Saturday Smutty Six: Halloweekend

It’s Halloweekend! We had a fun few minutes talking vampires and witches and demons (oh my!) on our text chat, so we thought we’d share some fun, possibly suspenseful, probably delightful, definitely a little bit ridiculous, but not especially spooky books today. If you’re in the mood to read for the holiday, we present The Smut Report’s 2020 Halloween recommendations without further ado.

As usual, clicking the title will take you to the Amazon page…

The Demon Always Wins by Jeanne Oates Estridge

Belial knows that he’d be a natural as the Chief Executive Demon of Hell…all he has to do to prove his worth to Satan is sway God’s chosen one to the path of darkness. Easy, right? Wrong. Dara immediately knows that Belial is not really a sexy doctor. The back and forth between Belial and Dara as they navigate the path between good and evil makes for a really satisfying romance. Bonus points for a hilarious depiction of hell as the worst corporation ever.

Necromancer Rising by Ashton Abbott

This is a classic, sexy fated mates but with lots of corpses and limbs being torn off and blood squirting and stuff. There’s a sort of mystical world being built here with plenty of interwoven backstory and darkness, but there’s also a lot of rebirth and love. If you like everything paranormal and adore your happily ever after with a side of despair and a sprinkling of neck snapping, you’ll love this spooky, sexy story.

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti’s lack of a soul has always been a real trial to her, in no small part because it keeps her under the eye of Lord Maccon, gruff and messy alpha of the local werewolf pack and head of BUR (Bureau of Unnatural Registry). When a vampire tries to bite her without consent, violating all the rules of appropriate vampire etiquette, Alexia finds herself in the middle of a BUR mystery. Read for the most nonsensical and entertaining voice in a steampunk Victorian world. 

The Warlord Wants Forever by Kresley Cole

If you’re curious about the Immortals After Dark series but aren’t ready to commit to a full-length book, start with this one! It’s book .5 in the series and features a vampire who really wants to find his bride (who will start his heart beating again) and a valkyrie who kills vampires as a hobby, so she’s got no problem getting all the sexytimes she needs from him and then ending him (maybe literally?) when the time comes. Things get spicy when immortal takes on immortal.

Riley Thorn and the Dead Guy Next Door by Lucy Score

So this one isn’t your usual ghosts and goblins type fare, but we do have a book packed full of absurdity and steamy scenes. Riley is divorced (and completely screwed over), living in a house with a bunch of elderly roommates. Plus, one of her elderly roommates gets murdered, and here’s where it gets absurd–she’s psychic, and because she tried to warn the guy AND the police, she’s now on the murderer’s radar. Enter Nick Santiago, private investigator. (I so want to make a joke here, but I’m a very strong woman.) Nick’s job is to solve the case, but he can’t really do it without Riley’s help–and he ONLY works solo. This book is absolutely hilarious, and so well done…it’s a completely fresh and sexy romance packed full of wild capers, perfect for a stress-free Halloween.

Tall, Dark, and Kilted by Allie Mackay

This book is utterly ridiculous. The hero is a ghost named…HARDWICK DE STUDLY. And he makes a deal with the devil that means he can finally rest from his hundreds of years of haunting the earth, if and only if he can manage to not get a single boner for a year and a day. Too bad Cilla shows up at the castle he has decided to haunt. Is this book very silly? Yes. Are there glaring plot holes and bits of complete nonsense? Yes again. Has Holly been using it as an in-joke with her husband for the past five years because it is just that delightful? Yes, yes, YES!

Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Gail Carriger

Looking for a new author? Here’s everything you need to know about Gail Carriger, whose books include Prudence, Romancing the Inventor, and The 5th Gender.

What She Writes:

As Gail Carriger: Victorian Steampunk Paranormal Adventure Stories, all set in the Parasolverse. Dirigibles abound. Love story not guaranteed, low to moderate heat.

As G. L. Carriger: M/M urban paranormal or futuristic sci-fi romances with high heat.

What Makes Her Unique:

Carriger writes exuberant prose that centers on socially unusual protagonists, including shifters and vampires, but also including characters who might engage in trades or activities that feel unusual. We have mad scientists (who are maybe less mad than they seem) and servants who moonlight as spies (and whose main job is locking up their werewolf masters on the full moon) and professors who teach aspiring young assassins the fine art of hosting a dinner party (it’s important to manage your arsenic budget properly!) and a gang of werewolf bikers (who have periodic run-ins with the selkie mob). She leans into the world-building; her imagined steampunk universe is top-notch. A thematic focus on queer acceptance features prominently.

