Welcome to the Bookshelf Detective, a site packed with tricks and tips for readers and writers of children's literature. Thank you for visiting!
Kim Tomsic

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Hole in the Sky: a book by Barbara Mahler

Colorado author, Barbara Mahler, enjoyed a school visit with a classroom in Cairo, Egypt. Click on the YouTube link.


What are the reviewers saying on Amazon?

Amazon Reviews:

I read this book from cover to cover in the span of a few hours. I felt like I was cheating myself of Kaela and her new extraordinary and supernatural friends whenever I put it down to eat. This book doesn t contain an extraneous word or a boring scene. The story flows from page to page like a beautiful clear stream. In the end, I still craved for more of Kaela Neuleaf and her cousin Shawn. --Gema Mora, Radical Parenting

The presentation of the book from its beautiful cover to the map to the book mark ribbons would be a disappointment if the author, Barbara A. Mahler, had not written a story to warrant such an amazing presentation.The book made me wish I had a young daughter and we could read it together. --Julie Marie Totsch, Blogcritics

I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of The Hole in the Sky by Barbara A. Mahler. I read this story and couldn't put it down! I finished it in a few nights reading it before bed. Much like absolute favorite young adult books, the Twilight Saga books, The Hole in the Sky is for teens, but could certainly be read by a young adult or adult even, and you'd love it just as much! I would absolutely recommend this wonderful book for the upcoming holidays. --Mary512, 512KIDZ 
Would you like to read a sample? Click on "sample" or type www.holeinthesky.net or buy a copy from Boulder Books or online at Amazon.

Need more reviews?  visit Good Reads

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Review: BLACK EAGLE FORCE A Guest Post by Joseph Provost

GUEST BOOK REVIEW BY JOSEPH PROVOST: I was the lucky winner of an advanced reader copy of BLACK EAGLE FORCE by Buck Stienke and Ken Farmer. Kim Tomsic suggested this book and I'm thankful she did as I found it beyond exciting. I took the book with me on a 10-day volunteer trip to Haiti and I found that every chance I had to relax was spent reading the next chapter.

From the beginning of this military thriller to the end, the reader feels like they're on an adventure. Stienke and Farmer start with Santa Anna's campaign in 1860 and take you through to present day in a way that makes you feel like you're reliving history.

When I finished reading Black Eagle Force, I shared the book with my friend, Peter Hughes (retired military). I said, "Trust me. Just read ten pages and see if you like it." Peter couldn't put it down. He didn't want to give the book back as we flew home from Port au Prince, but fortunately he finished before we landed. He agreed Black Eagle Force is a great read and easily deserves a five out of five star rating. Thank you Buck and Ken. You brought back memories of my time based at Fort Hood.

For more information, visit www.blackeagleforce.com


CWO 2 (retired)

Joseph Provost

Quartermaster Core
(and for more about Haiti, visit http://www.thefriendsofhaitiinc.org/)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Black History Month Book Picks by Kim Tomsic

In honor of Black History Month, please enjoy a few of my book suggestions.  Same Kind of Different as Me written by Denver Moore and Ron Hall (nonfiction) is a beautiful story of friendship. The writing is not fancy and the plot is not hard-driving, but the sheer fact that this is a true tale is enough to keep your eyes glued to the pages.  If you're in the mood to laugh and cry, this is the book for you.
Another great choice is  Lincoln and King mentioned in one of my previous blog posts. 

It only seems appropriate to pick a Coretta Scott King award winning book as my next choice, so I suggest  My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tololwa M. Mollel. Although this is a beautiful story of generosity and determination, I admit my true draw to the book had to do with the illustrator. I'm a huge fan of  E. B. Lewis   and was captivated by the watercolors he used to bring this story to life.
Kadir Nelson is another illustrator whose beauty with a paintbrush  can influence your  purchase of a book.   Moses:  When Harriet Tubman Led her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Kadir Nelson will delight you with both artistic beauty as well as lyrical text.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fast-Paced Plotting as seen by Nancy Drew and Chris Eboch

A standing-room-only break-out sessions at the SCBWI Conference was a class taught by Chris Eboch .

What I learned from Nancy Drew-Tool for Fast-Paced Plotting was the title Chris Eboch gave her presentation.

Literally, all the fire codes were violated as the Hyatt salon was packed with standing room only participants. Here are a few precious notes on what Chris had to say:

1. You are setting expectations and making the reader a promise in the first chapter…a promise you better fill. If your tone is crazy-scary in the first chapter, you better deliver crazy-scary. If your characters are super snarky in the beginning, they better not end up vanilla throughout the rest of the book.

2. Your first chapter also sets the genre, setting, problem, tone, and a sense of the structure and pacing.


1. Fast starts are openings that start with action; they start with what happened and then work in the back story. Note how this is different from starting with back story and then working up to the action.
2. Ms. Eboch says that fast starts usually start with two people on the page and has scene+action+dialogue. She advises to use description and summary modestly if you want to achieve a fast start.
3. Ms. Eboch also advises to start with a cliffhanger (something big is around the corner) and in the middle of the fight or the conflict. She says, “the inciting incident-the problem that gets the story going-should happen as soon as possible , but not until the moment is ripe.”
For more on Chris Eboch’s guide to writers and fast paced plotting, you can visit her at http://www.chriseboch.com/

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Contest: ARC Giveaway


Quinn Cummings is hosting her first ever ARC giveaway.  She is offering a signed copy of Sara J. Henry's debut novel LEARNING TO SWIM (click link if you'd like to see my review). 

Here's what Ms. Cummings has to say about the novel:
"... Fresh setting, well-realized characters, cleanly written, with a mysterious and suspenseful story - just what I was looking for." - Daniel Woodrell, award-winning author of The Death of Sweet Mister and Winter's Bone

Did you catch that? WINTER'S BONE! The man who wrote maybe one of the most interesting thrillers I've read in years thinks Sara's book is great. He's right.

To Win a signed copy of LEARNING TO SWIM, please comment on Quinn Cummings blog  Good luck!

Would you like to see a contest on my blog too?  Let me know

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