ARC Review The Heart Principle

The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre: Romance/Women’s Fiction

Series: The Kiss Quotient #3

Heat Level: 🔥🔥

Release Date: August 31, 2021

Publisher: Berkley

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.


A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected—and the man she enlists to help her—in this heartfelt new romance by USA Today bestselling author Helen Hoang.

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.


Violinist Anna Sun is a YouTube sensation. Not only does she have a viral video of herself playing the violin, but she also has a great boyfriend. On the surface it looks as though her life is idyllic. But Anna is struggling. Struggling with her violin practice, struggling to always appease her older sister and her parents and now she’s also struggling with her relationship. When her boyfriend suggests they have an open relationship, Anna is hurt. But if he can see other people then she can too. Anna turns to the most recent dating app to help her with her predicament.

Quan hasn’t dated or been with anyone in some time. After a recent health scare, Quan doesn’t feel completely like himself. When his cousin Michael suggests Quan date or even casually see someone, Quan decides to try his luck with dating apps. Soon Anna and Quan are chatting via the dating app. And what starts as a one night stand suddenly turns into more. Will these two be able to see themselves in a long term relationship? 

I enjoyed the relationship between Anna and Quan. There’s was an unconventional love story. From their chats to their first meeting, I loved how patient they were with one another. Both Anna and Quan are at a point in their lives, where they are trying to figure out who they are. Their respective worlds have recently been turned upside down and they feel as though they have a common link and person who grounds them. I liked that they both go through this process together even though they started as strangers

After reading both The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test, I couldn’t wait to get to Quan’s story! He is definitely one of my favorite characters in the series. Be forewarned though that The Heart Principle isn’t a light read. Although there were definitely moments that had me laughing (Quan + Michael + Khai are the best!), there were definitely a lot of heavier topics discussed. There is definitely something to be said about an author that can make me feel so much. There were moments where I was so angry on behalf of the characters and also moments that had my heart hurting. 

While I did enjoy The Heart Principle, I do feel like I wanted more of Anna and Quan together. I completely understand that Anna is fighting her own battles and so is Quan, but I really loved their scenes together and wanted more of them. 

I appreciate Helen’s representation of autism. As with The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test, I feel as though I am more knowledgeable about the spectrum. Helen’s note at the end of the book was touching and definitely gives us more of an insight to Anna’s character and Helen’s feelings while she was writing this deeply emotional book.

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