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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Overall, April and May were pretty good reading months: quantity was down but quality was up. I am so excited to share with you what I have been reading!
Kind of a Big Deal
What happens when we peak in high school; When we are on top of the world- well the high school world at least. Naturally, we try to take on the rest of the world. That is exactly what Josie Pie does; while technically still in high school she auditions for Broadway. Unfortunately this is not her big break. Josie takes a job as a nanny which sends her across the country where she can hide out and lick her wounds in private. Her life has stalled until she finds a magical bookshop. When she opens a book, she is instantly transported into the story. With each new story she learns something about herself, her life, and where she has found herself.
The concept of being drawn into a book was immediately intriguing to me- I would love to be transported into my favorite series, there are also series I would want to avoid *The Hunger Games* (I do NOT volunteer as tribute). The idea that stories are meant to reflect our lives and teach us something is true, if portrayed a little on the nose in this story. Still it was fun to travel through different worlds and see different genres play out so theatrically. The twist at the end, while not huge or out of left field, was not easily predictable but still added a depth to the story that increases its impact.
Overall, I enjoyed this story and it has inspired an idea for a future blog post- stay tuned!
I have heard nothing but rave reviews of Courtney Summers’ other book, Sadie, but when I picked it up the content matter was a little too heavy for me. When this book was announced, I kept it on my radar to pick up. This book centers around a cult. Judging by my previous posts you can probably guess I love stories about secret societies: this was a whole other level. We follow two sisters’ perspectives: one that was part of the cult a few years ago, the other that lost her sister to the cult in modern day. When a young man’s mysterious death points to the cult the younger sister begins an investigation that will change everything.
While I did not find this content triggering, I found myself on edge throughout the book. The persistent gaslighting made me very uncomfortable- which I think was the point so mission accomplished! Cults are not something I have much knowledge of or interest in so this was the first book I had read on the topic. If I am being honest this fictionalization teetered on too intense for me so a nonfiction account would likely be too much for me.
I do not give star ratings anymore (more on that at a later time) but if I did, I would not know what to rate this book. As a rule of thumb I love when a book makes me feel something and this book made me feel many things. Those things however were uncomfortable- not uncomfortable in a “my worldview is expanding and I am trying to process my new understanding of the world” sort of way more of a “I have pulled back the curtains and gotten a glimpse of something I’d probably rather not have”. I will definitely be reading more from Courtney Summers.
The Curie Society
It is absolutely no secret that women have been behind a number of advancements in many fields throughout history. It is also no secret that they haven’t always gotten the credit they deserve. Marie Curie- yes that Marie Curie- started The Curie Society to empower women in STEM. In this first installment we follow three new recruits into the society as they train and go on their first mission.
Many people are fairly surprised to learn that I studied Chemistry in college- I have zero aspirations to be a chemist and I am not using the knowledge I learned (except to understand my friends’ nerdy jokes). Why did I spend two years earning a minor in Chemistry? Honestly because I enjoyed it! Sure there were times that I struggled but I lived for the satisfying feeling of when things clicked and my whole world shifted as I incorporated what I had learned into various problems. The most fun however was when I was able to apply the concepts I knew to problems I had not seen before. The skills I learned in my General Chemistry labs and lectures also helped me see the world from a new perspective.
Why did I just spend a whole paragraph in the middle of a book review dedicated to my time studying Chemistry? Because the skills I learned in those courses are some of the same skills The Curie Society teaches- it was much more glamorous and exciting watching them do it when compared with all the time I spent at the library. I loved getting to watch as the characters’ worldview and ways of thinking expanded. I also loved going on adventures with them! I am so excited for the next installment!
I really cannot contain my excitement and love for this book! It was the May read for Not Ya Average Book Club (NYABC), Loganberry’s Teen Book Club. I am so glad I read this for the book club so I could gush about it with other people who enjoyed it as well! If you are interested, I will also do a post about our book club!
This is surprisingly one of the first books I have read based on Arthurian legend. Percy Jackson got me hooked on Greek mythology so I was happy to expand my reading into another legend. We meet Bree the day her mother has been killed in a horrible car accident. Bree then goes to UNC Chapel Hill for a pre-college summer program where she discovers the Legendborn. The Legendborn are the descendents of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table tasked with protecting the world. Over the course of the summer, Bree learns about this secret society and how her familial history is entangled with magic.
