Wrap Up

Now Presenting…The Third Annual Smut Report Superlatives!

It’s (almost) a new year, which means it’s time to look back on the past year. We were tired and found comfort in books. We were tired and struggled to read books. But no matter what, we reaffirmed how much we love to read and talk about books. So instead of a best-of list, we bring you without further ado: The Third Annual Smut Report Superlatives.

Note: These are books we read this year. We might have reviewed them or not, and they may be published in 2022 or not. We just like books.


Book that gave me the biggest belly-laughs:

Erin: Husband Material by Alexis Hall

This book handles a lot of heavy topics very relevant to a committed but still pretty new relationship, and yet the antics of the CRAPP staff had me absolutely wheezing. 

Holly: Enemies with Benefits by Roxie Noir 

The banter between these two dumdums who think they hate each other but actually don’t is perfection.

Ingrid: The Bun and the Gun by Vanessa Gray Bartal

Just the wittiest of banter and some adorable situational hijinks in this suspenseful romance featuring two secret agents who insist they’re just friends.


Book that made me think:

Erin: Going Public by Hudson Lin

Raymond went to jail for a crime he definitely committed, and without a “but his motives were pure” caveat. Mulling over the romance of criminals paying for their crimes was a fun thought exercise. 

Holly: Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Since I started blogging with Erin and Ingrid, I’ve learned to pay a lot more attention to not just the content, but how the books I read are written, and this one made me think about structure and point of view in ways I hadn’t considered before.

Ingrid: The Stand-Up Groomsman by Jackie Lau

This one handled so many things with humor and gentle conversations. The characters and situations were so layered and complex without overpowering the love story, and it really stuck with me for quite some time.


Book with the swooniest character:

Erin: Night Hawk by Beverly Jenkins

Ian Vance is confident, competent, dutiful, and willing to utterly destroy anyone who hurts his wife. 

Holly: A Forest Between Us by Allie Winters

He’s a reclusive lumberjack artisan with a dog and a cabin he built himself and he falls in love instantly but is so respectful in his pursuit.

Ingrid: All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata

I was absolutely certain this book was written by a ghost writer and then essentially fell kind of hard in love with Rhodes? And then I really didn’t care who wrote it, as long as it didn’t end. (It did, and he did not fall in love with me.)


Book most likely to make me ugly cry:

Erin: Icebreaker by A.L. Graziadei

The slightly unreliable narrator who is thus simply because of the life story his major depression has created for him trying to grow into an adulthood that he truly wants absolutely wrecked me.

Holly: Headliners by Lucy Parker

This is mostly a very entertaining antagonists-forced-to-work-together storyline, but when Nick tells Sabrina why he’s always called her “Sparks,” I lost it.

Ingrid: Breath to Bear by Paula Dombrowiak

UGHHHHH this one was the prequel to a love story where the heroine dies? Both books made me cry, but the journey was genuinely fantastic and I have no regrets.


Book most likely to make me text the other smut-reporters because “what did I just read?!?!?!”: 

Erin: Redemption by Jayda Marx

I can’t even—Talon really wants his mate…who finally appears while he’s having public sex with someone else… so he chases after the guy, not considering that’s super stalker-y. And on top of all that, there’s a whole Omegaverse situation with Talon’s housemate that I didn’t know about going in. I had no idea what was happening to me, but I stayed for the whole ride.

Holly: The Black Lyon by Jude Devereaux

How is it possible to write a book that is simultaneously bonkers and boring? (Plus, we buddy read this, so Erin and I got to have an *extensive* discussion about historical accuracy.)

Ingrid: Anything by Chuck Tingle

I really didn’t even know what to say about these naughty, hilarious little numbers. I was almost speechless, and that’s a real problem when you’re a reviewer.


Book that kept me on the edge of my seat:

Erin: Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews

The action (and destruction) is just non-stop in the Hidden Legacy world, and Catalina Baylor is a total badass. 

Holly: Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan

I have very mixed feelings about this book and whether I liked it, but it’s so incredibly tense that I could not put it down.

Ingrid: Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan

Tense to the point where I honestly kind of felt like it was too much for me and I didn’t want to go on. At all.


Book that inspired the ranty-est rant:

Erin: Would You Rather by Allison Ashley 

I love a marriage of convenience that includes a lot of pining, but the fraud plotline made me so ragey I ended up ranting about this book instead of enjoying it.

Holly: Wired by Julie Garwood

I read this for the TBR challenge, and the idea there is that we write mini-reviews, but I couldn’t stop talking about all the things that this book does badly. Also, bossy, paternalistic heroes should stay in the Middle Ages.

Ingrid: The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

This one just…what’s even happening here? Is the hero meant to be gross and predatory? What happened here? Honestly.


Book most likely to make me fan myself: 

Erin: Show Me by Neve Wilder

A sex deal that involves an OnlyFans account, role playing, and public sex? Ummm, how does one not end up fanning oneself?

Holly: Release by Suzanne Clay

Two words: Glory. Hole.

Five more words: Oops it was my boss.

Ingrid: Basically everything from Old School Bodice Rippers week.

There was much fanning and then “what just happened” and then more fanning. So much fanning.


Author I loved to binge:

Erin: Tal Bauer

Action, adventure, tension, worldbuilding, drama…I couldn’t put these books down. 

Holly: Elizabeth Hoyt

I technically binge-read Maiden Lane in 2021, but ever since then, I keep my eye out for her books, so I always have one on hand when I need that perfect hit of bonkers in my life.

Ingrid: Julie Garwood

After throwback week I essentially requested every single Scottish one she wrote and read them one after another.


Book that gave me the biggest heart eyes:

Erin: Kiss Hard by Nalini Singh

This one I chose above all others because it is generally happy, with Danny and Catie having a sweet and caring friendship that grows into something amazing, but also Nalini Singh is a fantastic writer. 

Holly: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

Look, this book is an absolutely fabulous romance. It’s friggin hilarious. And it’s also a profound meditation on what it means to fall in love. And it introduced me to Jennifer Crusie, and I’ve been joyfully (if slowly) making my way through her backlist.

Ingrid: The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Even though this book clearly says it’s about a bookshop that takes place on the corner but it’s about a rural bookmobile, I pretty much completely loved it. And honestly, apparently this year I discovered I like cranky farmers?


2021 Superlatives

2020 Superlatives

3 thoughts on “Now Presenting…The Third Annual Smut Report Superlatives!”

    1. Noted! I’ve read Faking It, but Welcome to Temptation wasn’t in the stacks the day I grabbed all the Crusies off the shelf in the library. Might be time for another trip…

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      1. Oh, Temptation is even more thought-provoking…soooooo good. Audio-book is on replay chez Miss Bates. (Though so is Bet Me, which I’ve argued is not a romance, but is FRAMED by a romance, Min and Cal’s, but overall is about all the different love choices the ensemble characters make.

        Liked by 1 person

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