Thursday, 26 March 2015

Review & Giveaway(US only): We All Looked Up - Tommy Wallach

We All Looked Up
by Tommy Wallach
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 31st 2015


Four high school seniors put their hopes, hearts, and humanity on the line as an asteroid hurtles toward Earth in this contemporary novel.

They always say that high school is the best time of your life.

Peter, the star basketball player at his school, is worried “they” might actually be right. Meanwhile Eliza can’t wait to escape Seattle - and her reputation - and perfect-on-paper Anita wonders if admission to Princeton is worth the price of abandoning her real dreams. Andy, for his part, doesn’t understand all the fuss about college and career - the future can wait.

Or can it? Because it turns out the future is hurtling through space with the potential to wipe out life on Earth. As these four seniors - along with the rest of the planet - wait to see what damage an asteroid will cause, they must abandon all thoughts of the future and decide how they’re going to spend what remains of the present.

I'm not even sure how to start writing this review. I was completely blown away by We All Look Up and for a debut novel it was pretty much perfect, in my humble opinion... 

It all started with that cover and giving myself a headache trying to read the title. After reading the synopsis that was it, I had to read it. It's almost a dystopian Breakfast Club (without the detention although there is a principal with a personality problem!) but do not let that put you off, it could just be me that makes this comparison!

There's the intelligent, thoughtful jock, Peter, with his younger sister Samantha (or Misery as she likes to call herself). There's the slacker, Andy, misunderstood, flawed and wishing that his friends weren't quite so intent on doing the wrong thing. There's the girl who kissed the wrong boy at the wrong time and now has a reputation for sleeping around. There's the poor little rich girl, rebelling against everything Mommy & Daddy want for her who wants to be a singer. And then there's the one thing that none of them can escape. The asteroid hurtling towards earth, shining like a pretty blue star in the sky and known as Ardor. You might think that these characters all sound so different that there would no way that they would all be connected in friendship, love, lust and dislike but that is exactly what happens.

They all change gradually throughout the story, every one of them making their mark and finding a purpose in life even though that very life could be days away from ending. Eliza starts a blog about the impending doom of Ardor and instantly becomes famous. In love with Peter since that infamous kiss, the kiss that started the need to sleep around, she finally finds something that fulfills her and discovers that Peter is not just a jock. Andy discovers that he can escape the pull of drugs and his friend Bobo (and through him, some connections to some of Seattle's dodgier characters) and, with Anita, finds that music is is his comfort. 

We All Looked Up is the story of an asteroid, the story of two boys and two girls, finding love, dealing with all the issues a teenager is confronted with whilst dealing with the knowledge that the life that they were all planning for themselves is unlikely to be a reality. With such beautiful writing Wallach has created a beautiful story that will stick in my mind for a long time. He deals with all the cliches of teenage life with a varied array of characters not all of whom are likeable but that's okay. The way this book is written you want to know the characters, regardless of whether you like them or not. You want to see how they're dealing with knowing that their lives are going to end, wiped out by something they have no control over. Wallach is also not afraid to deal with the bigger issues. There's drug taking, sex (and that irritating phrase, slut shaming) and death. Not all of the characters are going to see what happens the day Ardor hits and while I expected a couple of them one is out of the blue and shocking in its circumstance.

If you're looking for a beautifully written contemporary novel with a dystopian twist then We All Looked Up is the book to read. I don't think I've ever highlighted as my phrases and words as I did with We All Looked Up but the writing is that good and I know it will most definitely be on my top ten books of the year. I'm still staggered by the fact that it is Wallach's debut novel and can't wait to see what he writes next. As an aside, Wallach is also a musician and has written We All Looked Up: The Album. Visit his website to find out more!

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Follow the We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Tommy Wallach is a Brooklyn-based writer and musician. His first novel, We All Looked Up, will be published by Simon and Schuster in April 2015. His work has appeared in many nice magazines, such as McSweeney's, Tin House, and Wired. He has released an EP with Decca Records, and he also makes music videos, including one that was exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum. You should buy him dinner.

Win (1) of (3) a finished copy of We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach (US Only)

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Waiting On Wednesday #114 - The Aeronaut's Windlass

Waiting On Wednesday, where we put the spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating, is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week's choice is -

The Aeronaut's Windlass (The Cinder Spires #1) - Jim Butcher
ISBN (US) 9780451466808
          (UK) 9780356503653
Publisher (US) Roc
              (UK) Orbit
Release date (US) September 29 2015
                    (UK) September 14 2015

Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace.

Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy's shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory.

And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity's ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake...

I have been waiting for The Aeronaut's Windlass for what feels like forever. I have had it pre-ordered since the beginning of June 2014 and looking at the ever changing date used to depress me. But look! We have a cover and, if my eyes don't deceive me, the UK edition is available two weeks before the US!!! How did that happen?! If that actually is the case then I'm happy!

