Author: Helen Hoang

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The Bride Test – Helen Hoang 4 stars

May 18, 2019 Berkley Trade, Boookluvr Reads, Edelweiss, Uncategorized 1

The Bride Test – Helen Hoang 4 starsThe Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Published by Penguin on May 7, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Women, Multicultural & Interracial
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads

From the critically acclaimed author of The Kiss Quotient comes a romantic novel about love that crosses international borders and all boundaries of the heart...

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he's defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can't turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn't go as planned. Esme's lessons in love seem to be working...but only on herself. She's hopelessly smitten with a man who's convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme's time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he's been wrong all along. And there's more than one way to love.

I adored Khai and Esme individually, but the two of them together melted my heart. They were both so vulnerable and scared to do something to hurt those that they loved and yet each approached their vulnerability in their own way.

Esme was always looking for a way over, around or through the obstacles in front of her. I couldn’t help but admire her strength and perseverance will simultaneously being proud of her willingness to leave herself open to be hurt after everything she had experienced in her life. Even when everything happening was out of her control and life kept snatching her dreams away from her she kept pushing through.

Sweet sweet Kai. My heart broke for him so many times in this book. Realizing that the fact he processed emotions differently make him feel like he didn’t have feelings was devastating. Knowing that he had unconsciously pulled back from every relationship in his life both to protect himself and the people he cared about made me want to wrap him in giant hug. I am not an expert on autism so I can’t say whether the portrayal was accurate. I can however say it felt like it was handled well as the reader. I appreciated that Khai was presented as having all the same emotional and physical desires as all of the other romance heroes we read do. Khai was everything anyone could want out of a hero.

The only thing I struggled with was how long Esme kept Jade a secret. It bothered me just like the secret baby trope did because it felt wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understood why she felt like she had to make that decision but I wished she had been honest sooner.

Fans of the Kiss Quotient will certainly enjoy the Bride Test. I felt it was a much stronger storyline and the characters were more developed. For those that haven’t read Kiss Quotient, the Bride Test could be read as a standalone book easily.

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The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang 4 stars

June 6, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Penguin, Read in 2018 1

The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang 4 starsThe Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Published by Penguin on June 5, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Multicultural & Interracial
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

four-stars




two-half-flames

"This is such a fun read and it's also quite original and sexy and sensitive."--Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author

"Hoang's writing bursts from the page."--Buzzfeed

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he's making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

I really enjoyed this debut novel by Helen Hoang.   Stella was a delightful heroine who has just as much of a solid understanding of her strengths as she does of her shortcomings.  She is an accomplished professional who has mastered balancing her needs with the expectations of society as a whole.   Her confidence and willingness to communicate in a direct fashion to those around her, even when it related to her insecurities had me cheering for her from the first page.

Michael was a sweetheart of a man who seemed perfect for Stella from their very first meeting.  His patience and communication made him the perfect fit to guide Stella through her practice sessions.  While I didn’t ever find myself really buying into Michael’s dread of being compared to his father since we only ever experienced the concern through his memories, it didn’t detract from the overall story.  I really enjoyed seeing Michael with his family as I felt it set the stage for what a caring individual he was.

You know who I wanted to throat punch throughout the book?  Well yes Phillip her creepy co-worker, but not just him.  I absolutely wanted to throttle Stella’s mom.  Seriously, her approach to her daughter’s love life drove me crazy.  I don’t care whether or not Stella is autistic, pressuring your daughter to date because you want grandchildren is obnoxious.  I struggled to reconcile a woman who raised such a wonderful woman with the same woman who would also treat their daughter that way.

I am not in a position to weigh in on whether or not this book represented autism well due to my limited experience, but I will say one thing nagged at me.  Having Stella end up with a man whose cousin happened to be autistic as well seemed to smooth some situations over that would have required more work between the characters had that not been the case.  I felt like we missed seeing some elements of all of the characters involved by not having this negotiation take place on page.  Certainly Stella and Michael were both strong enough characters to pull this off based on the other serious topics that tackled.

All in all, The Kiss Quotient was a very enjoyable read that I am glad I had the opportunity to review.

four-stars

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