Undeclared and Unspoken: Jen Frederick

Undeclared (The Woodlands#1)
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For four years, Grace Sullivan wrote to a Marine she never met, and fell in love. But when his deployment ended, so did the letters. Ever since that day, Grace has been coasting, academically and emotionally. The one thing she’s decided? No way is Noah Jackson — or any man — ever going to break her heart again.

Noah has always known exactly what he wants out of life. Success. Stability. Control. That’s why he joined the Marines and that’s why he’s fighting his way — literally — through college. Now that he’s got the rest of his life on track, he has one last conquest: Grace Sullivan. But since he was the one who stopped writing, he knows that winning her back will be his biggest battle yet.

My first thought when I finished Undeclared was, "Wow, why have I not read this series yet?" 

Four years of letter writing between Noah and Grace leads to a dear Jane letter and two years of no contact. Until Noah shows up as a transfer student at the same school where Grace is in here second year. 

I love that their love story starts out with something as innocent as pen pal letters. That they have never met or heard the other's voice adds such a sweet touch to their courtship, at least until Noah breaks it off with her, also in a letter. When he tracks her down on the campus of her college, he rekindles their friendship with a letter, their best form of communication up to that point. So sweet. 

The building tension between Grace and Noah kept me wondering when one or the other would break. The insistence on being "just friends" was so obviously not what either character wanted, but neither could see that the insistence by the other was because they thought that was what the other wanted. 

After a while though I was frustrated at Grace's cousin, who continues to warn her off of Noah as a long term prospect without checking to see what Grace is feeling. But the development of the group of friends around Grace (to a lesser extent) and Noah (the men who will eventually have their own books) was a fun aspect of the book. Bo, Finn, Mal, and Adam bring humor and balance in to the scenes throughout the book. 

The pacing at times seemed a little on the slower side, but I was also running ragged outside of the time I found to read, so I am betting that influenced my ability to really submerge myself into this story. Ultimately I loved Grace and Noah, and the way they worked through their roadblocks so find their happily ever after. I am so glad I finally picked up Undeclared and am ready to jump right in to Unspoken (and Unraveled after that)!

Thanks to Jen Frederick for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review.

Unspoken  (The Woodlands#2)
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Whore. Slut. Typhoid Mary.
I've been called all these at Central College. One drunken night, one act of irresponsible behavior, and my reputation was ruined. Guys labeled me as easy and girls shied away. To cope, I stayed away from Central social life and away from Central men, so why is it that my new biology lab partner is so irresistible to me?

He's everything I shouldn't want. A former Marine involved in illegal fighting with a quick trigger temper and an easy smile for all the women. His fists aren't the danger to me, though, it's his charm. He's sliding his way into my heart and I'm afraid that he's going to be the one to break me.

Impulsive. Unthinking. Hot tempered.
I allow instinct to rule my behavior. If it feels good, do it, has been my motto because if I spend too much time thinking, I'll begin to remember exactly where I came from. At Central College, I've got fighting and I've got women and I thought I was satisfied until I met her.

She's everything I didn't realize I wanted and the more time I spend with her, the more I want her. But she's been hurt too much in the past and I don't want to be the one to break her. I know I should walk away, but I just can't.

Bonus Content: Upon reaching the USA Today Bestselling milestone, I wrote a 10,000 word epilogue as a thank you to the readers who loved and supported Unspoken.  I posted it for free on my blog but at the urging of readers, I have added it to the original version. 

Note: This is a New Adult Contemporary Romance with mature content and sexually explicit scenes. 91,000+ words. Standalone novel.

The second installment of the Woodland boys continues with Bo's story. Bo hovered in the periphery in Undeclared, as Noah's best friend, but when he takes center stage in his own story? I think I drooled a little. (Or a lot.) 

Bo is a bit of a loose canon. He trained with Noah in MMA until he was deemed too uncontrolled to serve as a sparring partner. He has followed Noah around since 7th grade, going along with whatever Noah wants, even to the point of attending college because it was something to do. 

AnnMarie, or AM, was a recluse by college standards, avoiding the stigma of a rampant rumor mill. She kept her head down and stayed off campus as much as possible. When she and Bo are assigned as lab partners in biology, he begins to draw her out of her comfort zone. He has heard the rumors about her, but he also knows the rumors that circulate about himself and takes everything he hears with a grain of salt. As he hears more though, he begins to discover the AM that has been hiding away from campus. 

I really liked the journey both he and AnnMarie had to take over the course of the story's timeline. Neither one had an easy road of it, finding their place at Central. AnnMarie was the perfect heroine for Bo. She is strong in her own way, though when faced with conflict she doesn't stand up for herself and tries to stay out of the center of attention. Bo meets all his conflicts with his fists. 

While I felt some slower paced sections in Undeclared, I felt no such slow downs in Unspoken. I was hooked to Bo and AM from the very first. We see more from the rest of the Woodlands boys, with Finn playing a bigger role in the events here than in Undeclared. We also meet some of the men Bo and Noah served with. And that bonus epilogue that is now included as part of the book? Made me laugh watching Bo that many years in the future. Priceless.

Thanks to Jen Frederick for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review.
Upcoming books in this series:

Unraveled (The Woodlands#3)
Add to GoodreadsEXPECTED RELEASE DATE: January 20th

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?

Jen Frederick 

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 jen@jenfrederick.com.


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