Thursday, November 3, 2016

Beard Science (Winston Brothers #3) by Penny Reid: Blog Tour Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


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.

'Beard Science' is the third book in the Winston Brothers series, is a full-length romantic comedy novel, and can be read as a standalone. 

Click to Buy the Winston Brothers Series on Amazon:



“I saw what you did.”

“You saw what I did.” He repeated flatly, apparently bored with me and the conversation. His eyes were on the rear-view mirror.

But I would not be ignored. Not this time.

Gathering every ounce of courage within me, I blurted, “I saw what you did, last week, with the Iron Wraiths evidence. You took it. And now they can’t find it, and now they’re dropping the case against Razor.”

Finally, Cletus looked at me. To my astonishment, his typically green eyes had become a fiery blue and he snapped, “You saw no such thing.”

“I did." I nodded at my assertion. "In fact, I have a video of you doing it.”

He blinked. His expression and his voice, usually so controlled, both cracked with surprise. “You did what?”

“I recorded it, on my phone.” I swallowed three times for no reason.

His gaze sharpened in such a way that startled me, as though clouds or an illusionary mist parted and revealed a slight glimpse of the real Cletus Winston beneath. These new eyes flickered over my person.

“Prove it.” His demand was sharp and quick, like a whip, and made my heart jump to my throat.

I pulled my phone from my purse with trembling fingers. I knew why I was shaking. I wasn’t used to confrontation. I was a natural pacifist, preferring peace to sass. But desperate times called for desperate measures.

He snatched my cell once I’d unlocked it and tapped through the series of screens until he reached my videos. He found the one dated last week, the one I’d taken of Sheriff James talking about my banana cake and hit play. As Cletus watched, a touch of color drained from his cheeks. He was seeing what I’d spotted last week when I reviewed the recording. One half of the screen was the sheriff. The other half of the screen was Cletus in the background, pocketing the evidence, looking around, then walking away.

Cletus made a strangled noise that sounded both frustrated and enraged. I eyed the door next to me, considering and immediately dismissing an escape. Meanwhile, he watched the recording again. When it ended for a second time, silence took its place, hard and heavy between us. I examined his profile, endeavoring to parse his thoughts.

Cletus’ expression was blank, which—I abruptly realized—was highly unusual. He always wore an expression. Thoughtful, concerned, patient, bored, interested, somber, perturbed. How odd, for a person to always have an expression . . . unless that person wore emotions like a mask, meant to misdirect the true nature of his thoughts.

“You made a copy?” His tone, laden with ice and granite, made me shiver.

He didn’t sound at all like the bumbling but affable Cletus Winston I’d known since forever. He sounded . . . dangerous.

I needed to clear my throat before I could speak. “I did. I made a few. Saved in a few places.”

The side of his mouth ticked up, but his eyes lacked humor as he turned them back to me. “That was smart. Otherwise I would have smashed your phone into a quantity of tiny pieces. Then it would have been your word against mine.”

“That’s right,” I said the words on a breath, the good sense of fear wrestling with determination.

But, damn it, I need his help! And it had to be him. It just had to. He could make anything happen. Everyone in town and the surrounding areas owed him a favor. I'd heard the rumors. I'd paid attention. I'd put the puzzle pieces together.

And now I had the most powerful man in east Tennessee right where I needed him.

About Penny Reid:

Penny Reid is a part time author of romantic fiction. When she is not immersed in penning smart romances she works full time in the biotech industry as a researcher. She's also a full time mom to two diminutive adults (boy-7 and girl-5), wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought hijacker.

Connect with Penny Reid:

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Review by Yvette:

Oh Cletus Winston. What can I saw about Cletus? I mean, I loved him before I read Beard Science but my admiration increased exponentially once I got to know the man behind the untamable beard. What I didn’t expect was to be equally enamored with his love interest, Jennifer Sylvester, who not only revels in his quirks and oddities, but has some of her own. To put it simply, Beard Science is one of my top favorite books of the year. The reasons why are innumerable but the most important one is the soul-deep connection between these two characters. Because of them, this book is riveting. It's thought-provoking. It’s hilarious. It’s sensual. And it's flat-out entertaining.

Penny Reid is the queen of quirky humor, populating her stories with delightfully strange and fascinatingly eclectic personalities, and Cletus and Jennifer are two of her most intriguing characters to date. First, we have Cletus, the Winston brother most likely to be up to something suspicious for his own nefarious reasons. Cletus is and has always been a scene-stealer, commanding my attention in previous books whenever his mouth opened and out came outrageously unpredictable (and often uproariously funny) statements. I don't think I've ever been so giddy by the prospect of delving into a specific character's story than I was before starting Beard Science and I’m pleased to say he did not disappoint.

Cletus is a lot of things: mischievous, diabolical, and contemplative. What he's not is an expert at matters of the heart, and that’s where Jennifer comes in. Jennifer, a.k.a. the Banana Cake Queen, looks and acts like the quintessential Southern belle, but in reality, she’s a young woman looking to find herself and take control of her life. With each new page, Jennifer undergoes the process of reinventing herself and I loved getting to see her break out of her shell. She takes risks and makes mistakes and embraces her awkwardness. She went toe to toe with Cletus, challenging his mind and eliciting his passion and the results are nothing short of combustible. There are no pretenses between them, which is what makes their journey so compelling.

I've mentioned this in reviews before but it takes an intelligently written book like Beard Science to emphasize the fact that there is no other author out there who is quite like Penny Reid. Her books are delightfully weird, consistently amusing, and wholly unique. The author has truly outdone herself with Beard Science, writing a story that readers can relate to and identify with, using a combination of wit, comedy, heat, and heart to ensure her audience will be captivated from start to finish. By the end of the book, I can guarantee you’ll be head-over-heels in love with Cletus and Jennifer.

*complimentary copy provided by author for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

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