Posts Categorized: Review

Monday, June 04, 2018

In Conversation With Nick: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

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In Conversation With Nick: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
The Kiss Quotient
Helen Hoang
Genre: Adult, Romance
Publication date: June 5th, 2018
by Berkley

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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 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!

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

A Delightful Summer Read for Your TBR: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

A Delightful Summer Read for Your TBR: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Posted by on 05/31/2018 • 3 Comments

I Believe in a Thing Called Love was one of my very few five star reads of last year so I was eagerly anticipating the release of The Way You Make Me Feel. While The Way You Make Me Feel was not a five star read for me, it was still absolutely delightful.

Clara Shin is the class clown. Her life revolves arounds making snarky remarks and pranking her enemies. When her prom prank results in the school almost being burned down, both her and her arch nemesis are suspended. Clara’s dad is able to negotiate a deal that may just be worse. She has to spend the entire summer working on her dad’s food truck with her arch nemesis Rose and use her earnings to pay the school…

Great Secondary Characters but Unimpressive Hero: Hot Asset by Lauren Layne

Great Secondary Characters but Unimpressive Hero: Hot Asset by Lauren Layne

Posted by on 05/24/2018 • 0 Comments

Lauren Layne has slowly become one of those romance authors I can count on to deliver a book that will sweep me up by my feet. Her characters tend to have good chemistry, great banter and just generally good personalities. When I read the premise for Hot Asset, I was immediately intrigued but overall, the book wasn’t what I had come to expect from Lauren Layne.

It started off really rough with me wanting to DNF a chapter or two in but I persisted and slowly became more attached to the secondary characters and the general world Layne had built. I finished the book on a much stronger note than I had begun it although I am still not sure if I even really liked it??

My biggest issue with…

A Good Exploration of Grief: What We Leave Behind by Allison McGhee

A Good Exploration of Grief: What We Leave Behind by Allison McGhee

Posted by on 05/18/2018 • 3 Comments

I wasn’t entirely sure what I expected when I started What I Leave Behind and while I haven’t made my mind about the actual content of the book, I was pleasantly surprised by the format?? I am not even sure if there a word to describe the style but the story is told in these short snapshots into Will’s mind that are somehow able to paint a bigger picture even though less words are used.

So. What I Leave Behind is the story of Will. It’s been three years since his father committed suicide and he is still processing the trauma while trying to recreate his father’s infamous cornbread. When his friend is raped, he decides that he needs to do something. His need to do something starts to…

Lackluster Poolside Read: Airports, Exes and Other Things I’m Over by Shani Petroff

Lackluster Poolside Read: Airports, Exes and Other Things I’m Over by Shani Petroff

Posted by on 05/17/2018 • 0 Comments

I love a good travel story. I specifically love a good travel story involving airports and things going horribly wrong. Partially because I travel relatively often and because I have a couple of bad travel stories in my own pocket. I don’t think this is really a trend in YA though and it NEEDS TO BE. Jessica Brody’s The Chaos of Standing Still was basically everything I wanted in such a story and I was hoping Airports, Exes and Other Things I am Over would deliver on a similar scale. It didn’t.

The book feels like it’s missing something honestly. It starts with Sari walking in on her boyfriend and his ex kissing. She runs away, doesn’t talk to him and spends an entire week and a half brooding over…

Jason Reynolds Mini Reviews

Jason Reynolds Mini Reviews

Posted by on 05/15/2018 • 2 Comments

April was basically the month of Jason Reynolds books. We got not one but TWO NEW RELEASES but THE GREAT and since I wasn’t doing that great last month and sucked at reviewing, I FINALLY got around to talking about these great books. Ratings haven’t been included since I cannot make up my mind and regardless, Jason Reynolds writes great books.

For Every One Jason Reynolds

GOODREADS | PURCHASE

Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, this stirring and inspirational poem is New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds’s rallying cry to the dreamers of the world.  

     

I don’t think anyone…

What a Girl Wants with a Twist: Royals by Rachel Hawkins

What a Girl Wants with a Twist: Royals by Rachel Hawkins

Posted by on 05/11/2018 • 1 Comment

Rachel Hawkins is an auto-read author for me so I barely even glanced at the Goodreads blurb before diving into this. I just saw her tweet a bunch about it and decided I definitely needed this book in my life. Anyway, so. I dove in. Fell in love and then realized I should probably look up the Goodreads blurb. ANYWAY. SO. A book about royalty!!!! Most books about royalty feature that one character who finds themselves amongst royalty because they have fallen in love with someone who is royal except that is absolutely, 110% not the case with Daisy. Daisy’s sister has fallen in love with the Crown Prince of Scotland. This is not ideal for Daisy, not because she has royal aspirations of her own but because she really…

A Graphic Novel Memoir To Keep On Your Radar: Amla Mater by Devi Menon

A Graphic Novel Memoir To Keep On Your Radar: Amla Mater by Devi Menon

Posted by on 05/04/2018 • 2 Comments

I hadn’t heard of Amla Mater but when I was approached to review it, I was immediately on board. The graphic novel memoir is rich in nostalgia and the memories of the motherland. Amla Mater is told from the perspective of a pregnant immigrant. It starts with a craving. A craving for something from home and from the Mili’s childhood. Something that can transport her across time and space.

One day, her significant other brings home some gooseberries, some amla. She decided to try to pickle the amla the way her childhood best friend’s grandmother would. While she is waiting for the amla pickle to mature and be ready to consume, she reflects on her life until the moment.

We are taken on a journey that begins with Mili and her…