Read Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor Online


"History is just one damned thing after another."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"History is just one damned thing after another."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.......

Title : Just One Damned Thing After Another
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 29661618
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 480 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Just One Damned Thing After Another Reviews

  • Bradley
    2019-04-16 07:51

    What a surprisingly delightful Time Travel novel!I mean, if it wasn't for the great characters, and there were a ton of them, this book was still full of snark right down to the foundations. (And even sometimes under the foundations!) But even so, no one could hold a candle to Maxwell. I've never read a character so simultaneously dense about sex and love and so very, very brilliant and adaptable than her, while all the while being brainy, clumsy, and eventually able to go out and kick ass with the best of them.Because, after all, nothing says Historian than a woman with a big gun. Right? Right! And raptors really are a bit more tiny than she expected. But, of course, the real predators are other Time-Travelers. Do you like plot? OMG there's so much plot, and so much happens, and all the while I'm like... the author's touching upon so many great periods and so many historians are dying because they're idiots and how the hell were they trained and that's NOT RIGHT, but hell that's funny and I found myself telling myself that this has got to be one of the most comprehensively well-thought-out time travel novels I've ever read. At least, it's a lot more stable and a lot less outright weird than most, firmly rooted in all the things we know or we think we know, while focusing on being damn realistic about achievable goals, keeping the tech out of the public's hands because we know they'll fuck it up anyway, and just HOW did St. Mary's come to be? Oh, lordy.I've read good Time Travel books, to be sure, but none of those had quite the breadth or the wide stretch of character change and development as this. Have I finally found my modern go-to SF series for plain frolicky fun and hijinks? Perhaps!It's a bit more complicated than most of the Time-Travel books I'm used to, and while it has a lot of light moments, it's packed to the gills with the serious, too, and not always about personal safety. It's clever right down to the core.And exciting. :) I can't wait for more. :)

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2019-04-18 00:53

    3.5 stars. Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:Just One Damned Thing After Another was a wild roller coaster ride! It’s a time travel tale, but doesn’t care to get hung up on the theory or mechanics of it. The plot careens wildly around from place to place and event to event, and I just raced around with it. Mostly it’s about the adventures ― explosions! dinosaurs! conspiracies! ― but there’s occasionally some deeper introspection, though Jodi Taylor never lets it get in the way of the story.At the invitation of a former teacher, Madeleine Maxwell, known as Max, applies for a job as a historian at St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, a rather secretive part of the University of Thirsk. It’s a little unclear what exactly her job will be, other than that it offers poor pay, worse conditions, and “a less structured existence.” Despite this unpromising description, Max decides to take a chance. She soon finds out that she’ll be part of a time traveling team of historians, investigating major historical events in the past. It’s a dangerous job: the mortality rate among historians is alarmingly high, and there’s something strange going on in the hierarchy at St. Mary’s itself.One of the first things I noticed was how much Just One Damned Thing After Another owes to Connie Willis’ OXFORD TIME TRAVEL series, with university researchers using time travel to experience historical events first hand, and even with a key plot turn at the end. As in that series, history resists any deliberate or inadvertent attempts to change its course, but in THE CHRONICLES OF ST. MARY’S, history’s resistance to change is rather more personally threatening. Dr Bairstow, the Director of St. Mary’s, tells Max:Think of History as a living organism, with its own defence mechanisms. History will not permit anything to change events that have already taken place. If History thinks, even for one moment, that that is about to occur, then it will, without hesitation, eliminate the threatening virus. Or historian, as we like to call them.And it’s easy. How difficult is it to cause a ten-ton block of stone to fall on a potentially threatening historian observing the construction of Stonehenge? Another cup?Although Just One Damned Thing After Another completely sucked me in while I was reading it, in the cold light of morning its shortcomings became more apparent. There are several inconsistencies in plot and characterization, particularly where one character, at a key point in the story, acts in a way that seems completely out of character for him. The plot focuses much more on action than depth; several events get glossed over that really could have benefited from more details, like the main character’s abusive childhood, which is referred to only in the vaguest of terms, but has a lot to do with the person she’s become.Still, Just One Damned Thing After Another is indisputably a fun, exciting ride, as long as you don’t think too hard about it. Max is enjoyably obstinate and mouthy, especially toward those who try to push her around or take advantage of her. She narrates the story with a chatty, informal voice, and her banter with other characters is witty and sometimes very sexy. Read it, not for any particular intellectual benefit, but for the sheer fun of the escape.Content advisory: Violence, some F-bombs and sexytimes.

  • Sh3lly ☽ Guardian of Beautiful Squids and Lonely Moons ☽
    2019-04-08 06:01

    Crappy Review Time: I loved it! The description says “madcap” and “disaster magnets” and that describes this perfectly. Miss Maxwell (“Max”) gets recruited to be part of a team of historians who go back in time to study and observe famous events. Nothing ever goes right, but it always works out in the end. Maybe a few people die, but hey, this is a dangerous business! Who knew being a historian was so dangerous?!I adored this. It was very satisfying: humor, action, good pacing, likeable main character, romance… there were complex plots and surprises told in an easy-to-read manner. The romance was complex, but in a believable way, without never-ending angst. Villainy villains who were a bit predictable, but it was fun to see them fall and the team prevail.This really surprised me. I had no expectations and only read this because it was voted for my group’s Book of the Month. I devoured it in one day. I will definitely be continuing the series. I can’t wait to see what happens next!Oh, one thing I will add is that the style of writing is a little unique and might not work for some people. Events are strung together with little explanations sometimes. Time passes from one paragraph to another. There isn't a lot of information given to some events and then there might be some info-dumping on the next page or two. It's quirky and a little erratic, but it worked for me, and fit the pace and vibe just fine. Buddy read with the MacHalo group in January!

