Review for White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1) by Jennifer L Armentrout

White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L Armentrout

TITLE: White Hot Kiss
SERIES: The Dark Elements #1
AUTHOR: Jennifer L Armentrout
PUBLICATION DATE: February 25, 2014
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PAGES: 304 pages
SOURCE: Publisher via NetGalley
RATING: 5 bows

Layla will never be normal, no matter how much she wishes she was. She’s half gargoyle, half demon, an unheard of combination considering it’s the Gargoyle’s duty to destroy demons on-sight. But that doesn’t make her existence any less real. All she wants is to be normal and to be with Zayne, the insanely hot Warden (aka Gargoyle) who she’s had a crush on since he walked into her life at 7. But there’s one problem, besides her despicable demon blood, and that’s she will take his soul if they kiss. She’s can’t kiss anyone with a soul without relieving them of that particular asset. But then she meets Roth, the gorgeous tattooed demon who keeps saving her ass. Trusting him could mean the end of life as she knows it and would be seen as betrayal by her Warden family. But there is something about Roth that she can’t resist. Would she happily follow him to her doom or will he be the savoir no one expects?

One day, I will read a JLA book and not be surprised by how awesome it is. That day is not today. I know I spend a portion of any review of her book raving about how epic she is, but really, I’ve yet to read something written by her that wasn’t awesome and this is no exception. Armentrout tackles this particular brand of supernatural creature as beautiful as she does everything else. This is everything I expect it to be and more, just as addictive as the Lux series.

Layla (love her name, by the way) is that misfit I think we can all relate to, taken to a whole new level. Not only is she the odd man out at school, but her very DNA prevents her from fitting in even among her adoptive family. Though she has forged a close bond with a few members of the Warden family, she’s still dislike by many and downright hated by some. She copes with it all rather well, all things considered, and is content (sorta) to spend her days in school, her afternoons tagging demons, and her nights lost in conversation with Zayne. Zayne, the ultimate crush she can never have. Even if it was possible to have a physical relationship with him, her demon blood would taint the Warden line, something the other Warden’s wouldn’t stand for. So when Roth enters the picture, she knows she should walk away and report the activity, but she can’t make herself do it. Roth is intriguing and doesn’t look down on her “bad” blood…and he’s gloriously soulless, meaning she doesn’t have to deal with that pesky soul-eating temptation she has to fight around everyone else.

Roth, oh dear Roth. You’d think that I’d get tired of JLA strolling out cocky bad-boy types by now, but it’s just not the case. What’s that phrase Katy uses, holy alien babies? That sounds about right. Roth is a self-serving demon with a sinfully hot body, a smart mouth, and several powerful abilities. He’s just…::drools:: He’s awesomesauce, k? He’s so damned confident that it’s impossible to even think he’ll fail at whatever he puts his mind to. And when he puts his mind to convincing Layla to trust him….damn. He succeeds with flying colors. I’m definitely team Roth, just so we’re clear.

Then there is Zayne, the other corner of this infuriating love triangle. Zayne is Roth’s polar opposite. He’s good and righteous and caring and equally as hot. The fact that a love affair would be impossible between him and Layla, along with the clairvoyant knowledge that he’ll end up with Danika, makes it impossible for me to root for him. I know Layla’s had it bad for him forever, but it’s just not meant to happen. Not to mention the major letdowns here. In many ways he fails Layla in this novel, forgetting her or downright ignoring her when she needs him. She does some bad things too, but never anything to deliberately hurt him.

Can I comment on JLA’s genius-ness again? This woman is quickly becoming my favorite author, with her ability to wow me in everything she writes. Here she shines with the Gargoyle lure, the badass demon, and the plot twists that I didn’t anticipate. She shines because I love this book in spite of the love triangle and the awful, horrid cliffhanger. That end and Roth and the revelations about her parentage and holy fucking cow, I feel traumatized. I can’t even….

So yeah, if you aren’t overly fond of cliffhangers or not knowing if a particular character is dead for good (AND THAT CHARACTER BETTER NOT BE! I’m just sayin’, putting that out there because that will make me angry and you won’t like me when I’m angry), then you might wanna wait until book 2 (and probably 3, because let’s face it, 2 will probably have a cliffhanger too) is out because the ending it’s the rainbows and sunshine I’d been dreaming of.

This novel is everything you’d expect from JLA, with cocky male leads, a sassy heroine, and enough romance and turmoil to keep you enraptured. The romance between the characters ranges from hot to sweet, managing to give you just the right amount of smut for a YA novel without going overboard. Even those who prefer smut-free novels should be fine with this. I keep trying to figure out the best way to summarize this review, but it really comes down to a simple statement: It’s JLA. I absolutely loved it and I cannot wait for the next one. Seriously, I may sell my first born child to get my hands on it if I can get any takers for that offer. Oh, and before I forget, there is an exclusive excerpt at the end of the novel from Roth’s point of view that will only be available in the print version, so if you’re planning on buying it, there’s a little extra incentive to get it in print. Trust me, it’s totally worth it. It makes you love Roth even more, if such a thing were possible.

