Book Review – ‘Heartstopper : Volume Four’ (#4 Heartstopper) by Alice Oseman

Heartstopper practically stopped my heart with endearing cuteness.

Genre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQIA+, Graphic Novel

No. of pages: 353

 Nick’s journal:

I think I’m in love with Charlie. This summer with him and our friend has been amazing, and I want to say ‘I love you’, but… I guess I’ve had other things to worry about lately…

This series just keeps getting better and better. Another installment with cuteness overload. I love how expressive the characters faces are in the artwork. We are getting more and more story with the secondary cast, really rounding out the story.

We see Charlie begin to assert himself a bit more – standing up against over-bearing parents that are pressuring him about school (and exaserbating his eating disorder) and confessing his love for Nick.

We also see Nick loving and supporting Charlie, and broaching the topic about taking serious steps to deal with his eating disorder.

It’s great to see such character development, to be honest, I don’t expect much in graphic novels, but Alice Oseman manages to pack so much story into her novels with such a flair of innocence and endearment that I am in awe of her talents.

There is not a lot to predict – mainly because it is just a volume in an ongoing story – but what there is is obviously predictable, but that is the reason I am picking up this book – to see Charlie and Nick get together and navigate their lives as a couple.

Still highly recommend this series and am excited to see where the following sequesl take us. Not to mention that the television adaptation is not far away from hitting the air: and I’m all here for that!

Overall feeling: Just a little bit adorable… okay a lot adorable!

© Casey Carlisle 2023. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wrapping up 2022…. And getting back into the flow of things!

Looking back through 2022 was like slowly waking up. Since falling out of remission in 2020, treatment went really well but my recovery after has been laboriously slow. That whole brain fog thing you get from chemotherapy hung around for ages, and I suffered through a litany of complications one after the other – but it was the price I had to pay being in a pilot program. Essentially I was the guinea pig for some new drugs. It enabled me to be able to afford treatment, for which I am eternally greatful, but meant we ventured a little into the unknown.

So now that I’ve turned a corner and getting back to work in earnest, I’m bringing back the quarterly goals to get me motivated again!

Book worm:

My last catch up was in January 2021 with 413 on my TBR. To be honest I don’t know how accurate that figure is considering it included books still packed away in boxes (from moving to Queensland) that I have nowhere to unpack. I have restored 1 bookshelf and about to start another so I will have more shelf space soon to get a more accurate figure. But we’ll go with the last recorded number for now. I know I purchased 20 books in 2021-22 to finish off series that I had started reading; and completed 141 books in that same period (most likely more, but you know, dealing with chemo and brain fog I still am uncertain how accurate that is because I stopped writing things down.)

I was also gifted 22 books over Christmas, bringing the total of my TBR to around 314. Not a bad dent! And I’m hoping to half that figure by the end of this year. It will leave just one small bookshelf that will contain my TBR books: which has been my goal for the last few years.

I set my reading goal to 52 books for 2022, to keep any stress off my shoulders about reaching a goal – but I managed to surpass that by reading 85. I’m really proud of my effort.

Thinking back over the year though, I would have to highlight my top reads:

Project Hail Mary; Admiral (start of a new series); The Bane Chronicles; The Galaxy and the Ground Within; Half Bad Trilogy.

And a late entry – The Good Girl Stripped Bare.

I have been concentrating on finishing off series that I have started, and this past year (and a bit) I managed to complete reading 23 series! Some of those I was half way through and other franchises I started and completed in the last 12 months. There is still 8 series that I am carrying over and yet to complete (I have all the books purchased to finish reading these so it’s my goal to complete them by the end of 2023;) I’ve also started 21 new series in the last year and am waiting on the release of the rest of the franchise, or saving up enough money to be able to purchase the rest of the collection. So it looks like I’ve done well, but also have a busy year of reading ahead of me.

Scribe and scribble:

I only managed a small 20,000 words for the year. I did a little work on my WIP (a queer contemporary novel) but mainly focused on completing the first draft of a contemporary romance novella. Mainly to ease into writing again after nearly 2 years off for treatment and recovery. I have set up a cracking pace and lofty goals for 2023 however. I’m fired up and really want to start seeing some progress again. Get into the daily habit of writing. I don’t feel like I’ve been all that productive and excited about writing since my Mum passed away, I think this little brush with death I just experienced has woken me up, and has me wanting to live in the now and follow my happiness. The novels I have slated to work on this year are contemporary, science fiction, and paranormal; so a nice mix to keep things interesting.

