Heartstopper Volume 1-4 by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper Volume 1-4 by Alice Oseman

Rating: 4 out of 5.
  • Graphic Novel
  • Young Adult
  • LGBTQ+ Romance
  • Ebook
  • Goodreads ratings: #1 – 4.51, #2 – 4.59, #3 – 4.61, #4 – 4.67,

The Heartstopper series is a LGBTQ+ Romance delivered in a graphic novel. The novels follow Charlie, a teenage boy who was accidentally outed last year, as he is falling in love with Nick, a boy he thinks is straight. Charlie and Nick become good friends and start hanging out together more and more, until Charlie kisses Nick at a party and Nick has to figure out how he feels about that.

I bought the first two volumes in digital edition for 0.99 cents each because I had been seeing them all over Instagram. I bought a bunch of other ebooks as well, but I figured that I’d go through Heartstopper pretty quickly, since it’s a graphic novel, so I decided to read that first. It was indeed a quick read and I went through the first one in about an hour or an hour and a half. The second one took me about the same amount of time. I waited a bit to buy volume three and four, since they were 4 or 5 euros per book and I was hoping for them to go on sale, since 5 euros for a book that I would finish within an hour seemed like a bit much. I ended up buying them for that price after all, since I loved the first two so much and I wanted to read the next two as well. I don’t regret paying the full price, since I loved both of them and Oseman obviously put a lot of work in them. So even though all four volumes can easily be read in one day, they’re definitely worth the price.

This entire series is so incredibly cute. The drawings are cute, the story is cute, the characters are super cute. It’s just so much fun to read. Oseman did a really good job with the drawings and the story is pretty well balanced. Even though it is meant for a younger crowd, it is still very enjoyable as a twenty-something-year old or an adult (I’m still in denial about adulthood).

I loved how Oseman inserts the importance of Mental Health and especially the existence of Anorexia (among boys) into her novels. Considering that her target audience is still pretty young, I think it’s important to address mental health issues in this way. No judgement whatsoever, just an explanation as to what anorexia is and how it feels. I’m not an expert on anorexia since I’ve luckily never had anorexia, but I’m no stranger to other mental health issues and I can tell you from experience that they are so much easier to deal with when the people around you have a certain understanding of what you’re going through. So yay to Oseman for addressing mental health in an accessible way.

The only thing that started to bother me after a few books, is that there is not a single straight couple in any of the graphic novels. The only people who are straight are the bullies and the parents, everyone other character in all four of the books is either gay, bi or trans. I get that we don’t need more straight propaganda, but I’m guessing that the goal of these novels is to show young adults that being gay or bi or trans is perfectly normal and the best way to do that is probably to make the characters relatable. If not a single one of these characters is straight, then straight kids will have nobody to relate to and I think you might not reach as many kids. Of course I’m no expert on psychology and it’s the artists choice in the end, so please don’t take this the wrong way. Plus telling an artist to put more straight people in their LGBTQ+ romance novel is probably kind of missing the point. It’s mostly my personal opinion that I didn’t have a character that I related to.

I gave the Heartstopper series an overall score of 4 stars. I also gave all of the individual novels 4 stars. It is pretty consistent in quality and enjoyableness (if that’s even a word), which I always appreciate a lot. I hate it when the quality of a series is not consistent. “The second book is not that good, but the third one gets way way better!” just doesn’t do it for me, so luckily the Heartstopper series was pretty consistent. If you have not read this series yet, I would definitely recommend it. It’s a series you can easily read on your Ipad or Kindle or something and it’s light and fun in between other reads. Don’t expect hours and hours of entertainment, because it’s a pretty quick read, but definitely worth your money!

Heartstopper Volume 5 comes out somewhere in 2022, so we’ll have to wait a bit for the story to continue. There’s a Netflix series based on the graphic novels coming out soon, though!

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Red, White and Royal Blue – Book Review

Red, White and Royal Blue – Book Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.
  • Fiction
  • Romance, LGBTQ, Young Adult
  • Paperback
  • 421 pages
  • Goodreads rating: 4.21

Alex is the son of the first female president of the United States. HRH Prince Henry has been his nemesis ever since he was rude to him at an event and dismissed him. When Alex gets drunk at a royal wedding and accidentally pushes Henry into the wedding cake, they are forced to spend time together and convince the press that it was all one big misunderstanding. After Alex has spent some time together, he discovers that Henry isn’t as shallow and boring as he thought he was and he certainly isn’t a prick. When Henry gets a little drunk at Alex’s NYE party, he kisses him out of the blue. It was a first time for Alex, but the question is: why did he like it so much?

“The next slide is titled: ‘Exploring your sexuality: Healthy, but does it have to be with the Prince of England?’ She apologizes for not having time to come up with better titles. Alex actively wishes for the sweet release of death.”

