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Winston Brothers #3

Beard Science

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Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Romance (2016)
Finalist: Goodreads Choice Awards, Best Romance 2016

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.

384 pages, ebook

First published October 11, 2016

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About the author

Penny Reid

104 books21k followers
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Penny Reid is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she writes kissing books. Penny is an obsessive knitter and manages the #OwnVoices-focused mentorship incubator / publishing imprint, Smartypants Romance. She lives in Seattle Washington with her husband, three kids, and dog named Hazel.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pennyreidwriter
Twitter: www.twitter.com/reidromance

Just Released:
October 20, 2022: Folk Around and Find Out, Good Folk: Modern Folktales, Book 2

Upcoming Releases:
December 13, 2022: Drama King, Three Kings Series, Book 2

Currently Working On:
2023: Pride and Dad Jokes, Ideal Man, Book 1

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,738 reviews
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,288 reviews3,230 followers
April 7, 2022
 photo 44252284-fa5d-4a5e-aaa4-794da37abc8e_zpsmgwwltcq.jpg..O Cletus, Cletus...you are the man. Yep, Yep, I lurve me some Cletus.

Could Penny be more on point? You know you're in the presence of a comedic genius when you read a book that makes you snort-laugh so hard you spit coffee at your e-reader. At. Every. Second. Page.

I was captivated by this book. It oozed with witty and intelligent dialogue. I have never aspired to write novels but if Penny Reid taught writing, I'd enroll in that class.

To say we've all been waiting for Cletus's story would be an understatement. That man stole the spotlight in every book he's ever featured in. We knew him as crafty, devious and possessing of an acerbic wit. You could try to get one over on Cletus, but know it'd be at your peril. He did nothing unless with an agenda even when relating to his beloved siblings. He was a master puppet player, willing to misdirect while getting exactly his intended outcome. Reading his inner musings was hilarious. So many quotes from this man:
“I only had time for twenty-four people (tops) in my life, and I already had six siblings. Twenty-four people was an average of two birthdays a month. Ain’t nobody got time for more than two birthday celebrations a month.”
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“I’d been grumbling and grimacing since she’d arrived. Now was not a convenient time to have met my life partner. I had too much to do, too many irons in the fire.”
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“I glared at him, not willing to explain the obvious. Clearly my brother didn’t understand the concept of research: the value of gathering data, the necessity of testing theories, and the importance of post-coital analysis.”
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This man. Who wore sardonic as if it were a second skin. Who would be a match for this exasperating yet lovable man? I couldn't picture her, that is, until Jenn: photo d6cb6ff2-06eb-46f6-b2f8-9fee07dfd5ae_zpsu6wlqphf.jpg
1. People watcher and wallflower
2. Baker extraordinaire and banana cake queen
3. Desperately in need of a life outside of that which was crafted by her parents.

And she just might be the only person, in their hometown, with enough intelligence to see through Cletus's shenanigans.
“Cletus Winston was the sneakiest, most manipulative, most powerful, and—as far as I was concerned—the most dangerous man in East Tennessee. Problem was, virtually no else seemed to realize it. Everyone in town thought he was odd, but mostly harmless.
Meanwhile, he blackmailed them into doing what he wanted, all the while tricking people into thinking it was their idea.
I knew this because I was a people watcher.”

It was hilarious yet beautiful to see the mighty C fall in love but he didn't disappoint us. Be ready to add another name to your list of best ever book boyfriends!

p.s I'd also like to add this; insomuch as I've been privileged to travel to some states in the US, I've never visited Tennessee. Today however, I have placed Tennessee as number one on the list. And yes dammit, it's to conduct scientific research and to see if there are any real life Winston guys out there *sigh*. You're welcome.
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,072 reviews51.5k followers
September 29, 2020
swoon to the moon

it's official. i am forever impressed by penny reid's ability to craft a romance. if you told me at the start of this year that i would be this interested in a quirky rom com series i absolutely would not have believed you. but that's a testament to her writing, because this shit is fantastic.

i don't want to go into exhaustive detail in this review about plot and characters because 1. ain't my style and 2. this is the third book in a series. but the story follows the Winston brother I was most interested in, and i was not disappointed. the growth that both characters undergo over the course of the story is marked, and the romance that they share was absolutely swoon worthy. i also really appreciated the inclusion of some really tiny trope things that i adore. mostly the "jealous but doesn't know why" thing. it works for me, despite my lack of enjoyment, typically, of jealousy in books.

i don't have much else to say except that if you are looking for a brief reprieve from the hell that is 2020, i couldn't recommend this series highly enough. and with that said, i'm off to slip back to Green Valley...
Profile Image for Christy.
3,923 reviews33.1k followers
September 18, 2017
5 stars!!!


From the moment I read the first book in the Winston Brothers series, I knew Cletus Winston was the brother I wanted most to read about. There was something about Cletus, and honestly, I thought Penny would make his book last since so many of us wanted it. I’m thankful that the wait wasn’t too long and his book was third in the series. Beard Science was a fantastic addition to this series, just like I knew it would be.

We all know about Cletus Winston. He’s the sneaky brother. The one who is a mastermind and a bit of a mystery. Jennifer Sylvester AKA The Banana Cake Queen knows a lot about Cletus. She’s a watcher like he is. Jennifer is known for one thing and one thing only in Tennessee and that is being The Banana Cake Queen.
I’m the Banana Cake Queen. I make other kinds of cake, but I’m famous for my banana cake. I know this as fact because, when I’m introduced, it’s usually like this: “This is Jennifer Sylvester. You know, the Banana Cake Queen? She’s famous for her banana cake.” But I digress.


But here’s the thing… Jenn doesn’t want to be The Banana Cake Queen anymore. She’s tired of living under her parent’s thumb and living and breathing the bakery and the image she must portray. She wants to be herself. She’d like to get married and one day have children. But that will never happen with the way things are now. Jennifer is desperate and the only person she knows can help her is Cletus Winston. To get his help, she’ll need to beat him at his own game. She needs to be just as conniving as he is.

Watching Cletus try to help Jennifer and slowly but surely falling for her was a sight to behold. Cletus isn’t that man. He’s sensible. He doesn’t fall in love. Well, at least he didn’t think he did. Even though he and Jenn aren’t ‘suited’ in his opinion, she is so special he can’t help but develop feelings for her.
Clearly, my heart was a danger to itself and to me because Jennifer Sylvester and I were not suited, not at all.

I loved the way these two saw each other. Jennifer saw Cletus for who he truly was. And she saw past what everyone else did.


This series is amazing. I love all things Penny Reid, but this one holds such a special place in my heart. I love all these Winston siblings and can’t wait for more to come from the brothers we have left. They’re all different in their own ways, and that’s the very best part.
“Stay away from the normals.”
“The normals?”
“Yep.” She nodded once, the side of her mouth hitching in a way that reminded me of Cletus.
“Stay away from the normals, the small-minded people who fill their brains with small-minded pursuits, who blend in and keep up with the Joneses. Those people will tear you down and make you boring. Instead, surround yourself with the weirds. With the misfits, oddballs, and outcasts. Because the normals, bless their hearts, have no idea how to have fun.”

If you’re looking for a book (or series) that’s clever, witty, fun, sweet, sexy and smart, this is the book for you! Penny truly delivers and Cletus does not disappoint!

Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,658 reviews3,256 followers
June 13, 2022
5 Cletus, Winston Brothers, Reid Magical Stars
* * * * * Spoiler Free-Holy Whiskers, It's FREE!!!
I have recently come to the realization that writers have access to another skill other than putting words together on a page and telling a story. Some are more attuned to this skill than others but all do it....and when it is done at its highest level....it is something that cannot be denied...It is the ability to create magic! And one of the most proficient and artful users of this skill is Penny Reid.

Penny Reid takes her readers to a place and plops them fully into a mindset where they are in whichever location, with whoever is there and feeling all of the intricate emotions and nuances of whatever is happening with these characters. It is an experience like none other for me because when reading Reid, my antenna automatically is raised higher of its own volition to capture all of the accompanying life lessons Reid inserts while weaving an easy to read and follow tale. It never ceases to amaze me the way she is able to do this.

Beard Science
is technically the third Winston Brothers book; however, we were introduced to them in Beauty and the Mustache (Knitting in the City, #4; Winston Brothers, #0.5). Although it can be read as a stand-alone, I personally advise to truly experience everything that is Winston, to start with the first book. I promise you will not be sorry.

For those of us who have been on this Winston journey, this book lives up to everything you wished for in your obsession with the snippets of Cletus from the other books.

From the start, Cletus was a scene-stealer. Reid introduced this brother who had a certain way of forming thought...who waited... took a moment and then stated whatever he was saying in a way that answered the question or statement but meant more...The way he spoke could have sly humor or direct observations but always sounded purposeful. Cletus was one of those people who was more than what you got...and we loved it. We would perk up every time he was on the page...and with each new entry of the Winston series, he had a bigger part to play.

