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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
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
- Publisher : Night Shade; Reissue edition (June 7, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 348 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1597808687
- ISBN-13 : 978-1597808682
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #39,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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The book was rolling along okayish (welcome to dinoland) and then the 'annoying' type of sex started. Now I'm no prude, I have six kids and have thus partaken at least six times myself. What was annoying was the fact that it really added nothing to the tale and seemed written in solely to titillate the reader. The nasty partner was gross enough but I don't need to know how many fingers went where. Really I don't. And so ended the reading of this book. Unless I'm knowingly reading about Mr. Grey and his 50 shades of WTF, I'm in it for the story. If an author feels the need to resort to cheap sex to keep readers engaged, I'm outta there. Also-don't lend this to your young teens. They'll learn a LOT more than a bit of history.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
St Mary's is bonkers, good bonkers. Long story short it follows our female protagonist Max as she joins the secretive St Mary's Institute of Historical Research. This is not a place where the Historians sit over dusty books and scrolls, no they live it.
Yes they have freaking time machines!!
This could go one of either ways - 1) it could make this book really naff (some time travel books can be a bit meh) or 2) it is done it such a fun, crazy way that you can't help but love it. Yes of course this book is option 2.
Just One Damned Thing After Another or for the sake of my fingers JODTAA follows Max as she joins the ranks of the historians at St Mary's, taking her from training to becoming a fully fledged historian.
As book one in the series JODTAA eases you in to this world, I'm not 100% sure of the time setting, maybe near future, anyway we meet Max and her colleagues and then we travel to points in time that need to be researched.
But the path of St Mary's is never clear of problems, Max's journey brings her in contact with dinosaurs and legendary libraries, seeing history from a totally different POV whilst trying not to change anything and avoiding getting killed, maimed or worse running out of teabags.
This is a cracking read, in fact at this point in time I have just finished book 3 in the series, I love it so much. It is a great mix of British proper-ness and humour with a large dollop of historical fun. Plus there is a cracking sex scene which I had to re-read several times due to the enthusiasm of it!! Also I don't think there was a single character who felt unnecessary.
A must read and a great start to my 2017 reviews!
Re-read the book and it's easy to say that this is my favourite series. Will be re,-reading the rest and this time remembering the reviews.
In this first of the series we meet the characters of St. Mary's. Never has a band of characters been put together in one book. The main strength of this book and the series for me results from the wonderful interactions between them. You have no options but to live through their adventures with them. You will laugh, gasp in amazement and sometimes disbelief. You will also at times shed a tear.
For anyone new to the series St. Mary's role is to travel in time to witness and chronical the events as they happen. Sounds simple but once you get to know the characters it's anything but simple.
If you are a lover of history be prepared to doubt the existing history books as the author has a wonderful ability to give history a new slant. In fact I am more likely to believe the author rather than the stuffy historians who made passing my history exams so boring.
If you are reading this please, please, please give the book a try. I think I can guarantee that having read book one the rest of the series will be a must.
Mr Markham, No spoilers, but if you fall in love with St Mary’s and Leon too, then you are in for a ride. Not on that damn horse, Turk, but maybe in a small shed, that looks like a shack, not a blue 1950s police box. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou.
The book is hilarious, exciting, and there is a very wonderful and/but angsty Chief Leon Farrell to keep the heroine on her toes. This book and the rest in the series have kept me up reading into the early hours of the morning and I can’t think of many other books that have made me laugh as much as this series does - in a good way! It’s heartwarming, it’s exciting, and it has enough intrigue and romance to keep most readers happy!
If you’re looking for something fun with the right amount of plot twists and whimsy then this is the book for you!
The plot is very involved, but concerns Max being trained in time travel, with various different outcomes. There are madcap adventures in various times and locations, a love story, obviously some baddies and an awful lot of adventures and missions. Although this is obviously a flight of fantasy – time travel, non-stop excitement and danger – there is also enough realism to make you care about the characters. Max faces real issues, for example, with colleagues; including the kind of unpleasant sexist behaviour that makes you squirm as a reader. Still, in some ways, this is essential. Too much derring do and you might forget you are reading about characters who can get hurt, or killed, or wounded.
I enjoyed this, but it was more than a little busy and I felt the author could have slowed the pace down and invested me more in the plot and characters. Still, the idea of historians careering around the past is an intriguing one and I may well read the next in the series; once I have calmed down a little after this non-stop thrill ride…