An impressive addition to a supernatural series that should delight a wide range of readers.


Who the Heck is Harvey Stingle?

From the The Wilhelmina Series series , Vol. 2

Two girls travel to the past in search of answers about a new friend in this middle-grade novel.

When Wilhelmina “Willy” Snodgrass learns that her family plans to move from Illinois to Oregon, she is upset. On the brink of seventh grade (which Willy already figures is the worst), she predicts that it will ruin her life. Fortunately, that isn’t the case—Willy quickly makes friends with Tomasina “Tommy” Andretti, and, with the help of three ghosts, the girls help reopen the Willamette Wig Factory, a town landmark defunct since the 1970s. Just one question remains—who the heck is Harvey Stingle, the man who assisted them with the factory and who seems to be the main communication point for the ghosts? Tommy and Willy are determined to find out, and because Harvey won’t tell them himself, he sends them back to the late 1800s. As Tommy and Willy dive deeper into the history of their small town, they get closer to unraveling the mystery of Harvey. Is he friend or foe? Why can he talk to ghosts? Of course, the answer leads to a whole new adventure for the girls. The second in the Wilhelmina series, the work picks up about three months after the first ends, so there’s little lag time for fans. Dineen (Mimi Plus Two, 2016, etc.) began her career composing stories for adults, but her voice is right at home in middle-grade fiction, perfectly suited to the age she’s writing for. Many times authors can’t nail down just how kids speak, but the characters here sound like middle schoolers. It adds an authenticity to the work that can’t be faked. The plot is imaginative and complicated enough to hold the attention of older readers, and Dineen refuses to pad the tale with superfluous characters. The wholesome story and pacing are tight and precise, with tension and mystery ramping up as Tommy and Willy get closer to finding out Harvey’s identity. The recipes at the end are a lovely touch—hopefully, the time traveling and historical details that Tommy and Willy learn about Monteith, Oregon, will encourage readers to do some research of their own.

An impressive addition to a supernatural series that should delight a wide range of readers.

Pub Date: June 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5334-3317-6

Page Count: 210

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2016

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Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick.

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An elderly witch, a magical girl, a brave carpenter, a wise monster, a tiny dragon, paper birds, and a madwoman converge to thwart a magician who feeds on sorrow.

Every year Elders of the Protectorate leave a baby in the forest, warning everyone an evil Witch demands this sacrifice. In reality, every year, a kind witch named Xan rescues the babies and find families for them. One year Xan saves a baby girl with a crescent birthmark who accidentally feeds on moonlight and becomes “enmagicked.” Magic babies can be tricky, so Xan adopts little Luna herself and lovingly raises her, with help from an ancient swamp monster and a chatty, wee dragon. Luna’s magical powers emerge as her 13th birthday approaches. Meanwhile, Luna’s deranged real mother enters the forest to find her daughter. Simultaneously, a young carpenter from the Protectorate enters the forest to kill the Witch and end the sacrifices. Xan also enters the forest to rescue the next sacrificed child, and Luna, the monster, and the dragon enter the forest to protect Xan. In the dramatic denouement, a volcano erupts, the real villain attempts to destroy all, and love prevails. Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces. Luna has black eyes, curly, black hair, and “amber” skin.

Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61620-567-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A killer thriller.


Black takes time out from chronicling the neighborhood-themed exploits of half-French detective Aimée Leduc to introduce a heroine as American as apple pie.

Kate Rees never expected to see Paris again, especially not under these circumstances. Born and bred in rural Oregon, she earned a scholarship to the Sorbonne, where she met Dafydd, a handsome Welshman who stole her heart. The start of World War II finds the couple stationed in the Orkney Islands, where Kate impresses Alfred Stepney of the War Department with the rifle skills she developed helping her dad and five brothers protect the family’s cattle. After unimaginable tragedy strikes, Stepney recruits Kate for a mission that will allow her to channel her newly ignited rage against the Germans who’ve just invaded France. She’s parachuted into the countryside, where her fluent French should help her blend in. Landing in a field, she hops a milk train to Paris, where she plans to shoot Adolf Hitler as he stands on the steps of Sacre-Coeur. Instead, she kills his admiral and has to flee through the streets of Paris, struggling to hook up with the rescuers who are supposed to extract her. Meanwhile, Gunter Hoffman, a career policeman in a wartime assignment with the Reichssicherheitsdienst security forces, is charged with finding the assassin who dared attempt to kill the Führer. It’s hard to see how it can end well for both the cop and the cowgirl. The heroine’s flight is too episodic to capitalize on Black’s skill at character development, but she’s great at raising readers’ blood pressure.

A killer thriller.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020


Page Count: 360

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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A retelling based on three of the ``half a dozen'' Korean Cinderella variants: ``Pear Blossom's'' stepmother calls her ``Little Pig,'' barely feeds her, and assigns her impossible tasks (filling a cracked jug), but the girl is helped by magical animals (a giant ox that weeds a rice paddy for her). A young magistrate, ``struck by her beauty,'' identifies her at a village festival by her lost sandal, and thus she makes an honorable marriage. The simple tale is retold in a vigorous, rather dramatic style. Heller, whose illustrations are based on her research in Korea, offers bold montages of figures and patterns in a striking array of intense colors. Her facial expressions are less expertly crafted than her realistic animals, sculptural draperies, and decorative traditional motifs, while the mix of styles leads to some cluttered effects; still, an attractive setting for a worthy variant. (Folklore/Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 30, 1993

ISBN: 0-06-020432-X

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1993

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