Book 29 on My Book List 2021
There was a demon in McDonald’s.
And it had a powerful hunger for Big Macs.”
This is quite a way to start a book and I was immediately intrigued by it! *lol* I mean a demon at McDonalds? What a funny, unique and weird way to begin a book. So yes, the first line already captured my interest and the characters and the plot that followed did the rest. 😉 I remember reading this for the very first time a couple of years ago and it was one of those series that’s highly addicting and that just makes you want to devour all those books exactly the same way that demon ate its Big Macs. XD
I mean we could argue that “White Hot Kiss” follows all the typical YA stereotypes. We have two super-hot love interests aka a love triangle, an innocent pretty heroine, sizzling tension, a big mystery and a couple of troubles and issues that need to be resolved. What made this really enjoyable was the new setting of a war between wardens – who are basically gargoyles that protect humans – and demons. And well, the already mentioned sizzling tension between the MCs.
I didn’t read all too many books that featured gargoyles and demons so for me that was something new and refreshing. And of course the same goes for the characters powers and the world building. So yes, it might be tropey but I think this series can stand on its own. Especially because Armentrout’s writing style isn’t only captivating but also effortless. 😉 And because I love the characters so much I’ll just head to my characters section now.
Welcome to the world of Wardens and Demons! Both of them have secrets and it’s up to you which side you’ll join. Make sure to choose wisely because no matter which path you decide for I can guarantee you’ll always be spoiled. Are you sure you’re ready? ;-P
”I met the man’s stare, held it and felt my lips curve into a smile. My heart raced, my skin tingled and flushed. I wanted his soul – so bad my skin wanted to peel itself off my bones. It felt like waiting for a kiss, when your lips were moments away from joining, those breathless seconds of anticipation.”
So Layla is actually a pretty interesting character. She’s not only half warden but also half demon and she’s constantly fighting her own nature which tells her to eat the souls of human beings. She can’t only rob people of their souls though; she can also see their auras. Some of them are already very tainted and others are still pure. And what makes her especially valuable for the wardens is that she obviously can see demons and tag them. So yeah, Layla has a lot going on and she still somehow manages to keep up with school. *lol* At the beginning of the book her world is only black and white and she’s very innocent but the more time she spends with Roth the more she realizes that there are all shades of grey and that the world is more complex than she thought. I really liked her character arc in this book and I can’t wait to see the Layla of book two! XD
”For the love of all unholy things, why must you be so difficult? I apologize for calling you a prude. I’ll even apologize for yesterday. I scared you. I threw your cell in a toilet. See, I was raised in Hell. You could say I’m socially awkward.”
Okay, I’m going to be blunt here: Roth is super-hot boyfriend material! Like super, super hot boyfriend material! He isn’t only gorgeous (golden eyes, dimples, a six-pack, tattoos and black hair – gosh, that boy has a lot of things going for him! Haha!) but he also has a heart of gold! I’m such a sucker for this demon and if given the choice between him and Zayne it will always be: Zayne who?! *lol* I really love Roth and I think his character arc was beautifully done as well. He started out as a dubious character and became such a great and reliable constant. I loved that his blunt and sassy demeanour didn’t change while he was still growing as a character. It’s a feat not many authors accomplish, but Armentrout certainly did! I can’t wait for him to appear in book 2 because his story isn’t over yet and he just has to be a big part of it! XD
”People with the purest souls are capable of the greatest evils. No one is perfect, no matter what they are or what side they fight for.”
”I am only the next Crown Prince. That’s what I am – all I am.”
”It’s okay,” he whispered against the corner of my lip. “This is about you. Yeah, this is totally about you.” He sounded surprised by his own words, and when he spoke again, his voice was hoarse as he pressed his forehead against mine. “You undo me. You have no idea how you undo me.”
In that tiny moment of time, just a flicker of a second, his golden eyes met mine. “Free will, huh? Damn. It is a bitch.” And then he smiled – he smiled – at me, a real smile, revealing those deep dimples. “I lost myself the moment I found you.”
