Book Review – Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

Are you ready for one of your favourite books of the year? You might have seen this book all over social media and rightfully so. I heard about this earlier in the year and so I pre-ordered it and then it went to sold out on the day of release, my local bookshop was also meant to have it on order (I covered my bases) and it had run into issues with the publisher. I waited 2 agonising weeks before I finally got it in my hands. It was SO worth it.

Our protagonist is Alex, the first son of the United States after his mother becomes president he meets all kinds of people along with his sister June and their best friend Nora. One of those is Prince Henry of Wales and the two instantly hate each other. So when they both cause a scandal at a royal wedding it’s time for damage control, but no one intends for it to become more.

To me, and a lot of other people on the internet, this book is perfection and as it’s a debut I can’t believe how well written it is. I fell in love with Alex and Henry equally as an enemies to friends to lovers situation unfolds. They really came alive to me as did the other characters. I adored all of the other characters too June and Nora were amazing and the book has so much representation I could write a whole post on just that.

It’s also told in a mix of Alex’s perspective and emails between the two which I absolutely loved and adds to the humor and romance of the two. These are two guys trying to work out their feelings and falling in love. They make mistakes, they try and navigate whether they can make it work with such public lives – all in all they just feel like real people.

It is worth noting that this is very much a New Adult novel meaning, yes, there are sex scenes and they are excellent. The author doesn’t shy away from the fact that two young people in love will have sex *shocker*. But it’s definitely done in a natural way, there’s no scandal about sex and it happens when it happens. It was quite refreshing to read about characters having a sex life not just ‘and then we went to the bedroom..’ because sex actually happens.

What makes this book so worthy of all the praise it is getting is that this is a genuine love story that many of us would love to see in the world. The sons of two of the most powerful families in the world falling in love? I’d love to see that and maybe one day we will see more LGBT representation in powerful positions. My heart melted for these characters and I loved getting to know their lives, their friends and you can bet I carried on thinking about this book long after I finished it.

Is there any other rating I could have given this book other than 5 stars? I’ve been recommending this book to everyone I think would enjoy it. It’s a truly wonderful novel and definitely a contender for my favourite book of the year.

Book Review_ Heartstopper Vol 1 - Alice Oseman

Book Review: Heartstopper Volume 1 – Alice Oseman

Are you ready for the cutest story you’re going to read this year? I’m pretty sure this will be it. Alice Oseman has knocked it out of the park with this graphic novel. I read it in less than an hour and then immediately ordered the second volume… I think you can guess this will be a good review.

This follows Charlie, openly gay and prone to over thinking and the only out guy at school. While he’s doing better than he was and has a sort-of boyfriend his world is going to be turned upside down when he meets Nick. As the two boys develop a friendship, Charlie begins to fall for Nick – can he find love or is he looking in the wrong place?

While reading I couldn’t help but feel that this was so wholesome. There isn’t scandal or anything of the sort, it is simply the story of a friendship, kindness and love. That in itself is why I loved it so much, there is complexity in how Charlie feels but it has an overwhelming simplicity. It is about love, and not just one kind of love, both friendship and a romantic love are present.

It is incredible that this started as a Kickstarter project before being published. The thought that this story could have not been published (it was previously posted online by Oseman herself). Now we’re going to be getting volumes 2, 3 and 4 and I am LIVING for it.

You might have guessed that I gave this 5 stars. I absolutely loved it and if you need something to give you a lift, this is most certainly it. I can also recommend Oseman’s novel Radio Silence, a brilliant YA novel that has been gaining fame in the US recently. I still need to read her other books too but Alice Oseman is definitely one to watch.

Book Review: A Quick & Easy Guide To Queer & Trans Identities – Mady G & J.R. Zuckerberg

We live in an incredibly diverse world, one that should be celebrated. That said, to celebrate it we must first understand the people in it. The LGBTQ+ community are, in my experience, wonderful people but often people don’t know or understand much past the L (Lesbian) and G (Gay) parts of the spectrum. That’s where this graphic novel comes in.

When searching through Netgalley, I came across this graphic novel and was curious as to how educational it would be. It covers such a wide spectrum to help people understand the way that people identify. Importantly, this also covers the difference between sexuality and gender – something many get confused.

