Hard Bitten

Chloe Neill
Hard Bitten
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Release Date
May 2011
Book 4 of Chicagoland Vampires
Paranormal Romance

Meet Merit, a "wonderfully compelling vampire heroine" (USA Today bestselling author Julie Kenner).

Chicago is beset by supernatural tensions, and Merit-vampire protector of a safe haven called Cadogan house-is worried that the humans will be reaching for their pitchforks any minute. It doesn't help that yet another vampire rave is broken up by the mayor, and a new inhibition- reducing drug is circulating through the community.

It's up to Merit to put her house in order-literally. And if that takes getting a little blood on her hands, so be it.

Book Review by Michelle R
Apr 25, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
219 people found the following review helpful
Vamp fan? Urban Fantasy Fan? Fan of kick-ass females? Chicago, does Chicago turn you on?

Okay, does chocolate do it for you?

If any of those things raised an eyebrow, sparked some interest, you really must check out Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires series.

This is one of those series you really need to start with book one (SOME GIRLS BITE), to maximize your reading pleasure. Yes, you will still swoon for Ethan Sullivan, master vampire. But for those of us who have been ready to throttle Ethan for a while now, those good moments are ohh so very ….. good. Really, really good.

Yes, I do believe you can keep up with the story, but when it comes to the end, I'm fairly confident you will gasp, "Oh my gawd." Unlike myself who dropped the book and screamed, "OH. MY. GAAAWWWWD!!!!" And then proceeded to move about my room aimlessly, careening off walls and furniture, trying to figure out how to cope with the situation.

Look. I got this book months ago. I have had to stay lip locked about the end. You. You can go to all the fan boards and jump right into the spoiler threads to make sense of the new world order.

Me? I've kept this kitten bottled up inside. I really deserve a medal or something for that. Or at least a huge bar of chocolate. (Which by the way you must keep near you as you read this book. It's just one of those things vital to your sanity and ability to function.)

Let's just say Chloe Neill has proven where Merit's female cajones came from.

It has been a year since book three, TWICE BITTEN, so I'll give you a teeny tiny recap. (Time for those who still need to read books one to three to shoo. Spoilerage ahead.)

Merit was attacked by a rogue vampire and left for dead. Ethan Sullivan, master vampire and head of Cadogan House, happened along in time to save Merit. Of course this meant turning the introverted bookworm into a vampire herself. Accepting that wasn't easy but it helped that she seemed to have a few more gifts than the typical newbie.

For one, Ethan was unable to telepathically control her. In fact no vampire has been able to. And thanks to the years of dance instruction, she has a proclivity for Katana work. Both these made her the perfect Sentinel for Cadogan House. Remember, Merit's loyalty is to the house, not to Ethan.

Merit's best friend Mallory hasn't escaped the fallout either. The corporate shark learned she is a powerful magician, fell under the spell of Catcher Bell and is now keeping house with him while being trained to wield the magic.

And wouldn't you know it, Merit's own grandfather turns out to be the omnibudsman to the paranormal community. Chicagoians may know about vampires but the shifters, fae, nymphs and others touched by magic have been safely concealed by those in power, thanks in no small part to the omnibudsman's office.

Jeff is a shifter who works there. In the last book, Gabriel, the apex of all shifters brought the packs to town to discuss going public or retreating to Alaska. The vote didn't matter much, as in defending Merit and the Cadogan House, they pretty much outted themselves to the world live on TV.

And then there were the vampire raves. With everything else, the house masters have put tending to the illicit activities at the bottom of their ‘to do' list. Until HARD BITTEN that is.

In HARD BITTEN, the mayor has had enough. Ethan has been told to clean up the situation or find his beautiful buttocks in jail. Like the vampire needs any more bad press, right? That particular political plot dominates HARD BITTEN, but the romantic plot has Ethan doing his best to woo forgiveness from Merit. And the vamp does give good woo. Just sayin'. AND the family plot explodes my friends, as daddy confesses what really went down when Merit was attacked by the rogue.

Can you tell that this is another fast paced installment? There really is no good place to set this gem down. You'll need to plan on baths, take out and having someone else drive carpool on this particular day. And when you get to the end, you'll need chocolate or vodka as you go in search of others on the internet to OMG with.

As much as the first book was Merit's, she shone like the sun. This one is Ethan's. The vamp definitely comes into his own after a few hundred years. Tear down the Morgan posters, ladies. Ethan is going on the walls.

And since you are all thinking, "This is the longest review EVAH!" May I please remind you: MONTHS, people. MONTHS. I have kept my mouth shut to ensure your reading pleasure. It was just bound to come out one way or another.

