A Mixed Bag: Musings over Reviews

jodi five stars

I love all my reviews – yes, even the ones that go, ‘Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, rubbish,’ (sic) or tell me that if I could just learn to spell then my books would be quite good. I think one of my favourites is ‘Downloaded this by mistake. Couldn’t be bothered to read it. One star.’

On the other hand, there are my other favourites. This one is for The Nothing Girl and from a gentleman who simply wrote, ‘If you ever tell anyone I read this book then I will freaking kill you.’ He goes on to describe it as awesome, so he’s obviously an extremely intelligent and perceptive person – as, indeed, are all my readers.

As I say, I love them all – although some more than others, obviously, but occasionally, I receive one that really hits the nail on the head. Thank you, Nicola, for this thoughtful review.


So thank you to everyone who takes the trouble to review my books – even those who consider the plots to be non-existent, the characters to be no more than cardboard cut outs, and the dialogue clichéd.I do try to vary the tone of my books. Some are fairly light-hearted and some are definitely a little darker. It’s interesting to see which readers prefer. Some begin their reviews with, ‘I loved this one – it’s a little darker than the others …’ Others say, ‘I loved this one – it’s not as dark as the others …’ One day I think we should run a competition for ‘Favourite Book of the Series. And Why?’ Note to self – speak to Accent Press.This was exactly what I was trying to do. Throughout the series I have tried to grow the characters. To make them seem like real people by having their lives move on. Relationships – some that work and some that don’t. And deaths – I didn’t want to have a core of characters that readers know will always survive no matter what happens. I want them to feel that anything could happen to any character at any moment. That yes, people might live happily, but not always forever after. Life never stands still and death is always waiting – I wrote cheerily in bed this morning, as I stowed my empty mug in my underwear drawer so the ants can’t get at it. Which was why I was so pleased with this review of ATTT. This is the book in which they all grew up a little – well, those of them that survived the battle of St Mary’s.

And especially thanks to my readers who continually forgive me as I stray towards The Dark Side … Again … As Ronan remarks to Max in Book 8, ‘You dance on the edge of darkness, Max, and I don’t think it would take much for you to dance my way.’

Now I just have to decide whether she will … or whether she won’t.

28 thoughts on “A Mixed Bag: Musings over Reviews

  1. How nice to get a mention, thank you, Jodi. I meant every word and the comparison with the Discworld isn’t one I make lightly, but I stand by it. But if you ever kill off Peterson or Markham, I WILL come after you!

  2. Love your Saint Marys books. I found it very amusing to read lately that 4 new fall TV shows in the US will deal with time travel–it’s a trend!

  3. I have to admit I am becoming slightly obsessed with Max and her gang. No – sorry, I lied, totally swept away and am planning my visit to St Marys as we speak. One of the best series I’ve ever read (After Tolkien of course!!). And I agree – if you ever mess with Max , Peterson and Markham …

  4. Max joins Ronan, noooo not the bad guy is not so bad or needs help schtick please.

    And can it be explained how the pods move through space? Time is easy (per se) but if you go back 6 months the planet is the other side of the sun in its orbit to where you physically left. If it can travel that distance as well as time, then pods without time capability have instant planetary travel sorted….

  5. I loved this post! That dude’s review is awesome. =D
    I’m one of the ones who like the books on the lighter fun side. My life’s tense and dark enough as it is, so I delve into books to escape that. Having laughter, fun, time travel, a little wobbly stuff but not too much….that’s the ticket that works for me. It helps me breathe when things get a bit overwhelming.

    My favourite: actually, it’s the short story, “The Very First Damned Thing”. I don’t know why I adore it so much…let me think a bit…
    Firstly, I think because I came across it with you reading it. And your voice is absolutely freaking awesome and delightful. I mean, seriously! You totally brought that story to life. It’s a joy to listen to.
    Secondly, it touches lightly on the wobbly stuff that allows me to see it but not wallow in it – the devastation and grief after the war, for example. The way you lightly touch these things without rubbing our faces in it; such a delicate hand at writing the very painful experiences.
    Thirdly, I loved meeting the characters for the first time after knowing them before/after. My favourite was Helen Foster. Never did get her personality before…but after discovering her in this short story I totally fell in love.

    I hope these get picked up for an awesome long-running faithful-to-the-books tv show so you get gobs of money. GOBS!! You deserve it.
    I’m terrified these will get picked up by some moronic tv person who doesn’t understand them and ruins them. If that happens you’d better get even more money for it. Gobs upon gobs!! Then you could take care of the damn ants. =D

  6. I am another one that found your books by accident and am certainly glad I did. I have found that the ‘gang’ at St. Mary’s have become part of my family and their exploits, which are full of gentle & wonderful humour, keep me entertained for many an hour(s).
    I must admit that the last sentence in your latest book left me with my mouth wide open and somehow, at the same time, muttering, “What? When? How did that happen?”
    Brilliant Jodi – keep them coming.

