Release Date - October 21, 2014Publisher Website - Harlequin Teen
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 446 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review**
Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Every touch has its priceA tension filled love triangle. A girl caught between two worlds. White Hot Kiss left me eager to continue Layla's journey as she tries to find her place in the dangerous world of wardens and demons. While I didn't love Stone Cold Touch as much as the first novel in the series, I did appreciate what it did to move the story forward.
Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.
But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…
This feels like a necessary, if drawn out, step to the finale. Things are put into place in this novel that need to have happened to set up whatever is to come in the next installment. The three book format also allows each side of the 'triangle' ample time to have both guys win over your affections.
Jennifer L Armentrout's writing is insanely readable. It allows for you to fly through the pages quickly as she keeps things progressing. You want to keep turning those pages, and finding out what comes next. She's great at setting things up and keeping you invested until the conclusion. I would not consider the writing the strongest element of the story, but it's and addictive read because you cannot stop reading. She's also added plenty of humour into the story which balances the action sequences rather well, and adds a little something to the story that makes the characters shine a little bit brighter. Bambi, in particular, provides plenty of comedic moments through Layla's reactions to her.
The strongest element, and what Jennifer does really well, is characters, and story. She weaves together the story in such a way that it is compelling. She makes you care about her characters. Layla, especially, is so endearing. You want what's best for her. She's the type of character you would be friends with. She's sweet, and you immediately understand why people want to protect her. She really begins to stand up for herself, and starts to truly see what she has to offer. It's a pleasant development from the first novel, and shows she is growing to accept herself, and who she is.
The secondary characters are a rather fun, engaging group. Layla's friends, Danika, and others all have surprising, and important parts to play in this part of Layla's story. Those who did not like Danika may be surprised to see a different side of her and it's a welcome addition to the complicated relationships in the novel.
If the first book was Roth's time to win you over, Stone Cold Touch is definitely all about Zayne. He steps up the sexy in a big way, and proves himself a contender for Layla's affections. At the end of this, I am firmly in the Team Zayne camp because he's just so inherently good. He's good for Layla, and helps her see the best in herself. Roth sees the other side to her, and accepts it so he's an appealing choice, but ultimately her history with Zayne pushed me over the edge. You buy into their connection, and the fact that she's crushed on him from a distance, and the dizzying realization that perhaps he likes her too is the stuff of friendship crush daydreams.
This triangle is one where it genuinely feels like the girl has feelings for both guys involved. I do find it interesting that the author is not choosing the end result but rather a fan vote is going to decide. I fully admit that this made me less invested in the romance. I couldn't get engaged because I felt like it meant nothing. The vote will be decided based purely on popularity (and I am pretty confident I know who will win) rather than the events that happen between the characters. This novel allows for either outcome of the vote, but it made it an unnecessary part of the story, because it won't be decided by the plot. In a novel that is so focused on the romance, it kept me at a distance. I do think it's nice for the fans to have a say but I am unsure if this is going to work and provide a thoughtful ending to the triangle.
Plenty of twists, turns and surprises await Layla and her friends. The end sets up the rest of the story, and leaves you with a bunch of questions that will make it nearly impossible to not pick up the final installment. Things are only heating up leading into the finale, and the events in this novel certainly change everything for Layla and the people she loves.
A fun, romance filled read that emphasizes the love triangle. Those who loved White Hot Kiss will undoubtedly enjoy this continuation of Layla, Zayne and Roth's story. It's a solid addition to the series, and one that will certainly please Jennifer L Armentrout's fans.