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Just One Damned Thing After Another

Just One Damned Thing After Another

Book - 2016
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"Madeline "Max" Maxwell has stumbled on the dream of a lifetime: a career as a time-traveling historian with St. Mary's Institute of Historical Research. The researchers are under strict orders to observe only--no interaction with the locals is allowed. But from her first mission rescuing artifacts from the Great Library of Alexandria, Max realized that time travel is a dangerous activity and that history--and other historians--will go to elaborate lengths to protect themselves." -- adapted from Library Journal review
Publisher: New York : Night Shade Books, [2016]
Edition: First Night Shade Books edition
Copyright Date: ©ƒ2013
ISBN: 9781597808682
1597808687
Characteristics: 335 pages ; 21 cm

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l
letzlannie
Jul 14, 2021

Loved it...loved the entire series. Such a great combination of history, humor and fantasy. Max is a believable main character. I love how Jodi mixes real world historical events with the misadventures of the St Mary's teams. I feel like I get to know the characters especially following the entire series. Wish Tulsa owned them all, but I am using Mobius for items we don't have.

a
ashleymalorin
Jun 20, 2021

I wish this was an audiobook

PimaLib_JanaB May 03, 2021

This book is something I didn't realize was missing in my life. The historians of St. Mary's are not time travelers, thank you very much. They are historians who study historical events in contemporary time. They observe everything from World War II through dinosaurs.
All of the St. Mary's staff seem to be tea-soaked disaster magnets, and the boss wants to keep it that way. This is a British madcap romp with tons of both drama and comedy. St. Mary's is perfect for fans of Doctor Who, history, British humor, and relationship stories. I took away half a star for pacing issues in the first book. The other books don't have that issue.

m
mdawnott
Jan 21, 2021

3.75 stars

I started this book with equal parts excitement and trepidation. As an Episcopalian, the thought of a mystery with a Episcopal priest as one-half of the duo was right up my alley. However, I also strongly dislike mysteries where someone who has no business solving crimes is the one solving the crime. Was this going to be that kind of book?

The answer is...mostly not. Most of was Clare does during this book falls into congregational care and such and it is mostly Russ, the police chief, who does the police-type stuff. Mostly.

There are a couple of scenes in the book where this sort of went out the window and where Clare oversteps her pastoral boundaries (and where, honestly, she should have just called the police). Yes, I did find this annoying, but fortunately the other strengths of the book outweighed that.

As far as mysteries go, this is a well-crafted on. I had numerous incorrect theories about who the culprit was up until the moment that Spencer-Fleming makes it clear who the real villain is. That is something that doesn't happen nearly enough in my mystery reading. I also felt that Clare and Russ's relationship was interesting and Spencer-Fleming made it incredibly human. I am wary and curious of where it will go in future books.

And I will read on in this series. This was an enjoyable (and appropriately tense) reading experience and is the exact sort of stuff I want from my mysteries!

Chapel_Hill_RobynW Dec 10, 2020

I am usually a little suspicious of time travel stories. Growing up, I devoured Doctor Who and Back to the Future, and this has given me an (overblown and very annoying to everyone I am watching TV with) sense of time travel tropes. If the 'science' doesn't work for me, then I get a bit huffy and I don't enjoy it. I loved this book. It reads like a less po-faced version of Connie Willis. Fun, with great pacing and a real eye for the Dickensian levels of academic poverty you get in British Higher Education, it makes time travel fun. This is a great, light-hearted read similar in style to John Scalzi. I look forward to reading more!

ontherideau Dec 31, 2019

Action packed! Interesting concepts of altering history or not, by way of time travel.

j
JoanneTravis
Sep 29, 2019

I found a new author to love. Jodi Taylor combines history, time travel, romance, and humor brilliantly! Highly recommended for a light, enjoyable read.

r
RedLeaf
Jun 03, 2019

A delightfully entertaining science fiction tale for adult readers, it reminds me of the juvenile s-f I read during my teenage years now updated in content and quality of writing for a more mature experienced audience. Author Jodi Taylor deserves kudos for having every chapter have an interesting turn of events.

ReadingAdviser_leni May 20, 2019

I have now read this book twice, and it was just as good the second time around! A lot of fun with many adventures. The passage of time (presently) passes quickly, and can boggle the mind as suddenly 5 years has passed. While it is a time travel tale, it is not too complex, and is still easy to read. There are many adventures going back in time. Adventure, time travel, history, romance, suspense, this one has a bit of almost everything! So looking forward to reading the next one!

IndyPL_SteveB Dec 26, 2018

Very entertaining British time-travel story, first in a series, with a mixture of humor, tragedy, violence, and romance. Madeleine Maxwell (“Max”) is a young PhD historian who is offered the chance of a lifetime – to be part of a secret time travel group. The St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research does its research by actually traveling to the event it is researching. Even though the St. Mary’s Historians are only supposed to be observers, it is dangerous work. Max and her travel partner are nearly killed on their first experimental trip to the past in a supposedly safe venue.

And there are villains. Some renegade future St. Mary’s historian is also sending time travel squads back to the past for profit and they don’t want the other St. Mary’s staff interfering. Plot-wise, it is very complicated, as time travel stories always are. There is a lot of traveling around to set up situations that will protect or harm the various sides, with plot twists going 3-4 layers of time deep. Two things make the story work well: The author is quite adept at writing believable characters, especially Max and she writes in a white heat of excitement.

Note: The title is a famous quote (which the author misattributes to the historian Arnold Toynbee): “History is just one damned thing after another.” While that quote does occur in a Toynbee magazine article and book, it is because Toynbee himself was quoting it as a common phrase, then criticizing the viewpoint.

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