The Heart Principle
by Helen Hoang
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 2 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 1 Sep 2021
Atlantic Books, Corvus
A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected - and the man she enlists to help her - in this heartfelt new romance by international bestselling author Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test and The Kiss Quotient
When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She's going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.
That's where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex - he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand herself. However, when tragedy strikes Anna's family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves...
"Such a fun read... Original and sexy and sensitive" - Roxane Gay on The Kiss Quotient
"Smart, honest, and achingly romantic, just as sexy as it is sweet" - Taylor Jenkins Reid on The Bride Test
"AWESOME. Adorable, sexy, smart. Exactly the book I wanted to read!" - Christina Lauren on The Kiss Quotient
"[Hoang] has truly found her voice - an important, entertaining, skilful voice at that." - Independent Online on The Bride Test
"One of the best books I've read in a very long time. It's funny, sad, poignant and impossible to put down" - Christine Feehan on The Kiss Quotient
"With serious moments offset by spot-on humor, this romance has broad appeal, and it will find a special place in the hearts of autistic people and those who love them" - Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 169 members
What an absolutely stunning book, Helen Hoang is a genius! The Heart Principle focuses on Anna, whose boyfriend has just brought up the idea of an open relationship with her. From there, Anna decides to empower herself by meeting men on dating apps for one night stands. Enter Quan, who we met in the previous books in series and their relationship blooms from there. Their story is one of my favourites I’ve ever read about. They both bring their own insecurities to the table and I felt this was dealt with so beautifully. They dialogue and warmth between each other was just so lovely to read, I would happily read 100 more books with them in it! Not only is this a romance book, but it deals with so many other issues such as mental health, grief and a late stage ASD diagnosis. Anna is diagnosed with ASD during this book, statistically woman are less likely to be diagnosed than men due to ‘masking’, whereby women are naturally more likely to immitate the more ‘desirable’ behaviours. Hoang explores how masking impacts Anna and her mental health and I feel it was honestly such an important read. Overall, I think this has something for everyone. A fantastic romance with a great plot that has depth and development, alongside tackling very important issues. An easy 5 stars from me, definitely check this one out!
Beautifully written and undeniably addictive, The Heart Principle expertly blends a heartwarming romance with deeper themes (such as grief and toxic relationships) to create an exquisitely complex and profoundly moving book that I literally couldn’t put down—I absolutely loved it! After a Viral Video accidentally launches her career—Violinist , Anna Su is suffering from burnout after trying to replicate the success. Now her long-term boyfriend has announced he wants an open relationship,before he can decide if he wants to commit. Hurt and angry Anna decides she’ll go along with it, so long as she can have an open relationship too—deciding to embark of a string of one night stands, the more unacceptable the man,the better. Enter, Quan Diep—he’s tattooed, rides a motorcycle and the complete opposite to the uptight boyfriend her family approves of. But as their one night stand fails (as does their second and third attempts) they realise what they share is far more than just physical attraction, leading Anna to invest in and begin to understand herself (and her self worth.) But when tragedy strikes,forcing Anna into a role ill-suited for her,the burden of expectations almost destroys her. Together,Anna and Quan have a chance at love—but first,they’ll have to fight for it... This was absolutely magnificent! I loved both The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test but I have to say,this surpasses them both. I’m soo happy that Quan finally got his own book, he was definitely one of my favourite characters from the series,so far. Anna was also an incredibly well written and endearingly relatable character,I couldn’t help but root for her and Quan to finally find their much deserved happiness. I also felt Anna’s family came off as quite insensitive to Anna’s mental and physical wellbeing (it had me heart broken for her) but, her emotional journey was excellently tackled and made me love her more for it. Honestly this is just soo incredible,I’d recommend it to any and all lovers of contemporary romance—it’s utterly addictive! (Though I suggest you read both The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test first.) Thanks to Corvus and NetGalley for the ARC.
I finished The Heart Principle, read the author's note, put my Kindle down, and I was speechless. This was not what I was expecting from a new Helen Hoang book. Of course, I knew she was a talented writer, both The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test are a delight, but this, this, is something else. It was the first time I was actually triggered by a book and needed to take a break between one chapter and the other. There's a rawness to The Heart Principle. There's something very unique a human about it. And as someone that sometimes struggles to fit it and has learned to mask emotions, this hit especially hard. But, it was both powerful and empowering. If you read Helen's previous books you know that we were all waiting to see Quan as the protagonist of this own story. But the Quan we meet here is very different than the one we met before. He had cancer, he survived it, but he's a different man. Gone is his easygoing attitude and the confidence he had in spades. He feels like he needs to prove to himself and the world that he still got it, that he is still worth it. But, THP is actually the story of Anna, a struggling musician that is stuck in a rut. She became internet famous playing the violin and ever since she feels like she can't reach the potential expected of her. In the midst of this breakdown, she is faced with her diagnosis in the autism spectrum, but, before she can even cope or try to make sense of who she is, there's a tragedy in her family. Her father becomes severely ill and Anna is intimidated into becoming his caregiver. This, paired with so many other challenges happening in her life, become a spiral into caregiver and autistic burnout. The Heart Principle starts as an unassuming romance between two broken people looking for a one-night stand and quickly morphs into something so much deeper. There are so many intricate themes and nuances. There's so much story and feeling. The romance is touching, steamy, beautiful, fun, and quirky, just like Hoang is famous for writing. Quan is the perfect hero we all thought he would be. But their story is just something you have to read and absorb for yourself. Of course, I wanted a bit more resolution. There was so much going on in the ending. You can almost see how it was difficult to tie all the elements together. But, even though this wasn't perfect, there were so many qualities that I couldn't not give this five stars. Helen Hoang was already fantastic, but this is a whole different level. And after reading the author's note I have even more respect for her as a writer. Trigger warnings for cancer, autistic burnout, caregiver burnout, masking, verbal and emotional abuse. Thank you so much Atlantic Books and Netgalley for approving me for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Oh my. ‘The Heart Principle’ maybe my favourite out of Helen Hoang’s books so far! I loved the characters and story, and basically everything about this book. While in ‘The Kiss Quotient’ and ‘The Bride Test’ I have enjoyed the author’s writing style, and rep in the books, I wasn’t as much in love with the main storyline. But ‘The Heart Principle’ not only delivered on my favourite aspects of Helen Hoang’s books, but also had a storyline that resonated more with me, and lovable characters that I absolutely adored. Anna is a violinist struggling with her career and a long-term relationship that may have an expiration date when her boyfriend announces he wants to try an open relationship for a while, while Quan is dealing with the aftermath of cancer and coming back to living the rest of his life. I really liked Quan, who appeared in the previous books by Helen Hoang as a secondary character, and it was lovely to see him at the forefront of his love story this time. But Ana is also interesting, full, and raw character. As always, in Helen Hoang’s books, I have enjoyed the characters’ bonds with their families and the friendships and families’ interaction – Helen Hoang writes these so well! Helen Hoang’s books never shy away from hard topics, and it was true in ‘The Heart Principle’ as well. This time, Anna has to deal with her father’s quickly deteriorating health, and the book asks serious questions of whether sometimes prolonging somebody’s life by all means may mean making them miserable, and how to say goodbye. ‘The Heart Principle’ is a romance, but it’s not a completely light-hearted or uplifting one (even though it has those moments). Anna and Quan’s story feels more real as a result, and you grow to care about these characters and their families very quickly. It’s definitely one to read!
I was super eager to read this one, after binging the other books in the series this year. I love Hoang's romances, they're diverse, imperfect and believable (and cough, steamy, cough) but this one struck a new level for me. It was raw and real, I cried multiple times reading this book! A perfect example of why contemporary romance is so much more than 'chick lit'.
Anna is a violinist who has been struggling since a video of her went viral. Now she is stuck in a loop of practicing music but never feeling good enough. When her boyfriend tells her he wants an open relationship she confides in her friends, who tell her to go and have some fun of her own. She meets Quan via a dating app. He has his own issues he is dealing with, but wants to be with Anna. Will they find a way to be together? A great read,which is qute emotional at times. I like how Michael and Stella from The Kiss Quotient appear in the book too.
'The Heart Principle' is the first novel I have read from Helen Hoang, and will certainly not be the last. The raw emotions on display left me reeling and have stayed with me long after I finished reading. Anna is a violinist on-leave from the San Francisco symphony, stuck in a self-destructive loop and experiencing emotional burnout. To add to her burden, her boyfriend insists they open their relationship. In her quest for a one-night stand, she meets lovely Quan, cancer survivor and entrepreneur. Their attraction is destined to be something more than a brief fling - we are left to wonder whether their love will survive against the reality of life, loss and familial expectations. Anna and Quan are not your typical romance novel protagonists. Their story is not neat - it is characterised by suffering and struggle, yet this makes their love something to admire and fully invest in. I raced through the novel, emotionally drained but driven by wanting to know the outcome of Anna and Quan's story. Helen Hoang channelling her experience of autistic burnout and caring for an unwell parent makes this book personal, raw and real. It is an essential read for anyone who enjoys a well-plotted romance firmly rooted in the truth of the human experience. All in all, Helen Hoang has written something beautiful which many readers are going to love and feel seen in its pages. I already have her other two novels waiting on my Kindle ready to devour - I can only hope they are as emotionally affecting and romantically stirring. 5 stars. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher who provided an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Talk about reading a book in one sitting! This story proves once again why it was one of my most anticipated read of the year or better said years now. But I’m so happy that the author took her time because it’s just the perfect romance book that you’ll fall in love with without even realising. I loved how everything starts and while I mightn’t be so brave as Anna to start over or just give a chance to a new experience after her douche boyfriend did what he did, I was rooting for her all the way through. Quan was the perfect hero in every possible imaginable way. Caring , assertive and very thoughtful, he was there for Anna even when he wasn’t asked for it. There’s a few topics that are tackled here and I love how the author managed to give them voice and true colours. Family dynamics and interventions aren’t always the best, and while I hated her sister for so many reasons, I cheered Anna on her way to break the chain and just be herself. I really hope we’ll get to see this series on the screen soon because it’s worthy much more than anything else. Very grateful to the publisher Atlantic Books for my review copy.
