The Kiss Quotient

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 05 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

http://shhmomsreading.com/the-kiss-quotient-by-helen-hoang/ 

What a cute book from a new author to me! The Kiss Quotient is the debut novel by Helen Hoang and what a fun, sweet, heartwarming read.

Stella has Asperger’s—a mild form of Autism—that makes it awkward for her in social interactions including those romantic in nature. Stella hires Michael Phan as an escort. What starts off as teachings of the physical turn into lessons of the heart as these two start off as a business agreement and turn into something much, much more.

I fell in love with Stella from the get-go. Her honesty, almost to the point of rudeness at times, her complete innocence in all situations but her true inquisitiveness and want to better herself. Not ever realizing that who she is and how she acts is the true gem of who she is.

Michael, being this really great guy despite his job, sees this from the start and rather than treat her as a business transaction, he has always shown her more… how it feels to be loved, touched, kissed, and treated like she is perfect in every way. I LOVED his gentlemanness, I loved his other side to his escort business—his true self with his family and his career—and I just loved the way he respected and worshipped Stella from the beginning.

Their interactions vary from fun bantering, to sweet moments, to hot and steamy WOW! I was entranced from the beginning to the very end of this book and am amazed by this author’s talent. I very much look forward to reading more from her!
Was this review helpful?
What a fun witty book. I ignored all my adulting that I had to do and just kept on reading until I finished. I regret nothing.
Was this review helpful?
You know how you read a book and you feel like your heart will spring right out of your chest? That was me as I read The Kiss Quotient, so beautiful and poignant.

Stella will grab you from the start. She’s quirky, a woman with a closer affinity to numbers than people. I love that Helen Hoang made Stella’s Aspergers almost a non-starter. Yes, her social chip occasionally goes on the fritz, but you know, as do her friends and a family member or two, that she cares and cares deeply.

Our hero, Michael, is perfect. He recognizes everything that Stella can’t see in herself, and he yearns to show her how wonderful she is. The problem, however, is that Stella may not want that.

Grab your tissues, dear readers. I wept (more than once) as Stella tries to overcome the difficulties she faces. She is a treasure, and you will want her to find her path. Helen Hoang doesn’t always make it easy for Stella, but she sure makes it worth it.
Was this review helpful?
This was alllll kinds of fantastic! Such a breath of fresh air. I haven't read a book quite like this before, and I loved that feeling of finding a new, unique and special read.
Was this review helpful?
What a cute and steamy read — I mean, wow, I was not ready for that. I thought this book was going to be a lot more wholesome, but alright. I’m not complaining.

So, it’s a funny story. I actually got this book from NetGalley months before it came out, and I never read it. I want to shake myself but I also don’t want to, because I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed it as much as I did now.

Anyways, Stella and Michael were adorable. I literally wanted them together from the moment they started talking at the hotel. The connection was incredibly real, which made the book so much more interesting and amazing. And even though there wasn’t much that happened asides from their relationship (asides from the typical family drama), I was still invested in the story and romance.

Unfortunately, there were some chapters I felt a little bored, which is why I didn’t give this book five stars. I felt like the scenes with Michael’s best friend and mother could have been more interesting or less filler-like. But I’m also wondering if those chapters felt dull because I just wanted more Michael and Stella moments.

Overall, a fast and entertaining romance — one I see many people enjoying. That being said, if you can’t handle some heavy/hot scenes, then maybe this one isn’t for you, because I was certainly caught off guard by all of that action.
Was this review helpful?
This is a delightful book. I love reading from the point of view of the main character who is not a typical romantic heroine.
Was this review helpful?
This was! So cute! 

No, seriously, I adored this in so many ways :) It was meaningful and well-written and just the right level of angsty. I would have liked a bit more exploration of the heroine's relationship with her mother, but beyond that, I was so happy with this book & absolutely cannot wait for BRIDE TEST.
Was this review helpful?
The Kiss Quotient first had me when I heard about how adorably awkward the heroine, Stella was. I’ve now read and finished the book, only to realize that while she may be adorably awkward, she’s so much more than that. Stella is the type of character that has you wishing she were your best friend because she’s so completely honest and kind. It’s hard not to fall in love with her charm and naivety. 

