I have no idea if I liked Beard Science, the third book in the Winston Brothers series, or not. It is possible that I both liked and disliked it. I enjoyed it (mostly) while I read it, but as soon as I started thinking about it I had more problems. Penny Reid has not moved off my Approach With Caution list. I really liked the previous book, Grin and Beard It, but this one was more problematic.
I liked Jennifer, she was no Sienna, but she was pretty great. I did like Jennifer and Cletus together. Part of my problem with the book, though, was that I didn’t really like Cletus all that much as a romantic hero. Jennifer and Cletus are both on the odd side, but I think Reid doesn’t let them be perfectly odd together. She keeps forcing them onto a more conventional romance path, which makes Cletus, in particular, seem more annoyingly quirky than like a character who is growing.
Like I said, I enjoyed it while I was reading it. If you are looking for a few mindless hours and some ok banter, this is a good choice. But don’t think about it too much afterwards.
Spoilery things I don’t like.
1. I hated the forced conflict around Jennifer’s virginity. Ugh. If I’m going to take you seriously as a partner for Jennifer, Cletus, you are going to have to believe her when she says she wants to have sex. As I recall, I didn’t like this element in the first Beard book.
2. I hate the whole motorcycle gang arc. It has been the weakest part of every book. I don’t know why it’s there. They aren’t a scary opponent. They bring nothing to the story and they reveal nothing about the characters. It’s just a stupid excuse for the hero to rescue the heroine. And why does that even need to happen? Jennifer has plenty of conflict with her parents to fulfill the need for an external stressor.
3. Please stop fetishizing ethnicity. Making your hero part Native American, and giving him super good eyesight is not diversity. It’s bullshit and kind of racist.
Many thanks to the lovely Mrs. Julien for the loan of this title.