Review: The Bride Test – Helen Hoang

Review: The Bride Test – Helen HoangThe Bride Test by Helen Hoang
Published by Berkley
Published: May 7, 2019
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four-half-stars

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 this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Since finishing The Kiss Quotient I was dying for Helen Hoang to release a new book. I had loved her writing style so much and I wanted more from her. When I heard about The Bride Test and that it would be Khai’s book I was pretty excited. We only got a small snippet of him in the first book. I was curious about him and wanted to know more, especially after hearing load about his mother from Quan. I was pleasantly surprised not by how much I enjoyed it, but by the humor I found in it and the journey of the characters.

As I mentioned, The Bride Test is the story of Khai, the brother of Quan (from The Kiss Quotient) that has autism. Khai tends to keep to himself believing he can’t feel anything so there is no point in trying. His mother, on the other hand, knows there is a girl out there for him so she takes matters into her own hands and finds Esme in Vietnam and brings her to Khai. Soon Khai and Esme are living together and both completely out of their comfort zones and trying to navigate what is going on between. While one is falling, the other is uncertain. If he feels anything. But with a little push and some guidance they may actually be a perfect match.

Truly this book was a joy to read. I loved the interactions with Khai and Esme. They were so awkward and charming at the same time. They made you want to root for them because they were so uncertain of each other and of their feelings for one another. Every one of their interactions made me either cringe from the awkwardness of the two of them or laugh from their awkwardness. There was never a dull moment with these two seemingly opposites that were really a great fit for one another.

To be honest, I knew going into The Bride Test that there was no way for it to top The Kiss Quotient (there was something magically perfect about that book) and that was okay with me. What I did get though was a fantastic follow-up that left me craving more from the mind of Helen Hoang and all of these fantastic characters I have grown to love. Now bring on Quan’s book!

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A Buddy Read – Intercepted by Alexa Martin {+ a giveaway}

A Buddy Read – Intercepted by Alexa Martin {+ a giveaway}Intercepted by Alexa Martin
Published by Berkley Books
Published: September 11, 2018
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three-stars

Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there's a new player on the horizon, and he's in a league of his own...

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She's definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There's just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Gavin fights to show Marlee he's nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team's wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee's return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.

Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin's relationship to survive the season.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

As a fan of football romances this book was on my radar for a while. But when an opportunity was presented to do a buddy read with some of my fantasy football girls it was a no brainer. Seven of us read Intercepted together and we had a lot of fun doing it and being able to discuss it.

Intercepted is the story of Marlee. Marlee has been the perfect girlfriend to NFL wide receiver, Chris Alexander, for the last ten years. She was supposed to be his wife. Instead she discovers her relationship wasn’t want she thought. Suddenly single she swears off NFL players and all the baggage that comes with them. That is until she sees the new QB on the team, a guy she never thought she would see again after their one night together. Marlee soon realizes that giving up NFL players may not Be as easy as she thought. Especially with Gavin Pope underfoot.

Honestly, as fun as the book was to read with my fabulous football ladies, I didn’t love it as much as I hoped. It was good enough, and not a struggle to read, but something was off for me. There were things I was supposed to laugh at, I think, and I ended up being annoyed which made me sad. I did like some of the characters a lot though so that was a bonus. But what I really enjoyed was that the author was able to base the book off her experience from being an actually NFL WAG. That was hands down my favorite part of the story.

