Saturday Smutty Six: More Accidental Marriages

Now that we’ve spent a whole week reading and talking about books featuring the Woke Up Married trope, we obviously can’t leave you hanging. If the recs from our podcast, or reviews by Erin, Holly, and Ingrid didn’t tickle your fancy, here are six more Woke Up Married books that we liked.

Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren

Like Lick, Sweet Filthy Boy features a single 1st person narrator with a messy family life and a mysterious husband. It is as riveting—maybe even more so—as Lick, as it becomes clear that Ansel’s keeping secrets from Mia even though he says he really wants their marriage to work. Mia and her friends marry Ansel and his friends during a wild Vegas night, but while everyone else goes to dissolve the marriage the next morning, Ansel invites Mia to his home in Paris for the summer, and to escape her overbearing father, she goes. If you like books that make you think “Is their whole relationship about sex, or are they gonna talk?” I have a book for you.

Screwed by K.M. Neuhold

These guys get totally hammered while in Vegas for their brother’s/friend’s bachelor party and, left to their own devices after the couples go to bed, bar hop all the way to the chapel. They plan to end the marriage, but when Ollie’s friends give him hell for getting married AGAIN, Daniel steps in and declares they oive each other and the marriage is real and they’ll prove it. Amazing playing house fantasies ensue. If you love soft construction workers and supportive partners, this is a good bet. 

Just Married? by Natasha West

I’ll just say the audiobook narration for this book was awful. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a British person do a bad American accent until I listened to this audiobook. That said, this sapphic romance was pretty fun. The beginning, from the introduction of our protagonists to the waking up after a night on the town in Vegas, was fun and engaging, and the fact that one MC ran out on the other was a nice spin. As we got closer to the dark moment, some of the reasoning the characters used didn’t totally make sense, and our MCs didn’t like to talk about their feelings at all, but it pulled together in the end.

The Romantic by Riley Hart

This new release really hits the trope perfectly, and it’s soft and sweet with a dual POV narrative in which both partners are trying to figure themselves out with the fallout from a surprise marriage. Elliott is probably demiromantic (he never completely self-identifies) and has never fallen in love or felt the urge to do so, whereas Parker has been dreaming of a sweeping romance for his whole life. They have a fantastic meet-cute, but it doesn’t initially go anywhere because of Parker’s terrible dating history, so by the time they get drunk in Vegas, they already know each other enough to know they’re interested. See also: So. Much. Praise kink!

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

This one really leans into the whole “this marriage is making me rethink my entire life” component of the trope. After Grace wakes up with a wedding ring on her hand and a note on her pillow, she starts pushing back against the structure she’s build around herself. In the process of finding and getting to know her wife, Grace also finds herself. Recommended for those who love lush writing and journeys of self discovery.

A Forest Between Us by Allie Winters

So, Harper thought that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” was—a real thing? And that Vegas weddings were just a marketing schtick, but that they weren’t real. Imagine her surprise when she discovers that that wild night five years ago actually resulted in a legally binding connection with a stranger. Obviously, this requires that Harper head to a twee small town in Oregon to find her social-media-averse husband and get an annulment. Too bad the judge is busy until next week, and Harper has to stay in town—and Owen’s cabin only has one bed.

Let's Talk Tropes, Podcast

Let’s Talk Tropes: Woke Up Married…Podcast Edition!

Hi everyone! The podcast experiment continues, this time with a discussion of the Woke Up Married trope!

Episode 2: Let's Talk Tropes: Oops! We woke up married! The Smut Report Podcast

Erin, Holly, and Ingrid discuss the Woke Up Married trope with a focus on Kylie Scott's LICK and Susan Elizabeth Philips's WHAT I DID FOR LOVE as central example texts.Full show notes.Looking for more content featuring this trope? Here are all the books we've talked about on our blog where the characters wake up married.
  1. Episode 2: Let's Talk Tropes: Oops! We woke up married!
  2. Episode 1: Heteronormative HEAs and Husband Material

Books discussed in this podcast:

We discuss both Lick and What I Did for Love in depth, so here’s your spoilers warning. 

Also, N.B. we refer to What I Did for Love as the SEP frequently. It’s easier to use her initials than all those words in the title. 

Continue reading “Let’s Talk Tropes: Woke Up Married…Podcast Edition!”
Review, TBR Challenge

TBR Challenge: Baggage

March’s theme prompt for Super Wendy’s #TBRChallenge 2023 was “Baggage.” Here are the books we chose to tackle our TBRs this month.