    • Same here Dave, felt a huge shock and mouth fell open!! What a finish, got me to thinking as well …. it sort of explains some things when I think back though.

  7. Please, don’t let Max join the Dark Side – she mustn’t, not only would it upset Leon, it would upset me too. Do have a stern word with her about staying with St Mary’s and Leon and Markham and Peterson. Please.

  8. Jodi, I count myself incredibly lucky to have stumbled upon the first St Mary’s book as a free Kindle book – best freebie ever, and I’ve been a huge, pre-ordering fan ever since.

    I loved the latest book, and am very grateful that you kept Max ‘in character’ right the way through her pregnancy. She was never going to be a ‘get lots of rest and avoid stress’ expectant mum – but it was also totally in character for her to realise at the right moment (avoiding spoilers!) that she’d actually do pretty much anything to keep her baby safe. As usual, laughter and tears right the way through – I don’t know how you do it but please keep it up!…and I’m with the other commenters on the Markham, Peterson – and Max- front; no messing with them, please:-)!

  9. Jodi,
    I really love the St. Mary’s series of books: And I agree with Nicola’s mention of the Discworld books: although much of Sir Terry’s humor has always had a dark edge to it, he never forgot to have at least some fun along the way. I believe your St Mary’s books show some of Sir Terry’s wry spirit and great love for people. And I can think of no higher praise to give to a fellow fan of Terry Pratchett’s work than to say how much your books remind me of his books, without imitating his style(s). Bravo Jodi! I devoured “Lies, Damned Lies, and History” earlier this month, and now I am hungry for more…. (so please write a bunch more of these gems!)

  10. I was home recovering from some minor surgery when I discovered your books. I downloaded and read four that week (but not in order) and giggled through them all. However, I was afraid I had ripped my stitches when I read the section when Max was “Concussed by Cheese”. I survived and lived to read more. Thanks!

  11. My husband has banned me from reading this series in bed as my quiet laughter shakes the bed too much! I’m also careful where I read them in public.

  12. Lin Rand, how do you manage “quiet laughter”. I howl loudly and have banned myself from reading them in bed because I can’t sleep afterwards.

    • Because I’m trying so very hard not to make a noise I end up causing more disturbance as I shake so much with laughter, tears rolling down my face. These books need to carry a warning; BEWARE! CAUSES UNCONTROLLABLE LAUGHTER!

  13. i’ve absolutely loved these books, i’ve gotten wrapped up in each & every characters lives, i’ve loved the twists & turns, ive never come across a book thats kept me guessing as much as these, i love it

  14. Lin Rand, I totally agree – also a warning sign that they will also make you cry uncontrollably – usually on the next page. 🙂

  15. I’m so glad I found these books, I just love them. Love the humor and the history. They always make me go to Wikipedia to learn a bit more about history. Right now I’m reading British history for dummies 🙂 And I have to agree with Nicola and Karen about Max, Peterson, and Markham! So be careful Jodi, we might form a mob and come after you 😉

  16. I just have to throw in my agreement: I have been listening to your books for the last couple of weeks during my commute to and from work (about an hour and a half a day all told), and a.) I thoroughly enjoy them, and b.) will come looking for you if Max or Leon would ever defect.

    Incidentally, I would love to see a St. Mary’s Wiki develop someplace. –Or some similar repository of St. Mary’s Lore.

  17. Just finished St Mary’s Day Out. Very pleased to find it’s out on Audible before the kindle one. Here’s my review on Audible!

    Loved this story. Rip roaring tale full of energy and fun. Great to catch up on what happens after the huge events at the end of book 7 (no spoilers) and, as always, love Markham. Listened to it in one sitting, then immediately went back to the start and listened to it again. Can’t believe how Jodi Taylor can cram so much into one short story. Favourite line? Possibly that Matthew is not to be used as a draft excluder. Naughty Jodi to stir up the mud again over Markham’s status – trying to avoid spoilers again! Love, love, loved it.

  18. I love St. Mary’s, although the books often make me cry. After the fall of Troy and the fail of Leon/Max in a little cottage dream, I needed a break. The sack of Troy with the little hand in the gutter and the description of Paris’ death, was gut wrenching, (as is of the lack of progress we have made as a species) those images surpassed the healing power of chocolate.

    Please don’t let Max turn to the dark side! She is a unique heroine, no mad Ninja fighting skills, powerful magic or shape shifting abilites, no superpowers, but her intelligence, courage and strength of mind inspires me to try a little harder.

    • Thank you – that’s a lovely thing to say about Max. She has had her darker moments and there’s probably a few more to come, but she never gives up, does she.

  19. Just read the Nothing Girl and The Something Girl – in 3 days and working full time. Needless to say I really enjoyed them. I did get “A Look” from my manager when I got back from lunch a little late, but hey ho. No spoilers from me but please is there a third book to come. Surely Aunt Julia has some part to play? I have started on the St Mary’s books but longing for more Jenny.

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