Casey McQuiston, Red, White and Royal Blue

This is probably one of the easiest reviews I’ve written so far. I absolutely LOVED reading this book. I loved everything about it; the characters, the plot, the feminist and LGBT touch, the writing, the romance, everything!

First of all, McQuiston’s writing is amazing. The dialogue is so incredibly smooth and funny and she kept the lightheartedness all throughout the book. The chapters were quite long, but McQuiston alternated between dialogue, e-mails and texts, which kept the pace of the story rather high. The inside jokes between Henry and Alex were hilarious and the writing just felt rather effortless, which made it very pleasant to read.

Red, White and Royal Blue is probably one of the most romantic books I have ever read. Now I’ve only recently been getting into romance novels, but still. It’s a little spicy at times, but in a very romantic way. I thought maybe the sex scenes would make me a little uncomfortable, but they really didn’t. Henry’s and Alex’s relationship was absolutely perfect. They are so gentle with each other and give each other space, even though they miss each other like crazy. The e-mails and texts back and forth made my heart melt. Their relationship is definitely swoon-worthy.

“Thinking about history makes me wonder how I’ll fit into it one day, I guess. And you too. I kinda wish people still wrote like that. History, huh? Bet we could make some.”

Casey McQuiston, Red, White and Royal Blue

McQuiston painted a wonderful picture in this book of a world where the most powerful country on earth is ruled by a woman and princes can be gay and have a gay marriage and still be respected and even adored. It is the perfect feminist and LGBTQ propaganda. Well done, McQuiston. Keep on writing that gay romance with a feminist touch to make the world a better place! We should all take a page out of your book (pun intended).

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Every Book I’ve read in January

Every Book I’ve read in January

Hello my wonderful bookworms! It feels like it was just yesterday that we were enjoying Christmas Dinner and complaining about another year ruined by COVID and now January has already come to an end. Can we please make time slow down? How am I ever going to get through my TBR before I die? Okay, let’s not go there. January is already depressing enough.

Anyway, January has been a good reading month for me. I set a goal for 75 books this year and I’m already slightly ahead. I like to be a little bit ahead so that I don’t have to stress about finding the time to read. I’ve read a total of 9 books in January and these are all of them:

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Rating: 3 out of 5.

My very first book of the year. A young shepherd goes looking for a treasure and his purpose in life. Short, sweet and a little disappointing at times. The writing was just fine, but I just didn’t always agree with the themes. Also, I really disliked the ending. Literally any ending would’ve been better. The book kind of gets you thinking, but since I didn’t much agree with the themes, I didn’t take much away from it. If you have this on your TBR, you can leave it there, for it is interesting and relatively short and easy to read, but don’t move it up on my account. If the themes speak to you, read it. Otherwise, it’s not worth your time. It counts towards your reading goal, though..

The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Heartbreaking, intriguing at times, but also very slow and occasionally dull. I liked, but not loved, this book. It peaks very early and I kept waiting for more, but it didn’t really come. Parts of the story were really heartbreaking and I noticed myself holding my breath while reading those, but most of the time I was just struggling through, waiting for something to happen. I linked a full review in the title and down below, including a summary of the story.

The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan (The Trials of Apollo #3

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The third part of the Trials of Apollo series, where the Greek God Apollo is punished by Zeus and sent to earth in the body of a mortal. Apollo is now 16-year-old Lester Papadopoulos, complete with acne and love handles. He is to stay on earth with 12-year-old Meg McCaffrey as his master until he has fulfilled his punishment. The books are set in the same world as Percy Jackson, so there are a lot of familiar faces.

I read the first two books in the series last year and since I made a New Year’s Resolution to finally finish some of the series I’ve started, I figured I’d start with this one. In The Burning Maze, Meg, Apollo and Rover (yes, Rover from the Percy Jackson series) have to find their way through the Labyrinth to rescue the next oracle in order to stop the emperors from taking over the world.

The Tyrant’s Tomb by Rick Riordan (The Trials of Apollo #4

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The fourth book in the Trials of Apollo series by Rick Riordan. Meg and Apollo set off from Camp Halfblood to Camp Jupiter, in the San Fransisco Bay Area. Camp Jupiter is the home of demigods that descend from the Roman Gods. The camp will be under attack soon and Apollo needs to find a way to defeat their enemies. That’s as much as I can say without spoiling anything. I loved this book. That’s all I will say.

