White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1)

by Jennifer L. Armentrout

4.14 of 5 stars 25 ratings • 9 reviews • 42 shelved
Book cover for White Hot Kiss

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White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements, #1)

by Jennifer L. Armentrout

4.14 of 5 stars 25 ratings • 9 reviews • 42 shelved

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.

  • ISBN10 1488720789
  • ISBN13 9781488720789
  • Publish Date 1 March 2014 (first published 1 January 2014)
  • Publish Status Active
  • Publish Country AU
  • Imprint Harlequin
  • Format eBook
  • Pages 285
  • Language English


Avatar for booklovinmamas

White Hot Kiss is the first full-length novel to Jennifer L. Armentrout’s The Dark Elements series. I love how Jennifer L. Armentrout has it with gargoyles versus demons in this series. It’s different from another young adult paranormal I’ve read before, and I couldn’t wait to read this book after reading the prequel. The series follows Layla’s story, which was introduced as a secondary character in the prequel. 

Female Protagonist: Layla is half demon/half warden (gargoyle shifter) who can’t shift into a gargoyle and has the power to suck out the soul of anyone who has a soul. (Which sucks because she can never kiss the boy she likes.) I liked her character and getting to know her in the first book of the series. She’s trying to be a typical teenager, but she can’t in a world full of gargoyles who are trying to protect her (or smother her). Then there is an issue with demons trying to kill her or attempt to use her for the apocalypse.

Storyline/MyThoughts: First, be prepared because this book does involve a love triangle. Layla is in love with Zayne, a Warden, but he treats her as a little sister. She also falls hard for an upper-level demon named Roth, who she’s not sure if she trusts or not. Roth is compelling, though, and I LOVED his character. I was rooting for her to hook up with Roth instead of Zayne. Zayne was a pain in the butt with her in this book, especially when a particular other gargoyle showed up and wanted Zayne’s attention.

Jennifer L. Armentrout had me hooked at the prequel for the series, but she had me with White Hot Kiss. It’s not only the storyline that kept me reading but the boys that Layla has in her life. Although, as I stated above, I rooted for Roth the whole time. The bad boy vibes from him and how he treated Layla were different compared to Zayne. 

I felt for Layla in the story. After all, she didn’t fit in because she’s half-demon and half gargoyle. Her Wardens (gargoyle shifters) are wary of her because of what she can do, and they were keeping secrets from her. There are also demons who she would tag for the Wardens, but then she finds out that maybe not all demons are evil. It’s a crazy world for a teenage girl who wants to be normal.

The ending was the big shocker for me. I was not prepared and felt terrible for Layla. I did like how she grew at the end of this book and came into new powers. She kicks butt! This book does leave a cliffhanger because readers will be left wanting more, especially with how Jennifer L. Armentrout ended this book. I know I can’t wait to dive into the next book, Stone Cold Touch. I’m ready to find out what happens next. 

Standalone or Part of Series: It’s part of the Dark Elements series.

Cliffhanger: Yes.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. If you love the Young Adult Paranormal/Fantasy genre, you will enjoy this series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I can’t believe it took me this long to read this series, but I’m making up for it now. The Young Adult genre (paranormal/ fantasy) always manages to get me out of a reading funk because it was got me into reading when I was younger and will always be my first love. It also helps when you have terrific authors like Jennifer L. Armentrout, who create unique paranormal worlds. 🙂

Avatar for ebookobsessed

An enjoyable and entertaining Young Adult story.

Layla is a half-gargoyle/half-demon. She was found in an orphanage as a child and taken in by the gargoyles, who act as Wardens protecting humans from evil (i.e. demons…and other spooky stuff). As a half-demon, Layla doesn’t exactly fit in in the Warden household and not everyone is happy to have her around. Layla has inherited some abilities from her demon mother, one allows her to see souls, which makes it easier to pick out the soulless demons around town and mark them for the Wardens to pick off later. But not all of those abilities are beneficial to Layla since she is also drawn to the most pure souls and wants to suck them out of people with a kiss. She did this accidentally as a child which is what brought her to the attention of the gargoyles.

