Book Review: Naked by Gina Gordon

One of the things I strongly relate to is a heroine with self-esteem issues, maybe not so much now since I tend to have a high opinion of myself most days, but I remember when I wasn’t that confident. Probably because I’m projecting, I tend to get a little irritated with characters for not getting it together. Having said that, even with that minor annoyance, I really enjoyed this book.

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A young woman, scarred from an accident, engages in a fling with her neighbor, determined to explore her sexuality while still hiding the “deformities” the accident left her with. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

In a Man’s World
Violet, the aforementioned heroine, is mostly awesome. She’s been raised to take over her father’s construction company and has a love for commercial construction even though it’s seen as a man’s industry. She also has a natural curiosity about sex and wants to explore her wild side, something her fiance wouldn’t do with her before he was killed in a car crash. Because it was this conversation they were having when the accident happened, Violet carries around some guilt.

Dedicated to Hiding
Sadly, Violet is also too afraid to show anyone her scars, including her family. I’m not entirely sure how realistic it is that she hid all of her scars from her family and friends for so long. I mean, I think it’s possible, sure, but that takes a lot of commitment. Then again, Violet had some major self-confidence issues, many of them from her mother who’s always hailed her beauty as her best feature and seems to disapprove of her taking over the company. I had moments where Violet’s constant belief that she was ugly…and then her need to get mad at those people who told her she was still beautiful…annoyed me.

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The Guy Next Door
The hero, Noah, is endearing from the moment he fakes a fall to get Violet’s attention. Okay, so it sounds a little extreme, but it turns out okay. Noah is carrying around his own issues. He feels like he’s letting his dad’s memory down by not going into business for himself, and he doesn’t want to get into a relationship because his last one ended with the woman deciding he wasn’t good enough for her. He has one douchecanoe moment, but otherwise, he’s a good guy.

Grrrl Power
One of the best characters in the book is one that I think will have her own story in this series later, and that’s Harper, a woman who’s not only super comfortable with herself but spends her time helping other women feel hot. She’s kind of my hero. As a side note, I read the author’s acknowledgement at the end and was surprised that she admitted to having her own self-esteem issues and had written Harper as her complete opposite. That bit of honesty rocked my world.

The Romance Factor
Class differences are things I’ve seen often in historical romances, but I liked the take on it in this contemporary novel. Violet is rich, though she keeps it a secret from Noah, and of course Noah has issues with being seen as less than by a woman he’s dating. While this doesn’t sound romantic on paper, it leads to angst and conflict. Beyond that, there are moments of sweetness that made me melt. Noah’s constant respect for Violet’s need to not expose herself was great, and even though I was annoyed with her (get naked already, woman!), he maintained pretty well. 4/5

The Steam Factor
Considering part of the plot of this book was Violet wanting to be a little more naughty, this book definitely brought the heat where the sexy times were concerned, including quite a bit of public sex. Seems Violet has a thing for it. 5/5

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Final Thoughts
For as unsure of herself as Violet is, at the end she gets pretty kick-ass. I enjoyed this book, and I liked the development of Violet coming out of her self-issues. I enjoyed the side characters and am looking forward to reading more in this series.

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