Witty, charming & heartfelt! I love Helen Hoang's romances because they're thoughtful, steamy & packed with fun sentiment. The 3rd book in the series was so worth the wait!
Helen Hoang knows how to grip you. Right from the start I was hooked, just like I was with The Kiss Quotient (another 5 star read). I love that this book touches on so many sensitive and delicate subjects. I genuinely felt my heart breaking and a pounding in my chest alongside the characters. The authenticity shown behind each autistic character that Helen Hoang portrays does so much justice and helps the reader to understand how it is to think differently to what you’re used to. This is shown in the heartfelt authors note that made me fall in love with her writing style even more. Each character in this book are so unique, I love Quan and his supportive nature. How no matter what he has been through and is currently going to he is able to still concentrate on others, which makes him feel like a genuine character. There isn’t a part of this book that didn’t flow or any cliches that normally come with a romance novel. Because it is so much more than that ans 100% worth the read.
This is my first book by Helen Hoang and it won’t be the last! I LOVED this book 🥰 I was expecting a fluffy romance but this was SO much more! I don’t really give 5 stars unless it was a truly exceptional book, welcome The Heart Principle as my first ever 5 star book. The story is about Anna who has a bunch of issues going on in her life, her struggles with them and how she learns to overcome them. I love the relationship between Anna and Quan, since they both have their own battles but they help one another through them no matter what. I felt I could relate to Anna as I’m also from an Asian family, so I understood some of what she went through family wise. I was totally rooting for Anna throughout the book. The author’s note at the end was truly emotional and definitely needs to be read. I had no idea this book is the third of a series, so the first two are going onto my TBR for sure. Many thanks to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for my advanced copy in exchange for a honest review.
I have never been disappointed by Helen Hoang and this is no different. She writes with such heart and I love that she portrays autism in romance novels. It means so much to me!
This book is excellent. Anna and Quan are amazing. Helen Hoāng is the very best. I thought this book was a brilliant five star read whilst reading it. The depiction of an adult woman's struggle to be who her family demand she is, how she learns that the behaviours she finds difficult are so for a reason - she is on the autism spectrum, how she starts to deal with and own that; all of it is exceptionally weaves into and around a sexy, passionate and loving romance. Then there came the exceptional portrait of the strength, pain, resilience and flat out too much that caring for a sick loved once can ask of you. You are not less if you find it hard. If you just can't do it. If it makes you feel impotent, helpless or angry. You are a certain kind of wonderful if it doesn't make you feel that way, but there is a reason non-relatives can, at times, be better caregivers - some of us aren't built for it, and even if we are sometimes we can love someone in a way that makes it hard to see them on their deathbed. The narrative overall looks at consent in a way no book I've ever read before has. Anna's relationship with her family is one wherein she is never allowed to say no. She has to do what is asked of her even if it feels wrong to her, and she has to do it without complaint and with a smile on her face. Along comes Quan, who seeks to establish genuine sexual consent and Anna is...overwhelmed. The book shows how a partner giving you space to consent, reconsent, to not consent....it is all kind of futile if your parents, your family, your friends have never given you space to make genuine choices without judgement, to trust your own mind and to use your voice to express it. Consent doesn't start with sex. It never has, and of a person is taught they have now power or agency in their life, a sexual partner asking for consent may not seem like a genuine offer. Quan. Last but not least, Quan ❤ Strong, intelligent, caring and sexy - with this romantic hero the reader is asked to genuinely consider notions of male body insecurities, of toxic standards of masculinity and of what it means for a man to emotionally deal with the after effects of health trauma. It is so, so well done I can't even begin to explain how happy men would be with it if they were to pick up this book. I imagined the Bromance Book Club reading it and absolutely losing their minds for it. So, yeah, I thought this books was brilliant whilst I was reading it. And then I read the author's note. Helen Hoāng is amazing, and I can't actually express how much it means to know that an author is willing to share so much of herself to represent and support others. I will buy any book she ever publishes.
After the reading the Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test I was so excited to read Quan’s story. This did not disappoint. Such a wonderful, emotional, painful and real book. Quan still had those lovely qualities that made me always want more of his story. Loved him throughout this and how HH was not afraid to show his vulnerability and struggle following his illness and the resulting changes. How he was with Anna, that care, respect, love and understanding was everything. Anna was wonderfully written and her journey to fully understanding herself and her diagnosis was so heartbreaking and painful at times but incredibly real. Those complicated family dynamics and having to suppress yourself to please people felt so relatable.There were a lot of heavy issues the author dealt with in relation to Anna especially in relation to the negative impact her masking was having on her emotional, mental and physical health. I felt they were handled with great sensitivity and honesty. Anna and Quan had excellent chemistry. I loved how they were with each other They managed to bring the heat and the softness. An excellent read which has been well worth the wait (5 ⭐️)
I think this must be a personal record for me - 3.5 hours from receipt until completion. It's fair to say I basically inhaled this book. I discovered Hoang about 2 years ago on a "diverse writers everyone should read" type of list. I distinctly remember getting her first book at the library, and sitting in my car reading the first 100 pages. I only ended up going home because it got cold, and had it been summer I might have read the whole book in the library car park. The Heart Principle is her third novel, and I loved it. Like her previous novels she writes about someone on the spectrum finding love. In this case it is a woman, Anna, who finds herself looking for a one night stand, only to meet the kind and understanding Quan. The book follows them both learn to understand each other, as well as dealing with Anna's family. There is an authenticity to Hoang's writing - about Asian characters and families, and those on the autism spectrum - both aspects are part of Hoang's own identity. As someone in neither category, I think she speaks to me so much as she creates characters who are perceived to have 'oddities', but find kind, patient and loving people who embrace that. I think most of us can feel confused by others or social situations at times, but Hoang embraces the differences, and expresses the notion that there really is someone for everyone. Thanks to Net Galley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I have never been so excited to be issued an ARC in my life.
Helen Hoang has done it again. My love for this series has grown a little bit more with each instalment but I have to admit The Heart Principle might take the spot of favourite. Anna and Quan's story was a roller coaster of emotions. I laughed, I wept, I swooned. I related to Anna so so much, and my heart broke for her on so many occasions. I admire Helen for being able to write such intimate difficulties in a novel. I do believe it’s going to impact many of the people who read it in a beneficial way. I know it did, for me.
Words do not even begin to express how much I adored this book. This story starts as a light-hearted romcom, but as any Helen Hoang veteran fan knows, her stories always retain a hidden depth to them that touches the heart in the exact right spot. To say Hoang has done it again is an understatement. What she's done with this book builds from The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test in such a spectacular way I still feel emotional as I write this review. Following Anna and Quan was such a privilege and such an emotionally charged adventure; I laughed with them, I mourned with them, I fell in love with them (all within the one night in which I DEVOURED this book). What I think solidifies this book as easily the best book of my 2021 reading so far is the way Helen Hoang balances creating this beautiful narrative with such incredible emotional depth with some of the hottest and heaviest scenes I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Romance readers, you will NOT be disappointed. I will say there are perhaps some trigger warnings for ableism and suicidal ideation, so please do be aware of that!! Ultimately, somehow despite the unimaginable hype I had built up in my head and heart for this book, Helen Hoang has managed to exceed these expectations in every way possible. A genuinely talented romance author whose work I will always look forward to reading.
Is 5 stars enough?! I think not. I have never had such a powerful reaction to a book before, ever since I finished reading I just can’t get it out of my head. This book was INCREDIBLE. Emotional. Raw. Honest. Sexy. 100% my book of the year and one of my favourite books I’ve read in a long time. If you thought The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test were emotional, you better stock up on tissues my friend. They were NOTHING compared to the absolute emotional wreck I became after reading this. Entire last 20% was just me crying intermittently and then sobbing when I got to the author’s note. Mission accomplished Mrs Hoang 😭 The book’s main protagonists include Quan (If you are a fan of the series you will know him well) and Anna. When their relationship begins, Anna is in the process of being diagnosed with ASD, so she approaches dating with a ‘no masking’ approach. I loved the result of this. Their relationship was so honest, open and sweet, and Quan was so loving and endlessly patient. He never once made her feel pressured, and I loved that he checked in when touching or holding her. I suspect he learned a lot from his brother Khai. Quan himself was experiencing his own personal struggles, and we saw him and Anna working to overcoming their vulnerabilities together. In between navigating a fair few heavy issues, Helen Hoang still manages to write the most sexy, electrifying chemistry with her protagonists yet. 🥵 What struck such an emotional chord with me in this book though, was how deeply personal and raw Anna’s journey felt. I think this switch to first person narrative from the usual third person really emphasised this, and even before I got to the end of the book and read the author’s note I suspected it was written from a personal place. The book provided an unfiltered look at what it was like inside the mind of a young woman struggling to come to terms with a late ASD diagnosis, and the crushing identity crisis that can come with. The writing made you feel as though you were in Anna’s brain with her, and you felt every anxiety, sadness and frustration along with her. When her family has a tragedy and she is pressured into doing more than she is able, her internal struggle was heartbreaking to read 🥺 This is a book that will stay with me for a while. It was an emotional rollercoaster to read but in putting herself out there laid bare; I believe she has produced her best work yet. Many thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for the ARC of this book ♥
Anna is a musician that has been feeling the pressure from going viral and to llease her boyfriend, so she agrees to an open relationship even though is not what she wants. Quan is the same confident and sweet but tough guy we met in The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test, except he really isn't thay confident after some health issues he had to deal with. When these two decide they need a one night stand, they aren't prepared to find someone who understands them and makes them feel more themselves. This book was truly amazing. I love all of Helen Hoang's work but this one got to touch very deep and important issues, not only about autism and masking, but about mental health in general and self-acceptance. The love story is still adorable and sexy (although nothing as steamy as The Kiss Quotient), but it's also such an important heart wrenching read, it was hard at times but I felt so proud of the characters, they had and amazing journey individually and as a couple, and Quan didn't fail to make me laugh! I truly adore this man. Please beware trigger warnings!!!
