ARC Review & Giveaway: House Rules by Chloe Neill (Blog Tour & Giveaway)

Posted January 29th, 2013 in Blog Tour, book review, Giveaway / 122 comments

Welcome to the House Rules Blog Tour. As many of you may know, the Chicagoland Vampires Series by Chloe Neill is one of my favorite urban fantasy series out there. Merit and Ethan are two characters that are hard to not find irresistible. And as the favorite quote from Chloe below can attest to, they are perfect for each other. They have a connection like no other. 

House Rules

Chicagoland Vampires Series, #7

by Chloe Neill

Publisher: NAL Penguin (Feb. 5, 2012)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format: Paperback (352 pages)
Source: From Publisher for Blog Tour
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Books-A-Million / IndieBound
Rating: ★★★½☆ (3.5 stars)

At the tender age of 27, 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 started with two . . . Two rogues vanishing without a trace. Someone is targeting Chicago’s vampires, and anyone could be next. With their house in peril, Merit and her Master, the 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.

At A Glance
I had a love/hate relationship with House Rules. I loved the concept but I often put the book down. It took sometime for me to really get into it.

The Good
Let me start off by saying I really do love this series. I like how the vampires in this world aren’t creepy or scary. They are normal like you and me, but they just have some special powers. They are relatable and in essence live normal lives except for a few vampire type problems. I can’t think of any other vampire series like this one. That being said, though House Rules didn’t have the pizazz as the previous books in the series, it was still very much enjoyable.

I think many fans have been dying to see what happens next after Ethan and his House of vamps decided to finally leave the horrible GP, the ruling group of vampires who make all the rules. It’s an understatement to say the GP are no longer out for the good of all vampires. They are out for themselves only. As they say, absolute power, corrupts absolutely. And though I am proud of Ethan for finally removing his House from under their thumb, it was hard to see the lengths the GP would go to bring down these innocent vampires. If it wasn’t obvious in the past couple books, the GP have no limits, no reservations in their cruelty. And to add more crap to an already ceiling high crap pile, some psycho is going around killing vampires. And of course it falls to Merit to find the killer before his list of victims grows any bigger.

Merit had so many obstacles in this book it’s hard to keep count. I truly don’t know how she can stay sane dealing with everything she has on her plate. I think she did a pretty good job of keeping it together. I love how Merit always takes the initiative. She makes the hard decisions when no one else can. She is the kind of person that would do anything, even take a stake to the heart, to save a friend. And with her and Ethan finally starting to build a life together, I can see Merit opening up, becoming whole. Not that she needed Ethan to make herself whole, she just needed someone to finally love her for her, not her connections. When the inevitable fight came, I was so worried that we would see the same Merit and Ethan as before. They still frustrated me in many ways, with Merit’s insecurities and Ethan’s pig-headedness, but I also saw a change in them. They didn’t break-up right away, they let each other have space while they figured out what was the right thing for them as a couple.

I do love where the series as a whole is going. Now, with Cadogan House free from the GP, I hope their relationship with the Rogue vampires becomes even stronger because they need allies. I am still pissed off at the other Houses for using Cadogan’s House as their personal helpers but never returning the favor in fear of GP’s reprisal. But I see a change coming, and I can only hope things get better from here.

The writing was well done and the side characters were, as always, entertaining in their own ways. It’s nice to see Mallory doing better as well. Though I feel like Merit in that it’s hard to forgive what Mallory did, I am finding myself warming to her more and more. Mallory use to be one of my favorite secondary characters ever. I hope I feel that about her again sometime soon.

The Bad
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get into this book for the longest time. It was too slow and the whole Merit being a detective thing just wasn’t working for me. I know she is often investigating crimes in each book, but this time around I didn’t find it engaging.

Ethan annoyed the crap out of me in House Rules. His attitude in past books has bothered me before so I wasn’t really surprised when it happened this time, too. He really knows how to act like a baby when he doesn’t get his way. It’s so weird how he can come across so pompous and “mature” as the Master of the House, then act like a child when Merit doesn’t follow his every command or reveal every single aspect of her life.