Stella is need of some loving—more like she needs help perfecting the act of intimacy. So she does what any intelligent and wealthy woman would do and hires an escort. Enter Michael—said escort. One of the coolest (and best) things about the book is the fact that all the roles were reversed. Instead of a wealthy man picking up an escort; it’s the woman. Think Pretty Woman in reverse! Stella has the status and the money, even if she doesn’t quite fit the mold of how an insanely rich person would act. 

Michael is just trying to survive and help out his family the only way he knows how—by selling his body for money. When he and Stella meet for the first time, she treats him as an equal, not someone that she’s paying for intimacy. The thing is, Stella starts wanting his expertise in more than just sex. Michael doesn’t do repeat clients for many reasons though. So why can’t he stop thinking of her?

I loved, adored, and cried such happy tears while reading this book. It’s one that’s completely unique to the genre, in my humble opinion. I loved the fact that the hero is Vietnamese (well part anyways) and the heroine has Aspergers. Huang brings us something completely fresh and in the process will hopefully help open the eyes of those who don’t understand autism as well. I feel like this is a changing point for the autistic community (and those with other forms of disabilities) as a whole. You aren’t alone. 

Diverse books are absolutely something we need more of—and this one will most certainly not disappoint. It’s smart and sexy—a lethal combination! Seriously, if you’re in need of something sexy yet romantic, and a hero that genuinely cares about those around him, including the heroine, pick this up. You won’t regret it! These characters will stay with you long after you finish reading.
Was this review helpful?
OMG. I’m in awe—just pure, straight-up awe of this book and its utter magnificence. Just... WOW. Now I know what the fuss is all about, and I gotta say, there’s a damn good reason why everyone’s been raving and talking about Helen Hoang’s debut novel. Because this one was written and meant to make you fall in love HARD. I just wanted to plop face down and squeal like a crazy school girl when I reached that last page. It filled up my heart and soul to the point that I needed to let out some of the feels and giddiness it left me with. Or I’m pretty sure I would’ve exploded.

“You don’t like French kissing?”
“It makes me feel like a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish.”

Stella Lane is an incredibly smart and driven woman, but having Asperger’s has made socializing and connecting with other people extremely difficult for her. She’s soft-spoken and awkward, kind and gentle, and found comfort in order and her routines. But you’d be surprised with how much love and goodness this woman has to give. She’s got so much tenderness and passion to share with that one person who got her. The one who fit her like the missing puzzle piece in her life. And don’t even get me started with her obsession with Michael and his scent. It’s just too adorably heart-melting for words.

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

Michael Phan may be working his ass off as a paid escort, but he’s so much more than meets the eye. He’s a remarkably talented tailor who loved to make clothes and a devoted son who always put his loved ones above him. When you finally get the entirety of his back story, when you find out why he ended up in the situation that led sweet Stella to him, your heart will just shatter, ache and weep. I actually ended up wanting to save him myself and give him hugs for days. Needless to say, loving this man was quite inevitable and I honestly wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“Thank you for giving me that choice so I could pick you.”

The Kiss Quotient is an extraordinary and very endearing fake relationship kind of romance that will sweep you off your feet. It’s as sweet as it’s sensual. Funny as it’s moving. An unexpectedly breathtaking tale that ultimately gave life to the hopeless romantic in me. Stella and Michael just stole my heart and completely obliterated it. I didn’t expect to love their story this much. Hell, I’m still reeling over it. And truthfully, I don’t think I’ll ever tire of reading this book. Of listening to it and reliving every single moment. There’s just something so special, so intoxicating and gripping about The Kiss Quotient and the way Helen Hoang penned this that will make you want to experience it over and over. Now I can’t wait to devour Khai’s book!

