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Ratings and Book Reviews (5 40 star ratings
5 reviews
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Overall rating

4.7 out of 5
40
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    ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Five Stars for Cletus ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Engagement and Espionage by Penny Reid is the first book in a new series spinoff from the amazingly and deservedly popular Winston Brothers books. This series is a bit of a change from the original Winston stories, as this is a Cozy Mystery. Also – I have to say it - I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you read Beard Science (Winston Brothers #3) before you read this book. You don’t have to, of course, but you will thank me later. If you haven’t read Beard Science, you’re seriously missing out anyway, because...Cletus. Back to my point, this book picks up the threads of time (and characters) shortly after the events of Beard Science, and I want you to receive maximum enjoyment from this cozy, sexy, snarky mischievous, mysteriously clever book. Before I go any farther, I have to get this out…OH HOW I’VE MISSED CLETUS WINSTON!! I didn’t think I could love him any more, but as usual, Penny has shown me the way. Thank Science for Cletus. Engagement and Espionage is a well-plotted mystery with excellent pacing and a sneaky keen eye for detail. Since there IS mystery here, I’m being extra careful not to give anything away with my review! Suffice to say that there are plenty of twists and turns on this wild, witty, somewhat hilarious, truly enjoyable ride. The mystery aspect of this book was woven so flawlessly into the romance between Cletus and Jenn – the action, puzzles and hilarious dialogue kept the pages turning! You’re hooked into this story from the first page, falling right back into the relationships between Cletus and Jenn, Jenn and her mother, the Winston clan...heck, the whole of Green Valley! The small town aspect plays such a great part in all of the books set in the Pennyverse – each of those million little connections working to tie together the threads of the story (and of all those stories yet to come!). One of my favorite things about the Winstons & their loves is how truly real they are. You’re not looking at an airbrushed, cookie-cutter group of heroes/heroines in Green Valley. The residents are varied, devious, colorful, and deep - and I love them for it. Cletus and Jenn are smart, sneaky, and oh-so-much fun. I was fully invested in seeing Cletus and Jenn work through some of their internal and interpersonal barriers and come through it all with so much love and strength. This book gives us a chance to view their personalities and their relationship from a bit of a different angle while they deal with the current state of mystery and intrigue in town. I can’t wait to see what shenanigans await then in the next installment! My general rating rationale: 5 – Can’t say enough amazing things, loved the characters, fabulously detailed plot, a quick hook, intense investment in both story and characters (including secondary characters) throughout the book. Will tell anyone who will listen that they should read it. 4 – A very good book. Engaging, with well-developed characters, a great plot, relatable scenarios; keeps you invested to the last page. Would recommend to reader friends. 3 – Perfectly fine story, perhaps some minor editorial errors. Entertaining. Typically with this rating I feel like there could have been MORE – be it believably/relatability, character development, internal dialogue, explanations or depth, richness to the overall story line, etc. May lose a bit of engagement here and there but I always finish reading it.
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    Another 5 star read!

    Oh my me!! A new spin-off series from Penny Reid!! Be still my racing heart! I absolutely love the relationship between Cletus and Jenn.  They are truly two souls meant for each other. This story takes the readers on a bit of a mystery, with some laughs and crazy escapades, true Ms. Reid gold! Even when the scene is tense and riveting, Ms. Reid is able to take the reader by the hand and lead them through it safely. Who is behind the chick-tastrophe? Who is out to put a bee in Jenn's bonnet? Will the love between Cletus and Jenn survive?  All of these questions will be answered and more! You get a heaping spoonful of Winston family goodness in this lovely tale. Ms. Reid has magic to her words and the town she has created in Green Valley.  I so want to visit. Her words are so descriptive, but not overly so.  It gives the readers enough to be able to picture the town and all of its quirky residents. Cletus and Jenn's love for each other makes me swoon, makes me melt, and makes me believe there is a soul mate out there for everybody. Well done Ms. Reid, I cannot wait to see what mystery and mayhem await for Jenn and Cletus next!
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    The humor continues!

    What a delight to be back in Green Valley with Cletus and Jenn! This picks up right where Beard Science and Beard in Mind left off, and even if you (like me) have finished the series, it felt natural to go back to this point in the timeline. Cletus is still a fan favorite, getting his POV in this book is a wonderful continuation from the end of their last book. Cletus admires and adores Jenn and he tempers his selfish impulses when they are at odds with his respect for her. They are still finding their way as a couple and how their lives mesh. I felt their frustration at not being able to spend intimate time together. Watching them find their way back to each other and express their hopes and vulnerabilities was so beautifully handled. Cletus and Diane’s (Jenn’s momma) conversations were Green Valley gold! It all comes back to family influences, good and bad. It was great to learn more of the backstory behind Jenn’s baking competitors, and the interpersonal connections throughout her supply chain and townspeople. I loved the references to characters from the Smartypants books, which served as mini Easter eggs for the fans but will not detract in the slightest if a reference is missed. I don’t read many cozy mysteries but this had just the right level of intrigue and dramatic/zany shenanigans for Green Valley fans. Penny doesn’t disappoint with a combination of hilariously quotable lines and beautiful heart-stirring prose. An excellent start to this new spin-off series, it was easy to devour this book. I eagerly await the next release!
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    A Huge Warm Winston Hug

    What a great read. This book is a continuation of Beard Science. It's great to be back in Green Valley, inside Cletus' magnificient brain, and spending time with the Winstons. This book had me laughing and crying.
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    A good story, great characters. Loved it.

    Such a good read! Quirky story with great characters. Easy smooth writing style makes for a really good book.
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