Book Review: Bitter Sweet Love

Bitter Sweet Love
(The Dark Elements #0.5)
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date:  December 1, 2013
Page Count:  105 pages
Buy it at:  Amazon
Source:  Kindle Novella Kindly Offered Free by the Publisher Through Amazon
Audience:  Mature Young Adult Paranormal

Picking up Bitter Sweet Love, a prequel novella to White Hot Kiss, immediately after completing White Hot Kiss, I wasn’t altogether super excited reading about one of the side characters introduced to me in the first full book of The Dark Elements series.  We briefly met Jasmine in Layla’s story…and all didn’t go very well during that reunion between Layla and Jas.  I, myself, already felt a bit protective of Layla so Jasmine’s knee-jerk reaction to something Layla did, sort of put me off her.  But this back story not only told us Jas’s story and how Jasmine met Layla and Zayne, but served as a foundation to explaining the culture of the Wardens, a race of protectors that could shift between human form and Gargoyle form…and setting the stage for White Hot Kiss.

Female Wardens have become a rarity and are thus highly protected to ensure the future of the Warden race.  While they do have choices in the matter of mating (marriage), they are strongly encouraged to do so early because the life of a Warden is traditionally not very long…and women often die in child-birth.  None of this was an issue with Jasmine really…because she already had her heart set on Dez, and their intended mating was sanctioned by her father.  Following that sanctioning, however, Dez took off without word or trace for three years, leaving Jasmine heart-broken and angry…and with a lot of questions.

Returning three years later and hoping to pick up where they left off was the last thing on Jasmine’s mind.  But he did return and her father encouraged her to give him another chance.  Of course, I was right with Jas…how dare he think he can just waltz right back into her life and pick up where they left off??  Well…things are not always as they appear…and we soon realized that as their story was told.

Obviously, Jasmine was hurt by Dez’s leaving…she put two-and-two together like most of us would, and assumed it was their intended mating that scared him off…that he basically got cold feet.  She was hurt and felt rejected so it wasn’t with open arms she greeted Dez back.  Although it wasn’t a reunion I was expecting, either.  I think I would have slapped him but she forgot herself and he was hard to be mad at for long.

So my initial dislike for Jasmine was turned around in this book.  I’m still disappointed in her reaction to something Layla innocently did in White Hot Kiss but knowing Jasmine’s back story explained a lot of that.

Dez was definitely swoon-worthy but he had a lot to overcome, despite his hotness, to get any of us girls on his side.  There was a bit of pressure put on them both…for Dez to explain and make-up for his sudden departure, and for Jas to forgive.  Jas’s solution was to give him some conditions that had to be met, and he had seven days to meet them and prove himself before she would accept him as her mate for life…one of them being, she needed to know why he left.

Those seven days were full of adventure and steam.  Jas had never been outside of her immediate area due to the protectiveness of her clan so her conditions involved seeing and doing things she had always longed to do.  During that time, they had a few scares, a few tender moments and a few revelations.  And in the end…well…you’ll have to see how it turned out for them all by yourself.

And if you have already read White Hot Kiss…you MUST read this too…if not for the simple fact that you will get a peek at some of Layla’s and Zayne’s earlier days through Jasmine’s eyes.

There is something addictive about the way Jenn Armentrout writes.  I still felt it was not flawless but I also couldn’t help wanting to get right back to it when I had a few minutes.  It was easy to get sucked into this world and am now impatiently waiting for the second book in this series, Stone Cold Touch.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In a sizzling prequel novella to her new series THE DARK ELEMENTS, #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout draws readers into the extraordinary, irresistible world of Wardens and demons.

Dez wasn't just Jasmine's crush. A gargoyle Warden like Jas, he helped her come to terms with her destiny—fending off demons and maintaining balance between good and evil. He was her everything...right until the moment he disappeared without a trace. It didn't help that Jas's father had just announced that she and Dez would one day be mated. Hard not to take that personally.

And now he's back, three years older, ten times hotter, ready to pick up exactly where they left off. But Jas isn't taking that risk again. Dez has seven days to meet all her conditions and earn back her trust. Seven days filled with terrifying danger and sweet temptation. Seven days to win her heart—or shatter it all over again...