Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Finishing-School
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-03-13 05:48
Thoughts: Etiquette & Espionage
Etiquette & Espionage - Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage

by Gail Carriger
Book 1 of Finishing School



It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly.  It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time.  Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother.  Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners--and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy.  Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady.  So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped.  At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish... everything.  Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage--in the politest possible ways, of course.  Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education.

This was an absurdly fun read with a lovely, humorous narration, as well as an interestingly created steampunk world!  I would totally count this towards my Reading Assignment challenge as well, except that I started reading it in February.  Darn...

I don't read a whole lot of steampunk, if only because I've never really had much exposure to them, but after this book, I might find myself exploring the genre more often.  Or at least, I know I'll be reading more from this particular series, and maybe even from this author.  I understand that Finishing School actually takes place in a world that Carriger created in another series, so I may pick up those books as well.

But meanwhile, I'm finding that Etiquette & Espionage stands out very well on it's own!

Sophronia wanted to say something about the prototype, but she knew when she was being dismissed.  She bobbed a curtsy.  "Thank you, my lady."

Lady Linette winced.  "Miss Temminneck, arrange after-hours lessons with Professor Braithwope, do.  We really must work on that curtsy of yours, dear."

"But I have advanced eyelash fluttering to practice, and a mathematics problem concerning how to order strychnine and a lamb dinner on a limited budget, and three chapters on court etiquette to read, and my handkerchief to starch, and the quadrille to memorize!"

"No one said learning etiquette and espionage would be easy, my dear."

While extremely entertaining as a whole, the book had started off a little slow, but that was to be expected considering all the introductions to the world, the finishing school, and to Sophronia, that needed to be made.  The first half of the book involved a lot of set-up, but fortunately, we even have a tiny mystery going on in the background, and some rather over-the-top comedic antics by almost all of our characters.

I had been expecting a darker setting, with the lessons on dealing death, and fighting vampires and werewolves, but the book kept to it's more comedic, nonsensical tone.  Supposing that this book is geared more towards a middle grade age, that makes a lot of sense, though I had expected a more mature voice until I remembered that Sophronia and friends are only around thirteen or fourteen years old.

And, my, what characters!  A little deliberate in execution, and somewhat more juvenile than I'd expected, as I mentioned, but I absolutely loved all the strange little quirks each character had.  I was only disappointed that some of the side characters weren't fleshed out just a little bit more, or that Sophronia's attempts at using the skills she's learned were less than graceful, to be frank.

There also appear to be a few loose ends here and there with a few of the side tangents.

And still, I had tons of fun reading this book and will certainly be moving onto the next book.  I'd just love to see more from the side characters such as Vieve, Soap, Pillover, and even Professor Braithwope.  I imagine we'll expand more on Sophronia's friendships as the series progresses?  Because that would be so very excellent.



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/03/thoughts-etiquette-espionage.html
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-11 03:34
The Finishing School
The Finishing School - Joanna Goodman

The Lycée is celebrating its 100th anniversary and not only has Kersti Kuusk been invited back to the elite boarding school in Switzerland where she spent four years of her life, she has been selected as one of their "One Hundred Women of the Lycée." But for Kersti this opens up an old wound. Almost twenty years ago Kersti's best friend, Cressida, fell from her fourth-floor balcony just before graduation. This was quickly deemed an accident and the whole thing was over and done with before any publicity. But Kersti can't help but dig around especially with the anniversary coming up and after receiving a letter from an old friend of theirs from Lycée. Kersti never forgot Cressida's obsession with a secret club that was banned years before their arrival, a secret club that had two of its members expelled from the school - something that had never happened before or since. Kersti is determined to get answers about the club and about what happened to her best friend that night long ago.


I could not get enough of this book! I love reading about boarding schools. The chapters go back and forth between past and present and I did enjoy both, but there's always something about the past that makes me like it just a little bit more. I loved the setting - the beautiful mountains, the crisp air, the light powdery snow. I liked the twists and turns, the friendships and the suspense.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2016-04-28 18:00
Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger
Manners & Mutiny - Gail Carriger,Hachette Audio,Moira Quirk

Loved this whole series! 

Find reviews for the first, second, and third book at the links. This book gives the harrowing tale of Sophoronia's last year at Finishing School. It was as fun and daring as the rest! As before, lots of great and fun characters, and great friendships. The friendship between the girls has been one of the best features throughout the series. 

As finales go, I shouldn't have expected anything less. Even at this stage of the series, Carriger found ways to make old characters new and to have fun with what the others may have led the reader to think they'd find here. It was great to see everything turned its on head and made vibrant and new again. 

