Book Reviews – Small Town Life

Those Kids From Fawn Creek by Erin Entrada Kelly (Out 3/8/22)

This book, for the middle grade age range, is about a class of twelve in a tiny Louisiana town, and their reactions when a thirteenth class member arrives in town. Orchid comes across as mysterious and urbane as she talks about her past in Paris and New York City, and her presence has a positive effect on nearly every group of kids in the class – until she has a run in with one of the popular girls. Will Orchid win over her enemies? And is she really what she seems? Find out this March!

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir (Out 3/1/22)

All My Rage is a book for teens (though very much enjoyed by this adult) about a Pakistani family living in a small desert town. Salahudin has a lot of problems in his life. His mother has just died, and his father is an alcoholic who leaves his son to run the family motel. Salahudin’s best friend, Noor, also has her problems – she wants to attend college and become a doctor, but her uncle wants her to stay behind and run his liquor store while he goes to university. Facing certain financial ruin, Salahudin starts to sell drugs – starting with his mother’s painkillers and progressing to heroin. Meanwhile, he has to keep his dealing from Noor as he realizes that he was mistaken in turning away her romantic advances the previous year…After a school bully sets off a series of events that leads to Salahudin being busted, both kids have hard choices to make. This book is wonderfully paced and the characters are so vivid, I nearly cried at the end.

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Book Review: Anybody Here Seen Frenchie?

Anybody Here Seen Frenchie is a wonderful, wholesome, emotion laden story for middle grade readers about a boisterous girl named Aurora and her best friend, a non-verbal child named Frenchie. The two friends have been inseparable all through elementary school until this year, 6th grade, when they are put into separate classes. Aurora gets caught up talking to her new classmates one day and doesn’t walk Frenchie to his classroom as she typically does – and then Frenchie goes missing!

Told from the viewpoints of Aurora, various adults in Aurora’s life, and Frenchie himself, the mystery deepens as to his whereabouts and why he left his classroom. Aurora feels terrible, but with the support of her small rural Maine town, she learns the power of community. I loved this book because of the pace of the story combined with the love that everybody has for Frenchie, depicting a world where neuroatypical children are honored as they are. (Out February 15, 2022)

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Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese

It has been a long time since the last Reading Goals update. Rest assured, I have been reading and working on those goals! I hope to have a more detailed update for you soon but today I want to tell you about an upcoming book I read recently- Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese!

Back in middle school my friends and I watched the movie Sleepover. This movie chronicled a parentless night of mischief. This adventure seemed fun but not the kind of shenanigans I would want to get up to. Wild Ride by Keith Calabrese, however, is EXACTLY the kind of shenanigans I would love to get up to.

Charley and Greg Decker’s grown-ups are out of town and Charley has an amazing night planned for her and her brother: milkshakes and movies. When the car Greg isn’t supposed to be driving gets impounded, a series of interconnected events and people begins to unfold. 

There are so many things I loved about this book! While Charley and Greg have a fairly large age gap (Charley is in middle school and Greg is headed off to college soon) they are very close. There is genuine care in this relationship from both of them. At times, Charley could be a bit of a brat (for lack of a better term), however this is not only developmentally appropriate but as she gained more insight to what was going on with her brother she was able to gain empathy for him and act in a more understanding manner. Brat of course is not the proper term as she was only acting on the knowledge she had at the time; with more knowledge came more understanding.

Not only was there an incredible sibling relationship but the friendships were wonderful! The characters were distinct and had their own personalities that worked well together. Characters that were different were accepting of one another as friends for who they were and not judged for their personality differences. This actually made them a highly effective team as they navigated the night.

Each of the characters experienced significant growth throughout the story. There were important life lessons embedded in the story. Calabrese skillfully incorporated these in without talking down to readers or taking the reader out of the story.

As heartfelt as this book is, it is also just a plain fun adventure! I highly recommend this story to really anyone- not just children. 

This book is set to be released as a hardcover on February 1, 2022. Hope you pick it up and as always, Happy Reading!

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Podcast – Footnotes, with Caseen Gaines and Aseelah Shareef

Episode Link:–with-Caseen-Gaines-and-Aseelah-Shareef-e184muv

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This week on our podcast Lines from Loganberry, Aseelah Shareef of Cleveland’s Karamu House Theater interviews author Caseen Gaines (@caseengaines) on his new book Footnotes: The Black Artists Who Rewrote the Rules of the Great White Way. They discuss the story and legacy of the groundbreaking 1921 musical Shuffle Along, the first African-American Broadway hit, and exactly how the creators behind it became forgotten in the mainstream pop-consciousness.

