Saturday Smutty Six: We Really Did LOL featuring covers for I Think I Love You by Christina C. Jones, Frat Wars: King of Thieves by Saxon James, Heidi's Guide to Four Letter Words by Tara Sivec and Andi Arndt, Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson, Mrs. Martin's Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan, and Riley Thorne and the Dead Guy Next Door by Lucy Score
Listicle

Saturday Smutty Six: We Really Did LOL

We’re wrapping up Rom-Com week here at The Smut Report, so we thought we’d leave you with some comedies that really did make us laugh out loud. And to help us narrow down our options, we chose some books that might be well known in their own distribution circles, but don’t necessarily have the broader distribution of larger publishing house. 

If you’re looking for some laughs with your reading this weekend, might we recommend…

I Think I Might Love You by Christina C. Jones

Look, she meets him when she’s completely wasted after destroying her surprise-married ex’s car and she’s trying to crash at her sister’s apartment, only to discover that her sister has sublet the apartment to someone else. After she’s already let herself in. And the new renter is super naked. And super mad that she just punched him in the eye. Things can only go up from there, right? 

While this book is chock full of situational humor, it’s all about the protagonists being true to themselves. 

Frat Wars: King of Thieves by Saxon James

The tag line for this book is: We’re basically Romeo and Juliet. But dudes. And without all the dying.

And if that’s not the energy of this book in a nutshell, I don’t know what to tell you. Chad and Bailey are in rival frats and, because of Reasons, can’t consort with the enemy. It’s very college-level maturity and shenanigans, but that’s in no small part because Chad is hell-bent on embracing the final throes of his youth. James intentionally wrote Chad to be “such a Chad” who still gets his own HEA with a guy who loves him, pranks and all, so it’s all meant to be fun.

Heidi’s Guide to Four Letter Words by Tara Sivec and Andi Arndt

When Heidi’s mom found out she was working at a studio that records erotic romance and then started taking sex tips from the erotic romance she was reading, I started choking on my own laughter. This book is Minnesota AF, and it’s hilarious. Heidi’s journey to be brave enough to ask out her neighbor—who’s totally into her, she just can’t see it—is full of embarrassing twists and turns that make Heidi want to crawl in a hole and also ultimately gives her a greater sense of community.


Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson

If unlikable heroines are your jam, I would like to introduce you to Betsy, Vampire Queen. She is selfish, vain, and very very unimpressed with her new role as ruler of the undead—especially since all the other vampires have such bad fashion sense. Think the Shopaholic books, but with vampires. Don’t go in expecting the full HEA here, as this is the first book in a long series about Betsy’s adventures. 

Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan

There’s a scene where Mrs. Martin and Ms. Beauchamps hire some carol singers to follow Mrs. Martin’s Terrible Nephew down the street singing “Robby Bobkins” over and over again to the tune of the Halleleuia chorus from Handel’s “Messiah.” (You’re welcome for the earworm.) There are also shenanigans involving livestock, and a bit where the neighborhood prostitutes collectively agree to no longer service that same Terrible Nephew. Everything about this book is delightful.

Riley Thorn and the Dead Guy Next Door by Lucy Score

This is a duo so far (book 3 is in the works) about a crime fighting couple consisting of a reluctant psychic who lives with a bunch of eccentric old people and her private investigator boyfriend. It’s pretty nuts, like all of Lucy Score’s books, but it’s just a totally fresh and unique situation full of hijinks and absurdity, and if you’re looking for something with a very immersive setting and very little stress, this is just the ticket.

Listicle

Saturday Smutty Six: Books That Were So Good I Couldn’t Review Them

Sometimes, when I read a book, I hold it close to my heart, and then flail around helplessly in my head trying to think of how to explain how awesome this book is.

Then I think, “I need to process this book some more. I’ll write it up later. Also I’m tired from my epic book hangover” 

And then I read something else, and the details get fuzzy, and all that’s left in my brain was “This book was so amazing.” Not so good for writing a full review, but I still want everyone to read these books. 

