Category Archives: Wake

Wake

Diane Chamberlain. Necessary Lies. New York: St. Martin’s, 2013.

Necessary LiesJane Forrester’s (née Mackie) husband, Robert, can’t understand why his new wife wants to work. Neither can her mother nor any of the stay-at-home wives in her imposed social circle. When Jane and Robert first met, her quirks beguiled him. She wasn’t cut from the same cloth of the prototypical 1960s woman. Now that they’re official newlyweds, Robert wishes that Jane would join the Raleigh Junior League and derive satisfaction in being a physician’s wife, as well as the future mother of his unborn children. But Jane wants a chance at a brief career before children. She is sensitive and idealistic and interested in helping others through work. She gets hired as a social worker in the Department of Public Welfare shortly before their wedding. Robert tolerates Jane’s job, however he makes his desire for children and his short timetable known. With an M.D., Robert has ascended the socio-economic ladder and he is concerned acutely with fitting into his more well-heeled surroundings.

Robert is not thrilled when he learns that Jane will conduct field work alone in the fictional rural Grace County. Field work entails visiting the families of the cases that the social worker manages to monitor their needs and progress. The social worker executes any actions or files any paperwork considered necessary for the greater good. Jane’s two first cases are the Hart and Jordan families who live and work on Davidson Gardiner’s farm. She neglects her boss’s advice and becomes invested emotionally in the Hart family, leading her to a series of choices that could violate the procedures of the Department of Public Welfare and negate the defined purpose of her position. But Jane feels unable to accept the rules as they’ve been handed to her. She is disturbed by how the department enforces its own code of morality and communicates its actions deceptively to the parties involved.

According Charlotte Werkmen, Jane’s boss and former social worker in charge of the case, fifteen year-old Ivy Hart is the last chance for the Hart family. Ivy’s older sister, Mary Ella has already given birth to a baby named William. Mary Ella is beautiful and slow, which Charlotte regards as a dangerous combination. Ivy and Mary Ella’s father is dead and mother is an institutionalized schizophrenic. They live in a farmhouse with their diabetic grandmother, Nonnie. Ivy worries about her family’s security in the farmhouse. Nonnie is increasingly unable to work and she has little regard for her health, indulging frequently in sugar. Because Nonnie is petulant and ornery and Mary Ella is unreliable and often missing, Ivy is the nucleus forced to mother and to hold the family together. By government standards, Ivy qualifies at a functioning level, but barely. She has an IQ of 80 and Petit Mal epilepsy. Charlotte warns Jane to watch Ivy carefully — if Ivy winds up pregnant, all her opportunities will evaporate.

Veteran novelist Diane Chamberlain deals with the sexism and racism prevalent during the 1960s and provides a historical basis to Necessary Lies. She alternates the story between Ivy and Jane’s points-of-view primarily. The novel explores the issue of people’s authority over their bodies. Chamberlain illustrates this point from both perspectives: a doctor refusing to prescribe Jane birth control without her husband’s permission to a eugenics program masked to its recipients as benevolent healthcare. The themes of control and consent reappear over the course of the novel, where institutions and people are given the power to make personal judgements for others. Additionally, the book questions the idea of people who are classified as “incapable” or “unfit” by official sanctioning. Who, if anyone, should have the agency to make decisions for those deemed “incapable” or “unfit”? Chamberlain offers an absorbing read on a fictionalized portrayal of a regrettable segment of North Carolina’s history.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Chamberlain, Diane, Historical, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Wake

Joan Opyr. Shaken and Stirred. Ann Arbor, MI: Bywater Books, 2011.

shakenTar Heels know that you can’t go home again–but sometimes you have to.  Poppy Koslowski has been living clear across the country from her loving, but dysfunctional, family.  Growing up, Poppy and her mother lived with her maternal grandparents in Wake County, North Carolina.  Or, that’s how it was until her grandfather, Hunter, ran off with the boozy mother of Poppy’s friends.  Before too long, Poppy herself left–to college, then graduate school, to jobs, moving ever further north and west, until she settled in Portland, Oregon.

