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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Romancing the Weekend: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Romancing the Weekend: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

SILENCE FALLEN

by Patricia Briggs

31

March, 2017

Title: Silence Fallen 
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #10
Pages: 352 pages
Publisher:
Release Date: March 7, 2017
ISBN-10: 0425281272

Blurb:  In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack and her mate is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone…

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

PJV Quickie:

Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series has been a favorite of mine for several years, and by book 10 (10!!!) these characters are like old friends.  I love paranormal stories, and Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thomson series is one of the best.  She had my attention at the first line:

“I died first, so I made cookies.”

 

Review:

As always, when I really enjoy a book, my thoughts are all over the place, so please forgive me if I jump around 🙂 I’m not going to recap the story as the blurb is easily readable on the left sidebar.

Let me start by saying that Silence Fallen was just what the doctor ordered.  I’m still stuck in a months-long reading slump, but, luckily, to come back into Mercy’s world is always a pleasure.  Mercy is, in a way, a “self-rescuing princess”, and she is a fabulous character. I know, I know, “princess” isn’t usually a word you’d associate with Mercy Thompson, but, her relationship to Bran kind of allows the title to fit, however loosely.  And in Silence Fallen, “self-rescuing” is spot on:  from the moment she is taken, Mercy uses her smarts and strengths to escape, over and over again.

One of the great things about having a long-running series is that, if the author is good (and Patricia Briggs definitely is), you’ll get characters who are really fleshed out and dynamic, even if they’re not the hero/heroine.  It was an unexpected treat to get to know more about the witch Elizavetta, and I also enjoyed getting to meet the European vampires and werewolves and to learn more about the way they operate.

There are a lot of politics playing out in Silence Fallen, and while he’s stuck dealing with his European “hosts”, Adam’s annoyance is tangible, and his devotion to Mercy is evident in every line of his anger and frustration. Something unusual this time around is that Ms. Briggs gives us both Mercy and Adam’s point of view.  Also, the story is not told in a linear style, there is some time overlap between tellings that make the reader go “Oh – so that’s why that happened!” It’s important to read the notes at the beginning of each chapter, as they help the reader to be aware of what’s going on in the chapter and what to watch for.

In Silence Fallen an unlikely source helps Mercy realize who she is as a coyote and I think that in the future we may learn more about her resistance to vampire suggestion – a lot more.  I’m wondering how Stephan is going to feel about that?

So, a lot going on in a short period of time…We briefly step away from the Adam/Mercy relationship dynamic and gain some interesting knowledge about the supes in Mercy’s world, and I loved it.

I promised, he told me. I promised not to tug on the leash.  I promised.  Don’t hurt yourself so. I keep my promises, Mercy.

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.

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Series: Mercy Thompson #10
on March 7, 2017
ISBN: 0425281272
Genres: Adult, Paranormal
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Also in this series: Fire Touched
Also by this author: Dead Heat, Fire Touched
4 Stars



This adult paranormal novel with romantic elements might be 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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The Billionaire Beast, Another Damaged Billionaire Harasses a Good Girl Until She Falls In Love…

The Billionaire Beast, Another Damaged Billionaire Harasses a Good Girl Until She Falls In Love…

THE BILLIONAIRE BEAST

by Jackie Ashenden

06

MARCH, 2017

Title: The Billionaire Beast
Author: Jackie Ashenden Series: Billionaire Fairytales #2
Pages: 221 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press Release Date: March 07, 2017
ISBN-10: 9781250136770

The Billionaire Beast is the first book by Jackie Ashenden that I’ve read, even though it’s 2nd in the series. It can be read as a stand-alone though, so I didn’t have issues following along. I feel like every romance that is getting tucked into my inbox is a Billionaire novel – and each one is getting more outlandish than the next. This one isn’t your typical billionaire in the setting, but it’s stereotypical in the composition. Ashenden set out to create more of a “bastard” billionaire than all the rest and she succeeded and then wrapped him in a mental illness so you’ll pity him. While I did enjoy the novel, when it ended I felt a bit let down, because it is a fairy tale novel – the happily-ever-after was too contrived.

The book is a spin on Beauty and the Beast, Nero is the beast, the surly hero, holed up in his house for the last ten years because of he has some issues. He’s gone through assistant after assistant because he’s a jerk. He has no line, no line at all – so you can’t say he crosses a line since it doesn’t exist for him. He gets what he wants if you don’t do it – you’re gone. The heroine comes in as an assistant that is desperate for money because she has a dying finance in a coma. Nero, will pay her big bucks to do exactly what he wants and she has to put up with it, so she’s stuck.

Through the process of the novel you hate Nero and then you come to pity him because you find out why he is the way he is. He realizes that he can’t live without his new “not pretty” assistant with the great hair and his love for her changes him. Which was a bit underwhelming, because I wanted more and 220 pages can’t cure a mental illness and have them fall in love and promote hate, love and everything else. The story had a good backbone but it was wrapped up too quickly.

Overall, I enjoyed it. It’s a stereotypical book. BIG hero, bulging muscles, total bastard – billionaire, falls for an unsuspecting, not really pretty, a little bit quirky heroine. Their love cures all their problems, or at least most of them. If you like these trite storylines, you’ll enjoy this book. I personally found the story a bit shallow, but that is usually the case with these books so I’m not complaining. I can see the gem within it, though – and wanted more. It was wrapped up too nicely in the end.

