Category Archives: Novels by County

6. Novels by County

Emilie Richards. Somewhere between Luck and Trust. Detroit: Gale, Cengage Learning, 2013.

somewherebetweenluckandtrustCristy Haviland has just finished serving eight months in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. While in prison, she gave birth to the son of the man who put her there. Now that Cristy is out she plans to avoid her hometown and her ex, Jackson Ford. An instructor of one of the classes Cristy attended while in the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women, Samantha Ferguson, has offered Cristy a place to stay in Madison County so she can be close to her son, who is staying nearby with one of Cristy’s cousins. Samantha is a part of a group of women, Goddesses Anonymous, which reaches out to help women who need it. Cristy has a place to stay, but she also has some tough work ahead of her. First she needs to find a job.

However, there might be a problem. Cristy is smart, but she has a learning disability which has kept her from learning to read. When Samantha’s mother, Georgia, offers to help Cristy learn how to read, Cristy just doesn’t know if she has what it takes. Also, Jackson is back in the picture. He’s showing up at the house and around the neighborhood, making sure Cristy knows he has her eye on her and their son. It’s more than just the pregnancy that had Jackson rattled, and Christy may know more of Jackson’s secrets than she realizes. Just as puzzling is the fact that Officer Jim Sullivan, the man who arrested Cristy, is showing up and now seems to believe Cristy is innocent.

Georgia Ferguson is the principal at Buncombe County Alternative School, where they take on the job of educating students that have not succeeded elsewhere. Georgia is impressed when Lucas Ramsey, a neighbor of one of her students, comes in to get involved with activities that may help this student to take his education seriously. When Lucas asks Georgia out she gladly accepts, and the two are soon on their way into developing a serious relationship. Georgia is also developing a friendship with Cristy as she diagnoses Cristy with dyslexia and works to teach her how to read. These two relationships are becoming important to Georgia. However, there is a part of Georgia’s past, which she doesn’t like to share, and it is about to rear its head. A mysterious charm bracelet has been discovered in Georgia’s office, and the charms are leading Georgia towards searching out her birth mother, who abandoned Georgia at birth.

Cristy and Georgia are both facing tough decisions. Will Cristy reveal what she knows about Jackson to the authorities, or keep her mouth shut in the hopes that he will let her alone? Is Georgia going to search out her birth mother, a woman who left an infant to die? These two women also have new men in their lives. Is Officer Jim ever going to admit that Cristy is innocent, and is that attraction to her that Cristy sees in his eyes? Will Lucas stick around when he discovers that Georgia’s own mother discarded her?

Somewhere between Luck and Trust is the second book in the Goddesses Anonymous series – this installment is a tale of justice, duty, and love.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Buncombe, Madison, Mountains, Novels in Series, Richards, Emilie, Romance/Relationship

Jennifer Lohmann. Weekends in Carolina. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2014.

weekendsincarolinaFollowing the death of his father, Hank, Trey Harris is left with the family farm located in Durham, North Carolina. He never expected his father to overcome his prejudices and leave the farm to Trey’s gay brother, Kelly, but Trey had hoped their father would sell the farm before he keeled over and forced this burden upon Trey. Planning to sell the farm to the highest bidder, Trey is stunned to discover that his father’s farmer, Max Backstrom, is actually a woman. Soon Trey can’t keep his mind off of what it would be like to kiss Max. How can he want to start something with this woman who can’t separate herself from the farm–the same farm that Trey did everything he could to escape from? Trey has a great job in D.C. with no reason to ever come back to North Carolina. Well, no reason until gay marriage becomes legal and Kelly gets hitched. Then again, who knows if that will ever happen. Continuing to be Max’s landlord would force Trey to visit North Carolina, and the temptation to get involved with this lovely tenant would only grow stronger. This is something Trey just can’t risk.

Maxine “Max” Backstrom grew up on a big farm in Illinois, but Max has always been one for the small farm life. So, after her parents got divorced and her mom moved to Asheville, North Carolina, Max found an ad for a farmer in Durham and packed up her bags. Max had a three-year lease agreement with Hank Harris detailing that she would buy the farm after these three years were up. When Hank dies before the three years are over, the problem is that the agreement was a spoken one and Max doesn’t know if Hank ever put it down on paper. Faced with Hank’s son Trey, who has always hated the farm and just wants to get rid of it, Max is unsure if she’ll even have a farm to work next year. Max either can use all of her savings to buy the farm, or let Trey sell to a developer. If she doesn’t buy, Max will have to start the search for a new farm and lose all of her crops. If she buys the farm and then a tractor breaks down or it’s a bad crop year, Max won’t have any funds to fall back on. All of this, coupled with the fact that she’s discovering that Trey Harris is a man she could fall in love with, might be the undoing of Max’s well-laid plans.

Trey Harris is a country boy who just wants to get lost in the city life. Max Backstrom is a farmer who knows taking risks can lead to losing it all. When their lives become intertwined, both recognize the passion between them waiting to be ignited. Is Max willing to take the risk on buying the farm and/or on a relationship with Trey? Will Trey be able to embrace his down-home roots?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Durham, Lohmann, Jenifer, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Lucia Peel Powe. Roanoke Rock Muddle. Raleigh, NC: Ivy House, 2003.

roanokeMany novelists have tried to capture the essence of a small town that they know well.  Lucia Peel Powe has set out to do this for Williamston, North Carolina, a small, but old, town at a strategic bend in the Roanoke River. In a story set in the 1920s and 1930s, Mrs. Powe gives readers a good sense of the life of the town through the stories of Ben-Olive Bazemore, the chef at the Tar Heel Hotel, Charlie Mac Griffin, who is the mayor (a decidedly part-time job) and whose father owns the Chevrolet dealership, and Big Dan Hardison and his wife Mary.

The men’s lives are particularly well portrayed in scenes of card games on a houseboat, barbecues, and political rallies, but the plot revolves around Mary.  Mary, the daughter of the town’s only doctor, is a reader and a bit of a dreamer.  Her husband, Big Dan, is a former college football star with political ambitions.  The other men like Dan even as they entertain fantasies about his wife.  But if Mary is dissatisfied with Dan, why would any of his friends be better?  A man from outside would hold more interest, with fewer complications.  Mary’s actions ripple through the community, but quietly, and just as quietly Dan and his circle of friends adjust.

Roanoke Rock Muddle will give readers a good sense of the Williamston community and the importance of the river in its life and culture.  As a bonus, the author includes fifteen recipes credited to Ben-Olive.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Coastal Plain, Martin, Powe, Lucia Peel

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.

etta

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.