I’ll admit, when I was younger I didn’t know much about Transgender people and the variations of gender before I was 18. It wasn’t something that myself or anyone close to me had gone through. Of course, I understood about identifying as Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual but beyond that, I had a lot to learn.

This is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to learn more about complicated topics without being bogged down in history and politics. While those things are incredibly important, they can seem very overwhelming. This is a good place to start and is easy to digest for a beginner.

I gave this a huge 5 stars. This is a really accessible graphic novel that could educate a lot of people. The fact that this is a little different and has fantastic art style adds to the experience of reading. Being taught about gender and sexuality by snails? Why not. Honestly, why not? This would be a great gift for someone who wants to learn more but doesn’t know where to start.

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to read this in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Pride Pledge

My Pride Pledge 2018

Hello, my lovely, lovely readers!

Now, I’m a big supporter of Pride as you know and recently I wrote my Pride Flag Book Tag and as much as I enjoyed it I realised something. While I was scanning my shelves and my Goodreads I was disappointed in the lack of novels that featured an open LGBTQ protagonist. There were some with those who hadn’t come out or side characters but that was it.

I completely understand and enjoy reading coming out novels but I wanted to read a few novels where it’s not the main point of the story. Where a character simply is LGBT and that’s not a huge thing.  So, this year I pledge to read more LGBT books, fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels.

I’ve read a lot of non-fiction about Trans women, a few of the most popular novels with an LGBT main character such as Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, etc but I’m not stopping there!

So, I’m trying to change that, I’ve ordered All Out and I’ll Give You the Sun. I have a long list of recommendations such as

  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Autoboyography by Kristina Lauren
  • Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
  • Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
  • Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
  • The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding
  • We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
  • Bingo Lover by Tee Franklin
  • Chord by Chelsea M Cameron
  • Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt
  • Nevada by Imogen Binnie

While this is a decent sized list I, of course, want all of your recommendations as to what I should read! Have you got any favourites that aren’t on this list? Please do let me know in the comments below, add me on Goodreads  or follow me on Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Pride Flag Book Tag!

It’s June which means it’s Pride month, I obviously wasn’t going to miss a chance to post about Pride! One of my closest friends is part of the LGBTQ community, I wrote an open letter about them coming out here. So I celebrate pride and I celebrate hard for all the wonderful people I know! So this tag that I watched on Books with Chloe seemed perfect (original creator Common Spence)! As always if you want to do this tag go ahead and make sure you let me know! So here we go!

1. Red (Life) – A book with a spirited protagonist totally proud of who they are. Someone who gives you LIFE

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I went slightly off here by choosing a non-fiction book. I also realised I need to read a lot more novels with LGBTQ protagonists. I adore Melanie Murphey and her book talks openly about her life as a Bisexual woman (and even has merch with the bisexual flag). She is confident, sure of herself and takes no prisoners. You can read my review here and catch her channel here.

2. Orange (Healing) – A book that made you, as the reader, find a deeper meaning or catharsis in your own life

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This is one of my favourite books of all time. I read it at 17 and I think it was one of the first books I read with the protagonist having a lesbian experience. This novel sparked a love for looking at the treatment of women, which went on to take over my degree once I got to university. I started looking at myself and the world around me. It made me re-evaluate a lot  in terms of myself too just before I went to university.

3. Yellow (Sunshine) – A book that fills you with so much joy it could brighten even your darkest day

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This might seem like an odd choice for some but the friendship in this was amazing, the resolution makes my heart happy and just the journey that they go on together. One of my best friends is gay, a lot of people used to think we were a couple or he ‘wanted something’ but it was, and still is, one of the closest friendships I have. This book reminded me of that and challenged what people ‘should’ want and be doing with their lives.

 

4. Green (Nature) – A book that is set out of this world — a reality different to our own

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Dreadnought is set in a world where superheroes are known and part of everyday life. Dani is struggling and feels, deep down, that she is a girl. When superhero Dreadnought dies, Dani is given her wish of a female body, but she also takes the cape and becomes Dreadnought. I loved this novel. Review here.

5. Blue (Peace) – A book where one of the characters finds peace with a difficult truth

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This novel follows Amanda, the new girl at school. Her plan is to blend in, that is until she meets Grant her feelings for him could ruin everything. At her previous school Amanda was Andrew. This is an own voices novel where Amanda needs to find herself and where she belongs in the world.

