I’m pretty sure Helen Hoang is my favorite romance author of all time. Ok, I don’t read a lot of romance or maybe any other romance, but when another one appeared on the Read Harder list this year, she’s the first author I thought of. Even better, she actually had a book that fit the challenge. A romance starring a single parent! I love this romance just about as much as The Kiss Quotient, which I had read for task 13 last year. I especially love that these books take place in the same world and we get to see some of the characters we already know.
This time the main characters are Khai, Micheal’s cousin from the first book, and Esme, a new character and a single parent. Khai, just like Stella had been in the first book, is neurodiverse. He’s autistic and doesn’t connect well with people. Unlike Stella, he had given up on the entire idea of romantic partnership. He had a brother to give his mother grandchildren and was just going to be peacefully alone forever. His mother, on the other hand, had different plans. She brought Esme from Vietnam as a bit of a mail order bride and made him promise to just live with her for a summer.
I love both of them. It’s the little considerations for each other during a trial summer that was my favorite. I also find Khai’s cluelessness about women endearing. I actually really love the whole trope of a guy who is confident in the rest of his life being shy and awkward around the girl he’s crushing on. Ok, that’s not just a book thing, but moving on…
I love Hoang’s writing, her ability to mix in the steamy scenes that never seem gratuitous but are still immensely satisfying. I’m really looking forward to the third book that’s coming out next year where we get to see Quan fall in love. I really love him too. He’s been a great character in both stories. I love all the little things in both stories that are realistic things that could keep people apart and the ways they are overcome. They are perfect feel good stories. The characters are adorable, the romance is sweet, the sex is steamy. What more could you want from a romance novel?