I absolutely loved this book. I think this series has gotten better and better with each instalment. The romance was incredibly cute and soft which I adored. Both Quan and Anna were interesting main characters to follow and I loved seeing their individual struggles. It was a bit darker and more intense than I expected due to the story with her family but I enjoyed that element. I thought it was an interesting thing to explore and I loved how it was handled. This is one of my new favourite romance novels and I highly recommend it to all.
🐙Book Review🐙 Hello Book Lovers! You know I'm not a contemporary romance reader and I mostly stay in my historical romance bubble that provides me with my needed escapism, though very few contemporary authors are on my radar and Helen Hoang is one of them. I love the way she writes stories and was over the moon when I received an ARC of her upcoming novel The Heart Principle. Safe to say I cried so so much with this book, and kept staring at the ceiling when it finished, it was such a moving wonderful story about finding love and finding your own voice 🥺😭🤧💖 The book starts when Anna, our wonderful heroine is told by her boyfriend that he wanted them to go on an open relationship so he could see other people. She decides to do online dating where she meets Quan, (labelled now unofficially) the most amazing hero. We've all come to know and love Quan in her previous books and he's even more than I could imagine. What you can expect (might get a little bit spoilery): 🎻 Heroine is a violinist who is having trouble playing since her playing went viral on YouTube 🧠 Heroine is neurodiverse and struggles with her family accepting her as she is 🛵 Wonderful motorbike rides with Anna and Quan 🐙 Octupus and other nature documentaries that they watch together 💖 Hero is so head over heels with the heroine and accepts her as she is and helps her discover and enjoy her sexuality 🏨 Heroine goes through a journey of taking back her own power and voice her opinions and wishes, all of this through a difficult time where she's a caregiver to a parent This book was a strong powerful story of Anna finding love and finding herself. I'd like to imagine Quan and Anna during winter in the kitchen cooking together and talking about nature documentaries. I know they'll be in my heart forever🧡
The Heart Priniciple by Helen Hoang ‘“I just had a panic attack and hid from you in the bathroom for half an hour. You should never want to see me again.” He stuffs his hands in his pockets and shrugs. “Just because something isn’t perfect doesn’t mean we need to throw it away. Plus tonight’s barely started.”’ I both love and loathe when a story hits too close to home. Sometimes certain elements within a book are just a little too painful to relive, even if it’s through fictional characters. It can be painful and awkward but it can also be a tool for healing, almost cathartic, to realise, appreciate and celebrate just how far the heroine comes, on her own terms, and in certain respects, yourself, as well. The Heart Principle is definitely Anna’s story. Sure, she has the assistance of one super sexy, sensitive and sweet tattooed, motor-cycling riding hero to guide her, love her, adore and worship her, but ultimately Anna was the star of this beautifully written, at times heart-wrenching, masterpiece of romance writing. Anna discovers in this book, by talking to her therapist, that she is most likely on the autism spectrum. This isn’t a spoiler, as it is discussed fairly early on and is covered in a huge portion of the story. Anna’s world is not only turned upside down by this revelation, it also exposes parts of herself that she didn’t fully understand or really acknowledge before. How she operates, why she is the way she is, feels the way she feels and struggles to overcome invisible factors, factors that most people don’t even realise are hurdles and tend to overlook. Everything finally begins to make sense for her and I loved that for her. Her pre-misconceptions about Aspergers and the autism spectrum are blown out of the water. Anna has a bit of an epiphany moment, so in a way this book is not only a truly magical love story between our two protagonists, it’s also about loving yourself, just as you are. Regardless of anyone else accepting your differences or comprehending them. You are the way you are and that’s just it. ‘I’ll draw a line around you and I’ll protect you and stand up for you and speak up for you when it’s right. I’ll keep you safe. And I’ll do the same for me. Because I matter, too.’ Anna was incredibly multifaceted. A well of confusion, pain, longing and frustration. An untapped well, who didn’t really know how to voice her thoughts or feelings. I loved that Quan was her rock. That her rebound, who was only supposed be a one-night-stand became something much more precious and treasured. Their friendship was a thing of beauty, a support system, no judgement, only confidence in one another. Anna and Quan produced a subtle yet seriously steamy undercurrent of sensuality, a spark that elevated their friendship to something more passionate and exciting. They were the markings of something profound and breathtaking. Quan had his own worries and problems, yet whenever Anna called, he literally dropped everything to get to her. It was a majestic balance between the two of give and take. The Heart Principle is an intense, powerful and spectacular love story. Written with grace, passion and understanding, this is the kind of romance that will stay with you long after you’ve closed the cover. It’s a love story to those who are different, who are struggling. A love story to those who are going through the pain of caring for a loved one, who have lost loved ones, those who have been left behind in either a relationship or because of death. A testament to those who love you through your differences and grief. If you’ve ever experienced even an inkling of this kind of uncertainty and pain, then please read this book and let it soothe and heal you. You won’t regret it.
"The only good thing this broken heart of mine can feel is love for you.” This book absolutely blew me away. I had previously read The Kiss Quotient and really enjoyed it. Hoang offers a refreshing take on the romance genre that challenges stereotypes. Anna is an accomplished violinist turned accidental viral Internet sensation who is struggling to find her way through the next stage in her career, emotional burnout and family issues. When her steady relationship takes a turn for the unexpected, Anna meets Quan, a man with issues of his own who supports and encourages Anna to rebuild herself after a surprising diagnosis. Their battles for self-acceptance are heart wrenching and I felt like I learnt a lot about myself while reading this book. It definitely encourages you to reflect on yourself which made this book a powerful read. I was pleasantly surprised. This story is heartfelt, moving and beautifully told- not to mention steamy! If you enjoyed Hoang's previous works or are looking for a romance with a strong story and interesting characters with ASD rep (brilliantly done) then you will love 'The Heart Principle'.
I was kindly given an arc of this to read in NetGalley - thank you so much. This book was so highly anticipated for me, and boy did it live up to my expectations! I loved everything about this book and I wish I could read it again for the first time. I'll definitely be recommending it to everyone
Anna Sun, a talented violinist, is on the cusp of a career breakthrough – but she is struggling under the pressure. She no longer can play with the ease she once had. Then her long-time boyfriend announces that he wants them to have “an open relationship” and her therapist wants her to listen to her own needs, so Anna hooks up with Quan, determined to treat it as a one night stand. But their first date is a bit of a disaster, and so is the second one. But outside of dating, their relationship deepens, because Quan is the only person in her life to take her as she is and understand her. But when a personal tragedy strikes, they will both have to fight for their love. “The Heart Principle” is the newest book by Helen Hoang and my favourite of hers so far. From the beginning I thought that the characters were so compelling and shown at their most vulnerable in such a sensitive way, that I felt connected with them and my heart could not stop aching. Both Anna and Quan have their own insecurities, and their love for each other was described by the author with extra care that it took this book to the whole new level. Helen Hoang did not shy away from writing about difficult subjects in her previous book, and this time she also approaches the themes of difficult health diagnosis, depression, burnout, grief, vulnerability, and responsibility towards one’s family in a delicate manner that also describes their complexities. To me, Anna’s struggles with her family’s lack of acceptance of her autism and her ill-fitting role as a dutiful daughter and sister, felt particularly raw. This is not your standard fluffy romance (although the author writes steamy sex scenes!), this is a story of a relationship that was won in a hard way, personal struggle, growth and being your true self. The author also left a personal note to the reader, which explains partially the long wait and her personal take on the subjects described in the book. I am really grateful that Helen Hoang wrote this book. It just grabbed my heart from the start and resonated with me on so many levels.
I LOVED THIS BOOK! Honestly, how does Helen does it?! She has officially become one of my favourite romance writers. I absolutely love her books, her writing and her characters. I had high expectations for this book, and let me tell you, Helen did not disappoint AT ALL! This book is so much more than just a romance story. It’s deep, raw, and honest. The characters are real, human, natural, and flawed. It’s about fighting, keep going, and love, not only romantic but also about self-love and love for life. And it moved me deeply. I love Helen’s writing so much. She always mingles real issues with lighthearted romance, but certainly, never meaningless. On the contrary, it has so much weight and significance, and she writes it in such a magnificent way that it doesn’t feel like a heavy book. Although, in this book, the romance is not as lighthearted and as the main issue as in the previous books, it’s still heartfelt and marvellous. As always, I love the Autistic Spectrum representation in this book. I love ASD rep in any book really. However, this one was a tad different. I could tell there was a lot of heart in this book before even reading the Author’s note. It’s clear. And you can feel that. And that makes it even more special. I was dying to read Quan’s story. I love him since TKQ, and this book made me love him even more. He’s such a perfect, unique man. So considerate, loving, caring, passionate, dedicated, and I could go on. And Anna, I love her. Her pain and struggles were so honest and real. I love how passionate and devoted she is. It’s true, sometimes she exasperated me a little, but mostly I just wanted to hug her and give her all my support. And I just love how they are together. They’re just perfect for each other, and I wish there was more of them. Hopefully, we get to see some glimpses in the upcoming books. Plus, I love My Octopus Teacher! and this book talks about it and I was so happy. If you haven’t watched that docu, please do yourself a favour and do it! The only two things that I wished were different is that there were more scenes with Quan’s family. Or at least more with Michael and Khai. And that the issues could have been solved a little bit better. If you like meaningful romance books, this is a must-read.
A absolute treat, the best from Helen yet. Her characters here are fully shaped, it’s a refreshing take on romance, and mostly importantly consent, where it models pretty well how open communication can enhance a love life. And though there was a small thing I would change at the end, Helen writes with her whole self here and you can tell, and if that’s the story she know then how can it be changed.
