Review: White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout

August 18, 2014 Book 30 ★★★

Review: White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. ArmentroutWhite Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genres: Love & Romance, Paranormal, Young Adult
Series: The Dark Elements #1
Published by Harlequin on February 1st, 2014
Source: Edelweiss, Netgalley
AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal—fit in at school, and go out on a real date with the gorgeous Zayne, whom she's crushed on since forever. Trouble is, Zayne treats Layla like a sister—and Layla is anything but normal. She's half demon, half gargoyle, with abilities no one else possesses. And even though Zayne is a Warden, part of the race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe, Layla's kiss will kill anything with a soul—including him.Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know her secrets. Though Layla knows she should stay away, it's tough when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue. Trusting Roth could ruin her chances with Zayne—and brand her a traitor to the Warden family that raised her. But as Layla discovers she's the sole reason for a violent demon uprising, kissing the enemy suddenly pales in comparison to the looming end of the world.

Well I’ve finally read a Jennifer L. Armentrout book. The experience wasn’t all together unpleasant.

I actually really enjoyed the fact that this book was about a mythological creature that hasn’t been dealt with before: Gargoyles. Gargoyles, or Wardens as they’re known in this book have come out of hiding. They are just what their name implies. They are the protectors of the Earth.

The Wardens were an interesting part of this story, because I’ve never encountered anything like them in a book before. I wanted to learn everything I could about the Wardens. And I loved how their powers worked. They seemed kind of angelic in a way: created to protect the Earth from demons and whatnot. They have superhuman powers and abilities, all while managing to look drop dead gorgeous when not in gargoyle form. It was one of the first things that captivated me.

Layla is the protagonist in this story, and she’s half warden and half demon. She’s basically an abomination. Throughout the whole novel, we see Layla trying to figure out which side of herself did she want to succumb to. While I didn’t particularly like Layla, I did enjoy seeing her journey throughout the book.

One of the reasons I really couldn’t connect to Layla was the fact that she was such a typical heroine. She’s extremely attractive to apparently every single male character in the story, yet she believes she’s not attractive at all.

Zayne said I looked like the long-lost sister of the elf in Lord of the Rings. That was a huge confidence booster. Sigh.

(Yeah because Legolas is so ugly)

She wallows in self-pity most of the time, even when everyone else in the world seems to accept her just as she is. She says time and time again about how she can take care of herself, however we can’t really confirm this because she’s always being rescued. Always. Every single person in this book seems to go out of their way so Layla can never even so much as break a nail. Talk about being sheltered, sheesh.

Something else that really didn’t sit well with me was the fact that all the female characters in this book had to be so vastly different from Layla. From Eva, the school queen bee who apparently was a trashy whore, to her best friend Stacey, who was, in Layla’s own words: a hoebag. I don’t like girl on girl hate. I dislike use of the word whore no matter how it’s used, so frankly I was more than a little annoyed at how much slut shaming there was. At first I liked Stacey because her personality was sort of a comic relief, but after it became clear that her character was overly sexualized just to contrast Layla’s purely virginal persona, I got tired of it.

There was a love triangle here. It wasn’t entirely annoying, but if you don’t like romance taking up the story, then you’ll most likely not enjoy this very much. In scenes where there was a lot of action going on, suddenly everything would stop and just revolve around long, lingering stares, and shared kisses and touches.

The love interests are Zayn and Roth. In this review I’ll only be talking about Roth, because frankly Zayne seems pretty irrelevant. Roth: I vacillated the whole book between punching him in the face and swooning. On one hand, Roth is a cocky, pretentious, jerk. On the other, he’s pretty damn gorgeous and becomes pretty lovable at the end. He’s a demon, so you absolutely know he’s trouble.

It took me a long time to warm up to Roth for various reasons. First of all, he does things like:

“Roth reached over the bistro table, caught my hand and brought my fingers to his mouth. Before I could even react, he licked off the tiny specks of sugar the cookie had left behind.”

And all Layla can seem to do is have heart palpitations. ISN’T THAT EVEN A LITTLE BIT WEIRD?

Then, he does this:

“He moved unbelievably fast. I didn’t even have a chance to react. One second he was standing a good three feet away from me and the next his hands were gently clasping my cheeks. […] Roth kissed me.”

And what does Layla do?

“Every muscle in my body locked up, but I didn’t pull away like I should’ve…”

And then, the icing on the cake is that Roth admits to having “observed” Layla for a long time, and SHE DOESNT EVEN BAT AN EYE.