All in all it was a good book and I may read the next in the series. But really it was just fun to chat about with my girls. It’s been a long time since I’ve done a book club kind of thing and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Review Links:

Amazon || B&N || Kobo || Book Depository

~~~~~~~~

About Alexa Martin

Alexa Martin is a writer and stay at home mom. She lives in Colorado with her husband, a former NFL player who now coaches at the high school where they met, their four children, and a German Shepherd. When she's not telling her kids to put their shoes on...again, you can find her catching up with her latest book boyfriend or on Pinterest pinning meals she'll probably never make. Her first book, Intercepted, was inspired by the eight years she spent as an NFL wife.

Giveaway: 5 winners will receive a finished paperback of Intercepted. Open to US. Entrants must be 18+. Giveaway is open until 12 AM CDT October 8. Please enter via Rafflecopter below; winner will be chosen at random, and odds are determined by number of entries.

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A Buddy Read – Intercepted by Alexa Martin {+ a giveaway}Fumbled by Alexa Martin
Published by Berkley Books
Published: April 23, 2019
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A second chance doesn't guarantee a touchdown in this new contemporary romance from the author of Intercepted.

Single-mother Poppy Patterson moved across the country when she was sixteen and pregnant to find a new normal. After years of hard work, she's built a life she loves. It may include a job at a nightclub, weekend soccer games, and more stretch marks than she anticipated, but it's all hers, and nobody can take that away. Well, except for one person.

TK Moore, the starting wide receiver for the Denver Mustangs, dreamt his entire life about being in the NFL. His world is football, parties, and women. Maybe at one point he thought his future would play out with his high school sweetheart by his side, but Poppy is long gone and he's moved on.

When Poppy and TK cross paths in the most unlikely of places, emotions they've suppressed for years come rushing back. But with all the secrets they never told each other lying between them, they'll need more than a dating playbook to help them navigate their relationship.

 

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Blog Tour – An Excerpt of Intercepted by Alexa Martin

Blog Tour – An Excerpt of Intercepted by Alexa MartinIntercepted by Alexa Martin
Published by Berkley Books
Published: September 11, 2018
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Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there's a new player on the horizon, and he's in a league of his own...

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She's definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There's just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Gavin fights to show Marlee he's nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team's wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee's return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.

Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin's relationship to survive the season.

The idea of Gavin showing up to my family home sets the butterflies in my stomach free. I have to remind myself he doesn’t remember me, he’s just being friendly to a teammate’s girlfriend. End of story.

“Don’t you wish. Chris isn’t even promised a seat. Quarterback or not, my family doesn’t share well when it comes to pasta.”

“Well, I’m awesome, and Chris is questionable. Your family would love me.”

“Maybe they could find a seat for you, but I’m not sure the room is big enough for your ego to tag along.” I ignore the jab at Chris, handing Gavin the final plate.

“Damn. You got jokes?” He acts insulted, but there’s a smile on his face when he says it. I shrug it off and give him a hand towel. I tend to forget not everybody knows my sense of humor. Something I should try harder to remember when it concerns my boyfriend’s coworkers.

He hands me the last plate to dry, and his fingers graze mine. The contact is so minimal, I shouldn’t have noticed it. But when it comes to Gavin, I notice everything. “Thanks for helping, but I really do have work to finish.”

I hang the towel from the stove and try to play it cool. I’m not a relationship expert or anything, but I’m pretty sure I’ve watched enough reality shows to know crushing on your boyfriend’s coworker is generally a no-no.

“TK told me you did his website. I checked it out and it looks fantastic. Are you taking on new clients?”

When I turn away from the stove and face him, he’s in the same spot, watching me with what I think is either curiosity, mistrust, or kindness.

Yes, I’m aware those are all different, but I’ve never been very good at reading people.

“Always. It’s rare for me to ever turn down a client.” I look for something else in the kitchen to keep me busy.

“Good, because my website needs an overhaul since I switched teams.”

Oh no. Not gonna happen. Seeing him on occasion is one thing, but working for him is on a whole other level of asking for trouble.

“Your website? Didn’t you already have somebody design your website?” I scramble for any excuse to say no. “I doubt you need a new one, just a few tweaks, and I don’t like messing with other people’s work.”

“You just said you didn’t turn down a client. I want a new website. I’ll have Madison email you some pictures of me in Mustangs gear and shots of my charity events.”

Oh lovely, Gavin and Madison. This keeps getting better and better.

“Your girlfriend is your secretary? How very old-school.”

“Madison isn’t my girlfriend. She’s an old friend who happens to work in PR.” He shakes his head, acting like the idea of him with the leggy beauty is outrageous. “Think about it for me. I’d really appreciate it, and I promise to recommend you to everyone I know.”

Dammit. Doing this would be huge for me. I got my degree in graphic design from the Art Institute five years ago and started doing some freelance work to keep me busy. Business has been growing slowly over the past five years . . . which is fine. Chris gets all offended when I offer to pay for anything so I shovel all my money into savings and paying off my student loans.

I graduated with my masters in marketing last spring and have spent all summer (unsuccessfully) trying to find an adult job complete with medical. Unfortunately for me, the closest I got to medical was the marijuana dispensary next door to an interview I went to. So while I wait to find the apparent unicorn job I’ve spent my entire life preparing for, I might just have to build a website for my ex-fling turned current boyfriend’s coworker.

I’m about to agree when the intercom buzzes and Chris’s voice booms through the kitchen. “Marlee, can you go find Pope for us?” he asks. He hangs up before I have the chance to answer.

“I guess that’s my cue.” Gavin starts walking out of the kitchen but stops before he makes it all the way out. “By the way, I think you dropped this.” He pulls something small out of his pocket, tosses it to me, and is gone before I even realize what I’m holding.

My grandma’s necklace. The one my mom gave me after she passed.

The one I lost four years ago in a Chicago apartment.

Holy shit.

He kept it?

Holy shit.

He remembers me!