I look forward to reading more from this author! Check out Carriger's other series: Parasol Protectorate Series (5 Book Series) and The Custard Protocol series (still in progress, only 2 books out so far!)


Like Reblog Comment
text 2016-04-01 23:00
Femme Friday - Your Next Favorite YA Series
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Cinder - Marissa Meyer
Shatter Me Complete Collection: Shatter Me, Destroy Me, Unravel Me, Fracture Me, Ignite Me - Tahereh Mafi
Etiquette and Espionage: Number 1 in series (Finishing School) by Gail Carriger (2013-02-05) - Gail Carriger;
Beautiful Creatures - Margaret Stohl,Kami Garcia
Atlantis Rising - Gloria Craw
Divergent - Veronica Roth
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling,Mary GrandPré

I don't know what your next favorite YA series may be, but it stands to reason that it could be written by a woman. I'm not saying that it will be, but the "Big 3" of YA are all written by women (and are featured in this post). We definitely can't be ruled out or sidelined anymore in this area. That being said, there are some great series out there, here are some contenders: 


That I've read: 

  1. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins   - I mean, it is one of the Big 3 mentioned above and really doesn't need an introduction or explanation anymore. If you haven't read it or seen the movies yet and are reading this post, you've probably already been told to do so. 
  2. Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles - Marissa Meyer - This is a one of my new favorites! I love a good fairy tale reimagining, it's my kryptonite. The whole series was fun and left me with an awful book hangover. I've been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to get ahold of the next book set in this world, Stars Above and the first of Meyer's new series, Heartless
  3. Shatter Me Complete Collection - Tahereh Mafi - Okay, I had it bad after the Lunar Chronicles, but this one was the actual worst book hangover of my life. I reread some of it way too many times. It played with my emotions, it was written with a whole new style that was mesmerizing, it broke my heart too many times. I'm a sucker for broken characters and this series let me wallow in them until my fingers were all pruney. 
  4. Etiquette and Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger - my first steampunk! I didn't quite know what to expect, but I was intrigued by the concept. This turned out to be a great introduction because it does have some of my favorite elements of fiction. I can't always get behind historical fiction but this combined it with science fiction and paranormal creatures and seriously, what's not to love when you do all that! I'm waiting on the last book to finish off the series and so looking forward to it! 
  5. Beautiful Creatures - Margaret Stohl,Kami Garcia - I had read the first book well before I heard of the movie but hadn't finished the series yet. I was pleased with the movie, though. It brought all the visual parts in and didn't really lose much. I had a great time reading this series. The magical world that it takes place in was new and a lot of fun. Sometimes books in the same subgenre feel like they blur together, but this definitely stands out among the books about magical beings and worlds. 
  6. Atlantis Rising - Gloria Craw - I read this one last year before I knew that more would be coming out. It felt like there could be more but the first one ended on such a note that I wasn't sure if it was just wishful thinking. I can't wait to get my hands on the next one



Heard good things about: 

  1. Divergent - Veronica Roth - I only saw the movie. I'm not a fan of the way people say that if you love "this" then you'll love "that" so this one struck me wrong. Everyone says that if you loved The Hunger Games, you'll love this series. To me, it sounded like they were far too similar to make it worth reading. But I did watch the movies and they are dissimilar enough that I understood what people were talking about. All the same, I never made my way to that series. I do plan on reading it, but I'm not in rush. Everyone that I know who's read it, loved it! And I remember once reading a blog post from someone who applauded the way Tris is specifically not pretty, that it's mentioned in a way that reminds you that it shouldn't be important for a revolutionary to be pretty. 
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling - I know, it's a problem. It's a Big 3 YA and I haven't read it, but I did crack it open once or twice.... I was just a little too old when these books came out to be interested in them, and then too busy and now I might as well wait to read them with my son. He's very close to the right age to start the first one. I have seen all the movies and completely understand how wonderful the books are, I just haven't read them yet. 



Problematic - this is a blog about feminism in books, so while these are huge, they do present some problems in this department that need addressing

Twilight - Stephanie Meyer - it's been said, at length, that this series presents problems in the abusive relationship department. The main love interest is controlling and that is definitely a problem. What makes the problem worse is the HUGE following that came after this series that made everyone sound like they want to be in an abusive relationship such as this. No hitting takes places, but there is a lot of controlling behaviors that no one should tolerate. I get that Edward wasn't a bad guy, but he was a bad boyfriend. Bella wasn't exactly a role model either. At the same time she wasn't much worse than Matt Donovan in the next series I'm going to talk about. It's hard to be the only human among supernaturals, I'm sure, but she never once got to make a decision that he didn't have to approve and she was always usurped when he didn't approve. 

