Review: Beard Science by Penny Reid

Beard Science
Series: Winston Brothers, #3
Author: Penny Reid
Publication Date: October 11, 2016
Publisher: Penny Reid
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult, Humor

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need?

Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate.

And desperate times call for Cletus Winston.

Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So… what’s a maniacal mastermind to do?

Likely, the last thing you expect.


Move over Duane and Jethro, there’s a new favorite Winston in the house!

Cletus Winston is unlike any other book character I’ve come across. He’s eccentric, but his oddities mask the genius within. Cletus is perfectly happy hiding in plain sight if it means he can put his secret plans in motion. No one, besides his family, knows what Cletus is capable of.

No one except Jennifer Sylvester that is. Banana Cake Queen Jennifer may be the local celebrity, but she’s not exactly sought after. Everyone looks past her and considers her to be just a pretty face. Jennifer, like Cletus, has more going on behind her mask than people believe. Jennifer watches people. She’s knows what Cletus is up to. She’s smart and might just be able to give Cletus Winston a taste of his own medicine when she blackmails Cletus into helping her find a husband.

Cletus and Jennifer were a match made in book heaven. Seriously. These two were so perfect together. They were both smart and weird in the best of ways. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I loved their story and the time it took for them to realize what they had found in each other. It was such a fun journey — my favorite book in the series so far!

If you’re a fan of romantic comedies, you’re going to want to read this book and the entire Winston Brothers series. It’s non-stop laughs and love.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten New Adult Book Series to Binge Read

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Ten book recommendations for __________.  My choice for the week is Ten New Adult Book Series to Binge Read. These are some of my favorite new adult series and why I love them. You can click on the series name and author to be taken to the Goodreads series page.


1.Falling Series by Ginger Scott


Ginger Scott has a way with words. Her romances are more than just romances. There’s always something more to be learned from her stories.

2.Bright Side Series by Kim Holden

This series is very near and dear to my heart. It’s about living every day to the fullest, grief and love. Bright Side is probably my most recommended read.

3.Alabama Summer Series by J. Daniels


J. Daniels is really good at weaving humor into her love stories. I can always count on her to make me smile or laugh.

4.The Ivy Years Series by Sarina Bowen


I love what Sarina Bowen has done with her Ivy Years series. It starts out following a group of hockey players and their friends as they fall in love, but it also digs into deeper social issues young adults that age deal with. I love the diverse characters from all walks of life that Bowen created. Each of their stories are important.

5.Nine Minutes Series by Beth Flynn


The Nine Minutes series can be categorized as either a psychological thriller or maybe a romantic suspense. I would say psychological thriller. There’s some romance to it, but the meat of the story is in the set up. This series has so many twists and turns. It’s dark and probably isn’t for everyone, but it’s my favorite thriller ever. This is probably my second most recommended series.

6.Ten Tiny Breaths Series by K.A. Tucker


I love the Ten Tiny Breaths series because it deals with rebounding from the pain life can sometimes deal out. All of the characters evolve so much throughout the series. I enjoyed the way finding love helped them through their struggles.

7.Kick Push Series by Jay McLean

Where the Road Takes Me isn’t technically part of the series, but it does kind of start it out. What I loved about Kick Push was the pure emotion of the story. Both characters have had some major obstacles in their short lives. How they find love, comfort and family in each other was so special. Jay McLean is a great writer.

8.Hearts Series by Claire Contreras


The Hearts series is one of the first NA series I read. I loved the depth of the characters and the love stories.

9. WAGS Series by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy are my author dream team. They write some of the funniest books together. Their characters are so amazing and I always fall in love with them falling in love.

10. Addicted / Calloway Sisters Series by Krista & Becca Ritchie




The Addicted / Calloway Sisters books are a journey. There’s some hard truths in their pages and it’s nice sometimes to read about characters who are flawed.

 


Have you read any of these? Do you want to?

