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 back roads 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 heartthrobs. But can she traverse the tenuous trails of Tennessee without losing her head? Or worse, her heart?
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After reading Truth or Beard I knew three things: I loved the Winston family and I ADORED Cletus. (Yes, I am well aware that Cletus is a Winston, but he deserves his own shout out.) and I’d definitely be picking up the next book in the series regardless of who it was about (Cletus would have been preferred, but one must go with the flow). But due to everything getting in the way reading the book wasn’t a viable option, so if I wanted to read the book this century I’d have to go the audiobook route and I loved being back in the Winston family world and the narrators did a fabulous job, but I had issues with the MC’s, well one of them, and it wasn’t that I didn’t like them, I just didn’t love them both equally.
Jethro and Sienna: 3 Stars
Jethro I loved. He’s turned his entire life around and is putting his money where his mouth is. He is showing everyone around him that he was no longer the asshat, selfish, car stealing biker and instead is an upstanding member of the community and someone they could all rely upon when needed, especially his family. One of the things that made me melt for him was that he didn’t expect anyone to forgive him, he wanted it ~ badly, but he knew that it would take time and that some would never forgive him his trespasses and he was okay with that. I loved his flirty side and how he took the time to make decisions, good or bad. Though as tends to happen, he was quite clueless about somethings.
Sienna. I liked her. I did. I loved that she loved herself. She was comfortable in her own skin and yet didn’t go out of her way to shove it in everyone’s face. She is who she is and you can either accept it or not. She can only be herself. But as much as I loved her confidence I never really warmed up to her like I thought I would. I think what got me was that while she had a strong personality she tended to take the “let’s keep the peace” route when it came to what really should have mattered the most, like the direction she really wanted her career to go and when her jack ass of an ex would come around. Now, in my group of friends I’m label the voice of reason because I too like to keep things running smoothly, but each time Sienna back down and kept silent, even if she didn’t agree with what was going on, it made me want to hit something. Does she finally stick up for herself in the end? Yes, but even then it didn’t make me want to high five the girl.
When it comes to the whole celebrity falls for the non celebrity story you know there will be quite a few bumps in the road and Jethro and Sienna’s story was filled with them, many because they jumped to conclusions instead of communicating (Thank GOD for Cletus), but there were some really sweet and some really funny moments and the sexual tension between them was pretty damn hot. But while I think that they make a great couple and can see them evolving into something great together, I felt as if something was missing. It’s one of those intangible gut feeling sort of things, so pinpointing it is not going to happen, but it is what it is and I still enjoyed their journey.
Cletus and the rest of the Winston clan: .5 Stars
Yes I’m giving them their own little rating because they all deserve it. Cletus is still the one I adore the most, and how can I now when he makes statements like this: “Put your best fuck forward” but being a sucker for well written secondary characters and ensemble casts, I loved spending time with all of them. They feel like a family and all the good, the bad and the ugly that comes with it (Thankfully there is much more good than anything else) and I really want to be invited to dinner one night, especially on sausage nights *BSEG*. And of the brothers Billy is now the one I’m really curious about and can’t wait to find out more about his whole situation.
The Narrators: 5 Stars
This was my first experience with Chris Brinkley & Cielo Camargo as narrators and I really enjoyed them. I liked the tone and cadence of their voices and how they were able to give each character a different feel so that I at least at a clue as to who else was apart of the scene, if not knew outright who was talking. They both did the voices of the opposite sex well, there is always a bit of time needed to get used to it, but they worked for me.
My one main issue with the story came towards the end when Sienna drops a huge bomb and for whatever reason she, and the rest of team, believed that the information wasn’t already out there in Social Media land and none of them, not even Marta ~ which was a huge surprise, bothered to check and see. There were “reasons” given, but in this day and age just because one person may have the “exclusive” doesn’t mean anything, especially when that exclusive was done in an outdoor premier setting with a lot of people with smartphones milling around.
Overall I enjoyed Grin and Beard It. The writing was engaging and I loved the quotes that were used at the start of each chapter and had fun trying to figure out how they applied to what was going to happen. And yes, I am counting the days until the next book, Beard Science, is released because it’s all about Cletus!!
The art of being a true gentleman seems to be slowing ebbing away, as different generations evolve and grandfathers pass away, habits of the gentile are slowly being forgotten. Not in the Winston house though. Jethro Winston is a man that has definitely earned the title 'gentleman.' He has this lovely calm disposition and is someone who would give you the shirt off his back, he is a very selfless man.
Sienna Diaz experiences what it is like to be helped by Jethro when she gets lost en route to a cabin she has rented. She is a very well known movie star and is in desperate need for some down time before she starts filming her latest movie in Tennessee. This cabin, tucked away in Green Valley, is the perfect place for her to recharge her batteries and prepare for her upcoming role.
Jethro has no idea who Sienna is and he cannot resist helping a damsel in distress, a very beautiful one at that too. In fact helping her out of a spot of bother seems to happen several more times over the passing days. He soon realises that she is not like any other woman he has met before, she is fun and sassy. In fact, he has never enjoyed a female's company like he does Sienna's.
Sienna hasn't met a man like Jethro before, he is a tall, bearded, gorgeous and charming Park Ranger. She has definitely met her fair share of men over the years but Jethro is in a completely different league to them. He wants to know her, not the movie star, just Sienna. It is so refreshing for her to met a man who is not affected by her stardom, someone she can just be herself around.
There is definitely a connection between them and they both want to explore where it takes them. Other people in their lives are weighing in with opinions on this unlikely coupling but Jethro and Sienna are only focused on how they feel. A good way to be if you ask me.
This story is filled with lots of quirkiness and laugh out loud moments. Jethro is a very swoony book boyfriend and I loved how his relationship with Sienna evolved. And just because, here are a few moments from this book...
"Um I would but, right now I need to pee like a hooker with a UTI"
"So I build things, I work with wood.' 'I'd like to work with your wood"
"I want you sitting on my face when I taste your papaya"
"Because when I'm with you, I feel like I am flying and falling"