Thoughts While Reading: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

“He kissed her like she was his whole world, and if she weren’t already kneeling, she would have collapsed to the floor.”

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May 12, 2019:

The Bride Test has a completely different vibe than The Kiss Quotient which I think will make or break it for some readers. I went into it like I’m sure others did, expecting the feel of the book to be the same as it’s predecessor and was a bit disappointed a few chapters into it when I realized these two books are not the same. Where The Kiss Quotient felt lighthearted, fun and sexy.. The Bride Test is an emotional roller coaster with a sprinkle of innocence, a dash of sexy and a teaspoon of frustration.

Esme is approached in her homeland of Vietnam by Khai’s Mother. She makes Esme a proposition that she wants to refuse but ends up going with. She travels to America for the summer to attempt and persuade Khai to marry her. Esme is a single mother, scrubbing toilets to support her daughter, her Mom and her Grandmother. Khai is on the autism spectrum. He has his routine. He knows what makes him comfortable and uncomfortable. He doesn’t want to get married nor have a family.

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As I’ve been making my way through, my emotions have been all over the place. I have been finding myself so frustrated. I questioned why I wasn’t feeling connected to this story, these characters.  Then I realized that must be how Esme feels with Khai. She eventually learns of his autism once he opens up to her, but that doesn’t meant she never goes without being confused. Why is acting this way? What did I say wrong? Why is he angry all of a sudden? I feel like Hoang wrote Khai so well that even on the outside looking in, Ive had my WTF moments. Khai isn’t a bad guy but he is hard to connect with.

He’s also innocent though. There is a scene where he really pisses Esme off:

“He would always be leaving her. Because she wasn’t what he wanted. She’d known this, but she’d thrown herself at him anyway. Foolish, foolish girl. As the water washed over her and heat sank into her skin, she swore everything stopped here. No more. No more secret hoping, no more seducing, no more caring about him. She was done. She wasn’t rich, classy or smart, but she wasn’t something you could use once and toss away. She had value. You couldn’t see it in the clothes she wore or the abbreviations after her name or hear it in the way she spoke, but she felt it, even if she didn’t entirely understand where it came from. It pounded inside her chest, big and strong and bright. She deserved better than this.”

My favorite scene happens after this. Khai goes to his older brother and cousin to figure out how he made her mad. He truly didn’t understand. The scene is hilarious and adorable at the same time.

Another reason Esme agreed to come to America is to search for her father. She had it pretty rough growing up mixed race and wants that connection. The point in the book I am, she has reached out to a few men she believes is her dad but has turned up unsuccessful. She has also yet to inform Khai about her daughter back home.

I have less than 100 pages left and am anxious to see how all of these open loops are closed and what happened between these two. The big secret I’m wanting to see revealed is Jade, Esme’s daughter and how Khai takes it.

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May 13, 2019:

“And she had nowhere to go. There was a great big world all around, and none of it was hers. Where did you go when you had nowhere?”

I finished The Bride Test today and have a lot of thoughts. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. I just couldn’t give it 5 simply because although I enjoyed Esme and Khai, there was still a lack of connection there that I wanted to feel. I don’t know if Hoang wanted this to be intentional but it frustrated me a bit.

The saving grace for me with this book is Esme. Friends, it is 2019 and Esme is the heroine we need. Esme represents what it looks like to leave everything you are familiar with, literally leave everyone and everything you love behind to take an opportunity. Regardless of what the opportunity looks like, she went for it. Unsure. Afraid. She traveled across the world. She falls in love. She gets disappointed..and she gets her shit together. Esme is the 2019 female. It was she, who made this story for me.

Everyone deserved to love and be loved back. Everyone. Even her.”

A lot of friends have already hit me up and called dibs on Quan..and I must say, my fingers are crossed that he gets a romance of his own. That would just be perfect. I loved how well he took care of Khai. How he had his back but would also call him out on his crap.

If you’re looking for a fun, spring time romance..I wouldn’t say this is it, but if you were a fan of The Kiss Quotient and want to continue on with the series for the sake of it, go for it. It was a good read but it is totally different from its predecessor. And I will add, before I go..I listened to this on audiobook and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the narrator, so tread carefully.

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Book Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

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The Kiss Quotientby Helen Hoang

Berkley; June 2018

5/5Stars

A confession before I get into this review:  I tend to usually wait for the hype around a book to die down a bit before reading it. I honestly was going to treat The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang no different. I hauled it on a random Sunday night trip to the bookstore and planned to sit it on my shelf for a few months before picking it up. Obviously though, that didn’t happen and I am very happy I didn’t put reading this book off. I loved it!

Plot Summary:

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…

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Firstly, let’s shout out an own voices story that is in the spotlight and getting some amazing recognition. There is a lot to love about this story.