****A huge thank you Lisa Wray and all the people Harlequin Teen for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Tabitha's signature

Review for Bitter Sweet Love (The Dark Elements #0.5) by Jennifer L Armentrout

Bitter Sweet Love by Jennifer L Armentrout

TITLE: Bitter Sweet Love
SERIES: The Dark Elements #0.5
AUTHOR: Jennifer L Armentrout
PUBLICATION DATE: December 1, 2013
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PAGES: 105 pages
SOURCE: Invitation from publisher, E-ARC provided via NetGalley
RATING: 5 bows

Jasmine and Dez were always meant to be. As Gargoyle Wardens, they have been officially paired to mate, as long as she accepts the proposal. But when he disappears the day after the announcement is made, Jasmine is sure she’ll never be the same without him. Now, three years later, he waltzes back into her life expecting to pick up where they left off. Good luck, buddy. Jasmine is beyond pissed off because she has spent the last three years grieving the loss of him and isn’t sure she can ever trust him again. How do you trust someone who just walked out of you? How can you truly believe that he’ll never do that again? She agrees to give him a chance to prove he’s back for good within the seven days she is allowed to deliberate over whether to accept the proposal to mate or not, using him shamelessly to experience things that she would never be allowed to do on her own. Things like traveling to New York or learning to drive. Can he convince her to trust him again?

I’ll be completely honest, when I got the email requesting I read and review this, my answer was immediate. You’re with Harlequin Teen and you want me personally to read and review a novel from your publishing house?

Yes, I’d love too. Oh, it’s about Gargoyles?

Even better. Oh, it’s by Jennifer L Armentrout?

Gimme gimme gimme…I mean, ::coughs:: I would be delighted to review this for you. To say I was overjoyed at this opportunity was a massive understatement. I could post a hundred flailing happy gifs and it still wouldn’t equal my level of excitement. But, instead of doing that, let’s get down to the review, shall we?

Jasmine’s character is one I could immediately sympathize with. She just wants to be free, but the antiquated views of the male Wardens (aka gargoyles) keep her caged in the mansion she calls home. They believe that whole women are the weaker sex and must be protected at all costs. The idea that maybe if they trained them to fight then they would constantly be the causalities of demon attacks is preposterous. No, it’s better to hide them away and homeschool them until they are old enough to be “mated” and then keep them barefoot and pregnant. Jasmine is about as irritated with this idea as I am. The only upside in this is that there are so few females that they get their pick of any male. The males make an offer and the female gets 7 days to make a decision, yes or no. If she says no, the male must accept it and move on. The downside, beyond the chauvinist outlook, is that virtually none of the mated couples are love matches. Jasmine is a romantic, so that’s very disheartening.

Holy crap. I just realized part of why I loved this so much (apart from JLA’s typical awesomeness) while I was writing that. It’s just like a fucking historical romance novel: sheltered women, men running society, lack of love matches.

Seriously, I’m a bit mind blown at the similarities. I didn’t think I could fall in love with this anymore, but I was wrong.

Dez, our leading male, was cocky, lovable, and oddly vulnerable. I think Jennifer really has writing swoon-worthy males down to a science. Amazing body?  Just the right amount of witty banter?  Cocky, but not annoyingly so? Completely head over heels for our heroine?  And tada! There you have it, a swoon-worthy male. I was a bit unsure about him in the beginning, but his obvious devotion to Jasmine won me over. It’s clear that he’ll do whatever it takes to get her back. I almost wish this had been just a tinsy bit longer just to draw out their relationship a bit.

You get a peak of Layla, Zayne, and Roth, the stars of this series. Dez and Jasmine are secondary characters. I’m a little sad about them not being the main love birds, but I can understand why their story is in the background. Once they get over this little issue, I think they won’t have any major conflicts and conflicts are the center of all novels. Layla is definitely going to be an interesting character to follow and I’m already so in love with Roth that I’m foaming at the mouth for me. Smartass demon who bucks the rules? YES PLEASE!

The writing is exactly what you’d expect from Jennifer. She has that amazing ability to write a wholly believable story, even when it’s a preposterous concept. The Warden lure, though only briefly explained, is fascinating. I’m really excited about reading more of this particular supernatural being we don’t see often (or ever) in YA. It’s probably the most original idea for a young adult novel that I’ve read all year.

There is no question that this is a novella everyone will enjoy. It has romance, a bit of action, a little suspense, and a whole bunch of JLA awesomeness. It’s a new spin of a supernatural creature that doesn’t get much attention these days. Grab your copy December 1st so you can experience this breath-taking story for yourself.

****A huge thank you to Lisa Wray at Harlequin Teen for giving me the opportunity to read this and for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you just doesn’t seem strong enough, but it’s all I can say, so from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank you!****

Tabitha's signature