Layla & Roth:
”Do you know anything about her – about your heritage, Layla?” he said, and then his arm slipped around my waist, fitting my body against his. “Do you know anything about what you are?”
“Do you know anything about personal space?” I snapped.
“No.” He smirked, and then his eyes seemed to turn luminous. “But I do know that you really don’t mind me in your personal space.”
Haha! Those two were amazing! They have this really sizzling and strong chemistry and I just couldn’t get enough of them. I kinda loved that Roth always gravitated towards Layla and just couldn’t seem to be able to keep his hands off her. He’s always pulling her closer and touching her and I think this is so damn cute. ❤ Can someone give me a cuddly Roth? I think after Covid times I really need that in my life. *lol* Anyway, let’s move on! I really liked that he always gave her a choice. Layla might not have seen it like that but in fact Roth actually tried to give her some space and to let her sort out things on her own. Plus he always protected her and put her well-being above his own. And even more important he supported her and her decisions and accepted her for who she was! With him Layla never had to apologize for being a demon and he helped her to accept this half of her as well. She is both after all and to suppress one side like she did because of the wardens clearly wasn’t healthy for her. >_< They are both good for each other and I can’t wait to read more of their scenes together! <333
He moved without me realizing, his warm breath dancing over my cheeks, my lips. The air hitched in my lungs. His lips parted, and I wondered what it would be like to run my fingers across them, to feel them.
“What are you thinking?” he murmured, his eyes fluttering down.
”Layla, look at me. You don’t want to go down that road.”
With effort, I focused on him. “I’m sorry. It’s just so hard.”
His brows furrowed. “You don’t need to apologize for something that is natural to you, but taking a human’s soul… You can’t go back from that.”
”One second he was standing a good three feet away from me and the next his hands were gently clasping my cheeks. There was an instant when I wondered how something so strong and deadly could hold anything so carefully, but then he tilted my head back and lowered his own. My heart rate kicked into hyperdrive. He wasn’t going to kiss me. No way – Roth kissed me.”
”We’re talking.” He dipped his head, brushing his cheek against mine.
“This is not talking.” Not that I didn’t enjoy it. “And I really do have questions.”
“So ask away. I can multitask.” He tugged me forward, circling an arm around my waist. Dipping his head to where my neck sloped, he inhaled deeply. “Can’t you?”
Layla & Zayne:
”I’m not replacing you, Layla. It was an honest mistake.”
“But you are replacing me!” Realizing what I had said, I clasped my hands over my mouth and backed off.
I know there are a lot of Zayne fans out there but I honestly don’t get why anyone would prefer him over Roth. I mean except of looking good and being some sort of big brother for Layla there isn’t a lot that speaks in his favour. From my perspective he didn’t treat Layla any better than all the other wardens and constantly gave her the feeling to be inferior. It started with him telling her that she’s better than a soul eating demon even though he knows how much she is struggling and goes right to him telling her what she should and shouldn’t do. I get it. There is this strong big brother vibe but he really isn’t treating her well. If my sister would have been in a car accident I’d have eaten a huge big breakfast with her the next day! Just saying. Yes, he obviously cares about her but he certainly doesn’t accept her the way she is and because of that he’ll always get a red flag from me. #SorryNotSorry
”It doesn’t matter right now,” he said. “What does is that the bastard was right. We haven’t been keeping you safe. And if he’s truly the one who has, then there is something messed up about that.”
”How badly are you hurt? Do you need to go to the hospital? Have you been out all night? Should I –“
“I’m okay.” My voice cracked as I wrapped my fingers around his wrists. I’d never seen him like this before. “I’m okay.”
He stared at me, and I suddenly recognized the emotion churning in his eyes. Horror. “God, Layla, he … he hurt you.”
”You’re not a demon, Layla. You’re a Warden. You’re better than this.”
