A Book Review: The Kiss Quotient

Image credit: tieury / 123RF Stock Photo

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.

Memory: Milk

As a child and teenager, I loved milk. Whole milk.

When I was very young, a milkman delivered to our house, twice a week. We got the pasteurized milk in glass bottles with green tops, while my aunt & uncle next door got homogenized milk with red tops. That meant at our house there was always an inch or so of cream at the top of the bottle, and no matter how much I shook the bottle to blend the cream into the rest of the milk, there were disgusting thick white clumps on my Alpha-Bits in the morning.

As a teenager, we got milk in waxed cardboard cartons from the supermarket. Homogenized, thank you G*d.  My mom always had warm-from-the-oven homemade cookies waiting for us when we got off the school bus late afternoon. A tall glass of cold milk was the perfect accompaniment.

Then I moved out on my own. With room mates.

See  that  stove?

An  antique  Norge.  Best  stove I ever  had.  Pilot  light.  Kept  the  whole  top  of  the  stove  warm.  Great spot for raising bread dough. Bad spot for a room mate to leave the milk. All day. A second room mate would come home, see the milk on the stove and put it back in the refrigerator. I would come home and pour myself a glass of . . . clumps. Made those clots of cream from my pre-homogenized day seem almost palatable.

Which is why I can no longer drink a glass of milk.

Summer Is Supposed to Be Hot

I am so tired of freezing in June, July, and August. I grew up in the country. We didn’t have air conditioning. Fans sufficed.  We wore shorts and tank tops. We tried to absorb the heat like solar batteries to get us through the long upstate New York winters.

My husband grew up in a high rise in the Bronx. But he went to sleep-away camp in the Catskills every summer. Yet he must have air conditioning. Why?

I do not understand the obsession with air conditioning. I hate going to work because it’s so blessed cold half my co-workers are running space heaters. It would be more cost efficient to reset the AC from “meat locker” to “summer dawn on the lake” and let those who are  warm use a fan than it is to run at “meat locker” and  have more people turning on their space heaters. But what do I know?  I shouldn’t have to wear a cardigan inside when it’s 90 degrees outside.

Yes, I will run the air conditioning in my car, spoiled American wench that I am, but I prefer opening the windows and the moon roof.

Just because the thermometer reads 75F does not mean the air conditioner needs to go on at home.  It roars. The noise pollution is as bad as the frigidity.

Summer is supposed to be hot. You’re supposed to open windows to catch warm summer breezes and the scent of flowers.

I’m not talking about deadly heat waves.  I’m not talking about deserts. I don’t live near a desert. I’m the first to turn on the AC when the weather hits 90+. I’m not an unreasonable woman.

And it’s not unreasonable to expect warmth in the summer.


Memorial Day Adventure

Several months ago, while cleaning out my file cabinet, I came across of paper work from a long ago Memorial Day weekend.

Several co-workers and I were sitting in a bar Friday night and decided to drive to Virginia Beach for the weekend. No, we weren’t drunk. But we were young and optimistic. Surely Virginia Beach would be warmer than upstate New York at the end of May.

Three of us decided to go. My friend Dave had another friend who had moved to Washington DC earlier in the year, and somehow (this was pre-cell phones) got hold of his friend. We agreed to pick him up enroute to our holiday weekend.

We drove all night. At one point, I remember jerking myself awake–I was behind the wheel. That scared me. Dave took over driving duties so I could catch a nap. Our friend Char was in the back seat of my car, sleeping.

We got to Washington, DC and my first encounter with the beltway. In comparison,  traffic doesn’t exist in upstate New York.  But I managed.

Dave’s friend, Ron, it turned out, was living in a pup tent in Burke Lake Park. He had tossed his motorcycle and camping gear into the back of his pick up truck and moved.

As you can see by the shadowy photos, we actually found Burke Lake Park in northern Virginia. And we eventually found Ron. He said he would ride his bike to Virginia Beach and catch up with us there.

We eventually arrived at our destination and actually found a place to stay right on the beach. Probably due to a cancellation. The weather was overcast and cold. I had to buy a jacket. Char flew home the next day. Dave and I tried sitting on the beach but we turned blue instead of tanning. We spent the rest of the weekend looking for Ron.  We never did find him.

The highlight of the weekend was on the first night when we went out to dinner and found ourselves being entertained by the Drifters.

The funny thing is, I flew back to Virginia Beach by myself in mid-July and spent a week in the same beachfront motel. And you’ll never guess who I ran into one night. Yep. Ron. Turns out he moved there, with his camping gear, motorcycle, and pickup truck.


Music: Sun Songs

One of my foibles is creating music playlists by theme. Yes, I love finding songs for the books I’m writing, but I also enjoy coming up with an idea and finding as many songs as I can to create a CD (yes, I still play CDs in my car and office). I keep running lists on my phone.

One of themes I’m currently collecting is Sun Songs.

Here’s what I have so far:

  • Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone
  • Sesame Street Theme
  • Sunshine Go Away Today
  • Walking on Sunshine
  • Good Day Sunshine
  • Sunshine on my Shoulder
  • I’ll Follow the Sun
  • Sunny
  • Soak Up the Sun

I’m open to suggestions!