Sunday, January 26, 2014

Review: White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout


White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Book One of the Dark Elements series
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: February 25, 2014
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher/eARC from NetGalley

Summary (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.

What I Liked:

It came as no surprise to me that I loved this book immensely, upon finishing it. I generally enjoy JLA's books, and this one was no exception! I can say this is one of my favorite JLA books, if not my clear favorite. We'll have to see how the series goes, because there was one giant red flag in this book that I really didn't like. But I have good feelings about the rest of the series, because I think I have JLA figured out (for the most part?), so as I said, we'll see!

Read the prequel novella, Bitter Sweet Love, to get a good feel of how the Wardens and the clan work and the demons and whatnot work. I found it really helpful, holding a wealth of information that made White Hot Kiss easier to understand and follow. Not that you won't be able to understand and follow this book, if you didn't read the prequel novella. That's something really great about JLA's books - for the most part, she does a really good job of introducing readers to the world and characters of the series, without confusing anyone or making any big leaps or assumptions.

So. Layla is half-demon, half-Warden. She's a mixed-bred girl, not really fitting in. She lives with Wardens, but every day, she feels the disapproval and apprehension of some Wardens. See, Layla is also half-demon, and she could take the souls of those who have souls by just breathing it out of them (or something). Hence the title, and the tagline (one kiss could be the last). And Layla recently turned seventeen; since then, demons have been trailing her, including one who wants to help her - Roth. But who does she trust - the Wardens, or Roth?

Roth, duh. Of course, that may or may not be the answer to the question I posed - you'll have to read the book to find out. Suffice it to say, I ended up really NOT liking the Wardens in general. They seem really pretentious and overbearing and backwards. In the prequel novella, I noticed this as well. I hope this is what JLA intends readers to think. If not, oops? I just don't like them. I see their side, and I sort of get it, but eh. They seem like the losing side, to me. The demons seem more attractive, and not just in the physical sense.

This book moves quickly. That's one thing I really like about JLA's books in general - I seem to zip right through the ones I've read. She knows how to keep them interesting, and yet, she adds a good amount of depth to the plot, so it's not just a light and fluffy read with funny characters and hot chemistry-filled scenes. This book involves a good bit of lore behind it, as well as knowledge of demons and Wardens and books and keys and honestly, I was a bit blown away by the depth of the paranormal world. I think JLA did her best work with this book; while the other books have great world-building and whatnot, I feel like they were more about the romance and chemistry rather than the actual plot/story. So, good for JLA on that!

Now, in another review, I mentioned that the characters in JLA's books all seem to be the same, as you read more and more of her books. They don't seem to be original or "real" with unique ticks and things that make them THEM. Like, the heroines seem to be feisty and spunky and fire-tongued, and the heroes seem to be sexy, smooth-talking man-beasts who are simply perfect and amazing. This book is kind of no exception - Layla really isn't unique, and neither is Roth. HOWEVER, Roth is definitely my favorite of JLA's boys. He does seem a bit different (maybe because he's ACTUALLY "bad'?), even if Layla doesn't.

The romance... is kind of messed up. I love love love Roth, and will be team Roth no matter what JLA does to him. Roth is a demon and has no soul, so Layla has no soul-related problems with kissing him. Plus, she actually likes him. And he actually likes her. It's not a misguided childish girly crush, like with someone. Yes, there could be a dreaded love triangle. Zayne is a factor (RAWR. NO.). But as I said, team Roth.

No matter what I say, I really enjoyed this book. It's probably my favorite JLA book, and it's definitely a favorite of the year (despite it not being a five-star rated book).

What I Did Not Like:

The ending. Well, one part of the ending. A couple parts of the ending. Roth. The Wardens. Abbott. Stupid, stupid Layla, for going back. Zayne. Stupid, idiot Zayne. Don't get me wrong, I like Zayne as a person. But not as a potential love interest. 

Not only do I hate love triangles, but I hate that Zayne could be a part of a love triangle. Like, leave Roth and Layla alone. You don't have to complicate the romance by adding another person to the romance (i.e. making it a love triangle). Complicate it by... well, doing exactly what you did at the end of White Hot Kiss, Mrs. Armentrout. That's a complicated romance right there.

Nevertheless, this book is still getting 4.5 stars, despite my abhorrence of the ending (and Zayne and the potential love triangle and Roth and AGHHHH). I have a feeling that Roth will be huge in book two (and/or book three), and that JLA will be fair with the romance. She usually makes it pretty obvious (we ALL knew it would be Aiden, even those of us, like me, that haven't even read the series).

