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Wednesday, February 17, 2010:
Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill (2009)
The story of a young heiress's initiation into the dark society of the Chicagoland Vampires continues...

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...

This is book #2 in Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires series, and let me tell you, I think it's almost better than the first installment. Chloe continues to develop the story in an engaging and fun way, with humor, drama, and tons of sexual tension that has a reader, such as myself, squirming in my chair, wanting more, more, more.

It's been two months now since that fateful day Merit became a vampire, and she's still getting acclimated to her new lifestyle. She's decided to move into Cadogan House in order to be closer to her Liege and therefore better able to serve as Sentinel. But her choice isn't an easy one, and puts much tension on her friendship with BFF Mallory, who is going through her own adjustment period after having discovered around the same time she has the makings of a powerful witch. Mallory is reluctant to explore this new side of herself, yet her "I'm so sexy I should be illegal" boyfriend Catcher won't let her ignore her newfound powers, going as far as to train her himself.

But Merit's got problems of her own. Someone is trying to threaten the family member of an old friend and is pointing the blame at vampires, so this brings Merit back into, well, the Merit fold. She's not exactly thrilled with returning to the pomp and circumstance of that world, one she willingly walked away from, but this has become House business, and Merit must put aside her feelings in order to deal with a new threat against the vampires, most especially the one she protects: Ethan Sullivan, the painfully gorgeous bane of her existence.

To make matters worse, she's torn between Morgan Greer, the fairly new head of Navarre House and Ethan, Mr. Bane of My Existence. Though she likes Morgan a whole heck of a lot, there's something about her feelings for Ethan that won't let herself become more involved with Morgan. Even though Ethan himself pushed her to the other vampire, even though he isn't thrilled by his intense attraction for her, even though many times he treats her with condescension, she still cannot stop wanting him. Still, she tries to give Morgan a chance, because he really is a great guy, and they have fun together, plus he really seems to care for her. Morgan is the guy she should want.

So between BFF drama, family drama, vamp drama, and boy drama, Merit's got a lot of...drama on her plate. Will she be able to find and neutralize the threat before her time is up and a battle is waged between vampires, shifters, and humans? Or will the unknown danger - and her own closely guarded secret - prove to be too much to avoid the possibly inevitable war?

My thoughts:

I admit, I can be cynical sometimes, and I wasn't sure if this 2nd installment would hold my interest as much as the first. I figured my crush had worn off. Between the snarky comebacks and eye-rolling, I was almost sure of it. But you know what, the last laugh is on Chloe because I absolutely loved this book!

Admittedly, the story started off a little slow, probably because there was so much I wanted to see happen, but then before I knew it, I was totally engrossed in the goings-on of Merit, Ethan, Morgan, Catcher and Mallory. I was hoping for more glimpses of Luc and Lindsey, because I love the tension between the two of them and seriously want that to move along in the direction of the bedroom (or any supportable surface, really), but there was enough going on that I could handle their delayed gratification...for now.

As I've told Chloe, I love seeing Merit struggling with her training and trying to acclimate to being a vampire. I think it makes the story much more interesting to know she doesn't come by her skills 100% naturally, that she has to constantly work at it. Plus, she's had to make several sacrifices, and it doesn't look like that will end anytime soon. Her once solid relationships are experiencing rough spots, and she's not sure what the outcome will be when all is said and done. I can't help but feel for Merit in that regard. She's suffering growing pains in multiples ways, and though becoming a vampire may have saved her life, it also ended many things for her that she will never get back.

Probably my one area of contention, and this is me, not you Chloe, is that I'm torn between Morgan and Ethan now. In the beginning, I was Ethan all the way. And it's pretty much a given that Merit, deep down, feels the same way. But their relationship in some way reminds me of the adult version of Bella and Edward (Twilight) with Morgan as the dependable Jacob. Though Merit and Ethan have this deep, irresistible attraction, there are times when it just seems so unhealthy, and I don't always like the person Merit is because of it. Morgan comes across as the supportive, caring friend that Merit just doesn't feel "that way" for. Now I know Chloe is doing this to mess with my head, because there's got to be several secrets Morgan has that haven't been revealed yet, so right now I'm rather enjoying my indecision. Does that sound strange?

All I know is I'm having a blast reading these books, and am more impatient than ever to read Twice Bitten. And....I haven't completely decided, but I do have the first 2 books in the series, signed by Chloe from last month's signing, that I might be giving away here. Or...I might give them away at the Lori Foster/Dianne Castell event. Not sure. Either way, there will be one happy reader out there :)

Rating: ***** out of *****

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  1. I agree. I liked the first one because so much was going on. Friday Night was a little slower, good but not as fast-pace as the first one.

    I want Ethan and Merit to get together now! When she walks in one him (can't rem. if it is 1st or 2nd bk) whoa. I felt a little betrayed even though they are technically not together.

  2. This sounds really good, Stacy. I loved your review. And although I'm not sure if I'm ready for a series that has the same main characters in all the books, without the last book being released yet, I already bought the first one, Some Girls Bite! I might start reading it before the last installment of this series is published. I might. :)

  3. I loved this one. All the characters are so well written..and the ending is great!

  4. I thought this started off a little slow, but I thought it was mainly b/c of the backstory she had to include to catch people up who hadn't read book 1.

    I'm with Smokinhotbooks-I want Ethan and Merit together now. The ending totally got me!

  5. What a tease you are, dangling books in front of people. ;)

    I agree with Mandi that this one started off slow because of all the back-story, especially since I had just read the first one. But I wound up enjoying this one more.

    Of course, I always get excited when Morgan shows up. :)

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