Due for publication in August 2021, I’m very grateful to NetGalley for letting me read this before publication. I’ve enjoyed the previous two books in the series, but this one touched me in ways I wasn’t expecting. It felt honest, painfully so at times, but it was such a tender read that I found myself desperate to see how things worked out. Our focus this time round is Quan, who we already know from the previous books, and his romance with violinist Anna. Anna is a woman who sets herself high standards. She feels pressure to behave a certain way and her usual coping mechanisms are not working. Close to burnout it’s hard to imagine being at a lower point. But then her boyfriend suggests they take a break from each other and start an open relationship to help them figure out whether they’re really suited to one another. Perhaps it’s the way we’re encouraged to respond to him, but this just felt like a way for him to sow his wild oats without losing Anna. He never imagines she might be the one to move on. When the open relationship thing is first introduced, she doesn’t know how to react. Her friends’ righteous indignation is just what was needed…setting things up perfectly for her to meet Quan. Of course we want them to work out, and their relationship definitely ticks the boxes, but what I really loved about this was the way the pair of them together talked, shared their vulnerabilities and worked on ways to resolve problems. Quan is invaluable support for Anna as she comes to terms with her late diagnosis of autism, and how she manages the expectations of others while working out the implications for herself. At the same time, Anna is having to cope with the implications of caring for her father and how these new demands affect her and her family. As I said, there’s a lot to digest here. Some issues are resolved, while others are not. Though there’s so much going on in this story it never felt cluttered or disorganised. Each strand combined perfectly to create a story that I defy people not to fall in love with.
My Review of The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang Helen Hoang’s The Heart Principle is a sensitive, moving, lovely, lovely book, and I have already recommended it to my lifelong friend and to my music tutor! On one level it’s a romance, exploring the relationship between Anna, a troubled musician with (at the start) unrecognised neurological differences, and Quan, who is recovering from serious illness, and coming to terms with the differences the illness has brought to the rest of his life. Hoang tells Anna and Quan’s love story so exquisitely delicately, that dance of developing trust and setbacks, one step forward, one back, taking a chance on trust, and I was rooting for those guys from the get go. Beyond the love story between two people, Hoang is also telling a story of self-love, and self-acceptance, and this was so beautifully written. I don’t feel qualified to comment on how she portrays Anna’s experience neuro-difference, but what stays with me most are the moments in the story that I think many people must find themselves fighting through (I know I have): the moment when the family gathers and Anna doesn’t have a chair, because she’s the youngest and least important. The expectation that she will “perform” to order, and be and do whatever the family expects of her, no matter what the personal cost, because her voice isn’t the biggest, or even heard. The way that her family project onto her whatever it is they need her to be, and the contempt she’s greeted with, when she lifts her voice to be heard. The Heart Principle isn’t always an easy read, but that’s because it’s so sensitively written. There were times when I was so worried about what Anna might be about to do—even though I kept telling myself, this is a romance. There’s going to be a Happy Ever After—that I had to put it down and take a break. But it kept drawing me back, and I know it will draw me back again to re-read it. I received The Heart Principle as an ARC in return for an honest review. Thanks to the publisher and to Helen Hoang for letting me read this lovely book.
I, as it seems was the case with a lot of readers, discovered Helen Hoang’s books last year and instantly became hooked. Although I really enjoyed The Kiss Quotient, I didn’t quite enjoy The Bride Test as much, but Hoang’s writing style is so enjoyable that her book’s have become instant reads for me. That’s why as soon as I saw she had a new book out, I immediately jumped to read it despite knowing nothing about what it was about or who the characters would be. The Heart Principle follows Quan, who we previously met in both of Hoang’s earlier books. This book seems to take place about a couple of years after The Bride Test (I think – Michael and Stella make an appearance in this book, as does Khai but there’s no mention of Khai’s partner, so I’m not sure whether I have the timeline correct). Post surgery for testicular cancer, Quan is struggling with his self-confidence and decides that a one-night stand would be the best way to overcome his fear of getting back into dating. Enter Anna, a violinist who has recently gone viral on the internet and is now struggling with creative and mental burnout. A change in her relationship status leads her to signing up to a dating app, where, of course, she meets Quan… This was probably my favourite of all the Kiss Quotient books for a number of reasons. Firstly, the characters. I absolutely loved Quan, he’s so sweet and attentive. All other romance writers need to take note because Helen Hoang writes the best male love interests. To be fair, it did seem a bit over the top at times just how “perfect” Quan is, how he always knows how to say and do the exact right thing and doesn’t seem to have any flaws. But honestly, I found him too endearing to even really mind that. I also really like the other main character, Anna. Unlike characters in Hoang’s previous books, Anna is diagnosed with autism in the book, which I found really interesting as we see how she processes the diagnosis and the reactions of people around her when she tells them about it. Together, Quan and Anna make a really likable couple and, not to make yet another comparison to the other Kiss Quotient books, but I thought these two had the most chemistry out of all the previous couples and I was really rooting for them throughout. The plot of this book was also very interesting. Anna is struggling with creative and mental burnout and the way it was presented felt really relatable. I really appreciated how the author didn’t go down the route of Anna falling in love with Quan solving all her problems, which is the kind of path that a lot of romances tend to take and isn’t realistic at all. The book also covers caretaker burnout as Anna really struggles when her dad falls ill and she has to put her life on hold to take care of him. That whole part of the book where Anna is taking care of her father was really heavy and hit hard; needless to say Hoang did an excellent job of conveying the harsh reality of being in the situation of caring for a parent on their deathbed. Quan is also going through his own struggles, although admittedly they did seem rather secondary to Anna’s which seemed to take centre stage in this book. The only real issue I had with this book was that from the third act breakup onwards, it felt like things happened very quickly and the pacing felt completely off from the rest of the book. It felt as though the author noticed the page count and rushed to tie up all the ends of the story but still tried to cram in all the bits they wanted to include. I do wish it was slowed down a bit and certain things towards the end were developed more but I also understand that there’s only so long a book can be! Ultimately, I did appreciate the ending, which I felt was very realistic as well as being satisfying. I highly recommend this book, to fans of Helen Hoang’s previous books and new readers – you won’t be disappointed. I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book made my heart melt. I’ve smiled and cried along Quan and Anna throughout and I’m so happy they got their happy ending. The topics hit so close to home and I felt like shaking Anna’s sister to make her see sense! Thank you Helen for this beautiful and realistic portrayal of battling our inner demons, I’m so thankful that Anna had Quan there to support and love her unconditionally. One of my favourite themes throughout the book is their joint journey to self discovery and acceptance. ‘“So I’m not alone,” he says, and there’s such stark vulnerability in his voice that I can’t deny him. He matters more to me than the voices in my head.’ It was refreshing to read Quan’s story and hear about his own self confidence issues, it filled my heart with joy that tthese two helped each other know their worth.
This book took me by surprise, although I read all of Helen Hoang's books. I'm not even a romance reader, but there's something so charming in her books that I love. This book in my opinion was her best. I couldn't read it faster, I just couldn't put it down. The characters she created, Quan and Anna were just so special and the relationship between them evolving was amazing. You need to read the writer's note to understand how special this book is. I appreciate the honesty and thoughtfulness Hoang brings to the pages. I'm sure a lot of people will find something that relates and what's important is even if we can't relate or understand, we need to remember to be kind to others and ourselves. LOVED IT. Highly highly recommended.
Honestly, I think this is a fucking masterpiece. There’s a rawness to it, a conviction and a fearlessness that is absolutely breath-taking. As well as a love story, it’s a story about love: love for oneself alongside love for others, and its capacity to do inestimable harm, as well as to protect, heal and liberate. The Heart Principle devastating. And yet so filled with the promise of hope that it made me go ugly-cry in the shower. Ahem. Anyway. Our heroine, Anna, is a violinist who—having obtained some unexpected success—is in creative crisis. Obsessed with an idea of unobtainable perfection, she can get only get partway through a piece of music before the voices in her head, insisting she is flawed and unworthy, force her back to the beginning. In the midst of this emotional crisis, her (clearly rubbish) boyfriend abruptly decides they need a period of time to “see other people” before committing to each other, confident that she’ll patiently wait for him, while he gets to fuck around. Anna’s therapist, meanwhile, suspecting that Anna might have ASD, confronts her about her “masking” – a costly social survival strategy for people with ASD that involves mimicking neurotypical behaviours in the hope of gaining social acceptance. In an effort to practice, err, de-masking, Anna decides to have a one-night stand. After all, a stranger’s judgement (and potential rejection) shouldn’t matter to her, right? Enter Quan, Michael’s lovely and very, very attractive cousin from The Kiss Quotient, who also needs to re-enter the dating pool, having recently physically (though not necessarily emotionally) recovered from surgery to combat testicular cancer. As you can tell from just the summary, there’s a lot going on this book, and a lot for the heroine and the hero to overcome, including the illness and death of Anna’s father, and her relationship with her family, who have always made her feel like capitulation on every front is her only hope for acceptance from them. It is far from an easy journey—the late-middle section where Anna, in the grip of autistic burnout, is forced to care for her father who just wants to die with what is left of his dignity is profoundly harrowing—but there is at the same time something courageous and even kind of reassuring in such a frank and unflinching approach to both the reality of trauma and the possibility of rescue and self-rescue. The Heart Principle is simply this: that it doesn’t matter how badly you fuck up, or how difficult the present feels, you always deserve to go on. To try. To hope for better. You don’t have to go back to the beginning. Or condemn yourself to nothing but blank pages. As someone who has loved and grieved, who has craved acceptance that will never come, who still struggles with art, and for that matter self-love, the book got me in some really vulnerable and personal places. I don’t have anything explicitly in common with any of the characters, but I felt understood and spoken to regardless. That’s … that’s a really special gift for a book written by a stranger to give you. Something else that struck me as kind of remarkable was the way that the book managed to weave all its very complex themes into a coherent whole, each of the various narrative elements—love, family, desire, art, identity—serving to reflect upon the others. It’s primarily Anna’s story (although I will say Quan is a wonderful love interest and their romance develops beautifully) but I was fascinated by the way Anna’s vulnerability and Quan’s vulnerability spring from the same toxic well of social expectation. Anna has spent her whole life trying to conceal her true self. Quan no longer feels certain of his masculinity because of his surgery. Together, they’re able to let themselves believe that identity is who you are, not how the world sees you or how other people judge you. And watching them find acceptance for themselves through