Title: Within These Walls
Author: J.L. Berg
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 18 2014
Within these walls, he became my solace, my sanctuary and my strength.
I am not strong. I am just a survivor of circumstance.
Isn’t that what we all do? Survive?
Each of us has our own set of circumstances to muddle through. Mine are just more…complicated.
Born with a severe heart defect, I’ve seen the inside of a hospital room more than my own bedroom.
I was drowning, a prisoner to the illness that owned me, until he appeared. He thinks he’s blocked out the world with his tattoos and hard exterior, but I see the real Jude, the one he so desperately wants to forget.
But is he the answer to my prayers or will he break my already damaged heart forever?
My name is Lailah Buchanan, and this is our story of hope, redemption and sacrificing it all for the one you love.
Read the first chapter here!
4.5 ‘Chocolate Pudding’ Stars!
For the love of chocolate pudding, will someone please tell me why I haven't read JL Berg up until this point?!?!? I can't believe what I have been missing out on. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time! I can’t even describe the wonderful feeling this book has left me with. I feel like I have little hearts dancing above my head like a cartoon character. Within These Walls is a refreshing, heartfelt, and touching story of life, love and sacrifice.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Jude and Lailah both live their lives bound by walls – hers physical, his emotional. After a devastating accident, Jude carries a heavy burden of guilt with him. It consumes him to the point where he lives inside a self-imposed prison. For three years, Jude has been lost and alone. With his emotions held under lock and key not allowing anyone in, he goes through the motions on a daily basis to survive but feels nothing. That is until he meets Lailah. She knocks him awake and makes him feel everything. But, Lailah is facing her own battle of the heart - literally. Lailah is sick. Living with a heart conditions since birth, she hasn't led a normal life. Most of it has been spent within the hospital walls or sheltered from life by her mother. She's never gone to school, hung out at the mall, or even had a boyfriend. It’s difficult to maintain friendships when your life resides within hospital walls.
“A normal life isn’t about just the good things. It’s about the ups and downs.”
Lailah and Jude meet when he is assigned to her as a CNA on the cardiology floor of the hospital. Lailah is big on lists, and Jude becomes interested in what she has tucked away in her notebook. It turns out to be her ‘Someday List’ (aka Bucket List) which she has never allowed anyone to lay eyes on….until Jude. Lailah and Jude bond over the items she shares each day from her list. The list is full of things that most people probably take for granted. Lailah may be bound by the hospital walls, but her zest for life certainly is not. Jude is taken by the sweet blond-haired girl with the magnetic personality and naïve yet wise outlook . Jude may have failed in the past, but he's determined to give Lailah what's on her list - normal everyday things.
“I want all of those things to happen for you, Lailah. I want to see you cross out each and every item on that list, if that’s what it takes to make you feel alive and normal. The truth is, you are far from normal. You are light-years away from the word. You are exceptional. The word normal would be an insult to your very nature. I get that you want to experience everything under the sun, everything that life has robbed you of by shutting you out and keeping you prisoner to this bed, but there is one thing I will not allow.” His fingers slide into my hair, and his eyes fluttered close ever so briefly before he whispered, “No one will ever break your heart. I can promise you that.”
Their journey is beautiful, emotional, and complicated. Along the way, Jude and Lailah help each other discover things they never thought possible. The two things Jude thought he would never experience again are the two things Lailah thought she would never experience period –a life outside these walls and love. But finally finding them doesn't guarantee they will last forever.
“Within these walls, I gave my less than perfect heart to the man I loved.
And then…. he walked away.”
“Life: It goes on.”
With a sea of books to choose from and not having read JL Berg before, what made me pick this one up? Well, it wasn’t the blurb, it wasn’t the cover (which I do LOVE by the way), it wasn’t the teasers. Yes, they piqued my interest, but that’s not what sold me. What really sold me is this Facebook post from the author:
“This is by far the most gut wrenching novel I've written to date (please don't run away! Lol). I can't tell you the number of hours I spent in tears, as I lived the lives of two characters. It was also the hardest novel I've written. It pushed me to a new level and forced me to step out of my own comfort zone as an author.
For all the blood, sweat and tears I put into WTW, it has become my most favorite work to date. It takes the reader on a journey, showing that love truly can conquer all.”
My first thoughts after seeing that post……….YES, YES, YES,YES,YES!!!!! CRY-FEST!!!!! If an author put THAT much into a book, well darn it, I just HAVE to read it!
Sometimes I want a book that just makes me cry.
A book that makes me think.
A book that makes me feel.
A book that makes me sigh in disappoint when it's over because I know I will never find a book like that again.
Well, those books are truly hard to find. And, Within These Walls definitely sits atop of that very uncrowded book shelf!
This book is complete in every sense of the word. For me, there was not one thing missing. I loved every single minute of it from start to finish no matter if I was laughing or crying. The story line is refreshingly different and the writing is fabulous with depth and maturity. This book is full of beautiful and tear-inducing surprises. You'll be hard pressed to not shed a single tear during this one.
Of course I fell in love with Jude, how could I not? But Lailah literally stole my heart. SHE is the heart of this story. Lailah is wise beyond her 22 years. Her intelligence is amazing, and her outlook on life considering her circumstances is awe inspiring. For a girl that has been in the hospital more than out, her attitude is simply amazing. Her Someday List made me cry (and smile). Her wishes are so ordinary and everyday-like. It makes you think about what you take for granted every day of your life, and how the simple things in life aren't always so simple.
This story deserves to be on the big screen. I can just picture watching it up there because that’s what happened when I was reading it. I wasn’t just reading a book. It was something entirely different. I felt like I was in the pages watching it unfold. You know how you have that one movie that when it comes on the television no matter how many times you’ve seen it, you can’t help but to stop channel surfing and watch it? Well, if Within These Walls were a movie, it would be THAT movie. Would I read the book again? You bet… and again, and again, and again.
JL Berg has done a fabulous job creating Jude and Lailah’s story. With the amount of books I read it’s difficult to remember details about a lot of them, but Jude and Lailah’s story isn’t one that will soon be forgotten if ever. This book will have you counting your blessings, living for today, and ticking items off your bucket list sooner rather than later. It's a story about living. It's about being selfless and sacrificing for the ones that you love.
We’re delighted to bring you a video interview with the author herself, JL Berg. She asked her Facebook Followers to pose questions and has answered them all in this wonderful video post. We love seeing our favourite authors talking to us through these video interviews – we really think it brings us all a little closer to the authors. Hope you enjoy!
J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she's not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.
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The author has some fantastic prizes to give away – there’s a $100 Giftcard, a signed copy with Within These Walls and a heart necklace. For your chance to win, just enter the Rafflecopter below and Good Luck!!