Tag Archives: Chicagoland Vampires

Biting Bad by Chloe Neill

Overview
Biting Bad (Chicagoland Vampires, #8) by Chloe Neill

Title: Biting Bad
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #8
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Paranormal fantasy, Vampires
Dates read: 29th June 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: New American Library
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: A giant soaking tub sat in one corner, and tonight, it bore a surprise.

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Synopsis

Merit has been a vampire for only a short while, but she’s already seen a lifetime’s worth of trouble. She and her Master, centuries-old Ethan Sullivan, have risked their lives time and again to save the city they love. But not all of Chicago is loving them back.

Anti-vampire riots are erupting all over town, striking vampires where it hurts the most. A splinter group armed with Molotov cocktails and deep-seated hate is intent on clearing the fanged from the Windy City, come hell or high water.

Merit and her allies rush to figure out who’s behind the attacks, who will be targeted next, and whether there’s any way to stop the wanton destruction. The battle for Chicago is just beginning, and Merit is running out of time.

Thoughts

I remember being a bit “eh” about House Rules. It was a good book, but didn’t really grab my attention, and so I took a break from this series. I kind of expected to get the same feeling from Biting Bad, but figured I’d give it a shot anyway. And boy, am I glad that I did. This was almost a revamp of the energy that I found in the first few Chicagoland Vampires books. It had all of that paranormal fun that I was hoping for, plus a number of riots and a lot of sword-wielding. What more could a girl ask for?

Ethan and Merit have taken a long, long time to find their happy-place in their relationship. At first it was supremely frustrating… stubborn and stubborn just constantly clashing and butting heads. But, as this series has evolved, that stubbornness has had a truly endearing quality. And I love that in Biting Bad, they’ve finally found their sweet-spot with their different character quirks and managed to find their happily ever after. Or at least, the beginnings of it.

There is something a little more unique about Chicagoland Vampires in the genre of vampire stories. Probably because it deals a lot more with the inter-politics between humans and vampires – most stories they are not political stories which are discussed between the two races. In fact, they are largely separate. I love that there is a hugely political spin to not just all of the character interactions, but also huge aspects of the storyline. Right down to where the different branches of the police are called in.

I really wasn’t expecting the ending to this story. I thought that some aspects of this novel would carry on until the next and some would cease to exist in this story. I was pretty much 100% wrong on both aspects. Which just makes me want to read the next novel even more… I just have to dig it out of my shelves first…

<- House RulesHigh Stakes ->

Image source: Goodreads

House Rules by Chloe Neill

Overview
House Rules

Title: House Rules
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #7
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Paranormal fantasyVampires
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: New American Library
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: And my grandfather Chuck Merit.

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Synopsis

In a city full of vampires, trouble never sleeps.

At the tender age of twenty-seven, merit became a sword-wielding vampire. Since then, she’s become the protector of her House, watched Chicago nearly burn to the ground, and seen her Master fall and rise. Now she’ll see her mettle – and her metal – tested like never before.

It starts when two Rogues vanish without a trace. Someone is targeting Chicago’s vampires, and anyone could be next. With their House in peril, Merit and her Master, centuries-old Ethan Sullivan, must race to stop the disappearances. But as they untangle a web of secret alliances and ancient evils, they realize their foe is more familiar, and more powerful, than they could have ever imagined.

Thoughts

I still really enjoy this series, but the Ethan and Merit saga is starting to get a little old. They’re in love, they get their shit together, then something happens and it all goes up in flames. Then, at the end of the story, it’s all happily ever after. Until the next time. I’m all for a little bit of romantic drama, but in this novel I was finding it a little tedious. Plus, I like it when I actually like the lead man – and this is just making Ethan into kind of a dick.

Having said all of that, the Cadogan house leaving the vampire mafia and striking out on their own is a really enjoyable experience. It not only highlights the corruptness of some large governing bodies (power over protection, etc), but the sense in Merit and her cohorts that justice and what is right needs to come before what is politically acceptable. The addition of a vampiric serial killer into the mix helps to liven up the double-dealings and trickery that the vampires are forced to seriously consider their priorities.