“The sight of their intertwined hands pleased her. So different, but still five fingers and five knuckles, the same general blueprint.”
Was this review helpful?
Featured on Season 1 Episode 8 of The Infatuated Podcast ("Four romance books that will make you a better person"), to be published on January 10, 2018.

Hands down my favorite book of 2018. This book changed my life and my perception of who I am. 

The main trope is reverse Pretty Woman, so the hero is a male escort the heroine hires to help her explore her sexuality.. The hero has so much patience, and such a big heart (not to mention SKILLS), that I just wanted to cuddle him and love him and take him home with me. The heroine has some very specific challenges, and she just sparkles as a person. Her situation is probably more common mainstream media portrays, and I ached for her, really felt her struggles. 

At the end of this book, the author talks about her struggle and being late diagnosed with autism and recommends some books. Don't skip this last part! I recommend this book to ANYBODY, even if you believe you do not have autism or you're perfectly normal, whatever your perception of "normal" is. The Kiss Quotient will open your eyes to the struggles that some people have, and it might make you more willing to accept other people's quirks.
Was this review helpful?
The Kiss Quotient is such a cute and adorable book. It only took me 2.5 days to finish it and it took longer because, you know, life, LOL, or else I would have finished it sooner.  I did a lot of sneak reading at work too. (shhhhh)

When I first got The Kiss Quotient, I knew I was going to love it, I mean, just look at the cute cover! Thank you Berkley for my adorable package too. Look at that mug!

But for real though, this book was amazing.  It was super cute and hilarious! Can I just talk about my favorite secondary character?  Ngoai was stinkin HILARIOUS! I loved reading the parts when he took Stella to visit his family. His mom, grandma and sisters were amazing. Coming from a big family myself, I can totally relate with Michael. 

But right now I want to talk about the funny, yet hot sex scenes! Yes, I said "funny." Poor Stella had like, zero experience before she met Michael. Her previous sexual encounters were pretty depressing, actually, which is the reason why she hired him in the first place. Now, Michael is a pro....literally, but he's not cocky either. He's sweet and gentle and after the first night with Stella, he knows he is going to break his number one rule - Don't see the same client twice.  But sometimes in life, things don't always go according to plan. And that is not always a bad thing. 

Another thing that I love about The Kiss Quotient, is the awareness that this little book brings to autism. Stella, the main character has Aspergers and Helen brings to light Stella's daily struggles. Even the simplest things and situations, can cause over stimulation and cause severe anxiety. I have never read a book that has a character, with autism.  So, Helen, thank you for sharing Stella with us! 

It's hard to believe that this is Helen's debut novel. She through this one out of the ballpark. So make sure you add this one to your TBR list. Better yet, add it and then go buy it! It's a perfect summer read!
Was this review helpful?
AMAZING!!!



If I had taken the time to read the synopsis of this book, I would have gotten to this one so much sooner. I’ve read a few romances where the Hero has Asperger’s but this is the first book I’ve read that it’s the Heroine who has the disorder. 




I loved EVERYTHING about this book! The plot and characters were superb! I am beyond thrilled that my last read of 2018 is this spectacular one. Sometimes when I see a ton of five-star reviews for a book by an author I’ve never heard of before, I get a bit skeptical but I can honestly confirm this book deserves ALL THE STARS!!! 



Michael and Stella's journey to love was beautiful and super steamy. The story flowed so perfectly. Never did I have the urge to gloss over anything. This book consumed me!



