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.
Thank you to Lisa of Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for the review copy! This in no way affected my views of the novel.
Oh holy gobsmackin’ awesomeness. How to start this review? How to justify all of my raging feelings and hormones with words? Can I just say that WHITE HOT KISS is as amazing as Roth? Would that one-liner review be enough? No? You don’t even know who the heck Roth is and why he’s making my panties do double knots by itself? Roth is a demon and I would like to sign up to have his babies right now. I’d be willing to be a hellspawn factory if he gets to do it. Really now. Because my thoughts are in the gutter and there’s no freaking way I will be able to write a coherent review without typing Roth and exclamation marks too many times, this is going to be a list review. Yay!
1. World building. I have previously read the prequel novella BITTER SWEET LOVE (Linked is my review and it is free so grab it!) and loved it. While you don’t need to have read it to drown in the terrific that is WHITE HOT KISS, it served as an appetizer and a sneak peek into the world of The Dark Elements series. I’ve wanted to learn so much more about the world and WHK certainly delivered that. While it is still set in a world and time similar to ours, demons run amok in here and Wardens, or commonly called gargoyles, are the ones eradicating them. Before, Wardens did this in secret but when portals to the “topside” (or earth as we know it) have let demons come and go as they please a decade ago, the Alphas (or the Big Guys Who Call The Shots) let the Wardens come out. Naturally, there were humans who totally abhorred the Wardens. ANYWAY, see, just sharing those bits ended up in a lengthy paragraph and I haven’t even grazed the surface. JLA just kept on unraveling layers and layers of the world she has crafted and it was just glorious.
2. Good vs evil. I loooooove stories exploring the extremes. Especially romances using it as a theme. Past and present. Famous and an average person. Good and evil. So naturally, I relished every scene and dialogue talking about good and evil. Roth is a demon and he’s supposed to be completely evil but he is so obviously not. He cares for Layla and HE IS NOT ALL BAD. Layla has been raised to believe that all demons are bad but Roth made her see that good and bad isn’t as clear as black and white. There are all sorts of gray areas and every single one of us has both good and bad in them. I freakin’ dig this aspect of the novel. I love villains in general and they are usually just misunderstood hot people (I think it’s a requirement that villains are hot). As expected, the demon not being THAT bad gets ice-cream-with-sprinkles points. Tons of it.
3. Free will, labels and identity. Let’s get all of the deep stuff out so I can proceed to spazzing, okay? WHK also tackled free will. Is free will real or are we kidding ourselves believing we have a choice in the matter? Are our fates determined even before we’ve been born? You’ll be thinking of these questions while reading WHK. That is, if you still have enough brain cells to do so because I’m sure Roth sizzled them all. If you’re a demon, are you supposed and expected to be bad? I know that this is a paranormal novel but it can be applied to real life too. Do labels make your identity?
4. Characters. I mean, you get a half-Warden-half-demon protagonist. Who can suck your soul in very close or intimate contact. Hence being unable to kiss anyone. Anyone with a soul that is. (DEMONS DON’T HAVE SOULS!) Two best friends who are entertaining. A demon who you can’t resist and who surprises you. Then your ~first love~ aka your adopted hot brother. Clans of Wardens. All sorts of demons. The dynamics of all the characters are just so well-attuned that it’s an ensemble. Even Morris the human chauffeur got a bit close to me in his very limited scenes. Jennifer L. Armentrout was able to showcase each character and made them shine when the spotlight was theirs. I never once felt like there were impertinent scenes, dialogues and subplots. Because all were necessary to make WHK as amazing as it is.
5. THE romance. Oh for the love of all holy and unholy things. You’ve read my introduction, right? Needless to say, the romance was SWEET. SEXY. HOT. But still clean enough for a YA novel. But it’s definitely an upper YA in my opinion. We have off-the-charts sizzling, crackling chemistry between Layla and Roth. Zayne should just turn into his stone of a gargoyle shell (He’s so boring anyway!) and let Layla and Roth be. Just trust me on this. You will end up a pile of squealing, squirming, hyperventilating, fanning-yourself mush of goo with super red cheeks from all the blushing.
6. ROTH. Who names a snake tattoo that is actually a familiar that can get out of your skin and be real Bambi? Only Roth. Who names his badass tattoos after cute Disney animal characters? Only Roth. Who is so much hotter than Hell itself? Only Roth. Roth, Roth, Roth. Seriously, Roth is just *sigh*. I am now daydreaming.
7. Roth’s hotness.
8. Roth’s sweetness.
9. Roth’s kiss.
10. Roth’s touch.
11. Roth’s playfulness.
12. Roth’s smugness.
13. Roth’s smirk.
14. Roth’s honesty.
15. The extra bonus scene at the end from Roth’s perspective. OH FREAKIN’ HELL FREEZING OVER MY HEART (this doesn’t make any sense but whatever I am incoherent)
16. You probably get it now. ROTH FOREVER UNTIL INFINITY. Roth is THE reason. Roth ad infinitum.