The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang | Book Review

 

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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…

Date Published: June 5, 2018

Date Read: August 15, 2018

Publisher: Berkley

No. of Pages: 323

Setting: Palo Alto, California

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Source: Copy provided by the publisher

Get Your Copy here: Amazon | Book Depository

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One of my favorite books of 2018!!!

I broke yet another rule I have set for myself – that is not to join in with the hype. You see hype highly affects the reading experience for me, and I wanted to enjoy it with the least influence as possible. But damn, the hype surrounding The Kiss Quotient is so real I’m so happy I jumped right in. I am afraid there’s no getting over it anytime in the foreseeable future. I’m even too scared this book will put me in the biggest slump, but know what? I’m fine with it. I’ll use that time to savor every moment, go back to the pages I have tabbed, and boy I have tabbed so many, it’s almost the whole book. A reread is definitely in order. And when I’m through with that, I’ll proceed to googling Daniel Henney our Michael Larsen and dream about him too. I LOVE THE BOOK SO MUCH, IT IS ALMOST AN OBSESSION.

Steamy, oh boy, why does it feel so suddenly hot in here?

The Kiss Quotient is more than what meets the eye. And boy I didn’t expect it to be too steamy! Too steamy, I literally felt I needed air whilst I am inside a fully air-conditioned room. The steamy scenes were perfectly and vividly written that you can very well feel the temperature go up. That’s some serious talent there, and not everyone can do just that. And don’t get me wrong, it is not just these steamy scenes that sold me. It was so, so much more, it was also sweet and tender, and ahhhh all the good stuff. It was not smut, it was adorable and fun! The hot and steamy scenes were played just right.

Asian Representation

Let’s admit it guys, asian representation is still something the publishing world needs to work on. So much so that an asian like me is too delighted to see an asian character portrayed well in a book, this shouldn’t be something we should get excited about. It should be a normal thing — to see asian everywhere and not just some fancy thing that happens once in a blue moon if we are lucky. Right representation truly matters and The Kiss Quotient was able to let us in on a fraction of Vietnamese culture, which is not far too different from other culture in Asia. Asians are big on family, we put too much value on our family so much so that we will do almost anything for them. This was portrayed in this book, and it was an amazing depiction. Michael Larsen, our male protagonist is half Vietnamese, and the way he made sacrifices for his family especially his mother was truly remarkable. True signature of Asians, if you ask me.

Autism and Own Voices

Another topic that needs more attention and more representation is Autism. The Kiss Quotient gave us a glimpse of what it is to have autism and how one manages her day to day life with it. I specifically commend this book since it was written by an author who is diagnosed with autism. I am drawn to own voices books, there is authenticity and rawness you couldn’t find anywhere. And that is the case here, the author was able to provide us with a character with depth and realness about her that is hard to miss. Stella is a very smart and successful woman who had struggles when it comes to socializing which leads to having troubles having a romantic relationship with someone. She’s being pressured to have a boyfriend and eventually settle down, but all these seemed to be a challenge for her, and so she hired a male escort – which was Michael, this half-Vietnamese, half Swedish mighty specimen of a man, And the story took off into this steamy, swoon-worthy and all things amazing reading experience. Their first encounter? I was seriously contemplating to take a half day and go home and just read the day away, (yeah I was reading at the office, rebel). Don’t you just love when that happens? The book is so good you just don’t want to participate in life even if it is something that pays the bills! Hahaha

Many may not be aware of the Netflix series Atypical, the lead character has autism as well. This is why I was able to understand Stella in this book. Also the reason why I enjoyed it so much more than what I had anticipated. There are actions that may put someone off, but it is what the book required, it is what it is, and I had no problems with how Stella was portrayed. To me it was just spot on and amazing, again the authenticity is really palpable. And might I add, I love how Michael didn’t even bat an eye when he knew that Stella has autism, because he understood, he has this level of maturity that men seemed to lack these days (haha), he was patient and just the most logical person there was. He understood Stella in a way two people in love can.

This is how romance should be done!