Here are my overall ratings:

Hero: 5++++
Heroine: 5+++++
Plot: 5++++
Angst: 4.5
Steam: 5
Chemistry Between Hero & Heroine: 5+++++



THE KISS QUOTIENT is currently available and if you haven’t read this one yet, get to it as soon as possible!!
Was this review helpful?
Absolutely adorable! If Rainbow Rowell wrote Sheldon Cooper as a sparky, shy woman, with a dose of steamy romance and a touch of Project Runway, it would look something like Helen Hoang’s debut novel. I am incredibly impatient for her next book in this series!
Was this review helpful?
Stella Lane, a successful single econometrician who has Asperger’s, has been informed by her mother that she is ready for grandchildren. Stella--who would normally appreciate the head’s up to prepare for new situations she doesn’t like or at the very least is uncomfortable in--has a problem. She is horrible when it comes to men. Men don’t like to date her because she’s not feminine enough for them, she says the first thing that comes out of her mouth (and it’s never tactful), and she’s obsessed with work. Oh, and she hates sex. Everything about it. The invasion of personal space, the sweating, the French kissing that reminds her of pilot fish, the overwhelming colognes, and most of all, how she shuts down during the act and hopes they finish soon and leave. 


And if she’s not good at sex, she’s hardly going to find that man to provide the grandchildren her mother wants, though she’s not all too sure she wants one of those either. They’re messy, sticky, touchy-feely little creatures. What she’d like is to work in peace 24/7, but apparently that’s socially unacceptable. 


However, there’s a co-worker Stella thinks she would like, but he’s not interested in her. And his suggestion to her--completely unasked for, mind you--is to practice having more sex because once she “likes it”, then men will like her. (You’ll be relieved to know this douche-canoe is not who she practices with.)


Still, Stella loves to solve a problem; and she’s willing to solve her problem of hating sex--she just needs to hire a professional. She decides that if she hires someone to have sex with her and teach her the basics, she will feel more confident about attempting to date her co-worker (yes, the douche-canoe). She hires Michael Phan.


Michael has the looks of a K-drama star and some martial arts skills to match; however, it is the kindness in his eyes that prompts Stella to hire him. Michael arrives to meet his client for the evening--sans cologne per request--and is surprised to find Stella needs to hire an escort in the first place. She’s beautiful, smart, sweet, and insanely sexy. Why would she ever need to hire a man? Once back in the hotel room, Michael is even more confused by her need to hire someone. 


“You smell this good?”
“Apparently. You’re the first to comment on it.”
“I want this smell all over me.” As the words left her mouth, she worried she’d said the wrong thing. That statement sounded a little too personal, a little too strange. Would he notice how strange she really was?
He bent down so his lips hovered a hairsbreadth away from her ear and whispered, “Are you sure you’re bad at sex?” 


But the situation unravels from here; and soon Michael realizes Stella is definitely not his regular sort of client. She will need a much slower hand when it comes to bedroom things. For her he is willing to break his “one-time” rule to give her a month’s worth of lessons. It isn’t long before Stella appreciates Michael’s kisses, his touches and closeness; and he finds himself feeling all sorts of things for a woman who is only ever going to be a temporary arrangement. 


I wanted to read this book because it ticked several things for me: it had a diverse Asian American character (I love Jeannie Lin’s historical set novels and wanted a more modern situation) who had Asperger’s (which I had read The Rosie Project and loved--so I was looking forward to how this element would weave in this story); it had the complicated family dynamics that I gravitate to (the grandmother that lives with his family, the high expectations of your career goals from the parents, the constant criticism that everyone you bring home is not good enough); and it had Pretty Woman with a gender flip. 


However I nearly abandoned the book three times in the space of the first twenty pages: the mother demanding grandchildren (even under the pretense of telling her now so she has time to prepare) felt grossly insensitive to Stella’s situation. At first I felt like her mother was treating Stella as someone who couldn’t be normal if she didn’t have kids or a man--which was not cool, especially if Stella wasn’t sure she really wanted either of those things. And Stella’s hiring of an escort to practice something she “hated” felt like it was going to be a rapey like book. Fortunately Michael proved himself to be a hero worth waiting for because at no point was he ever going to do anything Stella didn’t want to do; and it wasn’t long in his company, with his patient touches and gentle kisses, that Stella was a lot more interested in doing things that previously and UNDERSTANDABLY were undesirable to her before. 


