A Masterpiece of a Debut – Now is the Real Dystopia? All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

A Masterpiece of a Debut – Now is the Real Dystopia? All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

ALL OUR WRONG TODAYS

by Elan Mastai

10

APRIL, 2017

  • Title: All Our Wrong Todays
  • Author: Elan Mastai
  • Series: Stand-alone
  • Pages: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Books
  • Release Date: February 7, 2017
  • ISBN-10: 9781101985137

One of the best books I’ve read in a long time, All Our Wrong Todays, was a far-reaching, insightful, and witty novel, disguised as time-travel fiction. I cried, I laughed, I yelled in frustration as I read, Elan Mastai’s debut. It was an emotional roller-coaster, that tugged at my heart-strings. At first, I was skeptical, the narrator and main character, Tom Barren, is not likable. He has a rather stutter-start of an introduction, he begins the novel with a very shallow and egotistical interpretation of his world, and himself. It doesn’t make him endearing, or empathetic to his quandary. Yet, as the story progresses, Tom begins to grow on you, he reveals more about himself, and word by word, each sentence you fall deeper and deeper into a marvelous story of love, loss, friendship, life, death, and our distorted reality. Man, All Our Wrong Todays rocked my world.

This one is hard to break down in a manner that does it justice. The main character, Tom, is an underachiever in a very over-achieving world. He lives in the perfect 2016, think Jetson’s and you’ll come close. No war, no hunger, they even invented the instant outfit and hair machine that I lusted after while watching the Jetsons. His father invents time-travel and the only reason Tom is involved in his father’s project is because of nepotism. He knows he’s only there because of his father, all the people around him know he’s only there because of the man, but he goes along with it, he doesn’t really have anything else to do. But, in the process of helping his father achieve his dreams, Tom falls in love, with the rock star of the time travel team. And she might like him back…or so he thinks. They share the best night of his existence, and it is followed by Tom unmaking an entire timeline, by a stupid move on his part. Now, transported to “reality,” or what is our reality of 2016, Tom is forced into his dystopian universe, faced with the fact that he annihilated billions of lives and the perfect future. The basis of the plot might seem like a shallow, science fiction, time-travel novel, but it’s anything but. The author’s ability to craft a scene is awe-inspiring, not to mention the witty, self-deprecating narration of Tom that brings it all together.

They had this one moment in the beginning of the book, I can’t describe it because it would give it all away, but it was utterly heartbreaking. The character went from a guy I wasn’t too sure of, didn’t actually like, maybe kind of pitied, to a man I could really get behind, root for, and care about, with just one line:

“For just a moment I had a home.”

I stopped the audiobook and I cried, because it made Tom come into perspective and then shattered everything. That doesn’t happen often. It happens rarely, actually. The narration was done by the author, which is usually a red flag for me, but you can tell that Tom was and is part of Elan, so his narration was perfect. Not technically perfect, but it fit the mood, and the narrator’s voice.

The science of the book was another thing, the amount of research, technical knowledge, and brainpower that was required to write this novel was another accomplishment that I give props to the author for. I had to look up his bio to see if he had some sort of advanced degree with MIT or something, the science jargon was that convincing. But, no, he’s a writer, a screenwriter from Canada, who is currently working on the film adaptation of this book. That should be an interesting movie.

I can’t rave about everything, though. I did run into some issues. The author is quick and repetitive, with a jumping and often confusing pace, similar to Vonnegut, whom he mentions a few times within the pages, so I’m assuming he was trying to emulate. There is one scene which is a repetitive use of curse words over and over again, which I would have skimmed over in a book – but was forced to experience in full-force via the audiobook. The climax was also very confusing, and I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t go into detail, but there were moments when I was lost within the details. But, nothing that took away from the novel. My only advice when starting this book, give it time…let it sink in. Hopefully, you’ll love it as much as I did.

“We all have parts of ourself we want to cut away.”

A Masterpiece of a Debut – Now is the Real Dystopia? All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

Published by Dutton Books on February 7th 2017
ISBN: 1101985135
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction, Time-Travel
Pages: 373
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher

You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we'd have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren's 2016, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn't necessary.
Except Tom just can't seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that's before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our 2016, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland.
But when he discovers wonderfully unexpected versions of his family, his career, and—maybe, just maybe—his soul mate, Tom has a decision to make. Does he fix the flow of history, bringing his utopian universe back into existence, or does he try to forge a new life in our messy, unpredictable reality? Tom’s search for the answer takes him across countries, continents, and timelines in a quest to figure out, finally, who he really is and what his future—our future—is supposed to be.




