Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Truth or Beard by Penny Reid Blog Review + Giveaway

Tour: Truth or Beard by Penny Reid 
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 na├»ve 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? 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.

Fallers, as you well know, I love Penny Reid's books. All of them. Even the ones that aren't my favorite are in my list of top 100 favorite books (for real). But this one? I was worried about. If you've read my other reviews, you know that I'm incredibly picky (despite what I may think to the contrary). I don't like a lot of things. And I was worried about this book... because it contains a lot of things I do not like. I don't like the outdoors, small towns or run-ins with motorcycle gangs. This book has all of those things. And yet... I'm giving Truth or Beard four and a half leaves!

"Why, Elyssa?" you're probably asking yourself. "If you don't like all of those things, how did you end up loving this book?" I'll tell you why, people. It's because Penny Reid is made of magic. MAGIC, I tell you. Additional proof she is magical? For the first time ever, the character I really identified with was the hero--which was really awesome and not something I'd ever considered before. So here's the sitch: There's Jessica James, math teacher, sheriff's daughter, and longtime object of Duane Winston's affection. Then there's Duane, the aforementioned Winston, and one of six Winston brothers (and one Winston sister, Ashley, the heroine of Beauty and the Mustache, which is the impetus for this first in a spinoff series featuring all the deliciously bearded Winston brothers), ginger twin of Beau, and car-fixer extraordinaire. The problem? They don't exactly get along. Well, to be specific, they didn't when they were kids, but thanks to a smokin'-hot kiss, that just might change.

The most awesome thing about this story is Duane. I'm not kidding. Number one, I need to make it known here and now that there are not enough ginger heroes. Not. Enough. People. Ginger men are hot, and they're a highly underrepresented demographic (kudos to Penny for furthering this particular issue). Second, he's a planner. And not a "this is how I'm going to sweep this girl off her feet, blah, blah, blah," kind of planner. He's the kind of slightly neurotic planner (you know, like us normal people) that wants everything to go just right, and frankly, tries to get things that don't go according to his plan to bend to his will. He's so... human. It's wonderful. I know I rave about this every single time I write a review for Penny Reid books, but it's something I never ever get tired of writing about, reading about, or talking about. There are so few people who can write real people, and we're all lucky that Penny is one of them.

Jessica and Duane's story is excellent--they grow, they fight, they fall in love. The only complaint I had was that the twist was just... too much. I won't give anything away (because you know how I hate spoilers), but I thought it was too much for the story. So much of the story is grounded in realistic person-to-person interaction and real-world relationship problems that the twist seemed out of place and too sudden, and almost too easy.

Mind you, this is me basically complaining about Mary Poppins-level wonderfulness (you know, practically perfect in every way?). All in all, Fallers, you have to buy Truth or Beard. Buy it now. Buy it for the love. Buy it for the bearded men. Buy it because you take stock in my reviews. Just. Buy. It.


SEX! 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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