Expected Publication: October 21st, 2014
Stone Cold Touch (The Dark Elements #2)
By: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Every touch has its price.
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.....
When we left her at the end of the first book, Layla's relations with her Warden guardian and his brethren were, at best, strained - at worst, glacial. Not to mention her devastation at the loss of her boyfriend to banishment (and probably torture) back to his old home - Hell! Now all Layla has is a snake familiar named Bambi, her best friends Stacey and Sam, and the one Warden who still believes in her, Zayne, her once-upon-a-time crush and fantasy. When Layla's powers begin to malfunction she has no idea what could be wrong. No longer able to see auras, she starts freaking out. Especially when they find out a Lilin (or Lilim, can't remember the exact term/spelling) is in the area infecting people and killing them. Layla begins opening up to Zayne, but is left reeling when Roth returns, seemingly indifferent to their past relationship. Can Layla, Roth and Zayne work together to stop the Lilin and will she be able to stop her dark heritage from destroying them all?
So, what can I actually say without giving so many spoilers you all will hate my guts???!!! Layla, as in the first book, is still very relatable, strong, kick-ass and yet with a vulnerability that makes it impossible to dislike her. The whole Layla/Roth/Zayne love triangle still managed to rise above the cliches and anger-inducing triteness. At the beginning of the book, Layla is grieving for Roth still and she's kind of a mess. Then Zayne starts to make a move on her, which she wasn't expecting at all. Not to mention, the whole "powers go wonky" thing gives them the opportunity to actually test the waters. She can kiss Zayne for the first time ever without stealing his soul! It definitely changes the rules of the game, and confuses poor Layla even more by making the impossible actually possible. The chemistry between the two of them is RED HOT. Then when Roth comes back to help find the Lilin, poor Layla becomes even more of a mess. There are some kick-ass actions scenes, some great one-liners and overall dialogue.
Also, we get to see Layla bonding with her former "nemesis," Danica (who actually turns out to be a truly sweet girl who has the short end of the situation). The witches were an interesting touch, and I feel like it added another dimension to the paranormal mythology of the overall story. I really enjoyed witches, for the first time in quite awhile. That ending though! I kind of saw it coming, but I really didn't think JLA would go there. Rest assured, she did! Overall, I highly recommend this to fans of the first book and as usual, Jennifer manages to avoid the dreaded sophmore syndrome that destroys so many sequels. Solid writing, enjoyable plot, great action, and truly awesome character development. I think fans of Team Roth OR Team Zayne need to be prepared to ship both though. I have no clear favorite at this point!
VERDICT: 4.5/5 Stars
*I reviewed this book as part of Around the World ARC Tours, run by the lovely Princess Bookie. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is October 21st, 2014.*