Release Day Review: Withering Hope by Layla Hagen

Posted January 19th, 2015 in book review / 18 comments

Release Day Review: Withering Hope by Layla HagenWithering Hope by Layla Hagen
Publisher: Self-Published on January 19, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: Novel Length
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Purchase: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

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.

At A Glance

Loved this romance, but the ending was unnecessary.

The Good

I was sucked into this story right away and it never let go. The feeling of Aimee and Tristan being stranded in the rainforest felt so authentic. The first half the book focused on their survival after the plan crash. They had a lot of ups and downs. Tristan knew a lot about keeping him and Aimee alive with his background. Aimee was terrified at first, but she always did her part, never acting the ‘spoiled rich kid’ she was. She wanted to help where she could and learn how to hunt right along with Tristan.

I could easily feel the suppressive heat and drying thirst as these two did because of Hagen’s descriptive writing. I was never bored, and the feeling of dread and possible danger throughout the book kept me tense and wide-eyed.

Aimee and Tristan take their sweet time getting together. Aimee has a lot of guilt because of her fiancée at home. They are best friends, but Aimee feels so much more for Tristan in a matter of a couple months than she ever felt romantically with her childhood friend fiancée. Tristan helps Aimee deal with her regretful past with her parents and Aimee helps Tristan deal with his past regrets from his time in the military. They help each other like no other person ever could, and that healing really opened them up to love. Deep, all or nothing love.

These two have a love that could be talked about for ages. It was like their souls intertwined during their months in the rainforest. One didn’t want to live without the other because the thought was too painful. And I don’t even like the whole, “You die, I die” attitude, but with them it made sense.

The Bad

The romance was slow, and sometimes I like that, but it was a bit too slow for me here. They don’t even show signs of liking each other until half way into the book.

I was cool with the ending, even with the epilogue. Then there was this extra part that was soooooooooo unnecessary. It ruined the whole book for me. I was going to give this book 4 stars, but had to take away a .5 star with this stupid ending. I literally balled, in a heartbroken way. Why do I want to have this sad feeling inside me when it wasn’t even pertinent to the story? Hint: the story skipped years and years into the future.

The Snuggly

This is where another .5 star came off. The romance was amazing, but the sex was just okay. I felt no connection with them when they were doing it. It felt generic. Aimee saying it was amazing didn’t make it amazing. I wanted to see more passion.

Final Thoughts

If not for that extra ending and lackluster sexual passion, Withering Hope would have been an amazing read, but a good to great read is still good. I enjoyed myself immensely pretty much the whole way through. Very recommended.


“Love has an effect few other things have: to empower you with happiness, and at the same time, strip you of all power, making you a prisoner of fear.”


“I’m not a star,” I whisper. “I’m a satellite rotating around you. You’re the star. I need your light to shine.”


“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.”


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18 Responses to “Release Day Review: Withering Hope by Layla Hagen”

    • Jennifer Bielman

      There is a giveaway on the sidebar! I would be interested to see what you think.

  1. Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    I’m an ending kind of girl, so I’m a bit disappointed that that was your main complaint with this book. That being said, I’ve read a couple of excerpts for this novel, I believe it was on tour recently, and enjoyed the author’s writing style. I’ll risk it.

    • Jennifer Bielman

      The normal ending is fine, it’s the extra ending that sucked donkey balls. Just don’t read that part. 😀

  2. kindlemom1

    I have been seeing this around and have been super curious about it. A little sad the romance was slow but I am okay with that as long as it is worth it in the end.

    Wonderful review!

  3. Shane Morgan (@itchingforbooks)

    You had me at stranded in the rainforest. That cover is sexy too. It’s good you liked the story for the most part. Sorry about the unnecessary part of the ending and that the romance and passion was a bit lackluster. I don’t mind a slow build, so maybe I’ll like this one.

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I think it’s easy to look past the bad parts because the good parts are so awesome.

  4. Melliane

    yeah we want slow romance but when it’s too slow it’s something else, I understand. I’m glad that despite that you had a great time with the book though. thanks for the review.

  5. Jaclyn Canada

    Her saying it was amazing doesn’t make it amazing – truer words haven’t been spoken lol. I feel like we get that a lot with characters saying someone is great, something is great, but why don’t we get to see the greatness? Excellent review!

    • Jennifer Bielman

      Exactly. I don’t need the dirty details of the sex, but I wanted SOMETHING!

  6. anna (herding cats & burning soup)

    Oh no. I so remember seeing this one from the cover but gah the ending? I dont’ know that I need that. If it’s what I’m guessing I had a book do that a year or so ago and I was devastated by the “future”. I know it’s what will happen eventually but I so didn’t need that on the page.

  7. Jennifer Bielman

    I never, ever never ever want to read about the far away future about a couple being old and what happens to old people. It was horrible.

    • Jennifer Bielman

      It’s the “second ending” that was bad. Don’t know why it was thrown in there.

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