Book review: Smut by Karina Halle

Smut by Karina Halle
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: May 16, 2016
Source: Freebie

What happens when the kink between the pages leads to heat between the sheets?

All Blake Crawford wants is to pass his creative writing course, get his university degree, and take over his dad’s ailing family business. What Amanda Newland wants is to graduate at the top of her class, as well as finally finish her novel and prove to her family that writing is a respectful career.

What Blake and Amanda don’t want is to be paired up with each other for their final project, but that’s exactly what they both get when they’re forced to collaborate on a writing piece. Since Amanda thinks Blake is a pushy asshole (with a panty-melting smirk and British accent) and Blake thinks Amanda has a stick up her ass (though it’s a brilliant ass), they fight tooth and nail until they discover they write well together. They also may find each other really attractive, but that’s neither here nor there.

When their writing project turns out to be a success, the two of them decide to start up a secret partnership using a pen name, infiltrating the self-publishing market in the lucrative genre of erotica. Naturally, with so much heat and passion between the pages, it’s not long before their dirty words become a dirty reality. Sure, they still fight a lot, but at least there’s make-up sex now.

But even as they start to fall hard for each other, will their burgeoning relationship survive if their scandalous secret is exposed? Or are happily-ever-afters just a work of fiction?

I got this book months ago fully intending to read it right away, and then, as usual, I didn’t. But for my final choice for this month’s #killingthetbr challenge, I figured that I might as well read it. After all, it has great reviews! It sounds really fun! I’ve been meaning to try out something by Karina Halle! But, ugh, I’m not sure what it is with me hating every book I own, but here we are.

The biggest problem for me was that I didn’t like the hero and I didn’t like the heroine. It’s really hard for me to enjoy a romance novel if I can’t get behind the characters, and both of them were so annoying.

Amanda is a writer. Like, that’s her whole self. She writes. All she talks about is how she writes. She talks about how she writes better than anybody else in the world, but let me tell you, the excerpts of her weird fantasy novel are not good. She’s super judgmental of anybody who doesn’t write high fantasy, like at one point she actually says, “Romance readers want romance, they don’t want it with a plot about bird women and wizards and monsters that look like a giant ant crossed with a spider. They might not want it with a plot at all, so let’s not pretend.” I mean, yikes.

Amanda is also incredibly entitled. Her rich parents pay for her apartment, her school, her car, everything. I mean, that’s fine. I had friends in college in the same situation, but the difference was that they didn’t constantly mention it while simultaneously complaining about how hard their life is. Do you know what’s hard? Paying for college by yourself while also finding the money for your rent and food and other necessities. But, wow, your parents sometimes question whether you’ll ever make money as a writer but still pay to put you through a creative writing degree. Your life is difficult. I’m so sorry.

Blake is a British playboy and that’s his whole self. His life is very difficult also, because clearly the hero can’t just be a jerk for no reason. He has to be a jerk because of everything that’s going on in his life. Blake has slept with half of the creative writing class, because of course he has, and he frequently gets trays of beer poured over him in bars, because of course he does. How else would we know that he’s a womanizing jerk? This wouldn’t be a romance novel if Blake wasn’t somehow redeemed, though, so he’s (a) doing a business degree he’s not interested in so that he can take over his father’s bookstore, and (b) unexpectedly kind toward his much younger stepbrother, Kevin.

I really wish that I had loved this book, but I didn’t. Not only are the two main characters the actual worst, but everything that happens is just so far-fetched that I found myself rolling my eyes throughout the entire book and setting it down between chapters because I just didn’t want to finish. It’s also so poorly edited, with word use errors or just words missing altogether. Some of the sex scenes are kind of hot, but most just made me cringe and I don’t usually read this kind of thing at 10am on a Sunday, but I ended up marathoning it because I just wanted to be done already.

PS: “Fuckboy” does not mean “boy you’re fucking,” I feel like this is a thing you should know if you write romance.

Let’s end on a positive note with a quote I liked:

She knows, oh she knows, that the worst thing to say to a struggling writer is, “How is it going?” or “Get any writing done?” Bitch, if I’ve got writing done, you can fucking bet you’ll know about it.

#killingthetbr: three months on shelf

Have you read Smut? Have you read anything else by Karina Halle?
Should I give her another chance? Let’s talk in the comments!

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