From the Poetic to the Factual: Two Book Reviews

After a lifetime of New Year’s resolutions … and often failing to keep them, these last years I’ve steered away from making any.

However, one aspect of blogging weighs heavily upon me, my failure to review as many books as I would like, particularly indie-published ones. If my TBR pile was a real heap of books they would fill a room, I fear; luckily many are kept safe on my Kindle, hidden from immediate sight but never forgotten. I’m determined to share these books with you on my blog, a couple every month and I am happy to start with the two below.

Ironically, these are paperbacks, one a poetry book kindly gifted to me by Bette A. Stevens. The other by Mary Smith caught my interest as an unusual factual book about her local town.

“My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons” by Bette A. Stevens

‘My Maine’ is a gem of a poetry book celebrating the state of Maine through 150 haikus. Bette A. Stevens captures the essence and heart of Maine with wonderful and evocative poetry that flows easily from one to the next.

Divided into four seasons each page is accompanied by a photograph taken by the poet, all stunning, reflecting the brimming beauty of her words. I am in awe how the poet has not only managed to bring alive the grandeur of the landscape, its mountains, pine trees and lakes but also writes with skill and a sense of humour about the minutiae of life in the state!

The writer’s keen observation of life is evident throughout and her passion for nature and the wildlife is extraordinary and she conveys this to the reader with exemplary skill.

This is a book I treasure and which I’ve read many times. I’m absolutely captivated by the ‘story’ of Maine, a state I feel I can now rightly call, every so slightly, ‘My Maine’!

Whilst reviewing the book I jotted down many of my favourite haikus. Here are just a couple to tempt you!

“Firewoods heaped high
Mesmerizing hearth aglow
Cozy reading nook.”

Bette A. Stevens

“Silently – Snowfalls
Reign over field and forest
Supremely sovereign.”

Bette A. Stevens

Rating:        5 out of 5 stars

Available:    Amazon US  Amazon UK


Read more about Bette at Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

“A-Z of Dumfries: Place-People-History” by Mary Smith & Keith Kirk

In her latest book Mary Smith, along with fellow writer Keith Kirk, takes the reader on a fascinating and absorbing alphabetical tour of her local town, Dumfries. Situated in the South West of Scotland, people have lived in the area for at least 3,000 years and it has been the home to many including the famous poet Robert Burns. Through the 26 letters of the alphabet, the book explores the places, people and history of Dumfries and it offers incredible insight to a town that I fear is often overlooked.

Some of the entries depict traumatic events as the reader learns about Robert Burns’ wife Jean Armour, who had nine children but only three survived her. Superb details and plenty of colour photographs ensured that I was hooked by the various entries and I immediately felt as if I had myself visited amongst other places Robert Burns museum and the world’s oldest working Camera Obscura.

I am astounded by the level of research and the momentous task of collecting all the information, collating and writing the book. It is presented in a skilled yet easily accessible and entertaining manner. The reader is captivated by both the larger historical events and people as well as ordinary objects such as fountains and parks, all with their own unique story.

As I finished the book I felt as if I’d travelled around Dumfries and seen its gems for myself … and I hope to do so in the future. I will be a highly informed visitor as a result of this book! Meanwhile, it has made me intrigued about my town, which I know I take for granted and I am now eager to learn more about it!

Rating:        5 out of 5 stars

Available:    Amazon US  Amazon UK

Publisher: Amberley Publishing

Read more about Mary at Mary Smith’s Place

I hope you’ve enjoy reading these reviews which I intend to become a regular monthly feature. Have you read any of these? Are you tempted by the reviews to look at any closer. As always, I look forward to your comments & discussion.

167 thoughts on “From the Poetic to the Factual: Two Book Reviews

  1. Pingback: From the Poetic to the Factual: Two Book Reviews — Annika Perry's Writing Blog - karanpc

    1. Thank you, Julie! 😀 They were two such special and unique books … real treats! Oh, my attempt to bring my TBR pile under control is failing miserably as some new books have already found their way onto my kindle and bookshelf! 😀 Happy Reading, my friend … and think what a wonderful problem this is!

