Beards, brothers, and bikers! Oh my!
Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might share the same devastatingly handsome face, but where Beau is outgoing and sociable, Duane is broody and reserved. This is why Jessica James, recent college graduate and perpetual level-headed good girl, has been in naïve and unhealthy infatuation with Beau Winston for most of her life.
His friendly smiles make her tongue-tied and weak-kneed, and she’s never been able to move beyond her childhood crush. Whereas Duane and Jessica have always been adversaries. She can’t stand him, and she’s pretty sure he can’t stand the sight of her…
But after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself in a massive confusion kerfuffle. Jessica James has spent her whole life paralyzed by the fantasy of Beau and her assumptions of Duane’s disdain; therefore she’s unprepared for the reality that is Duane’s insatiable interest, as well as his hot hands and hot mouth and hotter looks. Not helping Jessica’s muddled mind and good girl sensibilities, Duane seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the local biker gang, the Iron Order.
Certainly, Beau’s magic spell is broken. Yet when Jessica finds herself drawn to the man who was always her adversary, now more dangerous than ever, how much of her level-head heart is she willing to risk?
CW: Sexual content, profanity, mild violence
If you know me, you know I’m not the biggest fan of romance. I will read it, but I don’t love it, and I definitely don’t continue with a series of it. This one is an exception.
I’ve fallen in love with Green Valley, Tennessee and most of the people who live there. While I’m not in love with the Iron Wraiths biker gang, I am intrigued by the one they call Repo. He seems different than the rest of the gang, especially when it comes to Jessica James.
I love Jessica’s character. She’s funny, sweet, and sassy. She knows who she is and what she wants. Or at least she thinks she does.
Jessica’s brother Jackson is a royal pain in the butt to both Jessica and the Winston brothers. I often found myself groaning at some of the things he did in this book.
The Winston brothers are a collective group of characters – we don’t see them all for very long in this book. The ones we see the most of are Beau, Duane, Cletus, and Jethro. Billy and Roscoe are seen and get a bit of dialogue time, but not a whole lot. It’s mostly Beau and Duane (twins), Cletus and Jethro.
Jethro isn’t seen for a whole lot of the book, I’d say the last 1/4 – 1/3 of the book has Jethro in it. I got the sense that there is much more to Jethro than meets the eye. This is a character I want to see more of – fortunately it appears he is the featured brother in the second book of the series, Grin and Beard It.
Beau Winston is the identical twin brother of our main man in Truth or Beard, Duane. He’s a sweet, easy-going guy. You don’t get to see too much of his personality other than to tell that when the twins are on the loose, Beau is “good cop” and Duane is “bad cop”. He is the focus of the fourth book in the series, Beard in Mind.
Cletus is, to me, adorable. He’s a nerd in the highest sense. He’s good with machines and is just a sweetheart. He’s also a smart aleck at times, which is pretty fun. It seems he got the third book, Beard Science.
Finally, we have the male star of this book, Duane Winston. He’s gruff and no-nonsense. He loves Jessica with every fiber of his being. He’s the bad cop to Beau’s good cop. He’s a great guy even if Jessica can’t see it at first.
It took me a bit to figure out the actual plot behind this book other than Duane loves Jessica and Jessica hates Duane because she thinks he’s a jerk. It’s a classic enemies to lovers trope, but it is done in a way that doesn’t make it as cheesy or obnoxious as a lot of authors do it.
The plot twists aren’t something you see coming. However, there is one plot twist I was expecting that didn’t happen. I won’t say what it is, because it might come up in one of the later books. All I can say is that there are hints to it in this book, so I’m hoping it comes up later.
I gave this a 4 out of 5 stars. It’s not perfect but most books aren’t. I can’t wait to dig into the second book to find out what happens with Jethro.
For Penny Lee, high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she’d somehow landed a boyfriend, they never managed to know much about each other. Now Penny is heading to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer. It’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.
Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.
When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to, you know, see each other.
TW: Abuse, Racism, Mommy Issues, Daddy Issues (I’m sorry it’s been a month since I listened to it, so if there are triggers I missed, I’m sorry.)
Emergency Contact is the story of Penny and Sam. Neither of them is a particularly likable character. They are seriously messed up. But if I have to choose one over the other, I’ll take Sam, thanks.
For one, both have issues with their mothers, but for different reasons. To my idea, Sam has a legitimate reason to have issues with his mother, considering what she did to him. Penny, on the other hand, has issues with her mother for being herself. Penny seems to think that her mom is embarrassing and a pain in Penny’s butt on purpose. To my idea, that’s ludicrous and Penny is just being a brat.