For Cletus was the manipulator of the family. He was the one who always looked to see all sides of a situation and figure out which would be the way to go for the best of the family, for the best outcome and for the future. He was the brilliant scientist working every angle without having others know he was doing it...except his family, of course.

So after the books introducing us to these fabulous Winston men and Sister...Reid graced us with our supreme desire; the love story of Cletus and Jennifer Sylvester.

Wait... Who the hell is Jennifer Sylvester you may ask...

Well, you and everyone else may know her as Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Yes, that caricature of a person her parents created for their own selfish purposes. They kept her captive throughout her childhood and into her adult life. Were they derelicts or drug addicts...no, they were regular people who had no regard for the lovely woman they raised to be obedient and self-sacrificing. By only giving Jennifer credit for having an attractive face and figure and never appreciating her intelligence or merits in all the other interests she pursued, her family left her to see how empty her life was. She was tired of being known as the Banana Cake Queen.

The Banana Cake Queen was this perfect Stepford woman in yellow 1950 dresses and heels, with bright blond hair and full makeup all the time. She was the one who won all the baking contests at the fairs and was being promoted by her mother for a possible Food Network show. Jennifer hated getting dressed this way...she never had a chance, though... As a little girl, she was put into beauty pageants. With her father preaching the gospel to threaten rather than encourage...and then with him always putting her down and telling her she will only be worth anything because she was easy on the eyes... it was a wonder Jennifer developed into this person who had love and care in her heart.

Jennifer also had another interesting skill besides baking...Jennifer was a people watcher. Jennifer over the years learned how to blend into the background of any place she was...You would think in her get-up she had to wear, it would be the opposite...but because the community only thought of her as an entity...not actual living breathing person...it was easy for them to forget she was actually there...And with this people-watching skill, she saw everything...

Instructed by her pushy mother to get the testimonial for her cupcakes from the sheriff, Jennifer people watched how the police secretary ran the office and how people came in and out telling tales. As she sat waiting, there was one person Jennifer never stopped watching...Cletus Winston.

Cletus Winston was dangerous...Jennifer was an expert on how Cletus managed to do any number of things without anyone knowing. She had observed time and time again how Cletus would act the simple person...nodding or seeming interested in one thing while stealthy looking at something else with none the wiser...And now he was here at the police station doing the exact same thing!

As for Cletus, Jennifer was right on target. Cletus prided himself on always being in control. He had mastered all the necessary tools to handle any situation to his benefit. He had the somber nod, the acknowledging nod, the tilt of a head look to inquire, and the "yup" that seems about right look.

All A Facade.

For Cletus never would let anyone know what he was planning or plotting...whether it was a use of blackmail to use itching powder to torture an enemy or other equally manipulative actions. Cletus was his own puppet master. But in all of these master plans, Cletus never used his power for true evil...he was a man focused for good...and the strength of his family.

The unique talents of these two, Cletus' stealth manipulations and Jennifer's quiet people watching observations, are the catalysts for the crux of this tale.

Jennifer's mother has pushed Jennifer to the brink...the Food Network is interested in the Banana Queen in all her makeup, corseted dresses, and heels. Jennifer wants nothing to do with it. She hates being on film/tv and social media. She has finally seen she has to do something and fate has handed her the tools to make it happen.

Jennifer finds the courage to confront Cletus with her power over him and it shocks the hell out of him. Never had he truly assessed Jennifer, like most of the community. As these two reach an agreement, Jennifer requesting Cletus to make her wishes to find an escape from her parents without alienating them, Cletus takes in who exactly Jennifer is....or who she could be...

This is a love story to adore. This is a story of two people who are perfect for each other. During the course of looking for one thing, both find out the truths about themselves. Cletus takes Jennifer on a self-discovery journey...and in doing so, Cletus discovers this wonder that is Jennifer.

If you have read any Reid, then you know how magical this type of journey can be. She takes you through all of the stages of falling in love...all of the fun, the heart, the wonder of those precious moments which live in all of our personal memories...She taps into these things we know deep in our souls of how overwhelming these emotions can be. Coupled with wit, insight to the human need for encouragement and recognition for merit, not appearances, and the overall great storytelling...it is impossible to not appreciate the experience.

Also, Reid gives us characters of equals. Although Jennifer has had arrested development of her personal style and interactions, she is strong to her core. She has withstood emotional abuse from her father and misdirected love from her mother. She came up with coping skills to manage her life and it is a credit to her innate spirit she is as loving and capable as she is.

Cletus is a man who has looked out for his family and fights the demons of rage on his own. Brilliance is its own burden yet Cletus figured out how to use it while hiding it from everyone to see.

Beard Science is just as special as all the others with the added benefit...it is the mysterious Cletus we finally learn of...He Is Everything You thought He Would Be And More.

There will be three more Winston books coming and in this Beard Science, we had more insight into Billy and Claire's story...which will be a doozy. We also were given a taste of Beau and a new love interest. Roscoe...our youngest may still be looking...I Cannot Wait for More Reid Magic.

Beauty and the Mustache (Knitting in the City, #4; Winston Brothers, #0) by Penny Reid Beauty and the Mustache (Knitting in the City4/
Winston Brothers, #0.5)
Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers, #1) by Penny Reid Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers, #1)
Grin and Beard It (Winston Brothers, #2) by Penny Reid Grin and Beard It (Winston Brothers #2)
Beard Science (Winston Brothers, #3) by Penny Reid Beard Science (Winston Brothers #3)
Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers, #4) by Penny Reid Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers, #4)
Dr. Strange Beard (Winston Brothers, #5) by Penny Reid Dr. Strange Beard (Winston Brothers, #5)
Beard with Me (Winston Brothers, #6) by Penny Reid Beard with Me (Winston Brothers, #6)
Beard Necessities (Winston Brothers, #7) by Penny Reid Beard Necessities (Winston Brothers, #7)

And the series that started it all:

Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City, #1) by Penny Reid Neanderthal Seeks Human (Knitting in the City, #1)
Neanderthal Marries Human (Knitting in the City, #1.5) by Penny Reid Neanderthal Marries Human (Knitting in the City #1.5)
Friends Without Benefits (Knitting in the City, #2) by Penny Reid Friends Without Benefits (Knitting in the City #2)
Love Hacked (Knitting in the City, #3) by Penny Reid Love Hacked (Knitting in the City, #3)
Beauty and the Mustache (Knitting in the City, #4; Winston Brothers, #0) by Penny ReidBeauty and the Mustache (Knitting in the City, #4; Winston Brothers, #0.5)https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Happily Ever Ninja (Knitting in the City, #5) by Penny Reid Happily Ever Ninja (Knitting in the City, #5)
Dating-ish (Knitting in the City, #6) by Penny Reid Dating-ish (Knitting in the City, #6)
Marriage of Inconvenience (Knitting in the City, #7) by Penny Reid Marriage of Inconvenience (Knitting in the City #7)

