It is with great pleasure that I am participating in the blog tour of this amazing romance novel – can a marine with trust issues finally let go of the past and open his heart to the one woman who understands him like no other? And will a young widow allow herself to become vulnerable once again? Well, you will have to read the book in order to find out.
Besides my review, you will also find a short excerpt from the book, the author’s playlist and a great giveaway.
Title: “Unraveled” (Woodlands #3)
Author: Jen Frederick
Genre: New Adult Romance
Release Date: 18th January, 2014
Twenty-five-year-old Sgt. Graysom 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?
ARC received by the author in exchange for an honest review
I must confess that this is the first book in The Woodlands Series that I have read so far, but I will most definitely read the others in the near future. To me, this book deals with many issues – grief, anger, betrayal, and, of course, love – and I was truly invested in Samantha and Grayson’s story.
Grayson (Gray) has been a Marine for seven years and finds himself at a crossroads when we meet him: should he stay a marine or quit, go to college instead? Initially, he only enlisted because his two older brothers did not want to follow in their father’s – and grandfather’s – footsteps, but he has come to love being a part of a very special team. Nevertheless, he has doubts and he hopes that being on a very long, extended leave, will help him reaching a conclusion about his future.
Then we meet Samantha (Sam): a widow for the past two years, she has been merely existing, not really living, since her husband died. He was a marine, and the fact of the matter is that although she respects these men, she refuses to let herself become involved with one of them again. After Will died, she let go of her plans of going to college, instead finding employment at a bar, and she also took up knitting – yes, you read correctly: knitting.
Sam and Gray meet at the bar where Sam works and they have an instant connection – and, yes, the hotness factor of their encounter is very high – but when Gray sees that Sam still wears her wedding ring, he immediately associates her with his ex-girlfriend who cheated on him; so you can imagine how he reacts. Sam, finding herself really confused about her reaction to Gray, spends the rest of the evening thinking very hard: could it be that she is ready to start feeling again? Or not even that: is she simply ready for a rebound guy?
Well, as you know, I am not one to reveal too much of the storyline – and I really think that it would ruin your reading experience of “Unravelled” if I did, as it deals with so many different kinds of emotions and I want you to make your own judgments when you read it.
Gray is probably one of the most dirty-mouthed alpha men I have ever come across. But he is also one of the most vulnerable. Having scars from his past relationship plus working in an environment where cheating and divorces are commonplace have definitely not helped in him coming to terms with his trust issues. I did sometimes feel that he was perhaps too jaded and cynical – he is only 25 years old, after all. Still, he is a marine, so I can understand that he is more mature than most people his age. Most of the time, I had no problem connecting with him, and I found him to be the perfect partner for Sam.
“Any defenses I had against this girl were bashed against the ground. I’d seen her falling from the sky, and my heart had gone with her. There wasn’t a calling higher than being with her, but I wasn’t sure how to tell her.” (Grayson)
When is it acceptable to allow yourself to move on from losing a loved one? There is no correct answer, in my opinion, as we are all different, and each of us deals with grief and the subsequent healing process in different ways.
I found Sam to being very easy to relate to: the way her dormant feelings flare to life when she meets the right guy was written beautifully; her feelings of confusion and guilt towards her late husband’s memory were very understandable, and I believe that the author describes her healing process in a very realistic manner. I enjoyed seeing Sam grow more confident as a woman, allowing herself to live and love again. I also have to confess that I admire that she is willing to take a chance on a marine again, knowing full well that her heart can get broken a second time.
“This wasn’t temporary for me and as he stared at me, eyes glittering with a deep emotion, I guessed it wasn’t just temporary for him, either. But by unstated mutual decision, we let the moment pass without comment.” (Samantha)
To me, this book has many different themes: overcoming loss, learning to take risks, trusting other people, and, ultimately, following your heart’s desire in everything that you do. I enjoyed getting to know Gray and Sam, and even though the story did not necessarily “wow” me completely, it still had me riveted to the pages. Miss Frederick’s writing is practically flawless, the pacing of the story is just as it should be, and there is some pretty funny moments that will have you chuckling quite a bit. And let me not forget to mention the very hot and steamy sex scenes – oh yes, I enjoyed them as well. So overall, I would recommend this book to all romance lovers – and like I said in the beginning of my review: I will most definitely read the previous books in the series now, as I have become quite curious about the stories of the secondary characters.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy the excerpt, everyone!
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.
Pharrell Williams – “Happy”
Ellie Goulding – “I Need Your Love”
Avicii – “Addicted To You”
A Great Big World & Christina Agulera – “Say Something”
Capital Cities – “Safe and Sound”
Sara Bareilles – “Brave”
Taylor Swift and Ed Sherran – “Everything Has Changed”
Phillip Phillips – “Home”