I felt my lower lip begin to tremble. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. My voice came out broken and small. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to. I just wanted him to stop and –“
“Shh…” Zayne closed his eyes and a muscle popped in his jaw. “I know. It’s okay.”
Layla, Abbot & the other gargoyles:
”Petr knew I’d get in trouble, and there was more than a hint of cruelty in his pale eyes. Worse yet, I knew that he saw nothing wrong with what he was doing. His actions would never taint his soul, because it was pure, no matter what he did. It was like a free pass to him. Petr pressed forward, his breath too warm against my cheek.
“You’re going to wish Abbot had snuffed out your miserable little life when you were a baby.”
Let me say this directly: The majority of the wardens suck! *lol* I know they are supposed to be the good guys but seriously, everyone who turns a blind eye to Petr and his father hurting and treating Layla like shit isn’t worth anything in my eyes! Abbot as well as Zayne and all the others KNEW about Petr, yet they still left Layla unguarded when he was around? How stupid and ignorant can you be? Petr deserved everything he got and Abbot isn’t any better than him if he allows him to things like that. Father figure my ass! I mean who would allow anything like that to happen to a child they consider to be their own kid? Also them constantly giving Layla shit for being half demon! As if it would be her fault! That poor girl had such a hard time suppressing her nature and they didn’t even give a damn about it. They should have accepted her for who she is and not held down something that is part of her as well. So yep, I’m no big fan of the wardens right now and if they don’t change their attitude soon I’ll side with the demons. They actually seem to be more human and compassionate than the wardens anyway. *lol*
”If I looked up the definition of intimidating, it would show a picture of Abbot. As the clan leader, he had to be fierce, stern and, at times, deadly. He represented the clan, was the one who met with human officials, and if any of the Wardens messed up, it was Abbot who took the fall. A lot of weight rested on his shoulders, but his back never bowed under the pressure.”
”You have been doing nothing but lying since you met this demon! Why would I assume there was one truth mixed in among the lies?”
I don’t know what he said that did it, and maybe it was a combination of fear and frustration because I couldn’t get a single sentence out, but my control snapped. I shot to my feet so fast Abbot stood and backed up – he actually backed up from me.
Stacey & Layla:
”Are you coming on to me or something?”
Stacey grinned evilly. “I’d go gay for you.”
Digging out Sam’s notes, I snorted. “I wouldn’t go gay for you. Eva Hasher? Maybe.”
She gasped, clutching the front of her shirt. “That stung.”
Stacey is amazing and everyone needs a Stacey in their life!! This girl is made of awesome sauce and I loved her so much! *lol* She was such a great side-character and definitely stole the show whenever she appeared on page! Some of the things she said were just hilarious and remembering my own teen days she was a super relatable character. At some point in our life we all have a friend like her that is super blunt and nudges us in the right direction. XD Also her surprise and shock whenever she realized that Layla is super innocent was priceless. ❤ So yep, Layla might not want to date Stacey but if Layla doesn’t want her Stacey can always come to me. ;-P
”You need to get over him and get with a hottie.” She paused, nodding at the door. “Like him, for example. He’d leave you crying for a whole different reason.”
“I wasn’t crying over – “ I cut myself off when I realized she was gesturing at Roth. “Wait, how would he make me cry?”
Stacey’s eyes widened. “Are you for real? Do I need to spell it out for you?”
”Our bio class just got a billion times more interesting. And hotter, lots and lots hotter. Holy mother, I want to have his babies. Not now of course, but definitely later. But I’d like to start practicing soon.”
”Now go. Make mama proud.”
“Proud how?” I shouldered the bag.
Stacey arched a brow. “Use your imagination. Just remember, you can only be young and dumb once. And that is a fine specimen to be young and dumb with.”
I reread this as fast as I read it the first time and I’m still super enthusiastic about this series! I almost forgot how much the ending threw me and I can’t wait up to pick up book two to continue with this series. Jennifer L. Armentrout might have followed the YA formula but she gave it her own touch and this made this a truly addictive and enjoyable read.