Heart Principle Struck an Emotional Chord

***Received from Netgalley in exchange for review- though the book-love is all me***

After falling head over heels for Hoang’s Kiss Quotient and Bride Test, I calculated a high probability of loving every single book she releases. Which is why I jumped at the chance to read The Heart Principle as soon as possible! Naturally, I wasn’t disappointed.

I quickly got tangled up in Anna’s story: a violinist going through burnout and a breakup- yeesh! That’s a helluva lot to have on your plate. But, enter hot motorbike-riding Quan and we have ourselves a love story waiting to happen.

While Quan has all the trappings of a bad boy, he’s the kind of cinnamon roll that makes your heart sing. It’s actually rather ironic that the “nice guy” her family approve of is a TOTAL JERK. Looks can be deceiving- and it didn’t take long for me to be making *heart eyes* at her new beau.  

Yet as romantic as this was, I felt like in some ways that took a backseat to Anna’s personal journey. Because this is really about being blocked creatively and struggling to do the thing you love most in the world. Because how do you even deal with not being able to do the thing that defines you? For me, this was a punch in the gut, cos oof I hardcore relate to feeling like this. It got me thinking about all the things I’ve been grinding my teeth over lately. And of course, this gives the answer that you have to find a way back to the pure joy, the love, the happiness… but, as the Heart Principle shows, it’s not simple. You don’t just feel ready one day, pick up the bow and the music comes. It takes time and turning up and a lot of deep breaths before you get there. And I really appreciated how patiently the story traced over the notes and melodically made its way towards healing.

What’s great is how personal this story is. Beyond her individual difficulties, she’s trying to navigate her relationship with her family. Trapped by their expectations of her, I felt her agony as she tried to balance being a good daughter and being true to herself (particularly after her recent autism diagnosis). As much as she wants to be understood, she also wants to take control of her own life. And that’s not an easy path to navigate. Through the narrative, Anna breaks down the problem into individual bars, playing through them, circling back, until she finally makes it through the whole piece. I really liked how raw and honest this was. I felt like I got to know the characters in such an intimate way.

Another beautiful addition to Hoang’s collection, I was certainly swept up in this story. Can’t wait to be carried away by another of her romances!

Rating: 4/5 bananas  

So, have you read any books by Helen Hoang? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

My Most Anticipated Releases in 2021

YE GODS THERE ARE SO MANY RELEASES THIS YEAR!!! If you’ve been around a while, you’ll know I’m not in the habit of making these kinds of posts (I do occasionally try to keep my expectations in check 😉). But WOW I can’t help getting hyped up for *so many* of the releases this year! (and these are just the ones I/we know about!!)

Klara and the Sun– I mean, a release from one of the best authors on the planet?! Yes please!!

Any Way the Wind Blows- yasss!! Sorry, I’ll try to keep the screaming to a minimum, but YAAASSSS!! All I can do is squeal at the prospect of a new Baz/Simon adventure! Love the title as well- they’re just so on point for this series.

My Contrary Mary– another one I’ve been looking out for ever since it was announced years ago! As you may know, I’m just a teensy bit of a MASSIVE fan of My Lady Jane. Funny alternate history is just my jam and I need more of it in my life.

The Ivies– oh god I’m excited for this one. You may or may not know, I’ve been following Alexa Donne on Youtube for years. And I’ve been following along for the whole journey of this book- from idea to finished product! I’ve just been enthralled by the concept from day one- deadly competitive college admissions- sign me up! (Also, this is an author who knows her YA and her thrillers- so I have high hopes!)

Survive the Night– virtually every Riley Sager book is a winner for me. Absolute auto-buy. (Also happens to be one of the authors I discovered through Alexa Donne’s channel).

Heart Principle– loved the first two in this rom com series– how can I say no to more?!? I’ll be reading this on the principle that my heart needs another dose 😉

The Project– ever since Sadie, I’ve needed to read more Courtney Summers. I’ll just have to make sure my heart is ready.

Rule of Wolves– because, I mean, of course. Love Leigh Bardugo and the first one in this duology. Gonna need a hardback too.

Iron Raven– Julie Kagawa has another book coming out?? And it’s a continuation of the Iron Fey world? From Puck’s perspective? Well thank you universe!

The Chosen and the Beautiful– okay, yes, this is the only author on here that I haven’t read (reason being that as intrigued as I am by *so many* of those, I can’t truly say I have the same expectations for something I’ve no idea if I’ll like) HOWEVER I have never read a Gatsby retelling, I have never realised I needed a Gatsby retelling… I now know my life won’t be complete until I have read this. Also, adore the cover.

Tales From the Hinterland– okay this one’s technically already out- but I just know I’m going to have to read this book, since Hazel Wood is one of my favourite fantasy books.

And that’s all for now- I do have high hopes that a Red Rising book or a Sanderson sequel (or maybe some other exciting release) will be on the cards too… but we’ll have to wait and see!

For now, what’s your most anticipated release of 2021? Let me know in the comments!

The Kiss Quotient and the Bride Test add up to a marriage made in heaven!

 

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Well, I have something to confess: I had a bit of summer fling last month and discovered a new favourite romance author. We’d better dive straight into these mini reviews, before I get all hot and flustered about this (now-not-so) secret love affair…

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The Kiss Quotient– wowee- this was love at first line! I read this in one sitting and let’s just say I was more than simply satisfied! Not only was this super steamy at times, it also made me unreasonably emotional. Because this was more than a top-notch romance: it delivered time and again on so many other levels. I think it’s the first time I have ever read a romance featuring an autistic lead and that aspect to the story blew me away. Added to this, I really liked how the family aspect and friendships were developed. This enjoyment was multiplied by exciting themes like the fake dating trope and even touched on the pressures of being single. The only reason this wasn’t a full-length review was that I was too absorbed in it and forgot to take notes. Happy to report, this one definitely lives upto the hype!

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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The Bride Test– obviously once I was done with Kiss Quotient, I bounced to the next available book in this loosely connected companion series. Now, while I didn’t love this quite as much, I can safely say this gets really romantic!! Perhaps more so even than its predecessor. It was emotional. It was heartwarming. And it ended in squeals, lots and lots of squeals. And I LOVE-LOVE-LOVED how these books aren’t just about the romance- they are also about character growth. These are such well-rounded books centred around wonderful characters. As well as this, I have to say that I love how personal these stories are for Hoang- I appreciated reading these in the acknowledgements and it certainly shines through in the writing. All in all, you can’t go wrong with either of these. If you’re into romance like me and you pick these up- well you’re in for a treat!

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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So romance fans- have you read either of these? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!