~~~~~~~~

Seems like the perfect book to read as football season kicks off!

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Review: The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang

Review: The Kiss Quotient – Helen HoangThe Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Published by Berkley
Published: June 5, 2018
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five-stars

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Holy. Wow. What a book!

That was my first thought after I finished The Kiss Quotient.

I had seen a lot of people talking about The Kiss Quotient and I admit that it made me a little scared to read it. Hyped up books can sometimes go horribly wrong. You get your hopes up and expect something earth shattering only to be let down. I have been burned before and super sad about it. But The Kiss Quotient was not one of those burns. It was fun, and real, and filled with smoking hot chemistry.

At first glance, Stella and Michael are complete opposites. Stella is a serious and quirky character that has Asperger’s, while Michael is this cool, suave guy that happens to be an escort. On paper there is nothing about these two that should fit. They live in different worlds and lead very different lives. But in the end that is exactly what made them work. When Stella hires Michael all their boundaries are pushed and they end up finding a comfort with one another they never expected. Their differences end up bringing out the best in each of them and making them start to question the rules they have been living by. Watching them step out of their respective comfort zones and form a physical and emotional bound is a pure thing of beauty. Meeting one another changes them to the core and that is what I found so special and unique about The Kiss Quotient.

Miranda Kenneally said it was a reverse Pretty Woman and she was so spot on with that description and I’m mad at myself for not even seeing it because the obvious aside (Stella hiring an escort), it had the same feels as that classic movie and made you just root for this two to be together. Honestly it was my favorite romance read of the year and I think it will be yours too. Go and check it out!

Buy links: Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Nook, Books a Million, Indiebound, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play

About Helen Hoang

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.

Have you read The Kiss Quotient yet? Is it on your TBR?

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Berkley Bookmas – Excerpt of Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton (+ giveaway)

Andi’s ABCs is so excited to participate in Berkley Bookmas and I’m hosting an excerpt of Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton today! Berkley Bookmas is chock full of exclusive content from authors like exclusive excerpts, deleted scenes, author recipes and more! Check out the calendar of events below:

Berkley Bookmas – Excerpt of Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton (+ giveaway)Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play #14
Published by Berkley Books
Published: February 13th 2018
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Hockey player Will “Mad Dog” Madigan is back for his second shot at the international games. He’s fired up and ready to play—both on and off the ice, and when he meets figure skater Amber Sloane, she’s unlike any woman he’s ever met. She’s ambitious and driven and takes no time for fun. But Will wants to show Amber there’s always time for romance—even in this competitive environment. Between fierce competition and chasing gold, will they have a chance at finding love?