As Shaken and Stirred opens, Poppy is recovering from a hysterectomy and is feeling sore and sad.  Poppy’s long-time BFF, Abby, who is a nurse, is keeping a watchful eye on her, and she’s present when Poppy gets the phone call telling her that her grandfather is dying.  Poppy can’t refuse her mother’s request that she come home to help her and Nana through this difficult time.  Abby volunteers to come too–Poppy is not back to full strength and Wake County is home turf for Abby too.  Abby can visit with her mother and help Poppy’s family make sense of Hunter’s medical condition.

But being back in North Carolina brings back so many memories for Poppy–her parents’ separation, her grandmother’s strict sense of propriety, her attempts to fit in at school and at home, her grandfather’s drinking.  Even as a child, she knew that her grandfather’s behavior was irresponsible, but he took an interest in her and took her on some of the most memorable adventures of her youth.  But all that came to an end when Hunter took off with Jean–the mother of Poppy’s first love, Susan.  Now Hunter’s whole life will be reviewed, and that old can of worms–and many others–will be opened.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Opyr, Joan, Piedmont, Wake

Edward Lazellari. The Lost Prince. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 2013.

The Lost PrinceWhat if your entire life was an illusion? What if you were living a double life — and you didn’t even know it?

In Awakenings, the first book in Edward Lazellari’s Guardians of Aandor series, readers meet Cal MacDonnell, a police officer, and Seth Raincrest, a struggling photographer. At first glance, the two men seem to have little in common – except for one distinguishing characteristic. Both men suffer from retrograde amnesia. They have no memory of their prior lives. Unexpectedly and inexplicably, fantastical creatures begin to hunt down MacDonnell and Raincrest. Over the course of the novel, Lazellari develops, through multiple plot lines and perspectives, that Cal and Set originate from an alternate, medieval land, called Aandor. They traveled to Earth to protect the infant prince of Aandor from a group of assassins. But the prince was lost and their memories were wiped clean after an accident.

With the sequel, The Lost Prince, Cal and Set gradually remember more details about their former lives. During the prologue, more characters experience sudden seizures that return their memories of Aandor. Malcolm Robbe is an industrial titan and the top weapons producer in America. Allyn Grey is the reverend at the First Community Baptist Church of Raleigh. Or so their earthly memories would lead them to believe. Recollections of Aandor and their botched mission complicate their relationships on Earth. Reverend Grey, for example, shocks his family by integrating his pagan beliefs from Aandor with his Christian ministry. And Cal’s wife, Cat, is set on edge when Cal remembers his betrothed, a wealthy and beautiful lady.

However, the search for the prince is the driving action in the second chapter of this series. The guardians, with their refreshed memories, are desperate to get their hands on the prince before the vicious sorcerer Dorn finds him. Dorn is bent on purifying Aandor from supposedly lesser races. He lives in the neighboring land of Farrenheil and wishes to control Aandor.

Daniel, the thirteen year-old prince, stumbles between regular danger and momentary safety. Dorn and the guardians aren’t the only ones searching for Daniel. Law enforcement and the press have branded Daniel as the “teen killer” after murdering his abusive stepfather. For the time being, Daniel is safe, but only marginally so.  Seedy private investigator Colby Dretch has sheltered Daniel with his sister Beverly and her lascivious sixteen year-old daughter, Luanne in a trailer parker situated in the “boonies” of North Carolina. However, Colby doesn’t hold Daniel’s best interests at heart. He has a secret agenda. Dorn employed Colby to locate and deliver Daniel to him. Now that Daniel is willingly in his care, will Colby surrender him over Dorn? Or will Cal and Seth or another one of the newly awakened guardians rescue Daniel first?

