Author: Helen Hoang
Narrator: Carly Robins
Audiobook Length: 9 hours 36 minutes
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…
The Kiss Quotient and the following two sequels have been on my radar for a while. All three novels seem to have great buzz surrounding them, so I was eager to begin the series. While I read the synopsis of this novel back when the final novel, The Heart Principle, was released, I did not relook it up before beginning. I remembered bits about the blurb, but the story was still a surprise. The story lived up to the buzz as it was heart-warming and romantic while not going too far into the over-the-top sugar-sweet romance (although I still enjoy those stories, too). It was not a perfect read for me, but I greatly enjoyed this lovely introduction to the series.
Stella Lane is an econometrician, who also has Asperger’s, a type of disorder on the Autistic Spectrum. While I am not autistic, so I cannot commentate on this element, I can say that I loved how it was incorporated into the story. While it does affect both characters in some way, either through Stella’s comfort levels or communication, it was not her defining characteristic. She was a complex character that was just enjoyable and realistic. As past lovers and boyfriends have told Stella that she was not great, especially in bed, she has it ingrained in her mind that she needs to improve before she can attempt to find love again. She decides to hire an escort, Michael Phan, to teach her how to be better in bed. Michael works as an escort to help his family financially, even though it is not his dream.
There is an insta-love factor in this story that I am still on the fence about as it is not among my favorite tropes. When Michael first interacts with Stella he falls for her because she’s not like his usual clients and Stella instantly falls for him at the same time. It did initially come across as either would have fallen for anyone else who was slightly different than their norm instead of the two of them being meant to be together. For me, I would have preferred it to be an insta-attraction with a slower burn to the connection stage. Since the reader gets to be in the minds of both characters in this dual perspective story, both internally want to be with the other, but neither believe that the other wants the same. As my personality is a lot more forward with my inner thoughts, the story would not have been believable; however, it worked well with the personalities of both Stella and Michael.
Overall, I loved how Michael interacted with Stella to find out her comfort levels for certain things. She became genuinely interested in his life and it was nice to both open up to each other. Michael has a lot of secrets that drive him to do everything he can for his family. There was a lot of telling throughout the story about everything he is going through, but I do wish there was more exploration. While I enjoyed his parts of the story and his development, the focus tended to skew towards Stella’s journey. Both stories were told, but it seems Stella’s had a bit more. This novel was still an excellent read that I would easily re-read in the future, and I greatly look forward to trying more from the author soon!