Unraveled (Woodland, # 3)
By: Jen Frederick
Published: January 18th 2014 by Pear Tree LLC
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Source: Author/Publisher (Thank you!!)
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Goodreads description--Twenty-five-year-old Sgt. Gray Phillips is at a crossroads in his life: stay in the Marine Corps or get out and learn to be a civilian? He’s got forty-five days of leave to make up his mind but the people in his life aren’t making the decision any easier. His dad wants him to get out; his grandfather wants him to stay in. And his growing feelings for Sam Anderson are wreaking havoc with his heart…and his mind. He believes relationships get ruined when a Marine goes on deployment. So now he’s got an even harder decision to make: take a chance on Sam or leave love behind and give his all to the Marines.
Twenty-two year old Samantha Anderson lost her husband to an IED in Afghanistan just two months after their vows. Two years later, Sam is full of regrets—that she didn’t move with her husband to Alaska; that she allowed her friends to drift away; that she hasn’t taken many chances in life. Now, she’s met Gray and taking a risk on this Marine could be her one opportunity to feel alive and in love again. But how can she risk her heart on another military man who could share the same tragic fate as her husband?
THIS WAS ONLY TEMPORARY, I reminded myself, as Samantha so sweetly kissed me back. I'm only here for a short time I reminded myself but as I felt her tongue stroke the side of my tongue, as she nipped her teeth against my lip, I wanted to just drown in the sensation. Her scent filled my head and the air around us shrank until all I knew was her small body sitting so close to mine. I moved my hand from her shoulder to cup her neck and angled her face for deeper penetration. I licked every inch inside of her mouth until the taste of her was all that I knew on my tongue.
And all that time I stared in to her green eyes and not once did she look like she was anywhere but right here with me. I saw my reflection there. Her heartbeat was made wild by my kisses.
And temporary was the farthest thing from my mind.
Bestselling author Jen Frederick lives with her husband, child, and one rambunctious dog. She's been reading stories all her life but never imagined writing one of her own. Jen loves to hear from readers so drop her a line at email@example.com.
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We met Gray in Unspoken when Bo makes a trip back to California to visit his Marine buddies. And in Unraveled we learn that the time is coming for Gray to either re-enlist or re-enter civilian life. Gray is being pulled in both directions. He’s got his grandfather, a career Marine veteran, telling him to stay in, and his father, also a career Marine veteran, telling him that there are other possibilities out in the world for him. Gray isn’t sure what to do. On the one hand, he loves the Marines and the men he serves with, on the other hand, he’s been given more responsibility that scares him with its weight and importance. So he’s given 45 days of leave to get his mind straight and to make some decisions. He decides to go visit Noah and Bo, and thus meets Sam who further complicates his decision making process.
Sam married her high school sweetheart young. He decided to join the Army before they married, but it didn’t seem like that was enough for him. Will was always pushing the edge of danger and he decided to take on one of the most dangerous jobs the Army has to offer. Will dies in Afghanistan leaving Sam a very young widow. The description made Sam seem like she’d decided to never fall in love with another military man, but I just really didn’t get that vibe from her. I mean in some ways she did resent Will for joining the military and she half-heartedly tried to use Gray being in the military as an excuse not to feel something for him, but that argument didn’t hold up for long.
Gray might not have exactly been the cookie cutter new adult male character, but he had a couple of traits that left me keeping some distance between myself and him. Sam was the same way. Gray and Sam both are afraid of putting themselves out there and getting hurt again. Sam’s husband, of course, died as was mentioned before, and Gray’s ex-girlfriend cheated on him. I can understand where the issues come from for both of these characters. While Will “left” in a permanent way, he didn’t exactly choose to die even if he chose to put himself into dangerous situations. Gray’s ex-girlfriend didn’t die, but she chose to hurt him by being unfaithful. Death feels like a more weighty thing to overcome, yet being hurt by the willful disregard for one’s feelings is a hard thing to overcome as well. In the end, Sam does a better job opening herself up to Gray, yet she also jumps ship a little too prematurely when the waters get the slightest bit stormy.
I’m over drunken mistakes in books. It’s like the new adult male character. This being used as a plot point and the major form of conflict/catalyst for the story is so overused that I want to beat my head against the wall. I personally don’t drink so I guess I find these drunken mistakes to be an easy out for writers. But I get so sick of characters turning to alcohol, whether it be to “fix their problems”—which is never does—or just to escape them—which also never happens. I was telling Husband after reading this one that I understand books have to have conflict because otherwise what’s the point in reading them other than seeing the characters overcome said conflict, but is it too much to ask that these characters who claim to have some kind of epic love for one another put a little faith and trust in each other? For instance, if character A must end up drunk and make a stupid comment that character DB decides to act on, can’t character C ever say “You know, I just don’t believe A would have done this to me. This must be a misunderstanding,” and then wait to find out what character A’s explanation is before jumping into “I never want to see you again,” freak out mode?
I still find myself getting hooked into these stories by Jen Frederick, but I have to say that I’ve felt less and less connected with the story and with the characters with each passing book. I know that Finn’s story is coming next, Unrequited, and I have hopes on who his leading female character might be. I just really hope that I can connect more emotionally and the characters perhaps connect a little less physically with each other. As I said initially, Noah and Grace still remain my favorite characters and my favorite story of this series. Even throughout Unraveled, the parts that involved Noah reaffirmed my affection for his character and the sound head he has screwed onto his shoulders.
Unraveled gets 3 Stars from me. It was a quick read, but I was feeling less connected and more frustrated with these characters and this story than any of the others in this series so far. Have you read Unraveled? What did you think? Let me know!