Now that I think about it. I don’t think this is Roth’ fault. No. I think this is Layla’s fault. Instead of fraternizing with the stalker, she should’ve run screaming in the other direction.

“For some reason- I didn’t know why- I… I believed him.”

We all know why you trust him, Layla. Yeah he’s hot… so what?

But you see, despite Roth being a creepy stalker at first, then he starts become much more tolerable and I ended up loving his character. I blame this on the fact that I love sassy and sarcastic characters and Roth was the definition of that.

However, between Roth and Zayne. I actually prefer Roth. Zayne was over protective and ambiguous with his feelings while Roth actually wanted Layla to protect herself. To discover herself.

The plot wasn’t entirely cliché, although it was pretty easy to know where it was going most of the time (until the ending, but more on that later).

I won’t deny that despite all my annoyances with this book I really did enjoy some parts. The writing was light and extremely humorous, which made the pages fly by faster. When Layla wasn’t being extremely stupid, I could sympathize with her. The paranormal and supernatural aspects of the book were brilliantly brought to life and I loved reading about them. The last few chapters were extremely action packed and kind of surprising. I liked that this book ended and didn’t actually leave us with a cliffhanger, but still desiring to read the next one.

While I wasn’t completely awestruck by this book, I’d definitely read the sequel. JLA sort of created a guilty-pleasure book and while I did not fall in love with it I am sure that many other people will.

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I'm Marianne. Professional Fangirl, part-time Blogger. Full-time college student. GIFs are a natural part of my posts, so be warned. I LOVE reading, so definitely feel free to discuss books with me. Opinions are welcome.
  • I’m sorry it was difficult for you to connect to Layla. I confess I’m quite curious about her last books as I heard great things and I should try one to see how it is. Maybe not this one…

    • You can read this one. I was the one who couldn’t connect with her. But i know many people have loved this one, so maybe give it a try.

  • Oh…I had noooo idea this was about gargoyles. HA. I should, like, read blurbs. 😉 But, um, that cover kind of made me think it was an NA book not a paranormal one, because for starters, those people on the front do NOT look like teens. I feel mislead. Lol

    I’m tempted to try it just for the gargoyles! But love-triangle? I always get warning bells for that one, unfortunately. I’ve run into sooo many bad ones. >_<

    • I don’t read blurbs either, so that’s okay. Lol. Yeah the cover has severe NA vibes, but there’s like a hint of a dragon tattoo somewhere that is supposed to indicate the paranormal vibe. *shrugs* and it wasn’t an entirely BAD triangle, so maybe you’ll like it?

  • It hurts me a but that you didn’t completely LOVE this one like I did! I couldn’t stop thinking about it and it was just so good! I agree that Zayn was just a pain I don’t really consider him to be all that relevant either-Roth is where it’s at. At least your interested enough in this one to read the sequel 🙂

    • I <3 Roth in a special way. I guess my problem was always Layla. But yes! I'm definitely waiting on Stone Cold Touch!

  • Strong writing and fab paranormal elements are great, but can easily be eclipsed by a stupid heroine which is kind of what happened with White Hot Kiss, or at least, that’s the impression that I get after reading your review. It’s been a few years since I’ve tackled anything by Armentrout, and I don’t think I’ll be bumping her novels up my list anytime soon unfortunately.

    • Yes, that’s precisely what happened. Layla was TSTL honestly, which made everything much harder since the book is narrated in her POV.

  • I’ve honestly never read a JLA book because they never really appeal to me, but I totally understand how they’re guilty pleasure books 😛 It’s wonderful that she’s touching on a mythology that authors don’t write about, but then again, gargoyles…I just can’t haha. I can’t imagine them being gorgeous or hot at all for some reason. Layla sounds boring and like a typical girl that needs to be saved. I hate the fact that cheap tactics like slut-shaming are used to portray her as ‘angelic’ in a sense. And love-triangle…*face palm* Probably won’t be picking this one up, but thank you for the honest review Marianne! And thank you for sharing the Legolas gifs 😉 😉

    • I bet you imagine the gargoyles from The Hunchback of Notre Dame (cause that’s what I imagine, HA). Layla is dull. She’s a doormat. You could read any other JLA book, I’ve heard they’re very good. I am especially proud of my Legolas gifs :DD

  • An abomination? ahhahaha. Your first JLA book? *happy dance* Lol, what am I talking about? I’ve only read two of her books!! Anyway, glad you enjoyed this first book and I highly recommend you The Lux series, girl. ^_^

    • Hahaha yes my first JLA book! I’ve heard pretty good things about the Lux series so I think I’m going to give it a try. I have the first book on my kindle!