  • Trin
    2019-04-09 07:37

    The title unfortunately describes the way this book is plotted. Things happen, and they are sort of loosely slung-together, with very little sense of time passing (at one point the protagonist notes she's known another character for five years, and I genuinely thought only a single year had passed since their meeting at the beginning of the novel) and with absolutely no character development. No characters at all, really: Taylor's creations seem to turn on a dime, depending on whatever the plot ("plot"?) dictates. Out of nowhere, one character is suddenly revealed to be a sexual predator, because Taylor needs the reader to hate him now. The love interest up and screams at the protagonist, also out of nowhere, for...angst I guess? Oh and some rando background character suddenly calls the protagonist a slut and...sexually attacks her. Of course. I see more of a pattern here than to the plot and it's gross.The main character has no personality except to be perfect at everything and drive evil people to fits of revealing rage -- classic Mary Sue stuff. I get annoyed with the overuse and misuse of that term, but it really applies here. Max feels like a self-insert. She, her love interest, and the innumerable interchangeable secondary characters are all amazingly under-characterized and flatly written: I couldn't describe a single one of them to you, nor could I tell them apart much of the time. (Which one was Markham and which was Murdoch again?) Early in the book, Max notes that she often does not react to things in a "normal" way, but this is never used to make a point about her history or to develop her character as the story progresses; instead, it feels like Taylor simply did not know how to write realistic reactions to situations and was using this as an excuse.And nothing else makes sense either! You have a secret -- but not all that secret if it's known by a major university and receives "assignments" -- time travel organization, which for some reason is severely understaffed. At one point they only have four historians (a.k.a. time travelers) working for them, and don't hire more -- but no real qualification seems necessary? Like Max makes a big deal about how rigorous the training is, but without actually conveying that in any way, and it's also not explained why they can't just recruit more people for the training in the first place. Max's "specialty" as a historian is brought up, but then she never works on anything related to it. They send her back to study dinosaurs when her speciality was ancient Greek and Roman civ. You guys couldn't recruit some paleontologists? As a time travel book, this novel makes poor use of its subject. In fact, nearly no use: the main conceit of historians using time travel in their studies was done better many times over by Connie Willis; the big "twist" is the starting point for many other time travel narratives, and seemed so obvious that the characters not figuring it out sooner just makes them look dumb. On the most basic level, St. Mary's does not seem like a fun or exciting organization to work for, so why would I want to read about it? This book was baffling for me from start to finish; I kept waiting for it to get going, then to get better. It didn't. Now I wish I could go back in time and not bother.

  • Carol.
    2019-04-17 05:55

    Madeleine Maxwell has had two pivotal moments in her life to date. Her second moment arose after a former teacher suggested applying for a job as a Historian at St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research. During the interview, St. Mary’s is cagey about the exact nature of their work, but once Maxwell accepts the job, she discovers they are historians who use time travel to correct historical inaccuracies. St. Mary’s has a certain eccentricity about it that appeals to her own rebellious nature:“We finished with a tour of the grounds… Even as I opened my mouth to ask, there was a small bang from the second floor and the windows rattled.‘Hold on,’ said Chief Farrell. ‘I’m duty officer this week and I want to see if the fire alarms go off.’They didn’t.‘That’s good, isn’t it?’ I said.He sighed. ‘No, it just means they’ve taken the batteries out again.’”***********************************The rest of my topical but undeletable review (like the ginger-haired Maxwell, I will insist on marching to my own beat):

  • Richard Derus
    2019-04-02 00:45

    Rating: 4* of fiveThe Publisher Says: “History is just one damned thing after another” - Arnold Toynbee A mapcap new slant on history that seems to be everyone's cup of tea... 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 eleventh-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...A story of history, time travel, love, friendship and tea. Meet the disaster-magnets at the St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around history, observing, documenting, drinking tea and, if possible, not dying. Follow the catastrophe-curve from eleventh-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria. Discover History – The New Sex.My Review: With a healthy dollop of the Old Sex tossed (!) in for good measure.Addictive.Crack-level addictive. This book was free (still is, last I looked) on Amazon for the Kindle. I've gently recommended (stop laughing) that others would do well to avail themselves of the free goodness. I slurped it up in one long day. Because, well, how does one not fall under the spell of a short, buxom, foul-mouthed redhead whose purpose in life is to cock a snook at Authority and go about the business of making the Cretaceous safe for Dinosaurkind despite the fact that we all know how it ends for them?While, not incidentally, nourishing a serious and well-requited pash for a dark-haired omnicompetent quiet dynamo of a man, fighting most satisfactorily against the evil-hearted plotting of a seriously tall and elegant femme fatale (in the best and most literal senses of that term) and battling to save THE LIBRARY AT ALEXANDRIA!!!!!!And so much more!Does anyone remember the Paratime series by H. Beam Piper? Darn good fun, similar in nature to this series in that the Paratime Police dash about trying to maintain the intended course of History. The difference is that this series assumes there is One History, as opposed to Paratime's many many historys in a multiverse. Both have their strong points, from a narrative structural angle, and their weaknesses.Knowing how pantiwadulous so very many people become at the merest whiff of a spoiler ::eyeroll::, I will say that Taylor's History has a very...personal...stake in the Universe. Go find out fer yer darnself!Now. Nothing is flawless. No book is absent goofs, errors, infelicities. This one is no exception. The only one I feel it necessary to mention in this context is that age-old problem of time travel stories, getting it all to hang together. Several characters are set up with a specific backstory that, to the reader, would lead them to know of their own personal knowledge certain other characters. Yet they don't. But they do know other things that fit within the backstory. That's an oops moment.The others, merest minor gaffe-lets. Punctuation spacing errors, the odd repeated word, blah blah blah. Nothing that merits more than a grunt of annoyance. And each of those is measured against several laughs, a few giggles, a large number of grins, and the odd sniffleback at moments of sentiment. The less disciplined will shed a tear or two, or stand accused of heartlessness.In short: Excellent fun for the reader in need of fun, thrills, and a larger sense of significance that can easily be ignored if the mood is light. Free. Now, what on earth are you waiting for? Free! Go! GO!This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  • Choko
    2019-04-04 03:36

