Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill
Merit is a Chicago grad student with a wealthy family she tries her hardest to ignore. One night she’s attacked by a vampire and left for dead, then saved when another vampire, Ethan Sullivan, finds her and brings her over. Now Merit is a vampire whether she likes it or not — and embroiled in vampire politics, again whether she likes it or not. Chloe Neill’s vampires are divided into Houses, which are sort of a cross between corporations, mob families, and frats. Ethan is the head of Cadogan House, and now Merit belongs to it as well.
Merit’s attack is part of a larger pattern of murders, giving Some Girls Bite a mystery plotline, but that aspect of the story is not very prominent. The major focus here is Merit’s adjustment to life as a vampire. Her journey throughout the book is compelling; she starts out feeling sorry for herself and then decides... Read More
Chloe NeillChloe Neill was born and raised in the South, but now makes her home in the Midwest, just close enough to Cadogan House to keep an eye on the vampires. When not transcribing Merit’s adventures, she bakes, watches entirely too much television, roots for her favorite college football team, and plays with her dog, Baxter. Here’s her website.
Chicagoland Vampires — (2009-2013) Publisher: First in a brand new series about a Chicago graduate student’s introduction into a society of vampires. Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was Merit’s. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker — and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead. Turns out her savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now she’s traded sweating over her 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 her gratitude — and servitude. But an inconvenient sunlight allergy and Ethan’s attitude are the least of her concerns. Someone’s still out to get her. Her initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war — and there will be blood.
Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill
Friday Night Bites by Chloe Neill
In Friday Night Bites, the second in Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series, Cadogan House is in trouble again. The villain of Some Girls Bite has gotten off with a slap on the wrist, and now there’s a journalist threatening to expose some of vampire-kind’s less savory secrets to the public. When the journalist turns out to be an old friend of Merit’s from her high-society upbringing, she is thrust back into the world she spent her human lifetime trying to escape. Then it turns out there’s a traitor in the House…
I love the way Neill approaches the mystery here. Merit may have unusual physical and psychic strengths and several men infatuated with her, but it’s her brain that’s most important in solving this puzzle. Merit’s research skills and love of old books yield some ... Read More
Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill
Vampire troubles have been all over the news in the last few months. Now the shapeshifters, still in the closet, are debating whether to stay where they currently are and help defend the vamps against possible persecution, or retreat to their lands in Alaska. Gabriel, their leader, doesn’t expect this to be a battle of words alone, and so Merit and Ethan are working as his bodyguards.
Violence does erupt, and Merit learns of a planned hit on Gabriel. Now she must ferret out who is plotting against him and stop the assassination. Along the way, she has to deal with shifters’ prejudice against vamps and vice versa.
Meanwhile, Merit’s relationship with Ethan takes a few steps forward… and a few steps backward. The “downs” are made extra poignant by the fact that Merit is so normal. Her heartache is something almost all of us can relate to, and I love the way she held her... Read More
Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill
Hard Bitten is the fourth book in Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series and I was admittedly at a slight disadvantage trying to pull out the backstory because I haven't read the first three books. Amazingly, this was still a really fun read even though I didn’t know all the details. Chloe Neill knows how to tell a story and even if her subject material is not incredibly innovative, she still manages to keep things moving and make things interesting.
Merit (she goes by her last name) is a good-looking, trash talking, ass-kicking vampire who lives in Chicago. She was involuntarily made into a vampire after being attacked and nearly dying anyway. That is a plus in my book because she valued her humanity. Merit is also the daughter of a wealthy businessman and politically tied in to the city of Chicago. To top it all off... Read More
Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill
The Chicagoland Vampires series started out fairly light and has gradually become darker. The unpretentious, easily digestible writing style is still in effect, and humor is still present, but Merit’s troubles have increased in complexity and the emotional stakes have been steadily raised. Hard Bitten is the fourth in the series and the darkest so far. Chloe Neill brings together a number of previously introduced plot arcs, and all hell breaks loose.
Merit is touched by Ethan’s recent gestures but still wary of him after their breakup in Twice Bitten. She doesn’t have much time for romantic angst, though, because Cadogan House is in trouble. The events of the past few books have put Cadogan, Ethan, and Merit on the radar of both the human and vampire authorities. We’ve been following Merit i... Read More
Drink Deep by Chloe Neill
This review contains a big spoiler for the previous book, Hard Bitten. If you haven’t read Hard Bitten yet, hit “Page Up” now — and then get caught up on the CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES as soon as possible, because these books are fun!
