Announcement, Smut Reporting

Smut is Political

We at The Smut Report are opposed to racism in all its forms, including pervasive systemic racism. And we want to state this out loud because it is our responsibility to speak out.

We feel compelled to state this outright in view of the ongoing protests in the US after the horrific murder of George Floyd (and Breonna Taylor) (and Ahmaud Arbery) (and and and). Black lives matter, and we recognize that we are part of the culture that has ignored and minimized Black voices for decades and centuries. Beyond that, we had planned to recognize and celebrate Pride Month in June, highlighting other marginalized voices. 

Because of the situation we currently find ourselves in, we want to be explicit: Smut is Political. And therefore, the work we do is also political. It’s easy to declare that some things – like romance books – shouldn’t be political, but that’s a viewpoint of the privileged.

When we say politics, we don’t mean voting (though you should definitely vote!), but rather the fact that smut can reinforce narratives about what stories are worth telling, what stories are worth listening to – and by extension, which people deserve happily ever afters and which lives have value. 

Smut might provide an avenue for escapist fantasy, but smut has historically and also continues to:

  • Glorify the military-industrial complex by valorizing hyper-alpha heroes with guns
  • Gloss over an economic slump, massive civil unrest, state violence, and repressive laws in the years following the Napoleonic Wars and during the Gilded Age
  • Paint ruthless businessmen as the most desirable romantic partners
  • Portray the Ideal Town in the United States as lily-white and straight and Christian and homogenous 

This doesn’t mean that we’re never going to read another military or cop hero, or another Regency romance, or another billionaire romance, or another romance set in Anytown, USA. But when we read these stories, we read them with the understanding of both why we’re reading them (sometimes fantasy is satisfying and fun) and what they represent. And we recognize that, while we might read these stories, we also want to read books that tell other, less well represented stories. Everyone deserves a happily ever after; we all deserve to have our love stories told with dignity and respect. We want to see the communities and diversity of our world reflected in the stories we read, as beautiful and messy and complicated on the page as they are in real life. 

We will therefore continue to read and promote stories by marginalized voices and about marginalized people. We will do our best to highlight problematic content – and problematic erasures – in the books we read. We will continue to educate ourselves so we can be better allies in this ongoing struggle. 

Right now, as we look forward to Pride Month and back to the systemic racism and violence perpetrated against Black citizens that has culminated in our current upheaval, we as persons of privilege are hyper-aware of our responsibility to acknowledge and amplify marginalized voices. But our responsibility doesn’t end when quiet normalcy returns. Amplification of marginalized voices is an ongoing responsibility, and one which we will continue to take seriously. We have been linking to various resources to promote allyship on our social media pages – especially our Twitter page – so if you would like more information about what you can do to be a good ally, we encourage you to head over there.

In addition, we encourage you to head over to these sites that promote Black authors and Black romance:

Girl, Have You Read…?

Black Chick Lit

WOC In Romance

Smut Reporting

Love is the Worst!

Whatever the reason (let’s not blame the pandemic for everything) (but it’s totally because of the pandemic), I am already 85% through my Goodreads reading goal of 150 books for this year. I have only read romance this year. And every year for the past six years, with maybe 5-10 non-romance books sneaking in sideways during that time.

My point is that I am currently at Maximum Romance. 

This makes it easy for me to spot trends. Crutches. Whatever you want to call it.

Based on my reading, and I have to operate based on my reading due to my limited personal experience, it is my understanding that everyone who has ever had a bad experience in love has sworn off love forever because it is a very bad thing. Also based on my reading, I must conclude that this is the case for at least 50% of the single population. Maybe also the non-single population, I don’t know. They’re not typically featured in romance, so the data set there is unreliable.

Here’s what I know:

  • Ex-lovers are assholes who’ve definitely ripped out your guts and ruined you forever, and, let’s be honest, probably cheated on you, too. 
  • And if you’ve got money and status, that’s the only reason anyone has ever wanted you.
  • One time is definitely enough times to be burned.
  • Being unhappy sucks so much that swearing off love is better than going near that mess again. 
  • If love even exists. I mean, experience clearly tells us that love is probably a hoax.
  • Treating sexual partners like pieces of meat isn’t disrespectful, it’s self-preservation, because even though love is definitely not real, we must take extreme measures to ensure that we do not fall prey to it. 
  • Even if a new sexual partner demonstrates none of the behaviors or characteristics of an ex, let’s be honest, they’re all the same, and giving people chances is just dumb.

