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Title: Truth or BeardMy Review:
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #1
Published by: Indie
Release Date: July 21st 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Romantic Comedy
Format: Kindle Book
Reading Challenges: Lenoreo's 2018 #LetsReadIndie Challenge, Lenoreo's 2018 AtoZ Reading Challenge, Lenoreo's 2018 Beat the Backlist Challenge, Lenoreo's 2018 New Adult Challenge, Lenoreo's COYER Winter Switch 2017/18
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Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my!
Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life.
His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…
But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Order.
Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?
4.5 stars — Yay!!! Looks like this series might be a hit for me!! I can’t tell you how excited that makes me, b/c so many of my friends LOVE Ms. Reid, and I’ve enjoyed her books, but with fairly strong caveats. So it’s really relieving to be able to say that Grin & Beard It wasn’t an outlier, maybe I was just waiting for the Winston’s all along!!
Jessica was perfectly odd and adorable…very quirky, but not unrelatably quirky, you know? She made me laugh with her wicked and ironic sense of humour (and I now understand my friend Jooood’s choice to dress up as Gandalf when she first met Ms. Reid). I did have a harder time relating to her wanderlust, and her stubborn assertion to not have personal attachments to people holding her back… I’m wondering if that was just her being young and assuming that that’s the way it would need to be in order to fulfill her dreams, you know? But I guess I can say I’m not a person with wanderlust, and so I found myself reaching trying to make a connection with Jessica on that…trying to figure out where it came from, what inspired it, etc. Might have just been me though. I loved her relationships with her family, especially her brother, b/c you could feel the underlying love, but it was covered in wanting to annoy the crap out of each other…I could relate a bit. I was surprised that one mystery wasn’t resolved in the book, even though it was heavily hinted at…but I can’t say anything without spoiling. Maybe it will come into play in another book in the series?
Duane was both adorable and frustrating…seriously, I’ll end up saying this a million different ways. He was almost high and mighty with Jess a bit too much, and I can’t always get down with a high handed hero. He made decisions for her instead of asking her…but I do understand that was a flaw of his. I just don’t know if he learned from it, you know? At least maybe not enough to satisfy me. There were plenty of times where I both loved him and he irked me; where he made me swoon and he made me want to smack him at the same time. I thought he was so misunderstood, and sweet and sensitive, and when it came to the way he loved Jessica, oh wow…just *sigh* I also really appreciated how deeply he cared for his family, and how important they were to him.
And together they were just awesomesauce. I loved how they got lost in each other…their chemistry was amazing. And there were so many hilarious moments sprinkled in, those always make these romances feel very real. I mean, the car makeout scene killed me. Their relationship progressed in a fairly predictable manner wrt conflict I could see coming a mile away, but I was OK with that.
I also absolutely adored all the scenes with more than one Winston. The way the brothers interacted, the way Jess interacted with the brothers, it was all just good stuff. I also loved Claire, and am intrigued about her story. What I found funny is that every fan I know loves Cletus, and while I do think he’s hilarious, I’m not swooning or anything. I can’t help but wonder if he’s on the Asperger’s spectrum…either that or I worry he’s a sociopath. 😛
I will say this, reading this series out of order is a mistake. If you feel like you’re going to read the whole series, and not just a particular book, I suggest reading it starting at Ashley’s book (Beauty and the Mustache from the KITC series) and then in order from this book on. I haven’t read Ashley’s book, and I felt like my experience would have been enhanced if I had. In fact, I read book 2 first, and now I feel as though I should go back and reread Jethro’s book to at least get the overarching plot clear in my mind. Plus, it’s just awesome.
So yeah. Super happy that I loved this one too, and now I need to figure out if I’m going back to Ashley’s book, or what. I guess we’ll find out.