  2. Lovely reviews of both books and while I never have seemed to gel with creating Haiku’s my self, I love to read others brilliant creations that say so much in so few words, So Congratulations to Bette poetry I so love,and one day my master to say a lot with only a few words LOL… 😉
    As for Mary and Keith’s book, I love visiting historic places and buildings seeing the architecture and how its developed over time and finding about who lived where and what they did.. And as you know Annika Scotland is a place I love to visit..
    So this book must have been a labour of love to collect and put together..

    Many thanks Annika for sharing both…
    Have a beautiful day All of you as February unfolds .. 🙂 ❤
    Much love… ❤

    1. Sue, thank you so much for your lovely comment and I’m enjoying talking all about books!😀📖 I am with you on haikus, have tried to write them but never happy with my efforts. You have a wonderful free poetic style which suits your thoughts and feelings perfectly. It does not mean one cannot appreciate other’s gift and through Bette’s poems I feel as if I’ve visited Maine, albeit far too briefly! I hope to gone one day!

      Oh, Scotland is magical and mesmerising… and I realise its history is far richer than I had realised! Mary and Keith’s book is definitely a labour of love and the more I read the more in awe I was of the work involved! A rewarding and fascinating read … I’ll have to see how much I remember one when I visit Dumfries!

      Wishing you likewise a February filled with joy of sunlight, enjoying the recuperative energy of nature after the long grey winter! It is pure bliss to hear the birds out in the woods, heralding longer, warmer days! Love & hugs xx ❤️

  3. Both great reviews, Annika! I have Bette’s book on my Kindle, but like you, time is a precious commodity that there simply isn’t enough of. All the best in your goal of reviewing more books!

    1. Mark, time, or lack thereof, seems to be a common problem for all people! As you say, a precious commodity and a friend once, when asked by her son what she wanted for birthday present, replied time with him! The most special and important gift!

      I’m sure you’ll enjoy Bette’s book when you have a chance to read it! So glad you enjoyed the reviews, Mark!

    1. Donna, it’s been wonderful to read both of these books and a delight to share here! 😀 I love the ensuing discussion that follows as well! Hope you’re having a lovely weekend!

    1. Jan, I too enjoyed how they were so very different – this was not deliberate rather how I ended up reading them! There is however a common factor of their love for their town/state! 😀

  4. What a tremendous response to your reviews, Annika. Thank you again for such a wonderful review of Dumfries A-Z – and thanks to everyone who has left such kind comments about it.

  5. Pingback: From the Poetic to the Factual: Two Book Reviews ~ Annika Perry | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  6. If we could get to all the books we want to read, I think we would have to live forever. They keep coming out with more books than one can possibly read in one lifetime. It’s fun to read the reviews so I can add some and forget about others. I will always leave a good review of a book I have especially enjoyed and say nothing if not. We don’t all share the same sense of what we enjoy. My reading fare would not interest many others. I hope you find enough time to keep posting your reviews though. I had to give away much of my library and go to more digital as I was concerned about the flooring giving out here. Thank goodness for digital. 😉

    1. Blimey, Marlene! 😀 You must have had a library or two of books and understand that ebooks are a lot safer for the house! Reviews mean so much to authors, which I hadn’t appreciated until I became one myself and people like you diligently leaving them is a real boon! With this post declaration, I have now committed myself to reviewing much more and I have already chosen my two books for next month. Hmmm… I am now intrigued by what kind of books you like to read! Here’s to books always fulfilling our lives!😀

      1. I read a lot of quantum physics, neuroplasticity and epigenetics. Once in a while a soft fluffy cozy mystery to take my mind off this crazy world. I’ve had to get rid of so many books as my daughter brought in three bookshelves of her own to add to my 6 when she move in to help me. We often read the same books so that helps.

