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Nocturnal Book Reviews

Blogging at Nocturnal Book Reviews since May 2011 about steampunk, urban fantasy, historical & paranormal fiction, contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi & erotica.

Undeclared (Woodlands, #1)

Undeclared (Woodlands, #1) - Jen Frederick 4.5/5
You know how little I've read of New Adult genre, so it's with much trepidation I agreed to review this book, because Jen was charming in her email request.

Undeclared was genuinely a lovely debut book. I was craving something comforting when I started reading it, and what I got was a big fluffy pillow of a sweet love story.

Both Noah and Grace are ordinary people with normal problems, insecurities and aspirations, but it's by pure chance that they get to know each other.

Noah has been a Marine deployed in Afghanistan for 4 years, and Grace chose to write letters to him as a school project. What started as a friendship slowly turned to love as they got to know each others dreams and plans for future, but when Noah left Marines he freaked out how unsuitable it made him for civilian's life and chose to write Dear Jane letter to Grace breaking up with her with a much dreaded phrase "let us be just friends".

Now, more than a year later, Noah gets his shit together after some counselling and intensive planning and is ready to do anything to make amends and conquer Grace's heart again, hence him enrolling into the same Uni, Grace is in.

The plot in the present is interspersed with Noah's old letters to Grace.

Dear Grace,
I think what you feel on my letters is dust. I'm bummed that it is on my letters to you. They say it is sand, but it's finer than that. It's like the particles that make up the sand, and it is everywhere. When you get home from leave and wash for the first time, you have to stand under the water for at least twenty minutes, all the while watching the black dust collect and pool at your feet, creating coffee-colored water that swirls down the drain.
I don't think you can ever fully erase the dust from your belongings. It sticks with you, no matter how long you let the water wash over you, or how many times you wipe it away. Like the tension I have in being weaponless and exposed back home, the dust is one of the many things I'll carry with me when I'm out. I'm sorry that it is invading your space now through my letters. It's like I'm spreading a contaminant. Am I patient zero, or are you?
I probably shouldn't have volunteered for a third tour but combat pay is hard to turn down. After three years here, though, I feel like I am a loosely contained conglomerate of those particles of dust.

Noah is also doing fights (sometimes underground fights) to make money and buy his first business while he is getting his financial degree, but don't be alarmed those of you, who hated Beautiful Disaster as much as I did. He is nothing like Travis.

He might have jealous, possessive impulses, but no matter how many times he imagines acting on them, - he never does. That man is charming, lovely and stable as a rock even if he is only 4 years older than Grace, and it's great to watch these two stumble in the dark to find each others hearts again and with that their own confidence in what they want from life.

Secondary characters are also very engaging, both Noah's best friend, enigmatic Bo, and Grace's cousin, Lana. I have a secret desire that these two golden kids will get together - they are both wry, self-deprecating, gorgeous and loyal to their friends and family.

Wonderful, lovely book, and I wholly recommend you read it.