Category Archives: Novels by County

6. Novels by County

Ann B. Ross. Etta Mae’s Worst Bad-Luck Day. New York: Viking, 2014.

“What I wanted more than anything else was to be somebody. Somebody who was respected and listened to and treated in a nice way all the time. What I wanted was to be in a situation where nobody would ever again look at me and, without blinking an eye, think the worst.”

That’s Etta Mae Wiggins talking, and this is her story.  Readers of Ann Ross’s Miss Julia Series know Etta Mae as the cheerful, voluptuous manager of Miss Julia’s trailer-park and an occasional sidekick in Miss Julia’s adventures.  It was Etta Mae who Miss Julia recruited to rescue J. D. Pickens when he was in danger in West Virginia, and Etta Mae found a housekeeper–her granny–to manage J. D. and Hazel Marie’s household after their twins were born.  Miss Julia knows that she can count on Etta’s Mae’s energy and good heart to help her solve the problems of family and friends in little Abbotsville.

In this book, Ann Ross takes a half-step away from the Miss Julia series to give us Etta Mae’s back-story.  Etta Mae is from the poorer part of Abbot County, and her people–the Wiggins clan–have been considered lazy and shiftless.  Etta Mae grew up already judged because of her family name.  Etta Mae hasn’t help herself by her way of dressing and her complicated romantic history; some of her own missteps only reinforced people’s negative opinion of her.  And Miss Julia was one of those doing the judging.  We learn that Etta Mae and Miss Julia did not immediately get off on the right foot, and that it took Hazel Marie’s intervention and some spiked punch to break the chill between them.  This is only one of a number of funny scenes in this gentle, enjoyable novel.  Etta Mae gets her man, and some of the respectability she seeks, but that’s not to say that everything works out as she planned.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Henderson, Humor, Mountains, Novels in Series, Ross, Ann B.

LaToya Hankins. SBF Seeking … Glen Allen, VA: JMS Books, 2012.

sbfAt twenty-five, Yvette Thurman seems to have her life mapped out.  She’s a journalist for a statewide magazine based in Raleigh, she has a nice circle of friends, and she’s engaged to marry a good-looking, stable man she’s known since college.  But Yvette is restless.  Not really knowing what it is that’s bothering her, she decides she’d like a little sexual fling–with a white man.  An ad on a dating site leads her to a willing partner.  It’s a nothing-special experience, but from it Yvette learns that she is just not ready to get married.

Yvette’s mother and her twin sister support her decision, as do her friends who go out of their way to include Yvette in the fun–and drama–of their lives.  But it’s not until a co-worker’s sister and her partner move into Yvette’s apartment complex that Yvette begins to reconsider how she’s always thought her life would be.  Yvette soon spends a good bit of her free time with Erica and Linda–especially Linda–and finds herself opening up to romantic relationship with another woman.  SBF Seeking follows Yvette during three years in which her heart leads her down a unexpected new path.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Hankins, LaToya, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Wake

K.A. Linde. On the Record. Seattle, WA: Montlake Romance, 2014.

ontherecord“…Congressman Maxwell, I want you to make a comment on Sandy Carmichael actually being the fake identity of Liz Dougherty.”

At a newspaper party on Election Day is when Liz Dougherty decides it is finally time to move past her secret summer affair. State Senator Brady Maxwell has won the race for North Carolina Fourth District Congressional seat and will soon be moving to D.C. to take up the position. Liz has not heard from Brady since she walked out on the night of his primary victory over two months ago. It is time for Liz to stop thinking about Brady Maxwell and start dating Hayden Lane, her editor at the University of North Carolina’s newspaper.

The relationship with Hayden is exactly what Liz needs. The two don’t argue, they share a passion, and everything is out in the open; there’s no hiding what they are to one another. But, Liz can’t escape Brady. He’s all over the news along with his new girlfriend. If that wasn’t bad enough, his little sister Savannah works at the newspaper and is a constant reminder of Brady, especially since Liz and Savannah have become close friends.