  • A book about gargoyles has such potential, so I’m sorry that this book didn’t live up to it! I recently just read JLA for the first time too, and I’m glad to say that I found the book I read (Obsidian) rather enjoyable. I’ve already read the second book in that series, and loved it, despite the predictability of it. I’m not 100% sure if I want to read this one or not…isn’t that cover terrible? I would not want to be caught in public reading that. Anywho, fantastic review, Marianne, and thank you for sharing. 🙂

    • Glad to know about Obsidian! I want to read that one. And yeah, the cover screams “new adult” which isn’t for many people.

  • This one actually sounds like it’s quite cliche, and the romance is bound to drive me insane, especially with what Layla does throughout it! I just want to reach out and throttle her! I have only read 1 JLA book and I decided I wouldn’t read any more to date. Great review Marianne! x

    • You and me both want to throttle her! Ha. I’m giving her another chance just to see if it was just this particular book. Thanks, Jeann!

  • I am laughing so hard right now at the use of the gifs! They work so perfectly. I think the Robin Thicke one was my favourite, as much as I cannot abide the video and that song, it just fits. And wooo, Downton Abbey one too.
    Hmmm, having just recently read the first two in the Lux series of Armentrout, I definitely see comparisons to that in elements that I liked a lot and then elements about the characters I really did not. I am still undecided as how I feel about her as an author, but it does appear she has a tendency for writing characters that are a little bit douchey and not ones I am going to like.

    • Aw that’s a shame about the characters. I have Obsidian on my tablet so I was going to read it to see what I thought of JLA’s other work. *fingers crossed* my experience is better!

  • I read my first Jennifer Armentrout book 2 days ago and am already part of the way through the third. The Lux series-highly recommend it so far! This book, although I have read at least one book about gargoyles, doesn’t sound good to me. Thanks for the great review!

  • I’m glad you were able to still enjoy parts of this book, but I find myself more and more over JLA these days, and honestly . . . I can’t make myself interested enough in gargoyles to really want to read this. Your review has only further convinced me that this one isn’t for me, so THANKS 😉

  • WAIT? THIS ISN’T A NA ROMANCE? IT’s FANTASY?! *mind = blown* Seriously though…that cover is really misleading.

    Anyway…I’m sorry you didn’t like this as much as some other people did, but I’m glad you found it to be entertaining at the very least. I haven’t read any books by Jennifer (I feel like I’m the only one on the entire planet who hasn’t!), but the amount of glowing reviews with her work intrigues me.

    I have to admit that the romance and Layla sound like things that might get on my nerves quite a bit too. Thanks for sharing Marianne, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3

    • The cover screams NA doesn’t it? But no. Ddfinitely Fantasy/Paranormal. I thought I was the only person who had never read anything by her, too xD Thanks, Zoe <3

  • Ahhh, I felt the same way about this book!! At first I hated Roth because he just does weird stuff, but eventually I really liked him! I didn’t like Layla at all. She’s too darn perfect and unrelatable. This book is a bit of a guilty pleasure, but it’s so like her other books that I found it to be boring and monotonous. Lovely review, Marianne!!

    • Ohh thanks for the heads up. I guess I’ll keep that in mind for when I’m reading her other books. Thanks, Rachel!

  • I haven’t read a Jennifer L. Armentrout book, so thanks for taking the plunge! Layla does sound annoying, but then again MC’s caught in love triangles often eem to be (I mean, just choose already!!). This definitely sounds like a guilty pleasure book, so I’ll be checking it out when I’m in the mood!

    • When you put it that way, maybe I shouldn’t be so hash towards Layla. She’s having a rough time after all xD Thanks, Lina. Hope you enjoy it!

  • I’m sorry but JLA always has the worst book covers. I’ve never thought this to be a fantasy. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT COVER. Hahaha.

    That scene where Roth licked her fingers are.. so weird and a little creepy. Mr. CHRISTIAN GREY much?! haha. And I agree with you, JLA books are definitely a guilty pleasure for me too. I don’t even undestand why I love Daemon so much.

  • Genesis Sheli

    You have to meet Daemon! It’s a must! He’s annoying most of the time but he is so hot and confident that you can’t help but love the guy. Plus, he’s funny.

    Genesis @ GenGen’s Book Blog