Both Michael and Stella are heartbreaking characters. I couldn’t help but love both of them immediately and love them both throughout the book. Stella’s self-loathing for her personality ‘quirk’ (as I think of it) makes her want to overcome it--or at least hide it at all costs--and the transformation throughout the book as she comes to accept it and how Michael accepts it without ever making her feel less than is the kind of love we all long for. Michael’s reasons for escorting are honorable as well as a way to metaphorically flip the bird to his father who abandoned his family. He needs lots of money, fast and consistently, and technically speaking this takes few hours of his time as he spends the rest of his life hiding his sideline job. 


By the end of the book I loved Stella’s mother, as well as all of Michael’s family members (well, except his father who stays a jerk). Much like Pretty Woman, it all works out in the end. They both grow and become better people because of each other. They’re the kind of couple you believe in happily ever after for. Also, this book is hell-la funny. I was reading this book in the tub at one point; and I nearly drowned myself laughing when Stella hands over proposed lesson plans to Michael. If you read this in the tub: you’ve been warned. 

5 Star - Top Dish Review by Hellie for The Romance Dish
Was this review helpful?
Just wasn't my cup of tea! Was way too full of cliches; A small cute innocent MC , who is smart smart, rocks at sex but shy and doesn’t know it. The handsome guy who is perfect, smart, caring, athletic and has abs, every stupid you should swoon over. Add insta love to the mix voila.


Also i hate when love cure serious disabilities/illness ugh! And this book had that..
Was this review helpful?
Holy hotness! That goes both for the hero and the heat in The Kiss Quotient.

I’m going to be honest with you, I’ve had this book sitting in my TBR pile for a several months. When I finally read the blurb and realized it was about a gigolo, my interest in it cooled. Just not my idea of romance if you know what I mean. Being a carefree playboy is one thing but getting paid to sleep with women—and sometimes women you don’t particularly like? I could I fall for a hero like that.

Then along came Michael.

After my good friend read The Kiss Quotient and expressed how much she loved the book, I remembered I had it and decided to give it a try. My friend Lori isn’t exactly easy to please. I started reading it and was immediately hooked. The second Michael appeared on the pages, I knew I was in for the long haul. And what a fantastic ride it was.

Stella Lane, our dear heroine, doesn’t really like sex. She’s not good at it. Actually, she’s not good at relationships and she believes it has to do with her Asperger’s because once men find out she’s autistic, they tend not to stick around. She believes that if she can get better at sex, maybe getting and keeping a relationship will be easier. Enter Michael Khan. She discovers his profile on an escort service site and books him.

I fell fathoms deep in love with Michael. Lord that man is hot and so considerate and kind. He’s truly one of those “good” guys parents want their daughters to marry. That he is also drop-dead gorgeous and puts the sex in sexy is an added bonus. Given his current part-time gig as a male escort, it’s understandable why Michael is pretty jaded when it comes to relationships and sex. Experience has taught him—bad experience—that he has to limit his “interactions” with his clients to one. Women have gotten obsessed and stalked him after he stopped seeing them. He doesn’t want a repeat of that. Then along comes beautiful, awkward, blunt sometimes to the point of rudeness Stella. He ends up breaking the rules and takes her on as a long-term client.

Stella and Michael are meant to be together. They just fit. They are simply adorable and boy is the sex scorching hot. I think that’s what surprised me the most about this book. I went into it thinking maybe there’d be a couple of mild to sensual love scenes. Boy was I wrong. I read this with my fan in hand and fluttering wildly. Michael is very good at what he does. 😉 Then of course there’s his backstory. Talk about grabbing you by the heart and squeezing hard. My heart ached for him, for the situation he found himself in. I ached reading about how his father shaped his life. I ached for the career he had to put to the side to take care of his mother. And I dare anyone not to love his family. I will never forget the scene when Stella first meets them. Yikes.

And what can I say about Stella. She’s adorable and so earnest in her quest to become better at sex. That she almost immediately falls for Michael isn’t a surprise but I also loved her determination to initially do everything by the book, or I should say by the list she comes up with. She’s not going to be one of those women who stalk him when their arrangement comes to an end.

