Review - Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

Sunday 13 January 2019

Hello everyone!

The last week has been a little mad on the home front, lots of work and lots of animals! Finding time for reading was proving a little difficult, but I eventually cleared my schedule and finished my first book of 2019. I have been doing a buddy read of Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor with my friend Jonny over @jonnyslibrary. We have both now finished the book and come to terms with our feelings so it’s time for a review.

It’s been a long while since I did a proper book review so sit back and relax, this could be a long one! I sense a rant coming on :-)

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

This book follows our main character Madeleine Maxwell as she embarks on a new line of work in the elusive St Mary’s history department. The historians of St Mary’s are no ordinary scholars, they travel back in time to document events as they really happened. The main rule is not to change anything, but of course that is easier said than done. One misadventure leads to another which leads to another which leads to events that could alter the very fabric of the future world!

2.5 stars

Positives - engaging plot lines, easy to get into, interesting world building

Negatives - very triggering, unbelievable character relationships, very rushed


Aaaah this book! I seriously struggled to rate this book, it started as a 4 star then dropped to a 2 and just about redeemed itself to a 2.5 by the end. Where to start?

The setting was lovely old academic England with all the quirks of mad professors. I loved the first 100 pages when Max is doing her training. It had just the right amount of humour and brutality to really invest me in the story. However, when Max goes back to the Cretaceous period (think dinosaurs) it all went south. Firstly Sussman’s character went from being your typical arrogant man to downright awful in 2 seconds flat. He tries to rape her and then tries to murder her and you later find out he planned to kill her all along! This is a man who worked and laughed with her for 5 years! It all felt a bit jarring, but it’s not the worst. 

Disaster strikes when a mission goes wrong and several members, including her lover Chief Farrell are lost in dinoland. All of a sudden she’s out of a job and thinks her lover is dead. A few months later she finds herself in pain so off she heads to the clinic and oh wait she’s having a miscarriage. Very rushed right? 

The miscarriage part of the novel did nothing to advance the story or the characters and the way it was handled was so casual and off-hand that it really disturbed me. This is a subject that should be handled with care and not just thrown in as a random plot twist. If that wasn’t bad enough, when Chief Farrell finds out she was pregnant and lost the baby he instantly accuses her of cheating and trying to pass the baby off as his. Later on he apologises and she shockingly takes him back! No self-respecting woman would tolerate that kind of behaviour. She had just risked life and limb heading back in time to save him, why would she do that if she never loved him and was cheating on him?

The plot felt jarring and a lot of it felt cobbled together with no real structure. Suddenly characters carry out an action or say things that are completely out of keeping with their behaviour until that point! Personally, I found this book a bit triggering and nearly put it down. I loved the idea of it and I’m hoping subsequent books are better, but for now I’m not sure I’ll continue the series. It's always an alarm bell when the most believable part of a time travel novel is the time travel itself. 

Have you read this book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below if you’ve read any disappointing books lately :-)


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Series I Absolutely Need To Finish This Year

Tuesday 8 January 2019

Hello everyone! 

Who am I? I've been posting so much recently that I bet you're wondering if I've secretly been replaced by an alien. I have been on such a blogging kick so here's hoping it'll carry on all through the year. *Shrugs*. We'll see...

One of my resolutions for this year is to finish at least 5 series I have already started. I am awful at getting stuck into series and then getting bogged down by other series. It's a vicious spiral. I end up not knowing what to read next and getting overwhelmed by choices. Aaaannnnddd voila, the reading slump! You feeling stressed yet? I sure am! 

Fingers crossed if I make a list of 5 series then I'll manage to stick to it and finish that resolution fairly easily :-) 

The first series I want to finish is the Shades of Magic series by V. E. Schwab. I read the first two books last year and really enjoyed the world building. I liked the characters so much that I even named on our kittens Kell! This series follows Kell and Lila as they fight for survival across the four worlds and the four Londons. Each London is deadly in its own way with Black London being the worst. The second book ended on a huge cliffhanger and I swore I would pick up the third book straight away, but instead it has been sat on my shelf gathering dust for the last 6 months! 

This next one should be fairly easy, *she prays*. Katherine Arden's Bear and the Nightingale blew me away last year and the sequel just took it to a whole new level of brilliant. The third, and final book Winter of the Witch came out yesterday so I raced off to pick up my pre-ordered copy. It is the next book I'm picking up as I am really feeling the wintry Russian vibes!

Finale by Stephanie Garber is a final book on a lot of people's lists this year. Sadly we do have to wait a few months before this final follow-up in the whimsical Caraval series is released. This series features circus like magic, plot-twists, gorgeous love interests and some serious darkness. If that doesn't sell it to you then I don't know what will. 

I have been reading Rachel Caine's Great Library series since it first came out, which has made the wait for the final book agonising. This series follows a group of young students as they become ever more entangled in the dark web of the library of Alexandria. For centuries the library has been the highest power in the world, but now it is falling to corruption and fanaticism. Jess and his friends are trying to change that. Sword and Pen comes out later this year and I can guarantee I will be reading it as soon as it comes out! 

