Truth or Beard by Penny Reid
(Winston Brothers #1)
July 23, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Humor 18+
Contains: sexual references, sex, profanity
Source: eARC for Honest review
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?
Series Description: Everyone in Green Valley, Tennessee knows that the six bearded Winston brothers have been imbued with an unfair share of charm and charisma… and are prone to mischief. Truth or Beard is book #1 in the Winston Brother’s series. Each book is a standalone, full length (110k words), contemporary romantic comedy novel, and follows the romantic exploits and adventures of one of the six Winston Brothers.
The first Winston Brothers series book was everything I had hoped it would be and more. My affection for Penny Reid's writing continues to grow with each book, and with each couple or group of characters she creates. In the case of the Winston brothers, each is a superhero; there are no sidekicks here. And in this first batch of awesome, we get the full Duane experience. But never fear, most of the brothers show up to varying degrees demonstrating why I will devour all the books in this series.
'Truth or Beard' is Duane's, one of the ginger twins, book. This group of brothers were introduced in another book by Penny called 'Beauty and the Mustache' (which is awesome!). 'Truth or Beard' can be read as a standalone, however. There are some timeline overlaps, but nothing that will affect your reading enjoyment. If anything, you should very much want to go back and read BatM when you are done with ToB, if you have not done so already, because, like I said, it is awesome.
Now Duane and Jessica's story presented a different type of conflict to their love story. That conflict being that they loved each other, but had completely different life goals. How do you resolve this issue? Duane loves his family, co-owns a business with his brothers, and has such a deadbeat user for a father that he wants nothing to do with immitating any of his choices. But Duane also loves Jessica deeply. Jessica loves her family as well, but has always been different, with a deep desire to follow her wanderlust and travel the world. But Jessica also loves Duane deeply. How can love conquer all without also taking the dreams and choices of your partner away? Is it selfish to want the one you love to stay with you when you know their dream is to be free? I loved going through this journey with Duane and Jessica.
Let me also say, Duane is a big ole swoon. I loved his love for Jessica. I loved the combination of vulnerability and trepidation. It made him so much more real. He wanted to do everything right, because Jessica was it for him. Some of the things he did and said were just dreamy. And honorable. Even the history between him and Jessica became really sweet when you saw it through his eyes. Ain't nothin' sexier than a man in love. But even the best laid plans can be stumped, and watching how Duane handled his obstacles was also very honest and real. But when you have a determined woman and a load of interfering brothers, surely the best things are yet to come. Right?
I also really liked Jessica. She has a unique head on her shoulders, but that doesn't make her desires and dreams wrong. She's not the bad guy. She's honest. And isn't that what we want? How many times have I yelled at a character in a book to just open up and be honest? Too many to count. Well, we know what she wants. So now what's the plan? I loved the line of thinking and plotting going on in this book to take us away from standard secrets and look at the deeper issues of the long-term. I loved Jessica's honesty and vulnerability. I also loved her enthusiasm and "wildness." Duane and Jessica were such a fantastic couple, and their chemistry was scorching!
Of course, there's more to this love story than meets the eye. We are following a brood of Winston men, for Pete's sake! Surely trouble and tomfoolery are not far behind. And trouble they are. But even in irritation, I loved watching these brothers work together. They are funny and loving and weird and loyal. They are perfect brothers. Now Jessica has her own family issues and special set of circumstances. But once again, watching all these situations and scenarios play out was exciting, comedic, and engaging. Plot twists rock!
I absolutely loved 'Truth or Beard.' My review only touches on its awesomeness because I don't want to give away spoilers. I highlighted a ton of places on my kindle because I cherished equally the beautiful prose, the touching moments, and the outrageous comedy. I look forward to all the Winston boys and their books (especially Cletus's, because his character is full of awesome). But I will also cherish Duane and Jessica's book and look forward to future re-reads. Do yourself a favor and read this book.