Category Archives: Mountains

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Charles Dodd White. A Shelter of Others. Peninsula, OH: Fiddleblack, 2014.

As they came into the foothills and later the mountains, the trees nudged in closer, attending him, constricting the passage into some form he could reasonably suffer.  So different than the unfamiliar world of the piedmont, a place that was crushed, dimensionless.  Here there was a grip and hold, a country with legacies not easily slipped.

So it seems to Mason Laws, returning to his home base in western North Carolina after a term in prison.  His wife Lavada and aged father Sam are here, but Mason isn’t sure that he wants to resume his life with either of them. Lavada has been living with the old man, juggling her work in a dinner with the increasingly sad and frightening work of keeping Sam cared for and safe while his mind slips away.

Mason choose first to bunk with his Cousin Ray-Ray rather than with Lavada and his father.  Soon he gets work and a place to stay and the space he needs to reflect on his life.  But Mason isn’t much for keeping his probation officer informed of his whereabouts.  The resulting intrusion of  law enforcement into Sam’s life, combined with Sam and Mason’s history and Lavada’s feelings of obligation to the two men, brings grief to the people in this taut, dark story.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Mountains, White, Charles Dodd

Emilie Richards. No River Too Wide. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin Mira, 2014.

noriverJanine Stoddard has spent years of her life trying to please her abusive husband Rex. In the early years of their marriage, she thought he would change, but then Janine switched her behaviors to try to avoid his rage. Later she tried to draw his attention, in hopes of protecting their children from the brunt of his wrath. Now that both kids are out of Rex’s reach, Janine has been preparing for the day when she could make her escape. Tonight is the night! Rex has been gone for a while and it looks like he won’t be coming back this night. With the help of the group, Moving On – a collection of lady truckers who help women get out of these situations – Janine is ready to run.

The plan is for Janine to go somewhere where Rex won’t be able to find her. However, Janine can’t resist the chance to make her way to Asheville, North Carolina to see her daughter Harmony and granddaughter Lottie.  Once Harmony has her mother back, she isn’t ready to let her go. Janine is not too keen on giving up their relationship herself, so she agrees to stay, but first, they need a plan. Taylor Martin, a close friend of Janine’s, stumbles upon their reunion. Taylor offers to help Janine, just as Harmony helped Taylor’s mother when Taylor was unable to do so. Taylor opens her home to Janine, who has now taken on the name of Jan Seaton.

Opening her home isn’t the only new adventure Taylor will be taking on. Another newcomer, Adam Pryor, will have Taylor opening up her heart as well. Nevertheless, Adam is keeping a secret that could destroy his and Taylor’s relationship, and tear apart Janine and Harmony’s mother-daughter reunion. Will Janine and Harmony be able to work on reconnecting with the threat of Rex still hanging over their heads? Will Adam share his secret in time or will he shatter all four of their lives?

No River Too Wide is book three in the Goddesses Anonymous series – a series filled with tales of betrayal, love, and the hope of forgiveness.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Buncombe, Mountains, Novels in Series, Religious/Inspirational, Richards, Emilie, Romance/Relationship

Sam Mills. The Money Tree. New York: Xlibris, 1999.

moneyMitchell Rainey and his brother Lee are country boys.  They live outside of town in the forested mountains.  And they know those mountains–the birds, the trees, the ravines and gorges, the old trails, the best places to fish.  On the way back from fishing one day, Mitch’s dog Mica takes off.  When Mitch catches up with him, they are at a remote clearing along the riverbed. There, in the hollow of a tree, Mitch notices a plastic bag.  A bag containing $1,800.

That night, Mitch shares the news of his find with his older brother Lee.  Lee, a high school boy who has just gotten an expensive parking ticket, cannot believe his brother’s good fortune.  And because the boys are close, Mitch readily agrees to share the money with Lee.  Lee now has the funds to buy a car and new clothes that will help him shed his hayseed image and attract the town girl he’s been pining after.  Mitch only pines for better fishing gear, a deer rifle, and new collars for his dogs.