As with any good young adult book, the story sets us up with a love triangle. Seventeen-year-old Layla has a crush on her slightly, older gargoyle friend, Zayne. Layla believes her feelings are unrequited, not only because Zayne treats her like a little sister, but it is expected that Zayne will mate with a full-blooded gargoyle female — and there is that whole sucking Zayne’s soul out if she kissed him problem.

Enter the new boy in school, Roth, who turns out to be a demon. Roth has come to town from down south–way, way down south–to try to stop Layla from marking demons to be killed by the Wardens. The main man down under isn’t happy with what she is doing and Roth assures her that if she doesn’t stop, Satan is going to put a price on her head to put a stop to her once and for all. He also tries to get her to understand that just being a demon doesn’t make something evil. Just like humans, and even Wardens, demons have levels of evil from simply mischievous to–yeah, really, really evil.

But that’s not the only reason he is here. He knows that the Wardens raised Layla to be ashamed of her demon side, and he wants her to understand that part of herself and embrace her demon nature, not suppress it. Roth is the first person who doesn’t make Layla feel bad about who she is. He is also the first real, true friend Layla has made outside her Warden household. Problem is that Layla is keeping her budding friendship with this demon a secret from her gargoyle family because she has a feeling that Roth tops to big bad on the demon list and if the Wardens knew he was there, especially hanging around Layla, they would do everything they could to send him back to Hell.

I picked up a copy of White Hot Kiss at the Blogger Conference for the RWA. I took it mostly for a giveaway but after seeing so many glowing reviews, I had to read it for myself. While it is a little predictable and formulaic, it was an enjoyable story. I really liked Roth and his pet snake, Bambi. The only reason I am not continuing with the trilogy simply comes down to being tired of the love triangles and from the descriptions of the other stories, I can guess where we will be going with it. And while there is a formula to the story, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be enjoyable to read. Overall, I simply have too much of a backlog of books to review and the story wasn’t that gripping that I need to set everything else aside to see where it goes.

I would highly recommend it to anyone with teens who enjoy a good paranormal romance.

Avatar for chelssik

Chelsea 4 of 5 stars
What I Loved

It’s hard to me to describe what I love with this series because it’s actually pretty cheesy and has A LOT of YA book tropes in it. If I had to take a guess I’d say it’s the idea that because it follows so many tropes, I know it’s a reliable book. I know that author is going to give me exactly what I want. I know that there will be an epic romance no matter how predictable it is. I think in this case, I like how predictable the book is. I like knowing that the super hot bad boy is going to end up with the girl who doesn’t know how important she is. Also I think this author is really great at writing these kinds of romances which is probably a big reason why I stick around.

I’m not saying that the book is bad. I actually really liked it. I especially like how great Jennifer is at creating these weird kinds of supernatural creatures like the Gargoyles. Who else would have thought to humanize them like she did?! She’s also really great at blurring the lines between good and evil. The good aren’t always who you think they are and all of us have a little evil in us somewhere.

What I Didn't Love

I could have used a little more originality with this whole series. I know I said I liked the predictability but I would have liked to see something different with the ending at least. The love triangle reminded me a lot of Twilight too which I could have used without. It was a good series but nothing spectacular.

Who I'd Recommend To

I’d recommend this to people who are happy reading the typical paranormal fantasy books. It was good for a nice easy read though.

Avatar for pinkadot89

Angie 4 of 5 stars
I received an ARC through NetGalley.

I really liked White Hot Kiss! Layla is half demon, half Warden, and being raised by Wardens. She’s also used to “tag” demons, because she can see souls, so it’s easy for her to identify demons by their lack of one. It isn’t until demons start coming after her, and one in particular rescues her, that she starts to question what the Wardens have been telling her. She can’t ignore her demon half or try to suppress it anymore. Someone in Hell is after her and she doesn’t know why, and the answer lies in who she really is.

