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!

Six month update

So it’s been a little over 6 months since I relaunched my blog. Things haven’t really gone the way I would’ve liked them too but I have always believed that life is a journey and we learn something new every step of the way.

I started off in June thinking that I was going to blog more and be more creative and this website and youtube channel were going to be my outlet. I even forced my parents to give me the extra room in the garage so I could set it up and make it into a cute little office/filming room for myself. I’m still working on that 4 months in but it will eventually happen I just don’t know when.

I’ve been looking back at the goals I set myself on my birthday and surprisingly I can a few off the list already which is amazing for someone like me as it usually takes me a billion odd years to get shit done well shit that is for myself done. I thought I’d post a little update because even though I’ve been a bit MIA online my life has been very busy to the point I haven’t had a single weekend to myself for the last few months.

1. Quit my Job – I quit my job at the end of June and well me being me I went back in September. I’ve been back for 2 and half months and the experience is completely different. I’m still surrounded by people that I love and consider to be my friends but this job is not end goals just a stepping stone until I figure out where I am heading next.

2. Join the Gym – I joined the gym!! well, I got a personal trainer who I see twice a week and boyyy does she know how to torture us. I’ve been seeing her for about a month now and I’m not going to lie even though I hate exercising I somehow enjoy each session of pain. I don’t think I’ve seen any physical changes but let’s put that down to my bad eating habits in times of stress!

3. Join a Scriptwriting Class – I attended an evening class for 6 whole weeks!!! I never really thought I would actually do it. I loved the experience, especially because, in the beginning, I felt like a fish out of water. I regretted paying for the classes because I knew I had to attend them now but after the initial OMG WTF HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO moment I started to really enjoy the class and I ended up writing my very first episode. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the script or where I am going to go with it but I did it and I feel so proud of myself just for being able to allow myself to write!

5. Go to Therapy – I went to my very first therapy session last week. I feel as though I have broken this barrier that I had built for myself and that was preventing me from going but now I’ve taken the first step and I really do look forward to these sessions helping me help myself.

10. Put Myself Out There Again – I think this was the one thing I was not looking forward to the most but I am more open to new things and new people and just experiencing life differently. I’ve made new friends and even opened up my heart just a little. You don’t realise what you are missing out until you get a glimpse of it and you yourself are experiencing new things and emotions.

It’s been 6 whole months since my birthday and my very first post on this blog. In those 6 months, life hasn’t gone the way I wanted to it but I’ve achieved 5 things off my list of goals for the next 5 years and I think that’s pretty amazing!

Better off alone

I always say I am better off alone. It’s not because I want to be alone.
It’s just, may be one day I’ll let someone in just enough and they’ll steal my heart. I’ll fall helplessly in love and realise all I ever wanted in this life was to feel loved, to be in love. I’ll crave it, I’ll need it, I’ll want to feel it more than life itself and then one day it will all come crashing, burning down. I don’t know if my heart can take that especially seeing as I am known as the broken girl. So I rather wear some bubble wrap around my fragile self then to open up and let you love me. I’m not scared of being alone I’m scared of needing you, scared of falling so deeply and not being able to live without your love.

Forever

These scars are forever, moments carved into my skin
Memories that I will never treasure.
Daily reminders of my screw-ups,
My downfalls, my pain.
My lack of self-control.
They haunt, they taunt me.
They make me feel ashamed.
I wish they’d disappear.
But they now are a part me
A part of me I can’t let go
A part of me here to stay forever.
A part of me I will always regret.

Scars

my scars remind me of you.
the ones I carved into my skin.
I hate that you are still apart me.
because I allowed you to consume me.
sometimes I want to cover them up.
other times I think these are my battle wounds.
it’s a constant struggle because these are daily reminders.
of memories, bad memories engraved into my skin.

Sometimes

I hate being so self-aware. I can feel these emotions that come flooding in and I try to stop them. I try to invalidate them because someone like me should not be feeling this way.

Some days I feel so low that I don’t understand who I am or who it is that I want to be. Life seems to be an ongoing circle of repetition and no progression. I see a future but there is nothing there it is just a black hole. The darkness is consuming my soul and it seems to be so peaceful, so quiet and that is kind of all I want.

Other days I feel like I am destined for greatness and that I am going to make a difference in this world regardless of how long it takes me. I will overcome every single obstacle thrown my way because God has a plan and I feel it in my bones that one day my dreams will be a reality. You don’t have dreams for no reason, ideas and passion isn’t random, they are there, they have a purpose. On these days I feel unstoppable, I feel high on life, I feel like everything happens for a reason and I am so grateful.

Then there are days where I go through the motions of highs and lows. I will wake up be productive and get so much shit done that I’m like wait, who is this girl, I like her. I plan and work and things make sense. I love and I laugh and I feel good and I feel happy but by the end of the day, I crash. I cry and I feel sick and as though I am worthless. I feel like I’m drowning and I don’t want to be saved. I feel so overwhelmed with emotions and I have no one to turn to because they don’t understand these sudden ups and downs.

Some days I want to stay in bed and just sleep forever. I want to speak to nobody and I want nobody to speak to me. I want my mind to be blank and my soul to feel a little bit of peace. I want to be closed in and as far away as possible from anything that breathes.

There are times that I find myself in a public place or surrounded by people and I can feel my body giving me away. I see my hands tremble and feel my eyes start to water. I feel this weird burning sensation prickling my head. My neck feels tense and I find myself unable to speak or move but me being me I can not let anyone see this happening to me so I have to tell myself that this is not the time or place, you are not this kind of person don’t ever let anybody see you this weak. Sometimes I can’t reel it in so I have to run away lock myself in the bathroom and fall to the floor and try to breathe and all I hear myself saying is why are you doing this to yourself why can’t you be normal and just be fine? I invalidate every emotion I feel because that is not the way a girl like me is supposed to be but what is a girl like me supposed to be?

I cry alone at night, I cry myself to sleep wishing there was someone who would be able to comfort me. Sometimes I want to run to my mum and just cry to her but the truth is I would never have the courage to because I’m coward when it comes to showing others how I feel. I want her to tell me it will be okay and that life is a rollercoaster of your greatest hit and you stupidest mistakes. I want her to tell me that I will make it out fine as long as I believe in me because she believes in me but that’s a conversation we will never have.

I guess all I want in life is not to feel so alone, to feel loved and to love someone back. I want to go through this journey, this messed up journey with someone by my side, someone who understands that I feel a little too much and I care way too much for my own good. I’m sick of hiding and trying to mask and bottle up everything inside. I just want to be free and feel happy.