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review 2018-10-17 03:30
A Delightfully Charming and Fun Time-Travel Epic Kicks Off
Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor
Thinking carefully is something that happens to other people.


I lost my notes to this book, which is annoying me greatly. So I'm going to be a bit more vague than I want to be.

 

I could tell from the first couple of pages that I was going to have a great time with this book -- our narrator is Dr. Madeline "Max" Maxwell, a specialist in ancient history. She is charming, engaging, brash, and funny. She's a few more things, too, but let's leave it there. Essentially, she's a delight -- it almost doesn't matter what setting you put her in, what story you tell with her -- I'm in.

 

Thankfully, Taylor puts her in a crazy novel, one perfectly suited for her. When we meet her, Max is being recruited by a former mentor to join St Mary's Institute of Historical Research, a very strange research facility. These historians get their hands dirty in their research in the ways that no other facility on Earth can manage -- they have time machines to take them to whatever point in time they're studying so they can see ad experience history first-hand.

 

Sounds great, doesn't it? But things go awry -- in spectacularly bad fashion. But, for these Historians, where there's tea, there's hope. Using wit, sheer determination, and a little luck Max and her new colleagues will have to find a way to meet these new and dangerous challenges.

 

There's a lot more action and fighting than you'd think given that the book is about Historians and the Technicians who work with them. There's a lot of humor, some pathos, a little love -- and a little more sex than I'd prefer (thankfully most of it happens "off screen," but not all of it). The plot is impossible to summarize well -- it bounces around from point to point like a ball in a pinball machine. This is not a complaint, this is a description. Months will go by in a paragraph (or less) and then things will slow down for the events of a day or two. These are Time Travelers, after all, they can squeeze a lot of activity into a short period of time.

 

There are some other great characters here, too. Max has wonderful, loyal and capable allies (who happen to be interesting to read about); she has fantastic antagonists -- the kind of characters you can relish your annoyance/anger/moral superiority over; her friends are interesting, he love interest is about as fun as you could ask for, and is charming enough in his own right.

 

I wish I'd had the time to write this up when the book was fresher in my mind -- or if I'd not lost my notes. This book deserved a bit more from me. Basically, this book -- between characters, circumstances, plot and tone is what I'd hoped for from the Tuesday Next books. I have no idea if Taylor can keep up the freshness of the voice, the zaniness of the plot, and the engaging quality of the characters (particularly Max) -- it'll be tough to do. But I'm looking forward to finding out. I had a blast reading this one, and can't imagine that Taylor's charm wouldn't win over at least 87% of those who give this a try.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/10/16/just-one-damned-thing-after-another-by-jodi-taylor-a-delightfully-charming-and-fun-time-travel-epic-kicks-off
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review 2018-04-18 15:52
Just One Damned Thing After Another / Jodi Taylor
Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor

Behind the seemingly innocuous façade of St Mary's, a different kind of historical research is taking place. They don't do 'time-travel' - they 'investigate major historical events in contemporary time'. Maintaining the appearance of harmless eccentrics is not always within their power - especially given their propensity for causing loud explosions when things get too quiet.

Meet the disaster-magnets of St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around History. Their aim is to observe and document - to try and find the answers to many of History's unanswered questions...and not to die in the process. But one wrong move and History will fight back - to the death. And, as they soon discover - it's not just History they're fighting.

Follow the catastrophe curve from 11th-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. For wherever Historians go, chaos is sure to follow in their wake....

 

This is the most enjoyable time-travel romp that I’ve ever read! I had great fun following the boisterous and sometimes explosive adventures of Madeleine Maxwell, as she joins the St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research. The book ends up being something that is hard to categorize, although I’m pretty sure that stores will stick it firmly on the Fantasy shelf. But there is mystery, intrigue, romance—you name the genre.

I am always delighted with fiction that includes dinosaurs, so the time travel to the Cretaceous was absolutely perfect for my tastes. As Miss Maxwell says, “You put dinosaurs and people together, you always get screaming.” Apparently she has seen at least one of the Jurassic Park movies!

