Series: The Kiss Quotient #1
Published by Berkley on June 5th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback ARC, eARC
Source: Berkley, Netgalley
Buy on Amazon
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...
THE KISS QUOTIENT
by Helen Hoang
I’m sitting here talking to my book bestie who is attempting to write a review for this book as well and we both are a little intimidated by the task because it’s hard to do it justice. So let me get one thing out in the open:
READ. THIS. BOOK.
I suppose I could end this review here but I need to explain how awesome this book is and why I’m demanding of you to read it. Even if you don’t believe ME, check out the other reviews about THE KISS QUOTIENT.
I have only read one story in the past that involved an autistic main character, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley, which is one of my most favorite books of all times. Autism is rare in books so I had to have this debut novel by Helen Hoang.
Stella is a shy, gentle-spoken, and so so brave, young woman. As an autistic woman with a brilliant mind she needs her routine. She also thinks that she’s bad at sex and that practice with a professional might fix this problem. What she didn’t anticipate was the connection she make with the hired escort at their first meeting. The way Stella reacts to Michael shows how lonely and excluded she often feels and that’s all kinds of heartbreaking. Stella’s pain and struggles left me raw and had me tear up.
Uninvited touch is more often than not unwelcome, it makes her feel highly uncomfortable, but Michael’s touch soothes something inside her. Her fear of being labeled is so deeply seated that she can’t tell Michael about her disorder even when they become close. He would see her in a different light, would treat her with kid gloves and she doesn’t want that.
She had a disorder, but it didn’t define her. She was Stella. She was a unique person.
Stella’s courage is inspiring. I loved the things that came out of her mouth just because she doesn’t have the filter that society insists on. I found it charming, funny and sweet. Her way of looking at problems is unique, brilliant and fascinating. She shows the clarity that children often portray. While her train of thought is often complicated the results are simple and logical.
Michael needs his job as an escort. It pays the bills he shouldn’t have to pay. At the same time he feels guilty for his dreams of having his old life as a designer back. He never meets a client more than once – being stuck with a stalker he has learned the hard way but right from the start he feels that Stella is different. He knows he shouldn’t get close to this woman, whose thoughtfulness and desire for him as a man and not an escort slay him. Feelings for a woman and escorting don’t go well together, things can get messy fast. But how can he resist her plea for help when being close to her is all he wants?
Her eyes shot to his face, and Michael lost his train of thought. Those sexy librarian glasses showcased the most stunning pair of soft brown eyes. And her lips— they were just full enough to be tempting without detracting from her overall air of sweetness.
If Michael doesn’t make you swoon you must be dead inside. He is intuitive, patient and kind and understands Stella on a level only soulmates do. He teaches her that she was never awful at sex, that she only had douchebag lovers who didn’t care about her pleasure. Through his eyes she learns her own sexuality and sensuality. He knew when to push and when to give Stella space. The tenderness he feels for this sweet, smart, special woman accompanies you through the whole story. Everything she considers a flaw is perfection to him. But he can also be demanding and sexy and I loved how he flustered Stella with his dirty talk.
The story packs a surprising and very welcome amount of steam. These are some of the most erotic scenes I’ve read in a while. Plus, it has some really good grovel towards the end.
Michael was mint chocolate chip for her. She could try other flavors, but he’d always be her favorite.
Michael’s family is pretty special too – as it is with big families his mom, sisters and cousin are all up in his business. I loved his cousin Quan, who gave it straight to Michael, there was no sugar-coating. When he is mad, Michael knows it but Quan forgives fast. I’m hoping he will get his own story.
As somebody who doesn’t have anyone with autism/Asperger’s in her life the disorder is an abstract medical term I know the definition of. I know the symptoms but at the end of the day it it’s hard to understand what’s going on in the mind of somebody who processes emotions differently. THE KISS QUOTIENT gives you a glimpse into the brilliant workings and emotional world of somebody with this disorder (and I hate to call it that) and an understanding beyond the medical concept. The lessons you will take with you after closing this book are fundamental, integral and authentic.
She could change her actions, change her words, change her appearance, but she couldn’t change the root of herself. At her core, she would always be autistic. People called it a disorder, but it didn’t feel like one. To her, it was simply the way she was.
When you open a book and you have that gut feeling that tells you this book will end up being an all-time favorite, one that you’ll go back to and re-read multiple times, then you’ve found book gold. It’s how I felt right from the beginning and the farther I got the more this conviction manifested itself. Stella and Michael will take you a journey of self discovery and self appreciation, of accepting that autism is just a word for saying somebody is special and just as valuable and wonderful as somebody without. If you had only one more book to read in your life, this one should be it.
Can you imagine that this is a debut novel? I think we will hear a lot from this author – there is a new bright star in the sky and it carries the name Helen Hoang.
PICK THIS UP AND BE WOOED!