Novella Review: Bitter Sweet Love by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Rating: 5 stars
Pub Date: December 1, 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: young adult paranormal romance
Format/Source: DRC, from the publisher via Netgalley
Status: prequel novella to The Dark Elements series

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...

"Bitter Sweet Love" is short so I'll keep my review short and bittersweet (so punny!) as well, but I'd like to expound a little on what I said in my Waiting on Wednesday post this week. Guys, this is good. Really good. This prequel novella gives a really quick and intriguing glimpse into the mythology of her gargoyle characters or Wardens. I was strongly reminded of Shadowhunters as the Wardens are charged with protecting regular people from demons who have escaped from Hell. However, the Wardens have gone public, and they also have very strong gender roles which is partly due to their dwindling numbers. Like Jasmine, I am frustrated by the sexist acts of the male Wardens. I am really interested to see how this affects the characters in White Hot Kiss, who make very short appearances here, as "Bitter Sweet Love" is almost more of a companion novella. It introduces the world and the mythology, but it takes place a good...four years (if I'm not mistaken) before White Hot Kiss.

The best part of "Bitter Sweet Love" is the romance. Jas and Dez have this INSANE chemistry that can only come from a mixed cocktail created from best friends/childhood sweethearts, betrayal, a marriage agreement, life-threatening danger, and a road trip. If there was an actual scientific equation for fictional chemistry, that's it. Trust me; I'm both a professional reader and a scientist. Well, I review books for a hobby and I work at a science museum for kids, so that counts, yeah? That's what I thought! Seriously, though, even though Jasmine still hurts from Dez's seeming abandonment years before, the continuation of their childhood love and her desire to forgive him and move on is apparent. That kind of care, that connection does not just fade away. I love that Dez doesn't just come back physically, but he's also there for Jasmine emotionally. He knows he made a dick move so he's patient and kind in order to win back her trust. The whole time I was like, "Oh, Jasmine, just say yes already! Look at this poor kid with his abs and his smoldering eyes and his abs and his gentleness and his abs and his thoughtfulness and his abs..." Three years might be a long time to go away, but a guy who will throw himself up against demons of varying shades of evil to keep you safe is probably a keeper.

Okay, so that's what we're dealing with. Gargoyles. Sexy Gargoyles. I mean, you thought you knew what sexy ya was? Think again. I like that Jennifer is thinking outside of the box to find a new supernatural creature to feature (ha, featured creature. I like that). Vampires, werewolves, dragons, fairies, mermaids, ghosts, etc. All have had their day. Now it's time for Team Gargoyle! So combine a cool new mythology for these badass not-quite-heavenly warriors with Jennifer's flair for romance and believable characters, and I think Harlequin Teen has a hit on their hands. Is it February yet?! Cause I want that White Hot Kiss that has been promised! BTW, it's available for preorder on Amazon for $3.03 right now so you pretty much have no reason not to go ahead and do that.

Book Links:

About the Author:
# 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout Lives in West Virginia.

All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true.

Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write.

She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press), the Lux Series (Entangled Teen), Don't Look Back (Disney/Hyperion) and a yet untitled novel (Disney/Hyperion), and new YA paranormal series with Harlequin Teen.

Jennifer also writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J. Lynn. The Gamble Brothers Series (Tempting the Best Man/Tempting the Player) and Wait for You. Under her pen name, she is published with Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Author Links:


  1. I need to read this series. I think it's the only one by JLA that I haven't read, yet!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I haven't read it yet but plan to. I hope it's a good setup for White Hot Kiss (which I enjoyed). Not all prequels are necessary or add anything. JLA usually manages to do both :)

    1. I am still so jealous that you already read White Hot Kiss! I think this is a cool novella because it's more like a companion than a straight-up prequel.

  3. Oh wow, 5 starts I definitely need to move it up on my TBR :)

    Awesome review! :)

  4. I agree! Team gargoyle! I like that she choose completely new creatures! I think it makes the story more interesting.