Monday, November 24, 2014

REVIEW: White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title/Series: White Hot Kiss | The Dark Elements #1
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: February 25th 2014
Format: Paperback | Pages: 392
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance
Source: Amazon
★★★★★ (5/5) Stars!!!

Jennifer L. Armentrout | Twitter | Facebook | 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.

I have so many feelings right now it's incredible. How does Jennifer L. Armentrout do this to me every single time? Gargoyles, demons, aliens, humans it doesn't matter what she writes about. She has this knack for making me fall in love with her stories and her characters. Completely. I was hooked from the novella, Bitter Sweet Love, but coming into this one I fell so much deeper for this world she's created and I didn't even think it was possible at the time. But I did. Her humor, her character creation, her creativity are on a level that no one else can quite come close to for me. She's on a tier all of her own. She has a gift for creating these paranormal worlds that feel so very real and it's incredible. I felt it with the Lux series and with Covenant and now in The Dark Elements

"Hey, look. Bambi likes you."

When I mention her character creation, the brilliant thing about JLA is that it isn't just restricted to the main characters. Everyone she puts in her books is so well thought out and developed. I end up craving to know more about each one of them. Even if they happen to be a snake named Bambi. You heard me right. I either love them or hate them with a fiery passion. There's no in between because she's just as brilliant with the lovable ones as she is the evil, slimy ones.

People with the purest souls are capable of the greatest evils. No one is perfect, no matter what they are or what side they fight for.

One of the many things I loved about this book is you go in with the idea that there are two very distinct types of creatures. There are the Wardens, gargoyles, they're warriors, they hunt demons and sort of police the earth for heaven and are pure souls. Then there are the demons and, well, you know what they're all about. Corruption, mayhem, the usual M.O. and there are all different types and levels with no souls. So you figure it should be pretty cut and dry. Something with a pure soul, like the Wardens = good and demon with no soul = bad.  I soon realized right along with Layla that just because something is supposed to be pure didn't mean it couldn't be one of the worst kinds of creatures beneath it's surface. And just because something is born from evil doesn't mean it should be automatically judged and condemned as evil that needed to be eradicated.

"I think I'm going to break into her house later and cut her hair off. Then maybe glue it to her face."

Layla was my one constant in this book. Watching her navigate something as simple as her own existence was a whole odd mix of feelings. It was empowering, sad, frustrating and at times funny. She's essentially caught between three worlds, human, Warden and demon and doesn't exactly fit into any of them. My heart really went out to her and I felt everything she went through. While she was my one constant the other characters really did some flips and switches and took some surprising turns. All of them. Though when it comes to the whole Zayne or Roth debate, I went in with what I thought was a solid feeling in my gut about where I'd be by the end of this book. Surprisingly I was thrown for a few loops and I started to waver quite a bit as it stretched to the middle of the book. Though by the end I'm back on solid ground again. Does that mean I stuck with my original guy? Or have I switched sides completely? Hmm...I don't think I'm going to tell. *Evil grin* Maybe I'll be Team Stacey! Or even Team Bambi! That's all you'll get out of me.

Stacey grinned evilly. "I'd go gay for you."

I loved being able to see Jasmine again here and there briefly though I missed the hell out of Dex. But it was nice to see at least one familiar face from Bitter Sweet Love. And to get to know so many other new ones. Like Layla's human best friends from school Stacey and Sam. I could read a whole book about those two, Sam with his completely random facts and Stacey with her big, bold and unafraid personality. Quite the mix of comic relief from them.

"Your life is so much more than what you can't do. What about all that you can do?"

Like I said I was pulled through so many emotions in this book. I laughed out loud on more than one occasion. I swooned and lost my heart happily. There was so much anger and frustration for Layla on a few occasions, I'm talking full blown anger. I wanted to crawl into the book and crack some skulls. I was even taken completely by surprise and total shock. More often than not I can see things coming but with this book things came out of no where and had my jaw on the ground! Plus I can't forget the horrible case of the ugly cries. Oh yeah, my heart was put through the wringer! I love it when books can pull me through all those types of feelings like that. Brilliant start for an amazing new series. But with JLA what else can you expect?

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