        1. Wow! Marlene, I am in awe of your reading material … and no wonder you need the odd cosy book! The subjects are fascinating and my son is just beginning to be interested in neuroscience … are there any books you could recommend for a ‘beginner’. He’s 19 and enjoys complex books – reads them for fun and to relax! How lovely that your daughter has such similar interest in books and it must be a joy to discuss them with her.

          1. I’ve read everything I can from Gregg Braden, Bruce Lipton, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Lynn McTaggart and more. Most have Youtube videos to get people started. Many I buy the hardcopy and then the audible. My search has been about restoring my health but it’s led me into the new wave of understanding the world. I watch any and all science documentaries as well. I’m a little geeky. 😉 My children are middle aged (late 40’s early 50’s) and voracious readers as well. My goodness, I’m getting old. 🙂 I wish your son luck in finding his way. Neuroscience is FASCINATING!!

  7. Thanks for these reviews, Annika. I don’t read a lot of poetry, but I have always liked the simplicity of haiku and love these examples from Bette’s collection. And the history of Dumfries sounds interesting. The years of history represented in a place like that!

    1. Barbara, like you, I don’t read much poetry but love Bette’s poetry featured on her blog and the haikus are profound yet succinct. The book flows easily and enjoyed how it told the story of Maine through the seasons, beautiful, fun and mesmerising. I have so many of the haikus jotted down in my quote file, these were just two of the favourites and so glad you liked them too! As for Mary’s book, Dumfries has an astonishing varied history and the book weaves the distant past and the modern perfectly through this format.

  8. I’ve read My Maine. There’s a beauty to how Bette talks about her state that couldn’t come from anyone who didn’t live and love there. I really enjoyed it. I also like the idea of the AtoZ of Dunfries. Clever.

    1. Jacqui, you’re right about Bette’s love for Maine shining out and you can tell this is by someone who has lived in the State and knows it on a deeper level. Just beautiful. The ‘A-Z’ format of Mary’s book hooked me from the beginning … a very clever and fun format which works brilliantly in this book!

  9. Anonymous

    Two excellent reviews, Annika. I’ve read My Maine and found it enchanting.
    Mary and Keith’s book sounds intriguing. Congratulations to all of the authors!

    1. Congratulations indeed! 😀 Thank you so much for reading and your comment. How lovely that you’ve read My Maine and enchanting is the perfect word to describe it! Mary and Keith’s book is wonderfully unique and fascinating! It’s a joy to read such a variety of books!😀

  10. I’ve never heard of either of these books, but both sound intriguing. The haikus you shared here are a delight. I don’t know a thing about Dumfries but clearly this is the book to read to correct that. Thanks for the reviews.

    1. Ally, I’m so glad you enjoyed these reviews of two such different books. I had so many haikus jotted down to share but thought best limit it to two! I ageee with you about Dumfries, I knew nothing about it before but now feel very well-informed! I love the stories behind everything!

    1. Merrill, exactly! 😀 It is fascinating how they are so different yet concentrated on the home areas … just shows the love for their places and a desire to share with others! So many of us feel as we should review more, me too! This is my attempt at catch-up but I’ve also promised myself not to stress about it! Enjoying the books is first and foremost! 😀

  11. They both look and sound amazing, Annika. Congratulations to Bette and Mary and Keith. I know what you mean about reading and reviewing books, especially by independent authors, but we’ll keep trying to read as many wonderful books as possible! Thanks for the recommendations!

    1. Olga, they are both such exceptional books and thoroughly enriching and engrossing reads. It helps to know others feel the same about reviewing … but also feel that reading and enjoying the books come first! Thank you for your lovely comment and thoughts! 😀

      1. Thank you so much, Jennifer! 😀 Having never read haikus before I started blogging I am now a huge fan of this poetry form; a collection of them as in Bette’s book is wonderful and uplifting. It captures the State perfectly!

