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The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
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The Kiss Quotient (edition 2018)

by Helen Hoang (Author)

Series: The Kiss Quotient (1)

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9278715,785 (3.92)40
From the author of The Bride Test comes a romance novel hailed as one of The Washington Post's 50 Notable Works of Fiction in 2018 and one of Amazon's Top 100 Books of 2018! "This is such a fun read and it's also quite original and sexy and sensitive."--Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author "Hoang's writing bursts from the page."--Buzzfeed 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...… (more)
Member:TheCriticalTimes
Title:The Kiss Quotient
Authors:Helen Hoang (Author)
Info:Berkley (2018), 352 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

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Trigger warning: descriptions of sexual assault

I found "The Kiss Quotient" not quite perfect. Mostly it's because I started to get annoyed by the two main characters (Stella and Michael) who were both too afraid to tell each other their feelings though it was plain as day to everyone else. I also hard cringed at the fact that Stella didn't get that was sexually assaulted by the so-called men that came before Michael. She has Asperger's, it doesn't mean that she wouldn't understand that. It really rubbed me the wrong way. The chemistry between Michael and Stella was great. I loved the development of their characters and secondary characters in the book. The romance/sex scenes were red hot. I think it's been a while that I actually read a contemporary romance book that didn't fade to black so to speak when the two leads finally have sex. The author usually skips to the morning after.

"The Kiss Quotient" has Stella Lane deciding to hire an escort that will teach her all about kissing and sex. After a very nasty comment by her coworker about needing to learn to like sex, Stella decides that is what she will do. She hires Michael Phan and she ends up talking him into giving her lessons about kissing and sex. Initially Michael says no since he has a only see a client one time rule. However, something about Stella gets to him, and before long they are having lessons and then agreeing to fake date so Stella can learn how to be a real girlfriend.

This book is marketed as a gender bending "Pretty Woman" and I can see why. We hear about how hot Michael is (he's Vietnamese and Swedish). His looks though are a source of pain. Many women who have known him, have only wanted to have sex with him and didn't care about his dreams at all. With Stella, he has someone who is much wealthier than him who likes to be around him. Stella on her part cannot understand why Michael likes her, but she likes everything about him from his looks, his smell, and the way he kisses her.

I also really like that Michael told Stella point blank that no one has the right to force her to have sex if she doesn't want it or to kiss her against her will (which happened in this book, ugh). I also have to say though that it annoyed me that Stella didn't get that. Her parents were fairly absent in this book and I wonder why neither of them had that conversation with her. Since she has Asperger's and apparently takes things quite literal at times, you are telling me they didn't think they needed to have that conversation?

The secondary characters, which focuses mostly on Michael's family were great. I loved Michael's plethora of sisters and his cousin. His grandmother and mother were awesome too.

The writing worked for me. I think that Hoang did a good job with taking the narrative back and forth from Stella to Michael throughout the book. The flow was good too. I do think the ending could have been tightened up a bit.

The ending was sweet though I wish we had gotten at least one more scene with Stella and her parents with some sort of understanding between the three of them. Stella's mother definitely got that Michael was something more than what she had experienced before. Her father not so much. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
1.5 stars? 2 stars? IDK.

Uhh.... I'm sad.

I expected to love this, I really did, which probably made the disappointment worse.

It just... Did nothing for me. I was really looking forward to the autism rep considering its ownvoices but it really bothered me that Stella's autism was something that was seen as "fixable" by having sex / having a man in her life for the majority of the novel (her aspie traits also seemed to just... go away?? when she was with her love interest? Okay).

This unfortunately wasn't the only thing that bothered me. Michael as a love interest came across as possessive and manipulative during a large portion of scenes that were supposed to be romantic. He was very pushy in sexual situations despite Stella's obvious discomfort, and gives a lot of mixed messages about both wanting to respect Stella's boundaries, but also pushing her to do / try things she's unsure about, using her inexperience as an excuse - It all made me extremely uncomfortable, especially considering Stella obviously has pretty severe trauma from past non-consensual experiences.

Apart from these issues, the pacing was just very off (whole weeks went by in a sentence, while sex scenes lasted multiple chapters at a time???) and while we saw a lot of Michael's family and friends (which I did enjoy - his family is really sweet), we are given barely any story for Stella besides her romance with Michael. I guess I'm one of those annoying people who loves family-centred stories in my romance.

Anyway, overall this was very disappointing for me. I hope I'll have better luck with The Bride Test.

Trigger warning: dubious consent during sex (not addressed), sexual assault (both on & off page) ( )
  angelgay | Jul 1, 2020 |
hmmmm.

In the first page, we were treated to SAS - and something that a lot of SAS users no longer even know - what SAS stands for, and I thought this will be dorky fun for me.

I read the first third or so in mostly one sitting. The 100 some odd pages after that in MANY more sittings. The sex scenes were good, but they were too many. The characters doubts were relatable, but they were too invasive and I kind of just wanted them to get over it already. For being honest with one another, and while I understood their secrets and their reasons, that piece went on too long. With too much distracting sex. So much sex. You guys, it is a lot of sex for me to say it's a lot of sex.

The book was delightful and really stood out dealing with both main character's (Michael and Stella) families and careers. That was really truly the good stuff. I didn't so much care for the one-dimensional love triangle or the trouble caused by Michael's profession as an escort. The family scenes, particularly with Michael's family, were lively and warm. They were infused with lovely detail and realistic 'big family' type of scenes. Honestly, all settings were incredibly vivid in this book.

But...the sex...I can't even believe I'm saying this...dragged it down. (and some of the weird jealousy tempers on Michael's part when he was really a patient and even-tempered character). If it wouldn't have been for the final 50 pages or so of this book and some of those outstanding settings and family scenes, I would've had trouble giving this a 3. I'm giving it a 3.5--rounded up-- for those. ( )
  samnreader | Jun 27, 2020 |
Surprised me how much I enjoyed this and the characters. Not my usual read, but I liked seeing their lives change because of each other. ( )
  hopebarton2014 | Jun 15, 2020 |
Quick, fun, very spicy.

Stella is an accomplished econometrician and has Asperger's, which makes her sensitive to noises and smells and makes her a bit socially awkward and occasionally insensitive. She's never been in a relationship, and she's not very confident in her romantic abilities. So she hires an escort, Michael, to teach her about romance. And then things get very steamy very quickly, with their relationship starting to expand beyond the bounds of Stella's drafted lesson plans.

I found this a quick and enjoyable read. I really enjoyed the character of Stella--she's smart and thoughtful and a great female character. Michael is also sweet, and I loved the various members of his family. I did feel that the end wrapped up very quickly, though I suppose that part of that may have been because it's the first book in a series. ( )
  forsanolim | Jun 12, 2020 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
Dedicated to my family.

Thank you, Ngoai, Me,
Chi 2, Chi 3, Chi 4, Anh 5, and 7,
for being my safe place.

Thank you, Henry,
for loving me, labels, quirks,
obsessions, and all.

Thank you, B-b and I-I,
for letting your mama write.
You are the best thing I have.
First words
"I know you hate surprises, Stella. In the interests of communicating our expectations and providing you a reasonable timeline, you should know we're ready for grandchildren."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 love. Amazon
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