The Bride test by Helen Hoang- A book review

The Bride test by Helen Hoang- A book review

You know I loved The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang last year and I knew I was gonna love The bride test too, given the raving reviews it has been getting from all around. Can we get on with the review?

About the book

Bride test by Helen Hoang Cover

Book Name: The bride test (The Kiss Quotient #2)

Author: Helen Hoang

Genre: Fiction – Romance

Characters: Khai Diep, Quan and their mother, Esme Tran, Michael

Setting: San FranciscoThe USA

The plot

Esme Tran is a self made woman, a single mother from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, who has been recruited by a rich lady to meet her son and win his heart, in a year. And in return, she gets a chance to the USA to look for her American father and help her family financially, if things go well.

Khai Diep leads a perfectly efficient life and he is not big on emotions. He usually ignores his mother’s nagging to get married as harmless, but when she brings in a woman to stay with him at his house, he is completely taken aback.

Did his mother’s plan work? Can Esme win Khai’s heart and more importantly, understand why he is not like everyone else? Is he really not like everyone else? Read The bride test by Helen Hoang to find out more.

My initial thoughts

I LOVED The bride test and I am going ahead to say I am gonna pick any book by Helen Hoang in the near future. She knows how to write characters that are fully developed and complex. Here is Khai who has made his mind up that he is above emotions and Esme can marry him only if he feels what she feels for him.

And both the families are rooting for them. His brother Quan goes a step ahead and even tries to speed things between them in his own way. I don’t remember the last time I laughed out loud reading a book.

I loved Quan and I can’t wait to read a book about his story. Interesting fact: If you have read The Kiss Quotient, you might remember Quan, the protagonist Michael’s cousin, who recognizes that Stella is autistic, because he had an autistic brother. That brother is our protagonist, Khai Diep. And Michael plays a cameo too.

The only problem I had was with dishonesty and omission.

Esme and Khai’s mother explicitly hide the fact that she was doing the whole arranged marriage for her own gains and the fact that she has a child back home in Vietnam. In fact, they agree to wait for him to fall for her, before telling him the truth.

And again, his mother omits telling her that Khai is autistic. I understand Esme turned out to be a great support to him and all. To be fair, doesn’t she have the right to know before agreeing to the deal? Go figure.

What worked for me

  • I loved the OWN VOICE representations, as the author being autistic and a Vietnamese herself
  • Oh the romance and chemistry! And it has been a while since I felt this invested in any fictional romance. Again, great writing.
  • The humorous and witty dialogues help the the Bride Test from being a steamy or sappy romance. Stellar combo!
  • I loved that all the characters, not just the protagonists, are full developed, with emotional depth.

What may have been better

  • Some people may find all the deception and disregard to Khai’s feelings off putting.

Bottom line

If you are looking for a steamy, happily-ever-after with great Own voice representations, The bride test by Helen Hoang is your go to choice. You will not regret it. It comes close to being The Kiss Quotient !

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Let’s chat

Have you read The bride test by Helen Hoang or The Kiss Quotient? Does deception and omission hinder your liking of a romance? What are your main no go’s when it comes to romance? Let us talk.

The Bride test by Helen Hoang- A book review

Kiss Quotient, The – A book review

I hope y’all still believe in “better than late never“, because I am talking about a book that many of you have read and spoken to death about. Yes, I am talking about The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. And if you are one of those rare souls that haven’t read this yet, let my review convince you!

About the book

Book Name: The Kiss Quotient

Author: Helen Hoang

Genre: Fiction – Romance

Characters: Stella Lane, Michael Phan

Setting: Silicon Valley, CaliforniaThe United States of America

The plot

When her mother forces her to get married, the autistic Stella Lane hires a male escort to teach her the ways to please a man. Stella is a highly intelligent econometrician who is socially inept and hence generally poor in understanding people and thus relationships.

Micheal Phan works as an escort on Fridays to pay his ailing mother’s huge hospital bills. He is good at what he does and he is strict about not rebooking his clients, even if they pay well. Well everything changes when he is hired by Stella. 

There is an instant connection between them but they resist because professional boundaries and miscommunication. Do they or not end up together forms the rest of The Kiss Quotient.

My initial thoughts

I took the book right from the first page. It is a story that we have all heard before but what makes The Kiss Quotient a good book are the protagonists.

The characters are so well thought and developed with depth. None of the cardboard stereotypes that are a dozen a dime in the Kissing Quotient. Both Stella and Micheal made me laugh and cry when they did. 

I liked the fact that the author didn’t cheapen autism or oversell it. Even I, who have very little personal experience with autism, could understand a lot about the spectrum and Stella as a person. I would consider that a win for Helen Hoang. 

Yay for the representation (autism, Asian (Vietnamese) characters and a male sex worker)! And extra credit for not shaming the sex work in anyway.

Things that worked for me

  • The writing is so easy to read and I couldn’t put the book down at all.
  • I loved the well developed characters. 
  • The Kiss Quotient is kinda smutty but it works so well. Kudos to the author!

