The Divining Wand

Discovering authors beyond their pages…

Barrie Summy and I So Don’t Do Makeup

May 20, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books

For all tween mystery fans, Barrie Summy (I So Don’t Do Mysteries, I So Don’t Do Spooky) has put Sherry (short for Sherlock) Holmes Baldwin back out in the world, to solve her THIRD mystery in I So Don’t Do Makeup.

Readers can expect two differences — one minor, one major — in this book with the first being that the mystery is introduced almost immediately. According to the author, “this is one of the great things about writing a series! Readers know the characters and expect a certain voice. In this case, they expect a mystery. So, the writer gets to jump right into the thick of things more quickly.”

And that’s exactly what Sherry does EXCEPT this time (major difference) she’s not using her detective skills to help her mom — a policewoman, who died in a drug bust well over a year ago, and is now a member of the ghost patrol watching over the real world. On the contrary, Mom urges Sherry to stay away from this mystery but, alas, even “spirit” Moms have only so much control. Besides, Sherry and her friends have been innocent victims of this crime.

To better understand, here’s the synopsis:

This third mystery about fast-thinking sleuth Sherry Holmes Baldwin is perfect for tweens and teens who love investigating with heroines they can relate to.

What’s better than a sleepover? A sleepover with makeovers! Sherry and her friends have an awesome time with eye shadow, glitter, and more hair products than a salon. But when the girls wake up the next morning with serious skin issues, Sherry is freaked. Someone must have tampered with her makeup!

It turns out that the mall’s cosmetics kiosk has had lots of products returned by upset customers. Sherry is determined to get to the bottom of things. After all, she’s a bit of a crime-solving celebrity (well, at least in the spirit world). Ghost academies around the world are impressed by Sherry’s and her ghost mom’s skills.

And if anyone can solve a mystery involving mascara, it’s Sherry Holmes Baldwin.

Now view I So Don’t Do Makeup book trailer that showcases the storyline.

What Barrie Summy has done in this book is to have Sherry and her friends put aside their differences to work toward a common goal of solving the crime! Indeed they use their common sense, research and technological skills, along with bravery and commitment, in order to succeed. Talk about empowerment and enhancing preteen self-concepts…not only for Sherry, but for her fans!

The author admits she admires Sherry’s tenacity, especially when things don’t come easily for her, the character refuses to give up. As a Mother of four children, however, Barrie knows even the best child isn’t perfect. In fact she’s not afraid to reveal Sherry’s flaws — a few being a lack of preparation for schoolwork combined with a degree of thoughtlessness for a teacher. As an adult this scene upset me, while the author hopes it makes young readers “feel a little uncomfortable and encourages them to evaluate their own behavior in a similar situation.”

The bottom line is that as much fun, character-building, and outwitting adults scenarios as there are in these tween mysteries, there are also important lessons to be learned. Well beyond the glitter and glamour products of I So Don’t Do Makeup is a basic wholesome tale of preteens respecting the value between right and wrong, then doing their best to have justice served.

I So Don’t Do Makeup is available now and by remembering last week’s post, Guest Barrie Summy and Her Middle Grade School Fans, both girls and boys love this series…especially during summer vacation days!

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Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away one copy of Barrie Summy’s
I So Don’t Do Makeup in a random drawing to anyone who comments only on this specific post. Comments left on other posts during the week are not entered into the contest. The deadline is NEXT Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winner to be announced here in NEXT Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return NEXT Thursday to possibly claim your book.

Guest Barrie Summy on Her Middle Grade School Fans

May 13, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Guest Posts

[Barrie Summy (I So Don’t Do Mysteries, I So Don’t Do Spooky Ages 9 – 12) added to her Sherry Baldwin mystery series when I So Don’t Do Makeup was released Tuesday, May 11, 2010. And, although the author does bookstore readings/signings, she also visits middle grade schools. In today’s guest post, Barrie shares what inquiring tween readers want to know.]

First off, thank you, Larramie, for inviting me to guest post. I always enjoy a visit with you!

With I SO DON’T DO MAKEUP just out on May 11, I have several school visits planned for over the next few of weeks. Even my first Skype visit! Ack.

BarriieclassWhat can I tell you about school visits? They’re very, very fun! Some of the most interesting people in the world hang out at schools! It feels very grown up to get to go in the teachers’ lounge.

So, what kinds of questions do I get when I’m at a school? Well, a little of this and a little of that. Let me share some with you.

Question: What was your favorite book growing up?
Answer: I totally wimp out on this because I can never limit myself to just one book. My favorite picture book was AND TO THINK THAT I SAW IT ON MULBERRY STREET by Dr. Seuss. I loved loved loved Nancy Drew. I was especially partial to THE HIDDEN STAIRSCASE and THE PASSWORD TO LARKSPUR LANE. My other favorite book was A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith.

Question: Can you count to ten in French? [Note: Barrie was born and raised in Canada.]
Answer: un, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, six, sept, huit, neuf, dix.

Question: If you could be a character in one of your books, who would you be?
Answer: Probably Sherry so that I could be the star and solve the mystery. Plus, she’s braver than me. Although I wouldn’t mind having perfect hair like Amber. And I’d kind of like to be super smart like Junie. But if I HAVE to choose just one, it’s Sherry.

Question: What is your favorite color?
Answer: It was green for years, but I think it’s changing to purple.

Question: Could you please write a book called I SO DON’T DO ROMANCE or I SO DON’T DO SPORTS?
Answer: Seriously, these are the two most common book titles students suggest. Something else I’ve noticed: fourth graders make more title suggestions than any other group.

Question: Is Josh in the next book?
Answer: Yes

Question: Could you please use my name in one of your books? But don’t make me a pet or a villain.
Answer: Maybe. I hear some great names at schools. And would you possibly be open to having your name used for a cute puppy as opposed to a snake?

Question: What do you do when you get writer’s block?
Answer: Change. If I’m writing at home, I go to the coffee shop or library. I take a break from writing and hop on the treadmill or go on a walk with Dorothy the Dog. The whole time, I repeat to myself, “Do not panic. Do not panic.”

School visits are a two-way street. The kids ask me questions. I ask them questions. I like to know what they’re reading in their spare time. What they’re reading in class. What books they like; what books they don’t like. Who’s interested in becoming a writer. How the writing program works at their school. I’m quite the nosy visitor!

When I first started doing school visits, I was nervous. Now I just look forward to them!

***Author Barrie Summy is hosting a giveaway of her fun mystery series! One BarrieGPGrand Prize winner will receive autographed copies of the three books in the series, I SO DON’T DO MAKEUP, I SO DON’T DO SPOOKY, and I SO DON’T DO MYSTERIES, plus a tote bag and t-shirt! Three lucky runners up will win an autographed copy of I SO DON’T DO MAKEUP and a t-shirt!

To enter, send an email to (note: no apostrophe!) with the subject line “Pick Me!” In the body of the email, include your name and email address (if you’re under 13, submit a parent’s name and email address).

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Announcement: What a wonderful turnout for these two book giveaways and I truly wish you all could win, however… THE winner of Meredith Cole’s Dead in the Water is Lillie H (AliseOnLife).


The Book Vixen is the winner of Joëlle Anthony’s Restoring Harmony. Congratulations!

Now if you’ll both please email: diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address, the books will be sent out promptly.