Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Group Read, Reviews, and Q & A: The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) by Helen Hoang


The Kiss Quotient
The Kiss Quotient #1

By:
Helen Hoang

Publisher:
Berkley

Published:
June 5, 2018

Source:
Purchased

Book 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...



The Kiss Quotient Series:

Lindy's Thoughts:

The Kiss Quotient was a phenomenal read!  I highly recommend it!  We get the dual perspectives of main characters Stella Lane and Michael Phan.  Stella is a 30 year old woman with high functioning Autism/Aspergers.  She struggles with loud noises, strong smells, uninvited touches, lying, not saying what she thinks and (knowing when it might be construed as rude;) understanding jokes, and picking up on sarcasm.  As you can imagine, this makes it especially hard for Stella to have a relationship.

Stella decides to hire an escort so that she can be taught by a professional how to be good at sex, in order to find herself a man that will want a relationship with her.  After all, Stella's mom keeps pressuring her to date and give her grand babies, and Stella wants to make her mom proud.

Stella hires Michael Phan, who has given up his dream to be a clothes designer, and instead works at his mother's shop and escorts once a week in order to pay for his mother's growing heap of medical bills.  

With The Kiss Quotient, we end up getting a beautiful love story with all of the "feels!"  I fell in love with the main characters!  Stella was refreshing, authentic, "real," honest, extremely caring, unselfish, a little na├»ve, and had so many challenges that she had to learn to overcome and deal with on a daily basis.  Michael was caring, patient, kind, understanding, and so very tender and loving towards Stella.  He sacrificed himself for those he loved, and put his family first, above his own happiness.  

These two together clicked.  They helped each other overcome insecurities, build each other's self-esteem, and be the best that they could be.  Michael and Stella supported each other's dreams, as well as being there for each other through their low points.  If you love sexy, steamy romance, with depth, humor, well fleshed out main characters, and a unique story line with a neurodiverse main character, pick up The Kiss Quotient!  Once you begin reading, you won't want to stop!




Ro's Take on this Journey:


This is the love story of a lifetime.  It proves that there is someone out there for everyone; no matter their perceived deficits or what makes them stand out from the crowd.

On this wonderfully fresh journey we have Stella Lane.  Stella is a 30 year old Econometrician with Aspergers, (a high functioning form of Autism.)  She comes from affluence.  Her mother is always meddling and putting pressure on Stella to get a boyfriend, get married, and bring her Grandchildren.  She even goes so far as to recommend Tinder.  Stella is so tired of the blind dates, the impossible interaction of small talk, and men that disgust her senses when they try to touch or kiss her. Stella's social and sexual skills are something that paralyzes her with fear, and that she needs to overcome.


Stella decides to hire an escort to teach her how to please a man, seduce him blindly, and break down her social barriers.  When Michael Phan Larsen walks into the restaurant to meet with her, she thinks she has won the Lotto!  He is just too good to be true. He is dressed to kill, and his body is unimaginable.  As they begin to talk, Stella is ill at ease, but as they get to know each other, he learns very quickly what she needs and he is very attentive and understanding. 


Michael is a loving, kind man who loves his family and sacrifices his own dreams to work as an escort on Friday nights to take care of his mother, who is very sick. He doesn't want any ties or any crazy obsessed women, so he only dates each client once.  With Stella, this changes, though he fights hard against himself not to keep the relationship going.  

Stella is refreshing, compared to the women that usually hire him.  He is intrigued at her willingness to try to learn to please him and not just receive her own pleasure, though she is paying a high price for his services.  He has his own demon's, as Stella does, and they both have to learn to trust and overcome their insecurities.   The two of them embark on a journey that will change the direction of both of their lives forever, and the readers lives too.

I loved this story!  The tenderness, timidity, laughter, blunt honesty, and the way Michael learns how to touch Stella in just the right way.  This book had it all.  I recommend this beautiful love story to everyone that didn't think they had a chance at romance!





Mikki's Review:

This book has been on my reading list for a long time! I was excited to finally be able to read it and share this amazing story with my co-blogger's, Lindy and Ro. When I first saw the cover on my social media newsfeed, I was captivated by it. The other thing that made it an automatic add to my TBR list is that one of my all time favorite authors was recommending it. I was positive this was going to be an unforgettable reading journey.

Stella Lane's world is about to be turned upside down. The pressure to get married and have babies is strong so she decides to hire an escort to help her get better at sex. This 30 year old econometrician, who has Asperger's, is about to step out of her comfort zone once she meets Michael Phan. 

The last thing Michael Phan expected was that his Friday night client would take his breath away. He's an escort that does not have repeat sessions with his clients. There is just something about Stella that makes him break that rule. As days go by, Stella and Michael grow closer together and form an amazing bond. Time is running out on the time that Michael set to help Stella out. Is he ready to let her go into the arms of another man? Will Stella be ready to start a long term relationship?

Stella and Michael completely stole a piece of my heart! They were so sweet and sexy together. I CAN'T EVEN DEAL!!!! If you are looking for a romantic, heart-melting, captivating and all-consuming reading journey, look no further! This author delivers a love story that will linger with you for days. Stella and Michael are two unique and unforgettable characters that will have you cheering for them from beginning to end!

I loved seeing Stella and Micheal grow not only as a couple, but as individuals as well. They both had their insecurities and together they formed a powerful bond and their love for each other made them step out of their comfort zone and fight for what they really wanted. I learned so much in this story and the author wrote it so beautifully. I was unable to put the book down once I started. I was captivated by her words and by Stella and Michael.

I absolutely loved the supporting cast of characters in this series. They all brought something to Stella and Michael's journey and I can't wait to reunite with them again in the next installment.  My favorite character was Quan, which is one of Michael's cousins. *Swoon* I loved his personality from the moment he was introduced in the story. I can't wait to read more about him!

This was a fantastic reading journey and I highly recommend it! If you have not added The Kiss Quotient to your TBR list, what are you waiting for??? Your next unputdownable reading journey is just one click away! Helen Hoang's debut is a page-turning reading escape that readers all around the world will connect with!  





Q & A:


Question: What was it about Michael and Stella's story that made it a 5 star read for you?

L: For myself, it was a combination of the fast-paced easy flow of the plot, the amazing and unique, well-rounded characters, and the way I connected with them.  They made me feel everything right alongside them.  The story and the characters took on a life all of their own.  I felt like they were not only real people, but family. 

R: Ms. Hoang has a talent for writing prose.  The story made me want for more.  I was enraptured by Michael, and his empathy and compassion towards Stella. He was fully immersed and attentive towards her.  Once Michael made Stella learn how to want, need, and feel, for the first time in her life, her transformation started to feel like a neurotypical woman in love, and it made me crumble. 

M: Stella and Michael are unique and a breath of fresh air. So many times I read books and I find similarities between characters from different books. With Stella and Michael it was totally different. They are like no other characters and that is what made me fall in love with their story.


Question: There are so many themes in this story.  Which theme was your favorite?

L: Self-Love and Acceptance was my favorite theme.  

I love when Stella stops trying to "fix" herself and finally learns to embrace and accept who she is.  She learns to love herself and stop feeling inadequate.


I love how we see Michael go from being blinded by his insecurities and constantly trying to push Stella away, to realizing he's enough.


R: The themes I liked most were loyalty, self-sacrifice, compassion, and empathy.  Michael was always aware of everyone in his family and Stella's feelings above his own.  Though he tried to keep a disconnect, to a certain extent, he couldn't help but break his own rules, and fall in love.  His transparency touched my heart.


Question: Who was your least favorite character in the story?

L: Phillip James!  Ugh!!!  He was disgustingly pompous, arrogant, and narcissistic.  The way he spoke to Stella, in such an entitled manner, as if he was a gift to all of womankind drove me crazy!!!  I've known a few "Phillip James' " in my life, and Ms. Hoang nailed this type of person perfectly!

