The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)by Published 07 May 2019
|The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2).pdf|
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.
The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2) Reviews
A romance with characters that express so much more than just physical attraction, but also grasps the heart of the reader with the tender emotions that are portrayed...
Once this beauty landed in my hands, I knew that there was no backing down of putting everything to the side and start it. That's what Helen Hoang does to you once you get a small glimpse of her writing. I remember last year how hesitant I was about reading The Kiss Quotient because of all the hype and love it kept getting. When it comes down to novels that are hyped too much, I like to back away from them and maybe read them in a month or so once the hype calms down. Thank the heavens I didn't, because I would have never encountered upon Helen's marvelous and unique way of putting so many in depth emotions to the page. I would have never gotten to understand, that even individuals whom may be different in some way, socially, physically, emotionally... anyway. There is still a fighting chance of finding love, cherishing that love, and grasping it for dear life. That's what Khai has demonstrated in this compelling romance novel that will have you running for more tissues.
In my reviews, I really don't like to talk about the story plot of the characters. I like to focus on the way the story plot comes to be and how it changes my mind and mood. Helen does so by implying this new character, in which we came across in The Kiss Quotient during Stella's and Michael's story. Khai. That intriguing and mysterious autistic young man, that had picked my interest from that small glimpse we got of him. His way of living is structured, has a routine that he follows every single day and should not be tempered with. From the point of view of his family such as his mother, brother Quan (whom shall be brought up in a moment), and his sister Vy (whom shall also be brought up in a moment...) he is a simple man who enjoys his lifestyle as an accountant, takes his shoes off once he arrives to his two bedroom home and enjoys the feeling of his old carpet against his feet. It's the little things that one would not be able to understand why they are so important in which in that unique side of him, his extended family never understands. Emotions is something that Helen touches a lot when it comes to Khai. He does not come to a realization that, even though he states he cannot comprehend emotions in general; anger, happiness, sadness, disappointment, and love—he truly is a strong human being whom expresses all those feelings.
That's when Mỹ, aka Esmeralda, aka Esme comes along. A twenty-three year old young lady from Việt Nam whose dreams had to take a pause because life came in the way. Supporting her mother, grandmother, a special someone who shall not be named for the sake of spoilers, is what Mỹ had been doing before she encountered upon Khai's mother whom was looking for a bride for him. She is instantly drawn to Mỹ and offers for her to come to the states for the summer and try to seduce her son, Khai. Mỹ of course has to think about it because she has to support her family. But after a very thorough decision, she decides to accept the offer and goes to the states to try and make Khai fall in love with her.
At first, meeting Esme with the circumstances he was put in by his mother, is not something Khai is pleased with. She moves in with her, but he is also instantly drawn to her natural beauty. Her eyes captivate him in the best of ways, making his body react in ways that have never acted before. The attraction is there and it's beautiful to read that a gentleman such as Khai, whom does not believe he can ever love anyone, expresses these feelings towards Esme;
"Strange, incomprehensible, beautiful woman. She said the funniest things and smiled all the time. His fingers itched to touch that smile, and he sipped away out of self-preservation..."
Weeks pass and Esme and Khai learn how to adequately be with each other. That does not stop Khai's body from acting in a non-gentleman way of course. Which I find so endearing to read from the third point of view. He knows he cannot deny that attraction, but he also knows that he shouldn't act upon it;
"She was already a song that payed on endless repeat in his head. If he started having sex with her, this thing would escalate into pure addiction, and what the fuck would happen when she left at the end of the summer?"
Once feelings expand, that's when the struggles begin to form for Khai. Things take a turn when Esme comes across wanting to have a life in America, a life in which she can set as an example for her next in kin. Her dreams come back to life and want to expand and explore everything that is out there for the world to offer to her, but she knows that if she doesn't fight she will not get far. That includes Khai's love towards her as well.
Overall, as previously mentioned... Helen has created a story that has truly gasped my heart and pierced it with her words. It made me cry, made me giggle, and made me swoon over the love and admiration Khai has towards Mỹ. Stories such as this one are not found very often and that's why they need to be cherished in the best of ways. Thank you so much to Berkley for being so generous with this advance copy. And as previously mentioned, Quan and Vy better come next. Vy's story should be mysterious to read because we really don't know much about her. But Quan however... **sighs** he is the rugged brother, with sexy tattoos that will have me drooling over him once Helen writes his story... that's IF she does it... **wink wink Helen Hoang**
ARC galley kindly provided by Berkley in exchange for an honest review...