  12. Two wonderful reviews Annika. Poetry truly has the power to transport us doesn’t it and Mary’s book also sounds fabulous. Thank you for sharing these wonderful books and authors. 💕

    1. Thank you so much, Miriam! 😀 I agree that poetry has to power to immediately transport the reader onto higher levels, just like music! Reaching straight into one’s heart and mind. Reading Bette’s book I was swept away and looking up felt cheated that I was not in Maine! 😀 Both superb books and a joy to share here! xx

  13. Hi Annika, nice to see Bette’s My Maine, one of my favorite books here. Your review is as lovely as her poetry. Well deserved Bette!
    I have read one of the books of Mary, she is a wonderful writer. Thanks for sharing these reviews.

    1. Balroop, it’s an honour to read and share these books … both which have touched me deeply yet in different ways. I gave my heart to Maine as I read Bette’s book – totally absorbed by her poems and photographs. Mary’s book was superb and I loved learning about Dumfries, taken in by the various places, people, their stories. I too have read some of the other works by these gifted writers and I’m impressed though not surprised the skill they exhibited in this different genre. Thank you so much for your lovely comment! 😀🌺

  14. Hi Annika, I just now looked up the term, “Indie Author.” I have heard the term, although I did not know what it meant. The definitions say creative director of your books, from concept to completion and beyond. Always learning something new especially around here.

    I read mostly on my Ipad (elibrary), Kindle app and my Kobo. It is still a special gift to receive a hard cover or paperback book.

    I have been newly reacquainted with poetry this past year and a half since I began blogging. I appreciate how a great deal of imagery and emotion is conveyed in few words. I love your phrase, Annika, “the minutiae of life.”

    Wonderful reviews, tempting me to add these two books to my reading list.💕

    1. Erica, I have tried hard to explain to others about being an indie author and here you found a perfect and succinct explanation: ‘The definitions say, creative director of your books, from concept to completion and beyond.’ Exactly! I have now saved this for future use! Thank you for looking up the term and I must admit in the beginning I was baffled by the phrase.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed these reviews and are tempted by them. Bette’s book sounds perfect for you as you are enjoying poetry books! I usually read on Kindle too, for ease of lugging so many books around and for my eyes as well. However, as you’ve found, it is special with physical books at times and especially so in this case. Both very generous with photographs which are not visible on a normal paperwhite kindle.

      Aww … I’m smiling how you like my words and I do feel often that the big important moments in our lives are in the minutiae … probably why I’m fascinated by stories and where many see the inconsequential I see the core of life!

      A joy to chat about books here, Erica and wishing you lots of Happy Reading moments!😀❤️

      1. I had not given Indie Author any thought until reading your post, Annika. Thank you! Your post did remind me of ‘Coffee Table Books.’ I don’t hear this term much nowadays. Especially books with beautiful photographs. I totally get it where in the minutiae is the core of life. You have a gift with words, Annika. 💕 This is not new news. I look forward to further sharing.💗

    1. Laura, I was immediately taken with the format of Mary’s book and pre-ordered it as soon as I read about it on a blog! It works brilliantly and the presentation is such that it flows easily from one to the next, the photos supporting the text. There were gems of personal information that made this so much more than just an information book!

      So glad you’re tempted by the reviews … thank you so much for reading and your comment! 😀

      1. Just curious, are these all Amazon self-pubbed books? It seems more likely since traditional publishers tend to NOT want to go the extra mile and insert relevant photos and/or design elements that enhance the delivery of the ‘story’.
        Maybe I missed a post, but did you work with a publisher for your sweet book?

  15. Annika! I love Bette’s writing, drawing and photography. My Maine: Haiku Through the Seasons is a beautiful poetry. I went to Maine for a short trip in the winter and love my visit.
    Congratulations to Mary and Keith. Their book sounds very interesting. I enjoy reading about facts.

    Thank you for sharing your excellent reviews, Annika.

