Publishing Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
The Premise from the Publisher: "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 crave all of the other things he's making her feel. 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..." (Penguin).
My overall thoughts and review: Earlier last week, one of my co-workers came up to me and mentioned that she was going to lend me a book that I would love. She mentioned it being an #ownvoices narrative and representation of Vietnamese in a contemporary romance novel. Just from that alone, I was sold. I immediately started reading the book when I got home that day, and I could not put it down. I stayed up into the early hours of the night reading it and I'm still thinking about it now. As someone who mostly reads contemporary romance novels, I find at times, it can be quite formulaic, and although it's predictable that there will be a HEA, what really stuck with me was the Vietnamese cultural references and Stella's Asperger's. I haven't read much in terms of Asperger's representation in novels, but I feel like I have a bit of a better understanding after reading this. I liked that it kind of educates the reader as you read along. As for the Vietnamese cultural references, as someone who is part-Vietnamese, this made my heart swell. I loved learning about Michael's family and how much it closely resembled my own. Mẹ was such a lovely character as well and reminded me a lot of my mom. All the food references was great too... I've already told my mom that the next time I visit I want her to cook me Bún ;) This book was everything I could ever want in a romance novel and more. It was sexy, but sweet. It delved into deeper aspects such as anxieties of certain societal expectations: when you should get married, what job you should have, how you should behave, etc. I finished this book with a bit of sadness because I really loved Michael and Stella, as a couple, but also as individuals. Hoang's writing is enticing and this is definitely something unique and inspiring for the romance genre. I would highly recommend it, even if you aren't regularly a romance reader, this is just a lovely story. I'm already counting down the days until Hoang's next book comes out!
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)
Available for purchase at:
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