Writing Style:

Carriger embraces a witty writing style, chock full of wry humor and droll asides. Jokes about stereotypes appear frequently; for example, a character’s actions might be explained away “because she was an Italian,” but in a very self-aware, tongue-in-cheek manner. Typically the POV focuses on one character, even though it’s written in the third person. Expect some opacity where love interests are concerned. 

How we feel when we read her books:

Why We Love Her:

Her books are just so stinking fun to read. And there are bonus points for completionists: we love that she has so many books, of various lengths and levels of sexyness, all set in the same universe, with recurring characters that pop up in unexpected places.

She Might Not Be For You If:

Twee makes you itchy.

Notable Quotation:

Then, she added, because Alexia never stayed silent when she ought, “These feelings you engender in me, my lord, are most indelicate. You should stop causing them immediately.”


The Bottom Line:

You might pick one up as a lark, because the synopses sound totally bananas, but you’ll wind up having a great time reading if you just let go for the ride.

Start With:



Review: The 5th Gender: A Tinkered Stars Mystery by G.L. Carriger (2019)

Heat Factor: Explicit M/M action. Where one of the characters is an alien with erogenous prehensile hair. I would call it hentai adjacent. (Mom, please do NOT Google hentai.) (Note: After writing this, I Googled hentai, and according to Wikipedia, I am using the term incorrectly. What I mean is: Tentacles.)

Character Chemistry: Sudden.

Plot: Alien and Space Station Detective bone and also solve a mystery.

Overall: Started charming, ended preachy.

Continue reading “Review: The 5th Gender: A Tinkered Stars Mystery by G.L. Carriger (2019)”

Saturday Smutty Six: Queer romance we loved in 2019

If you’re looking for a Queer romance to read RIGHT NOW, here are some of our favorites from last year. Now that we’ve compiled the list, it looks like we really loved Queer women in historicals, and Queer men in contemporaries.

Book titles link to our full reviews.

She Whom I Love by Tess Bowery

James the Staymaker is courting two women: actress Meg and lady’s maid Sarah. What he doesn’t know? Meg and Sarah are best friends and also lovers. Meg and Sarah torture James a bit for his perfidity, but most of the story centers around the three of them figuring out how to work out their relationship while keeping all parties satisfied and safe. 

Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan

Mrs. Martin is a grumpy widow with a nephew who is The Worst. So when Violetta Beauchamps shows up, asking for money owed by said nephew, Mrs. Martin sees an opportunity. Hilarity ensues as the women torture Mrs. Martin’s nephew, but in the end, this is a thoughtful and charming read, as both women are finally seen after being deemed invisible and unimportant. 

Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger

This is a charming May-December romance between a young maid who signs up to work in a house of vampires and the (non-vampire) scientist who takes her under her wing. Read for angst, shenanigans, and witty wordplay. 

The Half of Us by Cardeno C.

After a failed marriage and years of stress-reduction hookups with numerous men, Jason Garcia finally meets a man he can’t stop thinking about. Quiet, monogamous Abe Green spontaneously decides to give himself a one-time birthday hookup, but when Jason can’t let go, Abe finds himself quietly changing the older man’s perception of relationships and monogamy for good. 

A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole

Playboy “prince” Johan has spent years carefully cultivating his wild media persona, what with his highly visible hookups with various men and women, but when a referendum comes up in his family’s kingdom, he’s got to rein it in a little bit. Commence operation fake relationship with demure Nya. Bonus points for excellent non-binary representation as well.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Between Henry–a (publicly) closeted gay prince–and Alex–who realizes he’s bisexual during the course of the book–there’s plenty of drama in this enemies to lovers story. But when a kiss from Henry shocks Alex into recognizing his attraction to his enemy-cum-friend, the two young men have to decide if their romance is worth the political fallout that might ensue.


Review: Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger (2016)

Supernatural Society, Book 1

Review of Supernatural Society, Book 2

Heat Factor: Heated moments are shrouded in euphemisms

Character Chemistry: Longing glances, “accidental” touches, and purposeful misunderstanding

Plot: Parlourmaid falls for wacky inventor, seduction ensues

Overall: A delightful read

Continue reading “Review: Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger (2016)”