One of the strongest elements of this book was the diverse cast of characters. These characters were full of depth and nuanced. They were people that I would love to hang out with- well some of them at least. I appreciated that there was not tokenization in the diversity- each character felt like a whole and necessary person without whom the story would not have felt complete.
At first the length of this book intimidated me but I am so glad I picked it up. The story was rich and nuanced and was able to highlight generational trauma without being too heavy to a point of distraction. When you pick this book up- and you definitely should- be aware that there is a table at the end that shows the bloodlines. This will help keep track of all of the characters.
I picked this book up because I thought my younger cousin would like it. We read it together and she enjoyed it! Fern is a unicorn and all she wants to do is code and to run her experiments in peace. The other unicorns don’t understand her and make fun of her. When the dance is in jeopardy and only Fern’s expertise and tools can fix everything, the other unicorns learn how cool math, science, and engineering actually are.
As someone who lives in the intersection of loving all things glitter and finding Chemistry fascinating, I appreciated Fern’s love of STEM. There is definitely subtext about individuality and what happens when someone breaks from the norm of their group but we will save that conversation for another day. I really enjoyed the art style of this book; it was fun and whimsical as a unicorn should be.
I am currently reading way too many books. I am easily distracted by two things: books and glitter. One book I am in the middle of is Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. I was speaking with a customer about how it’s taking me forever to get through because while I love it and I’m so drawn in by it, I know it is going to gut me. The customer reminded me that “…the best ones always do.” This is so very true but I always make sure to have balance in my reading so as not to burn out.
So far this year I have read 40 books. My list of books to read is growing so these reading updates may be longer in the future! I am looking forward to telling you all about what I am currently reading in another update soon! Have you been reading anything you want to gush about? Let me know in the comments and happy reading!
Secret societies- I am sure we have all heard rumors about secret organizations doing secret things behind closed doors that they are sworn to secrecy about. While I cannot confirm the existence of any real secret societies, I do enjoy reading about fictional secret societies. From sororities with a deeper purpose than sisterhood and philanthropy, to spies hiding in plain sight, to an afterschool club that is way more than it seems, these secret societies save the world quietly and without the praise we give The Avengers.
Gallagher Girls Series by Ally Carter
There is so much more than meets the eye at the illustrious Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. This exclusive, all-girls boarding school trains spies. Yes, each individual is technically a genius, however their strength and success depend on their bonds of sisterhood.
The Specialists Series by Shannon Greenland
A rag-tag group of teenage prodigies come together to go undercover. Each agent is chosen for their unique talent in their respective areas of expertise. There are plenty of bumps along the road as the young agents learn to trust each other and work together.
The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams
Saving the world from a different kind of evil than the two previous societies are Sitters- a secret society of witches tasked with protecting not only the kids they care for but also the world. Esme Pearl is thrust into this world with little preparation but fulfills her destiny with her signature flair and wit.
The Sisters of Kappa Rho Nu
The Ravens by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige
The Sisters of Kappa Rho Nu may look like your typical sorority girls but they are really an incredibly powerful coven of witches. A force deeper than their vows of Sisterhood bind them together: their magic. Only together can they stand against whatever tries to take them down.
The Curie Society
The Curie Society by Janet Harvey
Founded by Marie Curie- yes, THAT Marie Curie- The Curie Society serves as a secret organization dedicated to empowering women in STEM. This elite organization also protects the world from nefarious, rogue scientists.
This first installment in the adventures of the Curie Society was such a fun introduction to this clandestine world. I enjoyed meeting the characters and am excited to go on more adventures with them.
Which of these secret societies do you want to join to save the world? Personally I have been waiting on my letter from the Gallagher Academy since the fifth grade (fun fact, it came last summer! That is a story for another time though). If you could create your own secret society, what would it be for? Let me know in the comments what you have been reading recently! Happy Reading!
Recently I have read the brand-new Michio Kaku book, The God Equation. For those unfamiliar with Kaku, he tends to write books about the cutting edge of technology and science, his specialty being physics. This time, he goes back to the start of the modern scientific quest to discover answers to the biggest questions of the universe – where we have come from, and what the ultimate fate of the universe will be – and gives a historical account of this quest up until the present day. There are high level physics concepts mentioned throughout, but beautifully explained – no need to remember your high school or college math for this book (thank goodness). He also explains well the conflicts between various schools of thought over the course of time and their ultimate resolution, which I found interesting in itself. The conclusion? We’re still looking for an ultimate theory of everything – but we may be closer than we have ever been to finding it. I found this book engaging and it was not long or wordy at all, so it was also a quick read. Highly recommended to anybody who likes to think about the bigger picture.
