Review: Undressed (The Men of West Beach, #1) by Kimberly Derting

Summary/Cover Image from Amazon:
Can two people whose dreams have been cast aside find a new passion...together?

No one ever expected straight-A student Lauren Taylor to make waves. But that was the old Lauren, before she went to college and became an online stripper to make ends meet. Now, Lauren is on the run with a secret and a bag of cash, fleeing landlocked Arizona for the beaches of California.

Will Gabaldon was one of the hottest surfers on the circuit, but fate had something else in mind. When a surfing accident shattered his budding career, Will was forced into a life of tending bar and doing odd jobs just to survive.

A swim instructor with secrets like Will is the last thing Lauren wants. A distraction like Lauren is the last thing Will needs.

But soon, both discover there’s one thing more dangerous than the wave that ended Will's career: Love. 

Kimberly Derting already won me over with her young adult series The Body Finder. Therefore, when I heard she was releasing her first new adult romance, the start to a new series, I was super excited! She's always packed fantastic romance in her YA stories so I couldn't wait to see how her transition to NA would go.

The Result? Undressed is a solid three star read for me - caught smack dab in the middle of loving and hating. The beach setting was fun and the romance was steamy, but I just couldn't connect to the characters and even their relationship at times. 

My favorite part about Undressed was the setting. There's something always so whimsical and warm about a good old beach setting. It's only made better, in my opinion, when you're in a climate that's anything but beach like. I also enjoyed how Kimberly truly managed to flesh out the scenery. It was easy to picture the beach bungalow Lauren and Em lived in, the bars in which they frequented, the community center Lauren volunteered at, etc. 

The romance in Undressed is something commonly seen in NA - two people up to their heads in drama who should resist each other but can't. I don't know about you all, but I love a good star crossed, will-they-or-won't-they romance, especially when there's a surplus of secrets involved.

I did enjoy the romance quite a bit; however, there was one problem I had - it wasn't anything new. There wasn't anything that really made the romance stand out to me and become its own - it followed a typical formula save for the select secrets introduced. But even the secrets really didn't shock me too much....they were a tad bit underwhelming to be completely honest. 

As for the characters in this, I was caught in between liking and disliking. Lauren was the stereotypical good girl except for one dirty little secret. Lauren was smart, resourceful, and a good friend; however, she was a tad bit naive. So much of this book involved her second guessing herself and her situations, refusing to open up and talk when things got bad, and boy, did it frustrate me a times. So many hurt feelings and bad things could've been avoided if she just owned up to the truth and talked.  

Will, on the other hand, was the bad boy with a heart of gold. He was charming, and I loved his dedication to his little sister, but he had the same issues Lauren had - refusing to open up and ask for help when he needed it. 

Over the course of the book, they did get better, and become more willing to face the bad; however, I was already too far gone for that. I was left wanting more, wanting more zazz and spice - something to make these characters really come to life.

In all, Undressed left me feeling rather underwhelmed. I honestly excepted more from this book, and some parts of me don't know if I'll continue with the series. So my final world? If you love NA romance, especially those with a beach setting, try this one out. Maybe you'll see something I just couldn't. Other than that, I may be sticking to Kimberly's YA for the time being. 

Grade: C

Undressed is now out! 

Source: eARC provided by publicist - thanks Giselle at Xpresso Book Tours!

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1 comment:

  1. Sorry this one was a bit better for you. It sounds like it has some good point but too bad it left you feeling underwhelmed.


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