Review: Grin & Beard It by Penny Reid

Grin & Beard It
Series: Winston Brothers, #2
Author: Penny Reid
Publication Date: May 31, 2016
Publisher: Penny Reid
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Comedy

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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 backroads 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?


If you read my review post for Truth or Beard, you know I’m currently binge reading the entire Winston Brothers series. I loved that first book and I was so excited to read the second, Grin & Beard It.

Grin & Beard It is Jethro Winston’s story. He’s the ex-troublemaker of the Winston family. He put his brothers and sister through a lot growing up, and he still feels the guilt of his former life. Jethro doesn’t feel he’s worthy of love.

Enter Sienna Diaz. Sienna is the hottest actress and screenwriter in the business right now. Her “plus size” curves and witty sense of humor set her apart from the rest of the Hollywood crowd. Sienna loves her career, but having a family has always been her ultimate goal.

Jethro and Sienna’s relationship was a slow burn romance that was built on humor, acceptance and an immediate connection. I loved their witty banter. The way they saw things in each other no one else did was so special. Their support of each other was unwavering and inspirational.

Reformed Jethro was an amazing character, but Sienna is the one that stood out in this story. Sienna is one of my all time favorite female characters. She’s so much more than an actress. She’s a writer. She’s a comedian. Most of all, Sienna is happy with who she is. I loved that she loved her body. She was proud of her curves and knew she was more than what the media or society saw her as. I also loved that family was Sienna’s first priority. Her relationship with her mother was so sweet.

I adored Grin & Beard It. Penny Reid’s writing is brilliant. The Winston Brothers is one of the best series I’ve read in a long time. Each book gets funnier and funnier. If you like funny romance, you have to read this series! I can’t wait to read Beard Science next. I can only imagine what Cletus has in store for me!

Review: After Ever Happy by Anna Todd

After Ever Happy
Series: After, #4
Author: Anna Todd
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Tessa and Hardin have defied all the odds, but will their fairy tale ending be turned on its head? AFTER EVER HAPPY…Life will never be the same. #HESSA

It’s never been all rainbows and sunshine for Tessa and Hardin, but each new challenge they’ve faced has only made their passionate bond stronger and stronger. But when a revelation about the past shakes Hardin’s inpenetrable façade to the core—and then Tessa suffers a tragedy—will they stick together again, or be torn apart?

As the shocking truth about each of their families emerges, it’s clear the two lovers are not so different from each other. Tessa is no longer the sweet, simple, good girl she was when she met Hardin—any more than he is the cruel, moody boy she fell so hard for. Tessa understands all the troubling emotions brewing beneath Hardin’s exterior, and she knows she’s the only one who can calm him when he erupts. He needs her.

But the more layers of his past come to light, the darker he grows, and the harder he pushes Tessa—and everyone else in his life—away. Tessa’s not sure if she really can save him—not without sacrificing herself. She refuses to go down without a fight. But who is she fighting for—Hardin or herself?


I liked this book. I can’t believe I’m saying that after my feelings for the previous books in this series. The only thing that’s kept me reading is Anna Todd’s knack for creating cliffhangers that I can’t resist. I’ve hated Tessa and Hardin’s abusive relationship for so long. I honestly can’t believe After Ever Happy had me changing my tune. I actually wanted Tessa and Hardin together in this book! Say what?

I wish Anna Todd would have written this book sooner in the series. After Ever Happy had everything I have wanted from this series in it. Tessa, Hardin and their relationship went places I wish they would have gone a lot sooner. If this somehow had been the second book in the series, things would have been so much better for me!

Tessa finally got a clue. She realized what everyone has known about her relationship with Hardin from the moment they met. I was proud of the growth she made in this book. Tessa finally made the changes she needed to make to change the cycle of her life. The changes Tessa made forced Hardin to confront his faults.

Hardin… Another thing I can’t believe I’m saying, but Hardin wowed me. He redeemed himself in ways I thought would never happen. Hardin did everything in his power to make himself a better person. He won me over, and I would have never ever expected that to happen. I have hated him for so long that I can’t even understand how I can love him now, but I do. Well, just in this book.

