The Kiss Quotient
Genre: Adult, Romance
Publication date: June 5th, 2018
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...
-A copy was provided by Berkley for review-
Nick (The Infinite Limits of Love) is the one who made me read this book so it’s only right that my review of it is actually just me fangirling over it with her. ENJOY!
Rashika: Nick left me here to write a review while she is showering and I don’t know what to say. IT’S HER FAULT I READ THIS BOOK. WHY ISN’T SHE HERE TO TALK? HMPH.
Nick: BACK FROM THE SHOWER! Let me just preface by saying this: Michael Phan is mine. No one is going to steal my book boyfriend from me.
R: Wow. UM. Michael is mine. I am sorry to break it to you. AND EVEN IF YOU READ THE BOOK BEFORE ME, IT DOESN’T COUNT. WE GET TO FIGHT IT OVER NOW. But speaking, didn’t you find it refreshing to kind of see how the heroine was the rich one showering the hero with presents??
N: Would you even have met him had it not been for me?????? YES. I totally loved that. And I loved that no one acted weird about it. Sometimes in romance books, you’ll have the gift-receiver act all irritated when the rich gift-giver gives them something they want, and it makes 0 sense to me. Stella was such a good bean, I loved her.
R: UGHGHGUGUHGHUG. WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS. He loves me more. Yes he does. He told me so. But also, yeah, definitely. It’s always the ‘prideful MC’ that won’t take any help even though they desperately need it. Stella is truly such a good bean though and I think like as much as I love Michael, she was also a big reason why I loved this book so much.
N: HE DOES NOT LOVE YOU MORE. HE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW YOU EXIST. Oh most definitely. There would be no The Kiss Quotient without Stella Lane. I loved that she was a smart STEM girl who had worked hard in a field that’s very male-dominated – I can go on 10000 words writing sprint about how much I loved seeing a heroine that is actively in a similar field of study of mine. Besides her obvious intelligence, I loved how aware she was of her autism and consciously worked to overcome the social anxiety that stemmed from that. She knew that she could be perceived as “cold” to others and she tried her hardest to not come across that way.
R: YES HE DOES. HE DOES KNOW I EXIST. WE HAD DINNER LAST NIGHT. I ATE WITH HIS FAMILY. Yeah, and I think Hoang herself made a conscious effort not just to kind of have an HEA story but also to have an open discussion about what it’s like to be on the autistic spectrum and how society perceives people who are on the autistic spectrum. Like there are moments in the story where like people try to understand Stella through their perceived social norms and Stella isn’t like that. She knows and she makes an effort to remind people of that in ways that are just SO STELLA. She is an adorable bean.
N: I think that may have been in your dreams, weirdo. YES to everything you said. I don’t claim to be an expert on autism – though I’m hoping to do some research into autism in the near future – but I found this book to be very eye-opening in many ways and I always appreciate when an author can teach me a thing or two. Helen does it so seamlessly too. Stella’s autism is very much a part of this story and Helen doesn’t shy away from the good and the bad.
R: YOU’RE THE ONE THAT JUST SHOWERED. YOU’RE THE WEIRDO. If it was a dream, it was a good one. Also yeah, I definitely cannot speak much to the kind of rep but also the book is #ownvoices and even if it won’t speak to everyone’s story, from what Helen has said, it’s really personal to her! But like also, you mentioned this earlier and like I think it’s worth mentioning again because Stella isn’t just her disability, IT’S SO GREAT TO HAVE ROMANCE NOVELS ABOUT WOMEN IN STEM. I love how much she loves her job and I LOVE ECON. IT WAS A GOOD TIME.