But is turns out that Mitch is sharing danger as well.  That $1,800 is drug money and when the boys come to get the last of it, they see a man killed–a man who the dealers thought had cheated them.  The thugs know that the boys have seen the murder and they now now know who the real thief is.  Mitch and Lee have to run for their lives–through the forest that they know so well and that is well described in this coming-of-age adventure story.

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

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1999, Henderson, Mills, Sam, Mountains, Polk

Elizabeth Spann Craig. Progressive Dinner Deadly. United States: Elizabeth Spann Craig, 2013.

progressivedinnerMyrtle Clover and her best friend Miles are planning a coup in the fictional town of Bradley, North Carolina. Today at book club, they’ll suggest the reading of actual literature. Myrtle even has a back-up plan, in case things aren’t looking too good for this suggestion. What Myrtle didn’t plan for is for her horrible neighbor, Erma Sherman, to chime in when the question of changing the book club is brought up.

Erma proposes a supper club, making it look like Myrtle was hinting at this suggestion. Myrtle wishes Erma would focus on the crabgrass that keeps creeping over into Myrtle’s yard and keep her proposals to herself! Nevertheless, the suggestion of a supper club is met with enthusiasm all around –even Miles is looking excited. Many in the group are even more enthusiastic for the idea of a progressive dinner, a dinner in which the group will go from house to house throughout the night, enjoying different courses at different houses. Myrtle is completely against this idea until she is complimented on her blackberry cobbler and asked to host the dessert portion of the night.

The supper club is off to a rowdy start when guests who weren’t even a part of book club show up at Miles’s house. The event soon takes a turn for the worse when Jill and her sister, Willow, get into an argument over Jill’s husband’s taste for drinking. After that, the night continues to deteriorate, from Willow’s house where the hostess isn’t there at their arrival and then rushes off, to Jill’s house where the group is greeted by a drunken Cullen, Jill’s husband. Nevertheless, that isn’t the worst of it–that comes when Myrtle finds Jill in the kitchen, lying in a puddle of blood.

Myrtle is soon using her detective skills to search out the suspects, and she isn’t against relying on charitable acts to get close to them. Just as it seems like Myrtle has solved the case and avoided danger, there is an unexpected action that sheds new light on the murder. Will Myrtle be able to outmaneuver the suspects and solve this case before she ends up being the next victim?

Progressive Dinner Deadly is the second book in the Myrtle Clover Mystery series. Originally published as an e-book, the printed version is now available. Octogenarian sleuth, Myrtle Clover got her first taste of solving crimes in Pretty is as Pretty Dies and it doesn’t look like this spry retired English teacher will be putting down her detective cane anytime soon.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Craig, Elizabeth Spann, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Janice Maynard. A Baby for Keeps. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2014.

babyIs it true that most of us are still haunted by our high school years?   That’s certainly the case for Dylan Kavanaugh.  Although Dylan was a good-looking athlete from a prominent family, his memories of  his high school years are mixed.  Dylan is dyslexic; reading was a struggle for him, a struggle he hid from his friends, if not his teachers.  Knowing the seriousness of his disability, the school got him a tutor.  Mia Larin was two years younger than Dylan, but she was off-the-charts bright and a quiet, patient person who helped Dylan through many assignments, including his memorable take on Romeo and Juliet. Dylan still cringes when he thinks how he treated Mia.

Imagine Dylan’s surprise when Mia shows up back in their hometown–with a baby but no husband.  In the years since high school, Mia went on to get two doctoral degrees.  She was working as a medical researcher in the Research Triangle of North Carolina when she heard her biological clock ticking.  With no man in her life and a job that she thought was secure, Mia decided to have a child through artificial insemination.  Now she has lovely little Cora, but the funding for her lab dried up, and she is close to broke.  She has come back to the little mountain town of Silver Glen to regroup.