A gifted copy was provided by the Magician for an honest review.

~~~~~ Before Reading ~~~~~
Cletus... I hear you pickin' that banjo and my feet are tappin' to the beat...
Excited to be that fly on the wall and watch you fall heart first for your woman...
Feb 17, 2015
Cletus... you take your time...
I know when you see her...
And the plan is in place...
There will be no stopping you.

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Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,869 reviews2,246 followers
July 2, 2021
Kindle version is free on amazon right now 7/2/2021

5 stars!

“ You’ll know one day, Cletus. You’ll discover what it’s like to find the other part of yourself. You’ll know it’s her, only her, always her. Maybe not right away, but eventually you’ll know. She’ll be your beginning, middle and end. And your intentions won’t matter. Love brings its own intentions, and all other plans, hopes and dreams fade to insignificance in the face of love.”

So let me start off with why I am the worst Penny Reid fan ever. I’ve read all but one of her books, and I have enjoyed every single last one of them. Do I enjoy some more than others? Yes. But never, not once has this woman ever let me down. So when I went into Beard Science, I went in with extremely low expectations and to be honest, some reservations. Because, (AND SHAME ON ME) my messed up brain thought “there’s no way Cletus can live up to the hype.”

Let me tell you something:

CLETUS LIVES UP TO THE HYPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did you get that? Once more:

CLETUS LIVES UP TO THE HYPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I think you got it now.

Beard Science is the third book in the Winston Brother series (not including Beauty and the Mustache) and can be read as a standalone novel. Cletus is the overly intelligent and odd brother of the Winston clan. But what many do not know about him is behind his innocent and peculiar behavior there is a dark and conniving mind filled with revenge plots and espionage. Jennifer Sylvestor is the town sweetheart, the Banana Cake Queen. Often overlooked or written off as simple, she lives a lonely life dictated by her parents.

When a happenstance situation gives Jennifer some valuable information about Cletus, Jennifer uses it to have Cletus help her with something she needed. Knowing how smart he is, Jennifer has observed Cletus among the rest of the town and she can see through the front he provides to everyone else. When Jennifer comes into his life, she’s not what Cletus expected. As he helps her with her problem, he discovers there is more to her than meets the eye, just like him.

“I’m not scary, I’m ridiculous.”
“You are many things, Cletus Winston, but nothing about you is ridiculous.”

This is the first time I have ever finished a book and then sat there and felt anger begin to course through me because it was over. That has never happened to me before. I sat there for 30 minutes, mad because that story had ended, and I was no longer a part of Cletus and Jennifer’s world.

Then I reminded myself of this:


There were so many time when reading this book when I cracked up, I even did a very unattractive laugh snort. I even teared up a couple of times. There’s something about Cletus and Jennifer together that was magical, their understanding and respect of each other, and how they both share vulnerabilities. I loved how Cletus is so intelligent and yet so oblivious at the same time, how Jennifer saw him for all he was. I just flat out loved this book!

And Billy fans out there (who by the way is MINE) Penny throws us a bone!!! Gah! Love that man! Le sigh. I suspect a lot of feels in the future.

Anyways, this is one of my favorite books Penny has ever written, it’s something really special. There is not one thing I did not love about it, every single bit of this book was pure awesome.

“I loved her both rationally and irrationally. And I wanted her with a ferocity that had kept me awake at night and tortured during the day.”

ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Profile Image for Arini.
857 reviews1,774 followers
July 30, 2020
I think I might be starting off on the wrong foot with this series, but the fact of the matter is that this was still a ball of sweetness and cuteness overload.

The most astounding part of this book is the character development. Seeing Jenn grow out of her Banana Cake Queen shell and become her own person was honestly quite empowering. Of course, none of that would’ve happened without a little nudge nudge from a certain bearded man with a somber nod, Cletus.

He surprised me. I was expecting either a cocky arrogant bastard or a grump, but oh boy he was a delight. Unassuming on the outside, but you really don’t wanna mess with him lest he’d spit in your coffee when you’re not looking. I adored both Jenn and Cletus, but Jenn outshined him a little in my eyes.

There was a lot going on with the brothers, and a few of them already had their own SO. There was also this conflict with a biker gang, and Cletus’ plan to get revenge on his father? Idk. The non-romance part of the story was hard to keep up with, and it made me think if I’d love the book more had I started from the 1st installment.

In any case, I don’t feel like I got enough of a lasting impression on the other brothers to want to read their books, but I won’t say no to more Jenn and Cletus content.

(Read as an Audiobook)
Profile Image for Jenny - Book Sojourner.
1,391 reviews167 followers
November 6, 2019

'Beard Science' was quite simply... AMAZING! To say that I had high hopes for Cletus's book would be an understatement. My anticipation level was off the charts. And Penny Reid NAILED it! Cletus and Jennifer's story rocked my socks off. I can't imagine this story going any other way. I absolutely fell in love with Cletus and Jennifer. Well, I was already in love with Cletus, but mostly as a quirky sidekick who would always keep me on my toes. But Cletus in love brings it all to a whole new level.

Cletus meeting his match, losing control, and having his very determined and plotted course radically changed, all because a woman surprised him and blew him away - now that's a whole new level of Cletus I love, Love, LOVED! What I really and truly loved about this novel was the gorgeous character development. This wasn't some cardboard cut-out romance where two people simply fell in love and had some fun events getting there. These were two people whose lives radically changed. But the fascinating part was that they didn't even know they needed to change. Cletus was challenged by this woman who was far from his comfortable ideal. Jennifer was challenged by this man who forced her to question the control she had over her life. And the result was not only a couple in the beautiful depths of love, but two individuals who simply blossomed into new creations of themselves. I could wax poetic about how much I loved Cletus and Jennifer.

Why did this book have to end? I want to read about Cletus and Jennifer all the time! I want to read more stories about them. I want all the novellas and stories about them. Wedding? Yes! Pregnant Jenn and doting Cletus? Yes please! Cletus as a dad trying to reason with a toddler? Definitely! All the mini Cletuses and Jenns gardening in their overalls? Yes yes yes!


Just finished it and I could not be happier! To say I had high hopes for Cletus's book would be an understatement. Penny NAILED it!! I can't imagine this story any other way. I absolutely fell in love with Cletus and Jennifer. On a side note, thank you, Penny, for naming Cletus's love interest after me, wink wink. ;)

Is it too early to already have Cletus as my favorite?
I can't wait for this book!!!

Here are some of my favorite CLETUS QUOTES from the previous two WINSTON BROTHERS books to enjoy while we patiently wait for Cletus's book:

From Truth or Beard :

"Stop it." Cletus snapped his fingers in front of our faces. "I hate it when you two mind-meld through your eyeballs."

"He'll make problems for you, if he can," Cletus continued. "So just let me know if you need help making problems for him in return."...
"Just what is that supposed to mean?"
"Just what I said." Cletus shrugged, looking and sounding innocent. That's one of the things about Cletus, he's real good at looking innocent. Sometimes I forgot Cletus could spot a sneak so well because he was the king of sneaks. I was just glad he was on my side this time.

"No. I want you to seize." Cletus dropped his hand on my shoulder and gave me a little shake. "You seize that woman. You make her yours."

"Yes. Cletus Winston's famous sausage is famous." Cletus uncovered a heaping platter of raw sausage that he'd set next to the smoking grill. "These boys have been looking forward to my sausage all...week...long."

"Sitting so close to my sausage likely has you overheated and excited," Cletus mumbled as he indicated to the grill with his chin.

"But work up an appetite, woman. Because you've never tasted fine meat until you've eaten my sausage."

We were interrupted by a harsh whisper. "What are y'all thinking?" We glanced up in unison. Cletus's furious expression had an instantly sobering effect...
"...And besides, you interrupted my quiet time."
Jethro grimaced, shooting me a dirty stare - which I returned - and loud-whispered his response, "Sorry, Cletus."
Cletus's hands were on his hips and he gave us both a hard look, his eyes sticking to me a bit longer than Jethro. "Take your fight outside... And now you owe me pancakes, Duane Faulkner Winston," Cletus added with a reprimand whisper. "Blueberry pancakes." Then he pivoted and disappeared down the upstairs hall. I didn't know what Cletus did during his quiet time, but Beau seemed to think it was yoga.

Cletus took three bites, making us all wait in suspense, and then asked, "What I want to know is, why didn't you come to me in the first place? And also, how do you get these to be so darn fluffy? It's like eating a blueberry flavored cloud of awesome."

"You can't rush a duct tape purchase."... "Duct tape is man's answer to electrons and protons. It's how we keep matter together."

"Why are you wearing those stupid glasses, Cletus? You don't need glasses," Beau asked impatiently. "It's a fashion statement."

"That's silly string." I glanced over my shoulder, watching the interaction between Cletus and one of the bikers patting us down.
"What's it do?" the biker asked.
"It's silly," Cletus responded. "And it makes a mess."

"Duane, you're standing under the mistletoe, and you have pie."... "I'd kiss you but I don't want our beards to tangle."

From Grin and Beard It :

Just Cletus. He said foy-ay and was most definitely a pretentious nut job.

Cletus had been known to sell our more embarrassing pictures on stock photo sites.

"You know I don't like eating cake more than twice a month."

Cletus shot her a confused glare. "It's not his fault he was conceived in July, even if it makes no sense. They didn't get air conditioning in the cars or the house until 1997, so you know it couldn't have been pleasant."

"One thing I don't know is why you're drinking coffee from a Hello Kitty thermos." Cletus sounded both interested and irked. "And why haven't you bought one for me? You know I like that Hello Kitty."

