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review 2019-02-18 21:27
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
The Bride Test - Helen Hoang

A special thank you to Edelweiss and Penguin for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Bride Test is a spin off of sorts from The Kiss Quotient, Hoang's smash debut. This book is about Khai, who is Michael's cousin. He has no emotions when it comes to love or grief; he is literal, he likes when things balance (he is an accountant), and is easily irritated with others, especially when they touch his things. He thinks he is defective when in fact he is not, he is on the spectrum. His overbearing mother, Cô Ng, decides it is time for him to get married and takes matters into her own hands. She returns to Vietnam in order to find him the perfect bride.

Esme Tran is a mixed-race, single mother that lives in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City. She has always felt she doesn't belong. When Cô Ng offers her a chance to come to America to seduce her son, she accepts. This could not only be the break her little family needs, but she could also track down her biological father.

Seducing Khai proves to be incredibly difficult—instead of making Khai fall in love with her, she is falling head-over-heals for him. With her time almost up, and with Khai convinced he is unable to love, Esme feels she has failed.

But there is more than one way to love.

I found this book less provocative than The Kiss Quotient because there was more build up and tension and I certainly don't mean this as a criticism. It was more about the journey of falling in love, learning one's likes, dislikes, boundaries, and an exploration in the discovery of pleasure and consent. Esme and Khai's journey is a learning experience.

This story is smart, sassy, sexy, exactly what you would expect from a romance book. But on the flip side, Khai's struggles are real and genuine. Hoang really shines here and brings forward her voice and experience also having Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Hoang's character development is incredible. She pens characters that are layered, complex, and flawed, yet are incredibly endearing. I adored Esme and learned by reading the Author's Note that she is loosely-based on Hoang's own mother who was also an uneducated immigrant (I encourage you to read this, it is informative and touching). There is also humour sprinkled throughout—I especially enjoyed Quân and the dynamic between him and his brother.

Helen Hoang is a gift. She brings to life characters that are not considered mainstream, but their stories need to be told and are just as valuable, enlightening, and entertaining.

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review 2019-02-02 14:51
THE KISS QUOTIENT BY HELEN HOANG
The Kiss Quotient - Helen Hoang

This book was an interesting Romance paradox to me. It somehow managed to be really freaking cute and heartwarming while also being sort of taboo and dirty. The characters were very likeable, I definitely found myself rooting for both of them. It was also a quick read that grabbed you from the very beginning and I honestly couldn't put it down until I finished. I read this all in one sitting. One of my favorite things was I felt like I found it very insightful as to how a person with asperger's syndrome thinks and operates. I love it when you're reading fiction and feel like you're also learning some things.

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review 2019-01-16 12:36
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
The Kiss Quotient - Helen Hoang

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I thought that this was really good. I have had a copy of this book for some time but never picked it up despite the fact that other readers have been raving about it. I wanted to read the book but I just couldn't seem to work it into my reading schedule so when the audiobook went on sale recently, I jumped on it. Sometimes, it is just easier to work an audiobook into my reading schedule and I have to say that the narration added to my enjoyment of this wonderful little story.

I wrongly assumed that this would be a sweet and rather tame romance largely because of the cover. Boy, was I ever wrong! The story may have had its sweet moments but this is not a tame romance. This was pretty steamy and there were a lot more sex scenes than I would have guessed. I don't mind romances with a lot of heat and rather enjoy them in most cases so the fact that my assumption was wrong didn't make a difference to me but I thought I would mention the fact to other readers.

Stella has Asperger's and sometimes looks at the world a little different than others. She excels at her profession as an econometrician but knows that she has a few things to learn when it comes to sex. She decides that the best course of action is to hire a professional to teach her what she needs to know which is where Michael enters the picture. Michael is not proud of his job as an escort but he is resigned to doing what his family needs him to do. He has a one date rule for his clients until he meets Stella and agrees to help her with her lessons.

I really liked getting the opportunity to be in Stella's head. I loved the way she described everything and her internal monologue provided a lot of insight to the reader. She tries to break everything down into logical steps but is really unsure about a lot of things. Michael's character was just as interesting. He is willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of his family. He really was a great guy and I loved how he was with Stella. He thought highly of her and thought others should as well. He seemed to know just what she needed.

I had a great time watching these two fall for each other. They had such great chemistry with each other but they also seemed to be able to see everything good about each other. They didn't hold anything against each other. Michael didn't care about Stella's labels and Stella didn't care about Michael's history. They instead saw what kind of person the other was.

Carly Robins did a fantastic job with the narration of this audiobook. I think that her performance really helped to bring the story to life for me. I think that she captured the personalities of both Stella and Michael and brought a lot of emotion into the reading. She had a very pleasant reading voice that was easy to listen to for hours at a time.

I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance. This was a great romance with wonderful characters that made me laugh and touched my heart. I look forward to reading whatever Helen Hoang comes up with next!

I received a review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via Bookish First and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

Initial Thoughts
This was good. I liked Stella and Michael a lot and thought that they were both very interesting characters. I liked how well these two seemed to fit with each other and thought that the chemistry was intense. The narrator did a great job with the story and added to my overall enjoyment.

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review 2019-01-01 14:06
THE KISS QUOTIENT by Helen Hoang
The Kiss Quotient - Helen Hoang
  Stella hires Michael as an escort so her mother will get off her back about being single. She also decides to have him teach/practice social skills/sex with her so she will be able to get a husband. Michael does not do doubles but decides to help her because he is attracted to her. He does not feel he is good enough for her as they get deeper into their relationship because of his family and past. She's not interested in anyone else after Michael.

This was fun! Both Stella and Michael are lovable. They are perfect for each other. As Stella stumbles along in relating to others Michael accepts her as she is. I like the squabbles between Michael and his sisters. I like that Stella is able to stand up for herself. The story was believable. I hated for it to end. It is a keeper.
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review 2018-12-16 19:13
[REVIEW] The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
The Kiss Quotient - Helen Hoang

I loved, loved, loved this book then again, I love a book that makes me feel, and this one made me feel so many things, all colliding within me at the same time. Easily my favorite romance novel read this year. All I want to do is squee!

I wanted to ignore people so that I could read, that's how much I loved it. Somehow it hit all my favorite things, some that I didn't even remember that I liked. 

Do you want love and light and fluffiness but also angst? Read this book.

 

 

Reading progress notes

 

page 19
...the most stunning pair of soft brown eyes.

My heart melted a little.
 
page 63
Holy hell *fans self*
 
 
page 114
omg that was HORRIBLE and AWKWARD. Poor Stella.
 
page 194
He’s giving her a gift. For all the birthdays where he didn’t know her.

*SOB*
 
page 205
I just let out a scream. HELL NO. WHY.
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