The Secret of a Heart Note

The Secret of a Heart Note

An evocative novel about a teen aroma expert who uses her extrasensitive sense of smell to mix perfumes that help others fall in love while protecting her own heart at all costsSometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchm...

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Title:The Secret of a Heart Note
Author:Stacey Lee
Rating:
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Kindle Edition
Number of Pages:384 pages

The Secret of a Heart Note Reviews

  • Morgan (The Bookish Beagle)
    Jan 28, 2017

    I loved this book so much! I read a couple reviews that called it a modern California fairy tale and it really feels like that; it sort of reminds me of Practical Magic and Chocolat in the charming, witchy love aspects, meets Clueless for the mix ups. The aromateurs had such an interesting history and I love that this book had a fresh concept. It felt really unique! The characters were rich and complex, and I especially loved Mim. She was so relatable in her wish to be a normal teenager while st

    I loved this book so much! I read a couple reviews that called it a modern California fairy tale and it really feels like that; it sort of reminds me of Practical Magic and Chocolat in the charming, witchy love aspects, meets Clueless for the mix ups. The aromateurs had such an interesting history and I love that this book had a fresh concept. It felt really unique! The characters were rich and complex, and I especially loved Mim. She was so relatable in her wish to be a normal teenager while still having this amazing gift. And the writing! The descriptions were lush and inviting, so easy to imagine the scents and smells. I've always had a thing about smells btw, and how they relate to memories. It never felt overdone to me; it was whimsical but not cloying. And the book was romantic! So romantic, though I loved that it focused on familial love and friendship too. Highly recommended :)

  • Sue (Hollywood News Source)
    Mar 19, 2015

    It’s incredibly difficult to find a light book about people of color, where we experience racism, but it’s not the entire plot of the novel. I’m not discrediting stories that feature our struggles,

    That’s rightfully justified. Reading stories with characters of color a

    It’s incredibly difficult to find a light book about people of color, where we experience racism, but it’s not the entire plot of the novel. I’m not discrediting stories that feature our struggles,

    That’s rightfully justified. Reading stories with characters of color and seeing them fall in love, be happy, be successful are such a beautiful experience. It’s a protest to this publishing industry that continues to support harmful books. I want a variety of representation, most especially uplifting stories.

    The story follows Mimosa, who is one of the two remaining aromateurs in this world. Aromatuers have an impressive sense of smell that they use to create elixirs for the betterment of society. Their livelihood aims to help people open their eyes to the possibility of love. But like most traditional families, they have a filial duty, and rules to abide. Aromateurs are forbidden to fall in love, for it would rob them of their ability of smell.

    When Mimosa grabbed the chance to attend a regular high school, she finds herself getting in tangled in a web of precarious situations. She accidentally gave an elixir to a heartbroken mother, who happened to be the mother of the school’s soccer star, who might or might not

    her.

    How many books have you read that employ the aroma of flowers, and Mother Nature as a writing style? Nothing came to mind. The lovely descriptions evoke a sense of belonging and uniqueness. I find it eerily comforting. It reminds me of my Lola’s ancestral house.

    The mother-daughter relationship of the protagonist, Mimosa and Dahlia resonate with me more. The story tackles family expectation and the burden that comes along with it. In addition to their dynamics, Lee also made a point to establish the family history of aromatuers. The supporting characters’ family woes are included in the plot as well.

    The friendship is so heartwarming. It showcases high school’s meanness. How being different than your peers will make you a target. The only valid concern I have is there’s a token mean girl. That’s it, but as I said there’s also supportive friends 

    The romance is so cute. It’s one of my favorite things about it. Truthfully, I get giddy whenever I read a love interest that isn’t a stereotyped asshole. I love the awkward fumbling sincerity of it.

    Review also posted at

  • Alexa
    Feb 18, 2016

    4.75 stars. You know when you read a book that just makes you feel all warm and wonderful on the inside? That leaves you with an ear to ear grin when you finish? That was this book for me. I fell in love with this story that plays out exactly like a romantic comedy, which I love! I liked the aromateur aspect, which was something I've not truly thought about or read before. There are a very few minor quibbles I have, but all in all, this was an extremely fun reading experience for me.

  • Sarah
    Sep 29, 2016

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

    This was a YA magical realism story, about a girl who created love elixirs using a heightened sense of smell.

    Mimosa was an interesting character, and she certainly went out of her way to try and please her mother, even when it mean doing things she didn’t want to do.