N: YES. I SHOWERED WITH MICHAEL. Autism rep is a little more complex because it’s a spectrum disorder so not everyone with autism will 100% relate. Though I guess you can say that about every rep. Anyways, how great was Michael’s reaction when he finally understood that she had autism? Ugh. Gosh. Michael was so perfect and I just want to love him forever and cry because real life men are trash. 🙁
R: NO YOU DIDN’T. SHUT UP. AND YES. HE was perfect and he wasn’t perfect because he was just accepting of the fact and doing the bare minimum, my favorite thing was that he didn’t like condescend to her about it and her feelings. He took time to understand why she was worried and why she felt the way she did. He also just, HE IS PRECIOUS. Like even before everything, he was so attentive and took time to make sure she is comfortable. He didn’t push her and he never really pushes her when she doesn’t want to be pushed. I LOVE him and no man will ever live up to him. THIS IS WHY WE FIGHT.
N: I was just about to say the same thing. I love love love heroes who take their time to make sure the heroines are comfortable. And here, there were MANY times when Stella wasn’t entirely comfortable in the bedroom and he went out of the way to make sure he was giving HER pleasure first and foremost. Boyfriend had some serious moves that had me dying, but more than his dirty mouth (hahaha!), I loved what a good person he was. I mean, the guy was basically selling his body to cougars so he could pay for his mom’s bills. And he never resented his mom for it. His focus was other people’s happiness, especially his family, and damn if that didn’t make my heart ache.
R: Yeah I am garbage for people who would do anything for their family. Did you ever read the Elementals series by Brigid Kemmerer? This is definitely off track but Michael who is the big bro in that series would literally do anything for his brothers and I MELT. I CANNOT WITH THESE AMAZING PEOPLE. I also think it’s 100% worth mentioning that the Michael has a great dirty mouth tho 😉 I mean, girls gotta have fun.
N: I DID! Maybe all book Michaels are great human beings! SHHH! You’re too young to be talking about dirty mouths, child. Also, can we talk about his tailoring skills??????? AND HE DESIGNED CLOTHES FOR STELLA. Imagine having a boyfriend who could make you the perfect clothes? WHY IS MICHAEL NOT REAL? *cries forever*
R: LEAVE ME ALONE. I DECLARED MYSELF YOUR MOM. (I thought you were gonna write cock when you were talking about his tailoring skills but then you didn’t) YES I LOVE IT. Also that just kind of plays into the flip on ‘traditional’ romance tropes that’s happening in this novel which is so much fucking fun.
N: WELL. That escalated quickly. I never knew you were such a perv, Rashika.
Right! I think it made the book very fresh. It stood out to me among all the romances I’ve read. Speaking of romance, I loved how the romance between Stella and Michael progressed here. It could easily have been super uncomfortable given that she is his client and the whole power dynamic with her paying him for his services, but I don’t know, man. Helen has got some magic in her writing because nothing about this relationship was icky to me. At one point, when Michael was taking her out on dates and having her meet his family members, I forgot that she had actually hired him. Their whole relationship was just so freaking sweet and shippy and adorable. I loved these two babies together.
R: You know me, I only read romance novels for the sexy times 😉 The only thing icky in this relationship is how you bully me into giving up Michael. I love him and you’re just jealous of our love for one another. But yeah, the romance in this boooooook. I think when you were talking about way back when, you mentioned there was a lot of smut but like for all the good quality smut there is, the romance is also so domestic. Like I love that we get to see them meeting each other’s families and building a trusting bond and eventually falling in love. I also love how Michael helps Stella build her confidence in her relationships with other people. Towards the end of the book, she begins to call out SO MANY PEOPLE ON THEIR BULLSHIT. Also like again, it isn’t just Michael who is helping her be her best self you know? Stella does the exact same thing for him. WHICH IS CHEESY BUT IDGAF.
N: Yeah, they were both very good for each other. *heart-eyes* I can’t wait to re-read this book 5 million more times because I can tell this is one of those books that I will never tire of. AND I CAN’T WAIT FOR HELEN’S NEXT BOOK! OUT JANUARY – wooo!!
R: ME EITHER. I AM GOING TO DIE WAITING so TA-TA BYE BYE. PLEASE COME TO MY FUNERAL, Y’ALL. Especially, Michael. Please come.
N: If you haven’t heard of this book, what cave have you been living in? BUT ANYWAYS. EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK EVEN IF YOU AREN’T A ROMANCE FAN. You won’t regret it!
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