acceptance of each other is incredibly moving. On a lighter note: the sexing is lovely too. Communication, consent-focused, non-heteronormative. I love heroines who are able to articulate and manifest specific desires, and heroes who are committed to supporting those desires. I feel there needs to be more of this in the genre in general: sex as something broad and individualistic, not just this one thing that starts with kissing, moves to some boob squeezing, and ends in PIV. I also love the way that Helen Hoang tends to tease apart gendered tropes in her work. There’s a spectacular heroine grovel + very personal grand gesture in this book. Which, needless to say, I was very very here for. If I had to complain about anything, and honestly I’m not super minded to, I could have done with the final 10% of the book rushing past a little less quickly. With Anna finally able to confront her family, prioritise herself and re-unite with Quan, there’s a lot of collapse/recovery/recover-more ground glossed over very quickly. Obviously recovery is always a slow and, frankly, dull process but I think, by that point, I was sufficiently emotionally invested in Anna herself that I wanted to spend a little longer with her, especially as she put herself back together. But. Eh. That is a nit on a nit of a nitpick. I loved this book. Deeply and sincerely, and with genuine gratitude for its existence. If you do pick it up: trigger warnings for … oh dear me. Familial emotional abuse, gaslighting, death of a parent, non-consensual medical care given to a patient, detailed medical treatment, neuronormativity, creative and autistic burnout, non-physical self-harm. As ever, take care of yourself first. Before I wrap this review, I guess I also want to take a moment to check out the elephant in this room we’re all in. And, listen, it’s not my place to make pronouncements about what the romance genre is or should be. As long as I’ve been writing I’ve been told, explicitly and implicitly, romance is for straight white cis middle class American women and anyone else is here on sufferance. And that’s … that’s what it is. So I’m not positioning myself as any kind of authority or making claims that it isn't my place to make. But, like, the elephant? There’s an elephant over there. The elephant being, is this book a genre romance. And the thing is, the question of what a genre romance is has been growing increasingly complicated with the rise of … well—this is another elephant, by the way—marginalised voices. Do not, however, mistake me here: I would NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS argue against the central tenet of romance being the HEA/HFN. That is, and should be, indisputable. I just think what HEA/HFN looks like becomes, uh, complicated when you assume it’s this one thing that’s the same for everyone. Much like genre depictions of sex, now I come to think about it. The slightly broader definition of romance is: central love story, optimistic ending. And, obviously, those are subjective criteria. If you hate the hero, and think he’s a dick, it doesn’t matter if the protagonist gets their HEA with him: that’s not going to read as an optimistic ending to you, it’s going to read as someone making a terrible mistake. Similarly, ‘central’ is always going to be open to debate: basically there are and have always been dual protagonist romances (where each character gets a similar amount of POV and their own arc) and sole protagonist romances where the love interest may or may get their own arc, or POV sections, but exists more to support the arc of the protagonist. In both cases, the love story is still ‘central’ – it’s just presented differently. As far as I’m concerned, The Heart Principle is a romance because it ends on an HEA/HFN, the love story is central (the narrative could not exist without it, and even when Quan isn’t on page, his presence is felt) and the heroine ends the book in a better place than she started it. Thus the ending is hopeful and optimistic. Where it becomes difficult, I think, is that the ending of The Heart Principle, like the narrative itself is complicated. It is not perfect. Anna is still estranged from her sister. She is tentatively putting her career back together in ways that feel healthy and meaningful, but she’s not a smash hit. Quan is still a survivor of testicular cancer and will not be able to have biological children. Anna’s father is still, y’know, dead. And her relationship with her family may always be strained – because that is, honestly, a reality for many marginalised people existing in the world as it currently is. She's always going to be someone with ASD and that's going to impact her life in various ways, as are the years she spent trying to re-create herself in the image her family demanded. But, to me, that doesn't mean it's not a HEA/HFN. Trauma and damage--the compromises of reality--do not and should not negate happiness. The HEA of a character with ASD and an extremely negative relationship with her family should be deemed less H or less EA than the HEA of a character without ASD whose family are super lovely. To be honest, it troubles me that we are so eager to declare the HEA/HFN’s of marginalised characters (and those presented by marginalised writers) invalid or inadequate simply because they do not reinforce the expected paradigms of non-marginalised people. Do we deserve less happiness, less joy, because we had to struggle more? Because our lives are less perfect? And may not look like yours? And, yes, we can shrug and shunt such romances into the “women’s fiction” category, claiming that they aren’t a “proper” HEA/HFN on the basis that social compromise, for all that it’s a reality for most marginalised people, means the ending isn’t “happy enough” by non-marginalised standards. Except doesn’t that just continue to send the message that a genre romance is not, in fact, any book with a central love story and an optimistic ending, but rather a book that reflects that most normative ideals of what happiness and love look like. Instead of embracing diverse writers and diverse stories. And books like The Heart Principle which, from my undeniably subjective perspective, only enrich the genre.
Helen hoang is an author I knew wouldn’t disappoint. And I was right! After reading the kiss quotient and the bride test I knew Helen hoang would be an author I’d appreciate in the near future. Her characters are very dear to me and that was of course confirmed after reading the third instalment in the series - the heart principle. First of all - Quan. What an amazing character. It’s rare I get attached to male characters but Quan was definitely a rarity. He was perfect. Ana and Quan were perfect. I felt several emotions reading their story and I appreciated Hoangs authors note which explained the reasonings of this story and as always you could tell the raw and utter emotion she put into this book. I think Hoang is perfect at writing complex characters with the most perfect romances. The story of course tackles a lot more then just romance. Ana has ASD and that’s confronted in this book and her confrontation with the past and her ability to adapt to the future. Anxiety and depression are also a major part of this book and I think Hoang did a perfect job at tackling it. And of course, we saw glimpses of previous beloved characters which was always nice and the perfect touch to this book, I can’t give it anything below 5 stars.
4.5 stars. Honestly, this book was fucking excellent. I was enthralled right from the start and absolutely loved diving into the complex character arcs of Anna and Quan; two very different people who find one another by chance, forming a beautiful relationship built on vulnerability, trust, respect and acceptance. Both Anna and Quan have their personal battles and the way these sensitive topics were written was exceptional. I truly felt their pain and trauma as though it were my own. This was extremely difficult to read at times. I found myself feeling anxious and upset and angry and betrayed and I often wanted to throw my phone at the wall for how unfair Anna was treated by her family; how she struggled with expressing herself and how no one would listen or try to understand her ASD. Quan, Quan, Quan. What can I say about this beautiful, beautiful character? Not only did he SEE Anna and supported her throughout the book, but he had struggles of his own and was still the most kind, considerate, honest, vulnerable, loving, selfless human. I adored watching their romance bloom; Quan’s patience with Anna when they first meet paves the way for a beautiful friendship where interactions are pure and comfortable. The development of both of their characters was exceptional, and I couldn’t get enough of how much they loved one another. Their relationship was honest and raw and open from the beginning and it was extremely refreshing to read. For me, the sex scenes in this book were a huge stepping stone in their relationship and showed just how much they trusted and accepted one another. You can tell what it took for both of them to open themselves up to judgement, and for the other to meet them with pure love was heart warming. I struggled massively with Anna’s family - I just wanted to wrap her up and give her all the support she needs. It was difficult seeing how small she tried to make herself to fit to her families expectations. Priscilla, I wanted to throttle. Occasionally with Anna’s character, I became fairly exasperated with how she couldn’t stand up for herself or say no (which sounds awful considering everything she’s going through), and I related very little to her, yet I understand why that is. Helen Hoang states in her Author’s Note that her personal struggles are entwined into the writing of this book, which clearly shows in how heart wrenching and sensitive the words are. If I’m being fussy, I would’ve liked to read more of a reconciliation between Anna and Quan at the end; the final 5-10% felt a little rushed and left me needing more of a resolution. Overall, this was an extremely touching, gut wrenching read and definitely my favourite of the series. The story is beautifully told and despite there being a lot going on, it never feels scattered or too much. Also, Quan is utterly perfect and I adore him with all my heart.
Anna is one of the author’s stronger characters and this was as much a novel about a woman coming into herself and learning to manage a layered in life autism diagnosis as it is a spicy romance novel. It was also so nice to see Quan and Michael again. I was very affected by this and I found satisfying in every way.. CW: severe anxiety/depression/burnout, ableism, hospice care, cancer, sterility, death of a loved one, toxic familial relationships, suicidal ideation I volunteered to read and review an early copy of this.
I read and loved The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test on summer holidays in subsequent years and was really disappointed not to have a new Helen Hoang novel last year. Having now read The Heart Principle and Helen’s author’s note at the back of the book, it was definitely worth the wait. Helen Hoang has a real knack of writing romcoms that straddle perfectly the line between authenticity and romantic ideals, with characters that are flawed and nuanced but who you can really root for. It’s been such a pleasure over these three books to see characters intersect each other’s stories and support each other. As a bonus, I love that these books have Asian and autistic characters at their centres without detracting from the fact they are fun, commercial stories. This is the kind of casual representation done well I want to see more of in commercial fiction. I’ve recommended the first two books to lots of friends and will do so with The Heart Principle too.
5 stars is not enough, This needs at least 10! I’d firstly like to thank Helen Hoang and Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book. It is one of my anticipated reads this year so you can imagine how I excited I was to receive this copy. Ever since I read book 1 Quan stood out for me, I loved his relationship with Michael and I loved his relationship with Khai in book 2 so I was so excited to read his story! Things I loved about this book. ✨ Quan - obviously. He is so used to taking care of everyone, for being the strong one and seeing him in this book not only with Anna but also how he feels about and see’s himself (no spoilers here) just made me love him more. ✨ Anna - from the first time I met Anna, I loved her. Everything she felt through the book I felt with her, I rooted for her and I cried for her. ✨ Anna and Quan together - from their very first octopus adventure together I was rooting for them. I thought they were perfect together and they seemed so much in love, their story was so well written. ✨ That you got to see Anna face some challenges (again no spoilers) as they happen. I particularly like how Helen dealt with Anna’s situation and showed how things don’t just get better, they take time and energy and sometimes things don’t get better, you learn how to manage them. ✨ The authors note. Although the book was quite emotional at the end, Helen’s note broke my heart, I cried for longer than I care to admit. If you read this book, read that note. It’s important. Like I mentioned, this was one of my most anticipated reads this year and it blew me away! I can’t wait for my paperback book to arrive to complete my collection.
