Review: The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2) by Helen Hoang

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review. 

I really wanted to like this book a little more than I did. There was a lot to like about it, but overall it ended up just being ok for me.

What I Liked

  • Learning a little bit about Vietnamese culture. I would’ve liked to have seen a lot more, honestly, but I thought it added a different dimension to the story than a lot of other “arranged marriage” type books I’ve read and I liked that.
  • I LOVED the relationship between Khai and his brother Quan. It made the whole book for me. Quan was so understanding and protective and patient with Khai, but he also didn’t treat him with kid gloves, either. I just loved pretty much every scene that had the two of them together and I could’ve used a lot more Quan.
  • Khai is on the autism spectrum and I thought it came across as a pretty accurate portrayal. I liked watching his journey as he learned things about himself throughout the book. I enjoyed the chapters from his POV the most.

What didn’t work for Me

  • This is my fault more than the book’s, but I thought this was a Women’s Fiction book, but it’s straight up Romance. I was expecting something with a little more substance and a little less description of body parts and sex. It left me a little disappointed in the overall plot.
  • I had to continually remind myself that Esme was only 23. I know that she was coming to a new country and all and was naive in some things, but she wasn’t a wide-eyed innocent type of character, either. She just seemed so immature so much of the time and I found myself frustrated a lot by her interactions with Khai.
  • Speaking of her interactions with Khai, I wish that someone would have more fully explained Khai’s autism to Esme earlier in their relationship. So often she’s left frustrated and hurt after their interactions and had she understood him a little more, I felt she would have been able to respond in a more positive way and they could work out their issues together. There are a few times throughout the book that he’s able to explain something about himself and she adjusts how she approaches him and had she understood his autism earlier, they would have had way less issues. I’m not saying that there wouldn’t have been times she wasn’t frustrated or hurt, but I think it would have forced her to communicate her feelings and thoughts to him.
  • I felt like the pace was pretty slow and nothing really happened for long stretches of time. It took me quite awhile to really get into the story and to start caring about the romance between Esme and Khai. There were a few cute moments, but I never really fell in love with them.

Overall

Overall, The Bride Test was just ok for me. I liked the inclusion of Autism and Vietnamese culture, and loved the brotherly relationship between Khai and Quan, but Esme’s immaturity and the heavy Romance content left me a little underwhelmed. It’s not a book I would plan on reading again, but I think there will be a lot of people out there who will really enjoy it.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

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Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 2019

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi. Read April 7-8. 3 Stars. 

This was SO MUCH BETTER than the previous book in this series. It still didn’t really do much to advance the plot, but there was a lot of background information revealed that I found interesting. I am a little annoyed that it makes pretty much everything that happened in the original trilogy obsolete, but I’m rolling with it.

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Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson. Read April 9-11. 3.5 Stars. 

Addictive writing and an intriguing premise kept me turning the pages on this. I found Matthew kind of fascinating. There was one big twist that I suspected awhile before it was revealed, but then Swanson still managed to surprise me by something after that, which I liked. However, I found the ending pretty underwhelming.

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The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton. Read April 23-25. 3 Stars. 

This wasn’t a bad read, but it never quite lived up to it’s potential. I wanted it to get really crazy and fun, and while there was some definite crazy behavior, it never really felt fun. I actually wished some of Juliette’s plans actually panned out the way she thought they would because that would have made it a little more entertaining. But mostly I just ended up feeling sorry for her and wishing she would get some help. I thought it was a little too open-ended, too. This isn’t one I would discourage you from reading, but I’m not going to recommend it either.

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Royally Screwed (Royally #2) by Emma Chase. Read April 20-25. 3 Stars. 

It took me quite awhile to get into this, but I eventually started to enjoy it. There were some funny parts. It was just a lot cruder at times than I prefer so that took a lot of the enjoyment out of the book for me, overall.

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The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. Read April 25-26. 4 Stars. 

This wasn’t really anything like I thought it would be, but I enjoyed it. The writing was super addictive and I had a hard time putting it down. The character development was well done and while I wasn’t shocked by who the murderer turned out to be, it wasn’t my first guess, either.

*****Back on the TBR*****

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Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker and The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. I read several chapters of Keep Her Safe and one chapter of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, but couldn’t really get into either of them. I’ll give them both another try again, though.

*****DNF*****

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How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper. DNF-ed at 29%. I thought the concept for this was really intriguing, but I ended up just not being able to connect with the story. There were times where I found it relatable and funny and other times where I thought the humor fell pretty flat. I read 29% before it started to lose my attention. I decided to set it down to read something else and planned to come back to it, but after reading several other books I couldn’t make myself pick this one back up. While I’m sure that there people who will enjoy this book, it’s just not for me. 

*I received a copy of this title via NetGalley.

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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Just One of the Groomsmen by Cindi Madsen – 4 Stars

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker – 3.5 Stars

Past Perfect Life by Elizabeth Eulberg – 4 Stars

The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2) by Helen  Hoang – 3 Stars