Chess for Dummies by James Eade

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I started reading this Ebook AGES ago when I started to play chess with my boyfriend. I was a terrible chess player and he is actually pretty good, so I wanted to get on his level (or at least nearer to his level) so it would actually be fun for both parties. So I decided to do what I do best: read! Well, I owe mister Eade a great big thanks, because shortly after I finished this book, I won my very first chess game from my boyfriend, something I had never deemed possible. All kidding aside, the Dummies series is actually an amazing series to get into a certain subject with no prior knowledge. The book stays on the surface, but it gives you that push that gets you on a certain level. From there you can decide if you want to learn more. Chess for Dummies was very helpful to me! Now on to grand-mastery!

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (reread)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I really hope I don’t need to explain the plot to you anymore. I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in January for my Rereading Harry Potter series of posts that will continue throughout the next couple of months. I absolutely loved rereading it. There were so many details that I had completely forgotten about and I loved meeting familiar characters for the first time again. It was just perfect. I linked the whole Rereading Harry Potter series so far in the book title. Check it out if you’re interested.

The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan (The Trials of Apollo #5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The fifth and final part of the Trials of Apollo series. Weirdly enough, this was actually my least favourite of the three Trials of Apollo books that I read this month. I loved the final battle, which covers about half of the book, but the first half was a little annoying, if you ask me. Apollo and his companions go underground to look for the Troglodytes, a weird lizard-people who wear hats and eat other lizards, but also pretty much everything that moves. I guess the Troglodytes were amusing enough, but also a little too weird for me. The ending was epic, though, and a little emotional. Still definitely worth the read.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Without a doubt my favourite read for this month. Honestly, it was so much better than I had expected. I was a little afraid that it was overhyped when I read it, but it really isn’t. The story is completely fictional of course, but I hope with all my heart that one day we will have a female president and she will have a bisexual son who falls in love with the queer Prince of Wales. Until then, I will just have to keep rereading this book on repeat. Full review is coming somewhere in the next week. Stay tuned 😉

Elevation by Stephen King

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Definitely the winner of the most-disappointing-January-read award. I had such high hopes for my very first Stephen King book, but alas. It wasn’t meant to be. Elevation is short, which is why I picked it as my first Stephen King book, but perhaps a little TOO short and frankly, it seemed a little rushed. I linked the full review in the title and down below.

I’m currently reading The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Adhieh, The Gifts of Reading by Robert Macfarlane and of course Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Stay tuned for updates and reviews on those! As always, thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you soon with more reviews, book recommendations and Harry Potter reading updates!

The Alchemist review: https://caffeineandcurlsbookblog.com/2022/01/07/the-alchemist-by-paulo-coelho/

The Comfort of Others review: https://caffeineandcurlsbookblog.com/2022/01/14/the-comfort-of-others-by-kay-langdale/

Rereading Harry Potter: https://caffeineandcurlsbookblog.com/category/harry-potter/harry-potter-reread/

Elevation review: https://caffeineandcurlsbookblog.com/2022/02/01/elevation-by-stephen-king-book-review/

Elevation by Stephen King – Book Review

Elevation by Stephen King – Book Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.
  • Fiction
  • “Horror”
  • Fantasy
  • Paperback
  • 192 pages
  • Goodreads rating: 3.67

Oh boy, did I have high expectations for this one. My very first Stephen King novel! I picked Elevation because I came across it at a bookstore once and it looked interesting. Also it was the shortest Stephen King novel I had come across so far. I have wanted to read Stephen King for ever, but the books are so ridiculously big (IT by Stephen King is 1116 pages, just to name one) that I was just kind of scared to. So when I came across this one, I figured: it couldn’t hurt to start with this one, right? Before I share my thoughts on this book, I’ll give you a short summary of the plot.

Scott Carey has been losing weight steadily for the past few weeks. He was delighted at first, only he doesn’t look any different than he did 30 pounds ago. And then there’s something else. When he steps onto the scale while holding all sorts of heavy things, he weighs exactly the same as he does naked. Scott consults with his best friend Bob Ellis, who is a retired doctor. As Scott keeps losing weight, he wonders what will happen when he reaches zero pounds..

So let’s begin by discussing the fact that this book won the 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards for the category horror. I’m sorry, but this is not a horror story. Mystery, okay. Sci-fi, sure, a little. Even fantasy is more believable, but please. Calling this a horror story, is an insult to actual horror stories.

Elevation only has a few characters that are introduced throughout the book, which makes sense since there aren’t enough pages to introduce any more. If you ask me, the story could’ve been a little longer. The story wasn’t at all bad, but the characters were extremely flat. There’s a lesbian couple who owns a restaurant that is going bankrupt because the whole town consists of Trumpies, so nobody wants to eat there. The couple’s dogs shit on Scott’s lawn and every time he tries to confront them about it, they tell him he just hates them, because they’re a same-sex couple. Extremely flat and uninspired. I’m not denying there are still (sadly) plenty of people who think like that, but this is just a very bad stereotype. Of course all the other characters are rich, middle-aged white guys and white church-going housewives.