“’Tell me about you, Nero.’ The stroking thumb paused. ‘Tell me why you can’t walk down your hallway without breaking into a sweat. Tell me why you never leave your house.’”

The Billionaire Beast, Another Damaged Billionaire Harasses a Good Girl Until She Falls In Love…

The Billionaire Beast by Jackie Ashenden

Series: Billionaire Fairytales #2
Published by St. Martin's Press on 07 Mar 2017
ISBN: 9781250136770
Pages: 212
Source: Publisher
3 Stars

Dark, tortured, and intimidating, these dominant billionaires will steal their innocent heroines' breath away. Overwhelmed by their desire to control their world, they push their heroines to explore their deepest desires. But even the most unworldly of heroines can unlock these billionaires' secrets.

Nero de Santis: Damaged. Bastard. Beast.

Nero hasn’t left his house in ten years—he demands the world come to him, and the world is only too happy to bend to the strong-willed billionaire. Ruthless, cold, and selfish, Nero wants for nothing and takes care of no one but himself. His last handful of assistants have left his house in tears, but the prim redhead applying for the job looks up to the task. Nero has spent his life shut within the walls he built, with no care to have more than a window to the outside world. But the fiery passion he senses beneath his reserved assistant’s exterior makes him want to break down the barriers he lives behind, and unleash the beast within.

Phoebe Taylor: Uptight. Misunderstood. Engaged.

Phoebe needs the obscene amount of money that comes with being Nero’s personal assistant for one thing, and one thing only—to pay for the mounting hospital costs that her fiancee’s two-year coma continues to incur. She’s heard rumors that the de Santis beast is a force that cannot be tamed—but even she isn’t prepared to handle the smoldering intensity simmering beneath his hard shell of feral dominance. Nero is hiding something, something he is fighting with every step he takes. Yet he can’t help but stake his claim on this woman who has shaken up his life, and Phoebe can’t believe this animal of a man is the one person to ever look into her eyes and see her soul. Nero wants to keep her. He wants to devour her. And Phoebe just might let him.




This adult, contemporary, office romance, novel might be 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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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
Dead Souls by J. Lincoln Fenn

Dead Souls by J. Lincoln Fenn

DEAD SOULS by J. Lincoln Fenn is a novel that took me by surprise. It’s one of those novels where you can’t stand the heroine, but you like the book anyway. Fenn’s complex plot and abject ability to capture logic in evil makes this story great and also horrifying. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more intense, things got crazy. I enjoyed listening to this book. If it wouldn’t have been a gore fest at the end, I might have enjoyed it more, giving it a 5-star – but really it was worth the listen and I’m sure you’ll find it quite entertaining.

Fiona Dunn is an emotionally scarred and jealous woman. She believes her boyfriend, who is the perfect, albeit almost too easy, boyfriend is cheating on her. Which would make sense, because no one is perfect. Convinced of his infidelity she gets drunk at the bar and inexplicably makes a deal with the devil to be invisible. Thinking it was just a drunken conversation with a man without a face, Fiona goes along with her life – finding out the truth about her boyfriend – and realizing that maybe that convo at the bar wasn’t a drunken figment. It’s true. Her soul belongs to the devil.

Being the devil, he’s got a lot of souls lined up so Fiona joins a support group for people like her, called DEAD SOULS and now she bent on how to undo her situation if it’s possible.

This book was very intricate at first, you have deals going this way and that, you focus on each character and what they did to sell their souls, what they plan on doing etc. The devil seems to be this intense character, with all kinds of facets. I liked the twists and turns and the fact that you don’t know who is lying or scheming or straight-up the big bad. It made for an intense read but didn’t allow me to get close to any of the characters.

Fiona was a multi-faceted character, but I didn’t find her redeemable, which is rather sad with a character. Her progression within the novel went down not up, in my estimation. My thoughts usually revolved around – by the time you get your soul back with all the trickery, it’s not like you’ll get into Heaven anyway – so what’s the point?

But, after all, the dealing, and investigation – the novel progressed into a gore fest. The devil went from trickster and deal maker to the director of a horror flick. Which is when the book became a little monotonous for me. I wanted more intrigue instead of blood and guts. Overall, it was an enjoyable listen and the narration was done by one of my fave narrators, Julia Whelan – so you get no better than that.

About the Book
Dead Souls by J. Lincoln Fenn

Dead Souls by J. Lincoln Fenn

Narrator: Julia Whelan
Published by Gallery Books on September 20th 2016
ISBN: 1501110934
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
4 Stars

From the award-winning author of the acclaimed novel Poe comes an edgy and bone-chilling new novel.
When Fiona Dunn is approached in a bar by a man who claims he’s the devil, she figures it’s just some kind of postmodern-slash-ironic pickup line. But a few drinks in, he offers her a wish in exchange for her immortal soul, and in addition, Fiona must perform a special favor for him whenever the time comes. Fiona finds the entire matter so absurd that she agrees. Bad idea. Not only does Fiona soon discover that she really was talking to the devil incarnate, but she’s now been initiated into a bizarre support group of similar “dead souls”—those who have done the same thing as Fiona on a whim, and who must spend their waking hours in absolute terror of that favor eventually being called in...and what exactly is required from each of them in order to give the devil his due.




About the Book
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