#FinishingRA: Read Along Update on Curtsies and Conspiracies


We are one week into the FINISHING SCHOOL READ-ALONG hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings and I (Dena @ Batch of Books)! There is still plenty of time to join if you haven’t done so yet. The linky is at the bottom of this post and you can go to the official sign-up here. You don’t need to be a blogger to join, you just need someplace online that’s public to post updates for the linky, or just leave a comment on either of our blogs.

This week we read chapters 1-8 of Curtsies and Conspiracies.  It was so much fun!  I love this series and I can’t wait to keep reading and see where the story goes next.

Curtsies and Conspiracies:

Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia’s first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy (won’t Mumsy be surprised?). Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers’ quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship’s boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot–one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

In this bestselling sequel to New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail’s distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.

My Thoughts So Far:

My thoughts on the first chapter and how it ties into the first book
I was a little surprised that the book started out at the school, instead of with Sophronia at home, but her home life played such a small part in the first book, it made sense to dive right into things with the second.  I loved the way the author started things out with a bang, jumping right into the first test.  The test itself helped jog my memory about most of the first book, and showed how brilliant and resourceful Sophronia truly is.

My thoughts about the characters
I love the characters.  I don’t think there is a single character that I don’t love.  My favorites are Sophronia (of course), Pillover, Soap, and Sidheag.  My favorite new character is Felix.  I am SO glad that he has become a bigger part of the story.  He cracks me up with his forwardness and the banter between him and Sophronia is fabulous.

My thoughts about the plot
I’m dying to know where this book is going.  There are some things I figured out before the author spelled it out, but for the most part, I have no idea what’s coming next.  It’s such an odd combination of setting, characters, and theme that I am loving just being along for the ride.

My least favorite part, so far (if any)
I have to admit that I’m not all that fond of the Vieve moments.  I love her as a character, but often when she walks into a scene, the conversation turns to inventions and there’s a lot of jargon that makes no sense to me.  The further I read, the more sense it makes, but I never like feeling confused.

My favorite part so far
Felix is my favorite part so far.  I absolutely love him.  He is eccentric, arrogant, and the perfect character to play Sophronia’s opposite.  The scene I loved the most is when Sophronia and Dimity wander into the woods and get snagged by ruffians.  While Sophronia is doing a reasonable job of rescuing herself and Dimity, Felix appears, wielding a wicked looking invention called a “ballistic exploding steam missile fire prong”.  It’s really a shoe shining kit, but it does the trick and saves the day.

Favorite quotes

“Oh this?” Felix was casual. “This is a ballistic exploding steam missile fire prong.  It’s my latest invention, and it’s very, very good at being deadly.” (42%)

“What happened?” wondered Dimity.
“You fainted.”
“Yes, I know that.”
“And then Felix…uh…Lord Mersey came to our rescue with a shoe-shining kit.”
“Sophronia, have I told you recently that your explanations often lack a certain panache?”
“Well, you will keep fainting during the best bits.” (42%)

“Oh, now, Ria, you malign me.  I’m as honest as a rose garden is beautiful.”
“And as full of dung,” replied Sophronia without missing a beat. (46%)

Predictions for the second half of the book
I honestly don’t have many predictions for the second half.  I have no idea where the book is going and I’m just enjoying the ride. 

Other thoughts
I love the classes that they take.  They have lessons on how tightly to squeeze a man’s arm, how to throw poison with accuracy, and how to put coded messages into their embroidery.  I also love the characters’ names.  Dingleproops and Shrimpdittle are some of my favorites.

I’m really curious about the way the supernatural creatures (werewolves and vampires) interact with themselves, each other, and humans.  I don’t really understand the whole vampire hive and tether idea, although lots of my questions in that area are being answered the further I read.

And, I can’t help it.  I am dying to know what Monique is up to, who she works for, and how she got tangled up with Professor Braithwope.  I’m also curious as to what the professor’s motive is and what game he’s playing.

Your turn!  What do you think of the book so far?  Do you have questions for the author?  She’ll be stopping by later in the read along.

Want to join the read-along? You can participate and much or as little as you want. Just add yourself to the linky and you’re good to go!  We’ll be posting  another update next Friday for the rest of the book.

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  • Reply
    Tressa S
    November 7, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    I love how we loved the same scene. It was a great scene, I do have to say! 🙂 Then the quotes and the names and the lessons and FELIX… All fabulous! I'm so glad we're reading this together! 😀

  • Reply
    Waimarie Koinaki
    November 7, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Liebster Award! Congrats! You can check out my post here: http://butterflyflyawayreads.blogspot.com.au/

  • Reply
    vvb32 reads
    November 13, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    I too, love the bits on their classes. Incorporating ways of espionage in Victorian etiquette is fascinating.
    fyi: I've been posting my thoughts for the read along at Tressa's and here:

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