The Snuggly
It’s nice to see Ethan and Merit finally together. They don’t have much time together because of all the chaos, but the few stolen moments they get are both sweet and sexy. And we actually get a semi-sex scene that I just loved. Ethan can be so naughty and flirty. I love that side of him.

Final Thoughts
House Rules is not the best book in the series, but for fans, it is a must read. The Cadogan vampires are making huge progress in their bid for freedom. I am dying to see what is going to happen next. Recommended for fans of the series.

Ethan grinned and crooked a finger at me.

“I don’t perform on command,” I reminded him.

He unsnapped the top button on his jeans.

My eyes widened. “Sneaky Bastard.”


“Yo,” Jeff answered, his voice ringing through the Bentley’s impeccable stereo system.

“Hey, it’s Merit.”

“Merit. Have you finally decided to ditch the zero and get with the hero?”

Ethan cleared his throat–loudly–while I bit back a smile. I didn’t see anything wrong with reminding Ethan that I had other options, even if they were slightly goofy options I’d never actually take advantage of.

“Jeff, you’re on speakerphone in Ethan’s car. He’s driving.”

There was an awkward pause.

“And by ‘zero,'” Jeff quickly corrected, “I meant, you know, you should…um…start liking the White Sox. Go, Sox,” he weakly added.

Enter below for a chance to win an awesome Chicagoland Vampires and Dark Elite Swag Pack, exclusive to this blog:

  • A “Chicagoland Vampires” tote bag designed just for this tour
  • Chicagoland Vampires pens designed just for this tour
  • A signed copy of one Chicagoland Vampires or Dark Elite novel
  • “I survived Hard Bitten” buttons
  • Chicagoland Vampires and Dark Elite bookmarks and other swag
  • a Rafflecopter giveaway

    The fun doesn’t stop here.

    Want more chances to win? You can also enter Chloe’s House Rules Grand Prize Giveaways, which will run January 30 through February 7 on Chloe’s web site.

    What are the Grand Prize Giveaway prizes?

    Prize One: The Paper Prize

    • A complete set of autographed Chicagoland Vampires novels
    • A $50 gift card from Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice)
    • A set of personalized bookplates, courtesy of Felix Doolittle
    • A Chicagoland Vampires tote bag
    Prize Two: The Tech Prize

    Blog Tour, book review, Giveaway

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    122 Responses to “ARC Review & Giveaway: House Rules by Chloe Neill (Blog Tour & Giveaway)”

    1. Jaclyn Canada

      This is another series that I haven’t gotten to just yet, but based on your description I’m sure I would really enjoy it. I do love my vampire…especially if there is a little twist on the story. The quotes you picked are great. I know you said this one wasn’t your favorite, but it still looks like a great read. Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven

    2. Elisa

      I have only read (but totally LOVED) the first book. I must catch up! It sounds amazing – awesome giveaway too 🙂

    3. elizabeth

      This is my favorite series and I going crazy waiting for house rules!!!!! Thank ypu for you review and thanks to Chloe for the giveaway.

    4. Chelly

      I’m very excited for this book. I mean, I just started Drink Deep, but I plan on powering through it and the next one. EEE.

    5. Texas Book Lover

      I have to be honest I skipped most of the review because I am just getting ready to start this series and don’t want to know any spoilers. I have the first two books and have been trying very hard to get my hands on more since I was laid off from work. Soon very soon!

    6. Lovey Dovey Books

      Ah! I knew I should’ve skimmed your review a little. I don’t even know where I left off in this series, but Ethan and Merit finally together!! I actually can’t believe it 😛 Awesome review, I think I might be finding myself getting back into this series soon 🙂

    7. bloodthirstymuses

      This tour is KILLING ME! I have this series on my TBR for VERY SOON, but I CAN’T GET TO IT YET. Every post I see about it just makes me want to read it more.

      HELP ME. 😉

      Heather @ Bloodthirsty Muses

    8. Jacqueline Slawko

      I love this series. I love everything about Merit and Ethan. I have read these books many times and would have to disagree about one thing in the “Bad” section I really like that Merit is a detective and something is always going on. Otherwise I’m not sure I would like this series as much. Great review and thanks. ~~J

      • Jennifer Bielman

        No, No, I like that Merit is a detective too. It was just in this book that it didn’t work for me. Her detective worked really dragged for me this time. Usually I like it.

