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on 24 May 2011
I'm still recovering from this one. There is (get ready for the understatement of the century) a big surprise towards the end of the book. Not a cliffhanger - you know exactly what's happening - it's just a surprise turn of events. Actually, more like a cardiac arrest inducing turn of events. I kept waiting for the punchline...even tried rubbing my eyes, turning my eReader off and on again (that always works, right?). But no, apparently I did read it correctly the first time.

So, what can I say without giving anything away? Lets see... The storyline for the rest of the book was very good as always. Easily as good as the previous three. The characters you have grown to love are all moving along nicely after the shapeshifters came out of the closet and are trying to deal with the new human antagonism towards vamps. Merit continues to show a lot more maturity and I really feel like she's coming into her role as Sentinel. She may have been thrown in at the deep end with the on-the-job training, but she is now a competent member of the Cadogan House security force.

I did get really cross when some bigwigs from the Presidium got involved in things and started trying to blame everything that's ever happened since the dawn of time on Cadogan House. Don't you just hate those types? The pretentious, jumped-up suits from some governing body, that deign to come down from their ivory towers once in a blue moon to tell you how rubbish you are and to judge you on the black and white facts without knowing the first thing about you or the possible reasons behind your actions. Gah!

But, it's no good, all of that got overshadowed by the end of the book. I have no idea what's coming next for the characters of this brilliant series, but I really hope it goes the way I want it to or I will be seriously pi- um...seriously cross!
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on 9 May 2011
This is book four in the series, so I suggest you start off with Some Girls Bite: A Chicagoland Vampires Novel: A Chicagoland Vampires Novel, Book 1 (Chicagoland Vampires Series). This was my favourite series last year & well I'm just going to have to trust CN on where she's going next, after reading this explosive edition.
Merit is Sentinal and takes her job seriously, she's determined to keep Ethan at arms length, & he in return is determined to win her back,I loved the banter & sizzling repressed tension between the two . Now the weres have come out, it's kicked up mistrust & insecurity from the humans & with political manoeuvring Cadogan house find themselves between a rock a hard place , stuck in the middle between doing the right thing, the mayor & vampire bosses.
A twisty knotted plot that is unravelled one thread at a time. Very exciting finale with well drawn protagonists & just when you think it's all over a shocker occurs, well several really, it all feels so final so where I wonder is she going next?

Personally I can't wait, gutsy move but I can see why so many readers are up in arms, we'll just have to see eh?
What I love about this series is the politics, love angst, premise & plot, the author is not afraid to go off a well worn urban fantasy path & make her own way, even if it will upset a few people... Great series & worth picking up...
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on 24 November 2011
***THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.***

This is book four in the series. It starts off with Cadogan House putting their house back together after the aftermath of the shifter battle in the last book. The battle didn't do the vampire's of the town any favours and there are anti-vamp protesters camped outside Cadogan house.

Things are tense between Merit and Ethan, but they come together when The Mayor Tate calls them in to discuss a rave problem, where there was a human eye witness account of killings. Tate ever the Politician has to secure votes and be seen to be publicly handling the situation. So he says if the rave problem is not sorted out soon he has a warrant for Ethan's arrest.

On top of that Darius The head of the GP is coming on a visit to the house. Merit is trying to figure out more about the raves and try to shut them down. She calls in help from Jonah who accompanies her to a rave, they found out about from a text message on a phone left in Grey House Bar. Arriving at the Rave Merit notices something is wrong when a vamp bumps into her causing her to bump into two male vamps, they cause all sorts of trouble and are extremely aggressive. Merit makes her way through the crowd away from the two crazy vamps and finds a girl, a human, sitting on the floor. She takes the girl with her when she leaves, and gets some info from her, pills with a V on them, a description of the bloke who invited her to the Rave who is with a woman named Marie.

When Merit reports back to Ethan she doesn't realise that Darius is standing behind her and has heard the whole thing. Darius is not pleased with the situation and decides to put Cadogan house in receivership by the Presidium until Chicago is back under control.

Merit finds out that V is a drug for vampires, that makes them more violent, to let out their true natures. Merit believes Celina is behind the making and distribution of V, but she just needs the proof.

Ethan and Merit attend a party in grey house which Darius has set up, while there someone puts V into the wine and things turn messy. The man Merit met, who sells the V, sets Merit up for a meeting with his boss Celina. Merit is waiting for Celina to arrive in a very crowded place, when she does arrive Merit grabs her wrist, but Celina is genuinely shocked to see her. Celina admits to everything, the making and distribution of V the raves in front of everyone. The Police show up and arrest Celina and everyone is happy Merit finally got her, apart from Darius and the GP.

