The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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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 to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, 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...
The Kiss Quotient was released earlier this year to much fanfare. Everywhere I turn people are talking about it. Rowena read it a while back and raved about it. She even made it part of our Summer Reading Challenge, so I’d be forced to read it. Still, I went into it with some trepidation. I don’t always love the books everyone else loves. In this case, I’m happy to report the overwhelming majority is right…TKQ is a wonderful, sweet, often intense romance that really worked for me.
Stella Lane’s mother wants grandchildren, and she wants them now. Though Stella has tried, she just can’t seem to make a relationship – or sex – work. She has Asperger’s, which doesn’t help matters. She uses her extra focus and intensity to her advantage in her profession, but in her personal life it holds her back. She can’t seem to make connections or personal attachments. She decides what she needs is a professional. Someone to teach her how to enjoy sex and relationships. She feels comfortable with Michael, so she asks if she can hire him.
Michael Phan is working as an escort to make extra money to help cover his mother’s medical bills. One night each week he meets a different woman and gives her whatever fantasy she needs. He doesn’t love it, but his family really needs the money. He never does repeats with clients, but when Stella asks if she can hire him to teach her how to like sex, he’s really intrigued. For the first time in a long time, he’s actually attracted to a client..and not just how sexy she is. She’s funny, sweet and so blunt he always knows where he stands with her. Although it goes against all his personal rules, he agrees to teach her everything she needs to know.
If you’d asked me prior to reading this book if I thought I’d enjoy a reverse Pretty Woman novel, I’d have said no. I’d have been wrong. This was such a sweet, lovely story. I think all of us can identify a bit with Stella. Her passion and drive, her intensity, her anger and frustration over her own limitations..we’ve all been there. There were several times her struggles brought me to tears. Especially when she unintentionally embarrassed herself by saying or doing the wrong thing, then not understanding why everyone was so upset. She was different, but she wanted to be treated as if she weren’t. I loved how well written her Asperger’s was, and how relatable she was a woman, even though she was so different than me.
I thought I’d have a problem with Michael being a male escort, but I didn’t. Stella was so matter of fact about it, and he was, too, the whole thing was easy to accept. That’s not to say I didn’t feel for him the few times he was out with Stella and his other clients recognized him, but that was such a small part of who he was. He was a loving son and big brother. The responsible one in his family who gave up a career for the good of them. I couldn’t help but love him.
There were times the story moved a bit slow for me, and I got a bit frustrated with the both of them toward the end, but overall this was such a sweet, wonderful read I couldn’t help but love it. With a diverse cast, super intelligent heroine, kind hero and strong plot, The Kiss Quotient really offers it all.
4.25 out of 5