What a great cast of characters I got to read about. From Michael’s mother Me to his sisters and Stella’s mother. The dialogue is witty and the interactions between the characters are natural. The black moment had me freaking out just a bit. I should have seen it coming but I didn’t. I really loved that it caught me off guard, and I love that when it was all said and done, I didn’t want their story to be over. I want more of Stella and Michael. I’m officially putting in a request to Ms. Hoang for her to follow up on their relationship in an upcoming book. And kudos to a fantastic debut!

~ Beverley
Was this review helpful?
I found this book amazing.  I loved the character development, I really cared about the characters.  Excellent writing and it held my attention well.
Was this review helpful?
A fantastic and unique contemporary romance debut, with realistic, well-developed characters and plenty of steamy scenes. Hoang does an incredible job bringing two different characters together in a perfectly plotted courtship.
Was this review helpful?
This was wonderful! A diverse, fun, sexy romance. We recommend this book often on the Wicked Wallflowers Club podcast, and Helen was a delight to interview. Very excited to see what she does next!
Was this review helpful?
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang is a 2018 Berkley publication. 

A real charmer!

Stella, an Econometrician, has intimacy issues, perhaps a symptom of her Asperger’s. With her mother growing impatient for grandchildren, and after absorbing an ugly comment, which took aim at Stella’s lack of sexual experience, she decides to hire a male escort to ‘teach’ her everything she needs to know about dating and sex. 

Michael Phan has never had a client like Stella. She touches a part of him, he keeps barricaded, especially with clients. Her effect on him is so powerful, he agrees to give her lessons on sex and dating, against his better judgment, and breaking every single personal rule of his profession.

However, their business arrangement soon develops into something neither of them could have anticipated. Before long, Stella begins to figure in a new type of equation- love!

Okay, I’ve seen the huge marketing push for the book, and I’ve had many friends on social media and book sites fawning it. From experience I know when a book gets this level of hype it is very important to approach it with a modicum of caution. Even though I was chomping at the bit to start this one, pushing everything else to the wayside if need be, I cooled my engines and let some of the furor die down before I finally allowed myself to read it. 

So, did it live up to all that publicity?

I adored this story. It’s unique, featuring a female character who struggles to find her niche in a world that embraces conformity and uniformity. I don’t have Asperger’s syndrome, but I am an extreme introvert, so I could relate to some of the struggles Stella fought to overcome. I immediately warmed to her character and hoped she would find the confidence she had buried inside of her all along.

While I didn’t know how to feel about Michael’s unorthodox occupation, I did LOVE this guy’s gentle patience. It was fun watching Stella crawl under his skin, seeing how he understood her, quirks and all, and how they managed to create a relationship with each other, as Michael slowly draws Stella out. Michael turned out to be a terrific hero, and I might have developed a secret and deliciously sinful crush on him. 

That said, the book was still a wee bit over-hyped. While I understand why some felt this one was special and deserved a lot of attention, the format, at its core, is not much different from any other contemporary romance. The writing or prose didn't set it apart from any other books out there, although it is obvious the author knew her subject matter intimately. 

What does set it apart is the diversity, and the boldness of placing a character with Asperger’s as a lead in a romantic comedy. The delicate balance of approaching the syndrome with respect and the gravity it deserves, while adding in humor and poignancy, is very well done. From that perspective the story is very original, unique, and refreshing! 

Everything you love about romance is here: It's hot and steamy, funny, charming, emotional, and inspiring, with a lovely feel good ending. 

However, this one gives voice to those rarely featured in these types of stories. I love that about this book!! I for one, applaud this new angle and approach to contemporary romance, and hope to see more books step away from the standard 'Plain Jane' tropes and branch out into new, mostly unexplored territory, in the romance genre. Books like this one could help the genre shake off a few of its hardwired stigmas and reach a much broader audience. 

4.5 stars
Was this review helpful?