Category Archives: Buncombe

Buncombe

Brian Lee Knopp. Naked Came the Leaf Peeper. Asheville, NC: Burning Bush Press of Asheville, 2011.

What happens when you mix twelve of western North Carolina’s most adept storytellers with one impossible plot? The answer is Naked Came the Leaf Peeper, a merry and mysterious game of literary tag among the likes of Vicki Lane, John P. McAfee, Tony Earley, and Alan Gratz. Brian Lee Knopp, the mastermind behind this zany novel, begins the plot: high on an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a man falls to his death…helped by a young assassin armed with a potato gun. Improbable? Absurd? The fun is only just beginning.

Garnell Lee Ray, assassin-for-hire, is out to avenge her mother and father, murdered for their land by greedy developers and their compatriots. She has knocked off three of the four with her simple, yet effective style: the use of gravity. A man overbalances on an overlook, helped along by a stray potato. Another is crushed by a conveniently placed tree. Gunning down the first was a mistake, but not one that the savvy Garnell will make again. Now the only one left is rapacious State Senator Andy Micheaux…and Garnell is coming for him. Unfortunately, someone gets to Garnell first, and she is highly annoyed to find herself passing out from a gunshot wound at her campsite in Linville Falls. She survives, but getting shot raises questions, even in the Appalachians. Relocated Yankee detective J.D. Kontz has a lot of questions for the attractive Miss Ray, but she escapes from the hospital before providing any real answers. Still, Detective Kontz begins to piece together Garnell’s tale, despite the clumsy ministrations of his dim-witted deputy, Marshall Harris. In fact, if he didn’t know better, Kontz would suspect the Fife-like deputy to be purposely misleading him.

Buckle up as this story weaves through the switchbacks at breakneck speed in a plot including (but not limited to): llamas, Baptists, golf, the Blue Ridge Parkway, moonshine, first love, runaway wives, pigs, tourists, heathen Yankees, beagles, ladies selling Mary Kay, gun-toting grannies, the SBI, ravens, backstabbing relations, secret agents of all different kinds, camping, and folk tunes. So grab some biscuits and red-eye, y’all, and gather round for the tallest tale ever told!

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

This is our 1000th post. We’ll be celebrating and hope that you will too.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Avery, Barrett, Linda Marie, Buncombe, Caldwell, Wayne, Chappell, Fred, Cheek, Gene, Clapsaddle, Annette Saunooke, Earley, Tony, Gratz, Alan, Hays, Tommy, Knopp, Brian Lee, Lane, Vicki, Madison, McAfee, John P., Mitchell, Mountains, Mystery, Reinhardt, Susan, Romance/Relationship, Suspense/Thriller

J. Leon Pridgen, II. Color of Justice. New York: Strebor Books, 2011.

James Pruitt grew up with the security that every child deserves.  He knew that he was adopted, but his adoptive parents, William and Mamie Pruitt, always made him feel like he was their own.  Their love, and the careful guidance that he received from them, has helped him to succeed in school.  As this novel opens, James believes that he has the inner strength that will allow him to be successful in his career, begin his own family, and handle whatever life throws at him.

Have brother …. Help him.  James has no idea what his father’s final words could mean until he finds a box of newspaper clippings and photographs in William’s closet.  Only then does Mamie tell James about his parents and that his birth mother had another son–a man who is now on death row.  Warren Johnson isn’t pleased when James comes to see him in prison.  Warren resents the easy life that James has had and he thinks that the man who raised him, Geoffrey Taylor, is doing all that can be done to save him.  James, a lawyer, has a bad feeling about Taylor, and his prosecutor’s instincts won’t let him accept Warren’s case at face value.  Although it upsets his mother and strains his relationship with his girlfriend and his boss, James and his friend Chuck race to clear Warren’s name, no matter what the cost.

Despite the dirty dealings that James and Chuck uncover, this well plotted novel is at heart a warm story of family and loyalty.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Buncombe, Mecklenburg, Mountains, Piedmont, Pridgen, J. Leon, Wake

Ann Tatlock. Traveler’s Rest. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2012.