Now. Go. Readeth. Then find me. I shall be on Good Reads. They have a group there wholly dedicated to Chicagoland Vampires.

And the best news??? The next one is out in... NOVEMBER!

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Book Review by Belinda Boring (author,reviewer)
May 30, 2011
173 people found the following review helpful
I have LOVED this series from the beginning and Hard Bitten was one of my highly anticipated reads for this year. I was so giddy when I finally got a copy and I jumped in with both feet. I've had a complete lust crush on Ethan (come on who hasn't?) and I wanted the answer - will he finally get together with Merit? I was even prepared to go hunt down the author and do a rewrite if I didn't find out by the end of the book. I'll admit, at first I was tempted to go for an entirely different reason. This is a difficult review to right because of spoilers so I'm going to keep it short and just touch on a few things. What I really want to do is gust and groan and gnash my teeth a little but I'll spare you the end part. LOL

You can tell the mark of a great storyteller when they can have you feeling intense emotions over their characters. Right from the start, this book had me hooked and eagerly reading, wanting to know what came next. Merit was once again this kick butt heroine and I absolutely love her fiestiness. She has no problem getting in there to get the job done and she has an amazing heart. I wanted so badly for her to be with Ethan, and there were definitely moment between them that had me swooning. I love that Ethan realized he'd been a fool and was trying to prove he was committed to her. Although it went against what my heart was saying, I'm glad that Merit didn't just fall into his arms with all forgiven. Ethan screwed up and he needed to show that he wasn't going to mess with her heart again. Their relationship and bantering excited me and I kept telling myself "At the end of the book... at the end of the book" Part of me wishes I never got there...

There are very few books that cause such a powerful reaction that I'm reduced to tears, caught up in the story days later and literally lose the will to read - Hard Bitten was one of them. After rereading the ending a few times, I rushed to my husband and sobbed so hard, snot flying everywhere (attractive, right?) I was in shock and my poor Kindle was left untouched for about 3 days. I can hear you saying - oh my gosh, was the book that bad? NOOO! The book was amazing and I wouldn't change a thing, even though it was painful. I'm an emotional reader and love the way a book will grab my heart and play with it. Chloe has written such an amazing series, that the characters feel "real' to me so whenever they cry - I cry. When they laugh - I laugh. And when they are hurt - I hurt alongside them. Not everything is a bed of roses and if you're like me, you want the FULL experience when you're reading. Hard Bitten IS the full experience so if you're hesitant to read it because you've heard the world lament - don't fear it, embrace it. It's still one of my favorite series and it has me chomping at the bit for book 5, which is released in November.

Would I recommend this book? Oh heck yes! A million times yes! You'd be crazy not to read it... honestly and truly. I want to give a shout out to the author - well done and bravo for having the courage to staying true to your story. It mustn't be easy when you have fans shaking pitchforks over you but I want to leave this review with the words of Chloe - she wants us to trust her so trust her we will! Head out and get yourself a copy of Hard Bitten (the rest of the series if you haven't read them) and sit back and enjoy! Happy reading!
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Interview by Michelle R

Readers, I'd like to welcome Chloe Neill, author of the urban fantasy series Chicagoland Vampires. Book four in the series, HARD BITTEN, is set for publication on May 3, 2011. This hot paranormal series is a favorite among TRR reviewers as well as many of my book groups. If you have yet to check it out….you must! It is not to be missed.

Q: When people ask me what Chicagoland Vampires is about, I start to answer by saying that it's about Merit, but truth be told, it's about so much more. There are all kinds of plots running through the series: romantic plots, political plots, familial plots. How do you answer that question to encompass the whole?

The Chicagoland Vampires series is, first and foremost, about a regular, book-loving girl, Merit, being thrown into a world of strategic, political, and chic vampires. She has to come to terms with the fact that she's been made one of them against her will--and that she's been tasked with defending her particular House of vampires from the various threats against it, from self-centered vampettes to power-hungry shapeshifters.

Q: In HARD BITTEN, where are we in the series?

HARD BITTEN is the fourth book in the Chicagoland Vampires series. Merit has been named Sentinel of her House, and she's begun to take a more active role in defending the House and investigating problems as they arise in Chicago.

She's also fighting her attraction to Ethan Sullivan, Master of her House, with whom she shared a fantastic night of passion in TWICE BITTEN. He's asked for another chance, but she's not buying. The question is--will she give in? :)

Q: I know characters are feisty little things and rarely do as the fans or even the author wish, but looking forward, how do you hope Merit will continue to evolve?

I hope her confidence as a woman, as a vampire, and as a Sentinel will continue to grow. She's slowly growing into her position, but it still chafes at the edges a bit. I hope to see her taking a more active role with respect to the city's and the House's problems.

