Monday, March 16, 2015

Review: Withering Hope @laylahagen

Today's book is one of those books that despite its popularity and the excellent reviews was not my cup of tea. There were a lot of things that didn't work for me, however, I understand why people love it so much. Maybe it was not for me but it can work for you :)

Withering HopeTitle: Withering Hope
Author: Layla Hagen
Release Date: January 18th 2015
Format: Paperback & E-book
Publisher: Layla Hagen


Aimee’s wedding is supposed to turn out perfect. Her dress, her fiancé and the location—the idyllic holiday ranch in Brazil—are perfect.
But all Aimee’s plans come crashing down when the private jet that’s taking her from the U.S. to the ranch—where her fiancé awaits her—defects mid-flight and the pilot is forced to perform an emergency landing in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.
With no way to reach civilisation, being rescued is Aimee and Tristan’s—the pilot—only hope. A slim one that slowly withers away, desperation taking its place. Because death wanders in the jungle under many forms: starvation, diseases. Beasts.
As Aimee and Tristan fight to find ways to survive, they grow closer. Together they discover that facing old, inner agonies carved by painful pasts takes just as much courage, if not even more, than facing the rainforest.
Despite her devotion to her fiancé, Aimee can’t hide her feelings for Tristan—the man for whom she’s slowly becoming everything. You can hide many things in the rainforest. But not lies. Or love.
Withering Hope is the story of a man who desperately needs forgiveness and the woman who brings him hope. It is a story in which hope births wings and blooms into a love that is as beautiful and intense as it is forbidden.

Note: This novel is recommended for 18+ due to sexual content and mature themes.

(From the author's site)
Layla Hagen - KopieMy name is Layla Hagen and I am a New Adult Contemporary Romance author.
I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.
I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.
And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough ;)


When a plane crash in the middle of the Amazon rainforest forcing Aimee and Tristan to fight for their lives, survival will be the main goal but somewhere between searching for food and water a love story will blossom. This sounds like the perfect recipe for a sweet yet intense romance, however, it didn't work for me.

Despite the good writing and all the details the author included to make the story believable, the romance was rushed and I didn't like the characters or related to them on any way.

One of my problems was how long the romance takes to make an apparition and when it does I couldn't really buy it. Up to 40 percent of the book we have a detailed account of how to survive in a hostile environment. Don't get me wrong it's really interesting and necessary to make the story feel real but there's no sign of tension or a hint that they are attracted to each other. What is more, if I haven't read the blurb and the reviews I wouldn't have imagined that they would share more than friendship.

I still believe that under different circumstances they wouldn’t have being together. It’s a fact that stressful and threating situations bring people together in deepest and complicated ways. When death is a daily threat (even though after being 4 months in the jungle they face few deadly threats) is easy to imagine two people trusting blindly in the other and teaming up for survive so for me their love is based on an awful, dramatic and life changing experience (here is why I said that the romance was forced) and not because they were meant for each other. Also there is a bit of tension but it’s not enough. And the passion, well... there are sparks but the all sexual situations are ok but not mind blowing.

Now, let’s talk about the characters. Aimee is a nice girl but her composure disturbed me. I get that some people handle well under pressure and when chaos arrives, but even her internal dialogues were serene. Girl, you are in the middle of a dangerous rainforest with no food, no water, away from your fiancé and you might not survive, please I want to see you at least a bit nervous. Tristan is of course strong, skilled, sweet, and caring and would do anything to protect her. His past was a cliché but I liked it but I also struggled with him. There was a lot of mystery for something that wasn't so shocking.

About the POV: When I saw the names under the chapters I thought that the book would jump from Aimee to Tristan, but the book is told mainly from her POV. There are a few chapters from Tristan's side but honestly they don't provide anything interesting to the story. They're too short and I couldn't really grasp the meaning of them.

And last but not least I have to say that I didn't like the epilogue. I know most people love it and only a minority found it unnecessary but for me was a no. Just to say something more, I should have imagined that this book was not for me when I was wishing to read about someone dying.

Overall, I understand why people love this book, there are tons of fans of happy endings but I needed a more natural and believable one.

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