REVIEW – BEARD SCIENCE (Winston Brothers #3) 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 the third book in the Winston Brothers series, is a full-length romantic comedy novel, and can be read as a standalone.

*****Dee’s Review*****

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.


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 people 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 a 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 backbone and when she uses it, it was a beautiful and intoxicatingly thing to experience, so he agrees to help her.

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’s sweetness is something that is quickly becoming essential to him. 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 every day.

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 has 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!

If there’s one thing people know about me, is that I’m a hardcore Penny Reid fan. But it’s 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 front 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 it’s kind of crazy, because Penny is always demure when it comes to writing those passionate scenes, yet her talent makes 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


*****Mel’s Review*****

4.5 Stars!
(ARC provided by author)

-No one can control who you are-fundamentally, who you are in your heart-except for you.




Jennifer Sylvester is a 22 yr. old woman who grew up sheltered in Tennessee. She was homeschooled & never really socialized much with others. She’s always been controlled & under her parent’s thumb. Her family has owned the Donner Bakery & the connecting lodge for three generations. Jennifer is their bread & butter. As the face of the business, she is all over social media & famously known as the Banana Cake Queen. She’s always made up in public & is the key to their success. Her family has created & built their brand centered around Jennifer. She is their star. Their superficial caricature of the southern stereotype. All she does is bake & never has time to meet anyone.


Tired of always doing what she’s told, Jennifer wants something for herself. She longs for a husband & a family of her own. Tired of feeling weak & meek, Jenn decides to take action when an opportunity presents itself. She see’s a way to possibly get everything she’s always wanted & her plan includes Cletus Winston. Cletus Winston is one of the seven Winston siblings. Jenn has always thought of him as gorgeous, dangerous & quietly methodical. He is often perceived as a simpleton, but Jenn knows better. Cletus is extremely intelligent, unique, and brutally clever. He’s odd, suspicious, & distrustful. Always observing everyone around him. Jenn felt as much as Cletus analyzes everything and everyone, he’s never truly noticed her. She feels invisible to him.


Soon Jenn makes herself known to Cletus when she forces him to help her. In a bind, Cletus decides to help Jenn & soon learns this shy pushover of a woman is actually fierce. She surprises Cletus, & he is impressed with her. As she pushes Cletus out of his comfort zone, he helps her to stop ignoring her own hopes and dreams, & to live life for herself. As they get to know one another they fall hard for each other.

I really loved this book & ADORE Cletus!!! All these bearded brothers are just delicious, & this series is fabulous! I need Billy next! ❤


-My well-ordered world was in chaos, undone by a short woman baker.

-The woman’s body drove me to distraction.

-The raw truth of him- of his soul- was beautiful. It was precious to me. He was precious to me.

-This man belonged to me. He was mine.

-I’d found my person. And I’d found myself.



*****Patty’s Review*****

*****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.



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.



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.



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.

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