Tag: The Kiss Quotient

Review: The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

Posted October 24, 2022 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Heart Principle by Helen HoangReviewer: Rowena
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #3
Also in this series: The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1), The Bride Test
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 31, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 343
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected—and the man she enlists to help her—in this new New York Times bestselling romance by Helen Hoang.

When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.

That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a book review so please bear with me as I jump back into this bitch. It’s also been a little bit since I read this book but I came across my notes that I wrote for this book so I’m reviewing it. I’m not going to get into what this book was about, the summary does a great job of explaining what we’re getting into so I’m jumping right into my thoughts.

This is the third book in the Kiss Quotient series by Helen Hoang. It’s the book that I was really looking forward to because it’s Quan’s book! Lovely Quan, Michael’s cousin from The Kiss Quotient. He was such a memorable character for me. I’m a bit sad that this was Quan’s story because we got more Anna than Quan. I felt that Quan was part of Anna’s story and that was a bummer for me. Quan was such a delightful and interesting character so I felt he was cheated and even after all of this time, I’m still not over that.

That’s not to say that I hated Anna or that I hated the book. I just wish that Quan had gotten another story where he shined and was front and center instead of being featured in someone else’s story. There is a lot of heavy stuff tackled in this book and I understood and even connected with Anna through all of it. There were times when I really felt for Anna and wanted to fight every single member of her family because holy shit are they toxic as hell but there were also times when I wanted to smack some sense into Anna as well.

The little Quan that we got in this book was fantastic. My heart hurt for him and what he was going through and seeing him work through each of his struggles made my love for him stronger. I loved the way that he loved Anna. I loved the way that he was up for anything and willing to do whatever he can to support Anna with everything she was going through. Even when he didn’t know how to support her or even if he had to do things that hurt him in order to support her, he was ready and willing.

The romance between Quan and Anna was small but what we got worked. I just wanted more. As a romance, which is what I assumed I was getting, this was okay but this would have worked better for me had it been a women’s fiction story but I’m still salty about not getting as much Quan as I wanted.

3 out of 5

The Kiss Quotient Series


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Joint Review: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Posted May 2, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: The Bride Test by Helen HoangReviewer: Holly & Rowena
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #2
Also in this series: The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1), The Heart Principle
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

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.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (Holly’s Review, Rowena’s Review) was one of our favorite reads of 2018, and Rowena and I were so excited when we got The Bride Test, the second book in the series. The Bride Test follows Khai Diep. Khai is mentioned in TKQ, though I don’t think we ever met him on page. Michael, the hero from TKQ, and Khai are cousins.

Khai Diep is autistic, and as such doesn’t feel things the same way others do. To him, this means he can’t love, but his family knows better. After waiting years for him to find someone, his mother finally gives up on him doing it himself and goes to Vietnam to find a bride for him.

Esme Tran is cleaning the bathroom in the hotel where his mom is conducting wife interviews when they meet. His mom decides she’s the perfect person for Khai and offers her a deal – spend the summer in America trying to get Khai to marry her, and she can work in her restaurant and make some extra money. Esme doesn’t really know what to expect from Khai, but he’s so much more than she bargained for.

Holly: I have to be honest. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about a “mail-order bride” story. But it was so much more than that. I loved Esme’s personal journey almost more than the romance, I think.

Rowena: Yeah, I didn’t expect to like this one nearly as much as I did. I wasn’t excited to read a mail-order bride romance either but Helen Hoang did her thing. I really enjoyed Khai’s romance though I did have issues with certain things where Esme was concerned. I thought it took her wayyyyy too long to tell Khai the truth about EVERYTHING. I mean, she had so many opportunities to come clean with Khai and she didn’t. But other than that, this one was a solid read.

Holly: I don’t know why she didn’t come clean, either. That was the only part that really bothered me. She had things to tell him and she shouldn’t have waited as long as she did.

Rowena: Yeah, my issue with that is because sure, she knew that he didn’t want kids (at least according to his Mom) but after she knew that she wasn’t going to accept his marriage proposal, that should have been the time that she came clean about everything. About why she was sent there, about who was waiting for her back home, all of that. She was quick to come clean about that stuff with Quan but not Khai? I wasn’t a fan of that.

Holly: Yes, exactly. She should have told him. I do think she was more comfortable telling Quan because she didn’t really care what he thought of her, whereas she was afraid of what Khai would say. But still, she should have fessed up. I’d have liked to see more with Khai and Jade, too.

Holly: Speaking of things that needed to be said ….he never told her about his money? WTF?

Rowena: With Khai not telling her about his money, I chalked that up to his autism. He didn’t think the same way that everyone else did and he really didn’t think about his money at all. That was evident with the way that he chose to live his life. It wasn’t something that he was intentionally keeping from her so it didn’t bother me that it was never addressed.

Holly: No, you aren’t wrong about that part. I honestly wasn’t bothered about it for all the reasons you stated, until the very end when he thinks that thing about how he still hasn’t told her. Like, before that it wasn’t deliberate. After that, it was.

From the epilogue:

He’d already put Esme and Jade in his will, though they didn’t know—about the will itself or all the money they’d be inheriting from him because he had no idea what to do with it. That stuff wasn’t important.

So, maybe it was just that he never thought about it. But I’m surprised no one else mentioned it to her.