Although Lazellari has included enough detail for new readers to catch on to the story, readers might want to start with the first book in the series for a fuller experience given the length and intricacy of the novels and the quantity of characters. Lazellari handles the complexity of the characters’ double lives well. The characters express a range of reactions to their reinstated memories. Some are not troubled by the duality, while others are conflicted by the duality and where they truly belong.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Lazellari, Edward, Nash, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Wake

Judy Hogan. Killer Frost. Wethersfield, CT: Mainly Murder Press, 2012.

killerfrostPenny Weaver gets more than she expected when she agrees to teach a composition course at an historically black college in Raleigh, North Carolina. She knew that taking over another teacher’s class after the semester had already started would be a challenge, and that in teaching a remedial composition course she would be working with students unprepared for college work. What Penny was not prepared for was the morale problems at the school, the rumors of sexual misbehavior by a faculty member, and questionable management by the administration.  Penny’s circle of friends give her good advice as she finds ways to navigate the educational and racial politics of St. Francis College, but she cannot confide in them about her feelings for her department chair. Soon all these matters seem trivial compared to the murders of a faculty member and the college’s provost.  This is a spring semester like no other for Professor Weaver.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Hogan, Judy, Mystery, Piedmont, Wake

Michelle Monkou. Racing Hearts. Toronto: Harlequin Kimani, 2012.

racingheartsDoctor Erin Wilson is intelligent, savvy, and dedicated to her profession. At the young age of twenty-seven, she has already graduated from Harvard Medical School and runs a successful practice in Raleigh, North Carolina. But her life is far from perfect. Her younger sister, Lani, is in and out of both financial troubles and relationships, and Lani expects Erin to pick up the pieces from both. Her mother has passed away and her father is in a nursing home, so it’s up to Erin to support everyone. She doesn’t feel sorry for herself, however– she’s worked hard, and it’s paid off.

Marc Newton has also worked hard. Breaking into the top fifteen drivers in the National Car Racing Federation is no easy task, especially without any connections or money. Of course, Marc has money now. His rise to the top came with certain perks, such as sponsors, and those who wanted to buy into his personal brand. Unfortunately, one crash too many has him seeing spots. A sponsor-mandated visit to a local doctor specializing in orthopedics has him steaming when she issues her orders–rest for two weeks, and no racing! He’s matching wits with none other than Dr. Erin Wilson, who is seemingly immune to his charm. Worst of all, he’s attracted to the brainy, good-looking woman–and she’s not even his type!

Erin hasn’t had a man in her life for years, but is now the time, and is Marc Newton really the one? She finds him arrogant, aggressive, and absolutely attractive. Will they each be able to overcome their own personal demons and find happiness? Or despite their mutual desires, will their problems keep them apart? This steamy romance novel will keep you guessing, and get your heart racing.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Monkou, Michelle, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Wake

Lisa Williams Kline. Winter’s Tide. Grand Rapids, MI: Zonderkidz, 2013.

winterstideStepsisters Stephanie and Diana have come to an uneasy truce over the last few years, but it’s still hard to get along. In Winter’s Tide, the fourth installment in the Sisters in All Seasons series, the girls face challenges within their two intertwined families and with each other.

When a popular girl walks by Diana in the hall at school and whispers that hateful nickname all the kids call her, “annnnnn-i-mal,” under her breath, Diana finally snaps. Both girls are suspended for fighting just before Christmas, and Diana’s mom and dad couldn’t be more disappointed. Stephanie feels terribly guilty, since it’s her fault that Diana gets called “annnnn-i-mal,” but she’s worried that if she reveals her secret, Diana won’t understand that it wasn’t intentional. Both girls are distracted, however, when tragedy strikes Stephanie’s side of the family.

First, Stephanie’s stepbrother from her mom’s re-marriage is driving drunk and gets into a car accident on Christmas Eve. Matt has always been mean to Stephanie, so she refused to say a prayer for him in church that night. Now this car accident feels like her fault, too. Next, Grammy Verra, Stephanie’s favorite grandparent, falls ill. Since it’s winter break, Stephanie, Stephanie’s dad, Diana, and Diana’s mom all drive down to Emerald Isle, North Carolina to stay near her. Diana is immediately entranced by the nearby animal life, including whales, horses, and even Grammy Verra’s dog, Jelly. When the girls meet a local boy, Jeremy, trouble begins: he takes them out on a secret trip on his dad’s boat to see the horses on Shackleford Banks, and everything goes wrong. Stephanie’s secret comes out, and the boat starts to float out to sea, potentially leaving them stranded. Will the sisters be able to reconcile, and will they find a way to get out of danger? If so, will Grammy Verra and Matt be OK? And will Diana finally be able to move past her bullies?