    1. Miriam, how wonderful that you’ve been to Maine so recently! 😀 Did you have a chance to visit Bette? Was there a lot of snow? From her poems, I imagine metres of it and love how she captures the beauty, fun and slight frustration with it all … and the cosy indoors activities. It’s lovely to come across another fan of her work and must admit you sent me back to the book. I hadn’t quite realised that Bette also drew the beautiful illustrations separating the seasons. I love them!😀

      Factual books are a joy to read and require a different mindset than that for poetry or fiction … and once I’ve absorbed the facts I find myself drifting away into a daydream of what that time period was like etc.

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment … it’s been a delight to share the books here! 😀

      1. Annika, my visit to Maine was not recent. It was before I started to get to know the wonderful authors and blogger like you. I now keep in mind that when I travel to places where the authors reside, I would like to visit them. Bette endorsed my poetry book and wrote a warm review. She has been very supportive of me.
        I just bought The Storyteller Speaks and look forward to read it. I’m trying to catch up after two and a half months of allergic reaction. 😦
        I taught in a self contained classroom for fourteen years before went into administration. By teaching all the subjects, I developed many interests. 🙂
        Hope all is well with you! 🙂

        1. Bette is a real gem and wonderful friend to myself and so many here! How wonderful that she endorsed you book and was such a support … and I’m not in the least surprised, she is a truly special lady!

          Ahhh … I had no idea you’d bought my book, The Storyteller Speaks. Thank you so much and I hope you enjoy it very much.

          I’m sorry to read you’ve been ill recently and wish you a speedy recovery.

          Miriam, it’s been lovely to get to know a bit about you … and I look forward to looking at your books! Take good care of yourself! Hugs xx

          1. She agreed on proofreading my manuscript, read it overnight, sent it back to me the next day with endorsement. I met such gem less than the count on one hand in my life.

            I’m doing well and look forward to visit my granddaughter next month and the birth of my daughter’s second child in March. I’ll be a busy grandma!! ❤

          1. You’re welcome, Bette. One other person who helped me with dedication was my dissertation. Without his timely responses, I couldn’t have finished in time to get my doctorate degree.
            It’s true that only a few people who have been tremendous helpful to me. ❤

    1. Betsy, me too! 😀 I have always wanted to visit Maine, now it is like an intense craving after reading Bette’s book – I really hope to visit one day. Dumfries has never really been on my radar before I must admit but so look forward to visiting in the future. Both wonderful and enriching books which I highly recommend.

  16. Great reviews of two books about places. It is obvious both authors love their home and this love is reflected in their writing. I plan to visit Dumfries one day soon and, you never know, I may get to Maine one day as well.

    1. Darlene, how exciting that you are visiting Dumfries soon … Mary will be busy! 😀 I think the local tourist board should recognise her gift for attracting tourists to the area! The love for their home town/state does shine through as you rightly say, a love that is shared in these remarkable books. Fingers crossed you can travel to Maine one day as well … is it far from your home in Canada? (I am imagining popping over the border but it’s probably not that easy!?)

    1. Jo, how lovely that you’ve been to Dumfries and the surrounding area – I bet you would have visited quite a few of the places! I already have a few ideas for my local town but not sure I’d ever write a whole book. Perhaps a few posts though …😀

  17. Thank you for these reviews, Annika. I added the book titles to my TBR list. I enjoy reading about places either as part of my travel preparation or my daydreaming about a visit. I hope to visit Maine and Dumfries some day.

    1. Natalie, I love that planning of a trip, daydreaming of expeditions … and then it’s exciting when these go slightly array and different, even more exciting! 😀 I too have Maine and Dumfries on my list of places to visit … the latter is easily reached and I long to see the Fall on the East Coast of America! Thank you so much for your lovely comment and enjoy the books when you come to read them – and hope you can visit the two places soon! 😀

  18. Oh, Annika, what a lovely surprise. I didn’t know you were reading A-Z. I’m delighted you enjoyed it so much – and look forward to showing you around when you do manage to visit. Robbie read the first one, Secret Dumfries, and when she came to Scotland last summer I loved being able to take her to some of the places she’d read about. Since writing A-Z, I’ve actually been learning how to operate the camera obscura.
    Bette’s book My Maine sounds beautiful – like a photograph album with poetic captions.
    Thank you so much.

