Where should I start?
First, I must say that I have an extreme love/hate relationship with this book. I wanted to love it. It had everything I love in a good romance. A Swoon-worthy leading man, (I used to have a thing for redheads and Duane and Beau Winston definitely fulfilled those ginger fantasies I had as a younger version myself.) It had a promising story line with lots of witty banter and funny scenes that had me chuckling throughout the story. It also came with glowing reviews. Numerous people recommended this book to me and I was excited when I finally had a chance to pick it up. I love the cover, too. The book started off great, and I really thought I was going to love it.
Truth or Beard captured my attention for about the first seven chapters, I seriously didn't want to put it down, but then I started hitting some of my book hang-ups around 25% and it became almost excruciating for me to read.
We all have book hang-ups. Sometimes a book can drive me so up the wall that it's almost impossible for me to finish. I was almost there with this book, but I trudged through and forced myself to keep reading until the end. Most people would've hit a hang-up and shelved the book on their DNF list, but I didn't want to start this book and then not finish. Though, I must be honest, I did end up skimming a bit at the end of the book because it was having a hard time keeping my attention.
My goal is to read two books a month for the next year, review them to help keep my creative vein open, and be as honest as possible because I believe in following my truth, which is what I plan to do when reviewing. As an author, it's very important that people be brutally honest. Sure, it hurts when someone slams your "baby", but I personally believe that even the worst criticism can make you a better writer. Just because I personally didn't find this book to be a five star read, doesn't mean that it won't be a five star read for someone else. Penny Reid is a USA Today best selling author. This book has over 1,000 reviews and most of them are four to five stars! I encourage everyone to pick up the book and read it for yourself to form your own opinion, because it wasn't a five star for me but it wasn't a one star either.
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 perpetually level-headed Jessica James has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life. 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.
When Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?
So, let's get on with my review:
My Rating for this books is three stars.
Let's start out with what I loved about this book. The first chapter was amazing. I loved the dynamic
between Duane and Jess. Their banter is hilarious and I love how charismatic and swoon-worthy Duane is. My favorite line, "Jessica James, you've been giving me hot looks that are difficult to ignore." I read that line and was instantly fanning myself from all the heat that ginger was throwing at her. It was seriously probably one of the hottest lines I've ever read. I loved the side characters and their quirks, Cletus and Jethro are great side characters, and I loved Claire as well. After about the third chapter I started noticing way too many things that were making it almost impossible to read.
My first hang up is repetition.
There are places in this story where the author would write a sentence one way and in the same exact sentence re-write the words. Example from the book: But I was tired, and my head was muddled, and I was tired of my head being muddled. I get that it was done for emphasis, but I think the second part of the sentence could've been reworded so it wasn't almost the exact same thing. There were lots of places in the book like this where it could've been reworded to make it flow better.
There were also places in the book where the authors used then or and at least three or four times the same paragraph. In the immortal words of Ashton Kutcher. NO AND THEN! This also happened quite a few times with other words as well, almost as if she was writing the same sentence over and over again. And this, and that, and this again. It threw me off.
My second hang up is using fifty-cent words for absolutely no reason but to make the writing sound smarter.
Fifty-cent words are what I call words I've never heard of before and have to use a dictionary to look up. I don't mind them here or there, but when I have to spend twenty percent of my time looking up what a word means, and then realizing that the author didn't always use that fifty-cent word correctly, it's a major turn off for me. People don't usually talk like that which made the characters unbelievable and I just couldn't relate to them. The fifty-cent words did work more for Jess's character, because she is portrayed as a calculus teacher with a higher education, but the author used them for Duane's character as well, and he is set up to be a hillbilly backwoods man. We don't find out until almost the end of the book that he has a higher vocabulary because his mother forced him to read as a child. Knowing this earlier in the book would've made it easier to believe that he uses words like dichotomously, (Just one of the words I had to look up in the book). I'm all for expanding my vocabulary, but when the book has too many fifty-cent words that don't fit the image I have in mind of the characters, it makes it hard for me to keep reading.
The last thing that irked me about this specific book was the fact that Duane was ready for Jess and him to have sex in the first chapter and then all of the sudden wanted to take things slow. It was like watching a snail try to cross a finish line. I seriously felt like I was reading a book about the tortoise and the hare because one minute they would be taking things fast, and the next they weren't moving at all. It was exhausting to keep up with. Jess and Duane's on and off switch for their feelings was also a bit hard to follow.
Overall, I felt the story had a good premise, and the characters did have their quirks that I fell in love with. I laughed quite a few times, and I loved all of the Winston brothers that I had a chance to meet in the book. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough to keep me reading the series. I've read other stories from this author before, and I had the same problem. I like the story enough to give it three stars, but I had to take 2 stars off for all the hang-ups I had. I think this author's style is just not for me, and that's okay, because books aren't for everyone and there are so many people out there that loved this book.
Right now Truth or Beard is free on Amazon. You should grab a copy and form your own opinion. What some people hated about the book I actually loved, and no one really complained about any of the hang-ups I had in the reviews I read.
You can get Penny's book Truth or Beard: Winston Brothers Book 1 by clicking HERE
Have you read the book? What were your thoughts? Drop a comment below.