“Yeah? What are your cravings?”

“Hmm, let’s see. Thick crust pizza with sausage and extra cheese. Lasagna. Chocolate chip cookies. Brownies. Oh, and cheeseburgers. I really love cheeseburgers. With onion rings.”

He laughed. “That’s a damn fine menu, Amber. Surely you can have some of those things at least once a week, right?”

“I get healthy proteins, like lean chicken and fish. Only when I finish a competition am I allowed to indulge.”

“Allowed? Come on, honey, you’re a grown-ass woman. You can make your own decisions.”

She looked down at her ice cream, suddenly losing her appetite for its creamy sinfulness. She pushed it aside. “I do make my own decisions. Like now. I’m full.”

Will looked over at her cup. “You barely ate two bites.”

“It doesn’t take much to fill me up.” Which was her mother’s mantra.

Eat half of what’s on your plate, Amber. You’re thin anyway, so you don’t need a lot of food.

Except she was always hungry, and drinking more water never filled her up.

“Yeah? Well I’m eating this entire cone and two scoops, which I know I’ll burn up on the ice. You should do the same.”

Will didn’t understand how hard it was for her to maintain the balance between strength and figure. But she did. She’d worked so hard, and nothing was going to derail her.

Not even the tempting chocolate raspberry ice cream that sat in front of her.

This had been a mistake. She should have never come here with Will. But since she had, she’d politely wait until he finished his ice cream and then she’d make her way back to her apartment.

“Would you like to taste mine?” he asked.

She shook her head. “No, I’m good.”

“So’s this mint chocolate chip. And I promise I don’t have germs.”

Oh, she’d love to put her mouth where he’d had his mouth. That wasn’t the issue at all. Just the thought of swirling her tongue where his tongue had been caused flames to lick along her nerve endings, making her wish they were outside where it was cooler.

“Do you like mint, Amber?” he asked.

“I do.”

He leaned forward, offering the cone. “Take a lick.”

She was going to self-combust if he kept talking to her that way.

“Okay.” She started to take the cone from him, but instead he wrapped his hand around hers and held the cone steady. She leaned forward and flicked her tongue over the top of the cone, watching the way his gaze was glued to her mouth, which only made her previous heated state grow more incendiary.

She sat back and pulled her hand from his. “It’s really good.”

“Yeah, it is really good,” he said, and Amber was certain he hadn’t been talking about the ice cream.

She’d been hit on by a lot of guys over the years, mainly at skating competitions, and especially at the international games. She’d ignored them all to focus only on her goal of winning. Never before had she been affected by flirting or guys coming on to her. She knew she’d be nothing more than a one-night stand, and she wasn’t much interested in being some guy’s forgettable bang.

But there was something about Will Madigan that intrigued her. He was hot, and had a magnificent body. She liked that they were compatible from a skating point of view, but she’d had attractive male figure skaters hit on her before and they had certainly been more compatible than Will, so what was the deal with this guy? Why him, other than she’d madly crushed on him four years ago when he’d never once even looked in her direction.

That was probably it. He’d noticed her tonight, and she felt vindicated. Plus, she was determined to live it up these games.

Though she was going to do it on her terms. She was going to be the one doing the choosing, and it was going to be on her timeline. When she was ready.

She wasn’t going to jump in the sack with the first guy on the first night.

Even if said guy was hot and sexy and had eyes that made her melt.

The giveaway: one $100 Visa gift card, and a book/galley/bound manuscript by each of the authors participating.  http://bit.ly/2zlFxAq

 

For tomorrow’s fun, head to one of the following blogs: GraveTells Romance; The Book Disciple; The Book Bellas; Books & Beauty Are My Bag

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