Once Dylan learns about Mia’s situation, he springs into action.  He sees helping her–with a job and a place to stay–as a way to ease his conscience over how he treated her in high school.  But Mia’s not the shy, young nerd she was in high school.  She has her pride–and she has quite a nice figure.  Mia had a crush on Dylan in high school, a crush that he never noticed.  Now, as grownups there is a mutual attraction, but should they act on it?  This being a romance, they do, but that’s not the end of it.  Self-images formed in high school, professional setbacks and opportunities, and Dylan’s fear of fatherhood make a long road to happily-ever-after.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Maynard, Janice, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Sandra Balzo. Hit and Run. Sutton, England: Severn House Publishers, 2014.

hit&runJournalist AnnaLise Griggs returned home to the fictional town of Sutherton, North Carolina because her mother was struggling with health issues. AnnaLise didn’t expect to get an offer from the town’s “legendary womanizer,” Dickens Hart, to write his memoirs. Even more unexpected was the discovery that Hart is AnnaLise’s biological father.

Dickens Hart is the founder of the White Tail Lodge – a knockoff of the playboy mansion concept. After years spent womanizing, Hart is out to make amends and needs AnnaLise’s help in order to do so. Hart wants AnnaLise to look through his “big black book” and find all the women that he could have had children with through the years, so that Hart can reach out to them. His plan is to have a big Thanksgiving dinner with the mothers and their offspring, AnnaLise included. For her part, AnnaLise will bring her mother Daisy and her mother’s best friend Philomena, affectionately known as Mama, with her. All of the guests will be staying at Hart’s manor.

Out of Hart’s black book come sixty-three possibilities. From these sixty-three possibilities, only three agree to attend along with their offspring. When a fourth shows up, it is clear that Hart decided to include one of his favorite old flames, even though he couldn’t be the father of her child. With the inclusion of ex-wives for good measure, this is sure to be a drama-filled weekend.

Hart ends up being the center of all the action–but probably not in the way he expected–when he becomes the victim of a homicide in his own bedroom. A house filled with people who aren’t sad to see Hart go, and many of them with reasonable cause to have killed the man, provides the police with a multitude of suspects. However, it is soon clear that the evidence is piling up to point at AnnaLise, the only acknowledged heir. Knowing that she did not kill her father, AnnaLise must work fast to solve the case before she ends up paying for a crime she didn’t commit.

Hit and Run is the newest title in the Main Street Mystery series. This series features the journalist AnnaLise Griggs, playing up the ability of journalists to sniff out the facts and discover the truth before all others.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Balzo, Sandra, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Janice Maynard. A Not-So-Innocent Seduction. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2014.

not-so-innocent“Being human is to be lonely. It’s a rare gift in life to find the person that completes you.”

When Zoe Chamberlain’s VW bus, Bessie, breaks down in Silver Glen, North Carolina, Zoe takes it as a sign that it’s time to kick back for a while. Zoe is constantly on the road and has spent many nights sleeping in Bessie, so booking a room at the Silver Beeches Lodge for six weeks straight is a huge indulgence. The most Zoe expected was to enjoy pampering at the lodge and to have time to explore the beautiful town of Silver Glen. Zoe gets much more than she bargained for in the form of one of the owners of the Silver Beeches Lodge, Liam Kavanagh. Life on the road can get really lonely, and there might be more to explore here than just the town.

Liam Kavanagh has lived in Silver Glen all of his life – his ancestors actually helped to build the town. Since the death of his father, while Liam was still a teenager, Liam has shouldered his family, including his mother, a multitude of siblings, and the family business, the Silver Beeches Lodge. Liam loves his job and the fact that he has loads of family right down the road, but there just has to be something more. Then Zoe Chamberlain walks into the doors of the lodge and takes his breath away. Liam knows he just has to get to know her, but that’s easier planned than accomplished.

Liam is a handsome man and Zoe is interested. The two of them start to spend time together, but where Liam shares himself with Zoe, she continues to hold back. Now, Liam knows how secrets and the pull of mystery can lead to devastation–he witnessed it with his father. So, how can he be falling in love with Zoe when he doesn’t believe he can trust her? Zoe is enjoying her time in Silver Glen and the man she’s spending time with, but the problem is that time runs out. It is only a matter of time before she’s discovered and has to move on, but how can she leave the place and the man that are just beginning to feel like home?

A Not-So-Innocent Seduction is the first novel in The Kavanaghs of Silver Glen series. The second novel in the series is Baby for Keeps; it tells the tale of Dylan Kavanagh, who plays a part in helping his big brother Liam take a chance on his love for Zoe.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Maynard, Janice, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

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

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.

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