To Be Published December 1, 2013
Format: e-galley, provided by the publisher
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating: 5 STARS
(From Goodreads) Dez wasn't just Jasmine's crush. A gargoyle Warden like Jas, he helped her come to terms with her destiny—fending off demons and maintaining balance between good and evil. He was her everything...right until the moment he disappeared without a trace. It didn't help that Jas's father had just announced that she and Dez would one day be mated. Hard not to take that personally.
And now he's back, three years older, ten times hotter, ready to pick up exactly where they left off. But Jas isn't taking that risk again. Dez has seven days to meet all her conditions and earn back her trust. Seven days filled with terrifying danger and sweet temptation. Seven days to win her heart—or shatter it all over again...
Let's talk about gargoyles for a sec here. If you're like me, this is the first thing you think about when you hear about those things:
Well, actually, when I hear the word "gargoyle," pop culture maven that I am, THIS is actually the first thing I think about:
Either way - whether you're talking about the classics from Notre Dame or the Gatekeeper and the Keymaster, I think we can all agree that sexy is absolutely not one of the adjectives that you would pick to describe them. And, when I heard that Jennifer Armentrout was writing a new paranormal romance series about them, I must admit, I was skeptical.
Leave it to Jennifer Armentrout to obliterate my preconceived notions.
Bitter Sweet Love introduces us to the world she has created in her new series from HarlequinTEEN, The Dark Elements. It's a prequel novella centering around 18-year-old Jasmine and 21-year-old Dez - both "Wardens," or gargoyles in laymens terms. Wardens are here to protect humans from demons, and six years ago, hell unleashed them enmasse upon the world for reasons as yet unknown.
Jas and Dez planned to be mated before Dez took off without a goodbye. Three years later, he's back and ready to pick up where they left off, but Jas isn't ready to unguard her wounded heart. Dez sets about trying to change her mind and win her back. All the while, Jennifer is teaching the reader about this new world she's created and the rules and characters in it.
We learn that Wardens have their true form which includes wings, horns and stone-like skin that is pretty impervious. Most of their time is spent in their human form, which allows them to blend in. Only their pale eyes make them stand out. Females are considered weaker - they stay home to have babies. But many die in childbirth, so their race is actually dying out. And, the males go out every night hunting the demons that threaten everyone's safety.
We are also introduced to Layla and Zayne, the main characters from White Hot Kiss (Dark Elements #1), and we learn a little bit about them and the type of relationship they have right now. The real stars, though, were Jas and Dez. I loved both of them so much, and I sincerely hope that we'll catch at least a glimpse of them in White Hot Kiss. The chemistry between these two was absolutely ridiculous. I loved every second of their crazy sexual tension.
Jennifer has this uncanny ability to make a novella feel like a full-length novel. It might be shorter than normal, but it is most definitely not short on character development or world building. It's sometimes hard for me to connect with a character over the course of a 400-page book. Jen manages to not only get me to connect with, but to genuinely get invested in her characters in only 100 pages. Although Bitter Sweet Love isn't essential to know what's happening in White Hot Kiss, I would absolutely recommend you read it first anyway. It's a perfect introduction to the series and to characters that are sure to blow your mind.
Want a sneak peak at Dez and Jas? Click on the picture and read an excerpt from Bitter Sweet Love. Then, jump to Goodreads and enter to win one of 20 ARCs of White Hot Kiss from HarlequinTEEN!