With no further ado, this is me flailing around helplessly, the abbreviated version.


Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale

I am on record stating that this is probably the best romance novel I’ve ever read. Like, in my entire life of reading romance novels. I stand by this statement. It’s sweeping and romantic and Kinsale’s use of language is just masterful. This book also raises fascinating questions about madness, class, and religion which stick with me even as I forget Jervaulx’s given name. 

For My Lady’s Heart by Laura Kinsale

Two Laura Kinsale books on the same list? Yes, you read that right. Here we have a medieval romance between Melanthe, a cold, calculating woman who above all else is scared shitless all the time, and the monkish knight who loves her. Again, Kinsale’s use of language is masterful, but in this case, it’s because of the rich, old-English-lite narration that elevates this book to pure poetry.

Big Boy by Ruthie Knox

Is this the platonic ideal of the romance novella? Perhaps. I actually started (but never finished) a review for this one. Here’s what I wrote for my overview:

Heat Factor: There’s some sexy rumpus, but the writing is economical, so there’s aren’t tons of details. 

Character Chemistry: They are perfect for each other. 

Plot: Mandy has a monthly date with a mystery man. At a train museum. Where they roleplay. And share their truest selves under cover of pretending to be someone else. 

Overall: Do yourself a favor and set aside an hour so you can read this book cover-to-cover IMMEDIATELY.


Pretty Face by Lucy Parker

Book two in the London Celebrities series, which I inhaled during the stress of Christmas 2021, Pretty Face is an age-gap director-ingenue romance, but it’s so much more than that. Parker’s books are often marketed as comedies, and the dialogue is definitely sharp and sparkling, but her characters are always dealing with an undercurrent of sadness. I think I liked this one so much because the character-work here is phenomenal.

The Rakess by Scarlett Peckham

After Ingrid read The Lord I Left, also by Peckham, she texted me to say that it was a Holly book; I already had a copy of The Rakess floating around in my Kindle, so I read that instead, and holy shit, was it a Holly book. Smart, political, feminist, and sexy, all in one delicious historical bundle? Count. Me. In.

The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan

I read a whole bunch of Courtney Milan books when I was in graduate school (say, 2010ish), and hadn’t picked one up since. Sometimes when I revisit an author I used to love, I’m disappointed, either because I’ve grown too much or they’ve failed to, but that was not the case here. Milan skillfully plays with romance tropes in ways that were so fun for a major romance nerd like me and delivers a story featuring the injustices of the British aristocracy without performative woke-ness. 


Bonus Pick: Glitterland by Alexis Hall

Look, the only reason there’s a Glitterland review on this blog is because I made Erin and Ingrid buddy-read it with me. There’s a lesson in that, methinks.

Review

Review: A Kiss for Midwinter by Courtney Milan (2012)

The Brothers Sinister, Book 1.5

Heat Factor: 19th century condoms are super sexy

Character Chemistry: They’re drawn to each other, irresistibly 

Plot: Man with terrible social skills adores woman who’s nice to everyone except him

Overall: The tone is a little different for historical romance, but it’s a fun little novella

Continue reading “Review: A Kiss for Midwinter by Courtney Milan (2012)”
Review

Anthology Review: Hamilton’s Battalion (2017)

Heat Factor: Somewhat variable, nothing terribly explicit

Character Chemistry: All over the map

Plot: Eliza Hamilton is collecting stories about her husband, and our protagonists are all somehow involved

Overall: As a basis for linking stories, this was a little odd

Continue reading “Anthology Review: Hamilton’s Battalion (2017)”
Review

Review: The Pursuit Of… by Courtney Milan (2018)

A Worth Saga Novella

Heat Factor: One extremely hot encounter and a lot of longing

Character Chemistry: irrepressible chatterbox meets taciturn stoic, and it’s adorable

Plot: Journey of Discovery

Overall: Awwwwwwww

Continue reading “Review: The Pursuit Of… by Courtney Milan (2018)”