I got it all, right? Nobody’s out there just, like, dating around, right? Or, like, recovering from a breakup but open to new romance? That’s not a thing, as I understand it. 

And of course we would never base our understanding of a person off their own actions, right? Only the actions of others from our pasts. Pretty sure I got that one loud and clear.

I don’t know, maybe I didn’t get this right at all. Maybe we need a poll:

Recommended Read, Review

Review: Wanted, a Gentleman; Or, Virtue Over-Rated by K.J. Charles (2017)

Heat Factor: Oh no! There’s only ONE BED! (Too bad we forgot to bring lube.) 

Character Chemistry: I completely bought both the immediate sexual attraction and the slowly burgeoning friendship. 

Plot: We must stop this elopement!

Overall: This is the perfect book.

Continue reading “Review: Wanted, a Gentleman; Or, Virtue Over-Rated by K.J. Charles (2017)”

Review: Conventionally Yours by Annabeth Albert (2020)

True Colors, Book #1

Heat Factor: Feels like closed door, even though it’s technically not

Character Chemistry: These two felt super wholesome and super young

Plot: New adults road trip to a gaming convention tournament. ONLY ONE CAN WIN.

Overall: These young men made me feel a little old with all their, “What am I going to do with my life!?” crises.

Continue reading “Review: Conventionally Yours by Annabeth Albert (2020)”
Coming Soon...

June Preview

June is Pride Month, so here at The Smut Report, we’re going to be focusing on romances featuring LGBTQ characters throughout the month.

While we try to read a range of romances throughout the year, we figured it would be fun for all of us to really focus on queer love stories in all their forms. Slash, Erin is sort of obsessed with M/M romance, so expect a lot of reviews of M/M stories.

We’re also working on a few lists – of LGBTQ romances we’ve read in the past and loved, and of ones that are on our TBR – and some Smut Reporting. If we tell you we’re doing it, we’re more likely to get it done, right?

Wrap Up

May Wrap Up: Our Favorite Smut This Month

It feels like we’ve published a million reviews this month. What can we say? Erin is reading about five times as much as normal – welcome to quarantine life. If you’re like Holly and Ingrid and are not reading five times as much as normal (and maybe a little less than normal), we feel you. Either way, we’re happy to make recommendations.

Without further ado: our favorite books for the month.

Ingrid’s Choice: Salt + Stilettos by Janet Walden-West

Ingrid especially loved the hero, Will, who wasn’t a perfect specimen of manhood, but was sweet and gentle and shy and cooked the sexiest food.

Holly’s Choice: Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev

This book has some serious angst, but it builds to something really amazing. Bonus points for an extremely sexy hero.

Erin’s Choice: Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye

Erin almost died of all the cuteness.

Hope all of our loyal readers are safe, healthy, and are able to set aside time to keep reading smut.

PS: If you’re looking for something fun and silly to do, you should follow #stepbacksaturday on Instagram – today’s reveal day. It’s a great way to connect with other smut readers and bloggers – and who doesn’t love a good stepback?


Review: The Priest by Tiffany Reisz (2020)

Original Sinners, Book 9

Review of Original Sinners Book 1 (loved it!), Book 2 (eh)

Heat Factor: As expected, there’s a lot of sex.

Character Chemistry: Nora and Cyrus have good banter. And Nora and Søren have some beautiful moments.

Plot: A priest has committed suicide; right before he killed himself, he tried to call Nora. She had never met the man, so when Cyrus the private detective starts investigating, she helps him crack the case. 

Overall: Some aspects of this book are really excellent, but I would not recommend The Priest to anyone who was not already well-versed in the Original Sinners universe.

Continue reading “Review: The Priest by Tiffany Reisz (2020)”