Chicagoland Vampires: Book One
Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn't exactly glamorous, but it was mine. I was doing fine until Chicago's vampires announced their existence to the world-and then a rogue vampire attacked me. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker... and this one decided the best way to save my life was to make me the walking undead.
Turns out my savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now I've traded sweating over my thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan "Lord o' the Manor" Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four hundred year old vampire, he has centuries' worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects my gratitude-and servitude. Right...
But my burgeoning powers (all of a sudden, I'm surprisingly handy with some serious weaponry), an inconvenient sunlight allergy, and Ethan's attitude are the least of my concerns. Someone's still out to get me. Is it the rogue vampire who bit me? A vamp from a rival House? An angry mob bearing torches?
My initiation into Chicago's nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war-and there will be blood...
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Cover Thoughts: The cover is spot on with the heroine's physical looks, facial expression and clothing. In addition, the Gothic mansion behind her is also how I pictured Cadogan House so I, of course, love this cover. It was a reference that I could turn to time and again and it really solidified Merit, the heroine, in my mind's eye. Oh, and in case you're interested, this cover was designed by Tony Mauro. Click HERE to check out his portfolio. Nalini Singh also interviewed him HERE.
Singel Title/Series: SOME GIRLS BITE is book one in Neill's Chicagoland Vampires series and I'd strongly suggest that you read them in order.
Why I read it: I was offered a review copy by Chloe Neill.
After seeing plenty of positive reviews around the Blogsphere, I pounced on the opportunity to finally get my hands on the series everyone was talking about when Chloe Neill contacted me for a review. When the time came for me to read SGB, I sat down with the book and literally didn't - couldn't - let it go. Immediately I was swept on a non-stop, action-packed ride with an ending that left me absolutely begging for more.
Merit, our reluctant and newly turned vampire heroine, was human just three days ago. Happily immersed in her graduate work in English literature, the last thing she ever wanted to be was immortal but when she's brutally attacked, her rescuers were apparently left with no choice but to turn her without her consent (something not usually done). Thus Merit awakens to find that her life has been totally altered and she's a little more than pissed about it.
Eight months ago, vampires revealed their existence to the human population. After the rioting, humans - along with their fear - have since developed a perverse curiosity with all things vampire. Merit, having mocked society's macabre fascination with the immortals, finds herself forced into their ranks despite the obvious fact that without their intervention she'd be dead. Merit is now determined to make the road to her submission as rough as possible starting with a challenge for Ethan Sullivan, Master of Cadogan House.
Challenging a four hundred year old master vampire for release from Cadogan House probably isn't the smartest course for a newly turned vampire even if it was against Merit's will. Immediately she incurs the wrath of the House from her flagrant disobedience but she also discovers something of incredible value within herself. Merit is strong, fast and amazingly agile for the newly turned. Even Ethan is surprised by Merit's strength.
Ethan Sullivan remained an enigma, but a very sexy enigma, from beginning to end. He's gorgeous of course but also kind of a pretty boy in that the man has probably never worn an outfit with wrinkles in his long life. He's also a politician which means he cannot be trusted and he proves that pretty much time and again throughout SGB. But there's just one giant problem, Merit and Ethan share a primitive and primal hunger for one another. This desire is frustrating for both for it poses a precarious situation. In Merit's mind, it's bad enough that Cadogan House demands her submission and servitude to its master, who is Ethan, but to have added feelings for its master chafes hard. For Ethan, it's like falling for the lowest of the low. Merit is newly turned, a child to his four hundred years but despite their uncomfortableness with their mutual desire for one another, they can't avoid or deny it making for great sexual tension.
Chloe Neill does a great job reinventing the vampire myth with an added aristocratic flair. The vampires of Neill's world are more human than most by retaining the need and ability to eat human food but they still have the ever present weakness with regards to sunlight and the necessity of drinking blood. Theirs is a strict hierarchy reminiscent of the feudal system. This system poses great stricture on a woman who's vastly independent lending tons of tension to Merit's journey. But Neill's world isn't limited to vampires as Merit soon discovers. There are shifters, water nymphs, magic users and more. I found that while discovering this with Merit, that there was a bit of drastic infoormation dumping that left my mind spinning a bit.
There are still many secrets not only with the world but Merit as well that were left uncovered. Merit's choice of name is very interesting in that it's her last name and her first is never spoken nor is her reason for not using it though I imagine the reasoning to be highly important and revealing. These very secrets have me clamoring for more in hopes of learning them and thus making me love and admire this aspect of Neill's writing.
The first person narrative is flowing and consistent making Merit's journey very easy to connect with. I did perceive Merit as being a bit egotistical but this trait became a necessity not only for her developing confidence but also with her eventual high placement within Cadogan's ranks.
I really only had one major issue with SOME GIRLS BITE and that's with the fact that everyone, I mean everyone, is breathtakingly beautiful. It made what could have been a believable alternate reality become, at times, an irritating fantasy. I'm not a big fan of everyone being supremely attractive and I found myself cringing with each new character introduction as Merit describes their inevitable captivating beauty. There's also a lot of brand name dropping that I could do without. I really don't understand how people know what brand you're wearing unless is printed somewhere obvious otherwise I guess Merit's just a fashion expert. It's possible given how little we know about her and her past.
I chose not to reveal much about Merit's jouney in this review. Each new chapter uncovered a mystery that's best left to each reader's personal exploration. Trust me, this book will leave you aching for more.
Next in the Series:
FRIDAY NIGHT BITES by Chloe Neill
Chicagoland Vampires: Book Two
Vamps in Chicago!
You'd think headlines like that would have provoked the fine citizens of the Windy City to take up arms against us bloodsucking fiends. Instead, ten months later, we're enjoying a celebrity status reserved for the Hollywood elite—fending off paparazzi only slightly less dangerous than cross and stake-wielding slayers. Don't get me wrong, Joe Public isn't exactly thrilled to be living side-by-side with the undead, but at least they haven't stormed the castle yet.
But all that will change once they learn about the Raves—mass feeding parties where vampires round up humans like cattle and drink themselves silly. Most civilized vampires frown on this behavior, putting mere mortals at ease with their policy of asking a person's consent before taking a big gulp of the red stuff. However, that doesn't make good copy for a first time reporter looking to impress his high society family.
So now my "master," the centuries old, yet gorgeously well-preserved Ethan Sullivan, wants me to reconnect with my own upper class family and act as liaison between humans and vampires—and keep the more unsavory aspects of our existence out of the media. But someone doesn't want people and vamps to play nicey-nice—someone with an ancient grudge.
TWICE BITTEN by Chloe Neill
Chicagoland Vampires: Book Three
Releases July 6, 2010
Merit, Chicago’s newest vampire, is learning how to play well with others. Other supernaturals, that is. 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. 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.
Merit must accept the assignment, even though she knows that she’ll probably regret it. And she’s not wrong. Someone is gunning for Gabriel Keene, 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.