Unraveled by Jen Frederick ( web | tweet)
Part of Woodlands series; read out of order.
Publication Date: January 18, 2014
Publisher: Pear Tree LLC
Target audience: New Adult
Keywords: military, life decisions, young widow, risks
Format read: ARC provided by PR. (Thanks!)
Summary: Gray is on leave from the Marines as he decides whether to enlist or do something else with his life. One night hanging out with friends, he meet Sam — despite not wanting to get in a relationship in his short time at home — he cannot help himself. After a quick misunderstanding, the two start spending a lot of time together. Sam’s going through a lot herself — still reeling from the death of her army husband that occurred two years ago. Can she finally move forward? Does she want to get mixed up with another guy who could face so many of the same dangers as her husband? Does Gray even want to go back?
It’s Friday so I’m going to keep this one short and sweet for ya. Five reasons you should pick up Unraveled by Jen Frederick:
1. Gray is a Marine. Okay, so what? So what is Julian in Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins, Travis in Something Like Normal by Trish Doller and even Aiden The
Summer Spring I Found You by Jolene Perry. All of these books have something in common: hot hot, strong men with vulnerabilities. In Gray’s case, he’s reeling from a betrayal in a relationship and he’s not sure he wants his life to continue on the Marine route even though he loves the guys he works with and feels an obligation to them. He also feels an obligation to his family, making his decision even harder. Frederick definitely weighed ever option for Gray and I appreciated that.
2. Sam was a young bride. I haven’t read ONE book from this angle and while young marriages make me feel kind of antsy (that’s a personal thing), I loved that Sam married her childhood sweetheart. Even if she had to go through the devastating process of moving on when he is killed two months after they are married. In Unraveled’s timeline, it’s been two years since Sam’s husband has died and she is still going out for meals with his very sad mother and she still has all his stuff around their apartment. She’s realizing she needs to move forward in some way but it’s really difficult because she doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or feel like she is forgetting Will. Seeing the “army wife” side of things was a unique perspective in my New Adult reading experience, and I appreciated all the time and care Frederick put into it (especially when Sam starts to feel for Gray).
3. Holy &!#@ sexy. First, let me say. In a bar. Against a wall. I was like whoa whoa whoa. And THEN and THEN, moments got so steamy I was basically concealing my Nook from anyone near me on the subway because I was sort of sweating and nervous and blushing and it was INTENSE. Gray and Sam have unbelievable chemistry and she hasn’t been with anyone since her husband. So every encounter was electrifying. (Warning: if you do not like dirty talk in your books, this one might not be for you. Normally it’s not my thing BUT it worked here.)
4. They talk to each other. It’s no surprise that sex is the focus in so many New Adult books but Unraveled balanced the challenges Gray and Sam were facing so well. I had a clear handle on who both of them were and even though they were having oh-my-gosh amazing sex, they confided in each other (even if it took time), they had fun, and they went on adventures together. These two were friends and rocks for each other during a huge transitional time in their lives, and neither of them expected it. (Best part? Yes!)
5. Supporting characters. Gray’s other Marine friends could totally be bros but I appreciated how honest they were able to be with Gray when he wanted to make some asinine decisions. They were also in devoted relationships with their girls, and that was very cute to see. As for Sam, I loved her little sister and her mom. They both wanted Sam to be happy in her life, and were sensitive and honest with her as she worked through her grief.
Final thoughts: Super entertaining story with down-to-earth writing and characters. I adored Sam, loved her knitting hobby, and was really rooting for her. (I also couldn’t imagine being in her situation.) And Gray — Gray surprised me. I had no idea what he would decide about the Marines and I really liked how he cared about Sam and had her best interest at heart. Frederick created two characters that remain individuals even as they fall in love. So important to me as a reader.