Book Review: Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers, #1)Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

Yesterday, I caught myself saying “ugh, I love Duane Winston” aloud…to myself. I was alone in my car, several days after having finished the audiobook, reflecting on some of my favorite scenes and reiterating (again, only to myself) just how swoon-worthy Truth or Beard’s hero is. It was then I knew I had to jot out this quick but glowing review of the book.

I’m a huge fan of Drew, one of the main characters from Beauty and the Mustache. He’s on my very selective book boyfriend list. But I’m here to tell you: Duane Winston WILL be rivaling him for placement. (Coincidentally, the two novels tie-in, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting another glimpse of Drew and Ashley.)

Everything about this novel is done well. It’s well-written, well-paced, and well-plotted. The author knows how to draw readers in, how to craft characters so real and so likable I actually grieve when each story comes to an end. The tension and humor in Truth or Beard are spot-on. And I FINALLY understand everyone’s obsession with Cletus.

That opening scene? Wow…WOW.

If you’re looking for something quirky, fun, and different–something that will make you feel good, while also keeping you on the edge of your seat–please give Truth or Beard (and Duane) a shot! (But don’t blame me if you end up discussing elements of the book…with yourself.)

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Book Review: Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston

The TruthThe Truth by Jeffry W. Johnston

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Truth is a fast-pasted, suspenseful young adult read. Alternating between past and present, the novel details one character’s pursuit of the truth, and takes readers along for the ride. What actually happened on the night in question is revealed gradually, each new development accompanied by its own set of consequences.

The Truth is a concise read, in part a commentary on what people are willing to do to protect the ones they love. Boasting only a small cast of characters, the narrative focuses most of its attention on main character Chris: his family dynamic, sense of responsibility, and social life.

Readers should be prepared to have their viewpoint on “truth” challenged. Are there times when the truth should be buried, no matter the cost?

The Truth kept me on my toes; I didn’t want to put it down!

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Book Review: The Aftermath by R.J. Prescott

The Aftermath (The Hurricane, #2)The Aftermath by R.J. Prescott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“There were few things in this world that I was good at. Loving my wife was one and boxing was the other.”

Narrated from Con’s first person point of view (with the exception of the epilogue), The Aftermath is the continuation of his and Em’s story from The Hurricane. I found and requested both on NetGalley, and I’m so glad to have found a new author in the process. Both novels are incredibly well-written.

I loved getting to “see” Con’s thoughts in this one!

The Aftermath picks up with Con and Em, and I LOVE the dynamic between these two. Despite being so young (as they’re frequently described in the book), the two are level-headed, committed to one another, and driven to succeed. What Con and Em have in each other is truly special; reading about their interactions never fails to make me smile.

Of course, I can’t not mention the band of brothers who support the couple. Some of my favorite scenes in the novel feature the boys ribbing on each other. Tommy is probably my favorite—but, shhh, don’t tell the others! I love his playfulness, his teasing personality, and the levity he brings to serious issues The Aftermath’s characters face. The loyalty and protectiveness the guys feel for one another and for Em is touching. In fact, reading this has made me want my own group of friends just like them.

In my gushing about the novel’s main and secondary characters, I don’t mean to suggest that tension and conflict are absent from the story. On the contrary, both are present in the form of a threat to Em’s safety, a new presence at Driscoll’s gym, and changes to Con’s career.

On a random note:
Love the scene with Con on the airplane. It reinforced what I already knew about him. 😉

All in all, The Aftermath is a brilliant follow-up to The Hurricane, the duo a must-read in my opinion.

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Book Review: Rare Form by Jen Crane

Rare Form (Descended of Dragons #1)Rare Form by Jen Crane

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m soooooo geeking out over this book right now!!

Rare Form is quite a bit different from my typical reading fare. Before starting this one, I hadn’t read fantasy/sci-fi in a while. Suffice it to say, I’m so thankful to have stepped out of my comfort zone.

What stood out the most to me (aside from the unique, fantastical world Jen has created) was the scorching sexual tension between Stella and Gresham. I had so much fun picturing the latter, tweaking my vision of him with each new discovery. He’s an enigma of epic proportion–one with broody tendencies, a stellar sense of style, and an authoritative, proprietary air that only adds to his sex appeal.

Nevertheless, Stella steals the show with her sparkling wit, snark, and sass. Her attitude, thought processes, and all-around fun personality had me laughing out loud at times. While she reveals herself as smart and determined to succeed in her new environment, she also establishes herself as someone who cares deeply for friends and family. Her consideration for their well-being is endearing.

Other elements I enjoyed:

• how speech patterns are used to characterize the characters
• how “smart” the writing is (i.e. the references, vocabulary, well-developed lore, etc.)
• the more-than-one villain angle; some are obvious, some are not

I’ve already begun the second Descended of Dragons book, Origin Exposed. The series’ action and cast of characters has me hooked!

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