Title: White Hot Kiss
Author: Jennifer L. ArmentroutISBN: 0373211104
Book Genre: YA Paranormal/ Supernatural
Release Date: February 25th 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Book Source: NetGalley
Goodreads Synopsis: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.
The first thing I need to say about this book is that I hate the cover, the title and the synopsis. Why? Well, they give a completely wrong impression about the book. When I first saw this book on NetGalley I assumed it was a romantic contemporary read, and I was feeling like contemporary at the time. Only from the first chapter you realize it isn't that at all. So I went back to the synopsis, and sure enough there are gargoyles, demons, wardens and whatnot. But still focused on romance. Then I read the book, and realized it isn't entirely focused on the romantic sides of the story, and I really hated that.
Now, don't get me wrong, sure I hated the cover, the title and the synopsis, but I seriously loved the book itself. I just feel like it could have attracted the right crowd if all three were done differently. The story is about so much more than just the romance, there's self- discovery, there's a whole paranormal world of mystery, there's attempts to accept yourself, being torn apart about what is right and what is wrong, and yeah there's also romance. Anyhow, back to the book. I've never really read a Jennifer L. Armentrout book before. I've heard a lot about her books though and have been thinking a lot about buying either the Lux or the Covenant series, but I've never gotten around to it. Also, I heard that her contemporary books were great as well, and now after finishing this book, I'm inclined to believe that yes I do need to start reading more of her books. And that yes I think her contemporaries would be completely fabulous if they were written anything like this one.
Layla is a seventeen year old living a very odd double life. She tries to appear like a normal girl on the surface, going to school, hanging out with her friends, and thinking of colleges to apply to once she graduates. However, she has extracurricular activities that no one but her stitched up family knows about, and that's tagging demons. Layla grew up in a household of Wardens - gargoyle like people who protect the world by killing demons. Not being completely a demon or gargoyle she's stuck in this weak state that makes her feel both ashamed of her demonic origins as well as her lack of use to her adopted family, the only thing she can do is actually see the souls. Which helps her identify as well as tag demons for the Wardens to find later. Now, due to her demonic nature she can't exactly have a normal life, because she can suck the soul out of any person she kisses, that in turn means her ridiculously handsome adopted brother Zayne is completely out of bounds. Her life changes drastically once she is attacked by a seeker demon and another one, Roth, comes to her aid. Layla was raised to despise anything with a demon pulse no matter how innocent it is - which included her own self - so being around Roth confuses her, especially when he seems to be saving her life more frequently than her so called guardians. Roth is more accepting of who she is, her true nature, and is more than willing to share more with her about her own origins than the Wardens, which confuses her all the more. She has no idea who to trust anymore and who is out for her safety. It doesn't help that whilst going through all of those new developments, someone really badly wants her dead.
The idea of this book was very interesting for me once I got into it, and once I did, I found myself devouring it in less time than I expected from a non-contemporary read. Layla is a very unusual character and she reminded me so much of Anna from Sweet Evil, she has those two conflicting sides inside her and she has no idea how to balance them out. But with Layla, she knows she has two sides and has been brought up to hate her demonic one. It was so sad seeing her hide herself from everyone, including people who claim to care about her and all. Plus in a way they've all been disregarding her feelings of just anything that might not coincide with their beliefs. They know she's always been crushing on Zayne, but they expect her to never fall in love or understand that she can't end up with anyone because she's not meant to spread her demonic genes onto devilish spawn and whatnot. Which I personally find completely unfair, I mean, aside from the urges to suck human lives of the purely evil or just plain pure people, she's just like any normal teenage girl.
The character that confused me the most in classifying was Zayne. I wasn't sure if I hated him or if I liked him. I mean, he was sweet enough to her growing up, and he was such a sweetheart when she first arrived and everything, but I felt like he was perpetuating the whole 'demons are bad no matter what so don't give in to your whims' crap his father kept telling her. Like, no matter how badly she's treated, how bad things get with her, she's never allowed to give in and suck a bit of a soul or she will be killed. And he keeps telling her to not think badly of herself because she can be good and can ignore her demonic side. I disliked that. He kept making her hate herself without realizing it, and then forgetting about her when this other Warden his father wants him to mate with comes? Ugh, yeah I don't like you Zayne.
Now, as for the character I fell hopelessly in love with, that would have to be Roth. Gosh, think of him as like a really sassy demon and you'd get why I love him. I mean, he's a demon so he's obviously very badass, but he's also ridiculously hilarious, with good comebacks to everything, and basically, just awesome. Also, he has a pet snake, that curls into a tattoo on his arm, who is also called bambi, how can you not love him?
In conclusion, this book was so much better than I first thought it would be. I fell in love with the story and the characters, and who knew how incredible an author Jennifer L. Armentrout was? I do now, but man am I late to the party huh? So yes, please ignore the unsuitable cover/title/synopsis, dive into this read, fall in love and just think of it as Supernatural, but with characters more sassy than Sam and Dean, okay?