    *** 4 ***A buddy read with the MacHalo Freaks:) We believe that discovering history is the new sex!!! At least, this is what Max, Madeleine Maxwell, the young historian from the St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, would like us to believe:) I kind of agree with her - history is almost as good as very good sex, but only if you can relate to it. And in this book, the researchers at St. Mary's are doing more than relating to history - they are reliving it!!! Time travel pods are the means of transport to any desirable point in time and many rules need to be followed if one is to travel in that manner. No traveler should ever try to involve themselves in the historical time they are visiting and no emotional attachments are advisable, since after all, they are from the future and the history is in its proper timeline... This super secret Time project is very secret, and very underfunded. So, not all of the involved parties have honorable intentions as far as the Institute and its survival are concerned. Because if we have learned one thing from historical data, greed and power have always been stronger in the human character then the desire for uncovering the truth and living in near obscurity, while trying to do your best for humanity... *deep sigh* ... Alas... "..."“I certainly wasn’t where I should be and it would be the cautious, the sensible thing to do. But, for God’s sake, I was an historian and cautious and sensible were things that happened to other people.” ..."Max, Doctor B. and Chief Farrell are three of the good and hilariously funny guys in the crew! Most of the story is told from her, Max's point of view and we get to follow her training, her friendships, her frenemies, and her propensity for disaster which obviously follows her around as a faithful puppy. I liked that the way the author let us acquaint ourselves with the main players was through their actions and banter, rather than being spoon fed descriptions and assurances about their characters. The writing stile was a bit different, but very pleasant overall and had a wonderful undertone of humor, without making the seriousness of curtain parts of the story fall flat. There were moments I was surprised by the starkness and bleakness of the mood, since I had expected just a humorous and fantastical tale of not much debt or substance. Here is for low expectations being topped!:):):) "..."“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” ..."I enjoyed the book very much and am definitely planning on continuing with the series!!! It is a perfect read for fans of Time Travel and some sci-fi:) "..."“Strangely, I found the conclusion quite liberating. When you’re fucked, you’re fucked. Things really can’t get much worse.” ..."Now I wish You all Happy Reading and Many Wonderful Books!!!

  • Helen 2.0
    2019-03-28 01:40

    Unfortunately I seem to have enjoyed this read a lot less than the rest of my MacHalo buddies. I really wanted to like it, based on trusted buddy reviews, but nope.The premise: fascinating. Especially the part about history fighting to preserve itself, like a living entity.The characters: a brilliant variety of realistic freaks.The storyline: fast-paced and creative. So what's the problem? The writing. If I had to describe it in one word (and this is just what I refer to it in my head; please don't take me too seriously), it would be British. Namely, dry, wry and matter-of-fact. If ever there was emotion involved in the plot, you wouldn't know it from Jodi Taylor's tone all throughout her book. Sometimes, this wordy style really works to the advantage of the storyteller and gives humor and personality to every scene: my best example for a successful pull-off of "British" style writing would be Terry Pratchett. Unfortunately, Jodi Taylor's attempt didn't sit as well with me and because of that, my enjoyment of Just One Damned Thing After Another was seriously dampened. Too bad! Perhaps I will give To Say Nothing of the Dog a try, as I've heard Jodi Taylor may have gotten her inspiration/ideas from this very similar series.

  • Orient
    2019-04-01 02:42

    I enjoy a well-written time travel story, and I really, really thought that “Just One Damned Thing After Another “might be one. But it wasn't, I just read for educational, scientific purposes and kept urging the plot: “Come on, give me my bone, I’m digging for!” No bone, no happy reader.But let’s start from the beginning. At first I was struck by the lack of some punctuation marks or just missing letters (I thought that it was a bad edition or smth, but nope, two other editions, I tried, had the same problem). But if the story is good and gripping – I can live this that. But again it wasn’t. The biggest problem in this book for me was that the time travel wasn’t presented in a full I –know-what-I’m-writing way. The historical base had no deep background, I couldn’t fully imagine the past, the traveler’s visited. Maybe it was because of so much going on in more than three places. I found the scenes of the Dinotopia better described.I quite liked the don’t-dare-to-change-anything-in-history-or-you’ll-be-destroyed thing, but I needed more such warnings. But anyway they try to change history in some way (the “accident” in the hospital) Also I was eager to wait for some results from trying to change history in saving some stuff, which was doomed. But I guess it was meant to be kept do-nothing-and-be-quiet. Oh and the so called time travel machine-pod aka a small stone hut. It always landed so conveniently, no tension, like for example landing in the middle of some battle or on the butt of some dinosaur. Or smth more wicked. Also it was so “convenient” that nobody found the pods-huts accidentally. I would have liked for some bad wanderer from the past to trip accidentally on some of the pods thinking: ‘Tra lalaa, I’m just going to have some free time peeing around. And voila (ups, sorry, wtf ) what is this stone hut-some-modern-toilet doing here, I gonna bang somebody on the head or smth.” Of course there were a lot of speculations and worrying for anything bad could happen while landing, but it never happened. Damn, why do we need safety in landing during time travel! What is more I felt a lack of mean and clever villains. The biggest part of the ones in the story (bad colleagues or the evil captain of the other time travelers) were simple and quite predictable. Though I liked the creepy colleague, Davey Sussman, he was created quite skillfully. I didn’t expect how the things turned involving him.The main character, a shy historian, was quite likable. Her behavior was interesting to observe (her actions and emotions being in danger), also she was funny, even racy sometimes, though bossy and quite slow-witted sometimes. I have diverse feelings about this book. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either :D

  • ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
    2019-04-03 07:37

    ☠ DNF at 6%. Because no. Just no.If you want the real thing, get yourself a copy of To Say Nothing of the Dog. Because this book right here?

