Stand Alone Reviews

“The Bride Test” by Helen Hoang

Okay, so I loved the Kiss Quotient and my expectations for the second book were high. But the author did not disappoint! Another interesting concept that challenges the usual run of the mill romance novels. We have Esme, a young vietnamese mother who agrees to come to America and see if she likes Khai, in the hopes of getting a better life for her family. She is a bit of an inspiration, and you get an good insight into her life with her daughter, mother and grandmother, and how she is constantly living in poverty but working for a better life.

Khai is none to keen on the potential bride his mother brought back from Vietnam. He goes through the motions because he doesn’t want to upset his mother, but the reality of living with Esme pushes his limits. He has Autism, and having a woman in his house, tempting him, throws his world into disorder.

The slow burn is great – and before you realise it, the tension turns sexual and romantic and you start turning pages quickly,  to find out how they come together.  Their inexperience with sex and romance is an interesting one, and makes the relationship feel really honest. Both their mother’s are good side characters, showing the difference of attitudes between the generations.

Again, really well written, with parts that will make you laugh, and cry.

I absolutely recommend this book.

For more info head to Helen’s website

“The Kiss Quotient” by Helen Hoang

Wow. This book was awesome. I was instantly interested in the premise – an econometrician with a fear of french kissing who looks for sexual experience with a half vietnamese, tailor come male escort.  Not your typical book intro. But as I started reading, it became more than interest, I was invested. Stella is a fascinating character, who is funny and relatable, and given she has Asperger’s, you really start to admire her strength of character.

Michael is daydream handsome, and his backstory pulls you into his character, but also his family life, growing up the oldest child in a Vietnamese family living in California. The interactions with his sisters and mum are brilliant and you get a real sense of authenticity.

The love scenes are great – hot but real. My favourite parts though, was the slow discovery and relationship that builds between them – both trying to sort out their feelings in their own context. For Michael this is managing his mother’s illness and fathers abandonment, and for Stella trying to grapple her emotions and desires while managing her Asperger’s and her mother’s pressure for a child.

I also love the acceptance and respect that this book promotes. It was refreshing.

For more info head to Helen’s website

“Dear Aaron” by Mariana Zapata

This book is one of those love stories that you start one afternoon and find yourself still reading well after midnight. It’s about two lonely people looking for connection. One is in the army stationed overseas, the other stateside and through writing to each other, they build strong foundations of a relationship without physically meeting. It’s written so well, that you are along for the ride as they discover each other.


This story builds up so well, and I found myself considering (I refrained, barely) skipping forward because I was desperate for them to move forward and for them to realise what they have.

There are parts of this book that will make you cry, but more that will make you laugh out loud. Both characters are honest, relatable and far from typical the personality types you see in many romance novels.

Read this book, you won’t regret it. Learn more at Mariana’s website.

“From Paris to Forever”  by Savannah Blaize

IMG_3807I’ve just finished reading “From Paris to forever” by Savannah Blaize. Being up front, I know Savannah through Romance Writers of Australia but my review is honest, and I promise I am not blowing smoke up her….you know what.  This is not what I normally read but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this sweet romance, and I absolutely recommend it.

This is a sweet romance that takes twists and turns as Todd and Chloe create challenges between them, then solve them. It’s emotional, with Chloe having to overcome a series of traumatic and harsh life events. Todd on the other hand, gives the appearance of having it all squared away, hiding his vulnerability that is beautiful once you see it.

I’ve lived in Melbourne, and this book captures this amazing city through Savannah’s talented descriptions of the surroundings, the cuisine and the life of this beloved city.

This book is worth the time, and will put a smile on your face, and love in your heart.

Learn more about Savannah at