Book Reviews: Law and Disorder

Correction: Parole, Prison, and the Possibility of Change by Ben Austen

Correction is a sorely needed look at the current criminal justice system and how the idea of reform has gone by the wayside, in favor of mere retribution. Millions of Americans are currently in prison or under parole requirements. But who gets to make parole in the first place? This book details the lives of men trying to get parole, and the many obstacles in their way from the parole board. How much punishment is enough? This book goes into great detail about why parole isn’t what it seems to be. (Out Now)

Grace Under Pressure: My 27-Year Journey of Injustice, Resilience, and Purpose by Jimmie C. Gardner

I read this book in two sittings, which is very unusual for me. Jimmie was falsely convicted for sexual assaults and given a life sentence. His trust in the justice system was misplaced; he ended up being in prison for 27 years for a crime he didn’t commit, due to racism and false evidence. The whole time, he maintained that he was innocent, but found it hard to find a lawyer that actually listened to him. This book is thrilling and sad all at once. (Out May 7, 2004)

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Middle Grade Kids Stand Up for Themselves

These two upcoming novels for Middle Grade readers are amazing examples of how kids can fight for justice!

The first book I would like to talk about is called Free Period by Ali Terese. Two goofy prankster friends broke the final straw with the principal, who assigns them to a group whose goal is to make the school better – run by their enemy! Right away, they latch onto the fact that there are no period products supplied in the school bathrooms, and undergo a campaign, with various results (and more pranks). Can they team up with the rest of the group members to change the school board’s mind? Read and find out! (Out 3/5/24)

Another good book, especially for those who like a sci-fi flavor. Paige is autistic and finds out by snooping in her dad’s e-mail that she has a brain implant that is supposed to help with her symptoms. She is horrified at the lack of privacy, and goes out to find the other kids with an implant. The company involved wants to put out implants for everybody, and the kids are determined to stop them at all cost. Can they beat the adults at their own game? (Out 4/16/24)

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In the Night Garden by Carin Berger

I simply love In the Night Garden by Carin Berger. I am someone who has wandered outside in the starlight, or listened to the night sounds through an open window, and the story and images bring those moments back to me so perfectly! The collage-illustrations are gorgeous, and the words are charming, perfect and delightful! I can’t wait to read this book to my grandchild. It is a picture book both for the child and the adult reading it.

Publishes July 4th, 2023!

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Book Review: Where You See Yourself by Claire Forrest

Where You See Yourself is an upcoming YA book that is so amazing that I read the whole thing in a day (very rare for me). It has a lot in common with other teen books: girl crushes on boy, wonders if she should just go for it, and deals with difficult administration at school. There’s the prom, college admissions madness, and stepping into adulthood. The catch is, she is disabled and that creates a whole new element of difficulty to all of these experiences. Her challenges are well-described, without sounding preachy. If you want an uplifting story of love and following your dreams despite obstacles, this book is it. (Out May 2, 2023)

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Book Review: The Myth of Normal by Gabor Mate

This book is, quite simply, encompassing and amazing. I can’t think of any topic remotely related to health that did not make it into this book. I have loved all of Mate’s books so far, and this one I am finishing in record time, even though it’s a long one at 500 pages. I can’t wait to see where his thinking will go next. He goes through the most current research on stress and trauma to show that there are many sources of illness besides the most obvious looking ones. He also recounts near-miraculous remission of certain illnesses once these stressors are addressed. It really makes one think about how not only upbringing, but our culture itself, contributes to stress and eventually illness in the body. Best book this year so far! (Out now)

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Book Review: Pomegranate by Helen Elaine Lee

Pomegranate is the story of a woman’s journey once she is released from prison, which is affected by her Blackness and her Queerness. Ranita, a former addict, tries to work recovery principles in her life while moving on from her prison sentence. But in one way, she cannot move on – she has a lover who is still behind bars whom she writes to. Will she ever contact her lover again?

This book is a very moving read, and I learned a lot in the process. The author takes many difficult topics and creates a message of real hope in the end. I was inspired by Pomegranate to think more about what stories that people who struggle might be hiding. A worthy read for anyone wanting to see someone overcome obstacles that seem insurmountable. (Out April 11, 2023)

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Botticelli’s Secret

Less artistic analysis, more the colorful history of a provenance, “Botticelli’s Secret” offers short, vivid biographies of Dante and Botticelli before embarking on a tour of the turbulent fate of the latter’s Divine Comedy sketches, a tour which also functions as an examination of the fluctuating artistic tastes of recent centuries. Most interesting for its demonstration of the link between Botticelli’s modern vogue and his appeal to both sides of the Victorian “Medieval vs. Renaissance” debate. — Elijah Blumov

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Get Ready for Author Alley 2022!

It’s that time of year again! The time of year when Ohio authors flock to the alley at Loganberry Books! That’s right, Author Alley is back!

This year Author Alley will be spread out over the course of 3 Saturdays in August and will feature local authors, writers who are native to Ohio, and authors who write about Ohio! Each Saturday will run from 12:00 PM- 4:00 PM.

Saturday, August 6 is the BIPOC Author Showcase

This day will feature authors who are Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color across a number of literary genres, nonfiction, and poetry! This day will also feature readings from authors and poets.

Saturday, August 13 is the Fiction Showcase

This day will feature both general and genre fiction. There will be a mixture of adult, young adult, and middle grade writers! The CSU Poetry Center will be featured as well!

Author Dan Choan will be here on this Saturday!

Saturday, August 20 is the Nonfiction Showcase

This day will feature nonfiction works as well as a range of illustrated works, including children’s picture books!

Stay tuned for the full list of authors that will be at Author Alley! We look forward to seeing you in August!

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Book Review: What’s Coming to Me

Summer will be here soon enough (even if it was below freezing last night), so I have been reading some books that are coming out this summer. What’s Coming to Me is my favorite so far. This is a YA book that will most appeal to older teens. Seventeen year old Minerva feels stuck on her own in a dead-end town, which she’s dying to escape. Her mom is in the hospital, and she’s been kicked out of school for fighting. What she does have is a job at the local ice cream stand, with a loathsome boss and not much nicer co-workers – aside from the boy that she’s crushing on. After the ice cream stand is robbed, Minerva learns of a long standing rumor of loads of cash hidden at the ice cream stand, and, along with her similarly poverty stricken neighbor, she goes to great and often illegal lengths to find it. This novel is full of scary twists and turns, as well as the requisite falling-in-love plotlines beloved by YA readers. Great reading whether you’re looking for a romance or a thriller. (Out August 2022)

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The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R.M. Romero

The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R.M. Romero

The Ghosts of Rose Hill is so beautifully written I had a physical reaction to the words as I absorbed them. As I read this book, I carried it with me everywhere just to be near it. Romero writes so beautifully and immersively that I felt like I was walking on the streets of Prague along with Ilana- the fact that I also love roses deepened the connection to Rose Cottage and Rose Hill. 

Ilana beautifully embodies so many teenagers trying to balance their parents’ wishes but also following their dreams. She’s battling real world struggles then along comes a monster from her parents’ bedtime stories to tempt her. Though our ancestors are not from the same places, the way Ilana draws on the strength and example of her ancestors is something I really related to.

I loved this book and cannot wait for teens to get to experience this story on April 13, 2022!

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