Cletus was good company, just as long as he didn't have anything up his sleeve. The problem was, Cletus usually had something - or several somethings - up his sleeve.

"Don't clutch your pearls at me, big brother. Look at her, for hootenanny's sake. She's got the hots for your ugly face, Lord help her. And I know you've been thinking about her, judging by how long you took in the bathroomm this morning."

"You can stop panicking, Cletus. I have the berries."
"Oh, thank God." Cletus held his chest and stumbled backward. "You should have live-tweeted your progress. I was near a fit."

"Like, if you could have a superpower, what would it be?"
"I'd like to be able to fly," Cletus responded as though her question had been asked in earnest.
"Not be invisible? Or read minds? Or be omniscient?" Roscoe suggested.
Cletus shook his head. "Certainly not. That'd be redundant because I'm already all of those things."

"Come now, Jethro. You should know by now, I've never required encouragement."

Cletus had the tendency to take offense and make trouble if he wasn't given undivided attention.

"Fine." Cletus acquiesced, banging the table once. "But don't make any more ignorant statements unless you bring me more coffee. I can't deal with ignorance without another cup of coffee."

"I'm watching you, sneak. No miraculously 'finding' the mistletoe from last Christmas tonight, do you hear me?" This question was aimed at Cletus, who widened his eyes innocently.
"I am affronted by your insinuation," he said, not sounding affronted.

Cletus noted conversationally, "If you come next Wednesday, I'll let you try my sausage."

"My sausage is no joke." Cletus frowned, wagging his finger through the air like we were all juveniles.

"He plays banjo and is real judgmental of people who can't sing. This one time he said, about a fella who was trying to jam with them, 'He couldn't carry a tune in a bucket.'"

"When he was a kid, he was really mean. Used to make other students cry." He paused, obviously lost in a memory, and then added, "He used to make his teachers cry, too."

I still hadn't beaten the sh*t out of anyone, but the day was young. And Cletus was a good fighter.
As though reading my mind, Cletus stiffened. "You will do no such thing. I haven't had breakfast yet, and this is my best smoking jacket."

Cletus was right. He was sneaky and sinister, mean even, but his word was sacred. In the end, his meanness was why I ultimately trusted him to deal with Darrell.

"Now tell me what happened," he instructed, using a grandfatherly voice. I lifted an eyebrow at him because I was fairly certain we were the same age. And yet something about his somber expression and the brightness of his eyes made his appear so much older.

"Indiscriminate sex is like indiscriminate pie eating. I might enjoy the pie, but then I find out it was baked in a dirty kitchen, drooled and sneezed on by nut jobs, baked by a nut job who wants me to eat her dirty pie every day. Next thing you know I have a stalker, dysentery, and herpes just from one ignorant bite of pie. I keep my kitchen clean and discriminate and so should my partner."

"Plus, I don't want someone telling me Pop-Tarts are pie. Pop-Tarts aren't pie. I can tell the difference. I don't want a half-a$$ed baker."

"I like the idea of being with someone where we can both teach each other to cook new - quality - recipes."

"I'm after a woman who likes sex but doesn't put the lust part above the intelligence part."

"I have four rules.
Number one: don't invite a person into your body if you wouldn't invite her into your kitchen.
Number two: the act needs to take place in a clean environment.
Number three: precautions need to be taken to protect from disease and pregnancy.
And Number four: don't ration the passion, i.e. put your best f**k forward."

Not many people knew, but Cletus had a terrible temper. As a kid his tantrums were legendary, and as a teenager his rage made him blind. He kept it all locked up now by making mental lists whenever he felt the urge to pummel someone. Of course, he also hatched maniacal plans of revenge against anyone who crossed him. Beau and I often considered giving Cletus a hairless cat as a present, so his James Bond supervillain image would be complete.

"Don't you worry about [Darrell]. He knows, as long as he's in prison, I can get to him."

Although not in the same way, Cletus had lost just as much as me because of Darrell Winston. But now I wondered what, specifically, Cletus had lost. It must've been something substantial to fuel such hatred.
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,864 reviews30.2k followers
February 26, 2020
3.5 Stars

This was really cute.

Penny Reid writes great quirky, period. I always love her characters and their banter and all of the fun and unique elements to said characters and their stories. She really is talented.

That said, I also couldn't help but feel like I was left waiting the entire book for something to happen romance-wise. It took forever for them to finally get anywhere and sometimes Cletus'...calculating thoughts took over what would have otherwise been heated scenes.

Still, overall an enjoyable read that I will probably re-read again sometime.
Profile Image for L.H. Cosway.
Author 55 books5,771 followers
October 1, 2016
5 wonderful, heart-warming and hilarious stars!!!


Beard Science is just about as delicious as this picture. Maybe even more delicious. Yes, definitely more delicious. Okay, I'll stop saying delicious now because I'm probably starting to creep you out.

I loved this book with all my heart. Cletus and Jennifer were real and lovely and infuriating and funny and passionate and strong. I basically just want to live in a world made up completely of Penny Reid characters. You should read this book if you want to A.) Swoon, B.) Laugh, C.) Delight in unresolved sexual tension until you're just about ready to burst, and D.) Enjoy conversations like this...

"Jenn and I are going to make some sausage pie."

"Sausage pie?"

"That's right, sausage pie."

"I see. So Jennifer is going to let you put your sausage in her pie."

*dusts hands* I think I've made my point, but just in case you've missed it, I'll say it again. You should read this book! It's my favorite of the Winston Brothers and that's saying something because the previous two were marvelous :-D <3

Profile Image for Em Lost In Books.
907 reviews1,819 followers
June 11, 2018
this one remains as hilarious as it was the first time I read it.

these books are so predictable and yet i am in so love with them. I know they'll meet, they'll fight, and they'll fall in love before reaching that happily ever after. But its the situations, and the dialogues, and the "oh so lovely!" writing that make this book so good. I don't think i will get over this Cletus Winston and his lady love.

P.S: I just love how Penny Reid quotes different authors at the start of the every chapter. they are absolutely beautiful.
Profile Image for Flo.
286 reviews591 followers
February 10, 2017
5 **just perfect** STARS

“You’ll know one day, Cletus. You’ll discover what it’s like to find the other part of yourself. You’ll know it’s her, only her, always her. Maybe not right away, but eventually you’ll know. She’ll be your beginning, middle, and end. And your intentions won’t matter. Love brings its own intentions, and all other plans, hopes, and dreams fade to insignificance in the face of love.”

There really is no excuse for how late I am to write and post this review. I went through my favourite reads for 2016 to prepare a post for the blog when I noticed I never posted my review. Mea culpa. I hope you can forgive me, because Beard Science and Penny Reid deserve all the praise in the world. I loved, loved, loved this book.

She has done it again. For people who follow my reviews it probably won't come as a surprise when I love yet another Penny Reid book, but this one is special. This is Cletus. And we were all holding out for his story. It just had to be right. He was one of those characters who came into our lives as a side-note, a brother of a main character in a previous book and ever since he has been a fan favourite--and a big personal favourite of mine. I seriously don't envy authors who have the task of getting that right. Fabulous one liners don't always translate into a full novel, but Cletus did and Penny killed it. Not only with the Winston brother, but also with his love interest. An all around win.

So yes, AWESOME book!

Let's talk a little about the story...

Jennifer Sylvester, also known as the Banana Cake Queen is a perfect cliche created by her parents. Dressed like a 60s housewife, slaving at the bakery, making cake and behaving just the way her parents want her to. With no way out. Until one day she witnesses something that gives her the perfect knowledge to make some changes in her life.

“Cletus Winston was the sneakiest, most manipulative, most powerful, and—as far as I was concerned—the most dangerous man in East Tennessee. Problem was, virtually no else seemed to realize it. Everyone in town thought he was odd, but mostly harmless. Meanwhile he blackmailed them into doing what he wanted, all the while tricking people into thinking it was their idea.”

Cletus Winston is used to be in control. Mostly silent and underestimated by those around him, he uses knowledge, and sometimes even blackmail to stay on top, and to move things in his favour. Quite often using his powers for good--occasionally for evil, when it suits him. Until the Banana Queen comes into his live and turns the tables on him. Interesting things ensue.

“No one person person should be allowed to be that pathologically intelligent and oppressively handsome.”

I simply loved everything about this story. The quirky characters, the engaging storyline. A kick-ass heroine, who is more than a match for the often mysterious Cletus. It was simply a joy to read. There really isn't much more I can say...except...READ THE BOOK if you haven't already, IT WAS...FUCKING AWESOME!!

Thank you, Penny, for writing the book Cletus deserved and for giving him a heroine who could measure up to his level of awesomesauce. After months of finishing I still think about them ever so often. Pure heaven in a book.

**ARC very kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for XxTainaxX Curvy and Nerdy.
1,476 reviews459 followers
October 23, 2016
4.5 Stars. I've got a healthy respect for devious and clever minds and Cletus definitely encompasses a good dose of both. I found myself quite entertained by his antics and how intricate they are. He has this way of looking at the world that is so unique. His personality and voice as a character is very distinct. I give props to the author for making him real to me. Not perfect by a long shot, but very human: flaws and merits alike. Jennifer was special in her own right. At first, I wasn't sure I would like her because she began the story as the proverbial door mat. As the tale progressed, I definitely saw that there's a depth to her that only few got to see. As she grew into who she wanted to be, so did my respect for her. The plot was a little out there but all the more entertaining for it. I enjoyed that it wasn't love at first sight, in fact, they had almost deliberately excluded one another as a potential love interest right away and that made their fall so sweet!! This is very much a slow build. Don't expect things to get too hot and heavy right away. I liked that they got to establish themselves a little more solidly before introducing intimacy. The pacing is on point and the writing excellent. I am really looking forward to the other brothers' books as the sets up that continue in the series are looking better and better. Very solid read all around. Safety: H believes he is meant for someone else though nothing ever happens with this person or anyone else. No rape or abuse.