  • Trish
    2019-03-30 06:35

    I've done it! I can't believe I finished this book and am still alive! Just so you don't get the wrong idea: it was that thrilling and gut-wrenching!Boy-oh-boy. The book has history, alternating funny and dark moments, some memorable characters, more history and lots and LOTS of timey-wimey stuff! How on Earth could I not have loved it?! :DLet's start at the beginning (and bear with me, this might take a while).This book is about an institute that researches history. Well, not the sand-digging variety, nope. They do time travel! How they discovered the method and how the St. Mary's was founded exactly almost threw me off for a while and is a bit like the egg/chicken question but it's also quirky, just like the rest of St. Mary's and all the employees so it fit.We have an MC with a bad childhood (although we don't know exactly what happened) who got to have a better life thanks to a good teacher (view spoiler)[and WHAT teacher she turned out to be! (hide spoiler)] and starts as a historian at St. Mary's. We get to know the building and the people through her and it was absolutely amazing. Not least because Max is a hilarious character.The historians are all quirky and noisy and completely out of control but that is what endeared them to me so much. Example:"Hold on," said Chief Farrell. "I'm duty officer this week and I want to see if the fire alarms go off."They didn't."That's good, isn't it?" I said.He sighed. "No, it just means they've taken the batteries out again."This really was my sort of place.And not just the historians because St. Mary's consists of many more people such as techies, IT people, security, reasearch & development, doctors, cooks - and the security, by the way, is there to protect the world from St Mary's, not the other way around. ;PThey accidentally blow things up, cheat in their tests (but in very creative ways which means technically they were doing what they were told to do to the letter), conduct the most idiotic experiments and it was such FUN! Eccentric, hilarious, but quite down-to-earth-realistic-humour.And the building itself. I lost myself in the description when Max first arrived. The library but also the hall must be so fascinating. I would feel right at home there too!You get sucked into the routine of scientific historian-timey-wimey-work and time flies by for Max as much as for the reader. But just then, when you think you know where the story is headed ...I was completely blind-sided. I was unprepared. Boy, was I flabberghasted!That, by the way, is when we find out how St. Mary's was founded. But not just that. There is so much more.So we settle, like Max concentrating on the Here and Now, and accept the new direction and that THIS is where the story is going ...BOOM! New information, new revelations and IT ALL MAKES SENSE, you were just not seeing it right away. Blind-sided. Again. Flabberghasted. Again.So you suck it up, take a deep breath, curse the train for arriving at your destination now of all the possible moments and read on as soon as you're able.And then you're in deep waters. Because now the author knows she's got you right where she wanted your innocent, unsuspecting, history-loving butt! And now the proverbial shit really hits the fan. As the title says: Just One Damned Thing After Another! At first I had thought bursting out with hysterical laughter on the train had been embarrassing, but now I'm much wiser, knowing that uncontrolled sobs are even worse. I really felt for the characters. I was sad, I was devastated, I was so ANGRY! The only consolation: looking at how far along in the book I was, seeing how much further the story would go and that there had to be a resolution - even if I had to travel to the author's house and force her to write another ending.Obviously, I cannot go into any details because that would spoil the fun, but I can tell you this: a rollercoaster's got nothing on Jodi Taylor.One more example of the fine, down-to-earth (and much needed) humour in this book:He'd been involved in the disastrous Icarus experiment last year, tumbling off the stable roof with his wings all ablaze. He'd thudded heavily into the paddock, panicking the horses who took exception to small, burining humans dropping on them from a great height. Running for his life and looking anxiously over his shoulder, he'd run slap bang into a horse's bottom and knocked himself senseless. The entire unit lay face down on the ground laughing. Even the Boss barked out something between a snort and a cough. The security section clubbed together and sent a Get Well Soon card to the horse, who promptly ate it. That's St. Mary's for you.And Max really is brilliant, not just intelligent, but a magnet for disaster AND clumsy. And sometimes a little thick maybe?This scene is when she and two other female staff members decide to go out to a fancy restaurant.The table was laid for six."This is the wrong table," I said. "This is for six people."I'm not bright.[...]"Look!" I said, cheerfully. I know, but the margaritas were beginning to kick in. "There's some of our guys."I'm not bright."Oh. What a surprise," said Helen. "So there are.""Oh. Goodness me, you are right," said Kalinda."Shall we ask them to join us?""Why not," I said. "There's plenty of room."Have I said I'm not bright?As I said: endearing. Not all the characters (there are quite a lot) are equally memorable but that didn't concern me. With such a cast it was bound to happen. Also because some are MCs, some have supporting roles and some are "just" in the same picture.As a history buff this sounded intriguing to me, but what I got was really more than I could have ever imagined - dinosaurs! - and it was a blast. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series (hoping the author manages to keep the quality up).["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    2019-03-26 04:43