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The Bride Test is the second installment in Helen Hoang's collection of adult romance standalones titled The Kiss Quotient. As opposed to many other readers, I personally enjoyed The Bride Test much more than its predecessor. Hoang continues to be inclusive with a high-functioning autistic primary character. Subtle education about this amazing population shatters ignorant stereotypes as we witness internal processing, growth, and love. Yes, love. Doesn't it look and feel different to us all regardless of so-called limitations? A theme related to immigration in this book shows true limitations and puts things in perspective.
"How did you change your life when you were trapped like this? Her history didn’t define her. Her origins didn’t define her. At least, they shouldn’t. She could be more, if she had a chance. But people didn’t see who she was inside. They didn’t know. And she had no way to show them without an opportunity." Well-done, again, Ms. Hoang. This will be a re-read for me for sure. Check it out!
My favorite quote:
"...and sometimes one person could make a world of difference."
Thank you to the following for permitting me access to a digital review copy (DRC) of The Bride Test. This generosity did not impact my honesty when rating/reviewing.
Author: Helen Hoang
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
On Sale Date: May 7, 2019
Note: All quotes were checked against the final, published edition.
Helen Hoang is becoming such an important part in my own bookish world to me. She writes romance stories that matter, that have substance, value and are a treat to read at the same time.
This story was such a delight to read. There wasn't one part about this book that I disliked. I loved the characters and getting to know their backgrounds, why they were the way they were and how their circumstances shaped them. I couldn't get enough and I never wanted this story to end. I'm still craving for more.
It was informative because my knowledge on autism is abysmal. But whilst I was reading about Khai I was learning about how he views the world and interacts with it.
Esme is a mixed-raced girl who came to the US from Vietnam and seeing how she embraced and fought through the challenges of being an immigrant was so incredibly admirable.
And then their love story started forming through all this... don't get me started. It was everything that it needed to be.
I so appreciated that their actual Vietnamese names were used, how the culture was infused because it brought such authenticity and realness to the story and its characters. It was their truth.
I want more of these types of novels. More of these types of stories told and Helen Hoang is really setting the standard for this.
Just a side note, the Author's Note is just as valuable as the actual story. I think we tend to skip this a lot, but this adds such great insight to why Helen Hoang wrote this book. It was moving.
Look what has arrived on me kindle! Guess what I'll be doing at work?
🥰 The Bride Test is a sexy and sweet romance story with substance. 💖
Khai Diep is handsome, successful and autistic. He doesn't feel things like others and believes he is incapable of the emotion required for love. Khai's mother wants nothing more than to see her son married, even if it means going to Vietnam and finding his future bride herself!
Esme (My) is a hardworking, single mother who only wants to provide the best for her family. At her mother's urging, she accepts the offer to spend the summer in California with the intention of seducing Khai into marrying her.
Oh, how I loved the unfolding romance between Khai and Esme! I found myself smitten by them and was solidly rooting for them as a couple. Yes, I am not at all embarrassed to admit I am firmly #TeamKhaiandEsme! Hoang does such an amazing job of fleshing out her characters. They are flawed, genuine and each undergoing an emotional journey. I was genuinely invested in these characters and their story. I found myself desperately wanting Khai to realize that he is so much more than this autism. I was rooting for Esme to find her way, feel proud of who she is and see all she can become. And I may have become a tad smitten with Quan, Khai's older brother. I'm hoping we see more of him in a future story.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book and then I read the author's note at the end. It added even more depth for me to the overall emotion of the story. Don't skip it! As I wait for Quan's story to hopefully come to life - I'll be going back to read The Kiss Quotient. I might be one of the few people that hasn't read it but I plan to remedy that soon Helen Hoang! 😉
Ugh. No. Not for me.
So many issues, so little time.
I appreciated the author’s note at the end.
I’ll just leave it that.
I received an ARC of this book from Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.