Profile Image for Antonella.
3,468 reviews472 followers
November 7, 2020
my favorite contemporary romance of all times

There are no words to describe how much I LOVE THIS BOOK I have read it so many times and it still feels like the magical first time.
I have read this book as audio, ebook, and paperback and I still can't get enough of it.

5 plus stars

When you bargain for something that you want and instead get what you need....
pure book magic...

Me trying to do this book justice with my review...

or trying to do this review business well..

That is usually the case when you love a book...
I want to say so much and in the end, I eff it up.

Oh well......

This book is amazing. Everything; hero, heroine, plotline, side characters, dialogue. Everything!
I reread it I think 4 or 5 times.... That should tell you everything. I give it all the stars..

So how things go... is you tell what the book is about...blah blah blah, blurb...and so on.
There are a great number of reviews out there that tell it..tell it great...check it out...

My overall opinion of this book would be;
* if I would buy a book as a gift to a romance reader or any other reader
* if I would buy a book to a non-reader
* if I would recommend a book to my GoodReads friends, enemies, people randomly reading my review, family members...



It is hard to pick favorites but this book oh boy it is there on a lot of my lists.....
Pure magic.... Like a cake after a diet or glass of wine after a long stressful day, this is like that magical food for my soul...

Cletus Winston will forever have a piece of my heart!!

"Stay away from the normals, the small-minded people who fill their brains with small-minded pursuits, who blend in and keep up with the Joneses. Those people will tear you down and make you boring. Instead, surround yourself with the weirds. With the misfits, oddballs, and outcasts. Because the normals, bless their hearts, have no idea how to have fun.”

"I know what you’re going to say.”

“Then we can skip it and you can admit you’re wrong.”

“I can’t admit I’m wrong about two things in the same day.” I brought my attention back to him, found him smirking at me. “It might bring about the apocalypse.”

“Then admit it tomorrow."
Profile Image for Maria✦❋Steamy Reads Blog❋✦.
662 reviews2,462 followers
December 19, 2016
Lurved! And now I'm caught up and ready to review any upcoming releases in this series! :)
Review for this baby on the blog HERE
Also, I can't get over the teaser Nancy made for this one. Just look at him, I can't even.
I might be asking my hubs to grow a beard. lol

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Profile Image for Patty ~ Wrapped Up In Reading Book Blog.
1,260 reviews10k followers
June 30, 2017
*****4.5 STARS*****
{ARC Generously Provided by Author}

But then he looked at me. Just simply looked. And I blinked my surprise. The many different “Cletuses” fell away. No artifice, no mind games, no jokes, no walls—it was just the man. The raw truth of him—of his soul—was beautiful. It was precious to me.

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FINALLY! I had the chance to get back to this book and finish it! While I must admit, I found this story to be a bit too long and if it had been trimmed down a little, I would have given it a perfect five-star review, I can’t deny that by the time I got to the end, I was truly in love with this book. It is clear now that Penny Reid knows how to bring the steam!! I found myself getting overheated quite often once I got to about the 60% mark. At first, I didn’t know what to make of this story because the main characters were very odd and quirky, but then as I read on I began to realize that their differences from the “norm” are what made them interesting and extremely endearing!

Jennifer Sylvester has lived a very sheltered life due to her parents’ overbearing need to protect and “control” her. Her appearance is a façade, created by her mother. No one really knows the real Jennifer. She spends most of her time in her family’s bakery, creating some of the most delicious desserts and dressing up as the ridiculous “Banana Cake Queen” for social media posts to help boost the family business. During her spare time, she likes to “people watch”. Most of the town doesn’t notice her so she actually sees everything that goes on and is very observant. During a visit with the town Sheriff to film his testimonial over his love of one of her baked creations, she accidentally catches on film, Cletus Winston, stealing police evidence. Although they are not on friendly terms, she has observed Cletus on many occasions throughout the years and knows that he is a “dangerous” man. He is very conniving and everything he does is well thought out and calculating. Jennifer needs his help. She wants to find a man so that eventually she can get married and start a family of her own. Her life at home has been abysmal and she wants the opportunity to break free and start living her life.

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When she approaches Cletus with her request and follows it up with the evidence she has to blackmail him into helping her, he is more than intrigued. He prides himself on being able to figure people out quickly and he had always viewed her as a very weak and helpless woman. This fierceness that she has in her is opening his eyes to the woman he had stupidly overlooked for far too long. He agrees to help her. Cletus challenges Jenn to try something different each day. Do things she’s always wanted but was afraid to do for fear of disappointing her parents—like wearing her jeans, instead of the ridiculous 1950’s style dresses her mother forced her to wear. Little by little as she tries new things, her confidence builds and her eyes open to the fact that her parents never really supported and loved her for who she truly was.

While Jennifer is going through some self-revelations, so is Cletus. He’s starting to become aware of his growing feelings for her and how jealous he gets if even his brothers pay her the slightest bit of attention. It’s a virtual battle of wills to get these two to open their eyes and to realize what’s happening between them, but when things finally click into place, the story became perfection for me and I didn’t even realize how I was quickly approaching the end.

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It’s not often that I love both main characters and a lot of the secondary characters as well in a story but I’m realizing now that I’ve been known to feel that way whenever I read one of Penny’s books. I really loved Jennifer for her warm heart and her strong need to stand on her own two feet. She may have seemed like a meek person in the beginning but she turned out to be one of the fiercest characters in this story. And Cletus was an absolute dream once he opened his heart up to Jenn, he became the dreamiest of book boyfriends!

I think that I am truly missing out in that there are several of Penny’s books that I haven’t had the chance to read yet but this also gives me something to look forward to.

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2cJKgy6
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2ckA5y2
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2cxMu1m
Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2cCFSzS
iBooks: http://apple.co/2cEzxF3
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2c62HMG
Nook: http://bit.ly/2dEIHVa
Googleplay: http://bit.ly/2dOsFYe
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2cH6e7W

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Profile Image for Kristina .
736 reviews312 followers
April 23, 2023
This book was annjoyable: both enjoyable and annoying at the same time.

My review is gonna be ranty and nit picky, but just note that I did not hate this. I have just been struggling to relate and become immersed in contemporary romance lately, and when I’m not immersed, every little imperfection bothers me.
My biggest issue with this - and most- contemporary romances is the set ups, or premises. They are never logical and never realistic. They always start with a gimmick or hook, no one ever just meets and likes each other then dates, it’s always some silly reason that’s quickly abandoned once the physical intimacy begins.

The premise for this book is completely ridiculous, even for contemporary romance it’s a stretch; the FMC, Jennifer, blackmails the MMC, Cletus, into helping her find a husband because she’s always wanted to be married and have a baby. She has some video of him scheming and uses it to coerce him. There are so many issues with this but first, why this man? How is he supposed to find her a husband? He’s a mechanic, and has no history of matchmaking that I’m aware of. No convincing reason is ever given. Major suspension of disbelief is required to get through their initial reasons for spending time together. But don’t worry, this premise is abandoned pretty quickly, as per usual cont.rom, and he never introduces her to anyone nor do they really speak about this scheme past their first kiss.

Next we have her reasons for needing his help; she’s 22 and lives with her ott controlling- beyond-all- logic, parents who make her dye her hair blond, pick out her clothes, put her on diets and tell her which men she’s allowed to date. They hold title to her car and don't pay her to work in the family bakery; which she does approx 80 hours per week, or give her any of the money from her huge social media empire. This chick has it worse than Brittney, yet she doesn’t have the benefit of a court order or insane teenaged behaviour to reason this out. This story is modern cinderella on crack. Modern Cinderellas hardly ever make sense, they have to be subtle and the heroine can’t be a doormat. In this one she’s beyond a doormat, she’s actually in an extremely abusive situation. This book is too light to really deal with the heavy of her life and childhood. So she just ends up being a pathetic character who I pitied. Also, I can’t get over that the catalyst for her standing up for herself being her relationship with Cletus. Dicks are not therapy. A mechanic, though a smart one, can’t help you get over life-long trauma by asking you two direct questions, and suddenly your eyes are opened to how you’ve been treated. It’s just ridiculous. I can’t stress how ridiculous this plot is. My intelligence was insulted.
Sometimes this felt like it was set in 1950s and that Jen was fighting for basic women’s rights. It was very hard to believe and as a result very hard to sympathize with the characters. Even Brittney had more freedom than this chick.

The biker gang subplot was weird too. It wasn’t really part of the story except in small bits and pieces, but then was inserted as needed for drama but could honestly have been completely omitted from the book and it wouldn’t have changed anything.

My last big complaint is the smut; this was a slow burn, and that’s fine, I was expecting it. But once we finally get to read the deed it was cringey af. Reid made us wait until the epilogue, THE EPILOGUE!, and then wrote a scene so bad that I just clicked the audiobook off and marked it as read. Seriously, Ms. Reid, just write ftb already, no one should be subjected to reading about someone ‘moaning into her entrance’ that sounds more like a scene from a haunted house then a sex scene.

Anyway this wasn’t all bad, once we got over the terrible set up, this was fairly cute and there are several things I did like about this:

Though the heroine was quirky (ugh) she was also sympathetic and she grew and fought for what she wanted as the story went on. I can see that this could be an awakening story for many people and that they could forgive the ott situation she was in because the growth was well done.

Cletus was a hilarious, logical, Machiavellian weirdo. He was very refreshing and had his own journey to go through. He also had some pretty quotable lines in this one that made me snicker. Sadly, I listened to the audio so I couldn’t use my trusty highlight feature 😢.

Speaking of the audiobook, the male narrator -Chris Brinkley who does all of these Winston brothers books- was very good. He does the perfect light southern accent and does enough to distinguish between each character so you always know who is speaking.
Sadly, the female narrator, Joy Nash, wasn’t as good. She did ok putting perky southern belle charm into Jennifer, however it sounded like her nose was plugged and it bothered me the entire time we heard the female pov.

⚠️ The following is pure nit picking so don’t open the spoiler tags if you’ve lost patience with me

So overall this was a cute, mostly well written, character driven slow burn. If you can stomach the quirky, absurd elements or enjoy contemporary rom coms, this isn’t the worst one out there. Cletus is funny anyway.
Profile Image for Jen .
804 reviews586 followers
October 16, 2016
ALL The Stars

The Banana Cake Queen has just over a million followers on Instagram. Jennifer Sylvester has zero.

Penny Reid has done it again! I absolutely adored everything about this book. So much so that the second I finished it, I started reading it all over again. Ms Reid has an almost lyrical quality to her writing that I've yet to experience with any other author and it goes without saying I'm absolutely hooked.

“You’ll always have the advantage of me, Jenn. Because I’m lost without you.”

Full banana cake loving review to come, hopefully.

Profile Image for Dee Montoya.
942 reviews587 followers
October 7, 2016
FIVE STARS******* (are not enough)

(ARC kindly provided by author)

The word that comes to mind to describe this book is: SENSATIONAL!!!!

Beard Science made me wanna laugh, cry, dance, and eat insane amounts of chocolate. Cletus was complex and romantic and Jennifer was so sweet and endearing. Their story was an explosion of awesome; anything and everything amazing you can think of, this book had it. I think Penny Reid writes books with the sole purpose of making people happy, and for me it is always the case, I'm always as happy as a clam after reading one of her books.

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In previous books we've always known Cletus as the smart, calm and collected brother. Cletus is always inside his head planning, and plotting, making sure everything around him is under control.

Jennifer Sylvester is known as the Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley, Tennessee. Always the good daughter, at twenty two she still lives at home with her parents, who have sheltered her, and always dictated every aspect of her life. Jennifer talks, walks and dresses as her parents say, she's used to being invisible, nobody really knows her, perhaps not even herself.

Being a peoples watcher has paid off for Jennifer, when she is presented with the opportunity to acquire the help of the one man in Green Valley, capable of assisting in achieving the one thing she wants in life. That man is Cletus Winston; so armed with a rare courage, and an very implicating video, she's ready to claim something she wants for once in her life.

Cletus is busy, he has many places to see, many demises to plot, he doesn't have time for the Banana Cake Queen, even if she has the most beautiful eyes he has ever seen. But he never imagined that Jennifer, unbeknownst to everybody, even herself, had a back bone and when she uses it it was a beautiful and intoxicatingly thing to experience, so he agrees to help her.

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Jennifer and Cletus have more things in common that they could ever imagine, so they easily fall into an extraordinary friendship. Every time they see each other, a whole world of new things opens up to them. Cletus feels overwhelmed by new feelings, Jennifer sweetness is something that is quickly becoming essential to him, and Jennifer finds herself finding the courage she never thought she had inside the eyes of the bearded man she always knew was dangerous, but now she finds herself missing him everyday.

How can they feel this way? Cletus has other plans, and they never included love. He is a prisoner of knowledge and the secrets of everyone around him, his mistrust have made him a very lonely man without him wanting it, and here comes this queen with all her downplayed beauty to rattle him, and turn his world inside out, and what's even crazier is that he's never felt happier.

But will Jennifer finally find the courage to stand up to her parents and fight for the life she wants? Can Cletus trust her and let her inside his heart?

You will find all the answers to all the questions and all the secrets with the help of the Winstons siblings and all their crazy shenanigans, in a story like no other. Making Beard Science simply SENSATIONAL!

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If there's one thing people know about me, is that I'm a hardcore Penny Reid fan. But is only because her books always provide me with endless laughs and entertainment. Her stories always feel so real and relatable to me, her writing style has the magic of making me feel as if I'm right and center inside the story, and they are always so special, making it impossible for me to ever forget them.

This book was so romantic and sensual, and is kind of crazy, because Penny is always demure when it comes to writing those passionate scenes, yet her talent make the pages of this book red-hot, making me burn not only for Cletus but for every single one of the Winston brothers.

So if you are in the market for a delightful love story, full of charm, great humor, and romance, this is it!! Look no further, and if you haven't read the other books in the series, first, shame on you, but do not worry because each book can be read as a standalone; yes! They are that awesome.

As my last thought, I just want to say that these books are so amazing that I'm even thinking about changing my last name to Winston; Dee Winston, has a nice ring to it, no?

My Beard Science music playlist:
*Uncuff Me by n* grandjean
*Skinny Love by Bon Iver
*Tip Of My Tongue by The Civil Wars
*Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson
*Wind & Anchor by The National Parks
*Hungry by Dotan

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Profile Image for Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth.
794 reviews892 followers
October 18, 2016
5 Penile Engorgement Stars

Review @ Vanilla & Spice Books

Every now and then you get a book in your hands that surprises the hell out of you. This was the case with Penny Reid's Beard Science. My friend Christie raved about the last one so I really wanted to see what the fuss is all about. Now let me tell you, this was my first Penny Reid book but it definitely won't be my last and I really need to catch up with this author's other books. This story can be read as a standalone but trust me when I say that you will want to read them all.

Jennifer is known as the Banana Cake Queen. She is a brand her mother knows how to market, Instagram account and a follower-ship of more than a million included. When she visits the sheriff's office to make a testimonial video about her baked goods Cletus, one of the Winston Brothers is there as well. When she watches her video at home she is surprised to find she has evidence of something Cletus did that gives her leverage to blackmail him into doing something for her.

When Jennifer approaches Cletus he is confused. This meek and docile woman blackmails him into helping her finding a worthy man she can marry and have a family with. But she doesn' t know his cunning mind...

My Cletus

Cletus is the oddball in the Winston family and the protector. He is quirky and extremely intelligent and a lot of people have been on the receiving end of his revenge pranks. Nothing is simple about Cletus but when he talks he tells simple truths. There is something very wise about him that had me sit back a couple of times and mull over what he had just said. He is a unique character who uses his overactive brain first and feels second but Jennifer mixes it all up. She brings out the sweet in him and his confusion when he starts falling for her is hilarious. What I love about all of the Winston brothers is how they treat women. It's almost a little bit antiquated and all kinds of adorable.

My Jennifer

Jennifer was a bit of a riddle to me in the beginning. I didn't understand why she let everyone bully her but every time somebody did my heart broke a little bit for her.

"And - oh God - Cletus, I'm the worst. I'm so awkward, my awkward is embarrassed by my awkward."

I loved how she started to rebel and once the backbone was firmly in place she stood up for herself. Jennifer is an incredibly sweet heroine with a kind heart and immense strength. She surprises the hell out of Cletus at every turn and his confusion about this slip of a woman is hysterical.

As a rule, I didn't like change. My Jennifer continuously surprised me, and her surprises were a thing of beauty.

The way they grow into something more is a slow but sweet burn. There is nothing hurried about them. They give a lot of thought to consequences but don't overthink too much. I loved them together.

She was so beautiful, my Jennifer. And not because of her eyes, or face, or any other outward attributes. The person she was held me transfixed. How could I have disregarded her? How could I have looked at her with anything but wonder and respect and desire?

Penny Reid's writing style is just wonderful. There is an old fashioned quality about the way people talk to each other - I really loved that. If you look for a sweet, funny book with tons of romance and a sweet kind of steam this definitely is one you should consider. I'm looking forward to Billy's story because I think there will be some heartbreak there.

"You want to know what you are to me? Fine. You're my beginning, my middle, and end."

Profile Image for Claire Contreras.
Author 55 books15.8k followers
October 1, 2016
I finished reading this at 2am.


I'll be back with my favorite highlights, but as usual Penny delivers a witty, smart, lovely story that I'll be smiling about for days and definitely re-reading in the future.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
852 reviews3,882 followers
February 15, 2021
“Bullshit was the adult version of Santa Claus.
For reasons I'll never comprehend, the general population seemed to enjoy wallowing, spouting, and believing in bullshit.”

... Thank you, Cletus, for being the first male-lead created by Penny Reid... who is just my kind of infuriating, judgemental, sassy, adorable asshole, you shit-eating-grin provider extraordinaire. FI-NA-LLY.


Wow. Beard Science is the 4th book I read from her. I one-starred the first three. Not because I felt meh about them, nah. I hated the fuck out of them. Hence why I promised myself that I would never, ever read anything from her again, and I respected my promise for a year.

So why did I read it, then? Oh, it went like this :
1) You *might* have noticed that I've been in a romance-novels-binge for several days. No idea why. Oh. Perhaps because I'm sick of allllll my favorite Fantasy characters dying this year, you know? There's only so much heartbreak I can take. For now.
2) I saw it was free, and I just refurnished my living-room, so. Free's great.
3) I read Rachel's review and I mean, she wrote : "Cletus is the overly intelligent and odd brother of the Winston clan. But what many do not know about him is behind his innocent and peculiar behavior there is a dark and conniving mind filled with revenge plots and espionage." HUH. I knew I had to meet that guy. THANK YOU RACHEL.

Of course, I have complaints, because (this is your cue for rolling you eyes) it seems that I always have complaints with romance novels. But the pros outweigh the cons GREATLY, and it's been a long time since a book made me smile so big. I guess it means that I'll have to write a real review and not the express ones I do 99% of the time with romance novels.

So, here. FULL REVIEW TO COME. Meanwhile, go meet Cletus. He's amazing.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Sabrina.
3,390 reviews1,993 followers
October 18, 2016

I loved Cletus from the very first book in this series so I was just about dying to get my hands on his own book. And he was amazing just like I knew he would be. He's just so awkward that it's adorable and you can't help but want more of him. I really liked learning more about him and getting to see his diabolical side as he blackmailed and tricked people into doing what he wanted.

Jennifer was honestly only okay for me. I liked her character most of the time, but there were many times that I got annoyed at her and wanted to reach through my Kindle to smack the shit out of her. I just wanted her to stand up to her parents and stop doing everything they said and then being sad about it. I'm sorry but if you're in your twenties, then you shouldn't be letting your parents dictate your life the way Jennifer let hers.

Besides Cletus, the number one reason I loved this book so much was the relationship between him and Jennifer. I thought it was great that they started a friendship first before they became anything more and they got to explore each other with no expectations. I honestly thought it was the perfect relationship for Cletus.

Overall, you are seriously missing out if you haven't read any of this series and haven't met Cletus. Beard Science can be read as a standalone but I recommend reading all of the books just because they're all amazing.

ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Dali.
1,854 reviews484 followers
September 5, 2023
You just can't find writing like Penny Reid's elsewhere. It's Penny Reid or bust!
“I loved her both rationally and irrationally. And I wanted her with a ferocity that had kept me awake at night and tortured during the day.”

Jennifer Sylvester detests being the Banana Cake Queen. Perhaps detests is a too strong word for the sweet Jenn. Regardless, she knows she wants is a husband of her own choosing who’ll respect her and give her a big family. An impossible goal as long as she continues to be a good daughter abiding by her parents controlling ways. So what is a girl to do when she’s never been kissed and is desperate? It’s obvious, but only to her. She turns to Cletus Winston.

Behind the peculiar and “harmless banjo-playing hermit” façade lies the conniving genius mind of Cletus Winston. Perceived by his own design as a “simpleton,” he has control and power over just about everyone, they just don’t know it. But he only actively expends time and effort meddling in the lives of his family, thank goodness. So when her highness, the Banana Cake Queen, surprisingly blackmails him, she turns his orderly life sideways. Can he help her and return back to his controlled life?
“My heart was a danger to itself and to me because Jennifer Sylvester and I were not suited… things would be complicated between us. I couldn’t abide complicated... I wanted predictable, and she’d never ceased to surprise me. Together we would not be perfectly pragmatic. We would be impressively impractical.”

Let me start by saying that every time I read a Penny Reid book I fall more in love with her writing and curse the fact I haven’t had time to read all her books yet. I’ll also admit that even though I loved Cletus, wanted to get to know the clever oddball and would love to be one of the only 24 people he has time for, I was sure I’d love him as a hero. He was great in Grin and Beard, undeniably funny and brilliant. I just couldn’t picture him as swoony enough for a book boyfriend. Of course I shouldn’t have doubted Reid’s amazing ability to develop richly layers characters in interesting plots.

Cletus isn’t just remarkably smart and devious, he has his weaknesses and loves fiercely. Jenn is kind, compassionate, remarkably smart in her own way and quirky fun. I loved being in their heads and the journey they embarked on was absolute delightful from start to finish.

These two transformers (because there’s definitely more than meets the eye about them) made me laugh, smile, swoon and fan myself with delicious slow burn between them. I loved how Jenn really saw Cletus and thus caught the almost all-knowing man off guard, and how while helping Jenn bring her backbone to the fore, Cletus finds his perfect match.
“Jennifer was the key to my cage. She was the key to my future. We fit together. Her strengths counterpoised my weaknesses.”

I loved how Jenn gave so much importance to such things as humility and forgiveness, how much value she put in being a mother which were also valued by Cletus. I got a really kick out of Cletus lovingly torturing his brothers and always going for and getting what he wanted. I could keep on telling you I could keep on telling you all the things I discovered and loved about these two but I’ll finish with two other outstanding aspects that need mention.

First, the family element which not only included great past and future characters I enjoyed reading about, but also that wonderful feeling of being part of a group of people who’ll love, help give sage advice and support you no matter what.
“You’ll know one day, Cletus. You’ll discover what it’s like to find the other part of yourself. You’ll know it’s her, only her, always her. Maybe not right away, but eventually you’ll know. She’ll be your beginning, middle, and end. And your intentions won’t matter. Love brings its own intentions, and all other plans, hopes, and dreams fade to insignificance in the face of love.”

And second, the witty dialogues that made me laugh and snort and made this story fly by.
"Jenn and I are going to make some sausage pie."
"Sausage pie?"
"That's right, sausage pie."
"I see. So Jennifer is going to let you put your sausage in her pie."

Beard Science is book #3 in the Winston Brothers series by Penny Reid. It is a delightful standalone romantic comedy you won’t want to miss. I can’t recommend this book enough. Told from both point of view with a happy ending.

* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via IndieSage PR. The excerpts are from that copy. *

Amazon -> http://amzn.to/2j7XhSU

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Profile Image for Stacey.
1,446 reviews1,154 followers
October 15, 2020
I definitely needed to hear this one...

I find it funny that Cletus isn't as complex as what he seems. When you 'meet' him in his siblings' stories, he's this kooky and wise man who knows everything. In Beard Science, you realise that he's just a fantastic performer. He uses his skills to distract, manipulate and control situations. What we've come to love in the other stories is just reinforced in this story ... Cletus loves his family and will do ANYTHING to protect them.

I found my listening experience was better than reading. Cletus' came to life and his 'voice' is exactly how I pictured him. Jennifer Sylvester somehow appeared weak in my read but with the help of the narrators, I realised that her strength was in her perseverance. I hated her parents and the horrible way they talked to her. Anyone who could keep going considering the mental abuse Jennifer was exposed to, is an absolute champ.

Another great instalment of the Winston Brothers and I'm definitely looking forward to my catch up with Beau and the woman who will drive him to distraction.


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 at 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. Being known because she holds the title of 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 pushed 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 of 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.

Profile Image for Christie«SHBBblogger».
965 reviews1,248 followers
October 20, 2016

Title: Beard Science
Series: Winston Brothers #3
Author: Penny Reid
Release date: October 11, 2016
Cliffhanger: No

By now everyone knows how obsessed I am with Penny Reid's books. You're probably sick of hearing me talk about all of the books I've read and loved. So it will not come as much of a surprise that I fell hard for her latest addition to the Winston series. Going in, I will admit that though I was looking forward to reading this, I wasn't quite as excited as most. I know this will make me a bit of an outcast for saying this but...

wait for it...

Cletus was not my favorite brother. You read that right, I'm not kidding. Yes, I found Cletus to be funny, but it was always Billy who fascinated me the most. Maybe it's the fact that I want to get to the bottom of his history with the woman who has him in such turmoil. Or maybe it's his evident longing and heartache that I want to see assuaged. Regardless, I started this book knowing I would get something worthwhile, but Penny has really outdone herself. Cletus is one of the quirkiest and diabolically genius characters I've come across, and he completely won me over. His unique idioms and personal standards to live by were absolutely hilarious. Ones such as this:

"I only had time for twenty-four people (tops) in my life, and I already had six siblings. Twenty-four people was an average of two birthdays a month. Ain’t nobody got time for more than two birthday celebrations a month."

He's so unapologetically wicked and shameless.

I don’t like to judge people. I love it. Writing people completely off was liberating.

He's also stealthy and devious-in a good way. Up until this point I didn't know it could be a good thing, but underneath his wily ways is a heart of gold. Cletus is one of those people who can quietly plot a revolution or maneuver people like chess pieces and no one suspects a thing. Well, with the exception of his family. They've been controlled unwittingly by his machinations one too many times to not take notice. And that is what Cletus is all about. Always enigmatic, looking at life in an objective way.

...he was always in control of himself, never losing his temper, never displaying anything but premeditated emotion. Control was his comfort zone.

So when Jennifer Sylvester comes to him with a shocking request, and demolishes all of his preconceived notions of her, he's suddenly lost. How could this quiet, unassuming girl have this kind of fire inside of her? How could he have missed it? From the outside, she's the girl who is to be pitied. Controlled and manipulated by her parents, she's easily dismissed as someone not worth his time. I myself didn't understand her at first. I couldn't explain her loyalty and obedience to the two people who cut her down and make her feel worthless. But as Cletus unraveled her secret desires, and her hidden depths, I did as well. I began to not only root for her to come out of her shell and find independence, but discover the self worth that was damaged. And it was a beautiful process, seeing her grow in strength, all while Cletus adjusts to his unexpected feelings for her.

I loved her both rationally and irrationally. And I wanted her with a ferocity that had kept me awake at night and tortured during the day.

*swoony sigh*

I don't think there was anything I didn't love about this story. Without a doubt, it's one of Penny's best books to date. Beard Science is an intelligently written book with everything you could ask for in a romance. Richly developed characters, a layered storyline, laugh out loud humor, and passionate, achy love. Even if you haven't read any in this series yet, don't miss out. These are all standalones and can be read independently. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. You're going to want to acquaint yourself with these The Winston Brothers, they're not to be missed.


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Profile Image for EmBibliophile.
534 reviews1,363 followers
May 9, 2019
4.5 ‘Sneaky’ stars

Stay away from the normals, the small-minded people who fill their brains with small-minded pursuits, who blend in and keep up with the Joneses. Those people will tear you down and make you boring. Instead, surround yourself with the weirds. With the misfits, oddballs, and outcasts. Because the normals, bless their hearts, have no idea how to have fun.

Cletus Winston’s book!!!!!

This is my favorite book in the series so far! Cletus has been my favorite brother followed by Billy, so I was kinda scared to be let down before I read his book. I didn’t know how his story is gonna be like, but honestly, it couldn’t have been better!

Cletus is sneaky, smart, and determined. He is sensible. A mastermind. Observant. He care about his family and all he ever does is for their benefit. I loved him and loved reading his thoughts!! It was hilarious!! Cletus stole the spotlight and my heart from book one and he still has them!

Cletus Winston was the sneakiest, most manipulative, most powerful, and—as far as I was concerned—the most dangerous man in East Tennessee. Problem was, virtually no else seemed to realize it. Everyone in town thought he was odd, but mostly harmless. Meanwhile he blackmailed them into doing what he wanted, all the while tricking people into thinking it was their idea.

Jennifer Sylvester is more than just the “banana cake queen.” She’s so observant. People watcher. She’s the only one who managed to see through Cletus. She was definitely his equal. Jennifer is tired of being just the banana cake queen, she wanted to step out of the life crafted by her parents, so she seeks help from Cletus.

But Cletus isn’t the guy who would just do things, and she knows it. So in order to get Cletus to help her she need to be as conning and manipulative as he is!

”I loved her both rationally and irrationally. And I wanted her with a ferocity that had kept me awake at night and tortured during the day.”

When Cletus started helping her, he didn’t know that he would start to fall for her. It’s just that Cletus isn’t that man, the one to fall head over heels in love. He kept on fighting himself and his mind kept on getting in the way. It was just Cletus being Cletus while trying not to be too much Cletus, If that makes sense!

This was a really fun and enjoyable book. And I’m so satisfied by it. I loved how this two were so equal and compatible. This book has a lot of humor, character development, and the great family dynamics. I loved that we get to see Billy more in this book and I can’t wait to read his book as well.

”You’ll know one day, Cletus. You’ll discover what it’s like to find the other part of yourself. You’ll know it’s her, only her, always her. Maybe not right away, but eventually you’ll know. She’ll be your beginning, middle, and end. And your intentions won’t matter. Love brings its own intentions, and all other plans, hopes, and dreams fade to insignificance in the face of love.”

Song recommendation:

Use somebody by Kings of Leon
Profile Image for Sher❤ The Fabulous BookLover.
875 reviews554 followers
October 28, 2016
***5 Captivating Stars!***

I always start a Penny Reid book like this:


I love PR books. They are simply delightful! Like a nice warm apple pie with a dollop of whipped cream. You can't rush through these books. You have to take your time. Absorb the meaning between the lines and savor every word that comes out these characters mouths. Whenever I read a PR book I almost always come away with a feeling of indulgence and satisfaction.

The Winston Brothers has become one of my favorite series to date. These bearded brothers have stolen my heart. I thought I loved Duane....but then Jethro happened...and now I know without a shadow of a doubt that my heart belongs to Cletus!

"Cletus Winston was the sneakiest, most manipulative, most powerful, and-as far as I was concerned-the most dangerous man in Tennessee. Problem was virtually no one else seemed to realize it."

Cletus Winston is the master at controlling everything and everyone around him. He's clever, witty, shrewd, honest, funny and no-nonsense. Whatever Cletus wants he will get and he will take pleasure in getting it. I love unique characters. Characters that are different and this hero is definitely that.

Jennifer Sylvester is known as the Banana Cake Queen. She lives a sheltered, boring life and is always at the mercy of her parents. Because of her upbringing Jenn is a bit naive. A chance encounter makes her involved with Cletus and these two have a battle of wills as they get to know each other more and spend time together. I loved these two together, but my favorite part was seeing how Cletus started to fall in love with the naive, predictable, inexperienced, beautiful Jennifer Sylvester.

Penny surprises me. Her last book her heroine was a woman of color! And now this book she has blown me away with Cletus. She just keeps getting better and better and I'm so excited to see what else she has up her sleeve.

I never re-read books. Only because I don't have time. But this one I will be re-reading. There's so many layers to this story I know I can come away with even more treasures the second time around.


Profile Image for Elodie.
553 reviews58 followers
October 26, 2016
I don't think I have enough words to express how damn perfect this book was. As expected. Cletus is truly memorable!

Profile Image for McGee Magoo.
338 reviews57 followers
October 11, 2016
There are a few things you should know about Cletus Winston.

1. Cletus isn't what he appears to be.
2. Cletus has a severe dislike of bullies.
3. Cletus likes to tinker--with cars and with people.
4. Cletus is the second most dangerous man in Green Valley.

If you thought Cletus Winston was sweet, stupid and benign, then congratulations, you bought into what he was trying to sell you.

But Jennifer Sylvester knows the truth. She knows Cletus for the judgmental, vindictive and clever devil he is. He's the only man that can help her.

Cletus has things to do. He's got wild boar hunting and sausage making to be seeing to. He's got an important talent show in Nashville and he's got a motorcycle gang to destroy. He doesn't have time to indulge the Banana Cake Queen in her blackmail schemes. But her need and his ingrained compulsion to right wrongs causes him to agree to help her. He's just going to give her the help she really needs and not the help she thinks she needs.

I love me some Winston men. *Cue sigh*


Did you ever see Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise? SPOILER** Well, if I ever find myself incapacitated and cryogenically frozen to be thawed out at a later date, I want to be programmed to mentally experience Penny Reid's Green Valley World. Seriously. Plug me in to a 24/7 Winston Brothers fantasy land where I'm the plucky, funny, smart and gorgeous girl who's having fun, sexy adventures with a bearded hero against the backdrop of the picturesque Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.


I love the Winstons and Cletus is currently sitting at my #1. My love for Billy is still strong--and good news for all of you Billy-Lovers, Billy's featured heavily in this book and he's fantastic.

Not only do we get a perfect love story for Cletus, we get hints about Beau's upcoming story, a few tantalizing glimpses into the Billy/Claire saga and we get to catch up with Jess and Duane, Drew and Ashley and Jethro and Sienna. There's a lot happening in Cletus' life and it's a joy to watch.

There was only one thing I was worried about going in to Beard Science: limp heroine. Cletus is a notorious scene stealer. Cletus could have a series strictly dedicated to his own thoughts and antics and I would be satisfied. I was sure that I would be disinterested in what ever was going on with his heroine, be annoyed that the whole book wasn't from his POV alone and completely unconvinced that he had a worthy woman. But guess what... my worries were totally unnecessary. JENNIFER IS AMAZING.
If you thought Jennifer Sylvester was pathetic and insipid, then you were wrong. Hell, Cletus was wrong and Cletus is never wrong. Her aspirations might not be to become a Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist or to take The Food Network by storm, but she's smart, observant and has a sweetness and charity about her that you wouldn't expect given her situation.

No one really sees Jennifer. No one really knows Jennifer.

Cletus shows people only what he wants them to see.

But when they are together, they see into each others hearts and find beauty and love that everyone else overlooks and dismisses.

*Excuse me while I cry*

This is Cletus' book so there's 1.2 million funny, amazing lines I could quote. But it's unnecessary for me to sell it further. You're going to go read this book for yourself and love every bit of it.



A-1 Family-Franggy3
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