The Kiss Quotient is definitely one of my favorite books of 2018. It was everything I needed and everything I truly enjoyed. It was yes, predictable, because duh this isn’t a thriller, but the best part of the reading experience is how everything leads to that ending. The story chapter per chapter, the build up and all those sweet moments between Stella and Michael. It has been a month since I last read the book and I’m still thinking about it up to now. I can see myself rereading it whenever I need some pick me upper or when life has been unbearably stressful. Helen Hoang instantly became a favorite author, I vow to read all her books until kingdom come! So this goes without saying, this book i worth your time, go ahead and pick it up!

 

 

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“Love, he found, was a jail. It trapped, and it clipped wings. It dragged you down, forced you to places you didn’t want to go”
― Helen HoangThe Kiss Quotient

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Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since. In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT. She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish. Helen is represented by Kim Lionetti of BookEnds Literary Agency.

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{Thank you @berkleypub for this free book.} . THE KISS QUOTIENT by HELEN HOANG . Synopsis: 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 ••• Oh my freak yes!!! I have been eyeing this book for a while now since almost everyone I trust for book recommendations has been raving about this book. It’s is all over my bookstagram and twitter feed, not to mention the great reviews it has been getting over at goodreads. This may be too hyped up, but I can already feel it in my bones I will totally love this one! Thank you so much Berkley for sending me a copy!!! You guys are amazing! 💙💙💙 ••• #TheKissQuotient #HelenHoang #BerkleyPublishing #BerkleyBookstagram #partner

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Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris | Book Review

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Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

Date Published: August 9, 2016

Publisher: Harlequin Books

Date Read: September 2, 2018

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Setting: London, England; Bangkok, Thailand

Get your copy here: Amazon | Book Depository  | Book Outlet

 

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Disturbing and intense! I couldn’t put it down!

Behind Closed Doors will suck you in this vortex of twisted story behind what seemed to be a perfect marriage. I love how the blurb went on as vague as possible without any shred of a clue. I loved how it could toy with your mind and let your imagination go wherever it wishes to go and then smack you in the face of what really was the story all about. None of what you have expected, not even remotely close. I would try to be as vague in my review, without touching anything that could give the book away, so bear with me on this one. Just hold on to my word, this book is really good.

I was hooked from the very first chapter up until that last sentence. I loved that our narrator, Grace, was dropping subtle hints here and there, letting you picture out and keeps you guessing what is so wrong with her marriage and her husband — Jack Angel. This is what got me hooked, the small hints thrown in between. It’s like you’re given a purpose, that goal to figure out at the earliest possible opportunity what is really happening. Maybe Grace is crazy, maybe Jack is the ever loving husband. All the possibilities are there, and they are endless. Understandably, this book isn’t for everyone. There are scenes in this book that is just too much, so much so, that you find yourself momentarily stunned. Frozen for a brief moment psycho-analyzing what you just read. Your imagination gets the best of you and you involuntarily shudder. But then during those momentary reprieve, you couldn’t stop yourself thinking about it, so you pick it back up and resume reading, eager to know what will unfold, how will the story conclude or is there ever hope for the characters.

(I would not go in detail about the characters, as it would give too much of the book away. But know this, the characters will surprise you, may it be in a revolting way or in an oh-yes-i-am-so-rooting-for-you kind of way. Each character had depth and complexity within them that complements each other and the whole plot. And so sorry George Clooney, you were dragged into all this mess!)

And though I have few issues myself, I didn’t dwell on it too much. The plot wasn’t as solid or as fool-proof but it was more than enough to satisfy its readers. The characters needed more of a back story as well, they could have been presented in a more complex way, but again, I didn’t dwell too much on that, because despite all this, the book was able to deliver, more than what you have bargained for.

You see, a psychological thriller will never please everyone. There would be people who may be appalled by it, and in the same vein there may be people would love it so much. Psychological thrillers can be a hit or miss, depending how the cards are played. Behind Closed Doors was executed well. It definitely had the ability to constantly put its reader at the edge of their seats. The shift of chapters from past to present made the book more appealing. It sets the tone of the whole book, how one chapter in the Present correlates to the chapter in the Past solidifying the plot and making the book more coherent. Each chapter served to be a glimpse of what happened before and what is about to transpire. Giving something for the reader to look forward to and something to ponder on.

