Donna Reads: Beard Science (Winston Brothers, #3) by Penny Reid

Beard Science by Penny ReidJennifer Sylvester has always been a bit of a joke, the town’s banana cake queen. Totally controlled by her parents, Jennifer has been told what to do, what to wear, what to say, and even what color to dye her hair. I felt sorry for Jen. She had no life. She was always baking for the family bakery, a job for which she was never paid. She had no life.

Cletus Winston is the Winston brother who is quirky and odd. His quirky, oddball facade covers his wily intelligence. Cletus plots and plans and there are reasons for everything he does. In the series thus far Cletus has been the Winston brother who’s been amusing and not much else. In this book we get to know Cletus and find out how smart he really is. He observes and collects information on everyone in town.

When Jennifer’s mother decides to make her daughter a television celebrity, Jennifer finally rebels. She turns to Cletus for help.

Jennifer was sweet and likable. I liked her growth over the course of the book. Cletus encourages her to change, and she sets out to find herself.

My only (minor) complaint with this book was that Cletus was a lot different from what I expected. He was almost simple in the other books. Here he comes off as shrewd and calculating. At times I had trouble reconciling him with the Cletus I knew and loved thus far in the series. He was more manly and romantic here, almost a different person. I liked him, but he wasn’t Cletus to me.

Donna Reads: Dating-ish (Knitting in the City, #6) by Penny Reid

The Blurb: There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris:
1) She’s fed up with online dating,
2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and
3) She knows how to knit.

After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of human kind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:

Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?
But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different—and crazier—solution to her dilemma . . .
As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all? 

My Review:

If it’s Penny Reid, you know it’s going to be a great book. Her stories are unique with wit and intelligence. Her characters have depth, and they become old friends rather quickly. You care what happens to them.

Journalist Marie Harris is tired of dating, and tired of waiting for the right man (her person) to come along. Marie’s perfect online dating match turns out to be a weirdo. He’s not who he says he is. He doesn’t look a thing like his profile picture, and when he starts to ask the most bizarre, detailed questions, she bolts from the date. Matthew Simmons is a college professor working on developing a compassion robot. Before he has a chance to explain to the intimidating and beautiful Marie and ask for her consent, she walks out on him. Marie decides to focus her next series of articles on the frustrations of single life and possible substitutes for real people. Exploring the various paid services out there (cuddle buddies, etc.), she never expects to run into Matt again.

I loved this cute story, and I loved Marie and Matt together. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this one.

** I received an advanced reading from the author in exchange for an honest review.**


Donna Reads: The Player and the Pixie (Rugby Book 2) by L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid

Sean Cassidy is a rugby player and a colossal jerk. He’s smoking hot, but he’s not a nice person. Lucy Fitzpatrick is the free-spirited sister of his teammate and arch nemesis, Ronan. Lucy has issues of her own. She grew up in her famous brother’s shadow, and she’s always felt like her mother is disappointed in her. When Sean sets his sights on Lucy, nothing good can come of it. Her hot-tempered brother will never accept them as a couple. 

I loved this book. Sean was the baddie in Book 1. He stole Ronan’s fiancée and was detestable. In Book 2, we learn what makes Sean the way he is. I love it when an awful character becomes understandable and thus likable. (This is what Denise Grover Swank should have done, but didn’t, with Blair in the second book of her wedding pact series). L.H. Cosway and Penny Reid turned the story so that you saw it from Sean’s eyes and I found myself actually disliking Ronan, the hero from the first book. I loved Sean, and Lucy was perfect for him. This story was funny and sexy and well worth the read. 

Donna Reads: The Hooker and the Hermit (Rugby, #1) by L.H. Cosway, Penny Reid 

Ronan Fitzpatrick is an Irish rugby player (his position is the hooker). His image is in need of repair. He’s been sent to America to take some time off; he’s been suspended for putting one of his teammates in the hospital after the teammate slept with his girlfriend. Annie Catrel is a New Yorker, and an introvert who works for a public relations firm from home. She’s a social media genius who visits the office infrequently. Annie is also a secret celebrity blogger, blogging as the Socialmedialite, a wildly popular and humorous online presence. Only while anonymous does Annie feel free enough to be herself. Ronan’s team sends him to the public relations firm to work on his image, and one of the firm’s ideas is to build him a positive online profile. While there, he bumps into Annie and is immediately interested in her. Annie is horrified when her boss pairs her up to work with Ronan. 

This was a good story about a guy who knew nothing about social media and a woman who knew too much. Annie spent so much time online her face-to-face social interactions were practically non-existent. There are reasons why Annie is the way she is, and her history is heartbreaking. Ronan was pretty patient with her. The back and forth between these two was the best part of the book. Ronan had a dirty mouth and delighted in making Annie blush. He continually pushed her out of her comfort zone while she spent a lot of time pushing him away. When she was in danger of losing him, she was forced to find a unique way to resolve their conflict.