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D. D. Ayres. Irresistible Force. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2014.

irresistOfficer James Cannon is on a mission to find his missing partner. Bogart, James’s partner, was kidnapped a month ago, and James has a lead on his location. Even knowing that going out on his own could land him in trouble, James can’t help but confront the kidnapper when he sees Bogart come running out of a cabin in Lake Gaston, North Carolina.

Shay Appleton is a wounded woman. Dealing with an abusive ex who just doesn’t know how to let go has taken its toll on Shay. However, her adoption of a stray dog, Prince, and escape to a cabin at Lake Gaston have brightened her life – the fact that Prince will make a great watch dog is just an added bonus. This bright spot is threatened when Officer James Cannon, of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, shows up claiming that Prince’s real name is Bogart and that he is a trained police K-9. Faced with this threat, that is more painful than the thought of her ever-present ex, Shay has no idea what to do.

Shay’s reaction to losing Bogart touches James for some reason he can’t explain. When he realizes that Shay’s tale of Bogart being abandoned at a shelter is true, James decides to bring Bogart back for one night so that Shay can have time to say goodbye. James and Bogart walk into a scene that convinces James that Shay needs more than a guard dog. Shay’s abusive ex has found her and has shown himself willing and able to follow through with his threats.

As James and Shay’s lives intertwine, it becomes clear that Shay has more to fear than just her ex. Also, James may have to confront his own personal fears when it begins to look like Shay has stolen more than just Bogart’s affection – she may just have stolen James’s heart as well. When sealed records from Shay’s past are unveiled, will Shay trust James with her story? Is James willing to risk his reputation within the police force to protect Shay?

Irresistible Force is the first novel in a series about lawmen, their loyal K-9 partners, and the women they both fall for.

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Ayres, D. D., Mecklenburg, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Wake

Anola Pickett. Whisper Island. Springville Utah: Sweetwater Books, 2013.

whisperBecause her mother left when she was just three, Primmy Hopkins has grown up in a household of men.  Miz Lucinda, a neighbor, helped raise Primmy, but now that Primmy is twelve she is expected to perform the traditional women’s chores in the house that she shares with her father and her two half-brothers. Cooking meals, doing the laundry, sweeping–all this falls on Primmy’s shoulders.  But she doesn’t much like it, and she’s not very good at it either.  Her father reminds her that these are skills she should develop so that she’ll be a good wife and mother, and that’s something that Primmy doesn’t want to hear. Primmy doesn’t want that life–she wants to be part of the U.S. Life Savers Service, like her father and her brother Jacob.

But it’s 1913 and the Life Savers Service does not hire women. All the economic activity and much of the social life on the island are gender bound. Only when Primmy roams the beach with her pals Will and Emory does she feel free from the expectations of what she should do and should become.  An invitation from her mother to visit her on the mainland makes it yet cleared to Primmy what she does not want her life to be, but it takes an unexpected storm to show her–and the men in her life–what she can do.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Pickett, Anola

Melissa Marr. Made for You. New York: Harper Teen, 2014.

madeforyouEva Cooper-Tilling is the town darling of fictional Jessup, North Carolina. As the granddaughter of a prominent minster and a girl born into a family with wealth and status, Eva is very popular and above reproach to most of her peers. So, it is big news when Eva is the victim of a hit-and-run, and it’s even bigger news when evidence points to the accident being a deliberate act.

While in the hospital, Eva refuses to see anyone but her closest friend Grace. But during her stay, Eva runs into her old friend Nate and the two are soon on their way to redeveloping their old friendship, but with new feelings. However, Nate and Eva’s renewed closeness only seems to make the would-be killer even more upset. The bodies of Eva’s peers start showing up with messages to Eva.

A stalker-killer and amorous feelings for Nate aren’t all Eva is dealing with after the hit-and-run. Whenever someone touches Eva she receives a vision of their death. In order to avoid these flashes, she must initiate contact with the person before they touch her. Eva confides in Grace, who is skeptical, and in Nate, who believes her. When Eva realizes that the killer will continue to go after her peers to get his message across, she quickly decides to use her new ability to her advantage. Will she be able to discover the killer before he gets his hands on her?

Throughout Made for You, readers are provided with insights into the mind of the killer, who thinks of himself as “Judge.”  This tale is a great suspenseful thriller that will capture the minds of teenagers and older readers. Do you think you can figure out who the killer is before all is revealed?

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Children & Young Adults, Marr, Melissa, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

Charles Dodd White. A Shelter of Others. Peninsula, OH: Fiddleblack, 2014.

As they came into the foothills and later the mountains, the trees nudged in closer, attending him, constricting the passage into some form he could reasonably suffer.  So different than the unfamiliar world of the piedmont, a place that was crushed, dimensionless.  Here there was a grip and hold, a country with legacies not easily slipped.

So it seems to Mason Laws, returning to his home base in western North Carolina after a term in prison.  His wife Lavada and aged father Sam are here, but Mason isn’t sure that he wants to resume his life with either of them. Lavada has been living with the old man, juggling her work in a dinner with the increasingly sad and frightening work of keeping Sam cared for and safe while his mind slips away.

Mason choose first to bunk with his Cousin Ray-Ray rather than with Lavada and his father.  Soon he gets work and a place to stay and the space he needs to reflect on his life.  But Mason isn’t much for keeping his probation officer informed of his whereabouts.  The resulting intrusion of  law enforcement into Sam’s life, combined with Sam and Mason’s history and Lavada’s feelings of obligation to the two men, brings grief to the people in this taut, dark story.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Mountains, White, Charles Dodd

D. J. Molles. The Remaining. New York: Orbit, 2014.

theremaining“But a few – probably about a third – will keep fighting, even when their brain is in that state of denial. And if you’re still fighting then you are flexible. You have mental flex.”

Lee Harden is a Special Forces operative trained for the day the unthinkable occurs – the day the government shuts down. At the moment Lee and his German shepherd Tango are in a steel-and-lead encased bunker, located in the central North Carolina countryside outside of Angier, awaiting orders from Colonel Frank Reid, the commander of Project Hometown. As a part of Project Hometown, Lee is one of the forty-eight “Coordinators” stationed in bunkers in each of the states across the Continental US. Whenever directed into their bunkers, the “Coordinators” hear from Colonel Frank at a designated time every day. If forty-eight hours pass without contact with command, then Lee is to open the box containing his mission brief – this is “…the predetermined contingency plan given to him directly from the Office of the Secretary of Homeland Security.” The box contains information on what the situation will be like at the designated thirty day period of resurfacing. On July 5th, forty-eight hours have gone by and Lee must open the box.

A recording of Colonel Frank comes on outlining the impossible: Lee can tell by the sound of Colonel Frank’s voice, that he didn’t even believe what he was saying would come to pass. What the coordinators are dealing with is what scientists are calling Febrile Urocanic Reactive Yersinia or FURY for short. FURY is a plague and, since it is bacteria rather than virus, scientists are unsure of how it is spread. However, FURY has already shown “an extreme propensity for contagion,” and avoidance of contact with any infected person is advised. Early symptoms of infection are as simple as fever and overt salivation, but can also be as telling as the loss of some fine motor skills, and difficulty speaking. Once the plague progresses into illness stage, hyper-aggression and an insatiable appetite are most likely to take over, resulting in the infected feeding on their own limbs or anyone close-by. There is no cure for the infection at this time. Lee’s mission is to find survivors, protect them and work to re-institute order to the chaos that will have taken over at the fall of the American government.

Once Lee accepts the reality of the situation, he still retains unbelief in the extreme picture depicted by the recording and ventures out. Lee soon discovers that the reality is as bad as it was said to be. Quickly working past his denial, Lee fights for his life, for Tango’s, and for the lives of the survivors he encounters. Soon, Lee has gathered a small group and is on the way to join a larger collection of survivors. Along the way, he must fight to protect his group from the infected, and also from those who have taken advantage of the fall of the government and seek to establish their own rule.

The Remaining is the first novel in the popular series of the same title. Follow Lee Harden as he works to complete his mission, and save what he can of the United States of America.

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Coastal Plain, Harnett, Molles, D. J., Novels in Series, Suspense/Thriller

Emilie Richards. No River Too Wide. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin Mira, 2014.

noriverJanine Stoddard has spent years of her life trying to please her abusive husband Rex. In the early years of their marriage, she thought he would change, but then Janine switched her behaviors to try to avoid his rage. Later she tried to draw his attention, in hopes of protecting their children from the brunt of his wrath. Now that both kids are out of Rex’s reach, Janine has been preparing for the day when she could make her escape. Tonight is the night! Rex has been gone for a while and it looks like he won’t be coming back this night. With the help of the group, Moving On – a collection of lady truckers who help women get out of these situations – Janine is ready to run.

