Title: The Bride Test
Author: Helen Hoang
Page Count: 320
Series: The Kiss Quotient, Book 2
Publishing Date/Publisher: May 7, 2019 by Berkley
Review: The Kiss Quotient set an impossibly high bar as one of my all-time favorite romance novels. I was ecstatic when I found out that Helen Hoang would be publishing another love story following a periphery character from her stunning debut.
The story, which follows Michael’s cousin Khai and the delightfully independent Esme, is undeniably sweet, but somehow lacked the same swoon-worthy quality that made the The Kiss Quotient so unforgettable. It’s hard to say exactly what it lacks, but it just doesn’t have “it”. The characters were likeable, and the plot was cutesy, but it felt to me like it was just running in a very predictable circle.
I appreciate that this romance is focused on somebody with autism, and if you read the first book, it was nice to see that Khai’s autism isn’t portrayed exactly the same as Stella’s. There is so much diversity on the spectrum, and it is refreshing to see this represented.
I hope this book is going to be part of a trilogy, and I suspect that if it is, the third book will focus on Khai’s brother, Quan. He is also a very likable character, and it would be great to follow his story next.
Title: The Kiss Quotient
Author: Helen Hoang
Page Count: 336
Publishing Date/Publisher: June 5, 2018 by Berkley
Review: Fifty Shades of Wow…this book was everything I hyped it up in my head to be and more. I love a good romance, and I have read many, but it is rare to come across a book that really makes my heart pitter patter. Not only that, but it has a very diverse set of lovers. The heroine, Stella, has Asperger’s Syndrome (a high functioning form of autism) and the hero, Michael, is biracial (Vietnamese/Caucasian).
I was never a particularly big fan of the Julia Roberts/Richard Gere film Pretty Woman, but this gender bent retelling was both believable and heartwarming. It’s a slow build romance, and even though the outcome seems inevitable, it is still tremendously gratifying to see it come to fruition.
What I particularly enjoy about the book is how the author develops the character of Stella. The author is herself autistic, and the authenticity of her experiences really shines through Stella’s inner dialogue. Stella is both quirky and lovable, and at times the pain and frustration she feels is so raw, you feel it to your very core. You can’t help but root for her and her budding romance with the sensitive, yet studly male escort with a heart of gold.
As a side note, I grew up near the city where the story takes place, so it was very interesting as a reader to experience familiar places in a new and fun way.