This Must Read Science Fiction novel might be a good choice if you’ve read and loved the following books:

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The Series That Channels “Old School” Apocalypse Greatness – Audio Spotlight

The Series That Channels “Old School” Apocalypse Greatness – Audio Spotlight

After (Forstchen) Series

by William R. Forstchen

22

JANUARY, 2017

Titles:
One Second After
One Year After
The Last Day
 
Author: William R. Forstchen
Series: After Trilogy
Total Hours: 35 hours 23 minutes
Publisher: Forge Books
Release Date: 01-03-17
ISBN-10:
OSA: 9781429922067
OYA: 0765376717
TFD: 0765376733

The After series by William R. Forstchen is truly an epic apocalypse series in the vein of “old school” novels in the genre.  Forstchen mentions in his forward that his goal was to deliver a novel in lines with Alas, Babylon and On the Beach, and he succeeded. The main character, John Matherson, is a forty-something, retired Colonel, that is reminiscent of a time long past. He’s a good old boy, veteran, that finds himself at the epicenter of an apocalypse, forced to take a stand and defend his small town.

At the heart of this series, Forsctchen makes many points. He confronts how dependent we are on the grid, what it means to be American, the concept of emergency triage, and the moral consequence of apocalypse selfishness. It’s an interesting mix of concepts and will speak to you on many levels. It will be greatly received by people that “lean prepper” and in fact most will find this almost prophetic since this is a subject that is considered highly possible, considering this book was “urged” by Newt Gingrich since he believed an EMP attack would annihilate the U.S. if it happened.

The first book, One Second After, introduces the town, the main character, and the apocalypse. It covers John’s reluctant leadership and his many ideas on how to keep his town safe. The book also covers the “dying off” of a majority of the people of John’s town. People starve, the sick die without their medications, the hungry attack, and disease is rampant. The first book is the best of the series, it rings true and the horror of the aftermath of chilling. John, while a bit, older than his years, is a likeable character and his emotions ring true, along with his arguments. Narration by Joe Barrett captures the voice of John superbly and brings the book to life.

The second book One Year After, follows up where One Second After left off. I thought there was a relatively good ending via OSA and this book kind of opens your eyes to everything is not as peachy as we hoped. Things are getting back together after the “dying off” periods – but other problems have arisen, including the new established army. The narrator changes in this book, which is understandable with the time between publication – but Bronson Pinchot did not do a good job with this book. He did this “Southern” accent for all the characters that was jarring, even John had a Southern accent – even though the man is from New Jersey. It wasn’t enough to detract from the story, but because of this the book wasn’t as good. It also was because the book was a very “middle” book with inbetween plot syndrome – you know what happened and want to know how it ends, but you have to get through this.

The final book The Final Day, brought everything together. Bronson Pinchot got his stuff together and fixed his shoddy narration and the plot all came together nicely. Overall, this final book was a little predictable, because you know there HAS to be a certain type of ending. There were moments when I thought maybe it might not get to that point – which was nail-biting – but it all came together in the end and I found it very satisfying.

If you have a thing fo apocalypse fiction, straight apocalypse, no frills (romance, light), or chills (horrific paranormal)…this is the series for you.

“We were spoiled unlike any generation in history, and we forgot completely just how dependent we were on the juice flowing through the wires, the buttons doing something when we pushed them.”
The Series That Channels “Old School” Apocalypse Greatness – Audio Spotlight

One Second After by William R. Forstchen

Series: After #1
Narrator: Joe Barrett
Published by Forge Books on April 26th 2011
ISBN: 1429922060
Genres: Apocalypse
Pages: 352
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audilble.com, Purchased
4.5 Stars

In a small North Carolina town, one man struggles to save his family after America loses a war that will send it back to the Dark Ages.

Already cited on the floor of Congress and discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a book all Americans should read, One Second After is the story of a war scenario that could become all too terrifyingly real. Based upon a real weapon - the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) - which may already be in the hands of our enemies, it is a truly realistic look at the awesome power of a weapon that can destroy the entire United States, literally within one second.