There is an old adage about letting going of what you love: if it returns it was yours all along, if it doesn’t it never was. But what if you are the one who was let go, and you never wanted to be in the first place?

Jane Marrow finds herself in that heartbreaking situation when her fiance, Seth Ballantine, returns from Iraq a quadriplegic. He loves her, but Seth is unwilling to let Jane forfeit a “normal life”: to be carried over the threshold by her husband, to become a mother, and to be free of full-time care giving responsibilities.  He worries that she will waste her life away with him and will eventually resent him if they go through with the wedding. For her part, Jane is unwavering: she is resolved to never leave Seth or to give up on their plans, even though practically everyone has given her an “out”. Seth finally explains that her insistence on staying together is hampering his recovery, so she gives him some space.

At the Veterans Affairs hospital in Asheville, Jane meets a variety of people who support her and Seth in this difficult time. Two Ugandan cousins serve as aids in the hospital, and they always lighten the mood. A retired doctor with an uncomfortable past, Truman Rockaway, helps Jane understand forgiveness and faith. And Jon-Paul Pearcy is a volunteer musician at the VA who shows Jane and Seth that it is possible to live a full life with a disability. Along the way, Jane learns about love, trusting God, and letting go.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Buncombe, Mountains, Religious/Inspirational, Tatlock, Ann

Jennifer Estep. Touch of Frost. New York: Kensington Publishing Corp., 2011.

Gwendolyn Frost doesn’t think she’s anything particularly special. Sure, she’s a Gypsy: like all the women in her family, she has a special gift related to knowing secrets. Her grandmother can see the future, her mother could tell if someone was lying or not, and Gwendolyn can learn things about a person by just touching them or objects belonging to them. But Gwen doesn’t think this gift adds up to much, at least not compared to her classmates. Because Gwen attends the prestigious Mythos Academy, high in the mountains north of Asheville, North Carolina, and her classmates are all descendants of warriors or mythical beings: Spartans, Romans, Valkyries, Amazons…the list goes on and on. The only thing they can’t do, it seems, is befriend an awkward Gypsy girl. The only one who seems to pay any attention is Logan Quinn, the most gorgeous, and the baddest, guy in school. Gwen isn’t sure what she’s done to earn his scrutiny, but she’s more frightened than flattered.

But something odd is going on at Mythos Academy– something bigger than Gwen’s friend problems. One night, working late in the Library of Antiquities, Gwen finds Jasmine Ashton murdered. Jasmine was one of the most popular, and powerful, Valkyries at the Academy, but no one seems to care that she’s dead. Academy students die all the time– with their talents come great risks. But Gwen doesn’t see it that way. To this sensitive Gypsy girl, every life matters. Additionally, whoever murdered Jasmine stole the powerful Bowl of Tears, and may be trying to wake dark forces that will threaten Earth. Gwen decides it’s up to her to figure out who murdered Jasmine and bring him or her to justice, and to find the Bowl of Tears before it’s too late. Now if only she would stop running into Logan Quinn…

Young adult readers ages 13 and up will enjoy this mythological urban fantasy series.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Buncombe, Children & Young Adults, Estep, Jennifer, Mountains, Novels in Series, Science Fiction/Fantasy

Faith Hunter. Raven Cursed. New York: Roc, 2012.

The fourth book in the Jane Yellowrock Series, Raven Cursed sees the hardened vampire killer return to her home state of North Carolina. Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee skinwalker bonded to the soul of a mountain lion called simply Beast, has been living and working in New Orleans for the past few years. At first she was a one-woman operation, hunting down rogue vampires, but lately she’s been working for Leo Pellissier, the vampire master of New Orleans and the entire southeast. While suspicious of her true nature (which Jane hides), the vampires see the value in her hunting down those rogues that threaten their uneasy peace with humans.

