Book: The Heart Principle
Series: The Kiss Quotient #3
Author: Helen HoangWhen 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 herself has just started to understand. 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. -Goodreads
Review: I was prepared to love this book. Quan was my favorite secondary character in the previous installments in this series and I couldn’t wait to read his story. After finishing this book, I am not sure how to rate this. I loved Quan but he didn’t even feel like a main character in his own book. Anna, a professional musician currently taking a break, takes front and center and I found her to be an extremely frustrating character. She’s a people pleaser who is unable to say ‘no’ to anyone. I know people like this and some of her points are valid (we all mask to an extent around certain people) but her lack of a backbone for almost the entire book was just aggravating.
Part 1 of the book is a romance, and I did enjoy the start of Quan and Anna’s relationship. Part 2 of the book focuses almost exclusively on Anna while she is helping her family take care of her ill father. She struggles with the caregiving role, cannot articulate her feeling to her family and struggles mentally. This part of the book was very well written, depressing and heartfelt. At this point in the book, the book diverges from the romance genre. In Part 3, the relationship with Quan and Anna moves forward but she is struggling with severe depression issues. The issues Anna was dealing with here were very serious yet seemed to be resolved in just a few pages. I would have liked to have had Quan’s perspective during this time but he seemed like an almost forgotten side character by this point.
I didn’t hate this by any means and I appreciate the author’s note and how personal this story was to her, but I didn’t love this either. I am frankly shocked this was nominated for a Goodreads award under the Romance category.