    The storyline in this was about Mimosa accidentally giving a love elixir to the

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

    This was a YA magical realism story, about a girl who created love elixirs using a heightened sense of smell.

    Mimosa was an interesting character, and she certainly went out of her way to try and please her mother, even when it mean doing things she didn’t want to do.

    The storyline in this was about Mimosa accidentally giving a love elixir to the wrong person, and then having to work to try and rectify her mistake by creating a new elixir to counteract the effects of the first. We also got quite a slow burning, forbidden romance happening between Mimosa and a boy called Court, as Mimosa had been brought up to believe that falling in love led to losing her heightened sense of smell, and her ability to create elixirs.

    The ending to this was pretty good, and I was pleased with the way things were tied up.

    7 out of 10

  • nick
    Nov 19, 2016

    Stacey Lee has fast become one of my favorite YA authors. She pens stories that are real, raw and hopeful, the kind of stories that anyone can relate to no matter what cultural background they come from. Every time I pick up a book by her, I know I’m in for a treat. The Secret of A Heart Note is a veering from her past historical novels, but it was just as beautiful of a story as Under A Painted Sky and Outrun the Moon were.

    Like with Lee’s other stories, there are prevalent themes throughout The

    Stacey Lee has fast become one of my favorite YA authors. She pens stories that are real, raw and hopeful, the kind of stories that anyone can relate to no matter what cultural background they come from. Every time I pick up a book by her, I know I’m in for a treat. The Secret of A Heart Note is a veering from her past historical novels, but it was just as beautiful of a story as Under A Painted Sky and Outrun the Moon were.

    Like with Lee’s other stories, there are prevalent themes throughout The Secret of a Heart Note, one of them being family, as you can tell from the title of this post. She excels at developing relationships and at showing all the nuances and complexities there are to relationships. Here, we are privy to the complicated, yet heartfelt relationship between a mother and a daughter. Mim and her mother come from a long line of aromateurs – they can smell heart notes and figure out people’s personalities and make love potions for them. With that kind of family legacy, comes a lot of expectations. This story is about Mim’s struggles with these expectations. While she enjoys creating these potions, part of her desires a normal teenage experience and she battles with that throughout the story. Family expectations can be rough on teenagers and I loved how deeply Stacey Lee explored that here. There were tense moments between Mim and her mother, but there were also those scenes that portrayed the pure love and respect they had for each other. It was a complicated and messy relationship, but it was inherently very authentic.

    Mim, herself as a protagonist, was more on the quiet side, her abilities not really allowing her to find her place in life. After a drastic mistake on her part, she goes on an incredibly journey, discovering her true self along the way. I loved her growth throughout The Secret of a Heart Note. She also finds love on her path, with a sweet-hearted boy who challenges her all the way. The romance, while very very subtle, was heartwarming. I would have liked to know Court a little better, but this was Mim’s story and I didn’t really mind that. The love story, while a crucial part of the story, wasn’t the main focus. I have never quite read a story like The Secret of a Heart Note. It was very quirky with all the elixir-making, and surprisingly, those were my favorite scenes of the book. I loved all the descriptions of the scents, the process of making the elixirs and the effect of using these potions. There was something very magical about the whole thing.

    With the amount of books I’m lucky enough to read in a year, I don’t remember every story that I’ve read, but I can wholeheartedly say that The Secret of a Heart Note is going to be that exceptional book that I will remember for a long time. If you’re looking for a special YA story, then this magical realism book might be right up your alley.

  • YA Wednesdays
    Nov 29, 2016

    In the world of

    , an aromateur is a love witch who works with scents to create the perfect combination of scents that make people fall in love. They are hired by those seeking love, but have very strict rules of engagement and seeing their services through. They are scent witches with written rules spanning generations, after all. This unique environment, although completely natural, is elevated to an almost fantastical state by Lee’s aromatic descriptors. Lee had a see

    In the world of

    , an aromateur is a love witch who works with scents to create the perfect combination of scents that make people fall in love. They are hired by those seeking love, but have very strict rules of engagement and seeing their services through. They are scent witches with written rules spanning generations, after all. This unique environment, although completely natural, is elevated to an almost fantastical state by Lee’s aromatic descriptors. Lee had a seemingly endless and creative list. She is like a sommelier for scents. She captures her characters souls through her unique desecriptions of their scents and the world around them. This beautiful balance uplifted an ordinary contemporary YA novel into something unique and timeless.

    You can find my full review, plus pre-order incentives

    .

