Review: Helen Hoang’s The Bride Test

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“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.”

Synopsis
Khai Diep is a total catch. He excels at his job, and is a devoted friend, brother, and son. Hence the reason why his mom can’t wait to marry him off. Khai, however, has a different view on love and marriage. Because Khai processes his emotions differently, he worries he can’t feel emotions like grief or love “correctly.” But his mom is tired of waiting, so she takes matters into her own hands. She returns from a visit to Vietnam with Esme Tran who she believes to be Khai’s perfect bride. Esme knows a trip to America could help herself and her family in more ways than one. But seducing Khai proves harder than she initially thought. As she starts to fall for Khai for real, she’s determined to show him that there are many different ways to love.


The Kiss Quotient is for fans of:

  • You enjoy the mail-order bride trope/arranged marriage trope
  • You love slow-burn romance
  • You appreciate books that have inclusive characters with diverse backgrounds
  • You want to read an OWN Voices author’s work

Spoiler Free Review
What I liked:
I want to start with what I loved. I love that Helen Hoang writes inclusive characters with diverse backgrounds. Kai is on the autism spectrum (ASD), and Esme is a Vietnamese citizen who travels to the United States. These characters have vastly different backgrounds, and I appreciated learning more about their perspectives and experiences. I can’t begin to describe how amazing it is to have more representation in books and especially in romance (my favorite genre). Knowing people can find themselves and see themselves in characters is so crucial.

Also, autism spectrum disorder has a special place in my heart. My family (and myself) are all huge advocates for autism spectrum disorder awareness in honor of my cousin, Tucker, who is amazing, intelligent, caring and also happens to be on the autism spectrum. He is the youngest child to be diagnosed in the state of West Virginia (where I’m originally from). If you want to learn more about autism spectrum disorder – I suggest starting here.

Another aspect I loved was Esme’s characterization. She is a strong, independent woman and you can’t help but root for her from the very beginning. She has such a genuine heart, and her motives are so pure as she only has the best interest for her family in mind.

I also enjoyed the slow-burn build up and the sexy scenes. I think it is very clear that the author is an extremely talented writer. Slow-burn is my absolute favorite, so it didn’t bother me that it took awhile before the characters’ romance started to build. I feel like for me this makes the romance more realistic. I feel like slow-burn happens much more often than insta-love in real life.

The last thing I want to talk about is the writing. This book is full of the most beautiful, eloquent writing. I could fill this entire post with quotes that I love from this book. I really just can’t stress the pure talent seen in The Bride Test.

What I didn’t like:
Now onto what I didn’t love. I did not love that Esme didn’t seem to take a huge interest in learning or asking questions about autism spectrum disorder. After learning that Kai was on the autism spectrum, she kind of just went “ok.” Even though she was sensitive to this and had great communication on what Kai’s comfort level was, I wish she would have explicitly inquired about it further. For me this just fell a little flat. I think this also would have been a great opportunity to educate readers even more about autism spectrum disorder through Esme’s learning experience.

However, my biggest issue with the story was the “secret,” and that it wasn’t revealed until the very, very end of the book. I’m talking like the last 5-10%. This was revealed too late for me. As a result, I felt like Kai and Esme were considering a commitment with one another without even knowing each other. The secret was such a huge part of Esme’s life, and I didn’t like that it played virtually no role in Kai and Esme’s relationship until the very, very end. Perhaps I would feel differently if the reveal came earlier or more came after the reveal. It just did not cut it for me.

As a result, the romance just fell flat. I didn’t feel like there was a particularly strong friendship foundation between the two. I didn’t feel like they really knew who each other were as people because there were so many secrets or things left unsaid between them for long periods of time. I don’t want to say more because this is spoiler-free!

Overall, I’m still so happy I read The Bride Test. It’s a cute new adult contemporary with some sexy scenes for sure. There is amazing representation and diversity here, and that’s definitely something to celebrate. I thought the characters were well written, and the writing was strong. The romance just lacked a bit for me, and that’s ultimately why it fell a bit flat. I’m giving this one a 3.5/5.

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Ratings:
My overall: 3.5/5
Steam: 3.5/5
Romance: 3.5/5
Friendship: 2.5/5
Representation: 5/5

Goodreads: 4.17/5


Get More Information:
The Bride Test is Helen Hoang’s newest release and is a companion novel to The Kiss Quotient. It’s available to purchase now.

Links: visit Helen Hoang’s website; connect with the author on Facebook; connect with the author on Instagram; find The Bride Test on Amazon; find The Kiss Quotient on Amazon


About the Author: Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since. In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT. She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish.