There’s a more somber tone this time around, though. It’s been a few months since Ethan Sullivan’s death. Merit and Cadogan House are recovering, but both heroine and house are still keenly aware of the Ethan-sized hole left behind. Merit is feeling a tentative attraction toward her friend and partner Jonah, but she’s not sure she’s ready to date again and is still haunted by disturbing dreams of Ethan. Malik has taken over Cadogan House, but a supercilious Greenwich Presidium bureaucrat is making everyone’s life miserable. Public opinion of vampires is at an all-time low.... Read More
Biting Cold by Chloe Neill
Biting Cold is the sixth book in Chloe Neill’s CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES series. It’s impossible to even give the premise of this book, let alone a useful review, without mentioning major spoilers for books four and five, Hard Bitten and Drink Deep respectively, so if you haven’t read those books, stop reading this review now!
Is the coast clear? OK, here goes. Ethan has just come back from the dead, but he and Merit hardly have a chance to catch up; they must immediately embark on a road trip to stop Mallory before she can reach the Maleficium spellbook and unleash the evil bound therein. But not everything goes according to plan during this trip, and soon they’re back in Chicago with a dangerous new supernatural enemy to face.
The character arc of Mallory is the most compelling aspect of Biting Cold. The showdown between her and Merit is actually r... Read More
House Rules by Chloe Neill
Chloe Neill’s CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES novels have been brain-candy reading for me for a few years now. The books are quick reads that don’t require a lot of thinking but provide action, romance, humor, and occasional pathos. But, sad to say, I think I’m breaking up with this series.
I had high hopes at the beginning of this seventh book, House Rules. Neill introduces a mystery: two rogue vampires have gone missing, last seen at one of the vampire registration offices the new mayor has set up. In the other main plot, Cadogan House has voted to secede from the Greenwich Presidium, and that would surely shake things up a bit.
The series, however, has fallen into the same trap that Neill’s DARK ELITE series did for me. The plot often seems secondary to immature bickering among the characters. It’s not funny enough to work as comic relief; it’s just sniping. An example ... Read More
The Dark Elite — (2010-2012) Young adult. Publisher: As the new girl at the elite St. Sophia’s boarding school, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she’ll have to face… When Lily’s guardians decided to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she was shocked. So was St. Sophia’s. Lily’s ultra-rich brat pack classmates think Lily should be the punchline to every joke, and on top of that, she’s hearing strange noises and seeing bizarre things in the shadows of the creepy building. The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout’s a little weird — she keeps disappearing late at night and won’t tell Lily where she’s been. But when a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout running from a real monster. Scout’s a member of a splinter group of rebel teens with unique magical talents, who’ve sworn to protect the city against demons, vampires, and Reapers, magic users who’ve been corrupted by their power. And when Lily finds herself in the line of a firespell, Scout tells her the truth about her secret life, even though Lily has no powers of her own — at least none that she’s discovered yet…
Firespell by Chloe Neill
There are YA books that translate well to an adult audience, and there are those that are best appreciated by their actual target audience. I suspect Firespell is one of the latter. I found it an average read, but I think I’d have really liked it at the age of thirteen or so.
Case in point: Here is how magic works in the Dark Elite series. If someone has magical talent, that talent manifests at puberty. From puberty to the age of twenty-five, the magic is a really cool enhancement. But after the age of twenty-five, the person must give up magic, or else it becomes a corrupting (and addictive) force. The people who don’t give up their magic, called Reapers, have to steal the life force of young people in order to keep exercising their powers. I keep thinking about this as a metaphor, and about how well it fits the way I saw the world when I... Read More
Hexbound by Chloe Neill
The second in Chloe Neill’s DARK ELITE series, Hexbound follows the continued adventures of Lily and her friend Scout at St. Sophia’s School for Girls, as they face both teen drama and evil magicians.
I’ve had a bit of trouble getting into this series from the beginning, but couldn’t initially put my finger on why. I got a little over halfway through Hexbound and encountered a scene that made the issue clear to me — and sapped my interest in the book. Neill tells us that the conflict between the Adepts and the Reapers is a matter of life and death, but the way these scenes are written, they don’t feel any more tense than the scenes of ordinary teenage conflict between cliques or romantic rivals. There’s not a sense of high stakes. This scene is a good example of the problem. A ward has been tripped, alerting ... Read More