What brings Jane back to the Old North State is a vampire parley– a powerful vampire named Lincoln Shaddock wants to form his own clan in Asheville, but has to petition Jane’s boss for the right to do so. Jane is in charge of security, and while she isn’t thrilled, she has reason to hope that the parley will be over quietly and quickly with minimal fuss. But when Jane arrives in Asheville, she finds more than she bargained for: a pair of werewolves out for revenge, a pissed off grindylow, a coven of witches whose leader has gone insane, and something far more dark and dangerous that knows all about Jane. Will Jane and Beast survive their return to the Appalachians? Readers of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and fans of True Blood will be excited to find a modern, gutsy heroine in this supernatural thriller.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Buncombe, Hunter, Faith, Mountains, Novels in Series, Science Fiction/Fantasy

Everett and Ann Colby. …Face Down and Very Dead. New York: iUniverse, 2010.

When Ed and Chris Loving retired from the high pressure world of big-time banking, they never expected to see the likes of Horace Tydings again.  Ed had steered his bank away from loaning money to Tydings and his ruthless, if not shady, mergers-and-acquisitions empire.  But Tydings has not forgotten Ed Loving and on the weekend of the Bele Chere Festival he shows up at the Loving’s Asheville bed and breakfast with the intention of humiliating Ed.  Ed surprises himself by keeping his cool in the face of Tydings’ drunken, boorish behavior on Friday night.

But on Saturday morning everything changes.  Responding to a sound that he thinks is a neighbor’s dog poaching koi from the B and B’s pond, Ed instead finds Horace Tydings face down and very dead.  Richard Davis, the police lieutenant who is first on the scene, is no friend of Ed’s.  To Lieutenant Davis Ed and Chris are part of the group of newcomers who have gentrified his old neighborhood and left longtime residents feeling like outsiders.  When Lieutenant Davis finds out about Ed’s history with Tydings, Ed knows that he’ll be tagged as Suspect #1.  To protect himself, Ed starts doing his own investigation, and as the novel continues readers are introduced to a series of characters who have reasons to want Tydings dead.  It’s a classic mystery in the style of Agatha Christie–including the twist at the end.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Buncombe, Colby, Everett and Ann, Mountains, Mystery

Rose Senehi. Render unto the Valley. Chimney Rock, NC: K.I.M. Publishing, 2012.

Karen Godwell is a curator at one of the most prestigious institutions in the United States: the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. She has carefully hidden the North Carolina-born mountain girl she used to be behind a veneer of New York sophistication, but when her husband Joel dies, everything changes. Joel, with his writer’s soul, fell  in love with North Carolina as much as Karen tried to forget it, and he always urged her to return. When Karen gets wind that something has gone badly wrong with her family there soon after Joel’s death, it’s the impetus she needs to fulfill his wish. She and her young daughter Hali pack their things and move south, where Karen takes a job at the Folk Art Center just outside of Asheville.

But it was a famous Ashevillean who knew that you can’t go home again so easily, and trouble waits for Karen in spades. Karen fled the Old North State for a reason: her sociopathic brother. Abused and neglected by their alcoholic mother’s string of shady boyfriends, Karen and her siblings Travis and Amy had a hard life that improved only when mom left for good, leaving the children to be raised by her parents. Grandma Pearl and her farm saved Karen, but there was never any hope for Travis.

Outwardly handsome and charming, Travis takes delight in seemingly random acts of cruelty and violation. Finally he has gone too far, placing Grandma Pearl in a rest home and taking her ancestral farm for himself by force. Obsessed with becoming wealthy, only his sisters stand in the way of his selling everything that their family has held dear for generations. In order to save her family’s, and daughter’s, future, Karen must finally face her childhood, with all its traumatic secrets.

The third of Senehi’s stand-alone novels set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Render Unto the Valley is an absorbing tale of homecoming, family, and the courage it takes to face the past. Art, environmental protection, and the preservation of personal and local history are all themes that make this an enriching and entertaining read.

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Buncombe, Mountains, Romance/Relationship, Senehi, Rose, Suspense/Thriller

Penelope J. Stokes. The Blue Bottle Club. Nashville, TN: W Publishing Group,1999.

The year 1929 is coming to an end, and most people in the United States have started to feel the dreadful onset of the Great Depression. For four young women in Asheville, North Carolina, everything in their lives is uncertain except for one thing: their dreams. Letitia Cameron dreams of marrying the wealthy and well-connected Philip Dorn and having a large, happy family. Adora Archer has set her sights on becoming a successful actress in Hollywood or on Broadway. Eleanor James, who has lived a privileged life thus far, hopes to become the next Jane Addams as a social worker. Mary Love Buchanan wishes to follow her talent as an artist. The four commit their dreams to paper and stuff the pieces into a blue bottle stored in Letitia’s attic. No matter what happens in the coming days, the friends will always have their dreams – and each other.