Purchase Footnotes from Loganberry online at:

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Podcast – Reflections on Cancer Survival, with Penny Casselman and Jackie Acho

Episode Link:–with-Penny-Casselman-and-Jackie-Acho-e17oeqn

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This week on our podcast Lines from Loganberry, we are hosting interviews with cancer survivors Penny Casselman, author of How To Get A Free Boob Job, and Jacqueline Acho, author of Currency of Empathy: The Secret to Thriving in Business & Life. Local Voices manager Miesha Headen asks how their experiences with cancer changed their lives, and what being a survivor means to them.

Purchase How To Get A Free Boob Job from Loganberry online at:

Purchase Currency of Empathy from Loganberry online at:

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Book Review: Stolen Focus by Johann Hari

If you’ve been wondering why your ability to focus has been declining over the years, this is the book for you! Hari goes into the many facets of focus, including the fact that there are multiple valuable ways to focus, and the many factors that have led to progressively worse attention spans ever since the beginning of the Industrial Age. He is very balanced in his research, and notes where there are conflicts between different studies, so the reader is left to draw their own conclusions. I personally learned that there are many societal factors affecting attention beyond the attention economy of social networking, and that there are ways to combat these factors, if only enough people band together to demand changes (if we can focus long enough to do that). Paying attention to this book is attention well spent! (Out January 25, 2022)

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2021 Author Alley: Nonfiction Day, Saturday, August 21st

Author Alley is Loganberry Books free annual event where readers can walk around tables to meet the region’s best writers, buy their books, and get personalized signatures. Writers will read portions of their books throughout the day. It’s a day of literary entertainment!

Saturday, August 21, 2021 from noon to 4:00 p.m. at Loganberry Books at 13015 Larchmere Boulevard in Shaker Heights, OH.

Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. That’s what the featured writers for Author Alley nonfiction day will tell you. Come to Loganberry Books to meet and talk with Brandy Schillace, author of Mr. Humble & Dr. Butch, Derf Backderf, author of Kent State and My Friend Dahmer, Betty Weibel, author of The Ohio Literary Trail, and Laura DeMarco, author of Lost Cleveland.

Lou Barett

LGBTQ+ author, publisher, and Cleveland favorite, Lou Barrett, will be present to sign her regional bestseller, the Breakup Book: Essays on Queer Breakups.

Artists and Graphic Arts. Visit Scott Kraynak, author of The HeART of Cleveland, Scott MacGregor and Gary Dumm, makers of Fire On the Water, and Ted Sikora, illustrator of Tap Dance Killer.

Memoir. Learn essential parts of Cleveland’s troubles with social justice in Trying Times by Terry Gilbert and Carlo Wolff. Get inspired to achieve your dreams in Janet Wolanin Alexander’s At Home on a Horse in the Woods. Read moving stories of overcoming trauma in Cris Harris’s I Have Not Loved You with my Whole Heart and Reverend Rachel Hollander’s From Here to There.

Ohio History. Ohio Heists by Jane Anne Turzillo will give you your true crime fix. Relive the social justice mission of Father Dan Begin in Kathy Ewing’s Lead Me, Guide Me. Crack a smile with Marjorie Preston’s joke book, OH! That’s Funny 101 Hilarious Ohio Jokes. Dig deep into Ohio history in Laura Peskin’s comprehensive index of Cleveland stuff, Deep Cover Cleveland.

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2021 Author Alley: Fiction Day on Saturday, August 14th

Author Alley is Loganberry’s free annual event where readers can walk around tables to meet the region’s best writers, buy their books, and get personalized signatures. Writers will read portions of their books throughout the day. It’s a day of literary entertainment!

Saturday, August 14, 2021 from noon to 4:00 p.m. at Loganberry Books at 13015 Larchmere Boulevard in Shaker Heights, OH.

Saturday, August 14th is fiction day, the largest program of the summer with an outstanding line-up of over 20 notable adult, teen, and children’s book writers. In fiction, this year’s featured authors are New York Times bestselling author Paula McLain, Wall Street Journal bestselling author Abby Collette, and Alex DiFrancesco whose most recent book, Transmutation, garnered a glowing review in The New York Times Book Review. The list is jam packed with regional celebrity authors — all in one place!

GENRE FICTION: Get spooked. Solve a mystery. Fall into a fantasy. This year’s writers cover all cover the genre favorites of horror, mystery, fantasy, and science fiction.

Sara Dobie Bauer, This is not a Horror Movie

Sequoia Bostick, Vagabond Comics

Jeffrey Keiper, In the Wheelhouse

Dana McSwain, Roseneath

Kate Norris, When You and I Collide

Victoria Perkins, Star Riders: The Twelve

D.M. Pulley, No One’s Home

Marie Vibbert, Galactic Hellcats

Laura Maylene Walter, Body of Stars

CHILDREN’S LITERATURE: Find fun, beautiful, and upbeat children’s literature from northeast Ohio’s best writers of children’s literature and graphic artists.

