Book Review: White Hot Kiss

White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1)
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date:  February 25th, 2014
Page Count:  400 pages
Buy it at:  Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Source: Arc Provided by Publisher Through Netgalley
Audience:  Mature Young Adult Paranormal

White Hot Kiss was my first Jenn Armentrout novel and I really, REALLY enjoyed it overall.  In my opinion, it wasn’t flawless but I couldn’t help being completely addicted to this story.  In this world, Gargoyles were the paranormal creature…a race of beings that could shift between human form and their stony counterparts similar to what we all have seen grace the facades of old buildings.  Referred to as the Wardens, the world was aware that these creatures were in fact real and alive…and their purpose was to provide protection.  But the world was not aware of what they were protecting humans from…demons.

The story’s protagonist, Layla, was, of course, as in most stories, unique…she was a hybrid in that she was half Warden and half demon.  Initially and intentionally kept from her own story of her origins, she was raised amongst the Wardens and taught to suppress and ignore her demon side.  Most of the Wardens seemed to be oblivious to how she felt about herself…not really feeling part of their world but yearned to be included.  My heart definitely went out to her…in many ways, she was kept and regarded as a child…and obviously as she grew up…she started to question such things.  Her demon side had an innate desire to literally suck someone’s soul out of them…and that was obviously shunned by the Wardens so she had to constantly fight her literal inner demon.  Having that tendency to suck souls meant to her that her fate was sealed to live a life of loneliness and yearning for the boy she could not have.

What I liked about Layla…she took chances.  Perhaps those chances were reckless and she knew  keeping the truths she uncovered from the Wardens would haunt her later, but she wanted to do the right thing as well as find out why there was a sudden interest in her among the demon community.  She had confidence in herself…but it was constantly tamped down by the Warden’s over-protectiveness of her.  But even that over-protectiveness seemed to be without true affection...particularly from Abbott, the head of the DC clan.  I felt bad for her that they were so guarded around her…all except for Zayne.

Zayne and Layla grew up together and were each others constant companion.  As they both matured, their feelings for each other evolved as well.  Zayne being a Warden and Layla being half-demon prevented them from moving their relationship to the next level.  I felt for Zayne too.  His feelings for Layla were pretty obvious (to all but Layla), but his clan forbid a romantic relationship between him and Layla.  His protectiveness for Layla made up for the rest of the affection I felt was missing from the rest of her ‘family’.  Initially, I soooo wanted Zayne to break the rules and just go for it.  They seemed to be perfect together.

But what I loved most about this story was the grey-ness that started to wash over Layla’s world.  She was raised to believe that the Wardens were always the good-guys and the demons were 100% the bad guys.  As the story unfolded…Layla started to realize that her world was not so black and white as she always thought…and that could be attributed mainly to one demon in particular…Roth.

Oh Roth…I think he’s been crowned my favourite ‘bad boy’.  Hot… with an ‘unusual’ tattoo of a snake, a sardonic and yet playful personality…oh my word…he could tempt anyone to the ‘dark side’.

Layla didn’t obviously trust him at first…but as they kept ‘running into each other’, that world I just mentioned started to shift…she found that she could be more herself around Roth and he effortlessly coaxed it out of her…even as she fought it constantly.  He was so patient, and cocky, and full of life, and irresistible…I fell for him right along with Layla…well, much quicker than Layla, truth be told.

So there IS a love-triangle…but one of the better ones…and it has miles to go.  I can’t wait to see how this plays out!

As I sort of hinted at before…I did have a problem with the Wardens.  And I think I was meant to have a problem with them.  Not only did they keep their ‘affection’ for Layla reined in…they kept her in the dark on purpose.  WHY do the parent-figures in stories always feel that keeping ‘their kids’ blissfully ignorant will help protect them?  It never works out that way…but then again, there might not have been a story if they told her from the beginning what she might face in the future.  Regardless, I felt that Layla was a bit too forgiving of them.  I wanted her to hold a major grudge against Abbott and the rest of them…except Zayne, of course.  Well, if I would be totally honest...maybe a little bit of a grudge towards Zayne too.  I didn't always like what he did either but I understood.

I adored the inclusion of Bambi and the kittens in this story…they are just so neat!  I can’t wait for you to meet them!

No cliffhanger really except one character is absent at the end and I so desperately want him/her back!  Lots of action and excitement…lots of humour and snark…lots of chemistry and steam…as I said, this was a very addictive read.  There were a few holes that prevented me from giving this a perfect rating but I’ve mostly forgiven/forgotten them because it was hard to put this book down.  And there’s no question that Roth was my most favourite thing about this book.  I want more Roth!

Special thanks to Harlequin Teen and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this novel prior to its release.

And please check out my recent Book Boyfriend post here.  You won't be surprised who I chose. 

Synopsis 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.


  1. OOoh nice review! Dying to read this for so many reasons and yet still I must wait on its arrival! Sounds like it's worth it though!

  2. I am SURE you will love this! Especially since you loved the prequel novella! ;) Let me know what you think!

  3. Amazing! I bought it weeks ago and I can't wait to start it! *w*

  4. Enjoy! I'm chomping at the bit to read the next book!

  5. I haven't read any of Jennifer L. Armentrout's books, but I hope to change that soon...great review

  6. Great review! I like stories where the characters seem to learn as much about themselves as we do. Sounds like this one fits the bill!

  7. I absolutely love this series! I love Bambi and the kittens too!!! :)


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