I chose this as my time travel selection for my 2018 PopSugar challenge, but I will definitely be continuing on with the series. I love the patchwork of genres, the British sense of humour, and the adventure.

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text 2018-04-12 19:19
TBR Thursday
Heir to the Empire - Timothy Zahn
Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor
Unbuttoned : a History of Mackenzie King's Secret Life - Christopher Dummitt
The Dirty Book Club - Lisi Harrison
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Alfred Birnbaum,Haruki Murakami
Lion in the Valley - Elizabeth Peters
Magic's Price - Mercedes Lackey
Smilla's Sense of Snow - Peter Høeg,Tiina Nunnally
Tithe - Holly Black
The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices - Xinran

My TBR pile has got a bit out of control!!

 

First ones due at the library are Heir to the Empire, Just One Damned Thing After Another, and Unbuttoned.  There are also holds on Smilla's Sense of Snow and Tithe, but those dates are further away.  Plus The Good Women of China is an interlibrary loan, so I will have to pay attention to it.

 

Heir to the Empire, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and Magic's Price are all part of my Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Project, which I am enjoying getting back into.

 

My guilty pleasures are Lion in the Valley (Amelia Peacock, I want to see what you're doing in Egypt this time) and Tithe (Holly Black's world of the Fae is calling to me).  But neither of them will count towards any of my reading challenges for 2018.

 

My other task for this weekend is to take a load of books to the used book store to trade and to sort out books to donate to the Calgary Reads Book Sale which will happen in May.  I've got to find some boxes that I can part with to pack, too.  (And then in May I'll attend the book sale and undo some of the good that I have done for my bookshelves).

 

I've also got to bake something to go to brunch on Sunday--I'll probably either make a tried-and-true Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread (http://www.lazyglutenfree.com/2013/06/gluten-free-cinnamon-swirl-banana-bread.html) or I'll try an experimental Pumpkin Pie Crumble (https://www.calgarycoop.com/cooking/pumpkin-pie-crumble). 

 

Have a great weekend, friends!

 

 

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text 2018-03-02 04:21
Kill Your Darlings Green Round 1 Suspect Guess: Team MbD / Lillelara / TA
Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor

 

Guess:  Madeleine L'Engle

 

Book read: Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor  

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review 2018-03-02 02:15
Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St. Mary's)
Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor

The tl;dr version:  This book was a lot of fun; almost nothing was taken seriously, even during the serious parts.  Not in a disrespectful way, mind you, but not a word was spared for angst or melodrama. BrokenTune called it a romp, and a romp is exactly what it is.

 

Given my outspoken dislike of science fiction and dystopia, it's probably no surprise that I generally dislike time travel books too, but something about the setting of St. Mary's (which I originally thought was a school and therefore that this book was more YA - could not be more wrong) and the characters pulled me in anyway.  The title probably helped too, giving me the impression that this was not a book that was going to take itself seriously.

 

And it doesn't.  St. Mary's is a post-grad version of Animal House and the dialog is mostly of the banter type.  Honestly, I loved it; if they never left the grounds I might have adored it, but they do leave and that's when everything goes very pear shaped.  If I were Max, I'd have refused to go so far as the front gates after the first 100 pages or so.  But every trip through time ends disastrously in furtherance of the plot (a series arc, by the way; this was never meant to be a standalone book).  The pace is fast and constant, the action packed in.  A total romp.

 

But, romp though it may be, this is not a book for the delicate.  There's a surprising amount of violence, death and sex.  Nothing descriptively graphic in detail; the death isn't gory (much) and the sex isn't explicit to the point of erotica, but they are both blunt enough to feel a tiny bit confronting at times, relative to the snarky, madcap adventure surrounding them.

 

This is not high falutin literature, but it's highly entertaining escapism.  The only thing I purely hated was the scene in the Cretaceous age.  The human race just sucks.  But I raced through the rest and I'll happily devour the next one.

 

 

I read this as part of the Kill Your Darlings game, in fulfilment of the Suspect: Madeleine L'Engle card (Read a book that involves time travel or has the main character involved in STEM)

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