That ending was so good I literally had goosebumps! It was the sweetest redemption, it was poetic justice. It was everything done wrong back fired! It was vindication, and I felt triumphant with the character! When I wasn’t sure whether to give this book full five stars, it was the ending that closed the deal for me. It was so good, I was mentally giving BA Paris a high five! Uttering to myself, that is how psychological thriller should be made – with vindication. Truly, revenge is a dish best served cold! It has been a while since I last read a psychological thriller. It was that kind of book that I never knew I needed. Now I vow to read every book she has ever written. This goes without saying, I found a new favorite author and a new favorite book! Highly recommend.

 

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“I look around at everybody laughing and joking together and struggle to understand my life has become a living hell that nobody present could even begin to imagine”
― B.A. Paris, Behind Closed Doors

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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han | Book Review

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What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Date Published: March 20, 2015

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date Read: August 31, 2018

No. of Pages: 355

Setting: Charlottesville, Virginia

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Get your copy here: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble  | National Bookstore 

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Movie was way better than the book!

I went against the unwritten rule of every reader: to read the book first before watching the movie. It was actually the movie that pushed me to read the book. I wanted to know if Movie Peter was just as dreamy as the Book Peter.

Verdict: I liked Movie Peter way more than the Book Peter. Movie Peter was less of an asshole than the book counterpart. I know we only get the sugar-coated version in the movie, and maybe that’s was what I wanted. Book Peter did a lot of things that frustrate me. Him being head over heels Gen, kind of put me off. At least in the movie it was down-played. Okay enough with the comparison with the film!

While I did get the whole dimension of the characters, understood why they acted the way they did, I was looking for something more. YA can be a bit tricky for me, there are YA books that really wow me, and there are others that fell short. Much like any other kind of genre. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before fell a little short for me. It was a little childish for my own liking. Our narrator Lara Jean, sounded like she was 12, and I almost cringe to know that she’s almost 17. Also, why does it feel like YA books written around 2012-2015 revolved around some high school drama. Like high school is the be all and end all of things. My adult self couldn’t stop rolling her eyes, but I’m aboard the train, so might as well enjoy the ride right?

If you like fake boyfriend-girlfriend trope, then this book will satisfy your cravings. I am so drawn to this kind of trope it has become unhealthy haha.  It feels like I needed to get my hands on every book with this kind of trope. But can we please stop with love triangles? It was so 2012, let’s just move past it can we? Nope? Okay.

The plot of the whole book was preposterous, but I bought it anyway. (But was that the whole point of fiction, to get us out of the crushing weight of reality? hahah) It was so ridiculous you’ll get curious how will the author pull it off. And curious, I’ve been. But after reading it, I instantly needed something more mature to cleanse my palate. So much so, that I immediately jumped into reading a psychological thriller. The shift was a breath of fresh air.

And can we talk about the ending? It ended in a cliffhanger, which leaves you with no choice but to read the sequel. Which to be completely honest, I don’t think I would or at least maybe not in the near future. That ending could have been so much better, at least in the movie there was a period or at least a semi-colon, the book ended in a comma or ellipses, which frustrated me. It could have been better. There could have been one more chapter to tie everything up and make it more put-together. Truly, it was the ending that was a total let down. But all things considered, the book was easy to get through, fun and light to read, cute too! Especially the Halloween part, that was my ultimate fave, sad it wasn’t included in the movie. This book is the perfect companion when you needed to pass time and just for once forget about the complications that is your life. Ultimately did just that for me! And for that, I am grateful.

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“Do you think there’s a difference? Between belonging with and belonging to?”
― Jenny Han, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

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❝Do you think there's a difference? Between belonging with and belonging to?❞ ― Jenny Han; To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before ••• Done reading! Verdict: 3.5⭐️ I liked Movie Peter than Book Peter. Book Peter was just hard to like. I hate it when he kept on insisting that he and Gen had history and blah blah blah. He does things that frustrate me, at least in the movie it was kind of sugar-coated already and he was less of an asshole 😅 Also I didn’t like how the book ended 🙃 it was requiring you to read the sequel, which to be completely honest, I don’t think I would. Or maybe I’ll just see what the fuss is about John Ambrose McLaren or I could wait for Netflix sequel 😁 ••• Also thank you @keepreadingkim hahah for kind of buddy reading with me! Hahah I suck at buddy reading! I’ll do better next time 😉 ••• #ToAllTheBoysIveLovedBefore #PeterKavinsky #LaraJean #Covinsky

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