Published by Cipher-Naught on October 11th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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.
Beard Science (Winston Brothers #3)
By Penny Reid
Not realising you needed a tribe until you have one.
I went out for drinks last night with friends. We talked about life, food and surprisingly enough…beards. See, one of the ladies has a son who had just returned from a trip with a full beard. Quite frankly, she was horrified. As a beard fan, I felt it was my duty to explain the appeal and also try to convince her that her son was actually really cool. I think her eyes just about popped out of her head when I told her that all the cool kids (I mean manly men) were growing beards. We then went off kilter while I explained to her that I was in the middle of a book and that the main character and his brothers all had beards. Look, I did my best, but I’m not sure I convinced them to convert.
Jennifer bakes cakes…a lot of cakes. She even gets up a 3 o’clock in the morning to start baking and some days survives on 3 hours sleep. I myself love baking but I’m not sure I would ever want to be a professional baker. For starters, the hours would put me off. There is also the problem that while I make yummy cakes (so I’ve been told), they don’t look very appealing. Jennifer makes yummy cakes and they look good too. Her cakes are so good, especially her banana cake that she has become famous for them. Known as the Banana Cake Queen, has made her realise she finds her life unsatisfactory.
Jennifer’s family business has grown because of her fame. Her mother and father push her to be the face of their business. The biggest problem is that Jennifer doesn’t like being in the spotlight.
I hated Jennifer’s family. I really struggled with certain parts of the story when it came to the way they treated Jennifer. Her mother was controlling and at times insulting. It wasn’t unusual for Jennifer to be dressed in a yellow house dress, heels and full make-up as per her mother’s wishes. While Jennifer hated it, she did it so that she didn’t disappoint her mother.
The mother was bad…but the father was worse. I won’t go into all the reasons why I hated him, but any parent that goes out of their way to tell their daughter that they are stupid is dead to me. The way that her parents used Jennifer for their own gain broke my heart.
My biggest struggle and the thing that made me cry the most was Jennifer’s lack of belief in herself. With Jennifer’s parents treating her so badly and the townsfolk never seeing her and only seeing the Banana Cake Queen, I wanted better for her. Changes needed to be made so Jennifer decides, when an opportunity falls in her lap, to approach the smartest and most manipulative man she knows.
Cletus has a lot of irons in the fire. His family are his highest priority and he does everything he can to make their lives better. He has been hatching a plan to bring down the Iron Wraiths, a motorcycle club, and his despicable father who is a member of the club. All of Cletus’s plans have been thought out meticulously. His plans always work out exactly how he wants…until the sweet, little Banana Cake Queen decides to play his game with his rules. The sneaky little baker has him all worked out and flicks his tricks right back at him.
Beard Science focuses a lot on Jennifer breaking out of her cage. The Winston brothers take her under their wing and teach her to value herself. It was a pleasure seeing Jennifer become one of the tribe. With Billy helping her with dating tips, Beau charming the socks off her and Cletus making her realise that her opinions, thoughts and concerns are valuable, Jennifer grows stronger. With little steps, Jennifer changes her looks, grows more confident in sharing her opinions and starts to do things to find her own happiness instead of pleasing others.
Cletus and Jennifer’s relationship is a slow burn. We, as the readers, and those around them see the signs way before they do. The happiness they bring to each other’s lives jumped off the pages. I did feel some frustration towards Cletus and his narrow-minded view.
I find myself grimacing when the hero in a romance has a woman on his radar who is not the heroine. Now, my grimace doesn’t last wrong in Beard Science because I KNOW that she’s not the one. Cletus only has her on his radar because he analysed this woman and found she would be suitable because of some her qualities. The big twit. Luckily he woke up to himself and realised that his analysing wouldn’t help him when another woman makes his heart just about jump out of his chest.
When it came to Jennifer, it made me want to cry every time she claimed that there didn’t need to be love, just someone who would be nice to her. The big twitette. Luckily, her heart over-ruled her logic and she realised she deserved a nice man and love.
Beard Science was a long story. At times I wanted it to go faster and cut out all the mean-hearted and hurtful bits, but I know that they are needed to accept the changes and appreciate the growth of the characters. Cletus was his usual funny self but we definitely saw behind his sombre nods and learnt a little about how his mind works.
I love the Winston brothers and the women who come into their lives. As the tribe grows we see them all get closer, while at the same time stepping away from each other. That one bathroom really couldn’t cope with them all.
I thoroughly enjoyed Beard Science and definitely recommend it.