Blog Tour: Within These Walls by J.L. Berg - Review, Excerpt & Giveaway!
Within These Walls
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.
*Note I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review*
Within These Walls was a good read. I did enjoy the story, but things happened a little too quickly (especially for Jude) for it to be really believable. It was still an enjoyable read.
Lailah has been in and out of the hospital her entire life. She has a heart defect that prevents her from living a normal life. Her mom is super paranoid about anything happening to her so she pretty much just stays in her house when she is not in the hospital. She doesn't go to school (home schooled) or have friends (besides people at the hospital). She has had a really sheltered life, has had many hardships, but she still has such a positive outlook. She tires really hard to stay positive when it would be easy to become depressed or angry.
"My life is not horrible. It is just different, I remind myself"
Jude is just coasting through life. He does not really want to live anymore since his fiance died three years ago. They were on vacation in California and the hospital is the last place he saw her alive. He pretty much lives at the hospital, working as much as he can, and he feels closer to her when he is there. He comes from an affluent family, but after the accident that took his fiance he cut them off. He doesn't have friends or really even talk to anyone. No one knows who he is, and he likes it that way.
When Jude first sees Lailah he is drawn to her. It is pretty cute. He sees her eating a pudding cup with her hands and so he starts sneaking in late at night and leaving them for her. A pudding cup ninja (see excerpt below). Eventually they start talking and hanging out, but Jude does have a hard time with it all. There is a lot of his past mixed up with Lailah's present that he didn't realize. He is still clinging to his dead fiance and hasn't moved on from that, though Lailah makes him smile and laugh at times. Lailah has a list of things she wants to do one day and once Jude finds out about it he tries to help her accomplish some of her goals. Her heart is failing and she needs a transplant, but they don't know if one will be available in time or if their insuarnce company will even pay for it. There is a lot up in the air for her and she doesn't even know how much longer she will be alive. I loved her list (the full list is at the back of the book and really was one of my favorite parts. So sweet and hopeful and fun) and I loved how Jude tried to do everything on it. Or almost everything.
Jude and Lailah do quickly fall in love. I didn't really see it, especially for Jude. He is still so stuck on his fiance I didn't see him being able to move on that quickly. I didn't see him being able to admit that he fell in love so fast. I wish he would have been a little more conflicted, took longer and was harder for him to move on. After three years pining away for her, being a zombie in the hospital, I didn't see him changing so easily. Sure he has issues with it, keeps being nice then pulling away from Lailah, but overall he quickly moved on and fell in love with her.
Overall I enjoyed this story. Lailah was so bright and positive and was great for Jude and I enjoyed all the small things Jude did for Lailah. A good read.
Rating: ★ ★ ★1/2
**A portion of the sales during the first week of release will go to a children's heart charity.**
About the Author
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.
Connect with J.L. Berg
With one pudding cup snug in my pocket, I was the epitome of stealth.
I slipped through the door quietly, ignoring the fact that I looked like a creepy stalker, and I stepped into the darkened room like I had a purpose.
I did work here, so there could be a dozen reasons for me entering a patient’s room.
Delivering a fudge snack pack was probably not one of them.
Like the many times before, I tried not to linger as I entered the room, but with each passing visit, it became more and more difficult.
The first night I’d decided to do this, I’d quickly done this drop-and-dash routine. I had gone in and out without a second glance.
But then, I’d met her. I’d come to her room and found myself face-to-face with the girl behind my late-night pudding runs. She was shy and timid, her gestures clumsy and unpracticed. She was so different from the polished and sophisticated girls I’d grown up with. Even her name was awkward. It sounded like the classic Eric Clapton song “Layla,” but hers was spelled all wrong.
She had made me curious. I’d suddenly wanted to know what else in this world would make her smile.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Read the first chapter here!