If anyone knows the artist for this please give them credit, because it is amazing :-) 

So this one may be a cheat because technically the series isn't really finished as more books are coming, but I have 5 books to catch up on so I'm including it to the challenge. That's right, I'm talking about the Shadowhunters series by Cassandra Clare. I still have The Dark Artifices to read, The Bane Chronicles and Tales From the Shadowhunter academy to catch up! 

What series are you planning on wrapping up this year? Let me know in the comments below :-) 


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January 2019 TBR

Saturday 5 January 2019

Hello everyone,

Happy New Year! I hope you have all recovered from the celebrations and are basking in all the hope of a new year before the dullness of January really starts. I always find January the hardest month of the year, it seems to drag by and just be dreary and cold without all the jolly festive cheer of December. To cheer myself up i’m planning on reading some amazing books this month!

The first one I need to prioritise is Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor. I’m doing this as a buddy read with my friend Jonny over at Jonnyslibrary. We have both had this book sitting on our tbr shelves for a while and as this is the year of the tbr takedown we decided to join forces for this one! This book follows a group of time travelling historians as they try to document history, but instead cataclysmiacally alter events that could threaten the very fabric of time itself. So dramatic! I’m all for time travel and sci-fi so I can’t wait to get lost in this one.

I’m hoping to carry on my Sebastien de Castell binge by reading Charmcaster, the third book in the Spellslinger series. I adore this series and it sweeps me off my feet every time. The last book had me startling Mr. Gingersnap out of his chair as I laughed raucously for whole pages at a time. The third book features Ferius and Kellen as they follow the Shadowblack epidemic further into hostile territory. When you pick up these books think of them as a cocktail of the Wild Wild West, magic and sarcasm!

Next on my list is The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare. Magnus is one of my favourite characters of all time. I love his flamboyancy and care-free attitude combined with his deadly seriousness if his loved ones are threatened. I am very excited to read this set of short stories about his life as it will help me understand him so much better ready for the imminent release of The Red Scrolls Of Magic later this year.

Photo from Penguin

My final book of the month is the much anticipated Winter Of The Witch by Katherine Arden. Now if you read my most anticipated released of 2019 post you will know this was right at the top of the list. This is the third, and final book, in this amazing series set in ancient Russia. It has strong feminist elements and features a truly fantastic range of characters. The Russian folk-lore is fascinating and really adds depth to the story. I am super excited to see where this story goes! 

I may add a couple of books to the list as I finish these ones, but for now that's it! What do you plan to read this month? Let me know in the comments below :-) 


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2018 Reading Wrap-Up

Monday 31 December 2018

Hello everyone!

It's the last day of 2018 and wow is it a grey day! I was hoping for a sunny, wintry day where I could reflect on all my resolutions for next year, but no we have a cloudy, dull and dark day where it's not even that cold. *Sigh* The UK winter is a bit disappointing so far. I do love a crisp winter! 

It's the time of year for wrap-ups so today I wanted to do a review of my resolutions and goals for 2018. I always start the year with grand plans, then I inevitably fall short. Let's see how I did :-) 

2018 Reading Goals: 
  1. Only achievable challenges  I only did Mr. GingerSnap's challenge so this was easy! 
  1. Read 5 big books  Yes! I did so well at this challenge, I read waaaay more than 5 books.
  1. Over 10 Penguin English Library titles  Failed utterly at this, I think I read 6...
  1. Finish Sherlock Holmes Again, totally failed this one. I read no Sherlock this year.
  1. 5 books by new authors Yes! Smashed this one.

Mr. GingerSnap Challenge: 

My partner, Mr. GingerSnap loves to set me a good reading challenge and this year he set me 120 books to read! I actually managed to top this at 121 books so I feel very proud of myself. Especially as my Goodreads goal was only 60 books. 

Top 5 Books: 

Okay guys, these won't be in order because it was tough enough picking just 5, so bask in that moment and if you want a top 1 - Forget It!! 

  • Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare 
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden 
  • Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell 
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber 
  • The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar 

2019 Reading Goals:

  1. Finish 5 book series I've already started 
  2. Read more Brandon Sanderson 
  3. Read 5 books over 700 pages 
  4. Complete a 60 books Goodreads challenge 
  5. Finally read Emma by Jane Austen 

Mr. GingerSnap Challenge:

Mr. GingerSnap is setting me a devilishly difficult challenge for next year. He has challenged me to clear my 35 book TBR with the only new books purchased being important new releases I want to blog about! Wish me luck guys, I'm going to need it :-) 

How did you get on with your reading goals this year? Got any good resolutions? Let me know your highlights in the comments below :-)


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Worst Books Of 2018

Sunday 30 December 2018

Hello everyone! 

I hope you are all enjoying a lovely relaxing Sunday surrounded by books, I certainly am. Everyone else is hungover and tired from a party last night and here I am blogging away fresh as a daisy :-) Perks of not drinking right! 

As we head towards the end of the year we all start to get very reflective and decide which books we loved and which ones we didn't enjoy so I thought I'd hop on that bandwagon today. 2018 has been a pretty good reading year for me so writing this post was really hard! I'm always such a soft touch and end up rating books quite high. Usually if it's a 5 star I loved it, 4 stars I enjoyed it, 3 it was okay, 2 I didn't like it and 1 I hated it! 