Would I Recommend It:

YES! JLA fan or not, you don't want to miss this book. The concept and lore are fresh and interesting, and the characters, while not the most original JLA characters, are fun and quirky and humorous. I really like this paranormal romance novel, and I totally get why Harlequin TEEN is pushing this one so much - it is bound to be a bestseller!

Rating:

4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars. This one is definitely my favorite book by Jennifer L. Armentrout YET, despite the ending. I cannot wait to read the remaining books in the series!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

20 comments:

  1. I actually haven't seen many reviews so far for this book but I'm glad you liked it! It's nice to see that Roth kind of breaks the mold that JLA seems to be forming her characters from. Nice review, Alyssa!

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    1. Me either, for that matter. I kike Roth a lot and hope we get to see more of him in book two. Thank you, Eileen!

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  2. Great review, Eileen. I haven't read many books by JLA yet, but I love her writing style, and White Hot Kiss sounds to be the kind of story I really enjoy. I love it when there are 'overseers' that I can hate on a little bit. And demons are always awesome! I don't know why, but I kind of always feel like they are root-worthy somehow.

    Great review :) thanks for sharing!

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. I bet you that you will love White Hot Kiss, if you read it! And yeah, I feel like a rebel, not liking them :D

      Thank you, Lexxie!

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  3. OOoh great review! I am DYING to read this one. Which can pretty much be said about any (paranormal) JLA book! Sooo freaking eager for this one. Despite some your problems with the ending and the characters and their actinos, I am glad to hear that this is an amazing read and that you loved it!

    I am not sure if I am deluded at times or not, but I sometimes see differences in characters even if they do appear to be similar to other bookish characters by the author. Like I saw some differences between Katy and Alex. They were their own characters, yet they did share some traits as well. I guess I read too much and with my own writing I realize my characters share large traits, but they are still their own person.

    Okay, rambling too much! :D Glad to hear that this is an amazing read and I soooo look forward to next month! I swear it's because of authors and the multiple release days that I wish the year away each and every year!

    And again, great review!

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    1. AND YOU WILL READ IT SOON! Hopefully!

      Perhaps there are subtle differences. But the large similarities are highly noticeable, and I'm starting to dislike reading about the same characters over and over. At least the stories change.

      I know you'll love this one, Jessica! It's sooo close!

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  4. Oh my goodness! Amazing review! I have been dying for this book, especially since I read the prequel!

    Ugh no love triangles! *Sigh* I am not a huge fan of those either. Oh well I'm sure JLA did a great job with the rest of the story that I won't mind too much about the triangle. Thank you for the awesome review!

    Sharrice @Reese's Reviews

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    1. I really hope there will be no love triangle! I *think* there might be one, but I'm hoping I'm wrong.

      You're welcome - and thank YOU, Sharrice!

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  5. I haven't finished her other series yet, but now I have a new one to which I can look forward. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and recommendation about the prequel.

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    1. This one is the one that you should start! And then the others. This one might be her best. Hopefully, you read and enjoy it!

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  6. EEPS!!! This book. I need this book <3 Lovely review girl! Glad you like it so much :D
    Happy reading
    Jackie

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    1. You DO need this book! Hope you read and love it, Jackie!

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  7. Aaaah I loved this one as well! Aside from WHK, I've only read JLA's Lux series so I couldn't compare until now but I agree, her heroines do seem very similar. And the guys too. But Roth <3 That ending... :c

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    1. YAY! I'm glad you did. And yeah, once you start reading many of them, they start to seem the same.

      And Roth! WE WILL SEE MORE OF HIM, OR ELSE.

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  8. I really liked this one too. Team Roth! That ending was killler, the wait for book 2 is gonna suck.

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    1. BUT IT COMES OUT IN 2014 AS WELL! Or so I hear ^_^

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  9. I'm quite excited about this one myself and given that I loved the bits of lore and myth that we got in the novella, I cannot wait to read more about everything in this one!

    So glad to hear that you loved it, Samantha! I'm quite excited about this one, is it Feb 25th yet??

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    1. Pili, you will love this one! I'm glad that the novella was to your liking.

      And you mean "Alyssa" - but I'll forgive you ;)

      Less than a month to go!

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  10. Awesome Awesome review Alyssa I am so ready to get this one soon can you believe I have not read a Jennifer L. Armentrout books yet I practically got almost all her books except for a few I don't have of hers but I have not read them yet Ugh I've been dying to read it soon but I keep pushing it back I have to start to fix that asap I heard nothing but great raving reviews about her books and I can't wait to start to read them soon! thanks for sharing Alyssa!

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    1. START WITH THIS ONE! You would be not be going wrong! This book is so so so great, Katiria. I hope you read and enjoy it!

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