The Heart Principle By Helen Hoang – 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.”

Firstly I’d like to say a massive thank you to Atlantic Books and NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read the acr of The Heart Principle. I honestly didn’t think I would get approved so I was pleasantly surprised!

Over the last year or so I’ve made it a point to find and read more books by authors who are from different ethnic backgrounds and I’m a sucker when it comes to it. I love a story about someone who is different yet similar to me. Someone who I can relate to but also I can’t. I like looking at life through their lens and living vicariously through them doing things, experiencing things I never would in life. It makes me happy just like this book made me happy.

The Heart Principle is book number three in The Kiss Quotient series but can also be read as a standalone. I myself have not read the first two books just yet but now I most definitely can not wait to get my hands on them. Also if I’m being entirely honest I had no idea who Helen Hoang was until I joined book twitter and saw The Heart Principle everywhere to the point I was like I need to read this book right now!

I am going to try to keep this review shorter than usual just because I have been struggling to come up with the words to explain exactly how this book has made me feel. I don’t want to spoil the plot or give too much away because I really think you should pick up this book and give it a read. If you are 18+ that is. Helen Hoang deals with so many hard and deep rooted issues in this book that you are going to feel every emotion under the sun – that is a given. I cried, I laughed, I even got annoyed and felt as though Hoang had taken a peek into my own life and somehow managed to weave it into this story. This is a romance, a spicy romance but it’s also a slice of life.

Anna and Quan are one of the most realistically portrayed couples I have read in a recent book. Both characters are going through a lot, physically and emotionally. Neither is looking for love, just someone they can overcome a hurdle with and then never have to see again but things never go to plan and somehow these two end up intertwined in each other’s lives finding comfort in one another. They understand each other and because there are no expectations I think they are both more open and vulnerable with the other. Two damaged souls – one a little more broken than another find solace eventually together.

Quan has the exterior of a total bad boy; tattoos, leather jackets and even a motorbike. He looks like the kind of guy your parents tell you to stay the hell away from but he is so swoon worthy looks and personality wise. He is one of the most patient love interests that I have ever come across. He is the ying to Anna’s yang because she is the opposite of him in every way. She is a people pleaser, she never says what’s on her mind and she is so self critical that she is her own worst enemy. She is phenomenal but she is surrounded by people who think they know best for her and don’t support or appericatte or even listen to her.

This story for me is about self discovery and acceptance. Coming to terms with who you are and being okay with it. It’s a story about family and how hard it can be – all the ups and downs that come with expectations and pressure. A story about how meeting the right person can change your life for the better.

I think I am going to wrap up my review here. I think I’ve said a lot but at the same time nothing at all. I have to give this book a 5/5 for exceeding my expectations. I really felt seen reading this book and it got me questioning a lot of things in my own life. That’s what a great book does, it evokes emotions, it stirs up something inside of you. The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang is now available in the UK from all major book retailers so definitely get your hand on it!

The Dating Dare By Jayci Lee – Review

“No serious relationships. This is the one rule Tara Park made for herself and it has been working swimmingly, especially since she’s busy with Weldon Brewery. But when Seth Kim, temptation personified and her best friend’s new brother-in-law walks into her life, Tara might be willing to bend her golden rule . . . but only for four dates, which she agreed to after a few good rounds of beer – and a game of truth or dare.

Seth Kim can’t believe Tara agreed to his dating dare. He’s leaving for a new job in Paris in a month and a no-strings attached fling seemed like a nice distraction for both . . . But while their dates have a tendency to hit roadblocks, their non-dates and chance meetings are becoming frequent – and heated. What was supposed to be a little fun game is turning into something that neither is ready for.

But sometimes, the best things in life are the ones we never see coming.”

I had so much fun reading this lovely story by Jayci Lee. The Dating Dare is book #2 in the Sweet Mess series. (I need to go and pick up the first book because I loved this one so much) You can read them together or they can be read as stand alone stories so have no fear if you haven’t read Sweet Mess like me. Thank you so much Headline, Net Galley and of course Jayci Lee for this wonderful opportunity to read such a sweet story.

We all know by now how I’m such a cover girl – give me a cute cover and I will swoon over the book any day. I love both versions of the cover for The Dating Dare, so adorable. (I’ve of course posted the UK version as that is what is available to me)

I can not begin to express how much I enjoyed this story. It is such a feel good book I found myself smiling and swooning throughout and of course there were plenty of moments where I was giggling, even laughing out loud! I love a good romantic comedy and that is exactly what this is.

I love Tara and Seth. They are both so relatable in their own ways so as a reader you feel connected to the characters. But they are also the type of characters that you root for because you just want them to be happy!!!!

So the story goes like this – they both meet at Tara’s best friend’s wedding where Seth just so happens to be the younger brother of the groom. They get to talking (Their banter is impeccable) and end up playing a game of truth or dare, which results in the dating dare. Four dates, no strings attached. Seth is leaving at the end of the month to fly across to Paris anyways. What do they have to lose?

Well we all know from previous experience how these sorts of situations work out, right? This is one of my favorite tropes – “Make sure you don’t fall in love with me.” “No, you try not to fall in love with me.” And then by the end everyone is in love! I just think it works out so beautifully in this story as both characters are scarred from their tragic history with love and find themselves slowly but surely opening up to one another. Yes there are bumps along the way but there is also a whole lot of self discovery and coming to terms with their past and overcoming their fears.

Their chemistry is on fire and the spiciness of their blooming relationship is just on another level, It’s undeniable! There was literally one point in the book where I was like dammnnn where on earth do I find my own Seth! Literally sitting there fanning myself. Honestly this book really made me want to fall in love with the right person and just have all the crazy fun possible.

I adore Jayci Lee and the way that she writes, especially when she is describing food. It’s like hearing someone talk about something that they are so passionate about that they are oozing happiness from the inside. She is so funny and honestly every single character in this story is so relatable. I think I especially like this story because I see a lot of myself in Tara and her experiences so even though I know this is just fiction it allows me to feel as though there is still hope for me out there!

I would like to give this book a 5/5. I know I’ve said I love it multiple times before but it’s true I really do. I know the story is predictable but that’s what makes a romantic comedy so comforting and enjoyable. This was just a quick and easy read, I found myself not wanting to put this book down. Just thinking about Tara and Seth makes me smile (yes I am a weirdo like that) I absolutely recommend this book if you like cute, funny and of course let’s not forget steamy romances.