The part that bothered me most, though, was the fact that you don’t get any explanation as to what caused Scott’s condition. If something weird is happening to your body, you want to know why, right? I would! But Scott just accepts that he is probably going to float away when he reaches zero and that’s that. The ending was probably the most disappointing part of the whole book to me.

The keyword in this review is obviously “disappointed”. This story could’ve been epic, if King had put in a little effort. Honestly, it feels like he had a deadline to make and he had something laying on a shelf somewhere and decided to just hand that to his publisher without even looking at it. There’s Stephen King on the front cover, so people will read it anyway, right? I could see that his writing is amazing, or at least could be amazing. I’m still planning on reading more Stephen King novels (I’ve got Misery and 11.22.63 waiting on my bookshelf), but I might wait a little bit.

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6 Amazing Books with LGBT-Characters

6 Amazing Books with LGBT-Characters

Hello my fellow bookworms and happy Wednesday! Welcome back for a list of 6 great reads with LGBT (main) characters. The books listed below are all books that I have read recently. I noticed that I’ve been coming across more and more LGBT-characters lately, which means that either the world is changing for the better, or I’m changing for the better (or both) that we can finally talk about gay relationships the way we talk about straight ones. I know we’re not there yet, but we’re (slowly) getting there. Let’s start with my current read and the inspiration for this post:

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuinston

I am LOVING this LGBT-romance. First son of the US holds a grudge against the Crown Prince of England. To avoid a rivalry between the two countries, they are forced to spend time together and pretend that they’re best friends. Only, you guessed it, they develop feelings for each other! I can’t tell you how it ends, because well, I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m loving the witty conversations, the teasing and the fact that it’s steamy without being uncomfortably graphic.

If you’re more into the girl/girl romance than the boy/boy romance (or you just need more LGBT romance, period), McQuinston has also written a novel about a girl who doesn’t believe in love, meeting a gorgeous old school punk rocker girl from the 1970s on the subway and deciding to help her crush return to her own time. I haven’t read it yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll make sure to write you a review.

The Trials of Apollo series by Rick Riordan

You may have guessed it, but the main character of this series is the god Apollo and I probably don’t have to tell you that the Ancient Greek didn’t exactly shy away from same-sex relationships. The fact that Apollo dated some men throughout his 4000 years is revisited quite a lot throughout the books. There are also plenty of queer demigods who have side roles in the story. Riordan does a good job incorporating LGBT-characters in his books without making a big deal about emphasising that they’re gay. It’s less “look at me being inclusive and creating gay characters!” and more, “yes I did say he has a boyfriend, why?”. Kudos for that, Rick.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

If you haven’t read this masterpiece yet, you might be surprised that a book named “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” ended up on a list with LGBT-books. Evelyn Hugo decides to tell her life story to a young woman who is asked to write her biography. The woman keeps asking her who Evelyn’s true love was. I hate to spoil anything, but the answer is not one of the Seven Husbands. I was in tears for most of this book. Evelyn Hugo is kind of a morally grey character, but she is so well-written that you can’t help loving her anyway.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

I had completely forgotten about the fact that the main characters of this book were gay until I found it on a list of LGBT-books. The two main characters, Rufus and Matteo, start out as friends and later in the book grow into something more. It’s an important theme in the book, but not the main one. Rufus and Matteo both get a call from the Death-cast that they are going to die within the next 24 hours. They meet through an app that matches “Deckers” with a buddy to spend their death day with. They decide to spend their last day together challenging each other to do the things they’ve always wanted to do. The whole concept of the book is beautiful, but also deeply disturbing and sad. I’m still not exactly sure how I feel about this book, but it’s definitely worth a read. It’s not your typical romance, though.

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

200 years after the tale of Cinderella took place, girls are still required to attend the annual ball to find a suitor and get married. Only, Sophia would much rather marry Erin. She tries to get Erin to run away with her so they can build a life together, but Erin refuses. Sophia flees from the ball alone and runs into Constance, who is the last descendent of one of Cinderella’s step sisters. They decide to take down the King together and free the people from his evil reign. And OF COURSE there is a love triangle between Erin, Sophia and Constance.

I loved this book with all my heart. It was my first fairytale retelling and I wasn’t too sure about it at first, but it turned out to be amazing, though a little predictable at times. I’ll make sure to post a review of this one in the near future. DEFINITELY worth a read.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

I feel like I talk about this book way too much and also not enough. I put a link to my review of this book in the title for a summary of the story. Addie falls in love with both men and women over her 300-year long existence. A few of her “relationships” are described in detail. She spends her days getting to know the same person over and over again, only to be forgotten again in the morning. It’s beautiful, it’s sad, no I’m not okay.