Category Archives: Novels by Genre

3. Novels by Genre

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

Elizabeth Spann Craig. A Body at Book Club. United States: Elizabeth Spann Craig, 2014.

abodyatbookclubMyrtle Clover may be in her 80s but she can still think of better things to do with her time than go to book club meetings where no real literature will be discussed. But, a missing cat has forced Myrtle into attending book club in order to get the word out around the fictional town of Bradley, North Carolina. Pasha may not be a house cat, but Myrtle cares about her and wants to make sure she’s safe. After making her announcement, Myrtle finds herself quite teary-eyed and makes her way inside Rose Mayfield’s, the hostess for book club, house in search of a tissue. Instead of tissue, Myrtle stumbles upon a neighbor, Naomi Pelter, dead in Rose’s living room. Now she wasn’t there just thirty minutes ago.

Naomi had emailed Rose to let her know that she was sick and couldn’t make book club. Her death seems to be from natural causes, but Myrtle decides her son Red, the police chief, should be called anyhow. Whether or not Naomi died from natural causes, the story would still be a good one to write up for the town paper. So, of course Myrtle is determined to sniff out all the details. When it’s discovered that Naomi was poisoned, Myrtle already has her suspicions and sets out with her widower sidekick Miles to begin her investigation. Handing out flyers about Pasha is the perfect excuse to talk to suspects. Red wants her off the case and blocks her at every turn. Myrtle decides Red must be the one off his rocker when she gets a call from Greener Pastures telling her that she’s been added to their waiting list and they need to set up an interview and tour to determine if she would be a good fit for their retirement community.

The case is looking like a no-brainer for Myrtle. There are other suspects, but Rose Mayfield had a grudge against the victim and was very vocal about it. However, there is a twist; another murder knocks out the biggest suspect. On top of that, Myrtle and Miles have a falling out over his not caring about Pasha. Nevertheless, Myrtle is not giving up on solving these crimes. The return of Pasha and reconciliation with Miles helps Myrtle to focus on the case. As Myrtle draws ever closer to the killer, the danger to her life continues to increase. Confronted with death, who would have ever thought Greener Pastures would be Myrtle’s salvation?

A Body at Book Club is the sixth novel in the Myrtle Clover Mysteries. Read on to find out if our favorite octogenarian sleuth will retire for good.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Craig, Elizabeth Spann, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

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.

Jessica Beck. Deep Fried Homicide. United States: CreateSpace, 2014.

Suzanne’s Hart’s normal day at Donut Hearts in April Springs is shattered by a “dark stranger in a severe suit.” Inspector Terry Hanlan hasn’t come to the shop to catch a last-minute donut, but instead to inform Suzanne that her boyfriend, Jake Bishop, has been shot in the line of duty. Suzanne rushes out with hardly a thought at all to the shop.

Jake was shot tracking down a killer in Hickory. Jake escaped with his life; the same cannot be said of the killer. Jake’s wound will require him to take a lot of rest and wear his arm in a sling. So, when he’s released he will be going to stay with Suzanne at the cottage while he recuperates. This will be interesting; Suzanne, her mother, and Jake all in the same house.

But, upon arriving at the hospital, Dorothea, Suzanne’s mother, informs Suzanne that she’s bought a house in town and will be moving there so Jake can have her downstairs bedroom. Even more surprising is the fact that Dorothea has gotten engaged to Chief Martin and plans to stay in the other house permanently. After adjusting to this announcement, Suzanne realizes that this is a good thing for her mom and also for her. She hasn’t ever lived on her own and will get the chance to do so after Jake gets better.

However, Jake’s road to recovery and Suzanne’s time off from Donut Hearts won’t be as tranquil as she hoped. Apparently the killer Jake took down had a partner, Rusk, who is out for revenge. Rusk might be after Jake, but Suzanne is in danger as well. Heather Masterson, who was in prison for poisoning her aunt and coming after Suzanne, is on the loose and may very well be on the way to finish what she began.

With two killers who want the couple dead, how will Jake and Suzanne fare? This thirteenth book in the Donut Shop Mystery series is filled with action and surprises that will keep readers hooked until the very end.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Beck, Jessica, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Mary L. Ball. Stone of Destiny. USA: Prism Book Group, 2013.

stoneofdestinyTaylor Harrison is the youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company. Moving further up within the company is Taylor’s highest priority. For Taylor, work always comes before play. Nevertheless, work does not come before family. Taylor’s parents often traveled while she was growing up, and they still do so now. Because of this, Taylor has spent most of her time with her paternal grandparents. Now that her grandfather has passed on, her grandmother, Kay Harrison, is the most important person in her life. Granny Kay has decided to sell their family home in Liberty Cove, North Carolina. When she asks Taylor for assistance in getting the place ready, Taylor can’t help but take some time off from her busy schedule. Taylor will soon discover Granny Kay actually wants Taylor there to search the house for a lost family ring.

Also unbeknownst to Taylor, Granny Kay and her best friend Louise are matchmaking. The contractor, Brent Roberts, who Granny Kay has employed to work on the house, is actually Louise’s nephew. The two ladies are hoping that the young couple will hit it off. There is chemistry between Taylor and Brent, but Taylor has no time to get involved. Right now, her career is her complete focus.

When Taylor miraculously uncovers the ring from a loose floorboard and Brent gets Taylor to agree to regularly going out with him, it looks like life couldn’t get much better. Then Taylor gets offered a promotion that might end the relationship. This promotion would require Taylor to oversee the building of a new Mugful’s in Panama.

Deciding to take the job, Taylor asks Brent not to contact her again. Additionally, the separation is the furthest that Taylor has ever been away from Granny Kay and will be hard for the both of them. But, it is only three years and Taylor will make sure to come back every few months to visit her.

Soon after the move, Granny Kay falls seriously ill. Will Taylor risk her position with Mugful’s when her boss denies her the leave? If she returns to North Carolina, what will happen with her and Brent? Most importantly, will Granny Kay pull through?

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Ball, Mary L., Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship