Thursday, August 3, 2017

Review: Beard in Mind by Penny Reid

Title: Beard in Mind
Series: Winston Brothers #4
Author: Penny Reid
Release date: August 1, 2017
Cliffhanger: No
Rating: 5 stars


All's fair in love and auto maintenance.

Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.
Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.
She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words.

Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.

The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity—exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity—and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean missing out on what matters most.

I loved Beard in Mind for all of the usual Winston brother reasons and more. This book was more. I've read and loved every single book in this series so far, but this one holds a very special place in my heart. For me, the storyline was the perfect package tied in an unconventional bow. The romance was beautifully raw and real. The humor was as razor sharp as ever, and the town welcomed me with warm and comforting arms. This book was over 500 pages and not for a minute was I bored or tempted to skim over anything. On the contrary. I didn't want to leave these characters, and I was stubbornly dragging my feet eyes as I approached the end.

One thing I loved about this story was how unexpected both characters were. Beau was pleasantly so much more than the flirty, lovable brother we believed him to be. But Shelly...she was concealing so much under that cold facade that keeps everyone at a distance. She seemed to be aggressively battling, tooth and nail, anyone she came in contact with. But the true war was within herself.

She didn’t want to be rude, to be cold, to be exhausting. But maybe, more than that, she doesn’t want to be a victim.

Beau was the perfect match for Shelly. Kind, empathetic, and most importantly, a people person. He could get along with anyone, and he'd give you the shirt off of his back if you needed it. That doesn't mean that they were instant friends. No, they started out hilariously as adversaries (much to his chagrin).

She was strange. I knew people. Intrinsically, without much thinking about it, I knew what made them tick. I knew how to charm them, make them happy, and make them feel special. My read on Miss Sullivan as an arrogant and vain human-porcupine hybrid had been reinforced with every single interaction since we’d met.

As he peeled away her hidden layers, he discovered that her prickly pieces didn't equate to her sum total. She was ripe with so many hidden talents and love that she was aching to share. And she may not have had the power to do that yet, but she was acquiring the tools and putting the work in to be able to do so. Beau didn't hold her sword and conquer her battles for her, but stood behind her and gave her a safe place to fall so she could fight another day. And that was the beauty of their relationship. He had his own unpredictable struggle to overcome. One that took me completely by surprise and crushed me because of the twist his life had taken. Through it all, she was a partner who was just as strong and solid.

Shelly was a tangled mess of beautiful human contradictions. So very vulnerable, yet strong and courageous all at the same time. She spent so much time inside her own head that she couldn't easily relate or interact with other people. And though there was no easy or convenient solution for everything she struggled with, she quietly faced it all with intelligence and maturity. No matter what new obstacle was thrown at her, she would find a way to leap over it.

Her fear wasn’t beautiful. But her strength, her resolve, her brilliance and goodness were. She wouldn’t be who she was now without her struggles. Life had shaped her, her fear had formed her, and I wouldn’t have her any differently.

I loved Beau and Shelly, and how they complimented and counteracted each other's strengths and weaknesses. They were both heard, seen, and valued for who they really were. I wouldn't have wanted to change one sentence. Not one word of it, because none of it should have been spared in sharing Shelly's struggles and victories. Or seeing Beau accept his devastating loss, and his precious gain.

Penny always explores characters and themes that are not typical in your average romance and that's what appeals to me most about her books. Who wants average? She really outdid herself with this one, however. It was passionate, touching, and so exquisitely done. Prepare to be entertained through it all, because even with the heavier tones it's composed of, it will lift you up and give you a perpetual smile that won't go away.

Recommended for: EVERYONE! Read it!


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