Within These WallsWithin These Walls has struck within my heart! This is an incredibly heartwarming story by J. L. Berg that I will not soon forget. Lailah Buchanan suffers from congestive heart failure. Her condition and her mother’s anxiety have literally kept her confined between home and hospital. Jude Cavanaugh suffers a devastating loss that has his path crossing with Lailah’s at the same hospital. The two find hope in each other and a bond too strong to be denied.

J. L. Berg does a great job describing Lailah’s emotional and physical confinement. To be physical challenged is to understand Lailah’s concern with her parent’s anxiety and her desire to “break free”.

My mother had been here every day, and her company meant the world to me, but the desire and need to interact with someone my own age was overwhelming. I just wanted someone who hadn’t helped me go to the bathroom or didn’t watch my every move with anxiety, afraid my next breath might land me back in the hospital…

Do you know what it’s like to be taken care of like a child when you’re a grown adult? It’s maddening.”

The type of challenges faced by Lailah are evidenced by the following:

Longevity wasn’t a guarantee for me. It was a reality I had come to terms with long ago, far younger than any person should, but it was my reality and mine alone.

Her physical limitation keeps her innocent at a level others would not understand, making a relationship with Jude an emotional challenge:

Each time he had come into my room, I’d wanted to talk to him—ask him something, anything—just to hear him speak again, but I’d never really spoken to people my age.

Her limitations, experience and prognosis have her hesitant to enter a relationship with Jude:

Even if in some alternate universe, he could possibly see me as someone more than a patient, I couldn’t go down that road—ever. My life was too stressful and emotionally turbulent to share with someone else. Asking someone to step into my world would be like asking him to sign away his own life to take care of mine. I could never do that.

In the end, she puts aside her fears and falls in love with Jude. Their relationship is strong and endearing. At every page, I was expecting a setback where Jude decided that Lailah’s prognosis was not worth the emotional investment into someone else that he might lose, and he didn’t. The strength he showed in the relationship made this a true romance for me in every sense. I wish I could find my own Jude to be on my side.

This is a standalone novel. It probably should be classified as new adult, but there are some adult situations that lead me to label it more as contemporary.

I rate this 5 Hearts!

18697821Katy Evans did it again! Ripped (Real #5) was released this month. I always feel a bit embarrassed at my age to admit that I enjoy this new adult series, but it is just sooo good (although maybe too erotic for YA…?). Honestly, I find the whole Real series entertaining. I love this click of girlfriends and their men.

While being part of a series, Ripped can be read as a standalone. If you want the full context of the characters and their friends, I would recommend reading the stories in order but it is not necessary.

Ripped is a second chance romance between Pandora and her rockstar boyfriend MacKenna. Pandora is Brooke’s gothic friend who was introduced in the first three books. We know nothing about MacKenna before this except that he broke Pandora’s heart. Circumstances bring them together six years later under a scenario I found humorous. It certainty helps to remember what being young felt like and acting impulsively. It also befitted Pandora would be in love with a rockstar that wears colored Mohawks in concert. They make a perfect couple and I could feel their connection.

This had several elements that I enjoy in a book. It made me laugh and cry. I love a sassy heroine. Any amount of angst works for me, and the ending made me CRY! 4 Hearts

Book Review – The Wright Brother by Marie Hall

I appreciate stories with physically challenged characters because of a vested interest. The relationship between Elisa and Julian is beautiful and emotional. I get goosebumps thinking of them signing on each other’s skin. That’s where my enjoyment ended.

This was geared towards the younger side of new adult, too young for my reading pleasure. I understand that a small age difference of roughly two years is a big deal before the age of 18, but the storyline made it feel like the age difference was 7 or more years and Elisa couldn’t outgrow that thinking until the last two pages. Her feelings of guilt became redundant. It gets to be tiresome by the end. I also lost interest with her two silly infatuations with other men while waiting for Julian to grow up.

If not for the erotic scenes, this would be for a younger audience. I can only give it …

2 stars.