R: Phillip James!!! He made my blood boil...  That guy was a rich, egotistical, self-centered snob!  He only thought about what he wanted.  Conversations were always about him.  He was constantly talking about his sexual prowess, and telling Stella what she should do.  He turned me off, and Stella, as well!

M: Yep! I will agree with you ladies! Phillip James was a complete douche noodle! It was all about him and I did not like him at all. He got a few virtual slaps from me thats for sure! I'm glad our girl, Stella, took matters into her own hands when it came to Phillip James. 


Question: Would you sacrifice your dream, for your loved ones, the way that Michael did?

L: Yes.  I think that life isn't always fair.  When you love someone, whether it's a parent, spouse, or child, you put them before yourself, when they are depending on you.

R: Yes.  There have been a few times in life where I have been ready to pursue my career and life met me face on. A decision always had to be made.  It was always for my family first.

M: Yes. I would do the same for my loved ones. I would do everything in my power to help in any way that I can.


Question: What was your favorite quote?

L: "This crusade to fix herself was ending right now.  She wasn't broken.  She saw and interacted with the world in a different way, but that was her.  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." (Pg. 287)

R: Well, mine is the same as Mikki's, but I will choose a second quote I liked!  "I like you better than calculus, and math is the only thing that unites the universe."

M: “Michael was mint chocolate chip for her. She could try other flavors, but he’d always be her favorite.” 


Question: Did any of the characters remind you of yourself or anyone you know?

L: Certain aspects of each of the main characters reminded me of people I know.  Stella's sensory issues with lights, sounds, and textures reminded me of my daughter.  The way that everyone looks to Quan and he's always there for anyone in need reminded me of my sister; and the way that my mother is the most loyal person I know, and sacrifices what she wants for everyone else reminded me of Michael.

R: Michael reminded me of my husband, George.  He always has put my needs before his own.

M: Michael reminded me of my husband. Robert has a heart of gold like Michael and will do whatever it takes to help people around him. 


Purchase At:

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | IndieBooks




About the Author

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.





18 comments:

  1. Ladies, fantastic I loved reading all your thoughts! xo

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  2. Okay, I already knew I wanted to read this book but now? It's moving to the front of the queue! I loved how you all seem to be on the same page with your feelings for Stella and Michael and the book in general. And those quotes! They were fantastic! Oh, and I now know it'll be okay when I don't like Phillip James. ;)

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    1. I can't wait for you to read this series!!! You'll love it Brandee, and yes Phillip James is the worst!

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  3. This author is definitely quickly becoming a favorite of mine!!

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    1. Me too! I can't wait for her third book to come out! I hope it's about Quan!

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  4. This is so on my radar and I really need to start reading this book ASAP. Loved reading what you thought!

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  5. This is one I'm kicking myself for not having read yet. You all make me really know what I'm missing. :) Wonderful and thoughtful reviews and q&a.

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  6. Wow.. This book sounds amazing!! I'm definitely grabbing it on Amazon NOW!! Great review ladies. ;)

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad! You are going to love it!!!

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  7. Fantastic reviews ladies. The first book made my top 2018 and I adored the Bridal Test :)

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    1. Thanks Kim! I'm looking forward to seeing what you thought of the Bridal Test!

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  8. I've seen this book around but didn't know anything about it. Sounds like a lovely, fun read. And the characters sound lovely too, I really like that they felt real. That's so important to me in a book I'm reading. I'm going to look for it in my library.

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    1. I hope you’re able to check it out! It’s such an amazing story!

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  9. Just thinking about this book has me getting teary-eyed happy feels. Michael stole my heart and him and Stella together were perfection for me.

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    1. Yes, this was such an amazing story! Have you read the Bride Test Sam? I didn't think it could be possible, but I loved it even more! I can't wait to read the next book in the series. It's suppose to be Quan's story!!!

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