The political ramifications of a serial killer who is preying on vampires is spine-chilling. They are forced to examine every which way in which somebody can break into their sanctuaries and commit murder. That, and old enemies raise their heads to create an extra patina of fear that is going to carry through the next few books (I predict anyway).

<- Biting ColdBiting Bad ->

Image source: Chloe Neill

High Stakes by Chloe Neill

Overview
Kicking It

Title: High Stakes
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #8.25
In: Kicking It (Faith Hunter & Kalayna Price)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Easy readingParanormal fantasyVampires
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Roc
Year: 2013
5th sentence, 74th page: “I love you,” I said, pulling back and putting my hands on his cheeks, making him look at me and see the emotion reflected in my face.

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Synopsis

Boot-loving Cadogan vampire Lindsey must team up with off-again, on-again vampire partner Luc when a woman from her past is targeted by supernaturals in “New York Times “bestselling author Chloe Neill’s all-new adventure. 

Thoughts

The name of this story is brilliant – high stakes, stakes as in vampires. I had way too much of a giggle over this. The story title, combined with the great and engaging plot line has inspired me to buy the first book in the Chicagoland Vampires series, and I can’t wait to meet the rest of the cast and crew of this interesting vampire series (and I don’t normally like vampire books, Twilight kind of ruined that for me…).

Reading about a girl with issues always tickles my happy literary place – if someone with issues is able to find love, then anyone can. The lack of perfection in a chief protagonist makes them a much, much better and more engaging character. I like that although Lindsey’s past is coming back to haunt her in a big way and she has huge trust and commitment issues, she is able to find someone who has her back, even when she is not being nice about it.

<- Biting BadHowling for You ->

Image source: Penguin

Biting Cold by Chloe Neill

Overview

biting-cold

Title: Biting Cold
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #6
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy readingParanormal fantasyVampires
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: New American Library
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: “Good luck,” he said, then disappeared across the field.

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Synopsis

Turned into a vampire against her will, twenty-eight-year-old Merit found her way into the dark circle of Chicago’s vampire underground, where she learned there was more to supernaturals than met the eye – and more supernaturals than the public ever imagined. And not all the secrets she learned were for sharing – among humans or nonhumans.

Now Merit is on the hunt, charging across the stark American Midwest to tail a rogue supernatural intent on stealing an ancient artifact that could unleash catastrophic evil on the world. But Merit is also the prey. An enemy of Chicagoland is hunting her, and he’ll stop at nothing to get the artifact for himself. No mercy allowed. No rules apply. No lives spared. The race is on.

Thoughts

Things went seriously wrong in Drink Deep, (although, there was a silver lining at the end) and Biting Cold is all about fixing these mistakes. Chasing down Mallory, coming to terms with Ethan’s return and just generally pursuing the personification of power gone wrong leads to an incredibly fast paced book that starts as soon as you break the spine of the book.

The troubles which Merit goes through to right the wrongs of Mallory are a poignant reminder of the fact that there is sometimes no excuse for one’s actions – no matter how uncomfortable and sick they may be. Merit’s inability to forgive her former best friend and difficulties in overcoming her mistrust are a great way in which to highlight the true consequences of Mal’s selfish actions – her isolation from and destruction of her own relationships.

Many stories focus on the duality of good and evil; the black and white separation of peoples and their actions. However, Neill reminds us that this isn’t the way to view the world – everything is coloured in shades of grey, and nothing is inherently good or inherently evil.

<- Drink DeepHouse Rules ->

Image source: eBook Bike

Drink Deep by Chloe Neill

Overview

drink-deep

Title: Drink Deep
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #5
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy readingParanormal fantasyVampires
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: New American Library
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: Are they holding weapons?

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Synopsis

Clouds are brewing over Cadogan House, and recently turned vampire Merit can’t tell if this is the darkness before the dawn or the calm before the storm. With the city in turmoil over paranormals and the state threatening to pass a paranormal registration act, times ahven’t been this precarious for vampires since they came out of the closet. If only they could lie low for a bit and let the mortals calm down.

That’s when the waters of Lake Michigan suddenly turn pitch-black – and things really start getting ugly.