Now the ending, I was not expecting. I'm still not sure how I feel about Ethan dying in the way he did. It was not how I expected A master Vampire to go out. It took me three books to warm up to Ethan and then he is ripped away. He died in place of Merit which shows how much he loved her. I never suspected Tate at all, so i was pleasantly surprised. The book was good and I enjoyed it as a whole, but I felt like nothing really happened until the end. The ending for me was a little rushed for me.

The ending leaves me eager to find out what's going to happen in the next book DRINK DEEP. This is a must read if anyone has read the series so far. :)
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Now that the humans have discovered the existence of the shapeshifters who had been living amongst them in secret it has made them become more wary of the vampires again and worried about what else could be hiding out there. Protesters have Cadogan House surrounded day and night and are determined to persuade the vampires to leave Chicago. It doesn't help that there are reports of a vicious attack and three women are missing. The mayor wants action taken and it is up to Ethan and Merit to find out what happened. With the vampire council also breathing down Ethan's neck he is stuck between a rock and a hard place and it is up to Merit to find a way to protect their house from both sides.

Hard Bitten is the 4th book in the Chicagoland Vampires series and I would strongly recommend reading them in order. I'm a massive fan of the series though and Merit is one of my favourite urban fantasy heroines so I would definitely recommend checking out Some Girls Bite if you haven't discovered the series yet. As I've come to expect from this series Hard Bitten has plenty of action and some really good plot twists, there was a killer shock at the end of the book though - one I totally didn't see coming and am still completely gutted about.

Merit's relationship with Ethan took a real turn for the worse at the end of the last book so I was curious to see how things would play out in this installment. It was really great to see how much Ethan changes in this book, he regrets his actions at the end of Twice Bitten and is determined to prove to Merit that he does love her and that he can give her what she needs. Although I appreciated the changes in Ethan I was pleased that Merit didn't automatically welcome him back with open arms. After the hurt he caused her she is understandably wary of getting her heart broken all over again so she stands her ground and is making him work at gaining back her trust.

Thinks are getting interesting with Mallory who is working hard at learning to use her magic. It was good to see her friendship with Merit back on track and I was pleased that Merit was there for Mallory when she needed a friend. I'm very interested to see how things develop with Mallory over time because I have a feeling she is going to have a larger role in future books. It was great to see Catcher, Jeff and Merit's grandfather again and I also really liked Jonas who we met briefly in the last book but didn't know much about until this one.

To go back to the shocker of an ending, I don't want to give spoilers so I'm just going to say that I felt like Chloe Neill had pulled out my heart, ripped it into shreds and then jumped up and down on the pieces. I just can not believe what happened at the end and really don't know what direction the series will take from here onwards. I had to read the ending twice because I didn't believe that could possibly have happened! I have to give Chloe kudos for creating characters that I feel so strongly about and I'm so relieved that the next book is already available - I don't think I could have coped with waiting for months to find out what happens next. Having said that I'm almost too scared to pick up Drink Deep, I have no idea what to expect and terrified that I won't get the outcome I'm desperately hoping for. I guess I'm going to have to trust that Chloe knows what she is doing & keep my fingers crossed that I'm not disappointed.
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on 6 June 2011
I bought the first book in this series and read it in one day, needless to say I downloaded books two and three straight away. I just love these books and find the story and on off relationship between the two main characters Ethan and Merit fantastic. It is great that Merit is very independent girl and this only adds to the story, I found it quite whitty and comical in places. This fourth book is by far the best and I couldn't put it down. The relationship between Merit and Ethan is great and you can't help feeling sorry for Ethan, however all said and done the ending left me speechless, I found myself completely and utterly devastated. November is going to be a long time to wait for the next installment to be released, I have already pre-ordered and will be reading it as soon as it is released.

Worth every penny and would recommend to all my friends, this is why it deserves the five stars. I hope the next book brings us a happy ending after the current book and I am still reeling from the finish.
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on 29 September 2011
I have enjoyed this series as light reading trashy vampire nonsense, but found it more and more irritating that the author spent about 1/3rd of the narrative telling you what happened in the previous books, the odd reminder is fine but it's far too repetitive. Add to that how often you hear how much the lead character loves hot dogs, pizza and baseball, then add on the repetitive banter between the main characters, the does he doesnt he really love me and oh how blue is mallory's hair and how much does my father hate me and you are left with actually very little fresh story or plot. If it hadn't been on my kindle I would have thrown it in the bin. Read the first couple with a light heart and go no further is my recommendation.
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on 31 October 2013
It's going to be hard for me to talk about anything other than the ENDING *sobs*, but I'll try.

