Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

"I don't like time travel and I don't read much science fiction." Apparently I'm a liar. Just One Damned Thing After Another is my third science fiction-ish book of the year and deals pretty much solely with time travel and I though it was a blast. Our historian is Madeleine Maxwell (Max) and I have to say I love her. She's smart and funny in that snarky way and she really does seem to be a bit of a disaster magnet. St Mary's is a "secret" organization that specializes in time travel, going back and observing history - not interfering. They take assignments from a university that they are connected with. There aren't very many historians (time-travelers) in part because they end up getting killed on assignments, so the few that there are get to cover all sort of times, not just those they specialize in. You have to suspend disbelief here and just go along for the fun ride. Yeah, probably sending a non-paleontologist...
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A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh

A Man Lay Dead by Ngaio Marsh

Marsh's Inspector Alleyn series is one of my favorites, but I've been reading it all out of order. I finally got around to picking up the first in the series. While obviously don't think this is a series that needs to be read in order, it was nice to read this first introduction to Alleyn. A Man Lay Dead is a country house mystery and we have seven suspects, the host, his niece and five guests. Actually a couple more than that, because you have to count the servants, especially the missing butler. As always, Marsh is good with giving us clues and red herrings, even if the actual "how" the murderer did it was a bit far-fetched.This time around there's a side plot involving the dreaded Bolsheviks that really shows the era of the book. Alleyn's personality is not quite cemented yet, but this is the first. One of the guests, Nigel Bathgate, a journalist, becomes his assistant. He's kind of...
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A Well-Timed Murder by Tracee de Hahn

A Well-Timed Murder by Tracee de Hahn

This is the second in the series featuring Agnes Lüthi, but I didn't read the first and felt like this one worked quite well on its own. I do think reading #1 first would give you more insight into Agnes and what she's been though. It took me a while to connect with her, and I think if I had read the first, I would have already been invested in her when I started this one. Agnes feels like a real person, calm and intelligent, juggling work and life. She's a widow with two children and while I usually prefer my detectives to not have children, unless the children are adults with their own lives, I didn't find it too distracting here. Agnes is asked to investigate the death of a well-known watchmaker, Guy Chavanon. His death has been ruled an accident, a result of contact with peanuts, which he's allergic. Of course, it's not a simple accident and we find that...
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A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time was a re-read for me, but I read it first back when I was like 10 or so and remembered absolutely nothing about it. I've been seeing the commercials for the new Disney movie too, but they're not really a good representation of the book. Meg is a smart kid, but has trouble fitting in at school. Everyone thinks Charles Wallace, her little brother is dumb, but really he knows so much more than anyone. Calvin is a popular kid in school who never feels like he fits in, but he fakes "normal" well enough. The three of them go on a mission to save Meg's dad, a scientist who went missing, with the help of a trio of beings, Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who, and Mrs Which. This is a middle school book that deals with physics and religion, belief and identity, but it does so lightly. It's a fantasy/sci-fi story and the three kids have been thrust into...
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Murder on Saint Patrick’s Day by P. Creeden

Murder on Saint Patrick’s Day by P. Creeden

Murder on Saint Patrick's Day is a quick little mystery, perfect for today. Emma and her dog Molly are picking up a friend's teenage daughter after a concert at a local cafe when the lead singer of the band collapses and dies on his way to the hospital. Emma's observational skills once again help out her dad, the Sheriff, and they figure out who the killer is. The mystery was good. It's a short story, so everything moves a bit quickly, but I like the characters and the clues fit in well. I liked a band being involved in the mystery this time, it made it feel very St. Patrick's Day-ish....
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I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong

I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong

In general, microbes are not something I spend much time thinking about. I wash my hands to hopefully keep away germs, take my probiotic pill, and that's about it. I'm not one of those people who carry around a can of Lysol, which apparently can be a good thing. "So, here’s the irony: toilets that are cleaned too often are more likely to be covered in faecal bacteria." I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong made me think about the vast array of microbes in our world - helpful, harmful, and ones that can be both or neither. Yong touches on the evolution of microbes; the history of microbiology; symbiotic relationships among microbes; symbiosis between microbes and higher organisms; dysbiosis (unbalanced microbiomes that harm their hosts); how scientists study and identify microbiomes; research studies aimed at seeding hospitals and buildings with 'good microbes'; and much more. He writes in an entertaining, easy to understand way. He makes microbes fun. My family is probably...
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