Review: The Body at the Tower (The Agency #2) by YS Lee

7507889Even better than the first! Straight on to book number three! I really enjoyed the first Agency book. I was very happy to find myself enjoying this one even more! This installment picks up with Mary a year after we left her. She’s had more training but is still lacking in self-confidence. It’s often hard to remember how young Mary is. When we are reminded, it’s so great to see her try to step up, face her fears, and go forth with more confidence.

I especially like that Mary is more or less disguised as a young lad in this novel. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always enjoyed novels where the heroine is disguised as a young lad. Why is that? Ha! This story has Mary revisiting a rougher life in London and she is once again plagued with the history of her past. She really seems to want to know more about her family’s history, but at the same time, she is afraid of what this will mean in regards to her future at the Agency and how others react to her. I can’t wait to see how it all pans out.

Of course, It wouldn’t be fun without, James, our hero from the first novel. You can be sure that he shows up in this one….and right from the moment they see one another, it’s perfectly clear that neither James nor Mary have forgotten the other…regardless of the amount of time that has lapsed….

Finally, I must say, since I am new to England (just under 2 years now) that I especially enjoy seeing London as it was 150 years. I’m just as fascinated with the time period and the location as I am with Mary and the Agency. I can’t wait to read the next book. I’ve already bought it and am about to dive right in! No break in-between these books…I can’t wait!!!!!

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now The Body at the Tower by YS Lee

Review: A Spy in the House (The Agency #1) by YS Lee

6698199What can I say? I am absolutely smitten with mystery novels set in Victorian England of late. I finished one prior to this and just fell in absolute love. So I rushed out to find another. Although the two books were different, this spy mystery did not disappoint me!

I’ve always loved stories that have a disadvantaged young person that is suddenly given a second chance in life. This novel starts with a very young Mary Lang about to be hanged for house burglary. In the days that follow Mary suddenly finds herself in unusual circumstances and is given a second chance in life. As she grows up into a young adult she finds that, although she is very thankful for her second chance, she is somewhat unfulfilled at her current occupation of teaching at a school for young ladies. Once she confesses this, her life is suddenly sent in an entirely different direction.

As much as I loved this book, I did find parts of the mystery and the story to be somewhat farfetched. By all of that aside, I loved the characters and the banter between the two main players, Mary and James. I also appreciate the fact that YS Lee did not find it necessary to turn a young 17-year-old Mary into some wonder spy that conquers the world and makes all the right decisions. The fact that she accepts helps from others, even seeks out advice at times, makes many mistakes and perhaps uses bad judgement really lends to the fact that Mary is, after all, only 17 years old.

This series is 4 books long and even before I finished the last sentence in this first installment I was already excited to begin starting the second book.

Finally I have to say that the most intriguing part of the book is the barely touched upon background of Mary’s own past. I look forward to most of the solving of Mary’s own history…..I was also sooo excited to see the “friend” Mary met in the warehouse at night might end up making an appearance in the later books as one of Mary’s closest companions….or at least I hope that is the case…..but I can’t say anymore, as I must be off to meet up with Mary and her next spy adventure!!!

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now A Spy in the House by YS Lee

Review: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

51sM5xQaE4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_One of the things that I love most about this blog is the variety of books that we Muses choose to read and review. Our tastes differ from each other, and even vary day to day depending on the mood we’re in. Very reflective of our readers, I do believe! So with that in mind, I’m presenting you with a book that is at first glance a children’s book. However, if you look a bit deeper, you’ll find that it’s a timeless story.

Here’s the story of a rabbit named Edward. But Edward is not just any rabbit. He’s a very special china rabbit who is loved and adored by young Abilene. Edward has a wonderful life and enjoys all the finest things that money can buy. But one day, he is lost at sea. I won’t tell you how because that’s one of the best scenes in the book. Still, his journey overboard leads him on a long series of adventures. Some of his adventures are not so bad, and some are downright horrible. Along the way, he begins to understand the meaning of love and hope. He realizes that love can be different things to different people. And sadly, he finds out that sometimes hope is lost.

This book is listed as appropriate for grades 2-4, but I would dare to say it can be enjoyed by all ages. Most definitely older kids would fall under Edward’s spell as well. And as a read-aloud, it just can’t be beat. I read this one to my students over a period of several weeks, and each day they begged for “just one more chapter.” The chapters are short, but each one leaves you wanting just a bit more.

Kate DiCamillo is a highly acclaimed children’s author, one whose stories have received numerous awards. Her gifts to us have included Because of Winn Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux among others. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is another of those books destined to become a favorite on bookshelves everywhere, a story to be read over and over again.


Buy It Now: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane