Sunday, March 2, 2014

ARC Review: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrou @JLArmentrout @HarlequinTEEN

Blurb from Goodreads:
One kiss could be the last. 
Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses. 
Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever. 
Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul. 
But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.


Title: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: February 25, 2014


The Cover Contessa's Review:
I want to thank Harlequin Teen for providing me with an ARC of this book at ALA. I was really excited to see they had them and couldn't wait to dive in! Receiving this book for free has in no way altered or influenced my opinion or review.

So, being the big Jennifer Armentrout fan that I am, you can imagine that I could not wait to read this. I read Bitter Sweet Love a while back and really enjoyed the new world Armentrout had created. Who would have though Gargoyles could be sexy? I mean, have you seen those things perched on the side of buildings? All stone and horns and wings and, OH MY! But Jennifer takes it one step further, these Gargoyles have a human form to disguise them in our society!

Of course the cover of this book is just hot. Who can resist a book where the cover models are almost kissing, you can feel the heated energy between them! It's simple, just as the Bitter Sweet Love cover is! I love a simple cover that still conveys what you need to know. Of course there are elements included that are important to the book, which I totally love.

I enjoyed the characters very much in this book. They were so easy to connect with and each had such distinct personalities. And you could easily feel the connections between them. The dynamics that occur are great. There's wit and humor and romance and betrayal. All the things that make characters interesting and fun!

Layla is someone we met briefly in Bitter Sweet Love. It was nice to get this book from her point of view. She's snarky and smart and strong. I love that she says things how they are. But she still has some of that teen angst we've come to know so well in young adult books. Not so much that you wanted to bop her on the head, but enough to show that she was still trying to figure out who she was. Of course Layla is torn. She is half demon half warden and not sure exactly where she fits in. In this book I noticed we really see more of her demon side, at least we see her connecting to it and finding out what it is. I'm hoping we get more of her warden side in the future.
Roth, oh Roth, I just love the bad boys. At first, I really thought he had some hidden agenda, and maybe he does, but I really loved how he treated Layla, how he was so committed to her. He's full or snark and sarcasm, which are so great in a male lead character. He made me laugh and he made me swoon. His ego is huge. And, while I sometimes wanted to smack him upside his head, I really loved watching him show how full of himself he is! Below this snarky exterior is a boy who is protective and honest, to a fault at times. He's not afraid to say how it is. And he sacrifices himself in ways I was not expecting.
Zayne, I need more of him. He's got such a hard exterior (no pun intended on his Gargoyleness!). He's fiercely loyal to Layla, and wants to protect her to a fault. It bothered me that he treats her like this little girl/sister, though. I am pretty sure that's a wall he's put up so she doesn't see how much he truly cares for her. I actually wanted to wack Zayne a few times in this book. While he wasted to protect Layla, his actions pushed her away (almost right into Roth's arms). I'm sensing there will definitely be a love triangle to contend with here, since Layla certainly has feelings for Zayne. I just hope Armentrout does it right, as she has done in the past in her books.

The plot of this book is great. Layla is learning who she is and why she is important to the demons, and the wardens. But she senses there are people on both sides who want to use her. And she needs to find out who they are and why. And the pacing, well, it was spot on. As is par for the course with Armentrout's books. I read this in one day. Really I didn't want to put it down. Jennifer blends just the right amount of action, romance, heartbreak, betrayal and adventure for you to stay interested and keep turning the pages.

Jennifer's world building is new and exciting. I love that the Gargoyles are charged with keeping the demons at bay, yet they still need to be allowed some freedom to keep the balance. And the fact that the humans know there are paranormal beings in existence surrounding them. The balance of good and evil is a huge part of this plot, evil wanting to win out, of course.

Jennifer's writing is great. Well, isn't it always? If you look at my reviews of any of her books, I'm pretty sure you'll see this statement in all of them. She knows how to write her characters so you fall in love with them. And there is never a time you are not wanting to turn to the next page and see what happens because her story line is that enthralling.

I devoured this book. Any fan of Armentrout will get sucked right into this one. If you enjoyed her Covenant series, this one will be right up your alley for sure! If you haven't read any of her books, and start with this one, well, you will want to jump right into anything else she has written! And, now I have Paradise City by GNR in my head ALL THE FREAKIN' TIME (you'll understand this when you read the book, so GET ON IT!).


All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true. 

Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write.

She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press), the Lux Series (Entangled Teen), Don't Look Back (Disney/Hyperion) and a yet untitled novel (Disney/Hyperion), and new YA paranormal series with Harlequin Teen. 

Jennifer also writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J. Lynn. The Gamble Brothers Series (Tempting the Best Man/Tempting the Player) and Wait for You. Under her pen name, she is published with Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

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