Blog Tour & Giveaway: Withering Hope by Layla Hagen ~ Read Brittany's 4 Star Review, and Enter to #Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!
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• What did Tristan do that he desperately needs forgiveness for?
• Can I root for the budding relationship between Aimee and Tristan, knowing she has a fiancée waiting for her somewhere?
• Could any romance built under these circumstances thrive when reality inevitably comes crashing down on them again?
These are just a few of the questions I had before diving in to Withering Hope. I was more than ready to get these answers and begin what, from reading the synopsis, seemed like a frightening adventure, hopefully with heaps of romantic/sexual tension and angst. Bring it on.
I was pleased to see the author jump right into the action from the first few pages. I love a good backstory as much as the next girl, but it's great when a story can suck you in straight away and really get things going. I was surprised to discover that Tristan and Aimee actually knew each other prior to their disastrous flight, albeit not well. Even more interesting (or might eventually prove to be) was that Tristan knows Aimee's fiancée, Chris, since he is the pilot for his company's private jet. Maybe I should have assumed as such from the blurb, but, for some reason, I was expecting complete strangers going in.
From Aimee's admission, we learn that Tristan is closed off, a very private person. Their stilted relationship makes early encounters awkward, but there's no room for that in their predicament. Being stranded in the rainforest, with only each other to depend on for comfort and survival, forces them to become familiar pretty quickly. It's not long until they're working together, trying to make the best of their dire situation. Aimee and Tristan both turn out to be quite resourceful. As much as they need to depend on each other, though, Aimee still has a hard time getting Tristan to talk much, or open up to her. Turns out, he has his own reasons for keeping some emotional diatance, and I loved him even more for it. Slowly, but surely, Aimee breaks down Tristan's defenses, and a friendship begins to form... or is it more?
I thought the bond between us here in the rainforest was one of friendship. But maybe it's more. Maybe I feel more than I think for this man who's not only the strongest person I've met, but who also seems more determined to keep me alive than himself.
Now, let me say something about myself. I have a slight (read: major) rainforest phobia. Every time I visit the aquarium, I'm a mess in the rainforest exhibit. I walk quickly, with my head tilted down, shoulders at my ears, just waiting for something to fall on my head. Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful. I want to love it, I do, which is why I always force myself inside. But it's also super creepy for me. With all the hanging vines and creepy crawlies, the strange animal noises and angrily squawking birds. No, thank you. So... to say I was mildly creeped out by reading about Aimee and Tristan's encounters in this book would be an accurate statement. But bravo to the author for creating such a vivid visual, at least! Even if I did want to break out in hives at the first mention of snakes and multi-legged insects crawling on Aimee's fingers. *cringe*
I absutely loved Aimee and Tristan. They were both well developed characters, both strong and complex. The way they handled the obstacles they faced after the crash was admirable, and I was sad to say goodbye to them at the end. Some of the romantic dialogue between the two came off a bit sappy at times, but other times it worked really well. I suppose it was nice to have a good dose of sweet when surrounded by so much struggle. I think the way their romance unfolded was handled well, and I couldn't fault them for finding such a connection when faced with what they had to live through daily while stranded in the rainforest. It's hard not to root for a couple to find happiness when they're in a life or death situation, surrounded by predators, illnesses, and the constant risk of injury or death. It was a beautiful thing to experience them finding solace in each other.
Without warning, he puts his arms around me in a tender embrace. From the plethora of feelings striking me in this moment-- heat, guilt, confusion-- most powerful is the feeling that I belong here in his arms.
Afrer reading Withering Hope, I've become a fan of Layla Hagen, and I can't wait to read more from her. This is the first time I've had the pleasure of reading her work, and what a great read it was. Her writing is beautiful, and the pacing of the story made for a book that was very difficult to put down. Withering Hope was a highly entertaining story, one that was filled with its fair share of both heart-stopping and heartwarming moments. And the ending of the epilogue? Way to rip my heart into a million pieces! If you're a fan of books like On The Island, and stories of finding love in unlikely places, in the most dire of situations, then I highly recommend this one.
Maybe it's true what they say, that without darkness, you can never truly appreciate the light.
My 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
Connect with Layla:
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter