“Grin and Beard It” by Penny Reid

I’m on a contemporary romance binge, and I’m loving it. It’s been years since I’ve read a bunch of romance novels in a go, so I’m quite surprised at myself at the moment.

I’d seen the Winston Brothers novels floating around the internet and was curious about them because I love the cross-stitch effect used for the cover. I think it’s so cute, and it makes me want to collect the series. After reading Black Witch Magic, I thought to myself, why not try one of those novels with the cute covers. So I did, and I loved it! 🙂

Genre

Contemporary Romance

Series

Winston Brothers, book 2

Pubbed

2016

Goodreads summary

Sienna Diaz is everyone’s favorite “fat” funny lady. The movie studio executives can’t explain it, but her films are out-grossing all the fit and trim headliners and Hollywood’s most beautiful elite. The simple truth is, everyone loves plus-sized Sienna.

But she has a problem, she can’t read maps and her sense of direction is almost as bad as her comedic timing is stellar. Therefore, when Sienna’s latest starring role takes her to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park she finds herself continually lost while trying to navigate the back roads of Green Valley, Tennessee. Much to her consternation, Sienna’s most frequent savior is a ridiculously handsome, charming, and cheeky Park Ranger by the name of Jethro Winston.

Sienna is accustomed to high levels of man-handsome, so it’s not Jethro’s chiseled features or his perfect physique that make Sienna stutter. It’s his southern charm. And gentlemanly manners. And habit of looking at her too long and too often.

Sienna has successfully navigated the labyrinth of Hollywood heart-throbs. But can she traverse the tenuous trails of Tennessee without losing her head? Or worse, her heart? (Goodreads)

My thoughts

I didn’t know what to expect when I started Grin and Beard It and didn’t even realize that it was actually the second book in the series. But despite starting with the second book, I didn’t feel lost. So I guess this is one of those series where you can just jump in through any book.

Grin and Beard It is almost a love-at-first-sight sort of romance. A young Latina celebrity visits a small town in Tennessee to film a movie and meets a park ranger, who rescues her after her car broke down on the mountain road. The park ranger does not recognize her, which is a relief for Sienna Diaz, who wants to escape the spotlight of fame for a while.

Jethro Winston is on a path of redemption with his family. He’s the oldest of five brothers and a sister and have been trying to prove to them that he has changed his ways ever since their mom passed. Jethro was the bad boy in the family who hero-worshipped his no-good father, a member of the local bike club, the Iron Wraiths. He is immediately smitten when he meets Sienna and turns up the charm to ask her out, although he has no idea that she’s a famous movie star.

The story was sweet and funny. I had fun reading it and liked how attracted Sienna and Jethro are to each other. I thought it was funny that just about everyone knew who Sienna is except Jethro and that when he learned that she’s a famous movie star, he just rolled with it.

However, I think my favorite character in the story is Cletus, Jethro’s second or third brother (can’t remember which). He is like a rough, eccentric, bearded fairy godmother for Jethro because he keeps trying to fix everything and make sure that his oldest brother is okay. I thought that was sweet. Plus, I just love how eccentric he is. I guess each book in the series is about each of the Winstons, so I can’t wait to get to the one about Cletus.

There are lots of sweet moments between the characters and funny moments with them too. I liked Jethro but especially Sienna because she makes jokes whenever she’s nervous, which is not always appropriate for the moment. I also loved that her mom prescribes Vicks vapor rub for everything (same in my household) and once she called her mom asking for advice and before she even told her mom what the problem is, her mom was like “Vicks! Whatever it is, use Vicks!” Lol! Lol! That cracked me up.

I guess the only complaint I have about the story (and it’s a minor one and because I can’t help being a twinge cynical about certain things) is that the characters fall for each other quickly and were basically engaged by the end of the book. I don’t even think a year had passed yet since they’d been together. Of course, this can (and have) actually happen in the real world, but I can’t help questioning it a bit. I mean, do all romance stories have to end with both characters madly in love and married? Anyway, I didn’t mind it much at all, and the way the engagement was announced was very entertaining and satisfying to me. My cynical side just wanted to be included in this reading experience, so it raised its ugly head to question the sincerity of Jethro and Sienna’s relationship.

Overall: ★★★★☆ ½

A fast-paced, entertaining contemporary romance about a movie star who finds love on her visit to Tennessee to shoot a movie. I really enjoyed this one and immediately picked up something else by the author soon after finishing this book.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

I think it’s worth purchasing a copy. I plan to get one too since I borrowed this from the library.

Quotes from the book

“Your perspective on life and loss comes from the cage you were held captive in.”

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

“Being happy with oneself and pandering to no one was the quickest way to scare the hell out of people.”

“Jethro, labeling kids isn’t fair — it doesn’t matter if the label is good or bad. It puts them in a box and makes them feel like they have to live inside it.”

“There’s freedom in being a blank canvas to another person and having some control over what is painted on that canvas.”

“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” — Socrates

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.” — Norman Cousins

8 thoughts on ““Grin and Beard It” by Penny Reid

  1. I’m glad you found a more enjoyable book after the letdown that was Black Witch Magic. (Also, plus size protagonist? excellent.) It sounds like Jethro was NOT a jerk, which is great, and I’m really curious about this “path of redemption” you speak of that he’s on with his family. I like that he has a conflict/goal in his life other than his romance with Sienna. I think I would also do some minor frowning at how quickly the characters’ relationship progresses, but you’re right — some relationships are like that IRL, so it’s not like you can fault the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea, it was a really good story and these characters worked well for me. Jethro was a gentleman and a sweetheart, really committed to changing his ways. I think I’m hooked on these books now. I’m currently reading the first one and am liking it.

      Liked by 1 person

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