Received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. I read this book in 8 hours and spent an entire day ignoring life because of it. That's how much I enjoyed it. The What: Anna is on the autism spectrum and we are taken through her period of diagnosis and autistic burnout. She meets tattooed hottie, Quan, who is impossibly sweet and kind- and who has also come through his own health journey. Romantic adventures ensue. The Good: I loved that this was not just a love story but is rather a story about two people going through a complicated physical, mental and emotional period together. There was so much heart in this book - I cried alot. I also loved the realistic depiction of sex as something that two people work towards perfecting, even with the initial spark. The Great: I love the care with which the author holds her characters. They are imperfect and their healing paths are not linear, and sometimes they try and fail- but as with real life, that is perfectly fine. Highly recommend this.
What a fabulous addition to an already great series. I have bought all of the books written by Helen Hoang in this series and I just adore her writing and, I love the way the characters grow throughout the book. I would highly Recommend this book and it explores the main characters individually and allows them to grow on there own as well as a couple *a big thank you to NetGalley ant the publishers for giving me an arc copy in exchange for an honest review *
An absolutely fantastic, beautifully written book. It's a masterful exploration of a relationship that has to navigate the emotional and practical complexities of ASD and mental health challenges, caregiving and grief, family expectations, corporate machinations... Professional Violinist and social media sensation Anna meets motorcycling kids apparel company CEO Quan on a dating app, after Quan re-enters the dating scene after a health crisis, and Anna is thrown by her long term boyfriend's selfishly suggesting an open relationship to explore his horizons before settling down. They bond over their difficulties navigating relationships and Netflix nature documentaries. Both Anna and Quan are both relatable and challenging of our norms and assumptions of what makes the perfect romantic heroine and hero. Their actions and dialogue are by turns hilarious, sweet, exhilerating and tear-jerking. The treatment of both the ASD and cancer elements of the storyline are highly sensitive and normalising, bringing insights into the characters, and explorations of what it means to be modern men and women in romantic, supportive relationships. The book is definitely slow burn heat-wise, and its exploration is sweet and just the right level for the story. I also loved the friendships and though Anna's family dynamics destroyed me at times, I appreciated the subtle twists and turns in the relationships, and how characters were redeemed, at least partially, by then end, despite some really awful things said and done. I adored this book and genuinely sat staring into space in something akin to shellshock when I finished it, such was the emotional journey it took me on. I read it super fast, and it's one of those books I'll probably return to over and over and definitely will recommend to others. Definitely a 5 star read for me. I don't think it's necessary to read the series in order, but reading the others too does add to the experience. Thank you Netgalley and Corvus for the ARC!
This book is so much more than a typical Romantic Comedy. It tackles tough themes such as ASD, discrimination, grief, caregiving amongst other topics in a beautiful and honest way. Anna shot to fame when a YouTube video of her playing the violin exploded online. Seemingly she has the perfect life including everything from professional success to a long term boyfriend. That is until Julian, said long term boyfriend, decides he wants an open relationship. The way an open relationship is discussed amongst characters is wonderful, minus Julian that is. There is no shame or judgement about something that many could see is the end of a relationship or an alternative lifestyle. If anything the concept is normalised. Anna's autism is also skillfully handled and clearly demonstrates research, own experience and compassion. The book gracefully avoids all stereotypes and sweeping generalisations and instead educates the reader. The very personal author's note just emphasises the care taken when writing this book. Quan the love interest is the sweetest guy that ever existed. My only slight gripe was he seemly had no backbone. At points it was farfetched to be believe he would stand for other people's behaviour when he did. This didn't cause a hinderence to the book at all though. I throughly enjoyed the dual perspective of Quan and Anna. Both characters were distinct with narratives equally important. I feel the Anna's arc was slightly more fleshed out than Quan's and it would've been nice to hear from his experiences more. I would recommend this book in a heart beat and can definitely be read separately from the author's other books. *Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for an E-ARC in exchange for an honest review*
This was an amazing representation novel. I absolutely loved the series so far and this book did not disappoint. The right mix of steamy and romantic that I love in a romance. Will be recommending to everyone I know.
When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She's going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better. That's where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex - he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand herself. However, when tragedy strikes Anna's family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves... Very good novelist. Exciting, engrossing, page turner.
I received a free ebook version of this through Netgalley. Thankyou to both Netgalley and the publisher for reading this! My review is still honest. Okay. Wow. I love The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test, but if you're expecting this one to be like those, you'd be wrong. This one is on an entirely deeper level, is more serious, is less about the romance than about character development and really goes for the heartstrings. It deals with loss, a toxic family and partner, medical related trauma and insecurity, career and achievement struggles, depression and grief, caregiver burnout, adulthood autism diagnosis and so much more in a healthy, well-written way. The focus isn't the spice or the romance, but on the two character's journeys finding themselves and overcoming struggles. Lots of TWs for loss of family, terminal illness of a close relative and caring for them, etc. but if you feel comfortable, give this one a go. You will not be disappointed.
This book surprised me in the best possible way. I went in expecting one thing and was completely blindsided when the story went in a totally different direction but I'm delighted it did. The Heart Principle is a raw, nuanced story tackling the reality of a late asd diagnosis, depression, the lasting effects of a serious illness, and familial strife. This entire novel resonated with me in a way that few contemporary romances do and it's going to stay with me for a while I think. Both Quan and Anna are likable, complex characters with full lives and struggles outside of their involvement with each other but their dynamic together is absolutely gorgeous and gripping. I was particularly invested in Anna's journey accepting her autism diagnosis and it is clear from the accuracy and depth of that plot that it comes from a deeply personal place in the author's own experience. This is not a neat, compact story. The characters (Anna especially) are messy but it works incredibly well. This is the first book I have read from Helen Hoang and it certainly will not be the last. It was so well written and absolutely gripping. It was a heavy and emotional read in places but absolutely worth it. Thanks to Netgalley for an e-Arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Wow … just wow! Words can barely describe my feelings for this book right now! I adore this book the writing style was flawless, the plot incredible and the representation was impeccable! You can tell this book was extremely personal to the author and it showed because this story was beautifully told and I fell in love with Anna and Quan and their story. Not only that but the way Helen Hoang derived Anna’s journey of her diagnosis of autism and they way she adopts and evolved throughout the book was amazingly done! I cannot praise this book highly enough !! My only critique is that I want more ! I want to learn more about Quan and his family other than I’m so excited to read many more books from Hoang!! #netgalleyark #myownopinion
I simply devoured this book, reading it almost in one sitting. The emotions are heartbreaking and soul quenching, the depth and the intensity of the feelings unlike anything I've experienced in similar fiction. The book never leaves doubt as to who, or indeed what, is the main thing that binds everything together - honesty and understanding. It was incredibly powerful to read a story about two people who love one another. There is no trope to speak of, not that underpins Anna and Quan's relationship, but instead it's a bond that is powerful and true, and that allows the characters themselves to understand and heal personally, and together. This is more than a piece of fiction, it's a window into the soul of humanity.
The Kiss Quotient: ★★★★★ The Bride Test: ★★★★.5 The Heart Principle: ★★★★★ (and more if I could) CW: ableism, suicide ideation, lack of eating, end of life care, family struggles with the previous, family ignoring medical needs / and personal needs, scumbag boyfriends (unsure about this last one, but its relevant humph) ** Spoilers below ** I'm not really sure where to start with this book - firstly, its deeply personal in everyway - and it leaps off the page as such. I'm not on the spectrum, and I'm not sure what it would feel like to have a diagnosis for something that you didn't understand or realise was ongoing throughout your days (my issues have generally been ongoing since I was little) - however, I have had my father and stepfather in serious health issues, were end of life has been a thought, where papers have been signed andn I've seen the toll that has taken on my mum over time, on my brothers. It is something that changes your thought process, and not feeling up to caring - I understand that. I wanted to kick her ex, shake her sister to mke her see that Anna needed help, and given Anna a long hug to try and help her. I hadn't realised until recently how exhausting masking is, and I hope that Hoang (and other books like A Kind of Spark) help those on the spectrum to feel comfortable in themselves. I feel like Hoang is an artist of writing unresolved sexual tension - none of her books are overly explicit, or filled to the brim with sex scenes, but boy do you just feel the desire and the connection leaping off the page. I sensed a collision coming, and went to bed before it could hit as I knew if I kept reading I would have read this all in one sitting and I wouldn't be sleeping until I finished it. It wasn't easy to put it down and sleep - but I was very happy to pick it up again and finish it today. Couldn't stop is the understatement of the century. Can I give Quan, Anna and Helen a hug please?
