Beard Science by Penny Reid - Solving For Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries book 1
Book Review, Contemporary Romance, Romance Readers, Romance Review, romantic comedy, Series

Book Review: Beard Science by Penny Reid

Make a deal with the devil and you might get what you want, but will it be what you need?

Jennifer Sylvester wants one thing, and that one thing is NOT to be Tennessee’s reigning Banana Cake Queen. Ever the perpetual good girl and obedient daughter, Jennifer is buckling under the weight of her social media celebrity, her mother’s ambitions, and her father’s puritanical mandates. Jennifer is officially desperate.

And desperate times call for Cletus Winston.

Cletus Winston is a puzzle wrapped in a mystery covered in conundrum sauce, and now he’s in a pickle. Despite being convinced of his own omniscience, extortion by the exalted Banana Cake Queen of Green Valley has taken him completely by surprise. So… what’s a maniacal mastermind to do?

Likely, the last thing you expect.

Beard Science is book #1 in the Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries series and Book #3 in the Winston Brothers series. Each book is a standalone, full length (110k words), contemporary romantic comedy novel, and follows the romantic exploits and adventures of one of the six Winston Brothers.

Beard Science was hilarious and sweet, romantic and fun. Jenn was such a mess from the beginning, she seemed like a caricature. I initially thought the humor here was going to be cheeky satire but it was nothing of the sort. While Jenn does start out that way, she quickly proves herself to be smart and independent. Between her near-crippling shyness and overbearing parents, Jennifer Sylvester has never been comfortable being herself. In fact, she’s been a people-pleaser for so long, Jenn seems to have forgotten her own hopes and dreams and wants.

At twenty-two, she just wants out of her parents’ house to escape her boring, tedious life and her situation is heartbreaking: Jenn works eighty hours per week in the family bakery but doesn’t receive any wages. She never complains and is happy to bake, but the constant advertising and social media circus orchestrated by her controlling mother are just too much for her to bear. She’s done it for years and she’s fed up.

When Jenn devises a plan to improve her life, it requires help and she’s identified the perfect person to execute her plan: Cletus Winston. He won’t help her willingly, but Jenn’s a step ahead of him, approaching him with an offer he can’t refuse. Like, literally can’t refuse because the quiet, demure Banana Cake Queen is blackmailing him. It was fun to watch these two fall for each other but seeing Jenn become independent and take charge of her life was even better.

The Winston family is highly entertaining and they welcome Jenn with open arms, giving her friendship and support for the first time in her life. This is the first book in the Cletus And Jenn Mysteries, but it’s book three in the Winston Brothers series. It can be read as a standalone, but has some spoilers so if you’re planning to read the series, read them in order.

Jenn was so naïve and beaten down, you just have to root for her and celebrate her victories. Cletus is hilarious and they make a sweet couple. I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this story, but enjoyed everything about it and will be continuing the series.

Beard Science on Amazon.

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