ALL OUR WRONG TODAYS
by Elan Mastai
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.”
All Our Wrong Todays by Elan MastaiPublished by Dutton Books on February 7th 2017
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction, Time-Travel
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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CLAIMED by Elle Kennedy was one of the HOTTEST books I’ve read in a long time. The story was an erotic exploration of a dark, dytopian world that blended the perfect amount of violence, naughtiness, and over-bearing alphas to make it a yummy escape read.
CLAIMED by Elle Kennedy is an erotic dystopian novel, something that is hard to come by in the adult romance world. Kennedy introduces you to a world that is much like the wild west, where outlaws and bandits rule the untamed lands, but based in a future time. War has ravaged the land, bombs destroying most of the population and setting off earthquakes that finished off most of the remaining survivors. Colonies sprung up throughout what used to be the U.S. and were ruled with an iron fist to prevent future conflict. Population is restricted, marriages are arranged and citizens of the cities live in fear of their rulers, but in relative comfort compared to the men and women that choose to live as outlaws.
The story Kennedy created was rich in detail, but not overwhelming like a lot of science fiction worlds are. The plot and world were easily understood and the conflict within the world was intense and instantly anxiety ridden. The main characters Hudson and Connor were well formed and both sexy as hell. Their relationship was fascinating to read and I was sucked in by the secrets they both held, finding them believable instead of written in to build conflict. Kennedy also did not hold back when it came to the sex, there were no pulled punches or hidden bits. The outlaws have a different view of sex, a very open way of expressing themselves and Kennedy took full advantage of this belief. It was HOT, top the charts kind of hot. So, hot that if you get embarrassed easily or do not like non-vanilla sex – you might not like this book.
Overall, I enjoyed Kennedy’s first OUTLAW book and moved right into ADDICTED which is the next book in the series, releasing in June. Each book follows a couple, so it is not necessary to read one before the other, but it is recommended to learn about the world. And you want to meet the side characters which are introduced, I have to say that Kennedy has enough hot and intense side characters to write within this series for awhile. Now, I’m patiently waiting for Pike’s book…
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Claimed by Elle KennedySeries: Outlaws #1
Published by Signet on October 6th 2015
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Also in this series: Claimed
PJV Quickie: This book was a hard read. There is no question about it. It revolved COMPLETLY around the POV shifts. There was no declaration, there was no way to know which character you were within. So, interesting story. Strong world creation. Good writing. But, I was constantly popped out because of character transitions and they all ran together.
Review: The story was set in an alternate universe where a virus has plagued the world and turned teenagers into mutants. X-Men, but only teens are afflicted and it is not a born mutation, it is caught. Also, the powers they get have adverse effects on the teens. A teen that gets super strength might break their bones easily, or the girl that can disappear, goes blind. The virus has been in the population for a few years, but the government of the U.S. is just finding out about because teens with this virus are waging war on the country, by systematically destroying the infrastructure with one terrorist act after another one.
To battle these acts of terrorism, the government rounds up all the teenagers in the country, tests them for the virus and then employs them to battle the terrorists. The book focuses on three terrorists and two regular teens forced to battle them. The majority of the book is based in the discovery process and by the time things start moving the book ends and I felt no real explanation was given. It was very fast-paced, the story was interesting, but in the end…I was rather disappointed. Will I read on? Yes. But, only because of the world Robinson Wells created and not because of the characters. I want the explanation! Why? He never even hinted at it. So, I wish that the characters names were at the beginning of the chapters, I wish there was a bit more explanation, but I was entranced with the world and sucked in with the fast-paced action.
Recommendations: For fans of dystopian, darker dystopian that is very “real” world. If you like Well’s VARIANT series, you’ll enjoy Blackout.
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Blackout by Robison WellsSeries: Blackout #1
Published by HarperCollins on October 1st 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Also by this author: Variant
Laura and Alec are trained terrorists.
Jack and Aubrey are high school students.
There was no reason for them to ever meet.
But now, a mysterious virus is spreading throughout America, infecting teenagers with impossible powers. And these four are about to find their lives intertwined in a complex web of deception, loyalty, and catastrophic danger—where one wrong choice could trigger an explosion that ends it all.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
By day, I’m a school librarian, who works in the Dallas-Fort Wort Metroplex, serving in Northwest ISD. By night, I’m a wide-eyed, keyboard-clacking novelist who like movies, novels, music and travel. Basically, I’m either pushing books, reading them, writing them, or dreaming about them!
In your own words, tell us a little bit about your book?
Tracked is the story of one spitfire girl who lives on another planet, in the far future—a girl who evolves from south side street racers to pro-circuit legend to a rogue-rescuing revolutionary. (I like to think of Phee as a Han Solo girl, who prefers driving to piloting space ships. Also, her Princess Leia isn’t a princess at all. Instead, Phee rescues a prince!)
Can you tell us about the characters in your book? Who is your favorite?
My favorite character is probably Bear Larssen. He’s the least like me, and I wish were more like him, because I admire his steadfast loyalty, courage and honor. He may not be the flashiest character, but he is incredibly strong in so many ways, and the world needs more people like him. (Hint: Can’t wait for readers to get to know him even better in book two!!)
What makes your book different from other books out there in the same genre?
In writing Tracked, I tried so hard to balance external action with internal struggle and create a story in which the romance is organic and the heroine is really and truly the agent of her own destiny. That was really important to me—to write a character who was proactive, and not just reactive. So Phee is a rebellious rogue–a Han Solo type–who’s not content to sit back and allow others to make decisions for her. While she is certainly reckless, she’s also resilient and ready to protect not only herself, but the lives of those she cares for the most.
