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Just One Damned Thing After Another: The Chronicles of St. Mary's Book One Paperback – June 7, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Time-traveling historians: just pop in, have a look at, say, the Battle of the Somme, and pop back home. What could possibly go wrong? Taylor presents a compelling, astute take on time travel in this first of an eight-volume series. (http://ow.ly/h2xF305MzTe)—Sarah Flowers, formerly at Santa Clara County Public Library, CA
Publishers Weekly, starred review
Taylor does a great job of setting up an appealing cast of characters in this new series opener, most especially the intrepid Max. There is plenty of humor, lots of action, and even a touch of romance.”
Taylor has written a madcap and very funny hodgepodge of a novel whose pacing and humor is reminiscent of a Simon PeggEdgar Wright film.”
Booklist “Any of Jodi Taylor's addicting The Chronicles of St. Mary's books would make fun and romantic Valentine's Day reads, but Just One Damned Thing After Another is where all of the magic starts.”―Bustle
Taylor presents a compelling, astute take on time travel in this first of a ten-volume series.”
School Library Journal, Best Adult Books 4 Teens 2016
Danger, romance, history, financial and academic politics, hidden agendas, dangerous assignments, characters you care about, and the feeling that more is going on than you're actually reading about. I can hardly wait for book two. Just One Damned Thing After Another is a true page-turner.”
Just One Damned Thing After Another is a novel that wastes no time getting to the good stuff . . . if character-driven stories are your cup of tea, then you’ll find plenty to like. Max is hilarious, and I love her spirited and crafty nature.”
What a mess. A glorious, glorious mess. Let no one ever say that Just One Damned Thing After Another is a book that fails to live up to its title . . . . These books are so perfectly bingeable.”
B&N Sci-fi Blog
Max is a thoroughly hilarious and confident narrator and the sense of real danger, interspersed with copious amounts of tea, pervades the story. This is the kind of book that you walk away from believing in time travel.”
Manhattan Book Review
If you’re a fan of time travel, or if you’re a fan of madcap British comedies, or better yet if you’re a fan of both, then you’ll want to check out The Chronicles of St. Mary’s.”
The book can’t be put down, and I loved every minute. Seven books in the series have been published in Great Britain and this first book is now being published in the U.S. I look forward to reading them all.”
YA Lit Ramblings
The writing was witty and fun, and kept making me smile page after page. . . . Max is a brilliant character, the kind of character you root for, faults and all.”
All Things Urban Fantasy
Jodi Taylor doesn’t do things the conventional way.”
Catherine Scott, Yorkshire Post
Top customer reviews
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The plot is enjoyable and entertains while leading the story forward while keeping tension high at times.
People aren't too perfect, and in generally are on the bit flawed side(as people are) while still keeping the right balance of humor.
I would give this a strong 4.5 stars out of 5 if they allowed this a more granular rating system.
The only problem with finding a first good book in a series that has just been published is remembering to check back repeatedly over time for the next in the series, which with a new author is hard to remember.
I really wish the Kindle app allowed you to flag authors so you would be notified when a brand new book came out. I mean it would drive up sales and make customers happy.
It makes no sense that hasn't happened yet.
First, most of us understand the disappointment of a book that promises "laugh out loud" moments then fails to deliver. This book not only delivers but does so in almost a machine gun fashion - over and over again before you have the chance to recover from the previous. Don't misunderstand me; there are moments where tears are certainly the more appropriate reaction. However, Taylor has a turn of phrase that makes me downright jealous. If I had an ounce of Maxwell's (the main character's) wit and sarcasm, I'd be a happy camper. Yet, Taylor can also create and convey through words the tragic and the devastating. Her narratives can stir emotion in the most unmoveable reader. Again, full disclosure: I've read all of the books at this point and, while I will not provide any spoilers, I will say that Taylor's descriptions of historical battles, from Troy to Hastings to the Somme, are both poignant and powerful. She provides interludes of dry humor - the calm before the storm - but her vivid retellings of those dark days brings forth a side of history that many of us don't consider. If we had the chance to go back and watch the events of history, could we watch people die? I'm not sure I could.
As trite as it sounds, I picked up Book One and couldn't put it down. I eagerly pushed through the rest of the books and the collection of short stories in less than a week. I also eagerly recommended it to both my father and brother (who are bigger sci-fi fans but also history buffs like me). Of course, there are some negatives. It's not linear in the plotline (sci-fi...grrr); there's some science stuff that goes over the head (not completely up on my quantum/theoretical physics) and some plot devices get downright soap opera-ish. In other novels of this type though, I've noticed such events don't move the plot along and just seem gratuitous. Here, Taylor seems to have a good grasp of when to use the sensational and when to not. Her fictional group, known as just St. Mary's, is no stranger to "Sod's Law" (AKA Murphy's Law here in the States) so everything is constantly going wrong. Once in a while, you kind of sit there, roll your eyes, and go, "Seriously, again?" There is also the occasional desire to slap the you-know-what out of characters, especially main character Max. That's probably a triumph of Taylor's character development; however some may see it as downright annoying. I could see it both ways - it was annoying to me mostly because I can't slap a fictional character.
Best advice I can give - do what I did: put your preconceptions aside and go in with an open mind. Now, if you're easily offended by language, innuendo, or straight up graphic depictions of natural human functions (done alone or in pairs...you know what I mean or you can surmise), then you might not want to read this. Other than that, I highly recommend this. The fun of fiction is that the reader has to participate in the willing suspension of disbelief. This series tests that to the utmost but, man, what a wild and glorious ride the experience brings!
There are sequences in this book that read like an action thriller. There were also laugh-out-loud moments for me. And this is a mystery, so there's going to be a murder – not who I expected and not why I expected.
I confess that I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I thought it would be more cutesy or one big chiché. "Just One Damned Thing" isn't hard-boiled, but it has sharper edges and kept my interest. Which was piqued right way, incidentally, in Jodi Taylor's Introduction: "I made all this up. Historians and physicists – please do not spit on me in the street." The only part of the book that actually annoyed me was when the murder-mystery-time-travel-action was interrupted by the appearance of a Greek Muse. Why?
4.5 stars rounded up to 5.
Max, whose specialty is the ancient world, takes a mysterious job with St Mary's (affiliated with Thirsk University) after a college mentor makes an introduction.
The interview is very mysterious, and involves copious amounts of non-disclosure agreement signing as well as progressively more eccentric and crazy personnel.
It culminates in a job offer with time-traveling historical society. But there is evil afoot, as well as some good, old fashioned bureaucratic infighting, not to mention a handsome techie guy.
Thus the adventure begins. Some editing and polishing could have smoothed over some of the awkward plot jumps, and maybe cut back some of the overgrown, rampant, educational bureaucracy jokes, as well as made some of the multitude of red-shirt subcast that often gets offed a little more stand out.
(and romantic interest at one point has a complete brain-function failure that somehow resolves itself instantly near the end of the book)
But the time travel for history and fun aspect is super-fun. Fine for some light reading entertainment. Don't go in with huge expectations of scientific time travel treatment or character development.