When Penny moves to college and meets Sam via her dorm roommate, they become friends and text each other. Which is fine. Except they don’t tell anyone. They literally keep this a secret, when at first, there is literally no reason to. They’re just friends who talk to each other.
By the way, it takes way too long for them to figure out they have feelings for each other. Seriously. I thought they’d never figure it out. I had it figured out way before they did.
I don’t care for Mary H. K. Choi’s writing style – at least not in this book. I don’t mind books with multiple points of view, but this one was just irritating. At times it didn’t even seem like Sam and Penny were in the same story the way the chapters jumped around between Penny and Sam.
I gave it one star because I just did not like the book at all. I might give Permanent Record a try, but if it’s anything like Emergency Contact, I’m going to chalk it up to Mary H. K. Choi not being the author for me.
Ok, so I thought I’d bring you a quick life update! I just finished submitting my final assignment for the PathwayConnect program! The only things left are to attend my Gathering on Wednesday and then report my attendance. The semester officially ends on April 11, but everything is due by April 8 (unless your Gathering is on Thursday or Friday, then it’s due by Friday).
After this, I have a week off, then I start to BYU-I (Brigham Young University Idaho) on April 20. Since my program was always on online only program, my program will still be running even though the campus probably won’t be.
The rest of this week and next I plan to work on all the books I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around to, plus I plan to work on my Etsy shop, Hazel & Moon to get it back up and running with more items, better photos, etc.
So that’s what’s happening with me lately.
If you’re anything like me, your local, state, or federal governments have issued shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders. While for some of us this seems to be a dream come true, it really stinks for some of us. A lot of people love to go out and do things, but right now, that’s not an option.
If you’re a bookworm, now you have to figure out how to get new books to read. There are a few ways you can do this.
If you’re interested in audiobooks, you can choose one of the following:
Audible allows you to get audiobooks via credits. You pay $14.95/month for one credit for a book, but you can always buy other audiobooks, you’ll just pay per book you buy.
If you subscribe to Scribd Premium for $9.99/month, you can find audiobooks to tide you over. They’ve got a ton and the catalog keeps changing, so you can find something to listen to.
If you have a library card, you could see if you have Libby. You can get audiobooks through your library on the Libby app, if your library has purchased the audiobooks.
Another thing you can use Scribd for is eBooks. Like the audiobooks, you’ll need a Scribd Premium subscription, and the catalog is always changing. However, they have a ton of books you can read.
Again, if your library uses the Libby app, you can get eBooks to read via the library even when the library is closed.
You can subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, which lets you read books for a flat fee each month.
If you’re not adverse to reading books that aren’t released yet or are uncorrected proofs, you can try using NetGalley to get eBooks to read.
Books and Nook have the option to make purchases in the app, allowing you to take advantage of deals. They also have a small selection of books that are free.
You can often find books for free or for really cheap for Kindle, but you’ll have to go through your browser to purchase them, as the Kindle app and Amazon apps aren’t set up to allow Kindle purchases.
I hope this list of places you can get books during this time of being stuck at home is helpful!
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I will receive a small commission or free services from the sale.
Scribd is a reading service that allows you to search by authors, genres, and titles. You can then save the titles you find to read or listen to later. This is a great thing right now, when we’re all being asked to stay home and with libraries closing for the duration.
Most books will require you to have a premium account to read or listen to them. Premium costs USD$9.99 + tax per month, but if you use my Scribd link, you can get 60 days for free. This only works for new subscribers, sorry! Once you’ve gone through your 60 days, you can use a credit/debit card or PayPal to continue your premium subscription. If you find Scribd premium isn’t for you, you can cancel.
A few things to note with Scribd. First, you may find that an entire series isn’t available. Second, you will find books marked unavailable until a certain date. Third, you may find that a series is available in its entirety, but you have to split it up between audiobooks and eBooks. Fourth, they state premium is unlimited. There are reports of it not being unlimited. I have not personally experienced this.
Scribd has apps for both iOS and Android, plus you can actually read or listen on their website as well. When I’m working on the computer, I will listen on the website, and I use the iOS app for audiobooks on my iPhone and eBooks on my iPad. As far as how many books you can save, I have not found a limit yet.
Scribd Premium is a great service. You have options for both eBooks and audiobooks. Yes, most of us can use the Libby app through our libraries. But if you find books you want are on hold, look on Scribd. You can often find those books there without having to wait.