I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer and The Sunday Salon (TSS) hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz where participants recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. I am also linking It's Monday! What Are you Reading? hosted by Kathryn of Book Date where readers talk about what they have been, are and will be reading.
This past week was a full one as we finished getting prepped for the start of school for Mouse. Mouse had a dentist appointment, she and I both got our hair cut, we saw The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem movie, we picked up Mouse's class schedule and her P.E. (physical education) clothes, and Mouse had her first day on Friday. It was a shortened day, one just for incoming 7th graders as a sort of ice breaker. Tomorrow is the first full day of school for the new year. Mouse has P.E, for first period, which she's not at all happy about. At least she will not have to be out there in the heat of the day. Mouse has a friend over today. I can hear them laughing and talking as I type this.
My (much shorter than Mouse's) vacation also is at its end, and I return to work tomorrow. I enjoyed the much needed time off. And while I may not have accomplished everything I wanted to, I do feel more rested. We shall see how I really feel tomorrow though! I am already starting to run through my mental to do list . . .
The news coming out of Maui is so awful. It's so heartbreaking to read the news coming out about the deaths and damage caused. My heart goes out to everyone impacted by the fires.
How was your week? What have you been up to?
I am currently reading the second book in Naomi Novik's Scholomance trilogy, The Last Graduate. School has never been more dangerous . . . It's a hard book to put down!
Up next will be the winner of my August TBR List poll. Welcome to the School by the Sea (Maggie Adair #1) by Jenny Colgan won with 14 votes! Coming in at a distant second was Murder at a London Finishing School (Beryl and Edwina Mystery #7) by Jessica Ellicott with 8 votes, and trailing behind that was The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman which got 4 votes.
Welcome to the School by the Sea sounds like the perfect segue from summer into the start of the new school year. Thank you to everyone who voted!
My TBR List is hosted by the awesome Michelle at Because Reading. It’s a fun way to choose a book from your TBR pile to read. The 1st Saturday of every month, I will list 3 books I am considering reading and let you vote for my next read during that month. My review will follow (unfortunately, not likely in the same month, but eventually--that's all I can promise).
Last year I read the first book in Kate Khavari's Saffron Everleigh Mystery series, A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons, but being the mixed up year it was, I never got around to posting my thoughts on it. Having now finished the second book, A Botanist's Guide to Flowers and Fatality recently, I thought why not share my thoughts on both!
Light poured from the windows of the grand house, illuminating the front steps and graveled drive. ~ opening
Saffron Everleigh, a research assistant at the University College of London, believes she's the only hope at proving her mentor, Dr. Maxwell, is not behind the murder by poisoning of a fellow professor's wife. Time is of the essence with a research expedition to the Amazon on the horizon. She enlists the help of fellow researcher, Alexander Ashton, as the evidence mounts against the suspected professor. Set in 1923, this cozy mystery was a delight to read. Saffron comes from a well to do family, but despite their disapproval, has decided to follow in her late father's footsteps, the and research of botany. Her skills and knowledge come in quite handy as she and Alexander search for answers to solve the crime--just what was the unknown poison used and who is behind it?
Saffron is an intelligent and capable woman, although, admittedly, she takes risks with her own life that had me seriously questioning her judgement a couple of times. I liked her flat mate, Elizabeth. The two women have a strong friendship and look out for each other. Alexander is an interesting character with a complex backstory--a veteran who was injured in the first world war. I liked that the author doesn't shy away from the effects war had on the returning soldiers. The mystery itself was entertaining, the possible budding romance between Alexander and Saffron well played, and I couldn't wait to find out how everything would turn out. This novel was well researched, both in science for the sake of the crime and history to bring the setting to life. A Botanist's Guide to Parties and Poisons was a great start to a new series.
"Everleigh." ~ opening
With Alexander off on the expedition to the Amazon, Saffron has spent her summer working at the university on a project with the annoyingly charming, Dr. Lee, a medical doctor, dealing with reports of poisonings across the city and in the neighboring countryside. Saffron can hardly believe it when Detective Inspector Green walks through her office door, requesting her assistance on an active murder investigation. Still coming off her high of solving the university related murder from the last book, she is sure she can get to the bottom of these new murders.
Bouquet of flowers, most of which are poisonous, were found at the crime scenes of three different murders. They seem unconnected otherwise. When her own knowledge of flowers falls short in coming up with answers, Saffron delves into the old Victorian practice of floriography, in which each flower holds a special meaning. Dr. Lee is eager to help despite Saffron's initial misgivings. The two of them go undercover, befriending the high society group of suspects, taking them into a dark jazz club and exclusive parties. Dr. Lee definitely seems to have the gift of fitting in and drawing people out, where as Saffron is more awkward at it. Perhaps it is the rules of society for women during that time period, or just her trying too hard to be accepted so she can get the answers she's seeking. This only makes her more relatable as a character for me.
Like in the first book, the reader gets a glimpse of how difficult it is for a woman in the world of male academia, especially one in Saffron's position. One of the reasons I especially liked this second book was the amount of growth Saffron does over the course of the book in finding her own voice and standing up for what she wants. Not only with her work, but in her love life too. There definitely was a darker overall plot line in this installment. I found the mystery fascinating, from the historical aspect as well as the complexity of the characters and their possible motives.
Challenges Met: Cruisin' Thru the Cozies / Historical Fiction Reading Challenge / COYER