Erin Read: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

Brooklyn Bruisers, Book #1

Why was this book on your TBR? 

It’s a hockey romance.

Why did you choose this book for this month’s challenge? 

It’s a second chance romance for former high school sweethearts unexpectedly pushed together in the workplace again. Sounds like baggage to me!

What are your thoughts on the book?

I have many thoughts, and most of them are displeased. 

This is an old book in Bowen’s backlist, but it’s not her debut, so I don’t understand why there’s not more editorial accountability in this book. Why are we getting dialogue from the yoga trainer running through the routine? It’s taking up space and doing nothing else for the story. There are some other editorial mistakes as well (continuity errors, POV errors, etc), and I was surprised by them. That said, it is possible to still enjoy a story, even when there are editorial errors.

Georgia is the type of character who hasn’t really come to terms with the trauma of her past or the decisions she made in the wake of that trauma, so she ends up dealing with the reappearance of her ex by telling herself just about any story she can imagine to keep kicking the can down the road. And then she gets mad at Leo when the actions she set in motion come back to cause trouble. It was infuriating to see her blame Leo for problems that she ultimately created, but it was also infuriating to see Leo mostly just take it. Why is Leo such a doormat? He’s supposed to be this loving, dedicated, cinnamon roll guy, but that kinda also doesn’t work when he impulsively kisses Georgia at a gala after a scene with his ex, so what’s his deal exactly? Tsk.

I was going to DNF this book, but then I went to the grocery store and didn’t have anything else downloaded, so I kept listening and got to the point where I had to rage finish…and I actually liked the ending. Georgia, Leo, and Georgia’s dad (the coach) are all M-E-S-S-Y, but the way they’re all finally forced to confront the trauma that messed them up years before was much more big-picture than I expected it to be. And that is how a book can go from hate to …like, I suppose. I have a couple other books in this series, but now I’m a bit leery. Maybe I’ll give it another shot and see what happens with different characters.

CW: Georgia was raped during her senior year of high school, and it’s not described on page, but the repercussions of it forms a large part of the story.

Buy Now: Amazon | Bookshop

Holly Read: You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

Why was this book on your TBR? 

This book got a lot of buzz last year, and some people who I trust about romance novels liked it, so I figured—why not? Also the cover is gorgeous.

Why did you choose this book for this month’s challenge? 

Well. This might not be obvious from just the blurb, but the heroine falls for her sorta-boyfriend’s dad. And is also carrying a lot of grief about her dead husband. And is also hanging out on a sexy tropical island. All of those things include baggage of one kind or another.

What are your thoughts on the book?

Do you like mess? Because these characters are very very messy. Also messy? The Goodreads reviews. Hoo boy is this book divisive. (The fact that the marketing does not make it clear that this is a DILF book did the book absolutely no favors.)

I thought it succeeded as a romance. I must admit that for the first third of the book, I wasn’t sure where we were going, but once Feyi and Alim started bouncing off each other, I could see it. Forbidden pining? Check. Explosive connection that’s so powerful that we’re totally fine blowing up other relationships to make it happen? Check. Heart-wrenching declaration of love right at the end? Check. Some might be squicked out by the power differential between our protagonists, but frankly, if you’re reading a DILF book, that’s part of the fun.

In terms of the non-romance components of the book: I really appreciated that Feyi isn’t subject to narrative punishment for daring to have casual sex (in chapter 1, with a stranger in a bathroom at a bar, who does not end up being the love interest). I thought her relationship with her BFF felt really real.

However, I didn’t much enjoy reading it. I found it overwritten and overwrought. Some might find the prose lush or sensual, but I was mostly like, “Well, that’s a weird metaphor, ok.” Honestly, I just don’t have the patience for “literary” writing these days. 

Also, Feyi was weirdly aware of her pierced nipples way more often than I would assume most women think about their breasts. 

Buy Now: Amazon | Bookshop

Ingrid Read: What She Wants by Lynsay Sands

Why was this book on your TBR? 

I bought a whole stack of books from the used book store and scored a couple Highlander books (I’m into those right now).

Why did you choose this book for this month’s challenge?