Still, I really liked how Esme was with Khai. She just let him be who he was, but found ways to keep him thinking about her. I also liked her personal growth and how she was determined to find a way to do it on her own. Her inner strength and determination really stood out, and I loved how she grew into her own powers as the novel went on.

Rowena: I liked how Khai adapted to being with her. He showed a lot of growth himself and I enjoyed seeing him come into his feelings for Esme. The way that she ended up in his bed, the way that did things that bothered him but he just kept right on taking it because in small ways, he enjoyed them.

Holly: Khai did show a lot of growth. Man, my heart hurt for him. But girl, when he basically wham, bam thank you-ma’am’d her? I wanted to beat him over the head with something. I know he didn’t realize what he was doing, but I was still low key pissed at him. I loved that the first time wasn’t all perfect for them both, though.

Rowena: The only thing that made me want to smack him upside his head was how he kept insisting that he didn’t have it in him to love anyone, let alone Esme. Even after Quan explains what he was feeling and how he was acting after their break up, Khai kept insisting that Quan was wrong. I was like, boy…if you don’t knock that shit off.

Holly: Honestly, I blame his aunts for all that nonsense. Because they’re the ones who were like “What’s wrong with you”. But I kind of blame Quan, Michael and his mom, too. Once they realized how he thought he couldn’t love, they should have explained it better. View Spoiler »

Rowena: View Spoiler » Still, there was a lot to love in this one. I loved Khai’s family, I loved little Jade and the way that she loved her Mom big time. I liked that Esme made moves for herself and I really liked the epilogue.

Holly: I was kind of bothered about how she made him wait to get married. I’m not sure why, though. I think it’s because it didn’t feel authentic to her character, or his. The whole book they were sort of working toward that, and they loved each other. So making him wait seemed…strange to me. I don’t know. I have to think about it a little more.

Rowena: I will say that as much as I enjoyed both Khai and the romance, I’m super excited about Quan…I need more Quan!

Holly: I love Quan, too. I hope we get his book next.

Rowena: This book gets a 4.25 out of 5 from me. What about you?

Holly: For all my complaints, I really did love the book. I was fully invested in them both from page one, and I read it in a single sitting. I got teary eyed a couple times and laughed out loud several others. Hoang did it again.

I’m giving it 4.25 as well.

Final Grades

Holly: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

The Kiss Quotient

Untitled Book #3


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Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Posted June 27, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 9 Comments

Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen HoangReviewer: Rowena
The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1) by Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #1
Also in this series: The Bride Test, The Heart Principle
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

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 kicks off newcomer Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient series and it features a high functioning autistic heroine and the male escort that falls madly in love with her.

The book starts off with our heroine, Stella Lane, having dinner with her parents and her Mom mentioning the fact that she would like grandchildren soon so that has Stella thinking. When a colleague at work brings up her lack of successful dating, Stella figures she needs to hire someone to teach her how to be good at having sex. Stella has Asperger’s and that makes things hard for her because her mind won’t turn off and she says the wrong thing and her partner always gets turned off and so she’s learned some things to get through sex but she doesn’t ever enjoy it herself. She needs professional help and that is when we meet my boo thang, Michael Phan.

Michael Phan is a dead ringer for Daniel Henney, much to his chagrin but it’s helped him in his undercover gig as a male escort so he can’t complain too much. He’s got his reasons for the way that his life turned out and while he doesn’t have regrets, he sometimes has them. He holds himself to a set of rules, a code of ethics, if you will that keeps his professional and his personal life separate. All of those rules seem to have gone right out the window with his latest client, Stella Lane because he’s breaking rules left and right.

Stella hires Michael to help her be more comfortable with sex…only, their first night together, they don’t get past second base so plans change and before either of them know what’s what, Michael and Stella are teaching each other all about love and intimacy. Stella can’t help her personality any more than Michael can help his financial situation. The more time that they spend together, the more they have to fight from falling in love with each other. Stella doesn’t think anyone would love her and all of her quirks while Michael feels the shame of his secret life-threatening to overwhelm the ever living shit out of him.

I loved the heck out of this story. I loved Stella. I loved Michael. I loved both of their families and I seriously could not get enough. I know that I love a story when I keep texting Holly in between scenes, explaining to her in detail why I’m loving the book so much. I texted Holly a lot while reading this book.

I loved Hoang’s writing style. I thought that the way she wrote Stella’s character, her struggles with being autistic and just the way that her personality was, it felt authentic and it was written in a way that I completely got what Stella was going through, what she was thinking and I just got it. I really, really loved Stella and how her moral compass was planted firmly in what she thought was right. I loved seeing her love Michael and I loved whenever she changed the plan because when she secretly changed the plan to seduce Michael, my heart sighed ever so happily. She was just a freaking great heroine that I loved oh so much.

Stella made the book fantastic but the addition of Michael Phan? OMG. I completely adored him. His devotion to his family, to his cousins, to his Mom’s business and just everything. The wealth of love coming from this man had me from the jump. I loved seeing him fall in love with Stella. From his confusion over what was happening to his crush and then to him realizing he was in love with her? OMG, so stinkin’ good.

For me, this book was a complete romance. I enjoyed every single minute of this book and I’m super anxious for the next book to come out. Helen Hoang did so well with this book and seriously, if you’ve been on the fence about reading this book, don’t be. You have no reason to fear you won’t enjoy this book. I have every confidence that you’ll love it.

Grade: 5 out of 5

The Kiss Quotient


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