This book, set in a typical American town, is a dire warning of what might be our future and our end.




The Series That Channels “Old School” Apocalypse Greatness – Audio Spotlight

One Year After (John Matherson #2) by William R. Forstchen

Series: After #2
Narrator: Bronson Pinchot
Published by Forge Books on June 28th 2016
ISBN: 0765376717
Pages: 448
Format: Audiobook
3.5 Stars

Months before publication, One Second After was cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should have, a book discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a truly realistic look at the dangers of EMPs. An EMP is a weapon with the power to destroy the entire United States in a single act of terrorism in a single second; Indeed, it is a weapon that the Wall Street Journal warns could shatter America. One Second After was a dire warning of what might be our future... and our end.

One Year After returns to the small town of Black Mountain and the man who struggled to rebuild it in the wake of devastation: John Matherson. It is a thrilling follow-up and should delight fans in every way.




The Series That Channels “Old School” Apocalypse Greatness – Audio Spotlight

The Final Day by William R. Forstchen

Series: After #3
Narrator: Bronson Pinchot
Published by Forge Books on January 3rd 2017
ISBN: 0765376733
Genres: Apocalypse
Pages: 348
4 Stars

The highly-anticipated follow-up to William R. Forstchen’s New York Times bestsellers, One Second After and One Year After, The Final Day immerses readers once more in the story of our nation’s struggle to rebuild itself after an electromagnetic pulse wipes out all electricity and plunges the country into darkness, starvation, and terror.
After defeating the designs of the alleged federal government, John Matherson and his community have returned their attention to restoring the technologies and social order that existed prior to the EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) attack. Then the government announces that it’s ceding large portions of the country to China and Mexico. The Constitution is no longer in effect, and what’s left of the U.S. Army has been deployed to suppress rebellion in the remaining states.
The man sent to confront John is General Bob Scales, John’s old commanding officer and closest friend from prewar days. Will General Scales follow orders, or might he be the crucial turning point in the quest for an America that is again united? As the dubious Federal government increasingly curtails liberty and trades away sovereignty, it might just get exactly what it fears: revolution.




This adult, apocalypse novel is a good choice if you’ve read and loved the following books:

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A Diverse Read That Takes a Bit of Patience to Read…Finding Gideon

Finding Gideon was marketed as a stand-alone, even though there are more stories in this series, and technically it is, but I did feel that I fell feet first into a story that I wasn’t ready for. I think it had to do with the main POV in the beginning which was Medianoche, which starts out in a place I didn’t want to be. I didn’t like him, I didn’t want to read about him…and it kept increasing.

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Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

The Marketing on Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten was the only reason I picked up this book. I’m not usually a reader of YA Mystery, which is usually angsty and shallow. I expected something different when I read it though. I highly enjoyed Gone Girl and Thirteen Reasons Why – but when you stop to think about it – the whole book seems quite obvious now when you add the first line of the synopsis to the title of the book and suddenly the plot twist is quite evident.

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls starts with the death of the main characters former best friend. June is instantly suspicious because of a voicemail that was left on her phone by Delia. In the beginning the backstory is vague so the “mystery” is on high, but as the plot is revealed you find out that mystery is forced and there really wasn’t a need for suspicion from the beginning because of the dead girl’s lifestyle.

There are a few twists and turns, mostly ones I found rather stereotypical. I can only really describe this book as an immature copy of Gone Girl. It was entertaining to a point, but I wanted more depth. I think Weingarten’s ability to tell a story is substantial and I’m considering reading some of her other books. Overall, it was a mediocre book. I think if I wouldn’t have expected Gone Girl I would have liked it more and been surprised which would have nulled some of the clichés which I found were overwhelming.

Narration was performed by Rebekkah Ross and this was my first book by her. I didn’t notice her voice, which is saying something and pleasant. She narrates Jenny Hans and Siobhan Vivian’s Burn for Burn – so I might give that one a try next.

