★BOOK REVIEW + ARC Giveaway★ Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

SHAN'S RATING

Awesome!

Truth Or Beard is the first book in the Winston Brothers Series and a spin off from Penny Reid’s Knitting in the City book, Beauty and the Mustache. It’s not necessary to have read Beauty and the Mustache because Truth or Beard works well as a standalone, but I think the experience of the Winston clan would be much richer if the reader had a grasp of the family dynamic and the events leading up to Duane’s story.  So, if you haven’t read Beauty and the Mustache yet, then go!  Go now!  I’ll wait… (still waiting)

Book infos & Purchase Links

6146vfRpOtL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_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? 

Author : Penny Reid
Title : Truth or Beard
Series : Winston Brothers
 #1
Publisher : -Caped Publishing
Pages : 370
Release date : July 21st, 2015
Genre : Contemporary Romance.

 

Shan's Review

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

Marcel Proust

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Sheriff James’ daughter, Jessica, is back in Green Valley, home from college and teaching Calculus at the local high school.  And Duane Winston is ready to set his plans in motion.  He’s known for years that Jessica James was the one for him.  Sure, she never cared much for him, she was a brat and the Winston Charm Gene must have skipped him. But he knew that things were different and now they could come to each other as adults and start fresh. 

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A case of mistaken identity and some seriously hot Wizard looks are the catalyst for Duane’s bold move and it doesn’t take long for Jessica to see Duane for the man he is and for her to want him almost more than she wants her wanderlust slaked. But it starts to look like the path Duane and Jessica are on is set to fork in different directions in the very near future, causing both of them to question what they want out of life.

In the midst of Duane trying to squeeze in all the love he can into his time with Jess, The Iron Order has come to his door with threats to his brother Jethro’s freedom. Duane and his twin, Beau, must find a way to keep Jethro out of prison and the rest of their brothers free of the entanglement with the Club.

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To say that I was looking forward to this book would be an understatement of epic proportions.  I. Have. Obsessed. Obsessed over this series and these charactersI’ve even called dibsies on Billy Winston for book boyfriend.  The Winston’s are my kind of people.  Small-town (but in the best sense), family-oriented, hard-working, intelligent (but in the non-smug way), big-hearted, pure, salt-of-the-earth folk.  And it doesn’t hurt that they are all hot and musically inclined *sigh*.

Billy_Shan_alleskelle

I was very happy that Penny Reid decided to give Duane his story first. If ever there was a sibling that should have identity issues, it’s Duane Winston.  One of 7, he doesn’t have the distinction of being “the girl” or “the troublemaker” or “the weird one” or “the youngest”, hell, he’s not even the most likeable twin:

We were hoping for Beau.  He’s so much nicer than you, plus he knows when to show respect.

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But Duane Winston is proof that still waters run deep.

Duane doesn’t suffer fools gladly, nor does he fear or tolerate the criminal element.  He’s brave and stalwart and loves fiercely. Whether it’s his mom, siblings or Jessica James, if someone is loved by Duane Winston, he will crawl over coals to keep them safe and happy.  He may not smile or laugh a lot, but when he does, it’s a gift, and when he wants to be with someone, he’s all in.

“I want to know you…”And I want to be known.”

To add to his quiet, lone-wolf persona, we also see him for the thrill-seeking car racer he is, which is no small turn-on in my book.

Rationally, I knew it was just an old car, but something about the way he drove it turned all that metal into a sexy machine.  He drove with swagger, panache, control.  How he could be so unbridled on the race track and yet dominate with precision at the same time rang my bell–like, blaring five-alarm fire bell ringing.

I may make a stink about Billy, but I’m thinking that by reading Truth Or Beard,  I just met and fell in love with the Winston of my dreams.

My hat is off to Penny Reid for this book, this series, these characters, this community. Every character has their own distinct personality–personalities that fit their age, life experience, gender and station.  The locale is beautifully described and the culture is brought to us so completely I could almost hear the murmur of the crowd and the strumming of the banjos and  smell the chili and cornbread as I read.  

