Hi friends, so it’s a guest review, I suppose is the best way to describe it. I’m thrilled that Amara Royce contributed this post, and as you might know, Hoang’s next book The Bride Test is now out! (Amara sent me this post on the 4th.)
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…
I generally don’t write reviews of the books I read, not even on Amazon or Goodreads. So I’m not going to try to be clever, and I can’t guarantee I will be entirely coherent. But I cannot help gushing about this book effusively! I can’t adequately express how much I adore this book—and its author, Helen Hoang, for writing it! I’m also squee-ing because her next book is due out for release on May 7th!!
Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient truly wrecked me in all the best ways. I loved the main characters and many of the supporting characters. I adored the depiction of the female main character Stella’s subjective autistic perspective, as well as the male main character Michael’s handling of the heroine without realizing she’s on the autism spectrum. I adored the depictions of Michael’s family life, especially his mother. I adored the integral issues of consent, and I want everyone to read this book! That’s what the tl;dr boils down to, but for more details, keep reading.
I’m a pretty simple guy. When I’m not writing a science fiction novel, I’m watching a good movie or reading a book. Alone. I like my reclusive life. That is, until my only friend asks for a favor—pretend to be his baby sister’s boyfriend on a couples’ getaway. Her ex is going to be there and she needs me as a buffer.
I should have said no, but Naomi is bubbly, energetic, and beautiful. She also means everything to her brother. But now, our fake romance is starting to feel all too real, and I find myself stuck between the promise I made to my friend and risking my heart to the one woman who might actually get me…
I read this book very quickly, and found both Will and Naomi to be sympathetic, although after a while some of the themes became repetitive. Will is a science fiction writer with a Ph.D. in physics, who is on the extreme end of introverted, and can be a little obtuse when it comes to social interactions. Naomi is Will’s best friend’s youngest sister. She’s an event planner, and bubbly—but not in an everyone-must-be-bubbly-like-me way. This is a forced proximity kind of romance, with a mini road trip thrown in for good measure. I say mini, because in my part of the world, it might take 3 hours to get across the city, if the traffic is particularly awful. Naomi is sweet, has had a crush on Will before and still finds him attractive, but is still processing her breakup with a prior boyfriend when the book begins; Will has a history of people wanting to change his way of interacting with the world, hence the “grumpy” descriptive. And yes, a fake relationship is orchestrated. Will learns that putting himself out there a little more isn’t all bad, and both Will and Naomi learn the importance of being with someone that likes you for who you are makes you be a better person. Continue reading →
Hi friends! If you didn’t know, May is APAHM! (Yes, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.) Sometimes you might also see APIA (Asian Pacific Islander American). Anyway, I think you know I’ve mentioned how I’m going to just “low key” do the Smithsonian Heritage Months from now on. What I am trying to do though, is cultivate lists of [romance] authors. Ideally, people can come to posts like this and look for diverse romance authors to try.
This is definitely not a comprehensive list. It’s just romance authors I know – whether from meeting them in person, having them as guests previously on ALBTALBS, or crowd sourcing the hive mind(s) of social media feeds. Continue reading →
I’m at the airport – and I temporarily have wifi – so hopefully I’ll be able to fill in posts. Here we go with today’s originally scheduled programming. The badass superstar Courtney Milan. Really she needs no introduction. Although if you guys have any tips on how I might attempt to wow her (or at least not underwhelm her) I’d appreciate them – cuz I’m going to be seeing her! 🙂
So with that er >.> intro – here’s Courtney!
Hi everyone. I’m an author. I happen to be hapa (my mother is Chinese), but I don’t want to talk about me today. Or my books. I want to talk about what I’m reading.
This year, I’ve been making an effort to diversify my reading. The thing is, I thought I was trying to do that in the past. I really did. I told myself that I was open to reading anything that came my way. I made a conscious effort to try and buy books that I knew were written by an author of color. But I went back through my “read” list for 2013, and my attempt to be open meant that less than 10% of my books were written by authors of color.
I realized that I can’t wait for a book to jump in front of my face. If I want to read diverse books, I’m going to have to actively search out authors of color. So in 2014, I’m reading one author of color for every book I read by a white author.
So, today, in honor of APAHM, I want to talk about some of the awesome books I’ve read that were written by Asian authors so far this year.
* Alisha Rai’s Bedroom Games series, going from Play with Me to Risk and Reward and ending with Bet on Me. What I love about these books is that they take the same couple and see them through different stages of their relationship–from first love to tentative commitment through the happily ever after. But Alisha Rai does this without using emotional manipulation or cliffhanger endings. Every book is satisfying. Each book brings the hero and heroine closer together. There’s a lot of conflict in these books–but I never felt that the couple was “backsliding” into their old ways that you thought they’d fixed up.
* Zen Cho’s The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo. This is a wonderful historical romance between a Malaysian (but I believe ethnically Chinese) woman and an Indian man. It’s based on Jane Eyre–but a version of Jane Eyre where Jane doesn’t end up with Rochester, and when St. John offers to take her to India, it’s not to colonize and proselytize, it’s because it’s his home. I don’t know how to describe this book but it made me want to jump up and down and push this book into other people’s hands. Read it, read it, read it!
* Suleikha Snyder’s Bollywood and the Beast. Every good Beauty and the Beast tale features two people who are both outsiders in their own way, but react to their exclusion in ways that serve as a foil for each other. This book is a wonderful Beauty and the Beast story. I identified so much with Rocky/Rakhee–her hard work, which was so often dismissed by others, her feeling that she didn’t really fit any place. I just felt so protective of her.
* Did you know that Sherry Thomas has a new novella out? Claiming the Duchess is absolutely free, and it’s delightful. More than that, it’s an epistolary novella filled with her trademark wit. I can’t say much without giving out spoilers, but it was so, so lovely. So good that it made me reread her Fitzhugh Trilogy. Again.
* Amber Lin’s Giving it Up. When romances touch on sexual assault, they very often tend towards the stranger-danger sort of thing–some unknown, or barely known person assaulting the heroine. But statistically most rapes aren’t committed by strangers. I have a lot of thoughts about why romances tend to stranger-danger. I think, in part, it’s that the thought of rapes committed by dear friends make us (well, at least me) feel far more vulnerable. We want to believe that our friends would NEVER hurt us; if they do, it’s a double betrayal. This book has a raw honesty to it. If you are at all triggered by rape/sexual assault, this book WILL trigger you. This book has a difficult heroine, a very dark edge, and it delivers all the feels.
* I’m also super-excited about Sonali Dev’s upcoming A Bollywood Affair, a romancebetween a woman in an arranged marriage (she was married extremely young and she hasn’t seen her husband in 20 years–since she was four, so I assume the marriage hasn’t been consummated) and her husband’s brother who comes to serve her with divorce papers. Gah. That premise! I want to read it RIGHT NOW. But sadly, this is going to be out in October 2014.
For full disclosure, I should mention that I am friends with some of these authors–but I wouldn’t recommend a bad book to you.
I’m actively looking for more authors to read. Have someone to recommend? Let me know in the comments, and I will look them up.
So what recommendations do you have for Courtney? I’m curious too!