Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Truth or Beard - Penny Reid (Winston Brothers #1)

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers, #1)I've really liked Penny Reid's books so far--I've been following her Knitting in the City series, though I think I actually have a few to catch up on there.  When I saw that this one, Truth or Beard, was on sale a while ago, and the start of a new series (and one that ties in with Knitting in the City!) I snatched it up...and then it languished on my Kindle.  But over the weekend, after reading Danielle Steel's Magic, I found myself wanting something, uhm...better.  So I went for this one.

Unlike the Knitting books, which take place in Chicago, Truth or Beard takes place in a small town in rural Tennessee.  Our heroine, Jessica, has returned there after getting her college degree so that she can work as a teacher and pay off her student debt while living with her parents and older brother, and save some money so that she can travel the world like she's always dreamed.  At a town Halloween party, where she happens to be dressed as Sexy Gandalf (beard and all) she runs into her long-time crush, Beau Winston, and the two end up having a hot-and-heavy make-out session...which comes to an abrupt end when "Beau" reveals that he's actually Duane, Beau's twin.  Who Jessica has not liked for a long time.  But he's liked her.  And this revelation makes Jessica start to look at their former interactions in a new light.  Duane really wants to have a relationship with Jessica, settle down, have kids, the whole nine yards.  But Jessica isn't planning on hanging around.

Like Reid's other books, this is light and fun but also sincere.  It was nice to see a heroine who really goes after what she wants, but is also willing to compromise.  While Jessica isn't willing to just throw away her dreams of travel for a guy, she does recognize that, ultimately, she doesn't have to travel for years at a time to see the world, especially because she's a teacher and could travel during the summers.  Duane is actually the one who doesn't really want to compromise, but it's more due to a sense of duty to his family than any desire to be "in control" of the relationship.  And like her other books, Reid puts in a little dramatic sub-plot, this one having to do with a biker gang, a chop shop, and one of Duane's brothers.  But she doesn't make this too far-fetched and it wraps up pretty neatly without any extraneous suspension of disbelief.

Another of Reid's strengths has historically been her supporting characters, and there's no exception to that here, either.  Jessica has a great female friend, Claire, who was great.  It's always so nice to see female friendships in books, rather than women just sniping at each other over a guy.  And of course Duane's brothers are present here, too, to various degrees.  My favorite was 100% Cletus, who is kind of, well, weird.  I'm really looking forward to reading his book, which is the third one, and I immediately bought it and the second after finishing this because I just liked him so much.  He's the brainy brother, who has a sense of logic and a strange omniscience.  This played really well as a supporting character and I'm hoping it plays well with him as a main, too.

Overall, this was a fun, light read.  I really like Reid and will definitely continue to read her.

4 stars out of 5.  

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