Ms. Reid has the ability to make me love her heroines–even a heroine I can’t really identify with, which always causes me to feel so much when I read her books.  There are many reasons why PR books are on my “Keeper-Read-Often Shelf” and heroine-loveability ranks at the top. 

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I really wanted to get mad and rail at Jessica, but it was impossible.  Impossible because the author knows how to get us to see, really see, the heroine’s motivations and feelings, even if we wouldn’t feel or act in the same way.

I get airsick, carsick, trainsick, seasick and strange food always gives me diarrhea, but no matter how much I’d want to tear up my passport and firmly ensconce myself in Green Valley society and let Duane Winston do fantastic things to my nipples, I get it.  I get that a person, young or old, needs to feed their soul.  Traveling is Jessica’s Siren Song, her passion. I get it, and Duane gets it. Jessica’s soul-deep desire to travel might break his heart, but he’d sooner live a lonely life than ask someone he loves to give up on her dreams, nor could he stomach the idea of taking something that wasn’t given to him freely and wholeheartedly–a remnant of growing up with a user of a father. 

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Penny Reid also has a talent for creating secondary characters that don’t feel secondary–they feel real and important and like they aren’t there just to instigate or aid plot progression.  We are invested in everyone. In this case, we’re most especially invested in the brothers.  As a matter of fact, I’d be a liar if I said that Cletus didn’t steal the show. Oh, my God.  Cletus is amazing. Brilliant.  Calculating.  Bizarre.  Everything Cletus does or says is done with intent—the intent might not be clear to everyone, but make no mistake, he’s got a method and a meaning behind his madness. He also has a way of seeing past obstacles to find the solution to whatever problem they are facing and also a desire to see everything put to rights. He might be serious and lacking in the devilish charm of his father and a few of his brothers, but his strangeness is rather endearing, which sets him apart from the rest. 

Cletus_Shan_alleskelle

I’m always hard-pressed to find fault with a book that leaves me so completely in love and immersed in the tale and so happy for the future of the other characters whose stories have yet to be told.  I love the Winstons.  However, I would have liked to have seen a few particular scenes play out rather than be glossed over and there’s a little familial matter involving Jessica that was left hanging that I really hope gets addressed in later books. Actually, there were a few things regarding Jessica’s family that I wished were explained more, but overall, Truth Or Beard was a stellar read. 

It’s also worth mentioning that The Winston Brothers series differs from the Knitting in the City books in that both hero and heroine POV’s are represented throughout the book. Just when I thought PR’s books couldn’t get any better, we get to live in the head of her heroes!

Author Bio

Author-Photo-Penny-Reid-300x300-170x170SEX! It all started with sex, between my parents. Personally I don’t like thinking about it, but whatever works for you is a-ok with me. No judgment. The sex happened in California and much of my life also occurred in that state until I moved from the land of nuts (almonds), wine, silicon… boobs, and heavy traffic to the southeast US. Like most writers I like to write, but let’s get back to sex. Eventually I married and gave birth to 2 small people-children (boy-6, girl-4 as of this writing).

By day I’m a biomedical researcher with focus on rare diseases. By night I’m a knitter, sewer, lino block carver, fabric printer, soap maker, and general crafter. By the wee hours of the morning or when I’m intoxicated I love to listen to the voices in my head and let them tell me stories. I hope you enjoy their stories.

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Giveaway

(2 winners will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter. First winner will win the ARC, delivered as soon as the giveaway ends. Second winner will win the Kindle Edition of Truth or Beard, delivered on release day.)

Only first 2 steps are mandatory. More chances if you tweet and share though!

Congratulations to Melissa M and Jacqueline G
Melissa you won the Truth or Beard ARC and Jacqueline I will personally gift you an kindle edition of the book upon release day.
Thanks to all the participants!
(Contacting the winners by email, you have 24 hours to answer me back and give me the email address you want the book to be sent to. If I don’t hear from you within 24 hours I will have to choose another winner.)

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