Things that didn’t work for me

Definitely not a young adult novel, as some believe it to be. Lots of steamy scenes. So beware. 


If you are looking to beat the boring afternoons during the lock down, pick The Kiss Quotient without a doubt. This racy, funny romance will steal your heart away for sure!

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Let us chat

Have you read this one? Do you like steamy romances? If yes, suggest me similar books please. What are you currently reading? Let us talk.

The Bride test by Helen Hoang- A book review

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The: Book review

Do you ever give a book a second chance? I mean quite literally – like you read the first time and you don’t like it, but then you give it another chance and ending up appreciating it more? Well, that is what happened with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

About the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Book Name: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Author: Mark Haddon

Genre: Fiction – Drama, Young adult

Characters: Christopher John Francis Boone, Toby, Wellington, Siobhan, Mr. Jeavons, Mrs. Alexander, Ed Boone, Judy Boone, Mr. and Mrs. Eileen Shears

Setting: England, The UK

Plot summary of the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Christopher John Francis Boone, a fifteen year old kid on the Autism/Asperger’s spectrum, is on a mission to find out who murdered his neighbour’s dog, Sherlock Holmes’ style. While he has a gift for math, he has difficulty reading other people’s emotion and hates being touched. 

His father finds it difficult to understand his needs. His mother did it all for him until she died suddenly and now they are left to fend for themselves. Did he find the murderer? What happened to his mother? Read the rest of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time to know more.

Book review of the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

I rarely give books that I DNF-ed a second chance and I decided to read it because the Classics N Christie book club chose it as the BOTM. And I really wanted to know what happened in the book after I gave up and why everyone goes gaga over it. 

Even though it plays the stereotypical high functioning autistic kid, this book helped me take a look at what happens inside the head of an autistic teen.

If I had to wonder what the difference was between the first time I read it and now, it is that I am more educated about the autistic spectrum, thanks to mainstream media and other books. 

Things that worked for me

  • While I found it hard to get into the first time I read it, I liked the non linear writing style now.
  • I was genuinely surprised when the big reveal came up and I hadn’t guessed it at all.
  • Christopher is a classic example of unreliable narrators, whom I love in general.

Things that didn’t work for me

Christopher falls straight into the holes of the stereotypes of autism in the mainstream media.


I am glad I gave The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time a second chance and I wish that I liked it more. Sure I didn’t love it, but I didn’t dislike it as much I did the first time.

Similar books that you may like

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Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

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Have you read the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time? Or watched the play? Do have recommendations with a better Autistic/Asperger’s representation? Let us talk.

The Bride test by Helen Hoang- A book review

Book Review: Standard Deviation

They do say opposites attract, don’t they? Maybe they are right. But do they stick together when the roof falls? No, I am not talking about the teenage crushes where the hot headed guy falls for the shy bookstore sales girl. I am talking about older ones, the real life adults. Do they genuinely like each other’s quirky characteristics or are they gritting their life through?

Book Name: Standard Deviation
Author:  Katherine Heiny
Genre: Fiction – Drama
Characters:  Graham, Audra and Mathew Cavanaugh, Elspeth Osbourne, Bitsy, Clayton.

Setting: New York, The USA

Disclaimer: Thanks to the Author and Netgalley for the free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The narration follows Graham’s voice through his married life with Audra, a vivacious busybody who is 15 younger to him. While Graham is a despondent middle aged man, Audra is one of those outspoken women who puts you at ease as soon as you meet her and then becomes your friend for life. Her life is no wonder full of ‘friends, acquaintances and other people that Graham never knew.’ They have a 10-year old son Mathew who has Asperger’s and is obsessed with origami. Their life has no dearth for adventure between arranging play dates for Mathew and hosting house guests who were on a break from their spouses.

Standard Deviation

We follow their lives through weddings, deaths, infidelity and United Nation days. Graham feels out of place in the grand plans of Audra and her friends that he seeks recluse in his cold, emotion free first wife, Elspeth. Audra wants to be friends with her as well. Being with both the women he had loved Graham realizes the vast differences between them. What does a man need – the ever glowing sunshine or the cool detachment? Read on Standard Deviation to find out.

If you are looking for a storyline with twists and thrill, you are in for a sore disappointment. In fact, there is no plot. We get a wry, whimsical glimpse into their life. It is often funny, not in the way that would make you laugh out loud (though I did once or twice) but that makes you chuckle.

Review Standard DeviationMaybe we had had too many books with the female point of view lately that it was so refreshing to hear a male voice talking about his view of life. Graham’s thoughts about parenthood and infidelity would be easier to relate as they are not accusative, but in a funny quirky manner.

Some may find the pace of the book to be slow and drag, especially in the middle where the narrative becomes too generic that probably spoke of the satirical opinions of the author rather than Graham. But it again gains momentum towards the end, which was rather abrupt.

If you loved books like I Feel Bad About My Neck or High Fidelity, grab this satire Standard Deviation and spend your afternoon chuckling with delight.