Blog Tour and Giveaway: Beyond These Walls: J.L. Berg

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]Beyond These Walls (Within These Walls #2)
J.L. Berg
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Happily ever after.

That was what we were supposed to have.

Pudding cups, sandy toes and a lifetime of making each and every one of our dreams come true—that is the future I’d promised her.

I could see it in my dreams, hold it in my hands, but then I watched as all of our hopes and wishes suddenly slipped through my fingers like sand.

I thought the worst was behind us, but what if we’d just delayed the inevitable? 

They say love can overcome any obstacle. But can it survive death?

The breathtaking love story of Lailah and Jude concludes in Beyond These Walls.

This review contains spoilers to the first book Within These Walls...

"I know you think that I saved you, but in all honestly, it was you who saved me..."

I totally fell for  Lailah  and Jude in Within These Walls. Lailah was the tenacious young woman who need a heart transplant and had lived most of her life sheltered or in a hospital.  Jude was the mysterious hospital worker with his own tormented past who became her friend, fell in love with her, taught her live, and was key in saving her life. And she in turn brought him out of his own darkness and brought joy back to his life.

"She was my fierce survivor."

Now we get to see more of their "good stuff". Their future, plans, progressions, and milestones. Lailah is finally free to experience true living and they can explore their new found love and happiness. Everything seems to be going according to plan. The only issue seems to center around his brother Roman who is a frequent source of tension and often leaves Jude to deal with work issues when he just wants to be with Lailah whenever she needs him. They can't really understand why he acts the way he does--irresponsible, uncaring, unreliable, and inconsistent. But other than him, they have good friends and family and everything seemed to be going perfectly for them.

Lailah is so strong, sweet, caring, and is a true survivor. She has grown so much in the past two years and her whole life and outlook has changed. She knows not to take anything for granted. But she has always been wary when good things happen to her and is secretly afraid that their fairy tale ending won't last. But she is living for all of the wonderful moments that her life with Jude is providing her.

"Love isn't always perfection. It's a beautiful chaotic mess, and there isn't anyone I'd rather spend my life with than you."

Jude is all kinds of swoony male goodness. He is so romantic and lives to make Lailah happy. He is generous, kind, thoughtful, protective and completely enthralled by his "angel". But that also brings some fears and worry. He has lived through loss so is terrified of losing her. He has anxiety about  her health or something else ruining their happy new life.

A thousand lifetimes would never be enough. This was true. For now, I'd gladly settle for one.

But in real life, it is not always sunshine and rainbows. Their lives already had some built in risks and complications. 

When they are faced with a difficult decision that could alter the course of lives, will they come together or will it divide them?

"I just feel completely out of control, Lailah. It's like our world is spinning on its axis, and you're ready to go along for the ride with no knowledge of what might lie ahead."

Jude and Lailah are such likable, heartwarming, and complex characters, and this book gave us so much more in their story. We got to see their happiness, triumphs, and challenges they still had left to to face. We got to see how they weathered difficult situations and how their lives really progressed after coming together. These two were so connected, so devoted and such fighters. This one was romantic, emotional, and sweet, but also has some times of fears, stress, and heartbreak. But there were lots of feels all along the way. I dove right in and was completely invested in the rest of their story told in dual point of view. It was a moving, beautiful story of living life, love, faith, and survival. I thoroughly enjoyed spending more time with them. 

The side characters of her friends Grace, Brian and baby Zander, Abigail, and the parents added support and humor. Roman totally interested me and I really wanted to figure him out. I am looking forward to uncovering more of Roman's mysteries in Behind Closed Doors. He was so moody and obviously had some issues, but we are still in the dark about what they are. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 
Lailah and Jude have moved to New York following Lailah’s successful heart transplant and are building their forever together. She’s back in school and he is at the helm of the family business. Between the stresses of classes, meetings, and wedding plans, they have plenty of time to visit with family, develop friendships outside the walls of the hospital, and count their blessings together.

These two fought for their happy in Within These Walls, and now they are living it. At one point, I started questioning if I wanted the happy that Jude and Lailah had built to face a challenge major enough to fill a whole novel. I loved where they were at the end of Within These Walls, and the thought of more pain was just too much.

I spent much of the first half glad that things seemed relatively smooth for these two. Wedding planning, honeymooning happiness is exactly what I wanted to see for them. While I knew the easy couldn’t last, it was so great to see while it was there.

But as much as I loved the happy moments, the last 30-40% crushed me. Because they face a challenge they thought they had prepared for, and fears they thought were past them are back to haunt their dreams and threaten their future.

Feeling their fear as they navigated an unknown future hurt. But by the end I was loving it again as I wiped up the mess my tears had made in the meantime. These two were both fighters. Lailah fights to survive, Jude fights to be her support. And when their bond is threatened, they fight for each other.

I absolutely loved how much mystery this built about Roman, Jude’s brother. Irresponsible and barely able to make it out of bed by noon one day, and successfully leading a board meeting the next, his polar behavior was as much a curiosity as it was a tease (I’m sure) for his book, Behind Closed Doors.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
J.L. Berg
Our 4.5 star reviews

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.
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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