Book Review: Temptation (The Hunted #1) by Ivy Smoak

Book Cover – Temptation (Hunted #1) by Ivy Smoak

“Temptation” is the first in a series of four Romance Novels by author Ivy Smoak.  “The Hunted Series” tells the story of college student Penny & her crush & eventual relationship with her Comm professor, James Hunter.

I came across this e book while browsing options under my Kindle Unlimited subscription. I didn’t want a serious read. I wanted something light & fun. At times, “Temptation” delivered exactly that. Other times, it didn’t. To be honest, I’m struggling a bit with this rating. Even now as I’m writing the review,  haven’t landed on my star rating. 

I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. I found Penny to be dull and boring. Her entire existence seems to revolve around her love life. Tyler is your typical frat boy in all of his unlovable qualities and sense of entitlement. Melissa is the least supportive best friend/roommate I’ve come across in a book in a long time. Is she unaware of what personal space is, or does she just not care? As for James Hunter, I don’t know where to start. On one hand he seems multi faceted. But when I stop to really think about it, he’s nothing more than another physically attractive and emotionally unavailable man. We’ve seen him before and we’ll see him again. There isn’t really anything significant to note here. 

There were times throughout the book I did find nostalgic energy in Penny’s over obsessive  crush. That can be both a positive and a negative in a story. In my thirties, that kind of “chemistry” or obsession for a person makes me walk in the opposite direction. It never ends well. 

One thing that did positively stand out to me in this book is the way the sex scenes were written. I’ve read several different sexually explicit novels and series in my life, and while these scenes were by no means superb, I didn’t find them to be over repetitive, other than the overuse of the word “yes.” The writing style throughout the book is easy to follow most of the time. 

This story and its execution are far from perfect. As I mentioned above, the writing style is easy to follow most of the time. However, the dialogue fails to even approach expectations I have for a published novel. Mind you, the bar is pretty low, but there are certain things I just can’t seem to get past.

It’s unfortunate, but sultry romance novels almost always have one thing in common: toxic relationship behavior. “Temptation” is no different.  Sure, the story kept me mostly interested, but there are several major cringe moments. The way Penny acts sometimes shows how little she values herself. The way James treats her, especially near the end of the book makes my blood boil. Penny’s best friend and roommate, Melissa, is extremely manipulative with no sense of personal boundaries, and don’t even get me started on the Frat Boy. As you can see, the story definitely has its problems. 

Some of the issues I have with this book are industry issues, such as glamorization of toxic behavior. Just because it’s what’s pushed as the norm these days doesn’t mean it’s any easier to read. 

Overall, “Temptation” isn’t bad for what it is: A weak plot, underdeveloped characters, coated in smut. At the end of the day when I’m rating a book, there’s one important question I ask myself every time. Did I struggle to get through this story? 

The answer is no. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a book I sat down and read in one sitting or even one weekend. I pulled it up in the Kindle app on my phone to read a few minutes at a time. The chapters are generally short, and that’s always a selling point for me with books. Like most romance novels, there’s a lot of cheese in this story, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It was kept to a manageable amount and I wasn’t consistently rolling my eyes. 

I’d suggest this book for readers who want a sultry romance and aren’t overly concerned with plot or character development.

Would I read this book again? I might pull it up if I was in the mood to read some smut. 

Will I continue on and read the second book in the series? Yes. 

I rounded my rating up to 3 stars. The true rating I’d give this is 2.5 stars. It entertained me at times, though nothing really spectacular stands out to me about the characters or the story.


My hope is character development in the next book of the series.

Final thought: Read this book! Just don’t take it too seriously.

Still not convinced this is the book for you? Don’t take my word for it. Check out the book trailer below, courtesy of Ivy Smoak on Tik Tok !

Book Trailer – Temptation (The Hunted #1) by Ivy Smoak

Happy reading,

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