When Brady shows up at a research colloquium that Liz helped her advisor, Professor Mires, put together and Savannah offers to introduce her, Liz doesn’t know what to do. That same day Savannah invites her to dinner and Liz finds herself across from Brady and his girlfriend at the dinner table. These interactions push Liz to focus even more on putting Brady out of her mind and focusing on Hayden and her future career. Everything is going well: Liz is finally able to tell Hayden she loves him, Professor Mires is helping Liz to gain the connections needed in order to get a great job after graduation, and now that Hayden has graduated, Liz is the new editor of the University of North Carolina’s newspaper.

But, when Liz and Hayden have their first big argument, Liz finds herself back in Brady’s arms. Will Liz be able to walk away a second time? Will Brady let her? All of the secrets are too much for Liz to bear and she has to tell someone. Who will it be–and is this someone Liz can trust to keep her secret?

On the Record is the second book in the Record series. The first novel of the series, Off the Record, tells how Liz, using the pseudonym of Sandy Carmichael, began her affair with Brady. It ended in a cliffhanger that left readers wanting more. This continuation of the tale does not disappoint and will have readers looking forward to the release of the last book in the series later this fall.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Linde, K.A., Novels in Series, Orange, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

R. E. Bradshaw. Rainey Days. United States: R. E. Bradshaw Books, 2013.

raineydaysSpecial Agent and Behavioral Analyst Rainey Bell is surprised to see JW Wilson, a high school friend who became a State Representative, walk into her bail bondsman’s office. Rainey is on medical leave after suffering a horrifying attack while on duty. During her leave, Rainey has taken up her father’s bail bondsman business along with her father’s business partner Mackie. Rainey’s father, who was also her best friend, was gunned down while apprehending a fugitive. This happened not too long before Rainey’s attack.

The surprise of seeing JW again, and his reason for being there, is just what Rainey needs in order to break out of a funk that she’s made worse with her heavy drinking. JW has come to ask Rainey’s help in following his wife Katie. Pictures of Katie have been sent to him, along with notes. Rainey would actually be trailing Katie with the hopes of catching Katie’s stalker. Knowing what it’s like to be made into a victim, Rainey identifies with Katie and will gladly take on this job. But, why doesn’t JW want Katie to know about Rainey following her? It makes sense that he wouldn’t want it known by anyone else; he is a politician in the eye of the media. But, why not tell his wife? Wouldn’t it ease her mind to know that she’s being guarded?

Thinking this will be a routine assignment, Rainey is not ready for where this mission will take her. Soon Katie isn’t the only one who has caught the eye of the stalker. He knows that Rainey is now trailing Katie, and JW is sent a picture of the two together. This shock is nothing compared to the next to come. A single sheet of paper with a Y on it is left on Rainey’s car; a Y that mirrors the scar on her body. The Y-Man killer is back!

Over a year ago, Rainey and her partner Danny McNally were on a stakeout when Rainey stormed out of the car. It wasn’t even three weeks after her father’s murder so Rainey was angry with everyone and a little on edge with everything. While heading back to the car, Rainey was snatched by the Y-Man and came very close to death. The killer escaped and has laid low until now.

Rainey will not allow what happened to her to happen to anyone else. She vows to protect Katie; this murderer will be stopped. However, close proximity to Katie leads to a relationship that neither woman was expecting. How can Rainey protect herself, let alone protect Katie, when her mind clouds every time Katie’s around?

Rainey Days is the first book in the Rainey Bell series. Join these two women as they discover a love that they never knew existed–one they will fight to protect.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Bradshaw, R. E., Mystery, Novels in Series, Orange, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Tommy Hays. What I Came to Tell You. New York: Egmont USA, 2013.

whatWhen tragedy strikes, it can bring a family closer together–or tear it apart.  Jean Johnston was a school counselor and a great mother to her children, Grover and Sudie.  She made her husband Walt laugh and kept him from becoming a complete workaholic.  After Jean dies rescuing the family dog from traffic, Walt retreats into his work.  He is the director of the Old Kentucky Home, the Thomas Wolfe historic site in Asheville, North Carolina.  The site has reopened after a fire, but attendance is down from what it once was, and the county commissioners, especially Delbert Lunsford, are reluctant to give the site much more support.  Asheville is booming and the Old Kentucky Home sits on some valuable land that could be developed for something more commercial.