White Hot Kiss does follow the standard YA Paranormal Romance format. Layla is super special among her kind and also an outcast. A mysterious hot guy, Roth, who is suppose to be her enemy appears and isn’t like other demons. He tells her about her heritage, opening her eyes to all of the lies she’s been fed. Then they kick demon butt together to stop the apocalypse. And there’s kissing. Plenty of kissing, because Roth is the only person Layla can kiss without stealing their soul. Duh.

So yeah, it’s typical, but White Hot Kiss is so fun! I love gargoyles and demons! They make for some interesting and unique reading! Humans know about gargoyles, and the gargoyles are suppose to protect humans from demons, even though humans generally hate and or fear the gargoyles. Of course, demons aren’t happy being trapped in hell and want to cause chaos in the human realm. There’s even a zombie! There’s just a lot of good stuff here that kept it from feeling like something I’ve read a million times before, even though I have.

Read more of my reviews at Pinkindle Reads & Reviews.

Avatar for littleread1

littleread1 4 of 5 stars
Not sure why it took me so long to read this (for me anyway) but I liked it. A little predictable but still fun to read. Several of the characters made me extremely angry at parts which is a token of Armentrout's amazing writing skills. She kills it at YA.

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Read and find out more at PopCrunchBoom Blog!

*I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

The Review

If couldn’t tell above, I’m already a part of the Luxen Army and a big Armentrout fan. She’s definitely done it again with this latest series. I’ve fallen head first into her new series.

White Hot Kiss follows Layla, a half gargoyle, half demon. Her everyday consists of trying to appear normal, while also taking down demons that made it up surface side. Why this particular job? She was raised by the Wardens, a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting the pesky beings from Hell. Plus, Layla’s demon side gives her some handy abilities when tracking and killing demons. But the biggest challenge of Layla’s is dealing with her love life.

Being half demon, Layla cant kiss anyone with a soul for fear of sucking it out of them. This keeps her at bay from her longtime and completely off-limits crush, Zayne. Zayne is a Warden and can only really date another warden for “mating” purposes. This plus that whole soul thing makes him hands off to Layla. Cue in Roth, a super hot, tattooed demon who knows a little too much about Layla. Soon she can’t stay away from him.

As Layla spends more time with Roth more secrets involving her start popping up. Soon shes faced with trying to stay true to her family and her heart. Add a demon uprising and Layla has a lot of challenges she has to face all of a sudden.

Armentrout does a wonderful job of pulling me in again. Her characters are likable and have me wishing to be a part of her world; although some of those demons really are pretty gross. I was hesitant at first when I heard the word “gargoyle,” but Armentrout definitely made them appealing and I didn’t have nay trouble believing in the world she built.

Layla was a good main character. I was crossing my fingers that she wouldn’t read like Katy from the Lux series or Alex from the Covenant series. Sometimes characters seem alike when they’re all written by the same author. Armentrout didn’t disappoint on this. Although all three female main characters share characteristics like bravery, Layla stood out on her own.

Layla is the odd-girl out. She’s got a kick-ass hunter side, but also a vulnerable side. She’s pulled by both her demon side and her gargoyle side. Although she has a strong vulnerability, she doesn't need “saving.” Instead, her character needed to find acceptance of herself. At the start, Layla feels like she’s not good enough because she isn't fully a Warden. She hides her demon side. But throughout the novel, the reader sees Layla grow and begin to embrace both sides of herself. It was great to watch this character growth throughout the novel.