In terms of Merit and Ethan: After their *ahem* session in the last book and Ethan's subsequent 'freak out', Ethan spent the rest of Twice Bitten and most of Hard Bitten trying to win Merit round again. The blame for this turn-around I put entirely with Ethan, and I can understand why Merit wants to distance herself from him. It will take a lot of work from Ethan to regain Merit's trust, but it was nice to see him trying. I did get sick of all the half-truths and lies he told her, but I suppose he has a lot at 'stake' (sorry couldn't resist)!!

I enjoyed seeing Merit call Morgan out on a few things, because let's be honest he NEEDED to hear them. I still like Morgan in a I'm-sure-he's-shifty kinda way. So if Morgan's out as competition for Ethan, than hello Jonah!

The whole "Merit is mine" scene he provoked was brilliant.
I find all the stuff with Merit's father sort of distracting, but I wasn't expecting the level of involvement he actually had had with the vampires from the off. Clever and sneaky Chloe Neill!

I'm starting to sense warning signs about Mallory. I'm thinking her inner bad witch may come out to play soon.
A LOT happens in Hard Bitten and the Red Guard involvement has increased. It was also interesting to see the changed human opinion concerning the vampires; less as sexy and mysterious and more as evil, we must stake you all.

THE ENDING!! Er well, it would have massively ruined my day if I had read the Chicagoland series back when it was first published and didn't already have some semblance of what's going to happen. BUT reading the event actually unfold was really sad. Neill must have been expecting some kind of fallout from the ending and I wonder how far in advance she planned the series.

Much better than Twice Bitten, but also really frustrating. Hard Bitten is a good edition to the series in terms of world building and helping Merit grow.

4 Stars in my Sky!

My fav non-spoilery quotes:

*Sometimes hanging out in pyjamas with a good book sounded like a phenomenal idea.

*Only a four-hundred-year-old vampire would wonder if a grad student could understand procrastination.

*"Be stubborn if you wish to, if you need to, but we know how this will end."

*It was my TBR-my To Be Read stack. The usual subjects were there. Chick lit. Action. A Pulitzer Prize winner. A romance novel about a pirate and a damsel in a low-cut blouse (What? Even vampire enjoys a little bodice ripping now and again).
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on 11 October 2012
Chicago's vampires are having a hard time. Previously seen as celebrities after their revelation the tide is now turning. Merit and Ethan are called to a clandestine meeting with Mayor Tate after a violent vampire rave left three women missing and potentially dead. With Tate threatening to jail Ethan for the crime, Merit investigates only to discover that things aren't quite what they seem and that a deadly new drug is being used by the vampire community.

This is the fourth book in the Chicagoland Vampires series (after Some Girls Bite,Friday Night Bites and Twice Bitten) which is one of my favourite urban fantasy series. At this point a new reader could jump in, but they'd be missing a lot of backstory. The storyline is great with tight pacing that builds the tension right up to the shocking heartbreaking end. There are a lot of twists and turns and the mystery is packed with red herrings.

Merit teams up with Red Guard member and Grey house Guard Captain Jonah to investigate how and why the vampire raves (essentially parties where vampires openly drink from willing humans) are becoming deadly. Their investigation soon leads to a drug called V and gives insight into a drug underworld. The storyline also has a political aspect as Mayor Tate flexes his power as well as the presence of a GP member reviewing Cadogan House.

Merit is growing more confident in her new life, although she is still struggling with the possibility of joining the Red Guard. The romance aspect of the story between Ethan and Merit has hit a crisis as Ethan has managed to shatter Merit's trust in him. Although he spends the majority of the book trying to make it up to her, the wounds he caused her mean she is holding back.

The usual supporting characters all return, with Mallory busy with her Sorcery apprenticeship while Merit's grandfather, Jeff and Catcher all assisting Merit from the law enforcement side.

All in all this was a great read and I'm looking forward to Drink Deep.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 8/10

Overall: 48/50
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on 23 May 2011
Except for the ending this is the best of the Chicagoland Vampire Novels. With the exception of the supernatural twists it storyline feels very true to life. Chicago has always had it share of drug problems so Mayor Tate put his trust in CPD to handle things when the new drug V (which full Latin name means truth) hit the street. When a triple murder makes the front papers however he turns to Ethan and Merit to investigate. Something that the GP isn't too happy about since Celina is involved and as far as the GP is concern she has dipomatic immunity among the vampire community. Merit on the other hand only cares about what is best to protect Chicago and her house and will challenge even the GP in order to do it if needed. Especially with the protesters picketing her vampire house and wanting vampires out of town and Mayor Tate threatening Ethan with jail if they can't handle things. The book mainly focus a lot of Ethan and Merit relationship as well as her relationship with her family and friends as we find Mallory has been spelled to keep things from Merit; her grandfather in charge of politics between humans and the supernatural community are being kept out of the loop by Mayor Tate and Merit learns a secret that her father been keeping from her since she became a vampire in book one. It seems only Ethan and Merit are willing to put even their very immortal lives on the line to stop Celina and her drug dealers who believe that vampires need to stop acting like 21 century wimps and begin to act again like the monsters of human nightmares they use to be.
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The order for the series is Some Girls Bite, Friday Nights Bites, Twice Bitten and Hard Bitten.