Tessa and Hardin’s relationship came full circle in After Ever Happy. It was just as drama filled as the rest of the series, but the drama felt less crazy and more productive. Everything that happened was for a reason and pushed Tessa and Hardin to the place they needed to be. Nothing felt completely unnecessary. (Well, except for Zed. He’s always unnecessary in my book). I was surprised at how much angst I felt, and how I longed for Tessa and Hardin to reach a happy place.

My only big complaint is that the last 25% of this books had way too many time jumps. I felt like an important time frame was skipped in the first two year jump. I liked some of the other jumps, but overall I was left with a lot of questions.

I’m happy I kept reading this series because this book was its salvation in my eyes. It dealt with Tessa and Hardin’s abusive relationship in a more positive way, and was able to show how long it can take to change an unhealthy pattern. I also have to say that Anna Todd’s writing has grown so much from the beginning to the end of this series. I am happy to say that I am finally excited to read more of her books. (Yes, that means I’ll be reading Before and Landon’s books.)

Review: Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Truth or Beard
Series: Winston Brothers, #1
Author: Penny Reid
Publication Date: July 21, 2015
Publisher: Caped Publishing
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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?


Why, oh why, did I wait so long to read Truth or Beard? I’ve had this book on my Kindle forever. I’ve read Penny Reid’s collaborations with L.H. Cosway and loved them. I’m not sure why I waited, but I’m happy that I was pushed into reading it by receiving an ARC for the newest release in the series.

Truth or Beard was delightful. I loved the writing. It was so dang funny! The thoughts going through Jessica James’ head were priceless. That girl was crazy, but in a good way. I loved how her attraction to her nemesis Duane Winston tormented her, and how she realized that her childhood tormentor had honorable intentions towards her.

One thing that surprised me in Truth or Beard was the small town setting. I loved it. It was fun to read about all the different groups in the town and how they all meshed or didn’t mesh with each other. The local biker gang added a little bit of suspense that I wasn’t expecting.

My favorite thing about this book was the family aspect. Duane was extremely close to his many brothers and sister. They had a bond that was special. Their relationships also created some very funny moments. Jessica also had an interesting family dynamic going on. She was constantly trying to push the limits with her overprotective brother and father. I loved how Jessica and Duane’s relationship altered their relationships for the better with their families.

Truth or Beard was a hilarious romantic comedy. It was just so much fun to read. It’s a book I wouldn’t mind seeing made into a movie.

Review: Checkmate: This is Dangerous by Kennedy Fox

Checkmate: This is Dangerous
Series: Logan & Kayla, #1
Author: Kennedy Fox
Publication Date: July 6, 2017
Publisher: Kennedy Fox Books LLC
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Logan Knight is a real life knight in shining armor. 
A detective godsend in a sleek black suit has me thinking less than secretive thoughts. Brooding and mysterious, he’s the kind of guy every girl instantly notices. Between his seductive smirk and charming good looks, it’s no wonder I can’t help the way he makes me feel whenever I’m near him. 
Too bad he’s unavailable—or so he says.

He thinks I’m a do-gooder who shouldn’t get involved with a guy like him. His past is messy and relationships just add to that. He insists the timing is all wrong and he’s devoted to his career, but I don’t buy that excuse for a second. I see the way his body tenses and his jaw ticks every time another guy is around me. He just won’t admit it, but I’m more determined than ever to show him what he’s missing.

I’m a devoted animal rescuer and I’ll risk everything to save them, but when a dramatic turn of events puts both our lives at risk, I’m positive Logan will write me off for good. But when he asks for my help with a personal crisis, I know it’s my last chance to finally show him I can handle anything he throws my way—messy past and all.

He might think he has me all figured out, but I’ll prove him wrong no matter what he thinks. This game of push and pull has me running in circles. One wrong move and we could both lose.

Checkmate, Knight.