Q: Although Chicago is very real and quite present in your stories as it is in reality, you've managed to infuse the Windy City with an inner world of all your own. How has Chicago lent itself to writing for Vampires, Nymphs and high society?

Chicago has the history, the politics, the food, the culture, the architecture to form a fabulous groundwork for writing paranormal series. (Just ask Jim Butcher and Christina Henry, who also write about Chicago.) There's just so much material to draw from it that it becomes easy to imagine another world of supernatural creatures behind the scenes.

Q: The Vampires of your world are organized into 12 houses. Fans will know that Cadogan House, Merit's house, could be described as having a professional, classy flavor, whereas Grey House is more laid back in line with Master Scott Grey's love of sports. Can you tell us about a house outside of Chicago?

Sure. Murphy House is located in Kansas City, Missouri, and it's the most unusual of the Houses. KC had a large community of Rogue vampires--including Jonah, Captain of Grey House--and the GP organized them into a House. The Master, Richard Murphy, had previously been a Rogue vampire himself, which was a very unusual move for the GP (i.e., giving power to a formerly Rogue vampire). The House doesn't quite have the same sense of togetherness as the other Houses, but it might get there some day.

Q: The four books you have finished for the series span less than six months, and yet so much has happened it kind of boggles the mind. Was there any part that was more challenging to write?

Ensuring that Merit's reactions to mind-boggling events is always a challenge. She needs to react, but we don't want her reaction to be too soap operatic or theatrical. Finding that balance can be a challenge.

Q: Mallory and Merit share this obsession for chocolate -- especially when stressed out. I know I personally share that attribute with the girls. Are there any aspects or traits of yourself you share with any of the characters?

Definitely the love of chocolate. Mallory loves good handbags, which is true for me, as well. I'm as sarcastic as Merit, but I also worry like her. But they are definitely their own people and aren't based on me (or anyone else).

Q: From shapeshifters to nymphs, Chicago is populated with a variety of supernatural beings. Which has been the most fun to write?

I really enjoy writing the nymphs, and there are a couple of new species introduced in DRINK DEEP (CV6, Nov. 2011), which are also very interesting.

Q: Ethan may be Merit's master, but he is also the source of her romantic angst. What would need to happen for these two to eventually find their happily ever after together?

I definitely plan to give Merit a happily ever after, and that's all I can say about that. ;)

Q: At the end of HARD BITTEN, fans will have answers to many of the questions we've been chewing our nails over. In doing so, you really turned our little world on its ear. Was this necessary? I was just beginning to think I had a grip on things.

I'm not sure that I've turned the world on its ear, but it's fair to say things will change--as hopefully they do after every CV book. I don't think it's fair to readers to present the same character dynamics in each book. I love my characters, but my goal, first and foremost, is to write a great story with unforgettable moments. I can't do that if I'm not willing to take some risks and challenge the characters--and the readers.

Q: Which character delights you when he/she shows up ready to be heard?

Probably Jeff. He is so good-natured!

Q: Which character frustrates you? Or maybe, challenges you?

Lindsey frustrates me. She has some pretty serious baggage, and she tends to stumble over it from time to time.

Q: I remember reading that you'd get a tattoo if the series hit the bestseller list the week it came out. Are you prepared to get inked?

I am prepared, but unfortunately I don't think we have the sales at this time to hit a bestseller list. But maybe someday!

Thanks so much for having me today!

Michelle R: Thank you, Chloe!

And dear readers, if you are a fan, I know you're already stalking the bookstores. It's been a long wait, but I promise, your toes will curl, your funny bone will get a work out and you'll have moments when you need to scream your frustration into your pillow once again. Then, come find me and we'll chat!

Readers new to the series, you really must go find a copy of SOME GIRLS BITE and join us in our revelry. One small hint: Make sure to stock up your supply of chocolate. Enjoy!

Bio: I was born and raised in the South, but now make my home in the Midwest, just close enough to Cadogan House and St. Sophia's to keep an eye on things. When not transcribing Merit's and Lily's adventures, I bake (a lot!), watch entirely too much television, root for my favorite college football team (Go Big Red!), spend time with friends and my beau, Jeremy, and play with my dogs, Baxter and Scout.

Find Chloe Neill at the following places:

Website: http://chloeneill.com
Blog: http://blog.chloeneill.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/chloe.neill
Twitter: http://twitter.com/chloeneill


Some Girls Bite (CV1)
Friday Night Bites (CV2)
Twice Bitten (CV3)

Chloe Neill is giving away 1 signed copy of HARD BITTEN (US/Canada only)!


Simply write a comment or ask a question in the comment box below to be entered into the giveaway!

Contest ends May 31.

Winners will be announced in June.
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