The plan is for Janine to go somewhere where Rex won’t be able to find her. However, Janine can’t resist the chance to make her way to Asheville, North Carolina to see her daughter Harmony and granddaughter Lottie.  Once Harmony has her mother back, she isn’t ready to let her go. Janine is not too keen on giving up their relationship herself, so she agrees to stay, but first, they need a plan. Taylor Martin, a close friend of Janine’s, stumbles upon their reunion. Taylor offers to help Janine, just as Harmony helped Taylor’s mother when Taylor was unable to do so. Taylor opens her home to Janine, who has now taken on the name of Jan Seaton.

Opening her home isn’t the only new adventure Taylor will be taking on. Another newcomer, Adam Pryor, will have Taylor opening up her heart as well. Nevertheless, Adam is keeping a secret that could destroy his and Taylor’s relationship, and tear apart Janine and Harmony’s mother-daughter reunion. Will Janine and Harmony be able to work on reconnecting with the threat of Rex still hanging over their heads? Will Adam share his secret in time or will he shatter all four of their lives?

No River Too Wide is book three in the Goddesses Anonymous series – a series filled with tales of betrayal, love, and the hope of forgiveness.

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Buncombe, Mountains, Novels in Series, Religious/Inspirational, Richards, Emilie, Romance/Relationship

Sam Mills. The Money Tree. New York: Xlibris, 1999.

moneyMitchell Rainey and his brother Lee are country boys.  They live outside of town in the forested mountains.  And they know those mountains–the birds, the trees, the ravines and gorges, the old trails, the best places to fish.  On the way back from fishing one day, Mitch’s dog Mica takes off.  When Mitch catches up with him, they are at a remote clearing along the riverbed. There, in the hollow of a tree, Mitch notices a plastic bag.  A bag containing $1,800.

That night, Mitch shares the news of his find with his older brother Lee.  Lee, a high school boy who has just gotten an expensive parking ticket, cannot believe his brother’s good fortune.  And because the boys are close, Mitch readily agrees to share the money with Lee.  Lee now has the funds to buy a car and new clothes that will help him shed his hayseed image and attract the town girl he’s been pining after.  Mitch only pines for better fishing gear, a deer rifle, and new collars for his dogs.

But is turns out that Mitch is sharing danger as well.  That $1,800 is drug money and when the boys come to get the last of it, they see a man killed–a man who the dealers thought had cheated them.  The thugs know that the boys have seen the murder and they now now know who the real thief is.  Mitch and Lee have to run for their lives–through the forest that they know so well and that is well described in this coming-of-age adventure story.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1999, Henderson, Mills, Sam, Mountains, Polk

Michelle Major. A Brevia Beginning. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2014.

aBreviabeginning“Something had changed in her when she’d chosen her act of rebellion. From the start, she’d known he’d find out, and she’d understood there would be hell to pay. She also believed it couldn’t be worse than the hell she called a life.”

From the day she was adopted at six years old, Lexi Preston has done everything she can to be the perfect daughter to her adopted father, Robert Preston – this includes following in his footsteps to become a lawyer in his firm. All of that ended when Lexi went behind her father’s back and gave the opposing client information. The Prestons’ clients, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, were trying to dig up dirt on Julia Morgan, the mother of their grandchild, so that they could gain custody of their grandson Charlie. Taking note of how Julia kept fighting even with all the odds piled against her, Lexi decided to help her out, knowing that it would mean “hell to pay.” When Robert Preston found out, he publicly humiliated Lexi and kicked her out of his life. With nowhere else to turn, Lexi travels to Brevia, North Carolina in search of Julia, who is now Julia Callahan and married to the police chief of Brevia. Julia isn’t too keen on helping out the woman who made her life a living hell during the custody battle, but she wouldn’t have ended up being able to keep her son Charlie if it wasn’t for Lexie. So, she offers to get Lexie a job working at Riley’s Bar.

United States Marshal Scott Callahan is in need of some time away from it all after losing his partner during a botched arrest. Not ready to face the interrogation from the Marshals office or the constant questions from others, Scott finds himself at Riley’s Bar in the hometown of his father, Joe, and brother, Sam. Also not ready to face his family, Scott decides to drown his sorrows for a while. Scott ends up in an argument with the bar owner which results in Scott buying the bar, with the help of a legal contract drawn up by one of the waitresses, Lexi Preston. Lexi is the worst waitress the town has ever seen. After Scott recovers from his drunken night, he and Lexi make a deal – Scott gets to share her two bedroom apartment and Lexi won’t hear mention of her getting fired for the month she plans to stay.

