The Bride Test — Helen Hoang

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

TITLE: The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)
AUTHOR: Helen Hoang
GENRE: Romance
AGE RANGE: Adult

SYNOPSIS:
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.

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‘Nothing gets to you. It’s like your heart is made of stone.’

I always find it a little bit stressful to read the sequel of a book I loved, because there’s so much pressure: what if the sequel isn’t as good at the first book? Or what if it blows the first book out of the water and makes me rethink my entire rating system?! Because of that, it’s pretty common for me to stall a bit when picking up a sequel, which is what happened with The Bride Test. I read the first 2 chapters, put it down for 2 weeks, and then read the rest of the book in one sitting. Go figure.

But something inside of him loosened, and he didn’t mind so much the way she said his name now.

Unfortunately, I did not love The Bride Test as much as I loved The Kiss Quotient, but it’s still absolutely worth reading! Much like in TKQ, we’ve got a somewhat slow-burning romance between two people whose sexual chemistry is off the charts, but who can’t communicate well enough to get past themselves and make it work. It’s a blessing and a curse, because I love a good slow-burn romance, but sometimes these characters made me want to scream.

She would do anything for this little one. Except give her up.

Khai’s brilliant and amusing, but his stubbornness became a little cruel sometimes. Esme, I loved endlessly—her wit, her determination, her intelligence, and the way she owned her sexuality—with my only complaint being that I genuinely couldn’t imagine living with someone for weeks and never once letting them know I have a child. As a mom, there were details to that whole scenario that were so frustrating, but they were a little easier to overlook only because the logical side of me knew she was doing it for Jade’s own well-being in the long run.

What a difference an ocean made.

Sigh. I feel like this review’s a bit of a mess; while I genuinely did enjoy The Bride Test so much, putting my thoughts down on paper has me seriously considering all of the things I was disappointed by. I will give a caveat that the last 1/3 or so of this book is practically flawless and made me cry happy tears, but the more of this review I’m writing, the less I can justify anything above a 4-star rating. I’m very excited for the third book and I can’t wait to spend more time with Quan, and I loved a lot of things about this book, but I’m a little bit worried nothing will be able to trump TKQ for me.

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Berkley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

4stars

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Just a 26-year-old children's librarian trying to juggle motherhood, grad school, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

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