I didn't actually read any books I didn't like or hate this year as I tend to stick to books I know I'll most likely enjoy, so all my low books this year are 3 star reads :-) 

My least favourite five are:

  • Shadowsong by S. Jae Jones - disappointingly average after a really good first book
  • The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr - a little waffly and far-fetched
  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green - a bit too quirky for me! 
  • Matilda by Mary Shelley - dark and disturbing, but not as good as anticipated 
  • The Surface Breaks by Louise O'Neill - over-hyped so I expected better, so this one may be on me! 
I was really disappointed by these books as I really wanted to love them! I'm hoping next year the books I'm excited about will live up to the hype :-) 

What books were you disappointed by this year? Let me know in the comments below! 


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Christmas Book Haul

Wednesday 26 December 2018

Hello everyone! 

Merry Christmas to all of those who celebrate and happy holidays! I hope you have all eaten lots of delicious food and are now in a food-coma debating whether one more mince pie will actually kill you. Whenever I reach that food coma stage I like to distract myself with a good book. This year, what with all the different family gatherings, I haven't been able to get stuck into my Christmas books yet! 

I'm sure I will be back in the reading swing soon, especially as I only have one last book to finish and then I will have reached my reading goal of 120 books. That's right y'all I'm on the final book :-) *Applause* *Bows* *Gets back to typing*. 

As you have all probably received lots of lovely books for Christmas and I am a nosy parker and like to know what books people have got, I thought I would create a post for the other people like me! So without further ado let's get into my Christmas book haul and let me tell you I am one lucky girl :-) 

The wonderful Mr. GingerSnap spoiled me with three books this year. He picked up The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, which shockingly I have never read or watched. This is a funny, deep space chunky novel which I cannot wait to get into!

He stumbled on volume 1 of Archie Comics when searching for Neil Gaiman and as I am a huge Riverdale fan he couldn't resist picking it up. I have been known to read the odd graphic novel and will definitely enjoy this classic all american comic. It'll be so fun to compare Archie, Jughead, Veronica and Betty in their original form to their on-screen counterparts. 

The final book is one I almost picked up for myself and am now so glad I didn't! We spotted Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero whilst browsing the fantasy section of our local Waterstones and the blurb sounded so fun. It's an adult, semi-scary spoof of Scooby Doo, which for any 90's kid sounds like a dream come true. 

My lovely sister in law is one of my favourite people to talk books with and she has very similar tastes to me, so she got it spot-on with her gift. Many years ago I read The Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve as they were released and fell in love with the world he created. The hype around those books has been huge this year as Peter Jackson turned his hand to the first book and created an amazing movie. Seriously guys, read the books and then go see the movie, you will not be disappointed! She very kindly gifted me The Illustrated World Of Mortal Engines, which is a stunning companion book to the series. 

The final book I was gifted is Becoming by Michelle Obama, a book by an amazing woman. My mother in law saw this and knew I would love to read it. Michelle Obama has had an incredible career and always looks so elegant, both in manner and dress. I can't wait to learn more about her life. 

What books did you guys get for Christmas? Let me know in the comments below :-) 


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Books I Want To Finish In 2018

Sunday 23 December 2018

Hello everyone! 

I hope you are all feeling suitably festive in the lead up to Christmas! Mr. Gingersnap and I have been frantically wrapping presents and getting food ready, we feel completely taken by surprise this year. Since when did Christmas get so sneaky? I swear it was August 2 weeks ago :-) 

I finished my Goodreads challenge a while ago, but Mr. Gingersnap set me a different challenge too. He set me 120 books to read this year! Brutal, I know. By some miracle I've read 118 books so far and am currently in the middle of two more. I'd love to prove him wrong and finish this challenge so wish me luck guys! 

Finishing two books in the next 7 days doesn't sound too bad, but you have to factor in family Christmas, work on Christmas Eve and after Boxing Day aaaannnd the fact that we still have 3 kittens growing up in our house. Lots of work and so little reading time *sigh*. 

The first book I have left to finish is Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. This is the sequel to Six Of Crows set in the GrishaVerse. I'm about three quarters of the way through this book and am reading it on audiobook so hopefully I can get some reading done while I'm preparing for Christmas! This book follows the dregs as they continue on their epic heist in Ketterdam. This book features magic, wit, dastardly deeds and heart-in-mouth action! 

The second book I'm still reading is A Torch Against The Night by Sabaa Tahir, the second book in the An Ember In The Ashes series. I am loving this book! I am just under halfway and cannot wait to binge read the rest one evening. Elias is one of my favourite male protagonists across all YA fantasy. This book also features magic :-P, starting to see a theme at all? This book follows Laia and Elias as they flee across the Empire racing the clock to free Laia's brother from the dangerous Martial prison, Kauf. 

I have a feeling Mr. Gingersnap is going to set me an even harder challenge next year, he was muttering about my ever growing TBR the other day. Lord help me if he sets me the challenge of reading it all before buying any more books! 

Who else has a few books left to finish their challenge? Let me know what your challenges were this year in the comments below :-) 


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