There is also a lot prime for development right next to the Johnston family home in the Montford neighborhood.  The lot is overrun with bamboo and “the Bamboo Forest” has become Grover’s retreat.  Grover has found an outlet for his artistic talent and his grief by creating weavings from bamboo, leaves, and other bits of nature.  He carries these weavings to his mother’s grave, a place that he and Sudie go to several times a week.  Although Grover is grieving, he is not so lost in his grief that he doesn’t watch out for Sudie.  And while their dad is inattentive, other adults–at school and in the neighborhood–watch out for the children.  Those concerned adults–especially Jessie, a neighbor who does a lot of landscape work at the cemetery and Leila, a nurse who rents a house in the neighborhood–aid the Johnstons when Delbert Lunsford tries to destroy the bamboo forest, and they help each family member move beyond anger and grief.

Readers will enjoy this gentle book for its portrayal of how a warm community helps people to heal.  Readers who know Asheville will like the many mentions of local business and locations and with how their town is portrayed.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Buncombe, Children & Young Adults, Hays, Tommy, Mountains

Michele Andrea Bowen. Pastor Needs a Boo. New York: St. Martin’s, 2014.

pastorneedsabooReverend Denzelle Flowers is faced with a tough dilemma when three of his parishioners in New Jerusalem Gospel United Church in Raleigh, North Carolina lose their jobs. What can he do to help his flock? The only thing Denzelle can think of is to use money from the Pastor’s Aid fund. But, that money can only be used to fund activities for the Pastor’s Aid Club. Reinstating this club may be difficult since the past head of the organization, Mrs. Clara Mae Davidson, did not leave church members with a fond memory of her or the Pastor’s Aid Club. Nonetheless, re-instituting the club will solve the employment problem for these three parishioners and also help Denzelle to get started on his newest endeavor. However, for that to happen, Veronica Washington, Keisha Jackson, and Marsha Metcalf must be willing to serve on the committee. Convincing the three ladies that running the Pastor’s Aid Club is a worthy cause isn’t easy, but Denzelle gets them on board. The turning factor is that they’ll actually be helping run Reverend Flowers’ campaign for bishop.

Pastor Denzelle may have solved the problem of jobs for his unemployed church members, but he has another problem on his hands. This problem comes in the form of the lovely Marsha Metcalf. How in the world is he supposed to fight the desire to turn in his playah’s card and “get “booed” up” with the epitome of a Proverbs 31 woman? Denzelle hasn’t slept around since getting saved and rededicating his life to the Lord, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to put his heart into the hands of one woman for the rest of his life. He did that once and ended up with a woman who was a bigger player than he ever was.

Reverend Flowers has some experience running away from what God has planned for him. As a young man, Denzelle pledged Kappa Alpha Psi in college and enjoyed great times with his fraternity brothers filled with drinking, beautiful women and anything else a handsome young man could get into. When God called on him to become a preacher, Denzelle instead wanted to go after his dream of becoming an FBI agent. Denzelle did get his dream of becoming an FBI agent but also found out that you can’t run from God and ended up a preacher as well. He soon retired and focused on pastoring. But, Denzelle hadn’t fully mastered the ability to hear and follow the plan the God has for his life. Denzelle married a gorgeous woman named Tatiana, against the advice of those who cared for him. Tatiana outplayed the playah and actually cheated on Denzelle; it turns out that she was just a gold digger who doesn’t have the ability to love anyone but herself. Now in his forties, you would think Denzelle knows better than to think he can set God’s plans aside until he’s ready to follow them. Yet, this pastor is avoiding the virtuous woman that God has placed in his path as if  she’s a snake in the grass.

