Series or Standalone: Standalone
Genre: Adult Romance, Contemporary & Chick Lit
Publication Date: June 15th 2018
The Kiss Quotient follows Stella Lane, an accomplished econometrician that’s given her much 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.
This little book has quickly made the rounds since its release this June, it became hard not to be aware of it. As my feed grew with glowing reviews of Helen Hoang’s debut — I could no longer ignore it the little voice inside my head telling me to read it…
…and thank goodness I did! Because this is an amazing romance novel. I did not expect to enjoy this, solely because I haven’t felt like reading a romance book in a while. I literally didn’t think I’d read this book after borrowing it from my library. But 2 days before it was due, I opened it up and gave it chance. And well, I pretty much became obsessed with it 20 pages in.
First of all, Helen Hoang knows how to write hot, consensual and romantic sex. Seriously. I don’t think I’ve ever sat back after reading an erotic romance and praised an author for this. Granted, I don’t make a massive effort to read erotic books. However The Kiss Quotient has soared to the top of my list.
In saying all of that, there is just the right amount of erotic scenes. (I mean, I wouldn’t have minded more…) These scenes are well balanced between day to day angst and romance between Michael and Stella. Helen Hoang doesn’t let the erotic scenes overshadow the more sweeter aspects of this book either. This novel is definitely equal parts sickeningly sweet and equal parts hot erotica.
‘Our first time. He made it sound like there would be lots of times. The thought made her so happy her heart wanted to burst. She didn’t need fireworks. She just needed him.’
To be honest, I loved how sickeningly sweet their romance was. It made me gushy and happy and smile, like consistently. These sweet aspects just furthered my interest in Stella and Michael’s relationship.
‘He would forever associate the taste of cinnamon gum, cigarettes and whiskey with Aliza. So different form Stella, who tasted like… mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Stella is one of my new favourite heroine’s. She is hilarious, accomplished and independent. I have never seen Pretty Woman, but am familiar enough with the story line to see the comparisons. The role reversal here was cleverly done with the authenticity and modern aspects to the story. Also, here is an example of Stella’s hilarious observations;
‘”I have pockets, you know. You could have given me your cards and phone to hold for you..”
“I didn’t think of that. I left my phone at home because I couldn’t fit it in.”
But now that she knew it was an option… This was why women had boyfriends.’
Surprisingly (to me it was anyway), was that this romance story is actually told in the perspective of Stella and Michael. I say surprisingly because the blurb really centres on Stella. But Stella and Michael aren’t the only characters in this story. Their families, particularly Michael’s family were a big part of the story and I loved these familial aspects.
Stella and Michael’s relationship isn’t all that smooth sailing. There are aspects of their lives they perceive as being obstacles to having a successful and happy relationship. Consequently, they need to work through these together. Along with the familial aspects, these obstacles are a big part of the novel too.
For all the praises I’ve just confessed, I don’t think this book is completely absolved of tropes. There definitely seemed to be an insta-love quality to Stella and Michael’s relationship. However I didn’t find it particularly grating as The characters are incredibly fleshed out and had believable chemistry.
I was very willing to let any tropes go over my head because this felt like such a refreshing take on the romance genre. This book was such a diverse and simultaneously modern take on romance. Helen Hoang is officially on my to-watch list for any and all future works she brings out. She is definitely a must read for anyone looking to get into romance too.
Let me know what you think of The Kiss Quotient down below in the comment section. I want to talk about how good this book is!