A Book Review: The Kiss Quotient

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I had read about Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient in a couple of different places, so I decided to check it out. I’m so glad I did.

I read some nasty reviews, comparing the book to 50 Shades. The people who wrote those reviews are ignorant. They saw the sex part and immediately made assumptions that  distorted their perceptions. Shame on them. The premise of 50 Shades was sex. The motivations in 50 Shades were sex. Not so in The Kiss Quotient.

Stella, the heroine, is motivated to overcome the issues her autism creates with dating so she can have a somewhat normal relationship with a man, get married, and provide her parents with the grandchildren they want. She knows she has problems. The logical solution is to hire someone to teach her.

Michael is willing to do just about anything to help pay for his mother’s medical bills. That includes becoming a paid escort. Which is how Stella found him and hired him to help her learn to be in a relationship–the dating, the touching, the intimacy.

Her autism creates many awkward or embarrassing situations, especially with Michael’s Vietnamese family.  The way Stella’s brain functions only adds to the hurt and misunderstandings about their cultural differences.

I loved this book so much.

MJ Monday-Movies: The Ref

The Ref, a 1994 flick (Dennis Leary, Kevin Spacey, and Judy Davis)has become one of my favorite Christmas movies.

This is not a movie for children.

A thief whose heist goes awry takes a bickering couple hostage on Christmas Eve. Much comedy ensues as we see the underside of family holiday gatherings. The visiting in-laws (including Glynis Johns in a completely different portrayal of the mother-in-law than she was in While You Were Sleeping), the criminal child, a drunken Santa Claus, and an inept sidekick all come together for a laugh fest.

For those who think just because a movie is set at Christmas doesn’t make it a Christmas movie will probably argue that The Ref is in that category. But the underlying story is what matters, and although this is a black comedy, the story is deeper than laughing at a dysfunctional family.

MJ Monday-Movies: Nightmare Alley

My husband thought I would like Nightmare Alley, and he was correct. I had seen Tyrone Power in a Zoro movie and liked him. I was familiar with Joan Blondell from TV.

Power plays a carnival huckster who eventually gets his comeuppance. Lots of plot in the story. Lots of emotion. I also learned where the word “geek” originated. The film blew me away.

Here’s the TCM intro to the film.

If you get a chance, you should check it out.

If you

Book Review-Linda Howard: Son of the Morning

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I once listened to an RWA workshop in which the presenter, an editor, said just once she’d like to read a submission where time travel was voluntary. My immediate thought  was you’ve never read Linda Howard’s Son of the Morning.

I love this book. It has time travel, a Scottish hero, a modern day (circa 1997) heroine on the run from some “deep state” thugs, murder, Knights of the Templar, instructions on how to live off the grid, and a true battle between good and evil.

The scenes in the beginning of the book alternate between 20th century USA and 14th century Scotland. The heroine is seeking; the hero senses someone is watching him, but doesn’t understand how. Of course, he knows why.

The heroine is a scholar who must develop other attributes to survive. The hero is a warrior with a secret.

Five stars.

MJ Monday-Movies: Yesterday


I’m surprised the movie Yesterday isn’t better known than it is. I am unfamiliar with the male lead, but the female lead is Lily James of Downton Abbey and the Guernsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Society fame. Ed Sheeran and Kate McKinnon are also in the movie.

The plot is simple: a struggling musician, Jack,  is hit by a bus; when he comes to, it’s in a world where the Beatles never existed. The movie is a romance. It’s quirky. There’s an interesting plot twist. And while the Beatles aren’t the only thing that never existed in Jack’s new world, but the movie doesn’t hit you over the head with it. Just one or two mentions. And a funny one at the end.

Five stars.