The Vampire Diaries - LJ Smith - just skip the books and binge watch the CW series on Netflix. The show is one of my favorites and cleans up a lot of the problems in the books. Elena is very similar to Bella in her passionate love for her love interest. It made me gag a lot. Her friends are easily duped into doing whatever vapid thing she is interested in. Okay, so that sounds harsh and I'm not trying to shame the characters. The problem is that they were hollow characters. What should have been intersections in their problems never seemed to bother them, so we mostly gloss over the fact that Elena is an orphan in the books. The show makes up for this by allowing her to be melancholy and react to this life-changing event as if her life has changed. I've said before that maybe it's my own problem for having watched the show first. The characters in the show have depth and complexity. No one is a perpetual damsel in distress or rescuer. Even the villains are layered. These books features lots of characters and it would be great if they didn't fit so well into those old, worn stereotypes. Also, the show may still be on television, but the books are from the 1990's. I don't remember if these stereotypes had quite hit trope level, but it's just a pass. Don't even bother, not in this day and age. You'll just be disappointed. 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-03-01 22:12
Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School #4) by Gail Carriger
Manners and Mutiny (Finishing School) - Gail Carriger

Sophronia continues her education in espionage at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s floating school – all the while fully aware that nefarious plots are afoot. The anti-supernatural Picklemen are still plotting to overthrow the established order and their schemes are well hidden.


As if that weren’t sufficient distraction for Sophronia, there’s also Soap. Now a werewolf, the former Sooty sees much more hope between him and Sophronia than there ever was in the past – but how far from social convention is she willing to deviate?


It all makes it very hard to focus on her lessons. Especially when all her training is finally put to the ultimate test




Sophronia I predictably awesome this book. As ever she is skilled, intelligent, capable, dangerous and fun. But she also has some nice growth and moral questions – including asking just what she has become with her intelligencer training. Has every interaction become just another mission for her? Has she become cold? Has she become completely incapable of trusting? As is asked on numerous occasions, has she become hard and cold?


From that we also have some nice questions about exactly what Sophronia wants when she finishes school and challenging some of the roles that have been clearly expected of her


One thing I really like in this book is not just Sophronia being, predictably, awesome and amazing – but her companions being almost as awesome as well. Agatha, Dimity – both far too often her sidekicks (not weak by any means, but certainly lesser in comparison to the awesomeness of Sophronia) who’s weaknesses are far far more clear than their actual strengths. They are defined more by their frailties than their strengths

And in this book we see their skills excellently portrayed. We see there are many ways to be an intelligencer. This series has always done an excellent job of taking the trappings of traditional Victorian femininity and making them strengths (which I think is sorely needed because so many books with “strong female characters” are strong because they eschew all things feminine. We have scene after scene of women who disdain clothes and make up and anything deemed female which is why they are strong. It’s unusual and powerful to have the feminine be strengths). This book goes a step further to make a lot of different forms of feminine strengths. Whether it’s Dimity’s gossip and social butterfly flitting or, equally, Agatha’s quiet, hidden wallflower nature. Always on the outside – but always seeing everything. (And I really love how, along with Sophronia, Agatha has found a way to forge her own future, free from the expectations and demands of society and her family. Agatha has courageously chosen her own path even as everyone acknowledges the risk she’s taken doing that).



Even Monique, long time enemy of the series, showed her worth and skill. I really love this, where the Exceptional Woman is still so common, seeing an awesome woman surrounded by awesome women is excellent. I even like how Sophronia’s much mocked sister is given some humanising. I do wish Prieshea had received the same treatment as the only WOC in the book


The depiction of Soap is interesting – and very very satisfying. Throughout the series Soap has occupied a difficult position – while clearly the man Sophronia was most connected to and most attracted to, prejudice seemed destined to keep them apart. This is one of the elements that has been well presented through the series – it would be dubious and problematic to pretend that the era was not grossly classists and racist. It would be a complete denial of the prejudices of the time and the atrocities of history to think that Sophronia, an upper class white woman, could possibly marry a Black working class man without there being considerable problems. We see other teachers dismiss the lives of the Sooties as being completely beneath notice. Sophronia repeatedly says that she cannot be with Soap because of her reputation, because of the strictures of society.



Read More


Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2016/01/manners-mutiny-finishing-school-4-by.html
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?