Author Helen Hoang
I’ve always thought myself far too cynical in the city to be a romance reader. Like, keep ya knight/savior/greatest love alive, send me money and a iced blonde roast – thanks. But, I also have a strong imagination – lets pretend love is worth the risk and roll the dice, eh? 🙂
I find romances to mostly be lighthearted fare. I mean, authors try to embed our fav couples in fantastical, sci-fi drama to make it interesting but, its hard to be mad when love wins. No matter, how dark or fantastical the setting. Helen Hoang however has introduced me to a new niche – writing about nuerodivergent characters! I think this idea is so cool and I tend to like ‘quirky’ characters because frankly it sounds more relatable and makes for an interesting story. All the books in her ‘trilogy’ are all pretty stand alone but, revolve around a group of friends related to the first couple in The Kiss Quotient.
The Kiss Quotient: Stella has found success in her business life, predicting what people will do, based on numbers. But, hasn’t even been kissed! She decides to hire Michael, as her stud, to teach her all the things about kissing and otherwise being in a relationship. As you can guess, these two get hot and steamy! I loved the way the two of them found themselves and one another. There was enough drama to keep you guessing and enough sex to keep it adult. 5 stars! Interesting fact, that the author shares, is that while writing this book, she was diagnosed as having Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The Bride Test: This trope is a bit more blatant, arranged love. Khai is a young man on the spectrum. Again, successful in business but his autism keeps him from feeling and showing emotion the way others do. Mom swoops in for the rescue! She flys to Vietnam, and brings him back, what is basically a mail order bride. The poor woman has to leave her kid and doesn’t even speak English! The shenanigans commence. I liked this one slightly less than the Kiss Quotient. I gave it 3 stars. It was still a solid read with great characters but, the dialogue starts getting a bit juvenile around the edges. The author is on the complete opposite path of Sarah Maas..where Maas goes from YA to Adult in the A Court of series…Hoang seems to be going in the other direction!
The Heart Principle: Anna is our main character. She basically went viral, playing her instrument, really early on in her violin career and ever since, has been suffering from a severe anxiety about being perfect and performing again. Anna has had very little sexual experiences and has just been dumped by longtime boyfriend and family favorite. He said he wanted to date other people before they settled down.
Enters Quan..sexy, patient, kind…everything her ex isn’t and everything she really likes. Except he’s not rich and her parents find that to be a problem. This is basically an uphill journey of discovery for both Anna and Quan – the question is, will they be lovers at the end of it?
I can’t deny I was hugely put off by how Anna’s family treated her and allowed that jerk ass ex-boyfriend to behave. They expected so much of her and refused to acknowledge her issues. And then for Anna to cower at every opportunity was just too much for me. I didn’t car for her or her family and thought Quan deserved better. I pushed through until the end but, this was 1 star fore me.
I enjoyed The Heart Principle the least. The writing and the characters were incredibly immature – almost like the editor was pushing for this to transition to YA..maybe even middle grade.
Overall, this was a bop! I enjoyed the diverse characters and loved that they all found security in who they were and found someone that loved them just as they were. Its a great group of friends Hoang has developed and it would be nice to revisit them in the future – with adult story lines! Good reads!!
The first one was definitely my favorite–I felt like the characters were the most interesting and developed. Plus the chronic illness in the last book was really hard to get through after my Papa’s illness and that combined to how terrible they are to her–too much emotional trauma for a romance for me!
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I so agree!!
This is really interesting as I keep seeing these and being drawn to them in my local discount bookshop but wondering if they’re any good. Now I know which one to pick up next time – thank you!
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