Thruth Or Beard (Winston Brothers #1) by Penny ReidTruth or Beard by Penny Reid
Published July 2015
Series: Winston Brothers #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: eBook
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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?

Jessica James is back in Green Valley – but she is only here to make and save money for her plans to travel the world. But being back in Green Valley means having to cross paths with the Winston brother again, especially Beau, who renders her completely speechless. But when she finds out that she was actually making out with his twin Duane Winston – who, incidentally, she can’t stand – things change. Considerably.

What I loved about this book:

  • The wonderful male MC
  • The Winston brother
  • Penny Reid’s humor-laden writing

What I felt needed improvement:

  • The story was missing an epilogue
  • The female MC was a bit wishy-washy
  • The story stalled after the 50-60% mark

Having read a couple of Penny Reid books so far, I knew I wanted to give Truth Or Beard a chance, let alone for the cheesy cover, which, along with the title made it sound quite intriguing.

“I wondered if we would disagree about the color of the sky on our date, fall into our old habit of debating and making mountains out of molehills. The possibility was exciting.”

From the first page on, I fell in love with Penny Reid’s writing style. It was extremely funny (the main characters have a brand of self-deprecation that is just too good to be true) and at the same time, it was hot. I was extremely giddy when reading this book and in the beginning, there wasn’t a single page that could get a chuckle out of me. The relationship between Duane and Jessica was special, since they hated each other being kids, and now that they bump into each other again, they have this incredibly hot mutual attraction to each other, it’s insane. But, you know, given the fact that they still have the urge to pick on each other all the time, there is some wonderful (and funny) chemistry between them.

“Did I want to kiss the hell out of him? Yes, I did. Did I want to wrap his banana and let him have his way with my coconuts? Yes. I wanted that to happen.”

I absolutely loved Duane. I am not into beards, or redheads, but I would have liked to see him in the flesh. He was the perfect male MC for this book: grumpy and reserved on the outside, yet a real gentleman when you get to know him. I was less impressed with Jessica just because – despite all her efforts – she really did seem like a flake. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to explore the world, but it was like she was talking the talking more than she would walk the walk – she’s basically living off her parents until she has enough money to travel…

And then, for some reason, around the 50% mark, the book started stalling, or at least moving forward extremely slowly. From then on, it took me ages to finish Truth Or Beard. The book revolves around two main intrigues (the main characters relationship and Duane’s trouble with a local biker gang), and they just suddenly become boring, even though they get tied up quite nicely in the end.

In the end, I was a bit disappointed that there were a couple of things in this story that just didn’t add up. Actually, it’s not that they didn’t add up, it’s more that some things were left with loose ends at the end of the story. Let’s take for example the story around Jessica’s aunt. It’s not going to spoil anything when I tell you that it turns out her aunt is actually her mother. It’s not going to spoil anything because that piece of information comes up in the story but has absolutely no impact on it whatsoever. And than there’s this story around the biker guy, Repo, who I am sure is somehow related to Jessica, but the matter is only being hinted at, and not picked up. And yeah… there was just no real epilogue here, so this was a major disappointment.

But thankfully, there was one aspect of the book I enjoyed the heck out: I loved the side characters. Well, the Winston Brothers, that is! They were all incredibly adorable and charming, and added a whole lot of flair to the book. I can’t wait to hear Beau’s story, because he is the corny and foodie one! At the end of the book, we get a sneak peak at the next book in the series, which will be Jethro’s story. But again, this yielded disappointment. I didn’t mind reading about Jethro next, but I was convinced he was pining after Claire (Jessica’s friend), and that the story revolved around that.

Anyway, I’ll be giving this one a try (it’s called Grin And Beard It) hoping it will have the same spirit and humour and that it is going to be a little more polished where side stories are concerned. Now that would make it perfect.

Detailed Rating
3.5 Stars
5 Stars
5 Stars
All the feels
5 Stars
Overall: four-stars