“Withering Hope” by Layla Hagen – My Review

WitheringHopeCover

Title: “Withering Hope”

Author: Layla Hagen

Genre: Contemporary / New Adult Romance

Release Date: 19th February, 2015.

SYNOPSIS

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.  

ADD TO GOODREADS

My Review

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

This is such an incredibly beautiful love story I hardly know where to begin. It is a story of despair, of love, of hope. And it is about a love story that is filled with beauty amidst a cruel setting. I cried, I laughed, and I swooned while reading “Withering Hope” by Layla Hagen, and I dare you to not do the same when you pick it up.

I have only admiration for the heroine, Aimee Myller: she seems to be a strong, determined young woman, and I think that her zest for life is portrayed really well. She has a deep sense of loyalty, too, and the way she feels guilty as she begins to develop deeper feelings towards Tristan Bress feels very realistic and genuine. I would also like to add that the fact that she does everything in her power to be an asset to Tristan, instead of a liability, in the Amazonian jungle is what made me fall in love with her completely.

“I thought the bond between us here in the rainforest was one of friendship. But maybe it’s more. Maybe I feel more 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.” (Aimee)

Tristan is a very complex, mysterious, and such a closed-off character – in the beginning of the book, at least – and I admit that I was so invested in peeling away his secrets, layer by layer, that I forgot all about the time and that I simply kept reading until the clock struck two in the morning! (This does not happen often, by the way.) Once Tristan’s past and secrets were revealed, my heart broke for him, and I loved seeing how his love for Aimee changes him in many ways. This man has such a beautiful soul, and I love how the author surprised me: what you see is definitely not what you get when it concerns this man. Not in all matters, anyway.

“I wish I could take care of her and make her happy in the way she deserves. I wish I could start fresh with her.” (Tristan)

I have to say that I was a bit sceptical about the setting of this book when I first started reading it, BUT my doubts were very soon put to shame. The fact that most of this book does not involve any secondary characters at all is a bold move by Miss Hagen, but she managed to keep me enthralled throughout the entire book. The imagery in the book is very vivid and lifelike. Miss Hagen possesses a gift of transporting me into her world, and her storytelling skills are simply amazing: she truly made me believe that I was in the rainforest with Aimee and Tristan. Moreover, I have to applaud her for writing such a unique and well-researched love story.

It should not come as a surprise that being the sole survivors of a plane crash makes Aimee and Tristan form such an incredibly strong bond. The fact that their connection ends up being such a profound and meaningful love – one that defies logic, perhaps – is told in a very unique way, and that is why I give the book my highest rating: 5 stars.

“Those terrifying months in the rainforest were, in a way, a gift. Maybe it’s true what they say, that without darkness, you can never truly appreciate the light.” (Aimee)

I loved every page of this romance novel: it is different, the characters complement each other extremely well, and the environment is portrayed in a realistic way. To me, the pace of the story is perfect, and the manner in which Aimee and Tristan’s love for each other develops is remarkable, yet realistic. The ending and the epilogue made me sob – not something that happens often, I might add – but not in a sad way: no, I was a very happy bookaholic because of the beauty of it.

Miss Hagen, thank you for such a wonderful reading experience! “Withering Hope” is most definitely an all-time favourite book of mine. ❤

Star_rating.JPGStar_rating.JPGStar_rating.JPGStar_rating.JPGStar_rating.JPG

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Kobo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Layla Hagen Profile

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

SOCIAL LINKS

Website

Goodreads Author Profile

Facebook

Twitter

“All Of You” (The Between Breaths Series #1) by Christina Lee – My Review

AllOfYouCover

Title: “All Of You” (The Between Breaths Series #1)

Author: Christina Lee

Genre: New Adult

Release Date: 17th September 2013

Publisher: Intermix (Penguin Group (USA) LLC)

SYNOPSIS

Avery has just met her hot upstairs neighbor. He’s irresistible. Tattooed. And a virgin.

Nursing student Avery Michaels wants nothing to do with dating—she’s perfectly happy single. Privy to too many of her mother’s bad decisions and even worse taste in boyfriends, all Avery can handle is a string of uncomplicated hookups whenever the mood strikes.

