I'm sharing with you a major pet peeve. As a reader, as an author, as an editor, nothing gets me gritting my teeth more than this. Please, please (PLEASE!) read the definitions of this word:
Smirk: smile affectedly or derisively, expressing smugness or scorn instead of pleasure, evoking insolence, or offensive smugness, to smile in a way that is contemptuous
Note that if you have your hero or heroine engaging in "smirk" at any time, you are showing them to be smug, derisive, scornful, and contemptuous. To me, even in the worst situations, there is no reason for ANY good guy/gal to smirk. A villain? Have him or her smirking all day long if you like, it will make me hate them forever
Okay, having said all that, I respect that others have different opinions about the word smirk. I will (almost) always suggest a different word if I come across a hero or heroine "smirking" at any time in my editing endeavors. As a writer, for the hero and heroine, I'm firmly anti-smirk.
To make a point, look at the two pictures below. These are the first two images of (non-cartoon characters) that pop up in a Google Images search, first for Smirk, then for Smile:
What do you think? Have a pet peeve of your own you'd like to share? Let me know!