Contemporary · Fiction · Romance

The Heart Principle

Title: The Heart Principle

Author: Helen Hoang

Page Count: 320

Series: The Kiss Quotient, Book 3

Publishing Date/Publisher: August 31, 2021 by Berkley

Format: eBook

Review: Hoang captured my heart with The Kiss Quotient, and though I didn’t enjoy The Bride Test nearly as much, I was still eager to read The Heart Principle when I saw it offered on NetGalley. The Heart Principle is written in a different style than it’s predecessors, and the result is a deeply felt and raw portrayal of love, loss, and learning self-acceptance. The main character, Anna, struggles with hiding her social difficulties and exerts great effort to mold herself into the person her family and boyfriend expects. At the end of each interaction she is left mentally and emotionally drained, hardly able to take care of herself. She is completely blindsided when her boyfriend proposes an “open” relationship, and as she grapples with this new reality, she meets Quan, the “bad boy” with a heart of gold. Both Anna and Quan are wearing masks to hide their inner struggles, but once together, they find a safe space to be authentic within their burgeoning relationship.

This really was a beautiful story, though much sadder in tone than the other two books in the series. The author’s note at the end is worth reading and explains why she chose to make this book different.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

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Fiction · Romance

The Bride Test

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Title: The Bride Test

Author: Helen Hoang

Page Count: 320

Series: The Kiss Quotient, Book 2

Publishing Date/Publisher: May 7, 2019 by Berkley

Format: eBook

Review: The Kiss Quotient set an impossibly high bar as one of my all-time favorite romance novels.  I was ecstatic when I found out that Helen Hoang would be publishing another love story following a periphery character from her stunning debut.

The story, which follows Michael’s cousin Khai and the delightfully independent Esme, is undeniably sweet, but somehow lacked the same swoon-worthy quality that made the The Kiss Quotient so unforgettable.  It’s hard to say exactly what it lacks, but it just doesn’t have “it”.  The characters were likeable, and the plot was cutesy, but it felt to me like it was just running in a very predictable circle.

I appreciate that this romance is focused on somebody with autism, and if you read the first book, it was nice to see that Khai’s autism isn’t portrayed exactly the same as Stella’s.  There is so much diversity on the spectrum, and it is refreshing to see this represented.

I hope this book is going to be part of a trilogy, and I suspect that if it is, the third book will focus on Khai’s brother, Quan.  He is also a very likable character, and it would be great to follow his story next.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

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Fiction · Romance

The Kiss Quotient

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Title: The Kiss Quotient

Author: Helen Hoang

Page Count: 336

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: June 5, 2018 by Berkley

Format: Paperback

Review: Fifty Shades of Wow…this book was everything I hyped it up in my head to be and more.  I love a good romance, and I have read many, but it is rare to come across a book that really makes my heart pitter patter.  Not only that, but it has a very diverse set of lovers.  The heroine, Stella, has Asperger’s Syndrome (a high functioning form of autism) and the hero, Michael, is biracial (Vietnamese/Caucasian).

I was never a particularly big fan of the Julia Roberts/Richard Gere film Pretty Woman, but this gender bent retelling was both believable and heartwarming.  It’s a slow build romance, and even though the outcome seems inevitable, it is still tremendously gratifying to see it come to fruition.

What I particularly enjoy about the book is how the author develops the character of Stella.  The author is herself autistic, and the authenticity of her experiences really shines through Stella’s inner dialogue.  Stella is both quirky and lovable, and at times the pain and frustration she feels is so raw, you feel it to your very core.  You can’t help but root for her and her budding romance with the sensitive, yet studly male escort with a heart of gold.

As a side note, I grew up near the city where the story takes place, so it was very interesting as a reader to experience familiar places in a new and fun way.

Reader: Bekah

Rating:

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