  • T (novelparadise)
    Jan 08, 2017

    This was my first 5 star read of 2017 and it was really enjoyable! This was my first Stacey Lee book and it certainly won't be my last. I loved Lee's writing style and the way she crafted the world. I haven't read a lot of magical realism but I felt like this was a great balance.

    I really liked the development of the characters and their interactions and relationships with each other. I'm also glad that Court and Mim's romance wasn't the only one that was fleshed out throughou

    This was my first 5 star read of 2017 and it was really enjoyable! This was my first Stacey Lee book and it certainly won't be my last. I loved Lee's writing style and the way she crafted the world. I haven't read a lot of magical realism but I felt like this was a great balance.

    I really liked the development of the characters and their interactions and relationships with each other. I'm also glad that Court and Mim's romance wasn't the only one that was fleshed out throughout the book. I'm also glad for the strong female friendship we had between Mim and Kali.

    Not only did we have romantic and friend relationships, we had great development of familial relationships as well. I loved Bryony but I only wish we'd seen more of her! I would love to see a novella or something of Mim's trip to Hawaii with Bryony!

    Further, I also appreciated the on page challenging of systematic racism and sexism. A lot of mainstream (generally non-diverse) books I've read don't try to acknowledge, let along challenge these topics so it was very refreshing to see that in The Secret of a Heart Note!

    Also I loved how natural the diversity was incorporated into this book (as it should be)! We had a multiracial main character, a Latina character, a Samoan & queer character, we had a hijabi girl on the prom committee, we had a black teacher. All of this representation was incorporated and done respectfully throughout the novel. Although the Latina character was the antagonist, it wasn't

    she was Latina, it was because she was wanted to force Kali to come out. I've read reviews and twitter threads on how this should be handed and I felt like this was handled well throughout the novel. The possibility of Kali being outed against her will is never romanticised or brushed under the rug like it's no big deal; it's made very clear that this is unacceptable behaviour.

    Overall, this was a really enjoyable read! Great characters, great plot, great writing. I very highly recommend this one.

  • Jacqueline
    Jan 14, 2017

    4/5 stars

    Video Review:

    With this being my first Stacey Lee book I was ecstatic to read it since I have heard nothing but wonderful things about her other works. Now, that I have read one of her books I cannot wait to read more!

    Her writing style is descriptive and vibrant. It almost felt like I could smell what she was describing. The main character was lovely and incredibly bright. I was happy at the fact although she is younger I never felt like she was i

    4/5 stars

    Video Review:

    With this being my first Stacey Lee book I was ecstatic to read it since I have heard nothing but wonderful things about her other works. Now, that I have read one of her books I cannot wait to read more!

    Her writing style is descriptive and vibrant. It almost felt like I could smell what she was describing. The main character was lovely and incredibly bright. I was happy at the fact although she is younger I never felt like she was in any way immature, it was refreshing.

    I loved the idea of Mim and her mother being aromateurs, I had no knowledge before reading this novel but I found Stacey Lee incorporated it beautifully into the book. I found I enjoyed learning more about it and in my personal opinion, the idea of Mim and her mother being aromateurs made the book stand out.

    ***Was sent this book in exchange for an honest review***

  • Stacee
    Dec 09, 2016

    I downloaded this on a whim, but wasn't quite sure what to expect.

    I loved Mim. She's smart and well meaning and probably one of the most genuine MC's I've read before. I loved being in her head. There's also an excellent cast of secondary characters: I loved Kali and Court, but Bryony stole every scene she was in.

    The best part of this book is the smells and how emotions are scented. If even half of the information about the flowers is correct, I'm seriously impressed. The writing is gorgeous a

    I downloaded this on a whim, but wasn't quite sure what to expect.

    I loved Mim. She's smart and well meaning and probably one of the most genuine MC's I've read before. I loved being in her head. There's also an excellent cast of secondary characters: I loved Kali and Court, but Bryony stole every scene she was in.

    The best part of this book is the smells and how emotions are scented. If even half of the information about the flowers is correct, I'm seriously impressed. The writing is gorgeous and the story was an excellent mash up of decadence and whimsy. I'm sure it'll be one that I read again.

    **Huge thanks to Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss for providing the arc free of charge**

  • Fiderly
    Feb 18, 2017

    Finally got around to immersing myself into this novel. I loved it so much! All the diverse characters, the scent descriptions, botanical details, the plot everything. I loved every bit of this book and the way everything played out.