    3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum a fun little time travel book! As someone who frequently goes trawling through Audible’s site looking for sci-fi and fantasy releases, I often see the audiobooks in this series pop up in my recommendations and I’ve always been curious about them. Now the first book is finally being released in the US in print (seven volumes are already available in the UK, where the series has become quite a sensation) and when the publisher Night Shade Books offered me a review copy, I absolutely couldn’t resist.Just One Damned Thing After Another is a novel that wastes no time getting to the good stuff. The story stars our plucky narrator Madeleine “Max” Maxwell, a historian who gets recruited by a group of time travelers working undercover behind the façade of St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research. After the most hilariously bizarre interview process, Max join up with them and the adventures—and the disasters—immediately begin. There’s a rigorous training program required for all newbies where they learn all the dos and don’ts of time travel, and they also have to pass a series of tests, including a physical component because you never know what can happen during a trip back in time. After a while, it’s clear that Murphy’s Law generally applies to all missions at St. Mary’s.The plot is very entertaining and filled with boisterous, comedic hijinks (and perfect if you like British humor). I for one love the fact that the historians prefer to call it “investigating major historical events in contemporary time” instead of using the term “time travel” because the latter is just “so sci-fi”. Due to the methods used to prepare new recruits, the beginning of the book also has a distinct “training school” vibe, though I have to say this is one of only a handful of stories I’ve encountered where a section like this feels just as good as or even better than the actual time traveling. When it comes to the evaluations at St. Mary’s, cheating is not only excused but sometimes even encouraged, a system that favors the historians who can “think outside the box”, allowing genuinely interesting characters like Max to shine.Like many time travel books though, this one had its ups and downs. My main criticism is that, for a novel featuring time traveling academics who label themselves historians (and who also work at an institute for historical research), there was in fact disappointingly little history involved. I don’t consider myself to be a huge history buff or anything, but for me one of the biggest perks of reading time travel stories is being able to absorb interesting historical details and facts behind past events, people, and places. I thought this would be a book like that, but it turned out not to be the case. While the publisher blurb says “From eleventh-century London to World War I, from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria”, the truth is, the most exciting time period Max gets to visit will probably appeal more to dinosaur enthusiasts or paleontologists rather than history fans.Still, 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. Working with a bunch of time traveling historians is pretty much as fun and crazy as you’d expect, and even the missions that end in complete disasters seem to have a humorous side. There’s also a strong romantic component, and I loved the irresistible attraction that sizzled between Max and Chief Farrell.That said, not everything is light and fluffy either; every now and then a grim pall will settle over some of the plot’s events. There’s violence, there’s death, and there’s lots and lots of dismemberment. It can be jarring sometimes, especially when there’s a tendency for all this gruesomeness to come on suddenly. Same goes for the sex, and the random emotional displays that seem to drop in and explode out of nowhere. I certainly don’t mind the darkness and brutal themes, but as with all good things, timing is everything. Maybe this book just needed some extra editing, or maybe it was just a consequence of the author’s personal unique style. Whatever it was, I found it somewhat distracting.So, here’s the deal. If you’re into history, and was hoping to get lots of it out of this book, then be prepare to dial back on your expectations. This book is also not heavy on the “science fiction” side of time travel. Doing it is as simple and straightforward as getting into a pod, setting the dial, and hitting the jump button. To be fair, the science and tech of it is not the point of this series, so Taylor probably did the right thing in glossing over the process. There are some general attempts to explain how the timeline is preserved and why the historians can’t mess with certain things, but my point is, if you want detailed explanations, quantum theory and the whole nine yards in your time travel fiction, then this book isn’t going to be for you.This book IS for you though, if you enjoy 1) fun, adventurous stories about time travel, 2) books that make you laugh, especially when there’s just a touch of darkness in its sense of humor, 3) strong, memorable characters with quirky personalities, and 4) simply relaxing and having a good time with a light, entertaining book. I can see now why this series is such a hit, and knowing more about what to expect in future books, I’m definitely interested in continuing with Max’s fantastic exploits through time!

  • Jamie Lymer
    2019-03-23 23:38

    Well where to begin ? The book really grabbed my interest at first, and I thought the premise of the story was good. However, some of the actions of the principal characters did not appear to be inkeeping with their previous behaviour - making them unbelievable. Also from the description of the book I expected there to be a lot of detailed, historical content and there just wasn't - not enough to satisfy any history buffs anyway and that disappointed me. Also annoying were the quips made by Max, the main protagonist and some of the other characters which peppered the pages quite frequently but were not funny just very predictable. I still think, however that the plot itself was a good one, but the execution of it could of been so much better. I find it hard to think of a group of people that this book would appeal to and it seems the author does too - her writing consists of a little bit of a lot of genres, in fact even the cover and title give no clues and seem inappropriate themselves now that Iv finished the book.

  • Susan
    2019-04-14 06:04

    The title of this book feels very apt as this really is a roller coaster of a ride – not only through history, but through a whole host of different plot twists and turns. Our heroine is Madeleine Maxwell (Max), who is saved from an unhappy childhood through encouragement to get out of her bad situation through education. When she is invited to an interview at St Mary’s she finds that it is a research institution like no other. Indeed, the historians at St Mary’s can return to any historical event and witness it. This is observation and documentation only – history will not permit anything, or anyone, to change events and will not hesitate to eliminate any historians who try to do so.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…

  • Elizabeth
    2019-04-13 01:46

    A thoroughly amusing and gripping time-travel adventure that was all the more enjoyable for being so thoroughly British in its approach. At the very special research unit of St Mary's there exists the academic discipline of practical history - that is, time travel. And with all the rigour, excitement, politics, bickering, and drama of a real academic department, the historians of St Mary's are busy gathering data when events become rather more action-packed than even this very special department has grown to expect. The characters were marvellous - thoroughly real humans beings trying to do a day's work, to have fun, and just get through the day. The slightly futuristic, but very subtly drawn, world was clever with its hints of more interest to come in future books. The wit was sharp, the action was packed, and, to top it all off, there are dinosaurs. Big ones.

  • Miriam
    2019-04-09 23:59

    A fun and funny frolic. Very amusing prose and fast-paced action. There is no attempt to explain the mechanics of time travel and very little effort to make sense of what it is being used for and why. You have to be in the right mood to accept that; easier done in the first half, which is quite light, but gets harder in the second half, when unexpectedly darker events take place. A couple incidents and and inconsistencies had me on the verge of lowering the rating (I'd give it 3.5 or so if there were half stars) but overall I enjoyed it quite a bit. I'll probably read the second book at some point when I need another light read of this sort, but I don't feel in any rush to get back to the characters.

  • Emma
    2019-03-22 04:38

    Absolutely brilliant! This book was far more than I expected. I expected a fun romp. It was. It was fast- paced and funny and action packed. But it also had a clever plot, great characters and provided an original and unique look at time travel. Strongly recommended.