Levelling Up:

One thing I have been very excited about is refreshing my knowledge around Marine Biology and all the sciences: Chemistry, Zoology, Marine Botany, Botany, Hydrothermal Vent Ecology, Biometrics, and Fresh Water Ecology. I’m doing this by reviewing all my textbooks, going through old notes and papers I’ve written, it’s helped in my recovery from abovementioned brain fog and re-igniting my passion and curiosity for the planet we live on. It’s also got me thinking about starting a nature blog… we’ll have to see how my workload pans out. I don’t want to get too ambitious and fall flat on my face. But for now, reinvigorating my love of science is the ongoing project in the background.

Social Butterfly:

Being immunocompromised meant I’ve pretty much stayed at home since 2020. I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve left the house socially. Though with my health much better now I’m beginning to venture out more and have the strength to manage doing the grocery shopping on my own. It has been very isolating the last few years but my health had to come first. I’m not really making plans about a social future that much, I’m just going to take it easy and see how things go, we still have flare-ups of Covid here, and family and friends are spread out all over the place. I think anything will be an improvement on my social activity at this point. The only way is up!

Creative Projects:

I managed to complete restoring a glass-doored bookshelf and I have another (twice as large) left to finish to complete my library. Although since purchasing the shelves, my book collection has grown, so I may need to look into finding some more bookshelves to restore. I prefer hunting down more solid built shelving with glass doors because they are much more hardy, look fantastic painted and with Victorian appliques added, and the glass doors help protect from dust. It increases the longevity of the books and decreases the amount of cleaning I have to do. But now my issue is that I don’t quite have the room to fit my ever expanding library into. I’ve actually been toying with the idea of renovating the house or converting the double garage into a new study and library. So there are plenty of hands-on jobs to do. But also there are some sewing projects I’m keen to get to. I’ve been getting things completed here and there, and by the end of the next quarter I’d like another big project tucked away.

Additional Income:

I wasn’t able to do anything considered as work for additional income over the last two years – I was flat out just doing regular stuff. I don’t have any immediate plans for this area; but I have a few ideas I want to get off the ground, but it probably won’t happen until the second half of the year. So let’s just put this category on hiatus for now.

Work that body:

Getting back to some sort of shape has been stop-and-start with my recovery. Treatment really took its toll and I was bed-ridden for extended periods. Then I’d start feeling better, get some physical activity in, and crash a few weeks later. Rinse and repeat. As I said before, I’ve definitely turned a corner and now am doing full gym workouts at home and starting to feel like I’m getting back on track. Now it’s about sticking to a post-treatment menu plan and toning my body up to increase stamina. Before I was depressed that I couldn’t do the most basic things without feeling like I was going to pass out; but now I can get a decent session in – I’ve got my starting point and can only get more active and fit from here on out.

Digital Platform:

I was all go-go-go about this just before my diagnosis, but with a shift in priorities, it has altered my trajectory for the future slightly, so it will mean a bit of a re-design for when I go down this road… again probably something I’ll look at in the second half of the year. At the moment I’m concentrating on getting through a regular work day. Completing a tonne of writing before I start to add to my daily tasks. It also gives me a chance to update everything and make it feel fresh and relevant for when it does launch.

As much as 2021-22 has been a non-event for me, it’s given me the opportunity to re-set and I’m excited to see where my life will go from here!! These quarterly goals are more about establishing a routine again and getting back to basics. I don’t want to get too ambitious and crash and burn – it’s about staying positive and not setting myself up for failure.

Up and at ‘em!

© Casey Carlisle 2023. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

#bookporn

Oh how a single word labelling a person can cause so much trouble. Women tearing each other down, jealousy, feeling threatened, or plain old sexism. I’m glad to see many replacing this word with #GirlBoss.

#bookporn #coverlove

I started reading the BrainShip series in my teens and was a massive fan of Anne McCaffery… recently discovered there was another book in the collection that had slipped under my radar. Are there any books in series that have gotten published without you knowing? I’m going to have to go through my back catalogue and ensure nothing else has slipped through the cracks.