I have so far finished 27 books this year. Life got in the way during February so my reading slowed down a bit. I am happy to say I am back to my regular pace. I stepped out of my comfort zone and enjoyed what I read! Below are some of the stand out reads.
The Cousins by Karen M. McManus
My first read of the year did not disappoint. This book was my exact reading taste- a YA thriller! We follow three cousins summoned to their grandmother’s island resort for the summer. This was the perfect way to start my reading year! The twists and turns were amazing and the story was so gripping. I am not sure if there will be a sequel but if there is I will absolutely pick it up!
The House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
I had heard nothing but rave reviews about this book so I tried to manage my expectations. There was no need; I laughed out loud, I cried, and I spoke to these characters (yes, I frequently aloud to book characters). I loved all of the characters so much, part of my tears were the fact that our time together was ending. I am not a big romance fan but the romance in this story was perfect. The ending wrapped up everything so well but I want to go on more adventures with this cast of characters.
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
This was my first adult fantasy after mainly reading Middle Grade fantasy. Because this was my first adult fantasy it was definitely a shift. I was intrigued throughout but the last sentence had me sitting up, screaming, and demanding the sequel. Needless to say my mother did not cough it up. I actually Buddy Read this with a friend! I cannot wait for the sequel.
Leave the World Behind- Rumaan Alam
This speculative book left me shook. I was highly on edge throughout my read in the best way. Alam created the perfect atmospheric setting infused with so much tension, I couldn’t put the book down.
This book was a departure from what I typically read but the synopsis was too intriguing to not pick up. I am glad I took a chance on this book because it was a great experience.
Ambitious Girl- Meena Harris
I read this book to my two year old cousin. I felt it was good to add to this list because even though it is a children’s book it is filled with great reminders for women of all ages
Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston
I cannot praise this book enough! This was a book I needed when I was younger but reading it now is good too. Alston seamlessly weaves social commentary into the mythical world in an accessible and relatable way.
The story was fast-paced and fun. I was thoroughly entertained throughout the entire book. Even though I am an avid mystery/thriller consumer and trust no character, I was still surprised. This may be middle grade but I recommend it to anyone!
City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Set in Edinburgh, this tongue-in-cheek paranormal fantasy was so much fun to read! Cassidy’s life is quite ironic- she can see ghosts but her ghost hunting parents cannot. Cassidy falls into a life or death quest while her parents are filming their ghost hunting show.
I really want to go to Edinburgh now. While I do not particularly believe in ghosts, a city filled with that much history sounds amazing. I really appreciated how atmospheric this book was. I felt very immersed in the world.
Who Killed Mr. Boddy? Based on the game Clue
I used to read this series with my brother and we were obsessed! I was weary of revisiting this series but it did not disappoint. Ironically, I have never played the game this series was based on.
This book does a great job crafting mysteries that are thought-provoking but not so difficult that the target audience- or even adults- can’t figure out. The chapters are good lengths for being digestible and not overwhelming. The book of course reads fairly juvenile but that didn’t bother me as I was mainly reading it for nostalgia. Overall, I enjoyed the nostalgia of this book and will likely continue the series just for a fun and quick read.
When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole
I definitely really enjoyed this book. I had times when I was uncomfortable with how close to home this hit. It dredged up a lot of feelings I had during the summer of 2020 when the Black Lives Matter movement was really ramping up. Even though it was uncomfortable it was also really validating to know that I was not the only person feeling this way. I think this story was ~scary~ because a lot of things that happened in the book happen in real life. Things like microaggressions and fetishizing are real things BIPOC individuals face. I have heard complaints about the “twist”/big reveal. It really worked for me. I did not see it as so far fetched that it ruined the story. It was enough of a stretch that I was reminded it was fiction even though it felt so real.
Girls Who Code: The Friendship Code by Stacia Deutsch
I love this book so much! I wish I had had this book when I was younger. Not only are we learning the importance of hard skills- specifically coding- we are also learning the importance of interpersonal skills. The breakdown of coding language was so accessible! It did not take me out of the story at all- it actually enhanced my experience!
