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#BookReview – The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

the kiss quotient - helen hoang
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to admit, I started reading this book after seeing an excerpt in some article somewhere, and I wondered if this book would really live up to its hype.

Mystery solved… it does!

From the well-beyond-ordinary characters that I completely fell in love with, to the slow-burn romance, to the steaming hot love scenes between these diverse, unconventional people, Hoang has definitely turned me into a fan.

Stella has a Ph.D. in Econometrics. She’s brilliantly smart, hardworking, and there’s nothing more she likes more than her work… so much so that she works even on her days off. As such, her parents are filthy rich, and she herself, even outside of her family money, has more money than the poor girl knows what to do with. She’s also on the Autism Spectrum.

As a super-introvert myself, I have to say I can 100% relate to this part of the story, but Stella at some point realizes she must turn the act of learning how to be good in social settings into a task to master, including how to successfully be in a romantic relationship with a man. These things do not come naturally to her, so the best way she can come up with to master such a thing is to hire someone to teach her.

Introduce Michael. Michael is a Vietnamese man a few years younger than Stella, described to be very handsome and often said to look like two different movie stars. Michael is such an endearing character on so many levels. So what if he makes money on the weekends as a Male Escort? He has his reasons… and it’s lucky he did when you think about it, because otherwise, he may have never met poor Stella.

When these two get together, sparks fly, and the push and pull of will-they-won’t-they is just enough to keep you wildly flipping the pages to get to the “they will!” parts. The way he takes her and puts her at ease, making her feel comfortable in her own skin, making her see how a man should treat her and making her see that what she wants is just as important as what her partner wants, and making her see that she’s perfect just the way she is, labels be damned.

This book will challenge you, and it will break your heart, and it will restore your faith in humanity once again when all is said and done. If you add one Must-Read book to your TBR this year, I’d say this one should be it.

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Your New Romance TBR List: Finalists and Winners of the RITA 2018 Awards

This past week was the RWA National Conference in Denver, where the winners were announced on July 19 for the RITA Awards for 2018. That means Romance Readers everywhere rejoice with a new set of books to add to their TBR lists!

Below is the list of winners in each category, along with the finalists. Let me know if you see any familiar authors or if you’ve found some new favorites to add to your one-clicks.

Best First Book

Take the Lead - Alexis Daria
Take the Lead by Alexis Daria

Best First Book Finalists included:

Black Bird of the Gallows - Meg Kassel

His Perfect Partner - Priscilla Oliveras.jpg

The Thing With Feathers - McCall Hoyle

Waltzing with the Earl - Catherine Tinley

Contemporary Romance (Long)

Falling Hard - Lexi Ryan
Falling Hard by Lexi Ryan

Contemporary Romance (Long) Finalists included:

The Dating Game - Avril Tremayne.jpg

Famous - Jenny Holiday

No One But You - Brenda Novak

Take the Lead - Alexis Daria

Tougher in Texas - Kari Lynn Dell

The Whys Have It - Amy Mayo

The Wingman - Natasha Anders


Contemporary Romance (Mid-Length)

Tell Me - Abigail Strom
Tell Me by Abigail Strom

Contemporary Romance (Mid-Length) Finalists included:

His Perfect Partner - Priscilla Oliveras.jpg


Contemporary Romance (Short)

Second Chance Summer - Kait Nolan
Second Chance Summer by Kait Nolan

Contemporary Romance (Short) Finalists included:


 Erotic Romance

Wicked Dirty - J. Kenner
Wicked Dirty by J. Kenner

Erotic Romance Finalists included:

Historical Romance (Long)

Between the Devil and the Duke - Kelly Bowen
Between the Devil and the Duke by Kelly Bowen

Historical Romance (Long) Finalists included:

Historical Romance (Short)

Waltzing with the Earl - Catherine Tinley
Waltzing with the Earl by Catherine Tinley

Historical Romance (Short) Finalists included:

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance

Now That You Mention It - Kristan Higgins
Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance Finalists included:

Paranormal Romance

Hunt the Darkness - Stephanie Rowe
Hunt the Darkness by Stephanie Rowe

Paranormal Romance Finalists included:


Romance Novella

Forbidden River - Bryn Kelly
Forbidden River by Brynn Kelly

Romance Novella Finalists included:

Dancing with the Duke’s Heir by Bronwyn Scott

Sweet Home Highlands by May McGoldrick


Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements

Then There was You - Kara Isaac

Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements Finalists included:

Grounded Hearts - Jeanne M. Dickson.jpg

A New Shade of Summer - Nicole Deese

A Note Yet Unsung - Tamera Alexander

One Simple Wish - Katy Lee

Romantic Suspense

The Fixer - HelenKay Dimon
The Fixer by HelenKay Dimon

Romantic Suspense Finalists included:

Critical Instinct - Janie Crouch.jpg

Guarding Mr. Fine - HelenKay Dimon.jpg

Montana Heat - Jennifer Ryan

Say You're Sorry - Melinda Leigh

Too Wilde to Tame - Tonya Burrows

Touch of Red - Laura Griffin

The Transporter - Liz Maverick

Under Fire - Scarlett Cole

 Young Adult Romance

Seize Today - Pintip Dunn
Seize Today by Pintip Dunn

Young Adult Romance Finalists included:

Black Bird of the Gallows - Meg Kassel

Letters to the Lost - Brigid Kemmerer

The Thing With Feathers - McCall Hoyle

Here is a GoodReads TBR list of all the books shown above. I hope you enjoy!

RITA 2018 Finalists

Between the Devil and the Duke
rita-2018-winner, rita-2018-finalist, to-read, and rita-2018-histor…
The Billionaire's Christmas Baby
to-read, rita-2018-finalist, and rita-2018-short-contemporary-romanc
to-read, rita-2018-finalist, and rita-2018-paranormal-romance-finali
Black Bird of the Gallows
rita-2018-finalist, to-read, and rita-2018-ya-romance-finalists
Blame It on the Duke
to-read, rita-2018-finalist, and rita-2018-historical-short-finalist


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Two Man Red Release Prize Pack Giveaway (ends July 31, 2018)

Two Man Red, Book 2 in the Big Man Blue Series, releases July 12, 2018, and Nicole is giving away prizes in conjunction with her new release!

2 Grand Prize Winners Will Get:

  • 1 signed Paperback copy of Big Man Blue
  • 1 signed Paperback copy of Two Man Red
  • 1 Ebook copy of The Boss Series 1-3
  • 1 Big Man Blue/Two Man Red Limited Edition Post Card with a handwritten note from Nicole R. Locker.

5 Runners Up Will Get:

  • 1 ebook copy of Big Man Blue
  • 1 ebook copy of Two Man Red


This contest is sponsored by Nicole R. Locker, Author of Contemporary Romance. By participating in the contest, each entrant agrees to abide by these Official Rules, including all eligibility requirements, and understands that the results of the contest, as determined by Sponsor and its agents, are final in all respects. The contest is subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited by law. Participants must be at least 18 years of age to participate. Contest expires July 31, 2018. See below for ways to enter. Winner will be randomly selected via KingSumo on August 1, 2018. Nicole R. Locker reserves the right to close down this contest at any time, and reserves the right to investigate any possible cheating or tampering before determining a winner. See Nicole R. Locker’s Privacy Policy for information on how your data is collected and stored. Your data will only be collected pertaining to the entries you opt to participate with, and Nicole R. Locker will not store your email or add you to a newsletter list unless you voluntarily subscribe.

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My Top 5 Romance Reads (so far) of 2018

We’ve already made it half way through 2018.  Can you believe it?  Where does the time even go?  I’ve had all these goals this year, many of which have been thwarted by various craziness like GDPR and #cockygate.  My goal to release 5 books this year is definitely behind schedule, with Big Man Blue being my first book of 2018, releasing at the end of April, and now my second, Two Man Red, coming out in just two short weeks on July 12!

