Monday, August 18, 2014

Within These Walls - Review

~A portion of the sales during the first week of release will go to a children's heart charity.~

Author: J.L. Berg
Publication Date: August 18, 2014
Publisher: J.L. Berg
Genre:  New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Age Recommendation: 17 and up
Rating: 5 stars
 Book Description:

 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.

My Review:

Within These Walls by J.L. Berg is a beautifully sad, peaceful and heart-warming bit of contemporary New Adult perfection.  Ms.  Berg had me hooked from the prologue and after making a mad dash for my tissue box I couldn't put the book down again until I had completed it.  
"Within these walls, he became my solace, my sanctuary, and my strength.  Like a white knight, he saved me from a life of gray and showed me a world full of color.  Within these walls, I gave myself to a man who said he would always fight for me and love me until the end of time.  But sometimes, not even love was enough when life got in the way.  When your heart is already damaged beyond repair, what was left to break.  Within these walls, I gave my less than perfect heart to the man I loved.  and then....he walked away."

 I mean seriously?  Seriously?  How can you not be hooked.  I was a goner after that.  

Lailah is a twenty-two year old woman who has spent her life sheltered and in and out of the hospital due to a hear defect.  She has lived her life between walls, both physical and non-physical ones.  She lives between these walls hoping.  Hoping each day for the next, dreaming of the little joys of life that most of us would take for granted.  She lives between these walls yearning for friends and the freedom to chase her dreams, to make thick black lines through the words listed in on her "Someday List."

"I was sitting in a lonely hospital room, staring at a clock.  Is that any way to live?  Is that living at all?  Why have a beating heart if you don't know why it beats in the first place.  These were the deepest darkest doubts,  I would keep these feelings bottled inside of me, and I'd refuse to acknowledge them until another day like this would creep up on me.  Then, I'd find myself once again staring at a ridiculous clock, wondering why I was even on this earth if I was bound to spend my life in this room."  

I find quite often that I struggle to connect with the heroines in New Adult romances.  I am not sure why, maybe it is my age (sigh), maybe it is that I often find them to be whiny and needy, to quick to forgive and forget.  But I never felt that way with Lailah.  In fact of the many heroines I have read lately she is the one with the most reasons to be all of those things and yet she isn't  Which in my opinion makes her incredibly strong.  I suppose that is the one thing that gets me, when she says that he became her "strength" when in fact I think that she is the strongest of the two.  She is an amazing character.  Some one you would definitely want to make your friend.  Someone you would love having long texted conversations with.  

And speaking of friends:  Jude!  Wow, how do I even begin to explain Jude?  He is such an amazingly loving yet tortured soul.  After suffering a terrible, life changing tragedy Jude locks himself away from the world.  He builds his own walls, walls of grief, regret, and self-hatred.   

"I was no longer the man I had been before.  When Megan had died I'd left my family and the life I was supposed to have.  When I looked in the mirror, I didn't want to see the old Jude, so I'd chanced everything about myself.  I bought a home gym, and when I wasn't at the hospital, I wold lift weights, run in the early morning, and work on making sure I never saw what I once had been when I arrived here so long ago."

But one simple, peaceful, pure moment changes everything for this lost boys.  Jude discovers a purpose and ultimately a reason to move forward, to say goodby to his past.  He finds that maybe there is still a reason to live.  

" I wasn't sure if I could risk my heart again, but maybe I already had.  What if I'd given a piece of myself to the girl with the infectious laugh and the shy innocent smile?  Perhaps I was a goner from the start."

"Two broken hearts - we would destroy each other before we even had a chance to begin." 


I loved this book.  I loved Lailah and Jude together, never once did i doubt the sincerity of their relationship.  Reading this book is like being wrapped up in a cocoon of sad joy.  It's a dichotomy because while this book is built on sadness there is a happiness that bleeds through the words and underlines each and every moment.   
This book simply makes you want to breathe deep, love the people around you maybe a bit better.  It makes you want to live, to live for all the simple joys.  To live for dipping your toes in the ocean.  To live to have your heart broken and maybe, hopefully mended.  It makes you want to live for the simple moment of texting with a friend.  For the chance to eat a cup of chocolate pudding with or without your spoon.  



 The.  Pudding. Matters.

 Read the first chapter here! 


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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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*Thank you to Tara Gonzalez over at InkSlingerPR for access to the ARC in return for an honest review.*

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