  • Robin (Bridge Four)
    2019-03-29 01:44

    I suck at time travel books and by that I mean I usually just can’t let go enough of the ‘hey I’ll just go back and warn myself and then everything will really work out just fine.’ It seems like a video game with a million lives until you get to the end. So in general I stay away from them because as soon as someone says paradox I’m out. But all and all I enjoyed the way this book went much more than some of the other time travel books I’ve read.So Max is this disaster of a historian (the historian part is fine it is just the woman that is a walking talking disaster but in a fun way) that finds out she could actually join an organization that travels through time observing various historical events. She is in, with no large attachments in her life it was a relatively easy thing to drop everything and go to how to be a time traveler school at Saint Mary’s Institute of Historical Research.Max is funny and I love the humor in the book. It seems it is more dangerous than anyone might think to be a historian for St Mary’s and there were a few deaths to prove that history takes no prisoners. Since you are jumping all over time there is never quite a feeling of linearity to the story. But if you are a history buff then jumping around to various events in history is probably a lot of fun. This was a super solid 4-4.5 star read for me even with a plot hole or two due to my mind over thinking a few things and then some emotional buggery was added in. It was totally out of left field and didn’t really make a ton of sense other than people after very stressed situations might blow up unpredictably but I didn’t really think it added a ton to the story. Due to that and the thrown in Muse of History at the end we end up at a 3 star rating.Still it was a lot of fun for the most part and Max can be a hoot in her narrative. I do love how she is able to make fun of herself it makes her all the more likeable. The downplayed romance was just enough for me and added a lot to my enjoyment of the story. Historian’s in love I don’t think there is anything more awkward. Plus there is an entire section with Dinosaurs! Dinosaurs I tell you. “The screaming redoubled. You put dinosaurs and people together, you always get screaming.”While I’m still leery since this is a time travel book and the word paradox will eventually be thrown around I enjoyed it enough to see what other shenanigans Max, the Chief and Peterson can get into.

  • Allison
    2019-03-28 23:58

    I really enjoyed this time travel adventure, and that's in spite of the high body count. Who knew that being a historian could be so hazardous? Many of the deaths are sudden and meaningless. I'm a little nervous at what that means for characters in future installments, but for now I'm happy that the ones I actually cared about made it.The book was not without issues, but I found them easy to overlook and just went along for the ride. For example, there is a period of four years that pass at one point, and it wasn't completely clear at first that so much time had gone by since Maxwell's training. That means character and relationship development during those four years were skipped and just told about later on. I missed getting a real feel for the dynamics that developed over time. It also made it difficult to understand why some characters acted the way they did. But, as I said, I didn't really have a problem with this while reading because I was swept along by the action. It was a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to the next book with some trepidation.

  • Maria Dimitrova
    2019-04-19 03:52

    Usually I stay away from time travel. I've had some bad experiences with it and I tend to find it tedious. This wasn't the case with The Chronicles of St Mary's. In fact for most of the book it was a 4 star read. I liked the setting, the characters and the general idea. What brought it down a star was the ending. (view spoiler)[Mrs. Partridge (I'm not sure about the spelling as I got this through Audible) being the Muse of Time (hide spoiler)] felt like laziness on the author's part. Maybe it's just me but that robbed the story of a bit of its weight. Up until that moment it felt as if what Max does has meaning but after that it felt diminished. But don't let that discourage you from giving St Mary a try. It was definitely a great ride with more downs than up but hey even the title warns you that things won't be going well for the good guys!

  • Hallie
    2019-03-26 00:39

    Well, I'm going to spend a bit of time doing one of the things that "shouldn't" be done in talking about a book: talking about why it isn't another book. Of course it doesn't matter in the slightest how this book is or isn't like To Say Nothing of the Dog - all anyone will be looking for in this review is whether or not I think the book worked and why or why not. On the other hand, so many of my friends here have read (and loved) To Say Nothing of the Dog that when they see a blurb describing a book about time-travelling British historians, which has clearly a comic tone, can thoughts of Willis really not occur? Bringing these expectations into the book doesn't help much, so in getting to what worked for me, I'll go through some of the reasons This Book Isn't That Book.1) People die. Lots of people die, and it's not even like in Blackout/All Clear. They often die unexpectedly, and in fact die unexpectedly often. Which leads to...2) The method of time-travel isn't the net (which seems to have many in-built failsafes) - and you have to do a lot more suspension of disbelief that St Mary's, which loses people all the time (pun not intended, though now I've noticed it....), has been allowed to keep operating. The book's present is pretty much our present, give or take, and Health & Safety seems to be operational, but St Mary's keeps on running. Also, Mr Dunworthy wouldn't let his historians go into such obviously bloody dangerous episodes of history (I was about to call them 'drops'), although the Boss does have -- well, some excuse. 3) As I said, they curse a lot. I didn't mind, but the first few 'fuck's did come as a bit of a surprise.4) As did the sex scene. Connie Willis's characters don't have not-un-explicit sex! Was only one scene, but I was still somewhat shocked, just because my brain only let go of the Willis mode very slowly.5) Some people were really, really bad. Seriously nasty. It wasn't just a shock, in fact, it made me wonder how these horrors had managed to go looking like reasonably normal people for so long. There's certainly nobody like that in To Say Nothing of the Dog - in fact, people who appear awful (but not *seriously* bad) sometimes turn out to be really quite kind. Or at least not so awful. 6) Overall, the idea was that you wouldn't manage to break the time continuum, but if you screwed up, History would bump you off before your stupidity had actual consequences. Not so sure this actually works, but it all gets so much more interesting/complicated by the end that I'm also not sure it really matters. So - what both was Willis-like, and what worked very well for me, was the sheer fervour of these historians for experiencing the past, for discovering its secrets, and for just being there. Our heroine reminds me a bit of a grown-up Colin with all his wild "I want to go to the Crusades!" rashness still intact. She apparently impresses even the Boss (who has already lost quite a few historians by the time she interviews for the place) with her utter lack of concern about the obvious dangers of time-travel, and I loved it. I loved her, actually, and her voice, and her closed-off-ness, and her loyalty -- and love of tea. They all love tea. (It's possibly obvious that I also love tea, right?) Although I would want nothing less than to be a part of a family that kept being knocked off, by History or its enemies, I really liked the way Madeleine/Dr/Miss Maxwell/Max/(the protagonist) felt about this family, having no ties to her own abusive one. Really terrible stuff happens to her, and then it gets worse, but without diminishing the losses she (and others) have suffered, there's some great retribution served up, and there's more humour at the end. I didn't feel that deeply invested in the romance, though I could buy the pair of them being quite into it, and when they each make a big, horrible mistake it seemed in keeping with their pasts, and I could also see them forgiving the other. There's a LOT going on by the end, and I kept being really surprised by the direction things went. The previous sentence isn't a complete change in direction of my paragraph, BTW, as part of what explains the mistakes is that they're made while things are hellish. It's likely that some readers would find the science-fictional aspects less than solid, but things generally worked well enough to keep me happy enough to brush aside the questionable aspects. (That previous sentence may be more of a zig-zag, but it links to some of the book's direction-changes mentioned above, honestly!) As nobody I know has read this yet, I'm avoiding spoilers, but I'm dying to discuss it, so hope others will read it. And less selfishly, I do think it's very well worth reading, as long as you don't expect it to be at the level of Willis at her best. (Or 'best' comic mode? Whatever! Willis being brilliant, anyway!) One last thing is that the book is poorly edited. It didn't bother me much because it was mistakes like missing full stops or commas, not confusing of "their" and "there", or "I" where it should be "me". Much easier to read a typo than incorrect grammar! I'm so glad it didn't throw me out, as I was so thoroughly, utterly in the story throughout. Can't wait for the next.