Onto the swoon-worthy guys! Both Zayne and Roth have their good points. I know a lot of people are starting to get over the whole love-triangle thing, but Armentrout does a nice job of it here. I never really saw the love-triangle aspect as being overbearing at all in this novel. Mostly I already had my mind set on who she was going to end up with. Zayne was Layla’s crush from forever and as a friend, he was great for Layla to lean on and learn from. But, I think Roth brought out the best in Layla. He was little bit dangerous and never sugar-coated anything with Layla. He opened up the possibilities of Layla being her full self and I love’d that about his character. But we’ll just have to see who Layla gravitates towards more in book two ;)

The storyline was very action-packed. Without giving details away, just know that there’s a lot of ups and downs. Layla’s faced with a lot of untrust popping up on both sides which leads to a lot of questioning on her part. Secrets always come out and when they do; they cause a lot of action. The biggest thing though, is the cliffhanger at the end of this novel. Man, I did not see that coming and trust me it will have you grasping air to get a hold of the next book. Trust me I’m still grasping nothingness in the hopes that Stone Cold Touch magically appears in my hands ;0

Overall, if you like Armentrout’s other novels then you’ll definitely enjoy this one. If you’re a paranormal romance lover then I’d also suggest picking up this novel stat! I enjoyed this novel greatly and can’t wait to move forward in the series.

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You can find this review on my blog!

Jennifer L. Armentrout never fails when bringing us a swoony boy..and this book is no exception..In fact, she gave us TWO SWOONY BOYS! We’ve got Zayne ,who is a warden (aka Gargoyle) and Roth, who is a demon.

Our female MC in this book is Layla. Layla is half-warden, half-demon. She was raised by the Wardens and because of that she feels insecure around them. She may be half-warden, but she doesn’t have the capabilities they possess, so she feels…inconsequential? around them.. Yeah, something like that. She does have the ability to “tag” demons, which she uses to help the Wardens, who hunt at night, identify them. Which in turn makes their job a bit easier..and makes Layla feel as though she’s doing something positive.

Due to her being half-demon, she has the ability to suck the soul right out of someone..literally. Because of that whole soul-sucking thing, she’ll never be able to have the one boy she wants..Zayne, or anyone else for that matter.. That all changes when she meets Roth. Roth is a demon, he has no soul, so his lips are free game to Layla..and boy does she take advantage of that..Or maybe it’s Roth that takes advantage of that… ;)

The chemistry between Layla and Roth was so explosive.. I thought my iPad was going to over heat.. :) I loved them together. I loved Roth and the things that came out of his mouth..the way he was with Layla and how he managed to look out for her even when he wasn’t actually there. I’ve heard that Daemon’s character was based on Roth and I can totally see it..Big Ego, Snarky Comments, Total Bad Ass. Yep.. a lot like Daemon…BUT.. I think I might like Roth more than Daemon. Roth is a real bad boy, I mean.. he is a demon after all! He has a legit reason to be a bad boy…and well I like my book boyfriends to be bad. Yum! :)

ZAYNE! OMG Zayne! You gave me so many feels in this book..I don’t even know if I can talk about it. Zayne, you had me in tears quite a few times. I HOPE THAT YOU MAKE IT UP TO ME IN THE NEXT ONE. I have a feeling he will most definitely make it up to us somehow in the book..because after the way this book ended (HOLY CRAP! DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!!!) Zayne better be there for me Layla.

White Hot Kiss is a great start to a new and unique book series. Jennifer Armentrout did not disappoint. This is a great story with amazing characters and some interesting twists. YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK if you haven’t already. But first, You’ll definitely need to check out the Prequel BITTER SWEET LOVE.

Thanks to HarlequinTEEN for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Some of my favorite quotes from White Hot Kiss:

“We demons are all alike. We covet pretty things, corrupt what is pure and whole, take what we can never have.” – Roth

“Free Will is bullshit.” – Roth

“See, I was raised in Hell. You could say I’m socially awkward.” – Roth

“Free Will, huh? Damn. It is a bitch.” – Roth

“I lost myself the moment I found you.” – Roth

“Just so you know, your virtue isn’t safe with me. So when you look like you want me to devour every inch of your mouth, I will, without an ounce of regret.” – Roth