    9. Josette Schaber

      I have a couple of these books waiting on my eReader, my TBR is just so very long 😉 I have always loved the covers and look forward to reading the books as soon as I get to them.

    10. Sarah (saz101)

      I STILL haven’t read Biting Cold, but I think it might be time. I’ve been doing a lot of ‘HAVE TO’ review copy reading, and I’m looking forward to a ‘me’ book binge. I might do Iced, Biting Cold, and House Rules all in one self-indulgent go 😀

      “It’s so weird how he can come across so pompous and “mature” as the Master of the House, then act like a child when Merit doesn’t follow his every command or reveal every single aspect of her life.”
      HA! SO ETHAN. I kind of like how you’ve described this, though. It has parallels to real life. It’s easy to deal with professional problems professionally, but personal ones? The difference in relationship dynamics are HUGE. And… Ugh. Dying. Need. Read. Now.

      • Jennifer Bielman

        LOL. It is so Ethan. And it does have parallels to real life. Only you would catch that, lol.

        I too have beem reading a lot of “have to read” books. I want to read some for pleasure soon.

      • Sarah (saz101)

        I kind of feel like I make a lot of excuses for characters’ behaviour… which is even more funny when we talk about real life parallels. I will always make excuses for people when I Nick or my family or friends complain about someone who isn’t there to defend themselves… and I don’t know WHY. SOMETIMES I DO IT WHEN I AGREE WITH WHAT THEY’RE SAYING O__O

    11. Veronica

      Got to say wow. I loved reading your review. Its not very often you see/ read a review that love/hate theme behind it. Guess what I am trying to say is thanks and I look forward to reading more of your reviews. 🙂

    12. Brenda Demko

      Thank you for reviewing it. I was especially glad to hear the snuggly. I enjoy hearing everyone’s thoughts. It is such sweet torture. I can’t wait to read it myself.

    13. compgeek

      Thanks for the giveaway!!! Merit and Ethan are the characters that stay with you!!! This is one my favorite series!! Can’t wait.. Need a merit and Ethan fix!!!

    14. Kelly

      I am about to die!! So excited for this book to come out. Ethan and Merit are perfect for each other and it is great to FINALLY see them together.

    15. Krista Davis

      I finished HOUSE RULES last night. I absolutely love Ethan and Merit together. And, thankfully, it’s not all puppies and rainbows for them either. That’d be too easy. 🙂

    16. Tanya

      I can’t wait for this book. I hope I am not disappointed, I’ve built it up so big in my head. I’m glad you liked it, even if it isn’t the best one. OMG, I’m so excited!

    17. crystalg123

      I am so very excited for this book! I love Ethan & Merit together and was crushed when he died. So happy he is back and am looking forward to their constant banter and snarkiness and hopefully (fingers crossed) a long and happy life together!

      Crystal Guidroz

    18. LadyVampire2u

      I love this series so I have to get this book and read the next chapter of Merit and Ethan’s adventures. I enjoyed your review, giving me a head’s up on what to expect, both the positive and the negative. Not every book in a series can be golden but you read a book because you enjoy the characters and storyline. Thanks for the giveaway also. 🙂

    19. Anonymous

      I love this series. I have already order House Rules. I cannot wait to read it. Thanks for the giveaway.

    20. Beckey

      I haven’t read the series since the book that the author killed off Ethan… Was disappointed and thought that something was finally coming together for Merit and him.. That just sucked (LOL-sorry no pun intended…)
      I have heard that Ethan is back but have been hestitant to see what or how for that I will be disappointed with the book..


    21. Andrea Heltsley

      I can’t wait to read this book!! You did a great job with your review:) Not all books in a series are 5 star reads! Hardcore fans like me will read them anyways:)
      Thanks for the giveaway and stuff!!!

    22. ranr

      I’m reading Biting Cold next month and I can’t wait! I love this series to pieces but I’m sad I’m gonna be caught up soon 🙁 Great post btw, I love those qoutes! 🙂

    23. Connie

      Hi! I did enjoy the review of this book. I haven’t read this series yet but I would like to. I really love this giveaway! 🙂

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