Fun summer reads for indoor days

Fun poems that stir some introspection, and the tale of a girl dealing with family and magic set in India.

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“Real Rhyming Poems” by J.M. Allen; published in April 2022 by Kelsay Books

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"Real Rhyming Poems"

Local poet J.M. Allen offers some relatable and oftentimes insightful poetry in “Real Rhyming Poems.” The collection is both light, entertaining and deep. Allen’s rhyming poems, touching on topics from neighborhood frustration to childhood memories, are often cheeky and sometimes quaint. Allen has created a collection of poems with the power to relate to many readers. This short collection is a fun read and proves rhyming poems are not just for kids.

J. M. Allen
Contributed / J. M. Allen

J.M. Allen is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has worked as an electrical engineer for three decades. He is a longtime Rochester resident and parent. He enjoys writing rhyming poems, many of which have been published by the Post Bulletin.

“Real Rhyming Poems” is available at the Rochester Public Library and online through Amazon and Kelsay Books (

“Rea and the Blood of the Nectar” by Payal Doshi; published in June 2021 by Mango and Marigold Press

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"Rea and the Blood of the Nectar"

The story focuses on precocious Rea, a girl about to turn 12, who lives in a small village in India with her mother, grandmother and twin brother. She is at an age where she doesn’t always want to listen to what she is told to do and has the spunk to take care of things herself. She is suspicious her mother and grandmother are keeping secrets from her. It doesn’t help that they really are not telling her everything that is going on. Even her own twin brother tries to hide from Rea his plans for a secret midnight game of cricket with his friends – a birthday celebration.

Rea, being strong-willed, curious and determined to not be left out, makes her own plans to join the fun. When tragedy strikes the family, Rea goes to further lengths to find the truth. As she takes matters into her own hands, revealing the truth along the way, she is thrust into an adventure she never expected.


Doshi writes to keep the reader in suspense and hungry to solve the mystery. Her descriptions are vivid with great attention to detail. She touches on many themes throughout the book – especially the complexities of family, friendships and the emotions of the preteen age. The resilience of self is also very apparent and important for the target audience of this book. The cultural and setting details shared are also fantastic for all readers.

This book is a suspenseful mystery with fantasy and magical elements tied in for ages 8 to 12 years old. My fifth-grader really enjoyed this book – as did I.

Payal Doshi
contributed / Seven Hills Communications

Payal Doshi earned a master’s degree in creative writing from The New School, New York. She was born and raised in Mumbai, has lived in the United Kingdom and the United States and currently resides in Minneapolis with her husband and daughter. “Rea and the Blood of the Nectar” is the first book in the Chronicles of Astranthia series and is her debut middle-grade novel.

“Rea and the Blood of the Nectar” is available at the Rochester Public Library and online through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Mango and Marigold Press (

Book Nook is a feature that highlights books from Minnesota authors. Got a recommendation? Email us at with the subject line "Book Nook."

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Opinion by Kelsey Hawley
Kelsey Hawley is a Jill-of-all-trades and as newsroom clerk, supports many facets of the office. She grew up in Rochester, where she continues to make her home with her two daughters, a few fish, a snail and a hamster. Readers can reach Kelsey at 507-285-7734 or
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