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The Heart Principle

by Helen Hoang

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Kiss Quotient (3)

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The Heart Principle
The Kiss Quotient, Book 3

I Picked Up This Book Because: Continue the series.

Media Type: Audiobook
Source: Hoopla via PPL
Dates Read: 9/23/21 - 9/25/21
Stars: 4.5 Stars
Narrator(s): Brian Nishii, Natalie Naudus

The Characters:

Anna Sun:
Quan Diep:
Michael Larson,

The Story:

My “reviews” have been crap lately so I’m falling back to form writing to try and vamp them up a bit.

Writing: Phenomenal. These characters were so real to me. I think this is the most emotion I’ve gotten about a story in quite some time. I was literally ready to fight for Anna. I’m so glad she found the support she deserves.
Forward Motion: Perfect. No dragging, no unnecessary repeating or extraneous details.
Overall Interest: I was glued.
Length of Reading Time: I kind of flew through this one.
Re-read-ability: This story is totally worth a re-read.

The Random Thoughts: ( )
  bookjunkie57 | Oct 18, 2021 |
I adored Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient and enjoyed The Bride Test. The Heart Principle is her third novel in the loosely linked romance fiction series.

On reading the Author’s Note, in which Hoang writes of her personal connection to the characters and events in The Heart Principle, any criticism of the novel risks seeming presumptuous and petty. And to be honest I have one or two issues with the story, including that this is not the ‘romance novel’ I was expecting.

The thing is, I’m not sure why that matters. I’ve never much cared for genre rules, and my own reading is fairly eclectic. In itself, I think The Heart Principle is a great read, but I definitely felt the gap between what I expected of the genre, and therefore the mood of the book, and what Hoang gives.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the romance here. The development of the relationship between the protagonists- Quan, who has appeared in previous novels, and Anna Sun, a violinist in the midst of a professional and personal crisis is swoony and steamy, and though of course it has its complications, there is a happy ever after ending for the couple. As a whole, however, the romance feels sidelined in favour of the serious challenges faced by Anna and her journey to overcome them.

Professionally, Anna is struggling with self doubt, and reluctantly seeing a therapist in an attempt to resolve it. When said therapist suggests her issue stems from a set of behaviours that indicates Anna is autistic, Anna is surprised, but recognises diagnostic traits in herself such her use of masking - imitating neurotypical behaviours to fit in. Anna’s family, who have always been critical of her, immediately rejects the notion, but any further exploration of the topic is shut down when Anna’s father is incapacitated by a stroke. Caring for her father, who will not recover, places Anna under an intolerable amount of pressure, and her subsequent meltdown results in estrangement from her family, and an emotional collapse.

I have nothing but praise for Hoang’s authentic, honest characterisation of Anna, and for the genuine depiction of her experiences, including autistic burnout and caregiving for an invalid family member, but there is also so much raw emotion, it makes for quite a harrowing read, and I found it a little overwhelming because I wasn’t expecting it.

So here is my recommendation, before you pick up The Heart Principle, throw out your expectations of genre and take this novel as it comes. It is sexy, heart-rending, intense and poignant. ( )
  shelleyraec | Sep 23, 2021 |
Anna has been stuck in her music and resorts to therapy. But the catalyst for change happens when her long-time boyfriend wants to see other women and Anna feels compelled to do the same. What follows is a journey of self discovery and the blessing it is to find people who accept you for who you are. Lovely! ( )
  tjsjohanna | Sep 8, 2021 |
If you were expecting The Heart Principle to be ‘just’ a romance novel featuring the mysterious Quan from Helen Hoang’s first two novels, be prepared for so much more. This is a heavy hitting emotional read on multiple fronts, including burnout, caring for loved ones and families who can be deeply uncaring.