This book was also good from a story standpoint. The mystery was obvious to me because I read way too many thrillers and am leery of everyone and everything. However, if I were within the target age range, it would have been engaging without being too challenging.
I really connected with the main character, Lucy. She was a bit egocentric at the beginning- which to be fair was developmentally appropriate- but grew a lot over the course of the book. I really appreciated the integration of everyones’ interests- this emphasizes that a person can have many interests and these can coexist. This is a lesson that often takes time to learn.
I am in the middle of plenty of books so the next recent reads should be an interesting assortment of books. What have you been reading? If you have any recommendations, drop them below! Happy Reading!
As this month comes to a close I have been thinking about the women I have read about that have had an impact on me. When I started working on this post the list was way too long and it took a while to narrow it down but here is a list of some of the fictional women I have read about and admire.
Evie O’Neill from The Diviners by Libba Bray
High-spirited and headstrong Evie O’Neill is banished to New York City from a small town in Ohio where she discovers just how special she is. A bright, 1920’s feminist, Evie asserts herself into investigations around the city that have a paranormal elements to them. Not only is Evie a great role model but someone I would love to run around New York City with.
Janelle Franklin from Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
A student at the illustrious Ellingham Academy, Janelle Franklin is a character I very much see aspects of myself in. Passionate, driven, and a seasoned multitasker Janelle pours everything into what she does. Whether it is building a Rube Goldberg Machine or corralling grumpy Nate to go to the Halloween dance, Janelle shines as a role model.
Kiera Johnson- Slay by Brittney Morris
Coder Kiera Johnson believes there should be safe spaces for Black gamers so she creates Slay- a place to celebrate the diversity of Blackness. When a teen dies in the real world as a result of the game Kiera must grapple with whether to step forward as the creator of the game. Kiera also faces situations many young black people face and acts as a role model for how to move through these situations.
Vivian Carter from Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Fed up with the extremely sexist culture of her high school, Vivian Carter starts a revolution through the power of zines. If you are wondering where you can find zines, there is a boxful in our Literary Arts room! Quiet but fierce, Vivian utilizes her strengths to make social change.
The Gallagher Girls from Gallagher Girls Series by Ally Carter
I could not make this list without including the characters from the series that shaped my child through young adulthood. I also could not pick just one of the characters from this cast. Cammie Morgan, Rebecca “Bex” Baxter, Liz Sutton, and Macey McHenry were the original squad. I wanted to grow up to have a group of friends like them; they were highly individual and still the best of friends. They were way ahead of the curve when it came to women supporting women.
I would encourage everyone to read about powerful women- real or imagined. Who were some of the fictional women that had an impact on you? Happy Reading!
“Many of the legal battles in this book speak to the long tradition of radical lawyering in the style of the great Clarence Darrow, based on the realization that eventual outcomes are not always determined by legal proceedings but rather by societal responses. The establishment cringes at this approach because the legal system takes pride in being untouched by outside forces, projecting a façade that a case should only be decided by facts and legal precedent, not public outrage or political influence. This rigidity is often hypocritical, because no one actually believes that politics are not at play in courts.” Terry Gilbert, “Trying Times”
I felt like scales fell off my eyes after reading Trying Times, the memoir of civil right attorney Terry Gilbert. If you think routine miscarriage of justice and police brutality just happen in New York City, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Terry and his co-author Carlo Wolff will shock you about history of systemic violence, inequality, and unfairness in the legal system right here in Cleveland, OH.
Trying Times discusses by name judges and prosecutors who obstructed justice. Evidence was withheld; testimonies were falsified; police raided the homes of peaceful protesters. It humanizes and remembers local revolutionaries, like Father Robert Begin, Art McCoy and Brother Diablo of the Black Unity House. They detail the struggles of the American Indian Movement in their battle for autonomy and against corruption in the United States government and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Trying times is essential reading for those who want to dig deep into the history of Cleveland from 1970 to present. This memoir is for legal professionals committed to the cause of justice and the ordinary citizen who desires to clearly see the machinery of systemic racism in Cleveland.
To purchase an autographed copy of Trying Times, please go to Loganberry Books’ online store or call Loganberry at 216-795-9800.
Loganberry Books was established in 1994 as an independent new, used and rare bookshop. Located in Shaker Heights, Ohio, we now feature more than 80,000 volumes and weekly events -- and a loud cat named Otis to greet you. For more information please visit our website www.loganberrybooks.com.