I really enjoyed the whole premise of this book. It was cool to read from Stella’s perspective knowing she has Aspergers. It is such a big part of who she is, but she didn’t let it define her. But as someone who doesn’t live with Aspergers it was an awesome experience to get bits and pieces of how someone who does live with it, processes things. I found that fascinating. And I adored, once Michael figured out that Stella had Aspergers, how he was immediately able to communicate and interact with her in ways that wouldn’t frustrate or overwhelm her.

I loved how the author created these two very different people from different social statuses and family structures and made them perfect for each other. Michael believes that Stella is too good for him. Stella has this amazing job as an econometrician, while he works in his Mother’s alteration/dry cleaning business and also does escorting on the side. He has it made up in his mind that as soon as she learns about who is father is and the things his father has done, that she won’t want anything to do with him. Stella keeps her disorder a secret, believing that once Michael learns about it, he won’t want anything to do with her. There first couple of scenes together were super awkward but Michael was so adorably patient.

I appreciated the family aspect in this book. Michael literally put his life and the things he wanted to do on hold to take care of his Mom who has been sick with cancer. It was cute seeing him interact with his sisters and Grandmother. There is a scene early on in the book where Stella meets his family, her disorder still being a secret, and she basically blows it. The whole meeting was over stimulating for her and on her part, she says some things and does some things that come across as rude. But she realizes how important Michael’s family is to him, and does what she needs to do to right her wrongs.

This book was so swoon worthy. So many parts of it bought a smile to my face. I’d have to say my favorite part of this story was seeing the feelings grow between Stella and Michael and watching them both try to figure those feelings and emotions out. Stella is so used to trying to please the men she has interacted with that it was awesome to see her finally get comfortable with Michael and allow him the opportunity to please her. It was awesome to see Michael, who sticks to these rules and guidelines he has set in stone to keep between him and his clients, completely throw all of that out eventually when it came to Stella. It was so cute how he noticed the little things; like how she looked at him like he was the most important person in the room, how she wanted to wear his tee shirt to sleep because it smelled like him..I loved reading how happy these things made him feel.

I could seriously go on and on about this book Friends, but I’m just going to leave you with this: Read it. It is fun, it has a steamy romance, cute family moments and two people who eventually realize they are made for each other.

Have you read The Kiss Quotient? What were your thoughts on it? I hope all is well with you, take care of yourselves–I’ll chat with you in my next post. xoxo

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What I’m Currently Reading

Hey Friends! It is Friday and I hope you’ve had a great week. I unfortunately work this weekend, so I’m not sure how much I will get read but these are the books that I will be going into the weekend reading.

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I have been listening to The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata on audiobook from the Audible Romance package. It took me a few chapters to get into this book but now I’m loving it. This book is making me smile, I’ve giggled while driving, laughed out loud a few times and am finding myself completely swooning over the love interest Aidan.

Plot Summary:

Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn’t find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He’s asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

This book has some pretty good reviews on Goodreads and when I asked for recommendations on the Summer Romance 2018 Bingo Group I am participating in, a majority of the recommendations were for this book. Up to the part that I’m at, I feel like this book deserves the hype that it gets. I’m really enjoying it.

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I am currently halfway through The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang and wow, this book is living all the way up to the hype that it is getting.

Plot Summary:

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…

This book has had my emotions all over the freaking place! I feel like Mariana Zapata is doing an excellent job of putting you in the mind of the main character Stella, who lives with Aspergers. There have been scenes that had me on the edge of my seat because Stella is such an honest person because she doesn’t know how to be any other way, so some scenes are a little intense! I love the love interest, Michael, he is falling hard for Stella and I am totally here for it.

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Lastly, I am currently reading a vintage romance! I say vintage, but this book was published in the year 2000 and that is Enchanted Crossings by Anne Avery, Madeline Baker and Kathleen Morgan.

Plot Summary:

This classic anthology includes three romances by popular authors. In these stories, a Lakota warrior defies the boundaries of life to claim a beauty, a pilot and a dreamer on faraway planets learn that passion can bridge the heavens, and a dazzling temptress uses her powers to open a stellar portal and the heart of a reluctant warrior.

I am currently on the first story in this collection, Heart of the Hunter and it is SO GOOD. I love when a story has a little bit of a paranormal twist to it. The main character Kelly  inherits the home and land that has been in her family since her Grandfather purchased it. Kelly’s Grandfather told her prior to dying that on the land there is a cave with the body of a Native American warrior laying to rest in it, and with his body a bag of gold. Kelly locates the body and is surprised he is still basically in tact and shortly after starts seeing a man out of the corner of her eye and feeling a presence around her.

To be honest, I didn’t know how I would feel about this story. It appears that once upon a time there was a romance craze where stories were written with a Native American love interest and white heroine and the used book store I go to has boxes and boxes of them. I was hesitant at first to give them a try–I didn’t want to read anything crazy and disrespectful, but so far with the first story I’m reading, I am really enjoying it!

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Those are my 3 current reads. Let me know what you are currently in the middle of reading, Friends! Have you read any of my current reads? What were your thoughts on them? I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll chat with you soon!

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