Jason Lady, Super Problems

Terri Libenson, Truly Tyler

Tricia Springstubb, The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe

Karly West, The Scholarly Banana Presents Fitcher’s Bird: A Classic Fairy Tale from the Brothers Grimm

Carol Wulff, William, The What-If Wonder On His First Day of School

LITERARY FICTION: For the serious sort of people, find novels which aim to provide insight that creates a stronger understanding of the world and of the human condition. 

Patricia Averbach, Resurrecting Rain

Eric Coble, Swagger

Alex DiFrancesco, Transmutation: Stories

Susan Petrone, The Heebie-Jeebie Girl

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2021 BIPOC Author Showcase on Saturday, August 7th

Author Alley and the BIPOC Author Showcase is Loganberry’s free annual event where readers can walk around tables to meet the region’s best writers, buy their books, and get personalized signatures. Writers will read portions of their books throughout the day. It’s a day of literary entertainment!

Saturday, August 7, 2021 from noon to 4:00 p.m. at Loganberry Books at 13015 Larchmere Boulevard in Shaker Heights, OH.

Loganberry’s BIPOC Author Showcase is the only book fair of its kind- promoting diversity and inclusion in the literary arts- in northern Ohio through an independent bookstore. The BIPOC Author Showcase offers the reading community a unique opportunity to meet and discuss with authors who identify as black, indigenous, and people of color. Loganberry is proud to host authors representing the black, LatinX, Asian, biracial, and indigenous communities.

The featured authors are:

  • Echo Brown, author of Black Girl Unlimited, was published by Macmillan. The New York Times praised Black Girl Unlimited as “a guidebook of survival and wonder.”
  • Barbara Essex is an ordained minister with the United Church of Christ. Her first book, Bad Girls of the Bible published by Pilgrim Press, has been continuously in print for 20 years.
  • LatinX poet Felicia Zamora published with the prestigious University of Iowa press. She is the recipient of the 2020 Iowa Poetry Prize and the 2018 Benjamin Saltman Award from Red Hen Press.  

The event will have a special presentation of really cute children’s picture books and middle grade books with positive representations of children of color. 

Throughout the day, we will celebrate the long poetic and lyric traditions of diverse artists with scheduled poetry readings on our Literary Arts stage. Scheduled poets are: Andrea Doe, Randall Gregory, Latonya Fenderson-Warren, Siaara Freeman, Michelle R. Smith, R.J. Voice, Anthony Webb, and Camille Jean Welsch.

Here is a complete list of BIPOC Author Showcase participants and links to purchase their books from Loganberry Books, your neighborhood independent bookstore:

J.D. Belcher, The Inescapable Consequence

Margaret Bernstein, The Father’s Walk

Echo Brown, Black Girl Unlimited

Angela Crook, Maria’s Song: Fat Chance Series, Book 3

Monique Donaldson, In Too Deep 2

Barbara Essex, Bad Girls of the Bible

Dr. Kate Anderson Foley, Ida Finds Her Voice

Nikki Gregory, Lotus the Vice POTUS

Valencia Joy, I Met a Guy

Fadi Karim, The Robin’s Story

Nikki Cheree, Beyond 2020: Life and Business Lessons on Thriving Amidst a Pandemic

Konnie Peroune, The Escapentures of Esperanza Mae Windborne

Michael Samulak, A is for Africa

Jyotsna Sreenivasan, These Americans

Cori Sykes, The Clouds Will Catch Me

Chante Thomas, Sean and the Book Cures

Mary Watson, Wisdom Warriors

Felicia Zamora, I Always Carry My Bones

Ticana Zhu, Dynasty of Summer

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Loganberry Books 15th Annual Author Alley and BIPOC Author Showcase

Loganberry Books 15th Annual BIPOC Author Showcase and Author Alley — Ohio’s largest book fair and author readings organized by an independent bookstore — is back in August 2021. In-person, rain or shine, the lawn beside Loganberry Books will be transformed into a lively literati camaraderie, featuring talented authors who hail from Northeast Ohio. Participating authors will be present to sell books, sign copies, and chat with readers.

For COVID-19 safety, Loganberry divided Author Alley into four dates:

Saturday, August 7th, noon – 4:00 PM: Author Alley BIPOC Author Showcase

Thursday, August 12th, 4:00 pm to 8:00 PM: Broadsides & Ephemera Poetry Extravaganza

Saturday, August 14th, noon – 4:00 PM: Author Alley FICTION

Saturday, August 21st, noon – 4:00 PM:  Author Alley NONFICTION

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