  • Eva
    2019-04-08 02:00

    I am angry with this book. I so wanted to like it. It is not one of those one stars where you just can't get hooked by the story, and leave it after 30 pages. It started out so well. But there are gaps in the storyline, the caracters are sketchy at the best, sometimes doing things that are not in line with their previous caracteristics. The plot is oveer 5 years but there is no developement. And you don't get a real explanation as to why somebody did something. I mean, there is some explanation, it just doesn't ring true.But I would have put up with these if the story didn't turn to pure nonsense towards the end. (view spoiler)[ I mean, you crash the car into a tree, and then immediately have sex on the broken and hot bonnet, with a bare bottom? This just does not happen. And the laws of time travel are not well established, which is just as well as they seem to change from chapter to chapter(hide spoiler)]I stopped the book at 88% as I really wanted to get to the end. But here. I could take no more.

  • Andrew
    2019-04-14 02:55

    So what to say of this book. Well first of all I guess I should say something about Jodi Taylor and this St Mary's series. I knew nothing of this book series or the author but I kept on seeing the name and titles appearing in my feeds - I am sure I have even had a few suggestions too but I really didn't know what they were or what to expect. Okay reading the "blurb" you expecting it be comics, rip roaring adventure, full of quick quips and smart replies interspersed with drama and high adventure. Well I can tell you there is all that in copious amounts. BUT There is also heart stoping dialogue and truely tender moments - when you read a simple throw away line and stop, think you mis-read it and go back and find it really did happen. Now that for a book is a real surprise. Most of us can sort of guess where a book is going, who wins, who loses and so on. This book in some parts is exactly that - but in others it a total surprise.Now I have no idea where this series will go and since I know next to nothing about it I am sure there will be more events like this to come. As a result I am totally hooked on, so for good or bad I will be reading the next one (just as well I have just ordered the entire series). So if you want a book that has fast action and brilliant one liners - if you want a book where you are happy to invest in a character only to see them killed off - or worse turn evil and then killed off - then this is the book for you. I am sure there are other far better examples of this sort of story telling but you know what I am already keep to see what happens next to Ms Maxwell and all other comments can just go away.

  • Kaitlin
    2019-04-08 03:47

    I'd give this one an easy 4* rating as I don't think I've ever read a book where quite so much happens in such a short space of time, but yet it's also truly amusing and works. I honestly think that this story is wacky, odd, funny and bizarre, and pretty much everything I hoped it would be and more!We follow a young lady, Miss Maxwell (a.k.a. Max) who is just graduating and applies for a job at a The University of Thirsk as a historian. Little does Max realise quite what she's walked into. She ends up working at St. Mary's, the local time travel branch, and she realises that there's a lot more action and field-work involved in being a historian than she ever anticipated.What I loved about this book is that it's so truly British the whole way through, both from setting to phrasing and humour. I really appreciated the crazy fun that these people ended up having, and seeing the various comments about Tea and life-threatening situations alongside one another made me chuckle a lot. This is, as I said, a seriously chock-full book with a lot of action happening. We follow Max through various missions and as she settles in, and we actually end the book a fair few years after the start, so packing all of that in is a feat. I do think Taylor manages everything very well, creating a light-hearted but highly amusing first book. I for one cannot wait to see more adventures in the future becuase it's just plain enjoyable.I will note that I listened to this on audio and the narrater did a fabulous job which always makes me enjoy books. I will be picking up the next few on audio too I imagine! 4*s overall - definitely recommended :)

  • Jess
    2019-04-02 02:36

    An incredibly clever start to what seems to be a promising series! I was on the edge of my seat and binge read it through the course of a day. Laundry, vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the bathrooms, all took a back seat to this book. When an inquiry was sent my way as to what was for dinner; I breezily answered we would be getting a pizza. It was that good for me.Madeleine Maxwell, Max, had a troubled childhood. History saved her and launched her into a career into the world of academia. She interviews for a job at historian at St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, a rather secretive part of the University of Thirsk. After signing an extensive NDA; she joins the world of time travel as an observer historian. She soon learns this isn't a purely academic experience. Darker forces and players are at work here and there is a bigger battle looming.Highly recommend this one!