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang is the third book in her Kiss Quotient series but can absolutely be read as a stand alone. Anna Sun never expected to be famous but when a clip of her playing violin goes viral on YouTube she suddenly finds herself in demand for performances and recording deals and even has a famous composer write a piece just for her. The pressure becomes too much and she burns out, losing all the joy she once found in her music. The icing on the cake is her boyfriend Julian's request to try an open relationship as he doesn't feel ready to commit. At first Anna is heartbroken but after discussing it with her friends and her therapist she decides that if Julian wants to try no strings attached sex, its only fair that she does the same thing. Picking out the guy furthest from her usual tastes on a dating app , she matches with Quan, a tattooed motorbike riding martial arts instructor. When their first attempt at a one night stand goes awry it seems like Anna may not be as ready for this as she thought. However it seems that Quan has some issues of his own, namely a bout of testicular cancer that has left him scarred both physically and psychologically. The pair decide to give it another try, and another because despite their best efforts something always seems to get in the way. Spending more time together does cause each of them to question whether this could be more than a one night stand , but then family tragedy draws Anna away from Quan and back to the family who has always made her feel weird, awkward and less than. On top of trying to come to terms with the fact that she may be autistic, Anna has to deal with her family's attitude and her father's declining health, and when Julian swans back onto the scene it seems like Quan and Anna will have to fight for each other if they want a shot at the happiness they deserve. This book is simply phenomenal, it is smart, sweet and yes a little smutty, but I can't remember the last time I rooted for two characters like I did for Anna and Quan. Having read the author's afterword I know this was a very personal story for her, and it certainly felt that way while reading the book. The characters felt so completely real. The story deals compassionately with a character being diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder later in life, something that often happens , particularly to women who are more adept at masking the issue at a great cost to their own health. Reading how Anna slowly puts the pieces together and begins to understand so many things about herself and her relationships and interactions with other people was heart breaking , as was seeing how the family as a whole struggled with being full time carers for Anna's dad. It is rare to see that being so accurately and vividly portrayed in a book, and the author does it with sensitivity and and honesty that I can only admire. The relationship between Anna and Quan is truly the heart of the book, and as I said before , I have never wanted a fictional couple to live happily ever after more than I did this pair, but that being said, I loved the final few chapters of the book which are so much more real than any fairy tale ending and let us as readers leave Anna and Quan with the belief that while things may not always be easy, they will be okay. I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.
Helen Hoang's books just continue to surprise me on so many levels. They're so much more than the cover and descriptions give them credit for. They look like fun, light-hearted romance novels but instead they are the most beautiful, heart-felt, emotional contemporaries that I have ever picked up. These books are just incredible, Helen puts so much heart in to what she writes, and it comes through in her writing. The Heart Principle contains less smut than the other two books, but like the other books in the series it still focuses on meaningful, trust filled relationship based on love and acceptance. Out of all of the male love interests in the series, Quan is my favourite, and from now on I am going to blame Helen Hoang if I have high standards! I loved the other two books in the series for their autistic characters. Invisible disabilities (and disabilities of all kinds) are so underrepresented in books, especially in romance novels, so these books stood out straight away for that alone. But this book resonated with me on a hugely personal level. Some of Anna's struggles are struggles I have experienced too, and the situation she finds herself in with her family is unfortunatly something I have experienced in the past too. It was a bit chilling to read a book that got me so much, but I loved it even more because of that. I felt heard. I am incredibly grateful to Netgalley and Atlantic books for accepting my request to read this book, especially as it gives me the chance to shout about this wonderful book before its offical publication. The Heart Principle is emotional and beautiful. It's so much more than a contemporary romance, it's about mental health, loss, acceptance, and forgiveness. It really resonated with me more than any other book in this genre has, and I know this is going to stay with me for a really long time. CAWPILE: 9.33
Helen has done it again! And, I believe, this is her best book yet. It's the perfect balance of raw emotion, steam, swoon, comedy, and pure genius. Anna is a violinist who's hit a wall. She can't play anymore and is drowning under the pressure. Add to that, a douche of a boyfriend, a surprise diagnosis of Autism, and then a father who suffers a stroke and needs full-time care. Things are tough. She's also under constant pressure to 'fit in' and fulfil her family obligations. Enter Quan. Quan is a character from the previous books in this series who I think all of us have been waiting to hear more from. He does not disappoint. His character voice is so distinctive and funny. He's just dreamy. So sweet and caring and gentle but strong (tattooed biker) and sexy. I challenge anyone not to love him. Over the course of the book, their relationship develops and both grow in confidence with each other's support. I won't give too much away, but basically: It's wonderful. On a personal level, this story touched me. Anna's trials were close to my heart. Last year, I cared for, then lost my father to cancer. During which time, I was also going through the diagnosis process of Autism. (It takes a loooooong time in the UK.) Anyone who's been through any of these circumstances will understand the toll it takes and the way Helen taps into that emotion and puts it into words... Well. I don't quite know how to explain it. Put it this way: I cried. A LOT. Plus, read her notes at the end. A massive THANK YOU for writing this book!!! ❤❤❤❤ I feel so privileged to have read an ARC copy via NetGalley. My paper copy is already on pre-order.
I really enjoyed this!! This book was a little different in tone to Helen Hoang’s previous works. This book felt a bit more personal and dealt with some serious themes regarding mental and physical health, and wider family issues; all of these were dealt with care and compassion and I felt so invested in the two main characters, Anna and Quan. Anna is at a of crossroads in her life and how she sees herself and her family, and I really sympathised with her, whilst Quan is dealing with the impact of health issues. Seeing how they come to support and help each other through their struggles was so sweet (and definitely had Hoang’s signature romantic touch!). Overall, I really enjoyed this book. While dealing with some dark themes at times, these were dealt with care, and moments of humour and romance also shone through.
This book is so much more than a light and fluffy romance, it has a seriousness about it that I didn't expect. Anna is coming to terms with her diagnosis of ASD and Quan is recently in remission from cancer, each of their individual journeys to self acceptance is so authentic and gut wrenching, it hits you right in the feels. Their romance is almost a side note, but it is sweet and slow, it's so refreshing to see such a tender and trusting relationship blossom. The sex scenes are amazing, steamy but with the focus on communication, consent and mutual pleasure. My only criticism is that there wasn't more, while the ending wasn't rushed, it felt a little emptier than the preceeding parts. Hoang could have easily spent another 150-200 pages concluding their story with as much depth and thought as the rest of the book and it would have only been better for it. I love that the book ended with what I can only describe as a 'hopeful' ever after- there was still a long way to go, but things for both Anna and Quan were getting better. And that's just how real life is, isn't it? A massive thank you to Netgalley for this advance copy in return for my honest review
“Just because something isn’t perfect doesn’t mean we need to throw it away.” Thank you to NetGalley and Atlantic Books for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She's going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better. That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand herself. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves. Anna is an interesting character. Finding escapism in music is something I can relate to, but getting to see the struggles of lack of focus and going in circles was refreshing to see. She’s a very raw character, on a journey of self-discovery that’s difficult when events hit that force her to change completely. I really love the journey we get to go with Anna, and I especially loved the ending. It wasn’t perfect, but it was perfect for Anna. Quan has gone through a lot since we last saw him, but he’s still sassy and oh so kind. Getting to see him overcome his previous problems was rather rewarding, Quan showing his resilience. Best of all, despite the serious hardships he experienced, he remained kind, thoughtful and considerate. Forget everything, can I have a Quan in my life please? It was definitely time for us to get a Quan story! Getting to see gradually more of him in the previous two stories had me desperate to get more Quan content and we certainly did! Absolute brilliance. I really appreciate Hoang’s inclusion of Autism in each of her stories, but the addition of other mental illnesses really struck a chord in me. I found myself so seen in this book that it took my breath away. I feel I cannot recommend Hoang’s writing more if I tried! Overall, The Heart Principle is a story that has you weak at the knees and your heart fit to burst. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 Thank you again to NetGalley and Atlantic Books for an advanced copy of this book. Review will go live on my blog on 27th September (due to schedule in place)
This book is so much more than a rom-com, I absolutely loved it! I didn't realize the books were a trilogy so thankfully, even they're connected, this works as a standalone. Because this is my first Helen Hoang book, but I am definitely going to read the other two IMMEDIATELY. This was such a feel-good romantic story but the complexity of Anna was really something. The way the topics were dealt with, from autism diagnoses, palliative care, overbearing families and sexual conservatism (is that a word? Oops), Anna was just such a brilliant character. I really felt her struggles through the book and was fist-pumping when she had her breakthrough. And I see from other reviews that Quan is a beloved character from the other books and I love that because he was a great character too! So thoughtful and caring and exactly what Anna needed in her life. I actually LOVED THIS BOOK and am excited to get stuck into its two predecessors. Will definitely be recommending this one!
This was absolutely spectacular. This is not a traditional love story. I thought this was going in one direction and then it went completely the opposite way and I appreciated it even more. This does read more like a women's fiction to me because the romantic relationship is not at the forefront for most of the story. The heroine's journey to self-discovery and both their journeys to self-healing and love is what was prevalent. Learning to love oneself and knowing what you are capable of bringing to a relationship was a strong theme in this story. Both characters are broken people who believe they are not good enough and seeing them discover who they truly are whilst being with each other was beautiful to read. Whilst reading, I kept thinking how this read so personal. I couldn't shake the feeling that some of the emotions were based on true worries, anguish and hurt and then I read the author's note and it all made sense.
There goes Helen Hoang, ripping my heart out of my chest yet again. This is to me the most heavy-hitting of the series so far, but I didn’t mind that the focus shifted from the romance and the main characters sometimes. The journeys these two characters go through is heartbreaking and humbling and I feel like I learned some things about myself throughout this series too. All of the props and praise to the author. The personal experiences that she weaves throughout the novel are a testament to her own strengths and it is an honour to have it presented to us all in such a heartfelt book. Quan is an incredible male hero, understanding and patient, and Anna is strong even when she doesn’t feel like it. My only gripe is that the end felt like it came on all of a sudden, there was 9% left and I was like 👀 thinking things were going to be busy the last few chapters. Another bonus the author’s note also made me cry. Go and read this.
Helen Hoang's past two books have been packed with emotional turmoil, heart-wrenching stumbles on the path to self-acceptance and self-love for the main characters, and explosive chemistry. The Heart Principle is no different-- if anything, it is just... more, to an exponential degree. Hoang posted on social media about having issues describing this book as a romance, given its contents, and to some extent, I agree; while it contains a HEA and the on-page intimacy I've come to expect from her writing, the overall tone of the book and the topics that it touches on are far more intense and emotionally fraught. (At this point, I should mention content/trigger warnings for cancer survival, infertility, caretaker burnout, medical content/hospitals, and suicidal ideation.) Quan, one of our MCs, is no longer the same happy-go-lucky side character readers got to know in TKQ and TBT; in the two years since we last saw him, he has survived cancer treatment and is struggling not only with the relationship to the physical changes treatment and surgery have wrought, but also to the way friends and family treat him. Our other MC, Anna, is a violinist whose viral performance of a piece and subsequent flash of fame has left her badly burnt out. When her long-time boyfriend asks to open their relationship, she meets Quan through a dating app, both of them determined to regain something of themselves from a one night stand. This develops into something else obviously, and things change quickly when Anna's father suffers a stroke and she and her family becomes dedicated to his full-time end-of-life care at home. All of this is to say that this book contains a lot of heavy emotional content, and not all things that solve themselves as neatly as the struggles and stumbles of the MCs in Hoang's other books. It is gut-wrenching and yet so satisfying at times, to see more of "real life" play out in the usual fantasy of romance. Anna is not suddenly cured of her debilitating anxiety when she gives herself a stern pep talk; Quan struggles to pick up the pieces of his self-esteem and self-image after they're shattered again. And all of this makes THP something incredibly freaking special. It is visceral and real in a way that most romance can't touch, but the promise of the genre offers readers undeniable hope. At times my heart hurt for Hoang, who called this book "half memoir" with reference to her own mother's death and her own intense burnout following the intense success of The Kiss Quotient. But what she accomplished with this book is truly masterful-- and most certainly worth the wait.