Nevertheless, Marsha isn’t Denzelle’s biggest difficulty. He will face a multitude of obstacles in his run for bishop. Denzelle has made enemies among the corrupt clergy who will do anything to have their candidate win the one bishop spot that is coming open. Their plotting consists of imposing a new rule that would make it impossible for a divorced preacher to become bishop. Also, Denzelle’s ex-wife is back in the game and sleeping with Denzelle’s enemies in the hopes of gaining power and prestige for herself, as well as hurting Denzelle along the way. With enemies surrounding him, Denzelle needs a “boo” to stand by his side. Will Denzelle be able to put aside his playah’s card and fear of a good woman in order to receive the blessing God has planned for him?

Pastor Needs a Boo is a funny and exciting tale of what can go on in the African American church scene. The author keeps it real, but also tasteful, in this story of a smooth Kappa man and ex-FBI agent turned preacher and the spurned but still faith-filled woman God has made for him.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Bowen, Michele Andrea, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship, Wake

Joseph L. S. Terrell. Undertow of Vengeance. Rock Hill, SC: Bella Rosa Books, 2014.

undertowHarrison Weaver isn’t even over jet lag from his recent trip to Paris with his girlfriend Elly when a friend alerts him to a body in Nags Head Woods.  His friend, Linda Shackleford, had been in the woods photographing its natural beauty; only later, when she was reviewing her photos, did she notice what appears to be a human arm.  Linda fears returning to the woods by herself, so she asks Harrison to accompany her.  Harrison knows he shouldn’t–the local district attorney resents his involvement in some previous high-profile investigations–but after he alerts Odell Wright, his friend in the sheriff’s department, he agrees to go.

Weaver, Shackleford, and Wright find not one body, but two–a man and a woman.  Each was shot just once, in a manner that suggests a cool, methodical killer.  When a third person is killed in a similar manner, and Harrison receives taunting phone calls from the killer, Harrison knows that this killer won’t stop on his own.  Because all the victims have a connection to a new church in town, Harrison and his friend SBI Agent Ballsford Twiddy focus in on the pastor and his deacons. But what would make one of these God-fearing people become a killer? Only when one victim escapes alive, does Harrison have the clue he needs.

This is the fourth title in the Harrison Weaver Mysteries series.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Coast, Dare, Mystery, Novels in Series, Terrell, Joseph L. S.

Lori Benton. The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press, 2014.

thepursuitoftamsenlittlejohnAll that Tamsen Littlejohn has been brought up for, since her mother married Hezekiah Parrish, comes to this single moment in 1787 Morganton, North Carolina. Ambrose Kincaid, a twenty-nine year old heir to a Virginia fortune, has been enraptured by the portrait Parrish carries around of his stepdaughter. Kincaid has agreed to meet with the family in order to discover whether he and Tamsen will make a good match.

Sure that Kincaid will turn out to be a younger version of Parrish, Tamsen approaches the meeting reluctantly. However, she soon finds herself caught up in conversation with the young man and thinking that this might not be a bad match after all. Then Kincaid backhands his slave just for interrupting them. Tamsen believes this act has shown her Kincaid’s true nature and rushes from the table, right into the arms of Cade, a backwoods trapper and cattle drover.

Cade and his son, Jesse Bird, are caught off guard when the young lady runs into them, and Jesse can’t keep his eyes off her. Later that night, Jesse unknowingly halts Tamsen’s flight from her stepfather’s cruel rule. Realizing that Tamsen will not bend to her stepfather’s will, Tamsen’s mother decides to reveal a family secret, one she promised Parrish she would never reveal. Upset by Tamsen’s defiance and further angered by his wife’s disobedience, Parrish commits an unforgivable act. Knowing there is no way that she will be safe under her stepfather’s control, Tamsen decides that escape is her only option.

Unable to get Tamsen out of his head, Jesse Bird has discovered the cruelty that Tamsen and her mother have had to suffer living with Parrish. He offers to help Tamsen get away. They have no idea the amount of trouble that will follow.