  • BrokenTune
    2019-04-04 04:45

    He was calm and soothing and had a reasonable explanation for everything. No woman should have to put up with that.‘Well, answer me this. How did she get free in the first place?’‘I let her go.’I took a deep breath. He took a step backwards. People were edging out of the pod.‘Hold on. Before you go up like the Professor’s manure heap, I had to let her go.’I would have raised an incredulous eyebrow, but my face hurt too much. I had to content myself with sipping my drink in a disbelieving manner.This is not going to be an in-depth review, this is going to be short: this book was a romp.I still maintain that it is the perfect example of what would happen if you mixed The Eyre Affair with Indiana Jones and based it in Hogwarts - in other words, there seemed to be a bit pastiche at work in the creation of the story.It worked.I laughed, I cried, I rolled my eyes a lot. But I may even read the sequel at some point because the cliffhanger ending (yes, I hated that too) promised another romp with a pertinent question at heart:Was it really Mary Stuart who was executed or was it, in fact, Elizabeth?Mostly light-hearted fun ... with a few plot issues ... and lot of dei ex machina.

  • Cathy (cathepsut)
    2019-04-02 08:05

    First person narrative. We get to know the setting together with the main protagonist, Max. A lot of names and character descriptions are dumped on the reader in the first chapter. By page eight I was hopelessly confused about who was who and looked how. A quarter into the book our main character had learned her new job (cheating and avoiding jobs you don't like are apparently acceptable behavior) and was on her first real assignment. I was mildly bored. The story unfolded through the eyes of Max, but unfortunately we didn't get to experience anything directly. Being told "We did this and then we did that..." does not captivate me.And then we somehow jumped a few years and things were mentioned that meant nothing to me. As I had been skimming quite a bit due to the aforementioned boredom, I thought at first that it was me. But the story continued in that vein, even when I didn't skim. The plot had more holes than a Swiss cheese!I did continue and finish the book, but I rolled my eyes a lot, skimmed a bit more and, granted, also laughed out loud a few time. Nice snark, some funny one-liners, some good ideas and even some good fight and action scenes. But the book felt very uneven to me. Mostly very lighthearted reading with some jokes, then all of a sudden serious tones crept up and then it was back to being silly. Not smooth.I also didn't like Max particularly much. It took me to chapter 8 to feel better about this book and to (mostly) stop skimming. Very rough read for me. Unfinished, maybe? And in need of some serious editing? The story was allover the place in some chapters. Ending every single chapter with an ominous and foreboding sentence of bad things to come... that got old fast. I've met that particular gimmick in other books and did not like it there either. As a tool to create tension and suspense it is pretty lame. Minimal world building and character development. Plenty of amusing one-liners, though. Normally I would give a book that annoyed me this much only two stars. But there were some entertaining bits as well and the general storyline with the setting of St. Mary's has a lot of potential. So I guess three stars it is. I might even pick up book two at some point, if I happen to come by it cheaply.

  • ☙ percy ❧
    2019-03-23 06:03

    ((DNF at 34%)) i don't know, i'm just not vibing with this book at all... i really liked the concept of historians time-travelling to "study history in contemporary time" but i feel like not enough time is spent in each historical period and i don't really like the writing and i'm beginning to skim already so... yeah. just not my thing, i guess?

  • Sherwood Smith
    2019-04-19 06:43

    Max (Miss Maxwell, but everyone calls her Max) was a troublesome kid from a terrible family life. But her headmistress, Mrs. de Winter, recommends she apply to the University of Thirsk at St. Mary's Priory.There Max flourishes for the first time in her life, because she finds people as smart and as curious and wild and never-say-die as she is. She has the "real" interview, that is, finds out the true purpose of St. Mary's, and of course doesn't look back, even when the risks are outlined. Even when she discovers that those risks are real. She is determined to become a historian, to go back in time to see events as they happened.At that point, it's better to stop and let potential readers discover what happens next. The pacing absolutely crackles, not only because--as the title says--one damn thing after another happens, but it's the voice. Max's voice is a wild delight, and the hyperspeed unfolding of events kept me glued to my chair. A nifty range of female characters, intense love of history, Englishness, mad passion, and conundrums are bonuses.A couple days after finishing, I had to reread the end, I was going so fast. There was something at the end that made me go "huh" and question some possible anomalies, (view spoiler)[like how, if they could pinpoint their arrival millions of years ago in the Cretaceous to rescue X situation, they can't pinpoint the same in certain other circumstances, and pull good people away seconds before being killed? This hit me especially with the 'fourth step' bit at the end, in spite of the finessing about History (hide spoiler)]but those are probably part and parcel of time travel tales. I don't think I've ever read one that didn't make me go "huh" later, then go back and reread bits. The reread was just as much fun, even if I didn't find an answer to my question.There are some formatting roughnesses, but nothing that will confuse a reader. I can hardly wait for the next one!

  • Allie
    2019-04-04 06:04

    Very much enjoyed that. {Thanks, Brad and Trish!}First things first: I knew straight away that I loved Jodi Taylor's sense of humour. At first I was convinced that she was Australian (I love Australian humour!), but after sifting through articles of a porn actress with the same name, I learned she's from the UK. Still great humour. Besides referring to the family as an invention of the devil (come on, that's hilarious!), here's just a couple examples of her humour:- Thinking carefully is something that happens to other people. - She took the pen back off me, which just about summed up our relationship. I know that's not very many examples, but this was full of quips like that that had me coming back for more, as often as possible. I'd definitely recommend it. Ps: this book had an awesome, albeit short, sex scene that was later referred to as going "at it like a crack-crazed rhino." You're welcome.