Blog Tour (Book Review & Giveaway): Truth or Beard by Penny Reid


Truth or Beard

by Penny Reid

Winston Brothers #1

Publication Date: July 23, 2015

Genres: Contemporary, Humor, Romance


Amazon • Nook • Kobo • iBooks


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?

Series Description:

Everyone in Green Valley, Tennessee knows that the six bearded Winston brothers have been imbued with an unfair share of charm and charisma… and are prone to mischief.

Truth or Beard is book #1 in the Winston Brother’s series. Each book is a standalone, full length

(110k words), contemporary romantic comedy novel, and follows the romantic exploits and adventures of one of the six Winston Brothers.


Duane Winston and Jessica James have known each other since childhood. Jess likes Beau, Duane’s twin brother, but Duane is like that burr that gets under your saddle and won’t work its way loose. Then she realizes she doesn’t want him to. But what happens when her lifelong dreams of globetrotting crash into his lifetime love of her? You know…romance happens.


I have a girl crush: *clears throat, looks around nervously* I’m going for full disclosure here. Penny Reid has quickly made her way to the top of my favorite authors writing today. I think I love her. *blinks* In a respectful Duane-like fashion, of course.

When I first stumbled upon Neanderthal Seeks Human a little over two years ago, I thought it was quirky, occasionally awkward but oh so fun and a great freebie find. What I didn’t realize Ms. Reid really did was, much like a drug dealer, hand me my first hit and then proceed to make me beg for more. I truly think Penny Reid is a brilliant writer. Each of her stories have their own feel, each character has unexpected depths and each series has its own special ‘verse that makes me marvel at her imagination. She writes stories that engage me – they make me laugh, occasionally make me sad, make me think (and sometimes google) and yes, dammit, she makes me care about her characters.  

Six Degrees of Sexy: I’ve really curious about the Winston brothers, ever since I read Beauty and the Mustache (the book that focuses on Ashley, the Winston sister and takes place mostly before, but a little during, this book). I just wasn’t sure how their individual romances could possibly play out. I mean, who creates a romantic hero named Cletus? Yet, today I stand and say I can’t wait to read his tale. Jess sure had the right of it,

I’d once overheard my daddy tell my momma that the six Winston boys had inherited their father’s ability to charm snakes, the IRS, and women.

These men have charmed the proverbial cover off my kindle. Initially, I know I wanted Billy’s story first. But Ms. Reid tends to give me what I need, not necessarily just what I want. I just didn’t realize I needed Duane’s story first. Speaking of story…

It’s a great one: Jess and Duane may have a shared past, having known each other since they were little kids and she threw his shorts up a tree (go Jess!), but it’s their future that’s the bone of contention here. There’s great little twists and turns that enrich their journey to a HEA (family secrets, shady exes, bad ass bikers!). All of them could have easily detoured into stereotypical angsty messiness, but when push comes to shove, rational thought prevails and the true obstacles are genuine and character driven.

Funny as hell:  I highlighted ALOT of dialogue in this book. There were so many funny scenes, great quotes at the start of each chapter, and little things that I wanted to remember and come back to that you’d think the book was published in day-glo yellow. This is only one of the lines I want on a T-shirt:

“Let me put it this way: have you ever seen someone and thought to yourself, Whoa, he’s hot! I’d like to screw his brains out. And then, you talk to the guy and realize someone already has?”

The brothers’ interactions alone had me snorting on more than one occasion (yes I’m still thinking about Cletus and his sausage) and Jess’ personal inner soundtrack was completely relatable. Yes, I’ve had those songs playing in my own head on occasion so I totally got what she was putting down, so to speak.

Simmering heat: I’m used to Penny Reid’s books being slow burns – great character studies that allow the hero and heroine to really connect emotionally before the sexy times happen, but man was I surprised that Jess and Duane made it to sexy hot so early in the story. Their first encounter at the weekly jam session was ridiculously hot and I was on tenterhooks, wondering if Penny Reid was finally going to go all out and give me a sexfest along with a great story….

But of course what did I say about giving me what I need? Duane applied the brakes to that crazy heat and made me actually get to know both him and Jess before allowing me the gratification of their sexy time. Hmph. Yes, I grumbled and much like Jess, I got distracted with the wanting, but in the end when it happened, it really was worth the wait.


The Bottom Line (5 stars)

I adored it. There’s so much to love in this book that it’s hard for me to focus on one thing. From soup to nuts, or sausage to pies, I loved it all. Seriously, Penny Reid melts my butter. I happily recommend this and I can’t wait for more adventures with the Winston clan (but if we can bump Cletus up on that line, I wouldn’t mind it at all, thank you).

– Ivy

*An ARC provided for an honest for review.



SEX! It all started with sex, between my parents. Personally I don’t like thinking about it, but whatever works for you is a-ok with me. No judgment. The sex happened in California and much of my life also occurred in that state until I moved from the land of nuts (almonds), wine, silicon… boobs, and heavy traffic to the southeast US. Like most writers I like to write, but let’s get back to sex. Eventually I married and gave birth to 2 small people-children (boy-6, girl-4 as of this writing).

By day I’m a biomedical researcher with focus on rare diseases. By night I’m a knitter, sewer, lino block carver, fabric printer, soap maker, and general crafter. By the wee hours of the morning or when I’m intoxicated I love to listen to the voices in my head and let them tell me stories. I hope you enjoy their stories.

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