This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links.

Author Highlight: RS Grey

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I want to start a new series here on the blog where I can highlight my favorite authors. I can’t think of a better way to kick off “Author Highlights” than a whole post where I gush about one of my favorite romance authors, R.S. Grey.

R.S. Grey is a USA Today Bestselling author and the queen of romantic comedy. R.S. Grey has published an awesome selection of standalone romantic comedies and standalone comedies with overlapping characters. For help on the reading order, R.S. Grey has released a super helpful infographic. I have read eleven (!!!) R.S. Grey books, and I’ve made it my goal to finish her entire collection. R.S. Grey books are not new to the blog (I wrote a review for Make Me Bad and talked about R.S. Grey in my mashup romance genre post). But for now, I thought it would be fun with the upcoming Cold Hearted Boss release, for me to reflect back on my favorite R.S. Grey books.

Arrogant Devil
Truly I think it would be difficult for any R.S. Grey book to top my favorite – Arrogant Devil. This book has everything I love in romance. It’s slow burn (y’all know I’m a slow burn queen), the setting is small town/ranch, the hero character is an arrogant jerk with a sweet/tender side, and the heroine character is badass/independent. Yes please!!

This book is classic R.S. Grey in its humor and lightness. I always laugh to myself while reading her books and Arrogant Devil is no exception. However, this one has such depth y’all, and it made me emotional. Learning about Meredith, the main heroine’s, backstory and then seeing her growth…y’all! I was her biggest cheerleader and in the end it was her that inspired me. I hope to write a full review on this one day, but for now – trust me when I say it’s a full 5/5 from me, and its the R.S. Grey book I recommend the most.

Make Me Bad
I have a full review on Make Me Bad because I was so graciously given an ARC in exchange for an honest review by R.S. Grey herself. (Yes, I did indeed fangirl a little. It’s fine. I’m fine.) I don’t want to go on too long here since I’ve already written an entire review, so I’ll keep it brief.

Make Me Bad is another one of my top favorites. I love the main characters, and I really related to the heroine, Madison’s, character. Plus who doesn’t love a bit of forbidden romance/falling for the town bad boy? This one was a 5/5 from me, and it is another R.S. Grey book that I recommend the most.

Hotshot Doc
Hotshoc Doc is another R.S. Grey book that I recommend to everyone! This book has one of my favorite tropes: boss/assistant mixed with a slow-burn romance. Mhm, sign me up! I loved reading Bailey’s story. I loved how strong and determined she was despite the hardships she’d faced in life nor did she crumble under the intense responsibility she had to carry. The emotions and depth wrapped up into Bailey’s backstory had me lining up to be her number one supporter.

Plus, I loved Matt as a hero. He was an arrogant jerk, but he was also so caring, understanding, and empathetic towards others. He made my heart swoon. His relationship with Bailey and her sister will forever be one of my favorites. This one was a 5/5 from me.

The Foxe and the Hound
Oh The Foxe and the Hound…this book will always have a special place in my book-heart, because it was the first R.S. Grey book that I ever read. In my opinion, Madeline is one of the funniest narrators in the romcom genre that I have read. I loved how Madeline was still finding her way through life in her late twenties, and that she allowed herself to feel overwhelmed at times. She was such a relatable character that I was immediately invested in her story. Plus the first time she meets the hero character, Adam, I was dying of laughter. It’s a meet cute…sorta.

However, The Foxe and the Hound finds itself at the top of my list for its emotional depth and slow-burn angst. I loved the slow build up between the two characters. There was so much angst. I was literately flying through the pages! Not to mention, I’m a total sucker for emotional depth in romance. I feel like I need it in order to really connect and champion the romance. I totally felt that here. Especially towards the end of the book in the storm. I loved the entire thing. This one (no surprise) also gets a 5/5 from me. I hope to post a full review one day.

Ok y’all that’s all I’ve got for my first “Author Highlight.” If y’all like this, I would love to do more. In the meantime, check out some of R.S. Grey’s books or get ready for her new summer release, Cold Hearted Boss.

Get More Info: visit R.S. Grey’s website; connect with the author on Instagram; connect with the author on Twitter; find Arrogant Devil on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited; find Make Me Bad on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited; find Hotshot Doc on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited; find the Foxe and the Hound on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited.

This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. All links provided are for your convenience only – none are affiliate links. The author was kind enough to provide me a copy of Make Me Bad in exchange for my honest review. The rest of the books mentioned were purchased by me.