Truth or Beard
by Penny Reid
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Book #1 in the Winston Brothers series
Number of Pages: 376
Ages 15 and up
CW: gang-type violence alluded to this book
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?
This is one of those books that has been sitting on my TBR for a long time that I kept saying I’d get to later. I’m talking 2016 people! Finally, I decided to give Penny Reid a try and I’m glad I did. I enjoyed this book a lot.
If I had stopped reading halfway through, this book would have gotten a solid 5 stars from me. Duane and Jessica have amazing chemistry. I love the interaction of all of the Winston brothers, the way they rib each other but also support each other fully. In the very beginning, when Jess is thinking of her crush on Duane’s twin Beau, I was afraid this story would take too long to set up the correct pairing of Jessica and Duane. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. There was also a fear that Beau, being the “good” twin as far as most of the town is concerned, would be a jerk. Instead, Beau is just as wonderful as Duane but in a different way. They have a wonderful twin relationship and understand one another even though they are a lot different.
So what happens after the halfway point of this book? It felt as though the author started giving too much information. A lot was going on, but I think it still could have worked if certain aspects of those tendrils of the story hadn’t been dragged out. Plus, there’s a particular story arc that is laid out on a silver platter for the reader but never gets discussed for the characters. Perhaps it will feature in a future book, but it had to do very specifically with Jessica so it would seem odd to have it come up in another character’s book.
This story piqued my interest enough that I have already picked up Beauty and the Mustache (a crossover between another series and a sort of precursor to this story) and the next book in this series, Grin and Beard It. If this author can maintain the vibes I got at the beginning of this book in her other stories, I’ll be very happy.
I have quite a few Penny Reid books on my Kindle. I need to dust one off and give it a go. Great review.
I’ve read two more since this one with mixed results. I really liked the next one in this series. The one I read from another series (considered 0.5 in this series) wasn’t that great though.
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