Sparks flew between the two on the night they first met; the close quarters instituted by both working at the bar together and living together only adds fuel to the fire. However, this arrangement is only temporary. Scott knows his greatest talent is the ability to mess everything up. He can’t expect to ever be good enough for Lexi. On the other hand, Lexi has never been on her own. She doesn’t know if she can make a life without her father, but this may be just an adventure that will end when her father is ready to take her back. When Lexi stands up to her father, letting him know that she won’t be coming back, will Scott be able to give up the action of U.S. Marshals Service and settle into the small-town life?

A Brevia Beginning is the third novel set in the fictitious town of Brevia North Carolina. The series continues to show that small-towns can have big-city action.

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Major, Michelle, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Elizabeth Spann Craig. Progressive Dinner Deadly. United States: Elizabeth Spann Craig, 2013.

progressivedinnerMyrtle Clover and her best friend Miles are planning a coup in the fictional town of Bradley, North Carolina. Today at book club, they’ll suggest the reading of actual literature. Myrtle even has a back-up plan, in case things aren’t looking too good for this suggestion. What Myrtle didn’t plan for is for her horrible neighbor, Erma Sherman, to chime in when the question of changing the book club is brought up.

Erma proposes a supper club, making it look like Myrtle was hinting at this suggestion. Myrtle wishes Erma would focus on the crabgrass that keeps creeping over into Myrtle’s yard and keep her proposals to herself! Nevertheless, the suggestion of a supper club is met with enthusiasm all around –even Miles is looking excited. Many in the group are even more enthusiastic for the idea of a progressive dinner, a dinner in which the group will go from house to house throughout the night, enjoying different courses at different houses. Myrtle is completely against this idea until she is complimented on her blackberry cobbler and asked to host the dessert portion of the night.

The supper club is off to a rowdy start when guests who weren’t even a part of book club show up at Miles’s house. The event soon takes a turn for the worse when Jill and her sister, Willow, get into an argument over Jill’s husband’s taste for drinking. After that, the night continues to deteriorate, from Willow’s house where the hostess isn’t there at their arrival and then rushes off, to Jill’s house where the group is greeted by a drunken Cullen, Jill’s husband. Nevertheless, that isn’t the worst of it–that comes when Myrtle finds Jill in the kitchen, lying in a puddle of blood.

Myrtle is soon using her detective skills to search out the suspects, and she isn’t against relying on charitable acts to get close to them. Just as it seems like Myrtle has solved the case and avoided danger, there is an unexpected action that sheds new light on the murder. Will Myrtle be able to outmaneuver the suspects and solve this case before she ends up being the next victim?

Progressive Dinner Deadly is the second book in the Myrtle Clover Mystery series. Originally published as an e-book, the printed version is now available. Octogenarian sleuth, Myrtle Clover got her first taste of solving crimes in Pretty is as Pretty Dies and it doesn’t look like this spry retired English teacher will be putting down her detective cane anytime soon.

Check out this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Craig, Elizabeth Spann, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

John Ehle. Kingstree Island. New York: William Morrow, 1959.

Matt Tomlinson came to Kingstree Island decades ago.  He had little, but he was good with money and he had an eye for opportunities.  He began as a shopkeeper, but he quickly expanded, buying fishing boats and the debts of local fishermen.  With his business sense and his drive, he came to own the fishing fleet, the ice house, the power plant, and a controlling interest in the island’s only hotel.  He is the big man on this remote island, and he is used to having the locals defer to his wishes.

But Tomlinson is uneasy.  He has lost his eyesight and he knows the years will continue to diminish him.  When Brandon Rhodes arrives on the island, Tomlinson senses the presence of someone like his younger self.  After his initial attempt to force Rhodes off the island fails and Rhodes attracts the interest of a few independent-minded islanders and the attractive Marsha Harris, Tomlinson vows to crush the interloper.  The struggle between the two men plays out in this isolated community among people who must bend to the weather but who come to realize that they don’t need to bend to the will of one man.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1950-1959, 1959, Coast, Dare, Ehle, John