This one features Willa, a woman who saw her best friend murdered as a child and never had any friends, and whose mother died and thus she was raised by a servant in a ramshackle cabin (because someone wanted her dead and so was hidden from the world) and I don’t know about you but I felt strongly that someone of that background would be carrying some amount of baggage.

What are your thoughts on the book?

This book was pretty cute. Hugh (MMC) is kind of ridiculous and bumbling in the beginning and I had a hard time thinking I would ever be really into him as a hero (although I LOVED that he was bumbling, more of that please) but color me corrected. 

Willa and Hugh end up engaged when Willa’s secret guardian arranges that she must be married to his heir and nephew. Said heir/nephew is not interested. So he insults her and then immediately realizes that that would be both a strategic and perhaps emotional mistake, so he works hard to get her to agree to the arrangement again. Willa’s surrogate mother, a witch, tells her that she can’t accept his suit until he crawls on his hands and knees or he’ll die in less than a month, so that situation is pretty hilarious. Then he moves Willa into the castle, which leads to the person who wanted her dead to start up attempting again. It’s part thrilling and part funny, a combination that I found enjoyable.

I will say that both Willa and Hugh are at times truly lacking in sense, but they somehow manage to take turns…so they get by. And luckily they do end up catching the murderer, because I truly do not know how they managed to avoid death with how much they bumbled.

Buy Now: Amazon | Bookshop

Want to join us in tackling your TBR? April’s theme is “Unusual Historical.”

Wrap Up

Februrary 2023 Wrap Up

Here’s what we got up to this month!

Our Favorite Reads…

Ingrid’s Choice: The Irresistible Series by Stella Rhys

Ingrid initially picked up Book 5 because she heard it had good praise kink…and thought it was so hot and well done that she went back and binged the whole series.

Holly’s Choice: Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie

Holly read this for the TBR challenge and has only two regrets: that she didn’t read this book sooner and that she cannot experience the joy of reading it for the first time again.

Erin’s Choice: Liar City by Allie Therin

Erin might be a little bit mad that Therin hooked her on a new trilogy where she’s going to have to waaaaiiiit forevvvveeeerrrrrr for our protagonists to get together…but she’s also very very excited about the prospect.

More from the Blog…

Notes from Romancelandia…

Here’s an interesting post from Sweet Savage Flame, which is a romance blog that focuses on Old School romances.

Coming Soon…

There are some great new releases that we’re excited to talk about! Plus, we’re going to be spending a week talking about Woke Up Married books. (Including, if all goes according to plan, releasing episode 2 of the Smut Report podcast! ICYMI, here’s episode 1.)

My First Smut

My First Smut: A Goodly Amount of Canoodling

My First Smut is a recurring feature where we talk about our formative smut experiences. These short confessionals may include such details as: What book did you read? How old were you? Were there other people involved? What made the experience special? What role does smut play in your life?

This week, author Nicole E Kelleher talks about the eye-opening experience of reading Princess Daisy.

First romance novel you read

Princess Daisy by Judith Krantz

How old were you?

Way too young for Princess Daisy…12

How’d you get your hands on the book?

My mom and dad were avid readers. They were members of BOMC and they never paid attention to what my four sisters and I were reading, as long as we were reading something.

What was the reading experience like?

Eye-opening to say the least. I’m sure that I probably read some other romance novel before, but this is the one that I remember. There was just so much dark in the book. If you haven’t read it yet, be warned—there’s rape and incest. Sheesh…I was 12!

What made the experience special?

My parents left things to me and my four sisters and public education to teach us about the birds and the bees. Something had to fill that gap! And as a terribly shy GenX-er, a lot of what I learned was self-taught…sex education inevitably came from books. Romance novels explained a lot!

What role does smut play in your life?

I don’t think that I would be the feminist that I am today without romance novels. Where else in this world can a woman be an executive, a warrior, a kick-ass single mom, anything really, AND find happily ever after? And now that I’m a writer as well as a reader, I make sure that my female main characters discover their own strengths first, and only after are they free to rescue their heroes. Of course, I add in a goodly amount of canoodling along the way.

About Nicole

I love connecting with readers and other authors. You can find my social media links, details about my books, and more on my website: Happy reading!

Thanks Nicole! Our review of Nicole’s third book, The Naked Moon, is dropping tomorrow!

Have an early smut experience you’d like to share with us? If you’d like to see your story featured, send us an email or fill out our questionnaire and we’ll post it in an upcoming week.