    1. Mary, I’ve loved reading your book and I actually pre-ordered it so it arrived on the release date! 😀 My husband has now borrowed my copy and thoroughly enjoying it! I had no idea before today that you’d written another book about Dumfries and how wonderful that you had the chance to show Robbie around last summer. Thank you so much for your kind offer to show me some of the sights when (not if!) I visit – that would be great! I look forward to it! You’ll have to show me the camera obscura … I was trying to explain it to my mother the other day as I talked about your book and failed miserably!

      Oh, Bette’s book is beautiful and I love your description of it as ‘photograph album with poetic captions’ – just so but with a lot of superlative haikus! 😀

        1. Mary, I took the like button off my reply years ago as I had some very strange people/companies going through and liking comments. I didn’t want my posts or comments on them to be associated with these people. I asked WP if they could take the like off the replies and they said there was nothing they could do and they suggested I take the like button off the replies. I was sad to do this but seemed the only solution alas.

  19. Anonymous

    Your reviews of Bette Stevens’ ‘My Maine’ and Mary Smith’s ‘A-Z of Dumfries’ are superb.
    Your reviews are of such high quality that I almost feel I have read the books.
    With Bette’s I have but my appetite is also increased for Dumfries. It would be fantastic to see all this and visit Burns birthplace.

    So much to comment on but I will suffice with thanking you for all good books you put my way.


    1. Bless, Miriam, thank you for your amazing comment! 😀 I am over the moon that you enjoy my reviews so much … I enjoy writing them but always suffer a bit of ‘angst’ whether they convey the book just as I want to, whether my feelings and thoughts about the book are reflected accurately! Your wonderful comment puts my mind (a very busy one!) at rest!😀 Bette’s book is special and I’m happy you’ve read it and I’m glad you’re tempted by Mary’s book. It definitely makes one eager to visit Dumfries!😀

      Happy Reading, my friend … and Happy Writing! Your poetry is always uplifting and thought-provoking! xx ❤️

      ps. It must be a special week with three Miriams on my post – a beautiful name! xx

  20. Dear Annika,

    Thanks so much for ‘gifting’ me and My Maine a spotlight review on your lovely blog! Mary’s and Keith’s book sounds fascinating–love the A-Z concept.

    Blessings and love across the miles…


    1. Bette, the pleasure and joy was all mine! 😀 Your book is heavenly, I’ve enjoyed reading it many times, pausing to absorb the beauty of the words and images. You do know that I now have to visit Maine – no question about it! 😀

      Mary’s book is brilliant and interesting … I was taken with the stories behind the people and places.

      Love & hugs xx ❤️

  21. Lovely reviews, Annika! I haven’t read either of these, but love Bette and Mary’s blogs. We travelled through Maine many years ago and I remember how beautiful it was and the kindness if the people. Scotland has been on my bucket list ever since my daughter went there with a school trip and brought back truly amazing photos!
    Will add these to my TBR list 🙂

    1. Jacquie, what wonderful stories from the two very different places. I always imagine Maine to be one of the most beautiful states in America, even more so after reading Bette’s book! 😀 How lucky to have travelled through it … and I’m not at all surprised the people were so kind! Bette is the epitome of warmth, generosity and kindness.

      Oh, your daughter must have had an amazing time in Scotland as a student – the scenery is stunning and dramatic. Did she understand the people? I was at the University of St. Andrews and loved the location and town. After reading Mary’s book I am keen to visit the west coast and Dumfries.

      Enjoy both books when you have a chance to read them and thank you so much for your lovely comment! 😀

  22. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday 28th January 2020 – #Photos Jennie Fitzkee, #Recycling Carol Taylor, #Reviews Annika Perry | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

    1. Robbie, it was only whilst writing the review that I realised Mary had written another book about Dumfries. Did you write a review for this one? I would like to read it! The ‘A-Z’ was a treat and I loved the ‘story’ aspect to so many of the places and their names. I will appreciate my own surroundings much more now! Oh, Bette’s book is heavenly and one I will read many times, dipping into it often! Many thanks for your lovely comment and hope you’re having a good evening.

