Blog Tour (Review, Guest Post and Giveaway): Within These Walls by J.L. Berg

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Title: Within These Walls
Author: JL Berg
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 323 pages
Rating: 5 hearts

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.

Grace’s Review
Within the walls of Memorial Hospital, two hearts were hurting.

One heart was never healthy – its beat not right without medical intervention.  Its owner, Lailah, fighting every day for a chance to live.

One heart was broken – its beat not right after a tragedy took away the ability to love.  Its owner, Jude, giving up and focusing on just getting by, rather than living.

Within those same walls, could two damaged hearts come together and heal each other?

The two hearts initially connect in the sweetest of ways, with a chocolate pudding cup.  (Side note: from this day forward, a pudding cup will always make me think of this book.) The relationship then evolves to a list, one that Lailah kept as a “to do” list of sorts, only more special, called the Someday list.

Does Jude reach out to Lailah out of guilt?  To redeem himself from past selfish mistakes?  Does it really matter?  Not in my mind.  What he ends up doing for Lailah is more than any average person would do.  While he insists that he is void of emotions and can no longer love, the minute he steps into her room, you can tell that his emotion isn’t lost.  It just needed to find a new purpose.  A new person to care about.  As he sets about to help Lailah tackle her Someday list, you will fall in love with Jude.

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It starts out small but quickly evolves into elaborate activities that often require assistance from other hospital employees.  My personal favorite was the dancing in the rain.  Given her stay in the hospital, Jude had to get creative here, so he brings her to the shower, with their clothes on, to dance.  *sigh*  It may sound silly, but that didn’t stop my tears from falling.

While Jude couldn’t personally repair Lailah’s heart, he gave her the chance to experience a range of feelings, including the big O.  Yes, their relationship moves quickly from a friendship to something neither thought they would experience.  For Lailah, stuck within the walls of a hospital for most of her life, she had low expectations on finding love, although various wishes are on her Someday list – such as being kissed breathless.  For Jude, the loss of his “soul mate” gave him no hope in finding love again.  But just as he helps Lailah, she does the same for him.  Helping him let go and live his life once again.

While there is angst in this book, I actually didn’t mind it.  The heartbreaking moments felt meaningful.  Although they were sad, and you knew they were other options the characters could have taken, it felt like they were doing the right thing, so I wasn’t upset by it.

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I truly fell in love with this book.  As two damaged hearts began to heal within the walls, my heart soared with theirs.  Although this book is very emotional, I didn’t have any ugly tears.  Only happy ones. Especially at the end when you get to read Lailah’s full Someday list. This is an absolute MUST READ!

– Grace

*An ARC was received for an honest review.

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Ten Random Facts about J.L. Berg

1.  I love embarrassing my kids. Seriously, it should be a requirement of all parents to embarrass their kids on a daily basis. My favorite? Using words like “totes”, “fo’rizzle” and “cray” in normal sentences.
2.  I’m actually a little on the shy side. Put me in a room of people I don’t know and I will become invisible.
3.  I hate most shoes except for sandals and Uggs. It’s the Californian in me.
4.  I throw random dance parties in the living room with my daughters. We crank up the music and shake our booties—it’s a blast.
5.  I may write pretty steamy sex scenes, but there are still some words I can’t use when writing intimate scenes between my characters. They make me blush and giggle like a child.
6.  I have no talent with the outdoors. I can kill a plant with one glance.
7.  I am allergic to caffeine. No joke. It literally doubles me over. I love coffee so much, I’ve built up a tolerance just so I can have a cup of decaf (which still contains a small amount of caffeine) in the morning. I’m dedicated.
8.  I’m a huge history nerd. My husband and I spent a week in Ireland for our 10-year anniversary. We roamed around old ruins and castles for days—I was giddy the entire time.
9.  I’m always, always cold. If it’s less than 80 degrees outside, I carry a sweater with me.
10.  I’m obsessed with yoga and Pilates, but pretty much hate all other forms of exercise. I think it’s because they all require shoes.

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About J.L. Berg

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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