Review: Smut by Karina Halle

Review: Smut by Karina HalleSmut by Karina Halle
May 16, 2016
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 315
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Dust to Dust
Amazon US
Goodreads

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?

Romantic comedy is definitely not my go to genre with books. Or movies, for that matter. I am not a fan of melodrama or really over the top scenes. However, Halle has been one of my go to authors since I picked up her Experiment in Terror series years ago. So, I gave Smut a shot. I’ll admit I was a little worried while reading the prologue. Not because it’s bad but because there is a little over the top type moment. But I stuck it out and I’m glad I did.

The title might mislead you into thinking this is just another erotic novel where the entire story was plotted around the sex. It’s not that. Not even remotely. In fact, you don’t even get the first kiss between Amanda and Blake until just shy of the half way point. It’s also that point that the entire story shifts.

Let me backtrack for a quick second. Amanda and Blake are classmates forced to collaborate on a novella together for a final project in a creative writing course.  They don’t know a whole lot about each other, at this point. She thinks he’s a playboy (he basically is) and he thinks she’s an uptight dork (she basically is).  But as with most people, that’s the surface and they do have more depth than that. Which they discover as they are required to spend time together. Their success in co writing for school leads to them doing it for money and that’s when all the magic begins to happen.

Smut is a slow burn story, the first 45% or so is more character building and foreplay. Which I am totally on board with and it works well for these hate to love type tropes. Then the first kiss happened and I swooned. HARD. It was adorably written and I loved it. I fell in love with Blake at that moment and as I stated, the whole story changed for me.  It became the sweet, fun romance that Halle promised with some spicy sex added in.  The playfulness between Blake and Amanda very much reminded me of the banter between Dex and Perry (Experiment in Terror), which is a huge part of what had me initially falling in love with Halle’s writing. I was very, very pleased to have it make such a strong return. 

While Amanda may not be the typical leading lady in hot current romance books, I quite liked her. She’s got some armor up, she’s a little judgmental and stiff and doesn’t have a romantic bone in her body but I enjoyed her quirkiness and how Blake unraveled that with his total comfort in himself.

And Fluffy! Fluffy was fucking great and I was highly entertained by him.

So what makes this ‘just’ a three/three and a half star read for me. 1 – A three star for me still means I very much liked the book, but it’s not one that made me cry or hold my breath or had my heart beating out of control. I don’t think Smut is intended to do any of those things though, it’s not that kind of read. 2 – As I stated, RomCom really isn’t my genre, it’s harder for me to fall into. THAT’S JUST ME. If it’s your thing, you may end up five star loving this one! There were just a couple of times where the humor was a bit much for the type of reader I am. If you’re a fan of Tara Sivec, these things will be ones you love.  3 – I hate to harp on this, but I’d be remiss not mentioning it for our editing sticklers out there…this could have been cleaned up a bit more. It’s nothing major, just some typos or missed words, but I noticed and when I notice – I fall out of the story and have to submerge myself back in.  Same as when my husband blatantly ignores the fact that my nose is stuck in a book and decides to talk to me anyway. It’s nothing to get your panties in a twist over, but it’s still a distraction.

Those little tidbits aside…

Smut is a lighter story than anything Halle has done in the past and I think it’s a good option for a fun summer read. Especially if your inner child is still a video gaming, comicon going, sword wielding geek – as is mine.

About Karina Halle

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of Where Sea Meets Sky, Racing the Sun, The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also visit www.authorkarinahalle.com and sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.



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