Books That Changed Me–2020 Spring Edition @BetteAStevens @NonnieJules @sharrislaughter

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Spring came early this year in the Northern California foothills, and we even had a few small fires during our driest record-setting February. The only rain that month came in the very last four hours. Yet, winter is paying a visit this week with over 2.5 feet of snow. Still, the birds have returned, including our gentle cooing dove, dogwoods are preparing to bloom, and soon the bumblebees will grace the lavender flowers. When the forest awakens, it is full of beautiful possibilities, like life. Spring is a magical place in time, much like the books I read. Books not only entertain me, but move me, or change my perception. Here are my spring picks in no particular order.


It amazed me that Haikus could tell a story like this! My poetic introduction to Maine has fueled my imagination of a place I want to explore. Each season offers a beautiful vision through Ms. Stevens carefully crafted Haikus.

My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons

by Bette A. Stevens

“My Maine” is a fantastic collection of nature haiku. Going through the seasons, I would think I’d found my favorite one, but I hadn’t because they were all good. It was impressive with the limited wordage of the poems that so much information came across. The pictures added more depth to the words, and I enjoyed learning some new details along the way. This is an excellent blend of poetry, photographs, and facts about Maine. If you love nature and poetry, you will enjoy this book. I highly recommend this!


So much is packed into this coming-of-age, short story. It’s very relevant for the times we are living in and a lesson to look deeper than a designer label or skin. But there was a very dark side of hatred that was portrayed. I hope that ugliness disappears from our society, and we learn to see the soul.

NO PEDIGREE: A Really Short Story

by Nonnie Jules

“No Pedigree” is a short story able to convey so much in a few words. It tackled difficult subjects, including racism and poverty. Baylee was thrust into an elite high school where her mixed-race left her shunned and cruelly treated in a world of designer clothes and attitudes. Her mother worked hard to make ends meet, giving her daughter a good example of how not to give up. Baylee’s strength was the center of this story, especially when she suffered through a horrendous attack. Karma came to mind as it all played out to a satisfying ending. This was a well-written short read that I highly recommend.


I became Catholic at nineteen years old. There are periods in the Church that make me question that decision at times. Racism is one of those ugly parts I have a hard time absorbing. There is another part of me that is more hopeful. This book teaches us about the past but opens our hearts to the future.

Our Lady of Victory: The Saga Of An African-American Catholic Community

by Shirley Harris Slaughter

I love history and what we can learn from it.”Our Lady of Victory: The Saga of an African-American Catholic Community by Shirley Harris Slaughter is exactly that–history we can learn from.

Ms. Slaughter has written a fascinating reflection not only of the Catholic Church but racial issues within it and the surrounding community in Detroit. Not only did the author show the Church through her own family’s history, but the book covered many well-documented backgrounds from the parishioners that attended the Church, the Priests, and Nuns. Included were pictures giving the reader a full insight as to what happened in the rise and fall of this parish.

Ms. Slaughter showed us a past in which we can improve upon. Our Lady of Victory: The Saga of an African-American Catholic Community” fills a void in history that I was unaware of was missing. For anyone who has an interest in history, religion or the African-American experience. I highly recommend this book!


NOTE: I was silent for a few days. My power and landline were down during a powerful snowstorm. Kind of living the storyline I’m finishing up editing–minus the killer:) I will try to catch up the best I can. You were all missed!

Stay safe while embracing your inner child this spring by reading a fantastic book! D. L. Finn

30 thoughts on “Books That Changed Me–2020 Spring Edition @BetteAStevens @NonnieJules @sharrislaughter”

  1. So glad you got your power back, Denise. I’ve been hearing about the snowstorm you had on the news. Two of the worst blizzards my area of PA ever had came in March. I hope all of that white stuff clears out quickly for you, especially given tomorrow is the first day of spring!

    I’ve read Bette’s book of Maine Haiku and really enjoyed the seasonal look at the Pine Tree state. Looks like you got a lot of good reading in!

    1. March can be pretty bad here, too, Mae. Although the worst storm that left us in the dark for week was in November. I really want to visit Maine even more after Bettes book. Yes, been able to get some reading done during outage, including your wonderful short:)

      1. I saw your review on McDoogal. Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
        And I guess any early November snowstorm is as bad as a late March one!

  2. I’ve also read Bette’s My Maine. I agree–it changed my thinking. The beauty of haikus applied to Maine was dramatic.

    1. I never would have thought you could write a book and tell a story like that before Bettes in Haiku! I have to get to Maine someday:)

  3. D. L., thanks so much for including Baylee’s story here. How awesome to know that it moved you in that way. Thanks also for taking the time to review it. 🙂

    So glad your power is back on. We’re living through some scary times right now – we don’t need the power going out on us, too.

    1. The story really moved me which is why I had to add it to this list:) I hope it gets many readers!
      I admit not knowing what was going on without any power or phones was a bit stressful. Then getting it all back and knowing was equally stressful…lol.

    1. This last storm was something. Been a while since we’ve been hit with this much snow. Still need more just not all at once. Does make for good reading though:)

  4. Ever thanks for the wonderful inclusion of My Maine in your awesome line-up, Denise. It’s an honor, my friend. Shirley’s memoir is a must-read and I’m looking forward to reading Nonnie’s short story this week. Stay safe, warm and healthy, my awesome author friend! <3

    1. Your book had to be here, Bette:) What a unique way to show us Maine through your eyes. Yes, Shirley’s book is a must-read just like yours:) I know you’ll enjoy Nonnie’s story. Thank you, Bette. You stay safe, warm, and healthy, too xo

  5. Hi, Denise! Thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts and these fabulous reviews. Congrats to Bette, Nonnie and Shirley! Have a serene, safe and happy weekend! <3 xo

  6. Denise, I saved this review in my inbox to get to later. We went to the grocery store to stock up on food and I actually had some free time once I got back home; so decided it was time to clean out my inbox when I ran across your email. I was surprised to see my name among your reviews this time. I’m glad that you appreciated the history of my catholic community because its now gone. Someone sought me out on my OLV facebook page and we met for lunch. She was related to one of the priest in the book and was so excited to meet me at Starbucks and ask questions. So this first book is being kept alive one way or another. I’m glad I found RRBC and wonderful members like you who keep the conversation going.

    Thank you so much and sit tight through this pandemic.

    1. Hi Shirley! I hope you found all you needed at the store. My husband has been the one out searching for us, since I was snowed in and then not feeling well. It took him three stores to find everything to suit both of our diets. I read your book a while back and of course loved it and i agree it needs to be kept alive and read by more. It had to be on this list, though, because of that. It is a book that will change a reader. That is really cool you got to met a relative of one of the priests at Starbucks. Stay safe xo

  7. These are lovely reviews, Denise. I’ve been meaning to read Bette’s book, your review makes me want to start now 🙂
    Hopefully March goes out like a lamb.
    Stay safe!

    1. Thanks, Jacquie:) I know you will enjoy Bette’s book! Yes, going out like a lamb would be nice. You stay safe, too.

    1. Thanks, Joy:) I know you will enjoy each of them for different resons! Happy you stopped by.

    1. Yes, we’ve had a lot of spring breaks with snow here. I agree with you hoping spring stays around now. Thanks:)

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