6. Purple (Spirit) – A book that deals with LGBT+ themes and religion

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Love is Love is a collection to benefit the victims of the Pulse shooting. This is a stretch for this part of the tag but there are elements within this talking about religion but from the writers themselves about how love is love, despite what any religion says.

 

 

 

Blog Tour! A Peal For My Mistress – Annabelle Fielding

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‘Forbidden passion in the shadow of war’

Hester is taking the first steps towards her dream of being a Ladies Maid by becoming the maid of Lady Lucy, the daughter of a wealthy house. As time goes on both young women embark on a secret relationship, one that could destroy them both. In a time of rising tensions can they survive?

The novel is set between the first and second world wars. Our protagonists have seen the devastation that war can bring and both react in very different ways to the threat of the Nazi party. I think, for me, this was the most intriguing part of the novel is that it is so rich in research. I learnt so much about Britain and politics (obviously I looked up the facts behind the novel) of the time.

It has been so long since I’ve read a historical fiction novel. I used to read them all the time but it’s just fallen off of my radar but I am so glad that A Perl for my Mistress has brought me back in because it was brilliant. Just falling into the past in a way that is so vivid and also taught me so much.

There were points within the novel where I did get confused about who was who in the ways of society, fascinatingly the scandals and gossip you read about within the novel are based on true ‘scandals’ of the time. As someone who knew nothing really about the upper classes in society and their relationships and expectations it really was fascinating to contemplate what it meant to be a lady at this time.

I gave this novel 4 stars, it was a brilliant venture back into historical fiction and it’s clear that Fielding has a true talent for a gripping story. I will also applaud her for the detail and knowledge it must have taken to write this novel.

Thank you to the author for the opportunity to read this novel and be a part of the book tour itself.

August Favourites!

Let’s jump right in and see what I’ve been loving in August!

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Books 

This month it’s been quite a slow reading month I just really couldn’t get into it. The silver lining though is that I’ve loved the books I have read. I finally got my copy of Our Super American Adventure by Sarah Graley which is absolutely awesome, I’ve met Sarah before and love her artwork and stories about her relationship. I also finished what I think is going to be one of my top books this year, My Shitty Twenties by Emily Morris, an honest account of being a single mother in your twenties and still being badass, you can read my review here. I also kept seeing the Andrew Morton book Diana Her True Story and decided to download it on Audible it’s a tough book and I did think it was interesting but incredibly sad on the 20th anniversary of the princess’s death. And finally Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is just amazing, meant for children but should be read by EVERYONE! My gushing review is here.

 

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Watching 

Is there anything else to talk about this month? Of course, there’s not. Game of Thrones is over for another season and this one was everything I hoped it would be. I’m not going to post spoilers, because that just not cool. All I’ll say is the following for people who have watched the finale, they deserved that and oh lordy what a beautiful sight. Now I have to wait for the next season…my Dad has already tagged me in a countdown timer.

 

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Fashion and Beauty

I did a whooooole post about my little haul this month over here. So head over for all the info you need to know!

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Brighton Pride

I went to my first ever Pride and I can honestly say it was the best party I’ve ever been to. It was fun and flamboyant and there was glitter everywhere! I got to sit in a giant deck chair, dance in an 80s disco and I ended up sponsoring a dog…yep (wine may have been involved). I wrote a whole post about 7 reasons you should go next year!

General

This month started off on a good note with a trip to Pizza Express with my ‘spec squad’, that’s me, Abbie and Sarah to celebrate our new little group. It’s been a month of spending time with people I love. Ali went to Brighton and Scotland this month for work, and bought me home Charlie the Highland Cow from the latter, he’s adorable (the cow I mean, although Ali’s ok I suppose). It’s also had milestones with my little sister getting into college! I also went to see 80s super popstars Bros at the O2 in London, which was actually a brilliant laugh with my Mum, sister and mum’s best friend. I also may have gotten a new cauldron mug from the new Primark collection…maybe. And last but not least I’ve been spending as much time as possible with Ali, including on our 9 year anniversary, before he heads off on tour tomorrow!!

 

My favourite posts 

Feminist Friday with …. Jess Willby 

A new month, a new woman 

Nine years, new adventures 

 

What have your favourites been this month? Let me know in the comments below!