*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Monday, October 1, 2018

"The Kiss Quotient" by Helen Hoang

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...

Stella has Asperger's and is aware that it has affected her personal life. She is happy with her work and her routine, but her mother wants more for her. She hasn't enjoyed the dating process, but decides to give it another try. She ends up signing up for an escort service. Through this, she meets Michael. She asks him to give her lessons, so that she can someday be someone's girlfriend. Michael is a hard worker. He has taken a job escorting so that he can pay the bills. Over the course of the novel, we find out just how much he has sacrificed and why these bills are so important. As expected, the two fall in love, but neither tells the other. Things begin to fall apart, as each one falls deeper and deeper in love, but assumes that other doesn't have the same feelings.

I am torn on The Kiss Quotient. I loved the premise of the plot. I liked that the initial set-up was unconventional. I loved seeing Stella and Michael fall for each other. I loved seeing how their lives evolved because they met each other. I thought that their dynamic was very interesting. I enjoyed the overall story. What got to me was all of the sex in this book. It felt like there were too many and they just got longer and longer. To me, it almost felt like this was the nerdier version of Fifty Shades of Grey. By the last few scenes, I was skipping ahead because it had gotten boring and I was desperate for plot. Usually I don't have a problem with these sort of scenes, but I guess I just wasn't expecting them with this particular novel. For that reason, I rated this book a 3 out of 5. If those particular chapters were shorter, or just not as frequent, I would have enjoyed this book a lot more.

As for the main plot, I enjoyed myself. I didn't feel that the story was groundbreaking by any means. It followed the same beats as many romances, but was still a great experience. I loved the characters, because they felt like characters I have never met before. I don't recall reading any books aimed at adults that featured an autistic character, and certainly none that were the main character. I also liked that Helen Hoang incorporated things about Michael's culture into the story as well. I felt that not only was the book a fun read, I learned some things too (and really wanted some Vietnamese food). I also really appreciated that it was Stella was in the successful role and that Michael was the one who was struggling through life. It was nice to see a reversal of the stereotype. As a whole, I recommend this book, but know that if you aren't a fan of steamier novels, this one may not be for you.
Happy Reading!

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