When she meets smoking hot tattoo artist Bennett, she wants him—for just one night. But he won’t accept a no-strings-attached arrangement. He lives by a straight-laced code of values based on his own troubled upbringing.

Bennett sees something special in Avery and he wants more from her. Way more. As Avery wrestles with her emotions for Bennett, danger and tragedy force them to open up to each other. And Avery must face the terrifying realization that she wants more from him, too.

So she needs to make a choice—let Bennett go or finally let him in.

ADD TO GOODREADS

My Review

The New Adult genre might be considered “predictable” by some reviewers, but I for one wholeheartedly disagree with such sentiments. True, there are often similar themes recurring in these books, but what matters to me are the STORY, the LANGUAGE, and the FEELINGS they evoke in me. And yes, I do believe that capital letters are in order here.

This is the first full-length novel of Christina Lee that I have read, and I am so happy to end the year 2014 with a bang – yes, you may giggle all you want *wink* – and ”All Of You” was and is a book that fulfilled my hopes of finishing off the year with a great New Adult novel.

I will not go into that many details about the story line – read the synopsis, dear readers, and you will get a very clear picture of what this romance is about – but, as always, my review will be spoiler-free and reflect the thoughts and feelings I had while reading it.

One of the things that stand out in this book is the heroine, Avery: she does not do relationships because of past issues, but she is certain to make that very clear when she meets a guy her libido takes a fancy to. This makes her a very refreshing character in my eyes; she comes off as a rather cynical young woman, but anyone suffering from abuse will tell you that this is a very common character trait, and it deserves respect. She does, however, work in an environment that tugs at her heartstrings, and the more I got to know Avery, the more I saw a gentle and vulnerable side to her, and I could not help but admire this woman.

Meeting Bennett forces Avery to finally take stock of her life and issues, and I confess that I had a big, fat grin on my face when this guy reveals his hopes and wishes for the future: because here is a cute, handsome, genuine guy who does not sleep around – at all – and one who makes Avery trip over her feet because of the hot-as-sin chemistry they share.

I truly loved Bennett – no, scratch that: I adored him. He seems older beyond his years – and once you learn about his past, you fully understand why that is – and the fact that he seems hell-bent on sticking to his code, I found it incredibly sweet how his resolve wavered whenever Avery is around him. This, in my opinion, just goes to show that he is a very believable character, because – and let us be honest here – what hot-blooded male can resist a sexy woman? *wink*

Avery and Bennett are not as different as one would think, and I applaud the author for creating characters that you can relate to completely; their pasts, although different, are a part of who they are, but they strive to make their future become better from what they have known before. Moreover, they are both adamant about the fact that everything should happen on their own terms instead of letting others dictate their choices: that, to me, tells me that they are incredibly strong characters.

Miss Lee’s storytelling skills had me hooked from the very first page; the narration flows really well, and even though this, to me, feels like a very sweet love story, it is also one that left me chuckling and swooning on more than one occasion. I would say, though, that I would have loved a few chapters or an epilogue written from Bennett’s point of view, but that is not to say that the story is lacking in any way – I am just a greedy bookaholic who cannot get enough of this guy.

To sum up: if you love the NA genre, and if you have been searching for a somewhat different story for a while, but still one that will make you swoon and sigh, I would recommend “All Of You”. Avery and Bennett complement each other tremendously, and I actually miss this book couple a lot. Miss Lee, thank you for a wonderful reading experience! You have gained a new fan in this Dane. ❤

Star_rating.JPGStar_rating.JPGStar_rating.JPGStar_rating.JPGStar_rating.JPG

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

Paperback US

Paperback UK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son–her two favorite guys.  She’s addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.  Author of the Between Breaths series from Penguin. ALL OF YOU, BEFORE YOU BREAK and WHISPER TO ME available now, PROMISE ME THIS on October 7th, 2014.  Also Adult contemporary romance TWO OF HEARTS coming from Peguin/NAL on May 5th 2015.

SOCIAL LINKS

Facebook

Goodreads Author Profile

Twitter

Amazon Author Page