Given that I adored the previous two instalments in the series, I knew I would most likely love this one too and I'm pleased to say I was right! I liked Quan from the moment we met him in The Kiss Quotient and I was so excited to hear that this book was going to center on him and his own romance. As always Hoang delivers on the romance and makes it believable and so heartfelt, it made me tear up at times. She also has this ability to write some of the best male characters that readers *cough* me will have no trouble swooning over. I loved Quan's pov and Anna's and their moments together were nothing short of heartwarming. I loved how unconditionally accepting they were of each other and despite a few bumps in the road, they found something special with each other which is palpable as a reader. Aside from the romance, I really appreciated the representation of Autism and how Anna deals with a diagnosis later in life. There was a lot which resonated with me personally and I just really liked how Anna gains further understanding of who she is and learns to love and appreciate the parts of herself she didn't previously. Quan is also such a supportive partner which was so lovely to see. However, there is also the very real and sad moment where Anna shares this news with somebody close to her and it's not well received and she's basically belittled which was so hard to read - but it happens and I'm glad Hoang chose to include this thread. Hoang also explores the impact of family expectations, pressure and being a caregiver and the impacts of this in such a refreshing way and with so much honesty, which I believe many readers will come to appreciate. Overall, I was sad to come to the end because I could continue reading Hoangs writing and about her characters in this little verse she's created forever but alas, all good things come to an end. I have no idea if there's going to be more stories following these characters in the future, but if so I will definitely be tuning in.
Wow wow wow! I loved this book so much. It was relatable, steamy and so emotional, reading the authors note just made it all the more impactful. Helen’s writing is so easy to read and I read 90% of it in one go! Hands down my favourite of the trilogy and Helen has placed herself into my auto-buy authors list. Thank you so much to Berkley publishing and NetGalley for sending me this e-ARC of the book! Review on Instagram coming soon x
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC. I don't often read straight romance novels - I usually prefer a mix of genres. But this book blew me away. Hoang's writing draws you straight into the narrative, and the characters of Anna and Quan jump right off the page. This book deals with so many issues with such a light touch, while also packing an emotional punch. I'll definitely be getting the rest of the series!
This was such a powerful, poignant story and heart warmingI doubt I can do it justice in a review. As with this author’s previous (brilliant) books, the main character - Anna - is on the autism spectrum and it was a real eye opener for me. Anne masks for others, carefully presents a face to the world she thinks others expect to see. That truly landed with me. When a family member became ill, we experience what it’s like to care for someone who is unable to communicate their wishes through Anna which I thought was a brilliant way of reflecting on Anna’s own life; but more than that, it felt so poignant and authentic. It was sobering to read yet so heartfelt, it blew me away. The romance between Qwan and Anna was an absolute joy to read - thoughtful, well paced and just so hot. I don’t mean to lower the tone, but can I just say the smut was scorchio with some unusual details that made the smut scenes feel fresh and original. All of the feels. I absolutely loved this and will be boring everyone I know talking about it and urging them to read this blooming masterpiece. Highly recommended. Complete story, stand-alone but featuring recurring characters.
This was one of the best books I’ve read all year, an instant five star read! I’ve loved Helen Hoang since reading the Kiss Quotient, whilst on the outside her books appear to be typical romance stories they always end up being so much more, the heart principle deals with trauma, tense family dynamics, adult autism diagnosis and learning to love yourself as you are,
Thank you @netgalley for the opportunity to review this. From the beginning I felt such empathy for Anna. The author’s portrayal of a woman with autism was described so truthfully, from the masking to the autism burnout. The story of how she meets Quan and the difficulties she has in being honest about what she likes and doesn’t like broke me. His careful regard for her and his desire to know her and show such concern for her made me wish there were more people in the world like this. To understand her feelings of panic, her desire to please her family and the energy it takes for her to do this shows what real love should be like. Whilst it is a heartbreaking yet heart warming story, what really resonated with me was that by learning to be herself Anna was able to come through her burnout. Alongside, this the author explores the role of caregivers and the draining emotional effect it has on the family. This is such a difficult topic as the sense of duty is there but the lack of recognition that not everyone can do it. There is also the question of what their father wants and when he was truly lost. The reaction of Anna’s sister when she tells her she has autism is such a sad but true reflection of how others do react even family. I loved this book and would highly recommend it.
The Heart Principle is a fantastic continuation of Helen Hoang’s other reads, but can also be read as a standalone as it is within the world but doesn’t rely on needing to know the plot of the other two books. It is a superb insight into a neurodiverse mind, as I rooted for Anna to find closure and satisfaction not only in the wonderful romance with Quan, who is one of the best romance male leads I have read so far, but also with her family situation. I was shouting for someone to advocate for Anna throughout, but this had me laughing and crying throughout, a fantastic read and excellent addition to the rom com community.
This book had me emotional! Anna was so relatable to me! And to find out that it is a half memoir makes it all the more special. The highlight for me was the emotional love of Anna and Quan. I have always wanted a love story like that and because I see myself in Anna that is a possibility and I’ll always be greatfull to Helen Hoang for giving us this precious story.
I received an ARC of this via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review and I can honestly say this book DESTROYED me. I finished it after midnight because I had to keep going. I had to see if Anna was able to have her family treat her the way she deserved and to treat HERSELF the way she deserved. I had to see if Quan could learn to love his body again. I HAD TO KNOW! The frustration and agony and heartache that Hoang was able to convey in this book - incredible. As were the moments of humour and love and cosyness. I. Love. This. Book. I cried. I laughed. My heart ached. I felt frustrated. I felt devastated for anyone in Anna's position (or honestly just anyone at all) who's EVER been treated like that, dismissed like that, by someone, never mind the fact those someones are family! You can praise this book in all the contemporary ways - neurodiverse rep, poc rep, poc author, neurodiverse author, own voices, mental health rep, emotional, sexy... - Helen Hoang has made that list go on and on without ever compromising her writing or her story to stuff important rep into her novel (which is a skill on it's own worth praising) - but this is also just a damn. good. read.
Helen Hoang has stated that this is her most personal book yet, and I feel like that really comes through in the writing and the plot. I was totally absorbed by The Heart Principle and sat there rooting for Anna and Quan right from the beginning (though Anna's insufferable family did have me pulling hairs at times!). This is not a frilly romance - it goes deep. It's emotional. It covers heavy topics. But I promise it's worth a read, and I think it's my favorite of the series!
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang is a deeply personal, intense and poignant story centred around virtuoso violinist Anna as she struggles to overcome burnout, navigate an unhappy relationship and come to terms with her Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis. After suddenly becoming an internet sensation, leading to a famous composer writing a special piece for her, Anna finds herself crippled by expectation and unable to play despite having recording and concert deadlines looming. Her long-term boyfriend, although handsome, wealthy and loved by her family, doesn't appreciate the strain she is under and, instead of offering comfort, breaks the news that he wants them to have an open relationship before they finally settle down. Feeling dejected, reeling from her ASD diagnosis, and unable to turn to her family for support, Anna decides she will have a string of one night stands too and put into practice her therapist's advice to stop trying to please everyone else. Gorgeous, tattooed, motorbiking Quan seems like the perfect candidate, although he also has his own reasons for wanting a brief hookup. After several false starts the sex is undeniably smouldering, but it soon becomes obvious that there is a lot more to their connection. He seems to understands her on a very deep level and is able to help her get through incredibly difficult times. The writer draws on several aspects of her own experience, including her ASD diagnosis, making this a deeply personal and emotional read. She makes it clear that it isn't obvious who has ASD and people can experience it in very different ways.
PUB DAY Review: THE HEART PRINCIPLE by Helen Hoang ⭐️ rating: 5 📖 genre: romance / womens’ fiction #️⃣ pages: 352 🍾 pub date: August 31st, 2021 Can I get a round of applause for THE HEART PRINCIPLE?! This book was STUNNING and it hit me right in my feels! If you didn’t have this book on your radar already, now it’s definitely the time to get it. Book 3 in the „Kiss Quotient“ series, THE HEART PRINCIPLE follows violinist Anna Sun, who’s suffering from a burn out after accidentally going viral on YouTube and can’t seem to play anymore. When her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that she can play that game, too: she's going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unattaiable the men, the better. And that’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in… What an absolute amazing book! Anna and Quan are such lovable, quirky characters, and Quan had me *melting* with his sweetness and care! But while I was definitely expecting the romance part, THE HEART PRINCIPLE is SO much more than a love story - which is why I added Womens’ fiction to my genre description. The book deals with heavy topics such as mental health (burn out, suicidality), sexual issues, cancer, grief, and a late stage ASD diagnosis, and all are handled carefully and beautifully. Then again, the author’s note tells us that this book was very personal, and based on some struggles that Helen Hoang had herself - which moved me so incredibly much. I could go on and on, but in a nutshell: this book is truly AMAZING, with lovable characters, a great love story (which grows and develops in the face of adversities), and also tackles extremely important topics - just the perfect mix of lightness and depth. Easily 5⭐️ from me, and I really hope everyone checks it out! Thank you to @atlanticbooks and @netgalley for the eARC. This is my honest opinion!