The story introduces us to Anna, who became a YouTube sensation after a clumsy walk into a music stand revealed that she is a brilliant violinist. Now she has a record deal and music composed just for her, but she can’t practise without going in circles. To top it off, her boyfriend declares he wants an open relationship just to see what might be out there. Anna is used to hiding her emotions to please others, but this time she is angry. She’s going to find what’s out there too and that’s how she meets Quan. Quan has been through some bad times too, and they find solace in each other, both as friends and romantically. Quan is supportive of Anna where her family is not (truly, Anna’s family is just horrible to her – worse than Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters). He listens and respects her, and encourages her to share her feelings and speak out. But it’s difficult for Anna, particularly when tragedy strikes her family and her whole world changes. She’s not herself any more, but will she find the strength to speak her feelings to Quan and her family?

This is an intense read that deals with more than romance. The romance between Anna and Quan is a bumpy road, with the misunderstandings you would expect, but for reasons that hit harder – loyalty to family, body image and simply being unable to speak out. Grief is also a strong theme for Anna on multiple fronts – not being able to play her violin as she wanted, losing a loved one and not being able to voice her concerns, even to Quan. The caregiving scenes are particularly tough as Anna is caught between the wishes of her sister and her father with no one to turn to. There are of course some lighter scenes, such as Quan and Anna watching documentaries together and Anna’s palpable relief when her therapist suggests she is autistic. The relationship between Quan and Anna is more than just kissing but a deeply caring friendship.

The writing is brutally honest, and I commend Helen Hoang for writing with such clarity the good and bad of very tough times. She paints her characters without apology, from the horrible Julian and Priscilla to Quan and his vulnerabilities. I do love that this story was so much more than just a romantic relationship and really delves into other issues like carer burnout. I am here for whatever Helen chooses to write next – serious, sexy or otherwise.

Thank you to Allen and Unwin for the copy of this book. My review is honest.

http://samstillreading.wordpress.com ( )
  birdsam0610 | Sep 1, 2021 |
I loved this book! I liked the other two books in this trilogy by this one was my favorite by far. Once I started listening, I didn’t want to stop. I was captivated by Anna’s journey in this book and just had to see how things would work out for her in the end. I found this to be a very entertaining and moving story.

This really felt like Anna’s story. Quan is an important character in the story and there is a romance but the heart of the story was about Anna. At the start of the book, Anna spends her days trying to be what other people expect her to be. She controls her reactions so that she fits in. She has a boyfriend that she tries hard to please despite the fact that he does not treat her well. When he decides to open up their relationship, Anna signs on a dating app to find a one-night stand for herself. She ends up finding something more with Quan.

The second half of the book switches gears and we see Anna trying to deal with her family in the middle of a tragic situation. Quan and Anna spend little time together during this part of the book but he did try to support her as much as he could. Anna has spent her life trying to be the person that her family expects her to be and they are really not interested in her new diagnosis. I felt so bad for Anna as she tried to navigate this difficult situation and be allowed to be the person she really is.

This book brought on the feels. I really felt for Anna throughout the book. It was hard to imagine her playing her violin trying for the perfection that was always just out of reach. Quan had his own challenges after having a serious health issue and dealing with some stress on the job. I thought that these two were really good together and I love how patient and caring Quan was throughout the story. Some parts of the book were more difficult to read and my heart broke for Anna.

Brian Nishii and Natalie Naudus did a fantastic job with this story. I thought that they were able to bring the story to life and I loved the voices that they both used for the various characters. I felt that they both added a lot of emotion into their narration. I believe that their narration added to my overall enjoyment of this story.

I would recommend this book to others. This book is a little different than the first two books in the series but I really appreciated what the author was able to do with Anna’s story. I will definitely be planning to read more of this author’s work in the future.

I received a review copy of this audiobook from Dreamscape Media via NetGalley. ( )
  Carolesrandomlife | Aug 31, 2021 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Helen Hoangprimary authorall editionscalculated
Naudus, NatalieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nishii, BrianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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This is the last time I'm starting over.
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