What I have managed to stay semi on target with, though, is my 2018 reading goal.  According to GoodReads, I’m only one book behind schedule, which I’d say is pretty good, right?

So here’s a list of my Top 5 Romance Reads (so far) of 2018.

1. The Protector: Men of the North Book 1 by Elin Peer

the protector

When I read the blurb for this book … women rule the world and outnumber men 14 to 1, except for a group of strong, burly men who live in the North who refuse to be ruled by women… well, needless to say, I had to read this.  And I’ll tell you how much I liked this book.  I listened to it TWICE.  I nominated it for my monthly book club to read for the month of May, so I did another listen-through of the audio, and it was even better the second time.

I immediately followed this one up with Books 2 and 3, also awesome reads, and I eagerly await Book 4 to be released in audio ASAP! (Please?)

2. Rebel Heir and Rebel Heart by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

rebel heir - vi keeland penelope ward

As much as I thought this was going to be a book with a royal type character, Rush was far from royal, but he was super swoon-worthy and as bad-boy as they come.  Rush was that one guy that every girl next door has had her heart just completely massacred and shattered into complete and utter devastation by in her early and formative young adult years.  (Is that just me?)

And of course, Book 1 ends off on a cliffhanger, so you can’t read one without reading the other, but I swear, I was listening to this audio book every spare moment I could find.  It was that good.  But with wonder team Keeland and Ward, who would expect anything less?

3. Appion by Elodie Colt

appion - elodie coltThis story will surprise you because it’s going to come out of nowhere and snag you on a new one-click author you’ll never want to miss another book from, who you’ve probably never heard of. This book happens to be a prequel that leads into this author’s Jaylior Series, and if you haven’t read this PNR/UF gem, you’re going to be sorry you waited so long once you do.  The action, the steam, the conflict, all I can say is, try this little starter book out, and just see if you don’t need to devour the rest of the series.  Because this is just a tiny little taste of what’s waiting!

4. Most Likely to Score by Lauren Blakely

most likely to score - lauren blakelyI mean, come on.  If you don’t already know this book is going to be awesome just by the author name at the bottom of that book cover, then you must be hiding under a rock somewhere or something.  Lauren Blakely books are always an automatic one-click for me, and while I have a few still in queue to read that I haven’t gotten a chance to devour yet, this one was definitely a fun, flirty, super sexy rom-com with the teasing and torture you’re bound to get in typical Blakely fashion.  Will they?  Won’t they?  And the fact that the heroine in this book was a diverse ethnicity made it that much more lovable for me.  Bonus points for that!

5. Dirty Exes by Rachel Van Dyken

dirty exes - rachel van dykenIs it too early to say this book was kind of awesome?  This book happens to be this month’s pick for my Romance Book Club, and I finished it just this past week.  How fun is this book?  It definitely surprised me, in that it had me starting out thinking it was going to go one way, but ended up going in a completely different but infinitely better way.  And can I just say, that the entire book I spent thinking Colin probably looks like my secret man crush, Mr. Brock O’Hurn?  With the long, brown hair that he keeps in the man bun?  Yeah … Definitely a fun read, and the chemistry between Blaire and Colin was just so fun and kind of heart melting.  Yep, that’s right.  I said heart melting!

If you read and liked The Matchmaker’s Playbook by this same author, then you’ll probably like this book.  It has the same kind of feel to it with Blaire running her own business similar to Ian’s in Matchmaker.  Oh yeah, and Blaire happens to be Ian’s sister. 🙂

What’s Next?

Want to know what I’m reading next?  You can always follow me on GoodReads to see, or you can join my Romance Book Club, and keep up with our romance read of the month.

I am looking forward to a few books coming out soon or just recently released, and those include:

Perfect Vision - LM Halloran Reckless Love - J Saman

What about you?

Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned above?  What have your favorite reads been so far this year?  Which romance reads are you looking forward to reading that you haven’t gotten to sink your teeth into yet?  Be sure to let me know in the comments!