In addition, I hope the racing element adds an exciting, heart-pumping edge to the story—the role of street racer seems to be an unusual one for a YA heroine.
Most of all, believe it or not, I think the novel is more science fiction than dystopian. Tracked doesn’t so much set out to reflect a horrifying dystopian landscape as much as it aims to reflect the future of the society we live in now. The idea of corporate control and manipulation isn’t just a wild fantasy—it’s something we face every day in our consumer-driven culture. Tracked simply takes that reality and pushes it further.
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?
I’m a bit ashamed to admit this, but I’m a chronic draft bumbler. When I say that, I mean I usually have to write a scene three or four ways, before I figure out how to finalize it. It’s as if I have to explore all the wrong ways, before I can find the right one. I think it’s because emotion and tone is so important to me. I need to dig deep and experiment to conjure the character’s experience. And it seems I can’t do that, on the first try. I’ve come to accept that it’s just part of my process, but I envy perfect drafters.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Neil Gaiman is my favorite author. I just love escaping into his worlds—they are truly transporting. (Embarassing fact: Once, I met him at a signing, and when it was my turn, I couldn’t even speak. I felt so overwhelmed, I just burst into tears. But of course, he was unflappable and gracious. I’ll never forget that hug, and the kind things he said.) I have many other favorite authors, but the list is just too long!
What are you reading now?
Right now, I’m reading The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds. Jason is just an incredible author and an incredible human being. He is so whip-smart and generous and down to earth and utterly charming. If you haven’t read his novels or his poetry, you’re really missing out.
What advice can you give to struggling writers?
My dear friend, author A. Lee Martinez, shared this advice with me, and we jokingly call it the Tripod of Success. There are only three things you need to succeed, and you only need to have two out of three: Luck, Talent, and Persistence. So just keep writing, and you’ll either catch a bit of luck, or you’ll get better. Either way, you’ll be all right. Just keep going. 😉
Tracked by Jenny MartinPublished by DIAL (CHILDREN) on May 5th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Cars & Trucks, General, Science Fiction, Transportation, Young Adult
On corporately controlled Castra, rally racing is a high-stakes game that seventeen-year-old Phoebe Van Zant knows all too well. Phee's legendary racer father disappeared mysteriously, but that hasn't stopped her from speeding headlong into trouble. When she and her best friend, Bear, attract the attention of Charles Benroyal, they are blackmailed into racing for Benroyal Corp, a company that represents everything Phee detests. Worse, Phee risks losing Bear as she falls for Cash, her charming new teammate. But when she discovers that Benroyal is controlling more than a corporation, Phee realizes she has a much bigger role in Castra's future than she could ever have imagined. It's up to Phee to take Benroyal down. But even with the help of her team, can a street-rat destroy an empire?'Deeply inventive, Tracked is an action-packed sci-fi with heart. Sequel, please!' Erin Bowman, author of the Taken trilogy'Adrenaline fueled from first page to finish line.' Mindy McGinnis, author of Not a Drop to Drink
5 winners will receive a finished copy of TRACKED and an awesome swag pack! US Only.
5 winners will receive a finished copy of TRACKED! US Only.
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5/1/2015- Bookhounds YA– Guest Post
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PJV Quickie: If you are looking for a lighter scoff romance, The Apollo Academy by Kimberly P. Chase is an entertaining read. A first for me, a New Adult sci-fi romance, it read very Young Adult, but there was plenty of steamy scenes to shake that teen feeling right off.
Review: The world Chase created is the cherry on this New Adult sundae. I love sci-fi worlds, especially when they are done well. Chase did her’s well, a dystopian/sci-fi type world where tech runs wild, humans are locked into virtual worlds which are much better than the actual world and billionaire’s daughters want to be astronaut pilots.
I highly enjoyed the world Chase created.
What I didn’t particularly enjoy was the high school environment that was played out within the academy. This is an academy to become astronauts, not a tech school for aspiring hairdressers. The catty and petty behavior by the characters did not ring true to me. In novels of this type they usually have competitiveness and hazing, but this just read very high school.
Overall though, the book was interesting and I enjoyed reading it. I thought the author really did her research when it came to the mechanics of this novel. After reading it, checking out the author’s bio revealed she is a pilot herself. It was obvious she knew what she was talking about. I love that. Great one to check out if you want something new. I’m just all up in the New Adult lately with Fantasy Romance New Adult and now Scifi Romance New Adult.
Recommendations: Fans of light sci-fi romance and new adult should give this one a try, or if you want to bring your YA up to a steamier level, give it a try.
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Apollo Academy by Kimberly P. ChasePublished by Harlequin Enterpises AU on February 1st 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction
As the heiress to Titon Technologies, eighteen-year-old Aurora Titon can have whatever she wants—clothes, expensive gadgets, anything money can buy. But all she really wants is to escape her pampered, paparazzi-infested life for the stars. Becoming the first female pilot to train as an astronaut for the exclusive Apollo Academy is exactly the chance for which she has been waiting.
Flying is everything she ever dreamed, her best friend also got into the Academy, and the paparazzi is banned from campus. Everything would be perfect, but for her unreciprocated crush on a fellow student, the sexy astronaut bent on making her life hell, and the fact that someone keeps trying to kill her.
The most important education doesn’t happen in the classroom…