The Bride Test — Helen Hoang

June 13, 2019

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

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

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.


‘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!



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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

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    1. I’ve been hearing similar things, but I still want to read this one. Great review, as always, Destiny!

    1. This was my first Helen Hoang book and I sadly only gave it three stars. I think it was more of a me thing though because I don’t want sexual chemistry in books right off the bat. But I definitely did question how Esme was capable of leaving Jade in Vietnam while she went to US for the summer.

      1. Oh no, sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it more! I sadly wouldn’t really recommend her first book to you either if you don’t enjoy the sexual chemistry starting so quickly, because it’s an even sooner/more prominent thing in The Kiss Quotient! If you’re looking for other contemporary romance, could I recommend Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata? It is VEEEEERRRRRY slow-burning, and I don’t think there is ANYTHING sexual until… hell, maybe 350+ pages in?! But it’s very, very swoonworthy and sweet. 🙂 (Sorry if you’ve already read it and I’m just preaching to the choir here lol!)

    1. I’m so happy to see that four star rating and the nice comments in your review because I loved reading this book! I do agree that it wasn’t quite up with TKQ, but I don’t know that many books could reach that status! Great review!

    1. I definitely hear what you’re saying. I was definitely surprised with how Esme didn’t mention her child for so long (and ultimately with how that was resolved). I think what really saved this book for me was how much it made me laugh. It didn’t completely win me over on the romance side, but since I was enjoying myself because of the humor, I didn’t mind too much!

      1. Very true, it was HILARIOUS! I really loved Esme’s wittiness and just her general attitude, she was so funny. I really think the third book will be hilarious too as I love Quan!

    1. I had no idea this was a sequel??? I guess I should definitely read The Kiss Quotient before starting this lol!
      I’m so glad these books have slow-burn romances, I love those types of developing relationships, so hopefully, I’ll love these books!
      Honestly, Esme sounds amazing, I can’t wait to pick this up!
      Great review, Destiny! ??

    1. I’ve been curious about this one since I really enjoyed The Kiss Quotient. I’ll have to pick it up sooner rather than later since you said you enjoyed it…but I also appreciate how honest your review is so I won’t get my hopes too high!

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