When a Child is Born by Jodi Taylor (Short Story)

Posted by on Aug 15, 2017 in 3 stars, Book Review, Jodi Taylor, Short Stories | 0 comments

When a Child is Born by Jodi TaylorWhen a Child is Born by Jodi Taylor

Genre: Science Fiction, Short Story
Format: Ebook
Series: The Chronicles of St Mary’s #2.5
Publisher: Accent Press
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 19
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

It’s Christmas Day 1066 and a team from St Mary’s is going to witness the coronation of William the Conqueror. Or so they think. However, History seems to have different plans for them and when Max finds herself delivering a child in a peasant’s hut, she can’t help wondering what History is up to.

My Thoughts:
The people at St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research don’t call it time travel. They “investigate major historical events in contemporary time”.

It’s time travel

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s is a fun series. The author typically releases a short story between books. This one came between books two and three of the series It’s about a mission that goes wrong. Although they are not supposed to change History, sometimes History changes their plans.

It’s extremely short (just 19 pages) but I enjoyed the way it played out.

If you have any interest in this series I strongly recommend that you start with Just One Damned Thing After Another.

3 stars Rating 3/5

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A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor

Posted by on Apr 11, 2017 in 2017, 3 stars, Book Review, Jodi Taylor | 0 comments

A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor

Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Ebook, Trade Paperback
Series: The Chronicles of St Mary’s #2
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Publication Date: 2015
Pages. 307
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Behind the seemingly innocuous facade of St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, a different kind of academic work is taking place. Just don’t call it “time travel”—these historians “investigate major historical events in contemporary time.” And they aren’t your harmless eccentrics either; a more accurate description, as they ricochet around history, might be unintentional disaster-magnets.

The Chronicles of St. Mary’s tells the chaotic adventures of Madeleine Maxwell and her compatriots—Director Bairstow, Leon “Chief” Farrell, Mr. Markham, and many more—as they travel through time, saving St. Mary’s (too often by the very seat of their pants) and thwarting time-travelling terrorists, all the while leaving plenty of time for tea.

In the sequel to Just One Damned Thing After Another, Max and company visit Victorian London in search of Jack the Ripper, witness the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, and discover that dodos make a grockling noise when eating cucumber sandwiches. But they must also confront an enemy intent on destroying St. Mary’s—an enemy willing, if necessary, to destroy history itself to do it.

My Thoughts:
I don’t get too worried about the ‘correct science’ of time travel stories and I was pleased to read this comment from the author at the beginning of the first book in this series:

I made all this up. Historians and physicists – please do not spit on me in the street.

It’s been almost four years since I read the first book in this series. I enjoyed the heck out of it and kept intending to pick up the second book but then suddenly it had been four years. Oops. I wish I hadn’t waited that long because there are a lot of references to things that happened in the first book that I didn’t remember that well. In fact I’m thinking of rereading it in the audio format. The important thing to know is do not read this book if you haven’t read the first (Just One Damned Thing After Another).

It’s a fun mix of science fiction, time travel, romance, workplace comedy, and a little adventure. The story is told by Madeline (Max) Maxwell with a good bit of sarcasm and humor in between the brushes with death.

The mission to the time when dodos were not extinct to bring some back to the future was hilarious. The observation of the murder of Thomas Becket was not funny at all. If you don’t mind books that can’t be pinned down to a genre or two, you should give this series a try.

It’s not great literature but it’s good light escapist fun.

3 stars Rating 3/5

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The Very First Damned Thing by Jodi Taylor (Short Story)

Posted by on Apr 4, 2017 in 2017, 3 stars, Jodi Taylor, Short Stories | 0 comments

The Very First Damned Thing by Jodi Taylor
The Very First Damned Thing by Jodi Taylor

Genre: Science Fiction, Short Story
Format: Ebook
Series: The Chronicles of St Mary’s #0.5
Publisher: Accent Press
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 61
Source: Purchased

The Book:
From the publisher:

Ever wondered how it all began?
It’s two years since the final victory at the Battersea Barricades. The fighting might be finished, but for Dr Bairstow, just now setting up St Mary’s, the struggle is only beginning.
How will he assemble his team? From where will his funding come? How can he overcome the massed ranks of the Society for the Protection of Historical Buildings?
How do stolen furniture, a practical demonstration at the Stirrup Charge at Waterloo, students’ alcohol-ridden urine, a widowed urban guerrilla, a young man wearing exciting knitwear, and four naked security guards all combine to become the St Mary’s of the future?

My Thoughts:
The Chronicles of St. Mary’s is a fun series about time traveling historians who “investigate major historical events in contemporary time” The first book in the series (Just One Damned Thing After Another) was quite enjoyable. It had been a while since I’d read it and I wanted to continue with the series. I discovered that among the short stories related to this series was this one which is listed as a prequel.

Technically it’s a prequel but I would not recommend it as a starting point in the series. Much of it doesn’t make a lot of sense without the context of at least one (if not more) books in the series.

It was fun and I’m glad I read it but if you have any interest in this series I strongly recommend that you start with Just One Damned Thing After Another.

3 stars Rating 3/5

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Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

Posted by on May 29, 2014 in 2014, 3.5 stars, Book Review, Jodi Taylor | 0 comments

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

Genre: Science Fiction
Series: #1 in the Chronicles of St. Mary’s series
Publisher: Accent Press
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 332
Source: Purchased

The Short Version:
A story of time travel, history, adventure and plenty of humor along with a healthy dose of danger and a touch of romance.

Why I Read It:
It seemed like everyone in the LibraryThing 75 books group has been reading this book and enjoying it so I decided to give it a whirl.

The Book:
From the publisher

“History is just one damned thing after another” – Arnold Toynbee

A madcap 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 …

My Thoughts:
I don’t get too caught up in the ‘correct science’ of time travel stories and I was encouraged to read this comment from the author at the beginning of the book:

I made all this up. Historians and physicists – please do not spit on me in the street.

I enjoyed the heck out of this one. It was fun and adventurous with some characters I liked and a few I despised. There were plenty of surprised along the way. Yes there are some huge leaps of logic, science and credulity but gosh darn it, it was fun.

Madeline Maxwell (Max) is invited by an old mentor to apply for a job at St. Mary’s and after a bit of a mysterious introduction she’s soon in training to become a member of the time traveling team.

Initially it all seems like a big fun adventure but soon the danger increases and she learns that it’s not all observing history and learning what really happened.

The book truly is just what the title suggests as “one damned thing after another” happens and I’m not going to say anything more because it would be spoilery. Mostly, I enjoyed the escapist story and will be reading the sequel.

3.5 stars Rating 3.5/5

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