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Carteret, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Kline, Lisa Williams, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Wake

Lee Mims. Hiding Gladys. Woodbury, MN: Midnight Ink, 2013.

Cleo Cooper has just found the mother-load–literally. The largest deposit of granite ever discovered on the eastern seaboard is sitting quietly underneath a farmhouse on the Carolina coast, and Cleo is certain that it will both make her fortune and her reputation as a geologist. The property owner, an elderly woman named Gladys Walton, is thrilled as well, since she’ll be equally as wealthy. Unfortunately, Gladys’ two ne’er-do-well adult children, Robert Earle and Shirley, have their greedy little eyes set on wresting control from their still-capable mother. Tension builds when a body is found in the well on the property and a rival geologist gets wind of Cleo’s find. When Gladys has finally had enough, she goes into hiding, and sometimes not even Cleo can find her.

This might be for the best, as Cleo has enough to deal with– mystery attackers, rattlesnakes appearing mysteriously in her locked car, and two men vying for her attention. Luckily, Cleo can take care of herself, both in the back woods of Onslow County, and in fending off unwanted attention. But what if the real danger is from someone she doesn’t even suspect? This first novel in the Cleo Cooper mysteries is definitely rock solid entertainment.

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

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Coast, Mims, Lee, Mystery, Novels in Series, Onslow, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller, Wake

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.

Leave a Comment

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

Casey Mayes. A Killer Column. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2011.

Derrick Duncan, the demanding syndicator of Savannah Stone’s newspaper puzzles, has just been found stabbed with a steak knife in a luxury Raleigh hotel. This would be cause for celebration if only Savannah had not be the one who discovered his body. The fact that only moments before his death she had slapped him across the face – in front of his executive assistant, Kelsey – for firing her does not help her situation. Luckily for Savannah, many people were delighted to see him go, so there are lots of suspects. Plus, she has her husband Zach, the former Charlotte chief of police, and Jenny Blake, her college roommate and a top lawyer, to help draw attention to other people who may have been left disgruntled by Derrick’s behavior. Savannah visits many City of Oaks landmarks as she uses her logic, matched with Zach and Jenny’s professional expertise, to solve the crime and to keep her job.

A Killer Column is the second novel in the “Mystery by the Numbers” series.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mayes, Casey, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Wake

Sundee T. Frazier. The Other Half of My Heart. New York: Delacorte, 2010.

Minni and Keira King are fraternal twins, so they already look different from one another. But most people have trouble telling they’re related at all, or don’t believe it, due to a one-in-a-million genetic coincidence: Minni is white, and Keira is black. This phenomenon, known as “mixed twins,” occurs because only eight or nine chromosomes in the human genetic code determine skin tone. Each human being possesses the possibility to pass on a lighter or darker skin tone to their children, and both father and mother’s genes are in the mix. Born to a black mother and a white father, Minni and Keira often describe their family as a walking chessboard.

Now entering the sixth grade, the twins and their parents live in dreary, drizzly Washington State. But a phone call from their maternal grandmother in North Carolina means a visit to the sunny South. As a child, their mother competed in  the Miss Black Pearl Preteen pageant in Raleigh, winning the Miss Congeniality award. Grandma Johnson is determined that her granddaughters will continue the tradition, and is even more certain that one of them will win. But Mama and Grandma Johnson have very different ideas of what it means to be beautiful, and what it means to be black. While practicing for the competition, by turns both girls feel criticized and incomplete due to their many differences in appearance and talent. This pageant marks Keira and Minni’s coming of age, when they must learn to accept their uniqueness along with their identity as sisters.

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

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010, Children & Young Adults, Frazier, Sundee T., Piedmont, Wake