    1. Thank you so much, Sally and I’ve loved reading these books … and they’ve become popular with other family members who are also dipping into them! 😀 Thank you so much for sharing on the blogger daily and I appreciate you sharing the reviews on your Cafe updates. xx

  23. Annika- great reviews of two books worthy of reading! I have read Bette’s book and agree 100% with your review. Now I will have to get the other book. Tell me, have you by chance read The Penny Poet of Portsmouth(New Hampshire US)? Recommended by a friend, I found it an enjoyable read and change of pace from the heavier topics of late. We would need several lifetimes to read all the super books available! Enjoy the reading and writing process.

    1. Mary Ann, I totally agree with your sentiment about needing several lifetimes to read all the super books! At times I feel daunted by all the books I want to read and other times I consider myself lucky to have such choices! 😀 I’m glad you felt the same about Bette’s book and it brought the magic of Maine alive for me! I wanted to visit before I read her poetry … now that emotion is even stronger!

      Oh, I hadn’t heard of The Penn Poet of Portsmouth but wow, it sounds incredible and I’ve noted it down. The final sentence of the blurb struck a chord: ‘ It is a meditation on what writing asks of those who practice it and on the nature of solitude in a culture filled with noise and clutter.’ Happy Reading and Writing to you too … precious moments!

      1. Annika – Katherine Towler’s The Penny Poet of Portsmouth is filled with great ideas about writing and the nature of solitude. Being surrounded by noise and gadgets, we sometimes forget that we need alone time for ourselves. We tried to practice that with our two children as they grew up. It is best not to get young people over-extended with activities and thus allowing them no time to let their minds wander. Imagination thrives during these periods of solitude. Finding the balance in a busy world is challenging.

    1. Brigid, thank you so much! I’ve also read some of the other books by these authors and love how they master the different writing style of these books! Such wonderful and gifted writers indeed! 😀

  24. I’ve read My Maine, Annika, and also loved it. To me each poem was a snapshot and reading them together was like browsing a photo album, evoking wonderful memories of my time spent as a kid in Maine and New England. Mary’s books sounds so interesting. What a cool way to format the information and share a meaningful place. Thanks so much for the recommendation. Happy Reading, my friend.

    1. Diana, thank you so much for your poetic comment and I love how Bette’s book was like a photo album evoking personal memories of the state. Your time there added another powerful dimension to her poems. To me, I felt at times as if I was listening to an orchestra, so many of the poems linked to musical metaphors and I could hear the exultation through words!

      I was tempted by the format of Mary’s book as soon as it was released … a list with a difference and wondered what it would be like to read it! A delight and each entry so varied and informative. The personal touches to some of the stories had the writer in me wanting to know more, creating mental scenarios. Happy Reading & Writing to you too, Diana! 😀

    1. Jill, you are right about revisiting ‘My Maine’ and it’s currently living on the side of my desk and I’m enjoying dipping into it again. To try and escape the winter I’m reading the Spring and Summer sections once more!😀

      BTW, thank you so much for your wonderful review of ‘Oskar’s Quest’ – I couldn’t stop smiling after reading it and it means a lot to me!

      Wishing you a lovely week, my friend! hugs xx ❤️

  25. Thanks for these reviews, Annika. I’ve read ‘My Maine’ and agree with your assessment. Mary’s Smith’s book sounds like a labour of love and would reveal many interesting pieces of information.

    1. Thank you so much, Norah! 😀 ‘My Maine’ is a very special poetry book and one that I’ve already read many times and I’ve shared many of the haikus with family and friends who love them!

      You are right about ‘A-Z of Dumfries’ being a labour of love … the more I read, the more in awe I was of all incredible research it required and then to write this in a book, without overloading the reader but yet retaining the heart of each ‘story’ of the place, people or history! A brilliant and unusual book …I can see this format becoming very popular!

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