[645]: Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid

23337863 Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers, #2
Self Published | May 31st, 2016
Adult Romance | Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Sienna Diaz is everyone’s favorite “fat” funny lady. The movie studio executives can’t explain it, but her films are out-grossing all the fit and trim headliners and Hollywood’s most beautiful elite. The simple truth is, everyone loves plus-sized Sienna.

But she has a problem, she can’t read maps and her sense of direction is almost as bad as her comedic timing is stellar. Therefore, when Sienna’s latest starring role takes her to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park she finds herself continually lost while trying to navigate the backroads of Green Valley, Tennessee. Much to her consternation, Sienna’s most frequent savior is a ridiculously handsome, charming, and cheeky Park Ranger by the name of Jethro Winston.

Sienna is accustomed to high levels of man-handsome, so it’s not Jethro’s chiseled features or his perfect physique that make Sienna stutter. It’s his southern charm. And gentlemanly manners. And habit of looking at her too long and too often.

Sienna has successfully navigated the labyrinth of Hollywood heart-throbs. But can she traverse the tenuous trails of Tennessee without losing her head? Or worse, her heart?

In this second installment of the Winston Brothers series, we find Jethro Winston about to get tangled with America’s Sweetheart, Sienna Diaz. An A-lister Hollywood actress who made a name for herself by being funny. She’s also one of those actresses who didn’t fit the starlet mold. She’s not skinny by Hollywood’s standards and what’s more, she’s Latina. She won an Oscar for best actress. She’s the It Girl of the moment and a brilliant writer in her own right. But Jethro has no clue who she was. So instantly, Sierra saw the novelty of meeting someone who has no preconceived notions about dating a celebrity. Besides the fact that the oldest Winston can match her flirtatious banter any day, Jethro is    a changed man who has seen the error of his bad boy ways. 

They have an instant connection. Sienna’s comedy shtick works well with Jethro’s gentlemanly charms. But as most of these celebrity/regular person romance go, the road to happily ever after is paved with blue balls, meddling sister, idiot exes, and skeletons in the closet. 

The glaring problem is Jethro’s past. Growing up as Darrel Winston’s son has afforded him the best and worst kind of upbringing. It didn’t matter how hard their mother tried to protect him and his siblings from the life of growing up in a Motorcycle Club. In the end, because he is the oldest, his father still managed to get his claws on him. And while Jethro worked his hardest to be the upstanding citizen he is now, he still can’t escape his past; something that he could never forgive himself for if it tarnishes Sienna’s reputation. The man is full of guilt for the kind of person he once was: for the lives he ruined, the people he hurt; for the women he used, and for forsaking his duties to his siblings as the oldest Winston. So Sienna had a lot of work to do to get him to accept that he deserves happiness, too. 

Sienna Diaz, on the other hand, was all in. She didn’t care what he’s done in the past. All that matters is that for the first time in a long time, she’s with someone who didn’t care about her celebrity status. But she’ll have a hard time convincing her older sister (who also happens to be her manager) that Jethro is in it for all the right reasons. All her life, her career has dictated the path of her love life. This time, though she was going to fight for what she wants. 

There are so many reasons why Penny Reid became an instant favorite of mine. Mostly, her characters are the kind that stands out no matter in a genre saturated by the same old, same old fare. She’s funny as hell, and it shows through her characters and witty dialogues. Honestly, I haven’t read a book by hers where her characters didn’t make an impression on me. Every couple I’ve met has been remarkably perfect (for each other, that is). Her stories have the right amount of sweetness and angst that balances out the plot. And of course, the sex. We can’t forget about the sex. She knows how to work it – if you know what I mean. 

Among other things, this is an homage to the on-going debate about breaking stereotypes. Loving your body and never letting anyone dictate what or how you should look like is an important rule of feminism. Sierra was not only a banner character for self-acceptance, she also fought for everything she knows she deserves. I love that about her. I try to cherish books that give me something more than a temporary thrill. Grin and Beard It gets it, you know?

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