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Grin and Beard It, Penny Reid (C) – This is the second book in the Winston Bros. series and follows the romance of the eldest of the six brothers, Jethro, as he falls in love with a movie star recently arrived in the small Tennessee town to film a popular movie. It has many of the hallmarks of Reid’s writing, including very likable and relatable characters, and in this case, the strong family ties that keep six brothers living not only in the same small town but in the same family homestead. I liked Jethro’s brothers, especially Cletus and Billy, who both offer promising stories of their own in the near future. The main couple, Jethro and Sienna, however, did not excite me overly much here. Sienna is supposed to be a very funny woman and famous comedic actress, but the humor didn’t especially work for me in this novel.

I have to admit too that I don’t typically enjoy romances when one of the main characters is a celebrity, and this book reminds me of many of the reasons why I dislike this plot. Sienna is so famous that her celebrity status produces too much conflict for the main characters to overcome without numerous misunderstandings and subsequent break-ups. Just when she and Jethro resolve one issue, another one crops up. By the end of the book and the final near break-up, I no longer felt invested in the romance. I do find it believable that such conflicts would logically occur, but I just don’t enjoy stories where the power dynamic is so skewed in favor of one person over another. Sienna is not just an actress, she is an A-list global celebrity, which only heightens the problem for her to be in a relationship with a non-celebrity. Jethro also is not just a non-celebrity because instead he is a former bad boy “hillbilly” known more for carjacking and hanging with the local badass motorcycle gang. It was mildly interesting that Jethro hires a crisis manager to help redeem him in the public eye so that he can have a future with Sienna, but this storyline is not sufficiently developed. It’s more of a “love conquers all” kind of message by the end, which felt a bit weak.

All in all, I got tired of the conflicts that kept erupting. I didn’t really ever find the heroine very appealing. Jethro was fine though a bit bland as the hero. He was so keen to run away from his risque past that he turned himself into a dud.

I never read the first Winston brother story in the Knitting in the Series books and so I’m still at a loss to understand what the heck is going on with the beards? Why are all of the brothers bearded? I find this odd, and not in a cute way in which I think readers are meant to interpret it. Facial hair is not really my thing though and so perhaps for some readers, this is sexy.

Cletus’s story is up next this fall and it looks good from the short chapter and blurb I’ve read. I like Penny Reid and am hopeful that this series will pick up for me. If not, her Elements series continues in 2017 and I really enjoyed Elements of Chemistry.