Chicago’s mayor insists it’s nothing to worry about, but Merit knows only the darkest magic could have woven a spell powerful enough to change the very fabric of nature. She’ll have to turn to friends old and new to find out who’s behind this, and stop them before it’s too late for vampires and humans alike.

Thoughts

Neill has been brilliantly unfolding her supernatural Chicago throughout the Chicagoland Vampires series. As Merit slowly unfolds her new supernatural reality, we too are able to find out more about the world of things that go bump in the night. And in Drink Deep, Merit’s (and our) awareness of this world is expanded tenfold. This slow filtering of information and unfurling of their world slowly, but surely draws me into the reality of the world of Cadogan.

Drink Deep is very much about reaching deep – Merit is forced to reach deep inside herself to move past grief and loss. She is forced to transform herself and her very being to begin to exist in a world without Ethan, and without his unerring support. A race to save the city from certain destruction only puts extra pressure on her to come to terms with her loss and new place in a new world.

Neill has a fantastic grasp of relationships – although they can be solid and seemingly unshakeable at one moment, drifting between friends seems to be fairly common. As we grow older, and follow our own pursuits, people drift, just like Merit and Mallory. It is painful and difficult though, and Neill captures their drifting and Merit’s confusion at it beautifully. A poignant reminder that relationships don’t last forever, and should never be taken for granted.

<- Hard BittenBiting Cold ->

Image source: Goodreads

Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill

Overview

hard-bitten

Title: Hard Bitten
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #4
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy readingParanormal fantasyVampires
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: New American Library
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: What kind of black magic are we talking?

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Synopsis

Times are hard for newly minted vampire Merit. Ever since shapeshifters announced their presence to the world, humans have been rallying against supernaturals – and they’re camping outside Cadogan House with protest signs they could exchange for pitchforks at any moment. Inside, things between Merit and her Master, green-eyed heartbreaker Ethan Sullivan, are… tense. Then the mayor of Chicago calls Merit and Ethan to a clandestine meeting and tells them about a violent vamp attack that has left three women missing. His message is simple: Get your House in order. Or else.

Merit needs to get to the bottom of this crime, but it doesn’t help that she can’t tell who’s on her side. So she secretly calls in a favor from someone who’s tall, dark, and part of an underground vamp group that may have some inside intel on the attack. Merit soon finds herself in the dark, heady heart of Chicago’s supernatural society – a world of vampires who seem ready to fulfill the protesting humans’ worst fears, and a place where she’ll learn that you can’t be a vampire without getting a little blood on your hands…

Thoughts

The ending of Hard Bitten shocked me in a way that no other book has – Neill did something to her main character that I have always wanted to do in my own work. The amazingly unpredictable finish to this story made me grab for the next book immediately – I just couldn’t believe that Neill would actually do that in her story. But, I digress, you’ll just have to read this book yourself to gain a true understanding of how amazingly potent and powerful a finale Hard Bitten had.

The first three books in this series focused mainly on Merit and Ethan’s relationship and their work together. The constant push and pull of their attraction and their fight for their people. However, throughout Hard Bitten, Merit is primarily acting on her own and autonomously of Ethan. Revisiting her independence and ability to hold her own throughout her actions was refreshing, and helped to further endear this uniquely loveable vampire to me.

It is in Hard Bitten that Merit truly embraces her place as Sentinel for Cadogan house and her place amongst the fellow vampires. She finally finds the place in which she truly belongs and becomes comfortable in her new body. Something that we all ultimately strive to achieve – a sense of belonging in a chaotic world.

<- Twice BittenDrink Deep ->

Image source: Goodreads

Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill

Overview

twice-bitten

Title: Twice Bitten
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #3
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy readingParanormal fantasyVampires
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: New American Library
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: Maybe I was getting used to the sensation.

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Synopsis

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 centuries-old green-eyed Master vampire.

Thoughts

Ethan honestly irritated me – a lot in this story. I understand the tension between the characters, and his damage does make the tantalising love story in the background all the more spine-tingling and breath-taking. But, he was kind of an ass throughout. Partly that very frustration kept me turning the pages of the book, but it also made it easier to put down and walk away from. Being so frustrated with a literary character that you kind of want to hurl the book across the room might indicate that I get a little too attached, but it is also a great indication of how crappy they are being.