Sixty-five years later Brendan Delaney, a news anchor for WLOS, is at the Cameron House reporting on its upcoming demolition. She thinks that it is just another dead-end story until a worker discovers the blue bottle. This discovery renews Brendan’s passion for investigative journalism, and she sets out to find Letitia, Adora, Eleanor, and Mary Love to learn how (or if) they fulfilled their dreams.

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

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1999, Buncombe, Mountains, Religious/Inspirational, Stokes, Penelope J.

Ann Hite. Ghost on Black Mountain. New York: Gallery Books, 2011.

Nellie Clay falls hard for winter-eyed, curly-haired Hobbs Pritchard. In no time at all they are married, paying no heed to Nellie’s mama, who warns that she sees death in her tea leaves. It’s 1939, and despite the Depression that the country is in,  it’s the modern world. Who believes in ghosts and hoodoo? Hobbs brings Nellie home to Black Mountain, a very different world than the one Nellie grew up in near Asheville. For a time, she’s happy, despite their neighbors’ coldness and the strange rumors she keeps hearing regarding her husband. But slowly she discovers that Hobbs Pritchard isn’t the man she thought he was, and she begins to dread hearing his tires on the gravel outside.

And she begins seeing people. There’s an old woman in the house with steel gray hair, and a small man with round glasses who walks the Pritchard land. Only Shelly, the Pritchards’s sometime maid, sees them too. Nellie knows that she has to get off Black Mountain, but Hobbs is squarely in her way. One dark night everything falls apart, and Nellie does leave Black Mountain for good…or so she thinks.

Told through the eyes of five women touched by the murderous cruelty of Hobbs Pritchard, Ghost on Black Mountain is set against the rich beauty of the Appalachians. Linked by blood, common experience, and the ability to see “haints,” each woman nonetheless has a unique voice that engages the reader with its compelling tale.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Buncombe, Hite, Ann, Mountains

Deeanne Gist. Maid to Match. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2010.

Tillie Reese has only ever had one dream: to become a lady’s maid and travel the world with her mistress. It’s 1898, and she’s currently the chief parlor maid at Biltmore, the grand estate built by George Washington Vanderbilt just outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Opportunity strikes when Bénédicte, Mrs. Edith Vanderbilt’s French lady’s maid, leaves her post. As Tillie prepares herself to compete with another ambitious maid interested in the position, fate intervenes in the form of a new footman.

Mackenzie “Mack” Danver is not accustomed to polite society. He’s been highly educated, but his upbringing in a cabin in the Unaka Mountains combined with a short temper cause most city dwellers to dismiss him as an uncouth, wild mountain man. However, his twin brother, Earl, works as a footman in the service of the Vanderbilts, and when Mrs. Vanderbilt accidentally meets Mack, she can’t wait to employ him and show off her pair of matching footmen. Tall, muscular, and handsome, Earl and Mack make quite an impression in their livery. Mack isn’t happy with the idea – he would much prefer the freedom of his mountains. But his parents are dead, and his younger siblings are in the clutches of a nefarious orphanage director. Mack has to work if his brothers and sisters are ever going to have a good home again, and the Vanderbilts pay very well.

Mack’s regrets quickly disappear, however, when he sees Tillie for the first time. In fact, it’s love at first sight for both of them, but a lady’s maid isn’t married, and Tillie refuses to give up on that dream. As a lady’s maid, she would wear the same fine clothes as Mrs. Vanderbilt, be exposed to art and science, and have the money to take care of her family while also giving to those in need. Is there any way for her to follow her heart, while still fulfilling her dreams?

A sweet love story from the Gilded Age, Deeanne Gist’s Maid to Match will enchant lovers of well-researched, inspirational romance.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Buncombe, Gist, Deeanne, Historical, Mountains, Romance/Relationship