lot when I read paranormal stories. I really enjoyed how we got to know some important background information about Ethan, which gives us a little understanding how his brain works. Ethan is one of the rare love interests that I simultaneously hate and love, which I think speaks volume of how far he is removed from his humanity. 
  The world building continues to be one of the strengths of this series. We learn a few more tidbits of the vampire lifestyle in this book. We also see how sorcery magic works, as well as an in-depth introduction to shapeshifters--how they are organized, their magic, their politics, etc. I have to be bias and say how I absolutely love Neil for using Chicago as the backdrop to her series. The touches of real-life Chicago and the city's culture add color and depth to the series. 
   I know that there is a huge cliffhanger that awaits me when I pick up book four, Hard Bitten. I told myself that I would read the next installment as the release date of book 5 approaches (Nov. 1st) but I don't think I can wait that long.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is a semi-explicit sex scene, strong language, and violence. Recommended for mature teens and adults only.

If you like this book try: Hard Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires #4) by Chloe Neil, Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep, Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, Kate Daniel series by Ilona Andrews, Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
5 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    I loved the first two in this series...;D I must get back into it and soon.

    Great review!!

  2. I'm happy to know that Merit seems to be a very consistent character. I like how you described her, grows but doesn't change who she is. Also, secondary characters usually make or break a story for me so I'm excited to meet the ones here since you think they add to the story well.

  3. I maintain that vampires aren't my thing, but you truly have me fascinated by this series, Rummanah! I might actually be able to like this one...if I find the time to read it. Fabulous review :)

  4. I totally heart Merit. Ethan is totally breaking down his defenses. I know sometimes he can be a bum, but it makes all his sweet moments so much better. I heart him too. This series makes me squee like you would not believe!

  5. Nat Says:

    I really like the sound of this one! great review! I love your "If You like this try..." feature to your reviews.

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