Ethan’s irritating quirks aside, this book was just as wonderful and pleasurable as the first two books in Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series. Merit continues to be an astonishingly relatable and vulnerable heroine with a sassy attitude to boot. Although there is a lot of supernatural drama constantly threatening her way of life, her worries and concerns are still so damn mortal. We’ve all had an unobtainable crush, a ridiculous fight with our best friend and feelings of incredible insecurity in our lives. Merit too undergoes these trials – just with a side of bloodsucking.

When you’re talking about vampires, the idea of werewolves, or shapeshifters will undoubtedly raise its head. It is just so ingrained within the mythos of these creatures. As with her revival of the vampiric tale, Neill manages to include shapeshifters within her urban fantasy in a way that is still refreshing. Yes, they are at odds with the vampires, but the details of this are all Neill’s own. A fact that I greatly appreciated – it was hard to predict how these two peoples would come together and relate to one another, and embarking on the journey of discovery with Merit was all the sweeter for the unpredictability.

<- Friday Night BitesHard Bitten ->

Image source: Goodreads

Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill

Overview

friday-night-bites

Title: Friday Night Bites
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy readingParanormal fantasyVampires
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: New American Library
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: I know.

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Synopsis

You’d think headlines like that would have provoked the fine citizens of the Windy City to take up arms against blood-sucking friends. Instead, ten months later, we’re enjoying a celebrity status reserved for the Hollywood elite – fending off paparazzi, who are 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.

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 behaviour – but that doesn’t make good copy for a first-time reporter looking to impress his high-society family.

So now my “master” – 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 to keep the more unsavory aspects of our existence out of the media. But someone doesn’t want people and vampes to play nicey-nice – someone with an ancient grudge.

Thoughts

Some Girls Bite left Merit in a bit of an uncomfortable position. She had a lot of power, and a new place in the world – but it wasn’t one of her choosing and this very circumstance left her unhappy and in an emotionally compromised position. Friday Night Bites may primarily be about flinging her back into a world of political intrigue, but it is also about Merit coming to terms with this new turn in her life.

Friday Night Bites brings home the venom and power that gossip can have within one’s life – a simple rumour mill is able to set up Merit and her new family up in the worst way possible, it has the ability to ruin their lives, and the lives of those around them. Gossip may seem harmless, but it can be used as a weapon against one’s enemies and in the right hands, proves to be incredibly dangerous.

The saga of the Ethan and Merit attraction continues in this story, I do enjoy a little sexual tension, but I found Ethan’s pomp and Merit’s mistrust to be a little tedious in this book. They are so obviously going to end up together and their flirtations gained traction in this story, but to no avail, they still remain purely platonic. Points go to Merit for not succumbing to her impulses, but the tension still beggars the question – when is enough enough?

<- Some Girls BiteTwice Bitten ->

Image source: Goodreads

Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill

Overview

some-girls-bite

Title: Some Girls Bite
Author: Chloe Neill
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy readingParanormal fantasyVampires
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: New American Library
Year: 2009
5th sentence, 74th page: And it scared me that my normally chatty roommate was avoiding the discussion.

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Synopsis

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 got only 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 dissertation for learning to fit in at a Kenwood 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.

Thoughts

I read this book in one night, which is always a great sign of its ability to hold my attention and fascination. This story has a good, easy pace with just the right amount of intrigue within the story. It is also based around a university student who is working towards her postgrad – the realm of study and no money one that I am all too familiar with.

I love that this isn’t a sappy teenage vampire fantasy. I have steered clear of any and all vampire stories since the Twilight saga, so it was really refreshing to read one such tale that doesn’t ridiculously idolise vampirism. Although vampirism isn’t as dark in this book (or series) as some of the other fantasy books that I delve into.

Merit’s inability to conform to social conventions made her one of my favourite protagonists. She is forced into a new scenario (and she is a little whiny to begin with), but no matter what happens, she chooses to do it in her own way. Her independence and willingness to forge her own path in a life that she never chose made me admire her characterisation.

<- More Chloe NeillFriday Night Bites ->

Image source: Goodreads