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is a tale of discovery. Tamsen will discover the kind of woman she is without the strong influence of her stepfather and possibly discover love along the way. On the other hand, Jesse, sure of the man he is, will discover the truth about his birth family and the meaning of selfless love.

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Benton, Lori, Burke, Historical, Mountains, Romance/Relationship

Auburn Seal. Roanoke Vanishing. United States: CreateSpace, 2013.

vanishing The fate of the English colonists on Roanoke Island has puzzled North Carolinians and scholars for centuries.  Did the colonist die of disease?  Did they starve during a harsh winter?  Were they killed?  Did they migrate inland and become absorbed into a Native American community?

With no conclusive evidence, theories have dominated discussions of the Lost Colony.  Avery Lane, the heroine of Roanoke Vanishing, has long been bothered by the theory that Native Americans killed the colonists.  To Avery, this unproven speculation has been used as a justification for unfair treatment of Native Americans in this state.  Avery, a grad student in history at UNC-Chapel Hill, wants to take a new approach to the topic by focusing on who the colonists were and what their lives were like before they made the long sea voyage from England to the New World.  Could it be that their lives in England hold the key to their eventual fate?

Avery’s thesis adviser, Jonas Allen, is a specialist on the English settlement of America, so Avery expects him to endorse her thesis proposal.  She is stunned when he angrily refuses to do so.  Professor Allen’s outburst is just the first of several unsettling, even dangerous, encounters that Avery has as she pursues her research.  Avery is followed, her house is broken into, and  her best friend is put in peril.  Avery comes to see that she must heed the words of the ghost Elinor (yes, that Elinor) and trust no one as she pursues the truth about the Lost Colony.

Roanoke Vanishing is the first novel in the author’s Vanishing Series.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Coast, Dare, Historical, Mystery, Novels in Series, Orange, Piedmont, Seal, Auburn

Virginia Kantra. Carolina Girl. New York: Berkley Sensation, 2013.

carolinagirlMeg Fletcher is just getting back to the office in Manhattan after spending time with her family in their moment of need. The matriarch of the Fletcher family, Tess, was in a car accident with a drunk driver and the Fletchers rallied together in order to get things done. Meg doesn’t usually take time off from her job. But her mother was in the hospital and family has always been important to the Fletchers. In a Marine household, you learn how to stick together in order to deal with the constant moving. When you’re always the new kids in town, your siblings are your closest friends.

Meg might have enjoyed being with the family on Dare Island, her family’s home for generations, but she is glad to get back to Manhattan, her job, and her long-term boyfriend and roommate Derek. However, the return isn’t anything like Meg expected. Meg is fired on her first day back at her job of twelve years. Derek works for the same company but his job is secure. Convincing herself that it wouldn’t have been professional for Derek to stick up for her, Meg still expects him to come home early that night to comfort her. When Derek comes home even later than usual and starts talking about taking some time apart to think, Meg heads back to Dare Island.

When Meg is picked up by her high-school crush–and brother Matt’s best friend–Sam Grady, she feels familiar stirrings in her heart, but she won’t make that mistake again. They shared one night of passion as teens and then he made sure to avoid her. What a jerk! Yet, she soon finds herself confiding in him. Also, when her mother’s accident threatens to cause them to lose Taylor–the niece that no one knew about until Taylor’s mother died–Sam does everything he can to help. Maybe he isn’t the boy he used to be. But, that doesn’t mean anything can happen between them. Meg still has Derek to think about, and she’s definitely not giving up life in New York for an island she dreamed of escaping all her youth.

Carolina Girl is the second book in the Dare Island series. The first title in the series Carolina Home told the tale of her brother Matt, who stayed home on Dare Island. The third book in the series, Carolina Man, continues on with the siblings, telling the story of Luke, a Marine like their father. In Carolina Girl, we get the story of the family’s only girl, and readers grow ever closer to this North Carolina family and the values they live by.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Coast, Dare, Kantra, Virginia, Novels in Series, Romance/Relationship