I introduced myself to Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series last year by reading the second book in the series. It left me wanting more, so I picked the first book soon after completing Grin & Beard It, and devoured it.
Winston Brothers, book 1
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? (Goodreads)
Truth or Beard focuses on Jessica and Duane who have always opposed and played pranks on each other since they were kids. Duane has always managed to get on Jessica’s wrong side, but Jessica has always had a crush on his twin brother, Beau, the more charming of the pair. When the story begins, Jessica has returned to town after college only to save up enough money to pay off her student loans so that she’ll be free to do what she has yearned for since she was little girl — travel the world. She will allow nothing and no one to get in her way of this goal.
Duane is the daredevil among the Winston Brothers. Despite the pranks and such as a kid, Duane has always had a crush on Jessica. When she returns to town, he sees it as his chance to show her how he feels and, potentially, enter into a serious relationship with her. But things start off messy when he allows Jessica to believe he’s Beau as he makes out with her at a Halloween party. The two later realize that they have feelings for each other and decide to date, but Jessica’s plan to spend just a year in town to pay off her loans and go travel doesn’t fit neatly into Duane’s plans and is a rut in their blossoming relationship.
…. 😩 ugh! I suck at these recaps. But you get the gist of it.
Truth or Beard was entertaining and I had fun reading it, but I’m glad I was introduced to this series through its second novel because although I liked Truth or Beard, certain aspects of the plot and the characters didn’t work for me.
What I liked was the passion between Jessica and Duane (they just can’t keep their hands off each other) and seeing characters I was previously introduced to in Grin & Beard It (mainly Cletus).
“Sitting so close to my sausage likely has you overheated and excited…” — Cletus 😉
I also liked that Jessica didn’t have to sacrifice her dream to travel to be with Duane, but it did annoy me that it seems that Duane was trying to change her mind and that he was holding himself back from her when she was fully committed to his deal to try dating for a year and a day.
I mean, it’s pretty obvious early on (at least to me) that these two click and have serious chemistry. But, of course, there needs to be a conflict and it’s Jessica’s dream to travel the world without being tied down anywhere. Since these two were just starting to date, I didn’t see why Jessica’s dream to travel had to be such a big deal. I mean, up until then Jessica thought they disliked each other and they hadn’t yet entered into a serious relationship. I didn’t see why it took them so long, almost to the end of the story, to think of a compromise, but mostly I was annoyed that this was a huge issue early on.
I liked the story, but some plot threads weren’t resolved by the end. I think if I’d read this one first, I’d have been more unsatisfied with the story, especially since the plot points that stuck out to me in this weren’t picked up on in the second book. That would have bugged me. (I really want to know if Jessica learns about her family background.) So, as with Grin & Beard It, I finished this one wanting to know more. I just hope everything is wrapped up well by the end of the series.
I liked it but not as much as the second book, Grin & Beard It, which I’d read first.
Buy | Borrow | Bypass
Quotes from the book
“Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground.” — Judith Thurman
“We all know that light travels faster than sound. That’s why certain people appear bright until you hear them speak.”
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” — Marcel Proust
“The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees only what he has come to see.” — G.K. Chesterton