This past week, I binge read the Checkmate series. The series is set up uniquely with each couple getting two books. At the end of the first books for each couple there’s a shocking cliffhanger that immediately had me reaching for the next book. Each book also included first person dual point of view for the male and female main characters of the story. Sometimes the chapters overlapped in time to show what each character was feeling during an event. I loved the way it was all set up. I’ve now read Travis and Viola’s duet, Drew and Courtney’s duet and now this first book in Logan and Kayla’s duet.

This review is obviously for Logan and Kayla’s first book, and I have to say it was SO. FREAKING. CUTE. I adored it. It’s my favorite in the series so far. It’s definitely because of Kayla. Her love for animals and finding them permanent homes made my heart swell. She was such a good person and persevered through so much in her lifetime. I loved how she made her friends her family, and didn’t give up on Logan.

I loved finally getting Logan’s back story. He was so secretive throughout the rest of the series. I wanted to know what was going on with him. Logan had more to overcome than expected. When he finally put his trust in Kayla it was nothing short of spectacular. They were the perfect team.

Once again, the cliffhanger ending shocked me. I truly wasn’t expecting the surprise I got. I can’t believe what happened! There’s a little bit of mystery to this story and I have a couple of guesses. The next book in this series cannot come soon enough! I need to know what happens next NOW!

Review: After We Fell by Anna Todd

After We Fell
Series: After
Author: Anna Todd
Publication Date: December 30, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

Tessa and Hardin’s love was complicated before. Now it’s more confusing than ever. AFTER WE FELL…Life will never be the same. #HESSA

Just as Tessa makes the biggest decision of her life, everything changes. Revelations about first her family, and then Hardin’s, throw everything they knew before in doubt and makes their hard-won future together more difficult to claim.

Tessa’s life begins to come unglued. Nothing is what she thought it was. Not her friends. Not her family. The one person she should be able to rely on, Hardin, is furious when he discovers the massive secret she’s been keeping. And rather than being understanding, he turns to sabotage.

Tessa knows Hardin loves her and will do anything to protect her, but there’s a difference between loving someone and being able to have them in your life. This cycle of jealousy, unpredictable anger, and forgiveness is exhausting. She’s never felt so intensely for anyone, so exhilarated by someone’s kiss—but is the irrepressible heat between her and Hardin worth all the drama? Love used to be enough to hold them together. But if Tessa follows her heart now, will it be…the end?


In my review for After We Collided (After, #2), I said I didn’t want to continue this series but would because I had to know what crazy stuff Anna Todd could possibly come up with in the rest of the series. I couldn’t think of any crazier situations than she had already written. I mean, how much drama can one couple go through. Evidently, a lot because After We Fell continued the crazy.

Tessa and Hardin’s relationship continued to go through constant emotional upheaval. Their relationship sprung to abusive heights that disgusted me. I have said it in my previous reviews and I’ll say it again, Hardin needs psychological help. He is one messed up jerk. (And that’s putting it lightly.) Anna Todd gives us all these reasons why Hardin is the way he is, but it’s no excuse for how he treats Tessa. I was proud that he came to a couple of realizations in this book, but it didn’t rehabilitate him at all.

I was proud of Tessa a few times in this book. She’s began to realize things as well, and she did a better job of sticking up for herself. Tessa made some good decisions, but she has given Hardin too many chances. I still wish she would find a true knight in shining armor who wouldn’t treat her the way Hardin does. I was happy that she finally understood that Zed wasn’t her friend and how she ended up handling it.

There were several surprises in this book. Most I saw coming, but a couple shocked me. I was left wondering how Tessa and Hardin could know so many horrible people. I don’t think I’ve met this many horrible people in my lifetime. Maybe I have. I could be wrong. I just want to know where all the normal people are in their lives? Well, I guess they do have Landon, Karen and Kimberly.

I hate to say it, but I think the After series is starting to grow on me. Well, parts of it are at least. I know the series won’t end how I want it to, but I can curious to see how it all wraps up. So, yes, I will be reading the other books in this series.