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Friday, January 30, 2015

Withering Hope by Layla Hagen {Book Review, Giveaway, Author Interview}

Withering Hope by Layla Hagen
Goodreads | Amazon

Paperback 262 pages
Published 2015 by 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.

Survival keeps us so busy, I have no time during the day to feel sorry about our situation or ponder over how much I fear that we will never be found. But when the dark sets in, things change. 

Before I fall back asleep, I acknowledge that last night, for the first time in years, I found peace in my sleep. I know what brought it. Or rather, who brought it. My peace carries her smell and sounds like her voice. It feels like her touch. But I have to give up that peace. 

I used to believe that the experiences life throws at us shape us. Now I think that it's the way we copy with what life throws our way that shapes us. 

1.       What do you do when you are not writing?

Doing my best at my day job J In my spare time, I try to squeeze in reading whenever I am not writing.

2. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I first started writing four years ago. I worked on that book for about two years before deciding to shelve it. It didn't work, but it was the book that made me realize how much I love writing.

3. How did you choose the genre you write in?

I don’t really know. That first book was a YA fantasy. At the time of writing it, I started reading a lot of romance books. Suddenly, I wanted to write a romance of my own. So I did, and I started loving it, so now I am sticking with it.

4. Where do you get your ideas?

Oh, the most random sources. A newspaper article, the shape of a cloud, hearing someone swear (true story). Boring moments also kick start my creativity.

5. Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Yes. Some stories flow easier than other. But I force myself out of the block by keeping writing scene after scene until one clicks. Then I discard all the scenes that didn't.

6. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way
either growing up or as an adult?

I have many favorite authors, and they impacted me in different ways at various ages: Daphne du Maurier, Alexandre Dumas, Jules Verne, Suzanne Collins.

7. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Figuring out all the steps involved in the process. But really, self-publishing is not that complex, with platforms such as KDP and intermediaries like draft2digital.

8. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

Yep, that first YA fantasy. And it will remain unpublished unless I will have the time to completely rewrite it.

9. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all

Imagination mostly.

10. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I loved writing the epilogue of Withering Hope. I can’t say anything about it because I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say, it made me feel at peace.

11. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What
has been the best compliment?

Toughest criticism: people not connecting to my characters.

Best compliment: people tearing up while reading the story and loving the characters (yep, as you can see, I get quite attached to my characters)

12. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Don’t give up. Surround yourself with people who support you. Push yourself harder. Don’t try to do everything yourself-hire professionals for things like editing and cover designer. It’s not as expensive as people think, and you need them in order to have a professional product.


Books? Catching Fire.
Songs? Varies with my mood.
Color? Red
Food? Steak
Social media site? Facebook
Author? J.K.Rowling
Quote? “'Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Can you guess who it belongs to? 

I absolutely loved “Withering Hope.” This book gets a HUGE FIVE STARS from me!! 

From beginning to end, "Withering Hope" is a beautifully told tale of survival and falling in love

 I loved everything about“Withering Hope;” the writing, the characters, the story – just everything.

 After reading so many novels of the romance-suspense genre, you actually start to think you know just how the story will read, and this one was no exception. I was never more wrong. The author gives her readers a story that surpasses all expectations. So caught up in the tale, all I could think was that I didn't want it to end. 

This book starts out with Aimee getting ready to fly on a private jet with Tristan (her pilot) to see her fiance. Little does she know that her worst nightmare is about to come true. The plane crashes and leaves these two, stranded in the jungles without a sole in sight. 

Aimee’s character is tremendously strong; she doesn't cower and expect Tristan to just take care of everything once the crash happens. She’s a great example of an empowered, determined and tenacious female lead which makes it very easy to like her. She pushes herself when you would think she'd ask for help. She does her fair share and then some and this just made me love her more. 

Tristan is an excellent male lead-protective, caring, and someone you can immediately empathize with…even if he tries to keep to himself. Right from the start I was on his side. He has a dark and traumatic past that he tries to keep hidden from others. He usually doesn't talk and does everything he can to appear invisible. This becomes impossible once Aimee and him are stranded with no one but each other. 

The author weaves an incredibly well-written tale of two people’s journey of survival after crash-landing in the Amazon jungle. The author does a brilliant job as she manages to deliver a story that’s so engaging and so thrilling with only the two protagonists, Tristan and Aimee, both of whom take center stage for pretty much the whole novel. You can’t help but love both Tristan and Aimee, two incredibly well-developed characters that suck you in from the start. 

I was so invested in them, that I could feel everything they were going through whether it be their despair, fear, hope or love. I think this is a fast paced, suspenseful romance novel that thousands of people will love and treasure as one of the best reads of the year. I would highly recommend this book and this author to anyone who wants to get caught up in an amazing read! 

About the author:

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
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