Backlist Briefs – Mini Reviews for THE KISS QUOTIENT & SOLD ON A MONDAY
Also by this author: The Bride Test
Series: The Kiss Quotient #1
Published by BERKLEY on May 30, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Also in this series: The Bride Test
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 to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, 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’m not normally the biggest fan of romance novels, but I have to admit that Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient won me over almost immediately, mainly because of the fabulous protagonist, Stella Lane. Stella is smart and successful, an actual math whiz who drives a Tesla. She has pretty much every aspect of her life firmly under control except, as her mother repeatedly reminds her, her love life. Stella is on the autism spectrum and has a lot of difficulties interacting with others, especially when things start to get intimate. Faced with the constant pressure from her mother to meet someone, settle down and start a family, Stella decides that she needs to problem-solve her relationship awkwardness. She decides that most of her issues will resolve themselves if she can get better at sexual intercourse, so she takes matters into her own hands and hires a professional to teach her all about sex.
This is where Michael enters the picture. Charming, adorable, sexy Michael. Michael works during the week as a tailor, but on Friday nights, he works as a professional escort. He does so because his family needs the extra cash to help pay for his mother’s cancer treatments. When Stella approaches Michael with an offer he can’t refuse, he agrees to take her on as a client. Michael turns out to be the perfect choice for Stella. Even though he has no idea that she has autism, he is still completely patient with her and really allows her to dictate the pace of their learning sessions. I found myself immediately rooting for them to become more than just teacher and student.
The story is sexy, cute, and just all around sweet, which made for a fun read, but what I actually liked most about it was the way autism was represented. The Kiss Quotient is an #ownvoices story and Hoang really does a brilliant job of getting inside the head of someone who has autism so that you can see the world from their perspective. I have a niece and a nephew who are both on the spectrum so I just really appreciated this insight. If you’re looking for a fun read with a refreshing protagonist and an endearing potential suitor, look no further than The Kiss Quotient. The only reason I’m not giving it 5 stars is because for me, the sex scenes were a little too graphic and too frequent. They definitely fit in with the storyline so no criticism in that sense; they just weren’t my thing. Still an utterly delightful read though. 4 STARS
Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on August 28, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
From New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris comes another unforgettable novel inspired by a stunning piece of history.
2 CHILDREN FOR SALE
The sign is a last resort. It sits on a farmhouse porch in 1931, but could be found anywhere in an era of breadlines, bank runs, and broken dreams. It could have been written by any mother facing impossible choices.
For struggling reporter Ellis Reed, the gut-wrenching scene evokes memories of his family’s dark past. He snaps a photograph of the children, not meant for publication. But when it leads to his big break, the consequences are more devastating than he ever imagined.
At the paper, Lillian Palmer is haunted by her role in all that happened. She is far too familiar with the heartbreak of children deemed unwanted. As the bonds of motherhood are tested, she and Ellis must decide how much they are willing to risk to mend a fractured family.
Inspired by an actual newspaper photograph that stunned the nation, Sold on a Monday is a powerful novel of love, redemption, and the unexpected paths that bring us home.
Set during the Great Depression, Kristina McMorris’ thought-provoking novel Sold on a Monday follows rookie journalist Ellis Reed, who is trying to figure out how to make his mark in the cutthroat newspaper business. When he comes across two children playing in their yard next to a sign that reads “2 CHILDREN FOR SALE,” he can’t resist taking their picture. He really has no intention of ever publishing the photo – it just really struck a nerve with him that times were bad enough that parents would even consider parting with their own children.
Lillian Palmer, a secretary who has ambitions to be more than a secretary, however, happens across Ellis’s photograph and takes it to their editor, who offers Ellis the chance to write a feature for the paper. Ellis reluctantly agrees, his ambition and his desire to finally make his father proud of him outweighing his not wanting to exploit the struggling family. The original photo is accidentally destroyed, however, so Ellis has to go back and take another. When he arrives, however, the neighbors tell him the family has moved out. The “2 CHILDREN FOR SALE” sign is still there though so he pays the neighbor’s children to take a staged photo to replace the original. The chain reaction of events that the publication of the staged photo sets into motion is something that Ellis could never have predicted, as a family is torn apart. Wracked by guilt once they realize what has happened, both Ellis and Lillian are determined to do whatever it takes to right the wrongs they’ve caused and reunite a family that never should have been separated.
Sold on a Monday is a powerful and provocative read that really gave me a lot of food for thought. It is a journey of self-discovery for both Ellis and Lillian and McMorris take us inside the minds of each of them as they re-evaluate choices they have made and rethink what is most important in their lives, on both a personal and professional level. McMorris doesn’t stop there though. She also shines a light on the frustrating societal expectations for women during this time by having Lillian working as a secretary although she aspires to be a reporter like the famous Nellie Bly. Lillian not only has to hide the fact that she is unmarried with a young child in order to secure a job in the first place, but then she also has to contend with her boss ignoring any and all ideas that she pitches to him. Unfortunately Sold on a Monday did suffer from some pacing issues, especially during the first half which I found to be somewhat slow, but I would still highly recommend the read to fans of historical fiction and especially anyone who has any interest in what things were like for families during the Great Depression. 3.5 STARS
I keep seeing the kiss quotient every where. I need to get my hands on it.
It’s a great read, lives up to the hype for sure!
I have been hearing really good things about The Kiss Quotient, so I’m glad you liked it too. I didn’t know it was #ownvoices, but I love that!
Sold on a Monday sounds like an interesting read – but sorry about the pacing issues!
This Kiss Quotient is really great. I was excited to see that it’s actually going to be a series.
Yay glad you enjoyed The Kiss Quotient!
It was so much fun!
Sold on a Monday sounds like an amazing book – it’s too bad there were pacing issues, but the overall message of the book is very powerful
Yes, it’s still very good, and the second half of the book really picks up in terms of pacing. I got off to a slow start but then couldn’t put it down by the time I reached the halfway point.
I so love the Kiss Quotient!!! Fantastic review 😉
It was such a fun read!
Heh — I liked the frequent sex scenes in The Kiss Quotient! It was one of my favorite reads this year, and I’m already looking forward to reading it again. I’m really glad you enjoyed it even though it was outside of what you normally read. <3
Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?
Yes, I really enjoyed it and was excited to see that it’s actually part of a series. I look forward to reading more from Hoang.
Two great, concise reviews that gave me a real sense of the books. Thank you!
I am a hardcore romance reader, so the sex scenes didn’t bother me in TKQ. The book did take me by surprise, though, because it had so much heart and was so touching.
It really surprised me too. I was expecting nothing but romance but got so much more from it.
Both of these are books I want to read, especially The Kiss Quotient. You make it sound so good! The subject matter in Kristina McMorris’s book really interests me. I have heard great things about her work.
The subject matter of Sold on a Monday was really interesting. I read, after the fact, that the story is based on an actual photograph. It’s sad to imagine people being desperate enough to try to sell their kids.
Love your reviews and also your blog