Remember the issue of vampire raves [mass feedings on humans] that came up a few books ago, but went unsolved despite being looked into? Well the situation resurfaces and its gotten a lot worse then last time.

Ever since the existence of shape-shifters was revealed to the world, worried humans are now turning against the supernatural and have started protesting against the vampires in 'their' city. The mayor of Chicago has started to worry about his popularity and the upcoming election, so he requests that Ethan and Merit meet up with him.

Basically he knows about the raves, but he also knows that they have recently become a lot more violent; three humans have just died at one. Now mayor Tate wants Ethan and Cadogan to tidy everything up, and to make sure that it's done quickly he drops an bombshell - Tate someone knows that Merit didn't give Ethan her consent before he turned her into a vampire, so now he gives Ethan one week to solve the rave problem or else he will have him arrested and charged with murder.

As if solving the ongoing problems with raves inside a single week wasn't enough of a problem, there is also the issue of the leader of the Greenwich Presidium coming to Chicago. Darius isn't happy about the way Cadogan House is being run and he is considering having the House placed into receivership, so he tells Ethan that he has more then enough concerns and should leave the raves for the humans to deal with.

Of course as vampires living in Chicago and dealing with angry protesters and a military style vigilante group, Ethan doesn't feel that it's safe for the Cadogan House vampires to leave the raves unsolved, so he's torn over what he should do next. So it's Merit to the rescue; she tells Ethan to concentrate on keeping Darius out of the way, whilst she - using her position as sentinel - will go undercover and try to solve the rave problem before time runs out and Tate has Ethan arrested.

This is the second UF book in a row that has swapped non-stopped twists and turns for a simpler storyline that allows the author to spend more time developing the relationships between the characters, and I once again find the change of pace refreshing. I say simple storyline when there is the issue about the Greenwich Presidium and Cadogan's potential receivership running alongside the main blackmail plot as well as the introduction to the vigilante group, but whilst there is plenty of action and tension building the plot does feel slightly more scaled back, compared to previous books.

That said this is definitely a huge turning point; one of the biggest questions in the series gets answered and by the end of the book the lives of several characters will have drastically altered [the author has been receiving hate mail on a daily basis since the book's release]. Excuse me whilst I go and pre-order the next book...

This book mainly focuses on the relationship between Merit and Ethan; I won't dissect everything that happened over the course of the past three books here, I'll just say that they are stuck between the professional and Merit's lack of trust on a personal level. It becomes more complicated when you release that everything they do can impact on the lives of over three hundred vampires, so I do feel sorry for them as there is a huge weight on Ethan's shoulders [in particular]. I admit that Merit's doubts over him did get a little annoying as I thought his behaviour around her clearly says everything, so I got a little impatient that she didn't get it..

Merit also gets to partner up with Jonah when she goes undercover to look into the raves; he is the Guard Captain of Gray House. Gray House and it's vampires have barely ever been touched upon before now, but this partnering up and budding trust and friendship is a glimpse of the future directions in the series and promises to introduce other Gray House members to readers in later books.

Even though this is book is written in a first-person narrative, the author still manages to explore the secondary characters relationships to varying degrees, thanks to the pared down storyline. Mallory was pushed into the background in previous books [she and Merit fell out], but we get a grasp on how her magical training is going and how she and Catcher are progressing. It is heavily hinted that future books will prominently feature Mallory and whatever problems have left her worried/scared.

Cadogan House guards Lindsay and Luc aren't in the book much, but we do still get to see love/hate relationship and Lindsay's reasoning's behind it all. Granted; her reasoning makes me roll my eyes, but at least I have something to go off now.

Shape-shifter Jeff has always been a relatively minor secondary character, but the author is gradually fleshing him out as a person and whenever he is included in a scene he always has something to do which progresses the plot - he's not just padding and fodder for one-liners.

Whilst it was never a huge deal, we do get details about why Merit and her father don't get along and why no-one uses Merit's first name [we didn't even learn what it was until the third book]. Like I said this was never portrayed as a huge mystery, but it always niggled away at the back of my mind, so it's nice to have a reason given for it all.

** Book five in the Chicagoland Vampires is titled Drink Deep [released in November 2011] **
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