About the Book
Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

Narrator: Rebekkah Ross
Published by Simon Pulse on July 7th 2015
ISBN: 148141853X
Pages: 325
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
3 Stars

They say Delia burned herself to death in her stepfather’s shed. They say it was suicide.
But June doesn’t believe it.
June and Delia used to be closer than anything. Best friends in that way that comes before everyone else—before guys, before family. It was like being in love, but more. They had a billion secrets, tying them together like thin silk cords.
But one night a year ago, everything changed. June, Delia, and June’s boyfriend, Ryan, were just having a little fun. Their good time got out of hand. And in the cold blue light of morning, June knew only this—things would never be the same again.
Now Delia is dead. June is certain she was murdered. And she owes it to her to find out the truth…which is far more complicated than she ever could have imagined.
Sexy, dark, and atmospheric, Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls will keep you guessing until the very last page.




About the Book
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson was one of those middle of the road books that is so hard to review. I enjoyed it but found enough wrong with it that I can’t give it a glowing review. I did find the premise interesting and the characters compelling, but I also found that it was rather immature at times and repetitive. I also found that a lot of the plot was not explained which was a bit of a frustration, because it did have a lot of potential and Sanderson’s writing style is…well epic.

 

Sanderson’s THE RECKONING series revolves around a world gone awry. An unknown event has struck the world and created humans called Epics. Each epic has a special power, some are more epic than others. What they all have in common is that with the powers come a detachment from any kind of moral fortitude, hatred and murderous. The worst of the lot is Steelheart. He’s taken over Newcago and kills anything in his path, including the main character, David’s father. Now David is bent on vengeance. He’s dedicated his entire life to finding Steelheart’s weakness and to kill him, he needs the help of The Reckoners to act out his plan. Within the Reckoners are some fun characters that I really liked, but also some obviously predictable ones, along with David’s love interest.

I found the romance to be the immature part of the story, the character is an almost eighteen-year-old, but he was very childish and the humor was a little silly. At first the bad metaphors were funny, but then they got overplayed. I also had some issues with the basis of the story, the Epics had no rhyme or reason, or any explanation or rules of “how” they could do things. I like plausible situations. What would give humans the power to turn everything into steel? Like how does that happen? That sort of thing.

Overall, I was being constantly recommended this book. Every time I read a “must read” dystopian list The Reckoners series came up. Unfortunately, I found it to be mediocre at best. I was hoping to find the next great series…but found a series that I doubt I will go past book one with. Good, but I want great.

About the Book
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Series: The Reckoners #1
Narrator: MacLeod Andrews
Published by Delacorte Press on September 24th 2013
ISBN: 0385743564
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 386
Format: Audiobook

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.
Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.
And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.
He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.




About the Book
Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

Royally Screwed was one of those guilty pleasure romance that I so enjoy. Sure, it’s a romance involving a royal and a commoner, something that’s been done a few times, but Emma Chase made it funny, sexy, and added a few twists and turns that made it fresh. The narration by Andi Arndt and Shane East was a pleasure to listen to, making this a MUST LISTEN audiobook.

Nicholas, our swarthy hero, is the Crowned Prince of Wessco, and a royal celeb. He’s super hot, super spoiled, and a prick at times. He’s used to getting exactly what he wants – and when he’s forced to chase down his little brother in New York he finds exactly what he wants in pie maker, Olivia Hammond. Olivia tries to resist, but Nicholas is a hard one to get past. But, she knows from the start that it can only last for a short time, because Nicholas is the future king and she’s just – well Olivia.

Royally Screwed was a fun and sexy royal romp. I was impressed by Tangled by Emma Chase, now this author is officially an “auto-buy” after this. The hero was deliciously sexy and arrogant, the heroine was nice and lovable. They dynamic between the two was almost tragic. The novel follows the typical romance algorithm, but it didn’t seem contrived. Royally Screwed was all sorts of yummy and I can’t wait to get my hands on Royally Matched.

About the Book
Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

Series: , #1
Narrator: Shane East, Andi Arndt
Published by Everafter Romance on October 18th 2016
ISBN: 1682307751
Genres: Romance
Pages: 276
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Also by this author: Tangled, Overruled, Sustained
4.5 Stars

Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka His Royal Hotness, is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant; hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.
Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn't bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.
Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.
Dating a prince isn't what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.
There's a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they've traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces, and haven't chopped anyone's head off lately, the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.
But to Olivia, Nicholas is worth it.
Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King... or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.




About the Book
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