Book Review: Smut – Karina Halle

Title: Smut
Author: Karina Halle
Publication Date: May 16th, 2016
Shelves: New Adult; Contemporary; Romance; College
Format: eBook (315 pages)
Rating: ★★★★☆ 4 stars

smutGoodreads Synopsis:
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?

littlereview

“Every relationship starts off with fears. It’s about a leap of faith and I’m leaping with him just as he’s leaping with me.”

After unceremoniously rejecting her boyfriend’s New Year’s marriage proposal, Amanda Newland moves on by shifting her energy into writing – both for her creative writing class, and for her fantasy novel. Amanda adores these writing classes. That is, until she is paired with Blake Crawford for their final creative writing project…

Being paired with beautiful, sarcastic Amanda Newland is the last thing Blake Crawford needs. With his father’s insistence on having Blake take over the family’s struggling book store after he graduates, Blake is feeling the increasing pressure of his father’s wishes. Blake just wants to enjoy his final months as a college student, and writing classes are his way to do that. But being forced to work with Amanda throws a spanner in the works for him, and the two begrudgingly agree to work together for the sake of their final grade. Surprised to find that they work amazingly well together, Blake proposes that they write erotica together, and sell it on Amazon for easy money. They were not prepared for their overnight success. They were also not prepared for life to imitate art…

It’s no secret that I love New Adult college-romance fiction, so for me to pick this novel up was a no-brainer. And I thought this book was great! It’s such a fun read, and for me the characters were my favourite thing about the novel. This story begins from Amanda’s POV, as she rejects a marriage proposal in a very embarrassing way, and I think this introduction makes her a character you instantly sympathise with and root for. She’s a very entertaining character – she’s smart, creative, funny but by no means is she perfect. She’s also a complete nerd, and this novel is smattered with a variety of references to all things geeky which I really liked.

Blake was another entertaining character. He’s quite cocky and sure of himself, and this attitude gets him into trouble with women (he’s a likeable character, but seeing him get his comeuppance was brilliant!). But he’s also so much more than he appears to be (of course he is!) – he’s smart and talented, and very sweet to his younger brother Kevin, so much so that he takes care of Kevin’s pet which he is absolutely terrified of! He’s a British character which I saw a lot of readers liked in reviews – the whole British guy thing doesn’t work on me personally, but I still agree that he’s a total hottie!

And of course I loved Blake and Amanda’s relationship. It’s an enemies to lovers story how could I not like this?? Initially, Amanda is disgusted with Blake’s seemingly too laid-back, egotistical attitude and the poor way he treats women, and Blake thinks Amanda is a rich, uptight know-it-all. And then they are forced to work together and I loved seeing them slowly become friends and then more. Their changes from enemies, to friends, to lovers, is both a slow and realistic one. I think they’re a really great pairing, and I liked that even when they were in an official relationship, they still bickered a lot – it’s cute, okay?

There’s also great side characters in this novel. Amanda’s roommate Ana – a middle-aged, recent divorcee attending beauty college – was a pretty unusual but funny addition to the story, as she relates to Amanda bizarre stories on her dating life throughout the novel – usually over alcohol. Amanda’s bestie Rio also added a lot of humour for a similar reason, though I felt that she became absent as the romance between Amanda and Blake developed.

I thought the plot was pretty entertaining. A novel about two aspiring writers writing cheap erotica while having a no strings relationship sounded so lighthearted and fun to me – which was exactly what I was looking to read at the time. And you do get that with this novel as it’s so sweet and fun. I think fans of NA and erotica will especially enjoy it not only because of the plot but because there’s so many discussions about erotica fiction which I found hilarious in their truthfulness.

Blake’s example of a typical male character in an erotic novel:

“Dirty talking alpha male. Extremely large penis. Built like The Rock. A millionaire is good but a billionaire is better. Make sure he donates to Africa or does some charity work even though he’s an asshole with a damaged past. Must possess pillowy lips and intense eyes that gaze into your soul.”

I do feel that the synopsis of this novel is slightly misleading in that the erotica writing portion of the plot doesn’t appear until around half-way through the novel. I wasn’t disappointed by this, but I just thought I’d mention it to anyone who is reading this review and is considering reading this novel (I recommend it!).

conclude

I thought it was such a fun read – It definitely cheered me up my newly-single self!

Until next time!
jess
Would you read this novel again? Sure!
Who would I recommend this novel to? Fans of NA and/or erotica! Fans of the ‘enemies to lovers’ trope.

Also find me on Tumblr || Goodreads || Twitter

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18 thoughts on “Book Review: Smut – Karina Halle

  1. I LOVE THIS BOOK!! I read it in a day, I think. Blake is ugh…no words. I love him. His and Amanda’s relationship was so much fun to read. The scenes with Fluffy cracked me up lol. Great review, Jess!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE this book! 🙌 Blake is one of my favorite guys from a romance novel. I reviewed this over the summer and was completely obsessed. I talked so many people into reading it. I need to read more from this author. Wonderful review! I’m so glad you also loved it. 🙂 Karina Halle is really cool and will read and retweet your reviews. I really like interacting with her.

    Liked by 1 person

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