I had to feature this today as I've just finished my Harry Dresden re-read/read and now I'm wondering what to read next. I've ordered the whole Codex Alera series from the library but in true library fashion every copy of the second book is out on loan so I have to wait. Aeronaut's Windlass can't come soon enough for me!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #85 - Books From My Childhood That I Would Love To Revisit

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fabulous gals cover at The Broke & The Bookish. This week's topic is -

Top Ten Thirteen Books From My Childhood That I Would Love To Revisit

What a great topic! This one really made me think but I suspect if any of you are a regular reader of the Outsider then you'll have heard a lot of these books mentioned over the years. These are all firm favorites and are books read before my teen years. If I included teen books we'd be here all week. Having listed all these titles I'm now really in the mood for a massive re-read so I might have to find time to squeeze them in. Maybe I'll dedicate a month to doing just that in the summer, always a good time for easy reading when the weather is hot/warm/still feels like winter...

These are all standalone books or the first in the series. if it's a series I probably loved every single book as you tend to do when you're a child! Also note my amazing inability to count to ten! I'm amazed I stopped at thirteen as I could have kept going forever...

The Belgariad

'Salem's Lot

Tales of Alderley

The Owl Service

The Dark Is Rising Sequence

The Hobbit

Little Women


When Marnie Was There

Jane Eyre

The Earthsea Cycle

Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

Anne of Green Gables

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Book Haul #106, Or The One Where I Burnt My Foot...

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted on Tynga's Reviews where we can share what new books we've picked up this past week be they bought, borrowed or downloaded. There are also lots of other 'book haul' memes out there for you to choose from!

I'm a day behind this week thanks to the saga of the foot! It started with a blister and ended with a two inch burn caused by antiseptic cream... Turns out I've developed an allergy to Germolene antiseptic cream so instead of helping the blister I got (after wearing old shoes!) I now have a hideously huge burn and can't wear anything on my feet for at least another four days. And the pain is unbelievable!

Obviously I need to cheer myself up so I did indeed go book buying mad. Well, a little bit mad! I decided to treat myself to a few of the new Penguin 80th Little Black Classics (if you could say ten is a few) and I bought two of the UK World Book Day books that I wanted.


Skin Game
Goth Girl & the Pirate Queen | Killing the Dead

The Tinder Box - Hans Christian Andersen
The Gate of the Hundred Sorrows - Rudyard Kipling
The Tell-Tale Heart - Edgar Allan Poe
The Beautifull Cassandra - Jane Austen
The Figure in the Carpet - Henry James
Goblin Market - Christina Rosetti
Sindbad the Sailor - Anon
The Night is Darkening Around Me - Emily Bronte
The Robber Bridegroom - The Brothers Grimm
Circe and the Cyclops - Homer

For Review

Midnight Crossroad
Blog Tours

Chantress Fury | Cold Burn of Magic

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Special Cover Reveal - Under My Skin by Zoe Markham

A special cover reveal today for someone that I've known personally for over 15 years and I am so excited for you all to see this! Here is the cover for Under My Skin!

Under My Skin - Zoe Markham
Publisher - Carina
Release date - March 31 2015
Find - Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US

Inside we are all monsters...

Chloe was once a normal girl. Until the night of the car crash that nearly claimed her life. Now Chloe's mother is dead, her father is a shell of the man he used to be and the secrets that had so carefully kept their family together are falling apart.

A new start is all Chloe and her father can hope for, but when you think you're no longer human how can you ever start pretending?

A contemporary reworking of a British horror classic, Under My Skin follows seventeen-year-old Chloe into an isolated world of darkness and pain, as she struggles to understand what it really means to be alive.

Set against the familiar backdrop of everyday, normal teenage worries, Chloe's world has become anything but...

Under My Skin is available to pre-order now!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #113 - Walk On Earth A Stranger

Waiting On Wednesday, where we put the spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating, is hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

This week's choice is -

Walk On Earth A Stranger - Rae Carson
Publisher - Greenwillow Books
Release date - September 22 2015
Find - Goodreads 

The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home - until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces - as only Rae Carson can - a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

Not much to say except I'd like it now please!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #84 - Books On My Spring TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fabulous gals cover at The Broke & The Bookish. This week's topic is -

Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR List

Hmm, let us see if I can actually stick to ten books or will I forget how to count to ten again? I don't know why I do these TBR lists as you can pretty much guarantee any book on them will not have been read by the time the next TBR List list rolls around *sigh* One day, maybe... Anyway, here's what I may (or may not) be reading this spring! A couple of re-reads, a few new titles and one that I've been waiting to read for a long time!

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