Category Archives: Year of Publication

4. Year of Publication

Michelle Major. A Brevia Beginning. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2014.

aBreviabeginning“Something had changed in her when she’d chosen her act of rebellion. From the start, she’d known he’d find out, and she’d understood there would be hell to pay. She also believed it couldn’t be worse than the hell she called a life.”

From the day she was adopted at six years old, Lexi Preston has done everything she can to be the perfect daughter to her adopted father, Robert Preston – this includes following in his footsteps to become a lawyer in his firm. All of that ended when Lexi went behind her father’s back and gave the opposing client information. The Prestons’ clients, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, were trying to dig up dirt on Julia Morgan, the mother of their grandchild, so that they could gain custody of their grandson Charlie. Taking note of how Julia kept fighting even with all the odds piled against her, Lexi decided to help her out, knowing that it would mean “hell to pay.” When Robert Preston found out, he publicly humiliated Lexi and kicked her out of his life. With nowhere else to turn, Lexi travels to Brevia, North Carolina in search of Julia, who is now Julia Callahan and married to the police chief of Brevia. Julia isn’t too keen on helping out the woman who made her life a living hell during the custody battle, but she wouldn’t have ended up being able to keep her son Charlie if it wasn’t for Lexie. So, she offers to get Lexie a job working at Riley’s Bar.

United States Marshal Scott Callahan is in need of some time away from it all after losing his partner during a botched arrest. Not ready to face the interrogation from the Marshals office or the constant questions from others, Scott finds himself at Riley’s Bar in the hometown of his father, Joe, and brother, Sam. Also not ready to face his family, Scott decides to drown his sorrows for a while. Scott ends up in an argument with the bar owner which results in Scott buying the bar, with the help of a legal contract drawn up by one of the waitresses, Lexi Preston. Lexi is the worst waitress the town has ever seen. After Scott recovers from his drunken night, he and Lexi make a deal – Scott gets to share her two bedroom apartment and Lexi won’t hear mention of her getting fired for the month she plans to stay.

Sparks flew between the two on the night they first met; the close quarters instituted by both working at the bar together and living together only adds fuel to the fire. However, this arrangement is only temporary. Scott knows his greatest talent is the ability to mess everything up. He can’t expect to ever be good enough for Lexi. On the other hand, Lexi has never been on her own. She doesn’t know if she can make a life without her father, but this may be just an adventure that will end when her father is ready to take her back. When Lexi stands up to her father, letting him know that she won’t be coming back, will Scott be able to give up the action of U.S. Marshals Service and settle into the small-town life?

A Brevia Beginning is the third novel set in the fictitious town of Brevia North Carolina. The series continues to show that small-towns can have big-city action.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Major, Michelle, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

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

John Ehle. Kingstree Island. New York: William Morrow, 1959.

Matt Tomlinson came to Kingstree Island decades ago.  He had little, but he was good with money and he had an eye for opportunities.  He began as a shopkeeper, but he quickly expanded, buying fishing boats and the debts of local fishermen.  With his business sense and his drive, he came to own the fishing fleet, the ice house, the power plant, and a controlling interest in the island’s only hotel.  He is the big man on this remote island, and he is used to having the locals defer to his wishes.

But Tomlinson is uneasy.  He has lost his eyesight and he knows the years will continue to diminish him.  When Brandon Rhodes arrives on the island, Tomlinson senses the presence of someone like his younger self.  After his initial attempt to force Rhodes off the island fails and Rhodes attracts the interest of a few independent-minded islanders and the attractive Marsha Harris, Tomlinson vows to crush the interloper.  The struggle between the two men plays out in this isolated community among people who must bend to the weather but who come to realize that they don’t need to bend to the will of one man.

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

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Filed under 1950-1959, 1959, Coast, Dare, Ehle, John

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

E. C. Hanes. Billy Bowater. Winston-Salem, NC: Rane Coat Press, 2014.

billyIt’s 1990 and an art exhibit on a college campus provides just the kind of issue that Senator Wiley Hoots’s campaign staff wants.  Hoots is the senior senator from North Carolina.  He’s a conservative true believer and a rough campaigner.  Seniority has put Hoots in line to head the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  This fits with Hoots’s recent view of himself as a senior statesman, but clout in foreign affairs is not enough to turn out the voters, or to get the flood of small donations that have always floated the senator’s campaigns.  No, the campaign needs an issue that will make voters mad and scared, something that will get them talking to their friends, yelling at the TV, and writing checks to the senator’s campaign committee. The senator’s daughter provides the issue when she writes to her father to complain about an exhibit on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.  Photos of naked girls embracing, a painting showing public urination, and so many other examples of bad taste and moral chaos!  At a public university–and paid for with tax dollars.  Bingo! A campaign issue is born.

The late Senator Jesse Helms’s crusade against the National Endowment for the Arts is clearly the inspiration for this plot, but the novel doesn’t focus on the senator.  Rather, we see the campaign–all the scheming, in-fighting, spinning, and collateral damage–through the eyes of the senator’s chief administrative assistant, Billy Bowater.  Billy, a member of an esteemed eastern North Carolina family, has been with Senator Hoots for five years.  His father, a politically connected lawyer, got the placement for Billy when Billy’s drinking and boredom with small town lawyering threatened the family’s reputation.  Billy has thrived in Washington–the bright lights, the intrigue, the nearness to power thrill him.  That thrill allows him to ignore his dislike for the senator, his politics, and the other members of the senator’s team.  Billy’s true feelings bubble up from time to time, especially when he is with Lucy Sue Tribble, a reporter for the Raleigh paper.  Readers follow Billy as the campaign swings into high gear.  This likely won’t be the senator’s last campaign, but will it be Billy’s?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Coastal Plain, Hanes, E. C., Piedmont

Carla Cassidy. Her Secret, His Duty. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2014.

hersecret,hisdutyThat can’t be! Debra Prentice can’t be pregnant, but thinking back six weeks ago to that passionate one night stand proves that she can. Debra has no intentions of giving her baby up; she’ll just have to keep the baby’s father a secret forever. Because, even though Debra has had a crush on the man for years, she knows that she isn’t right for him – that she isn’t the kind of woman that a man of his standing needs beside him. As the product of an affair between a married man and a drunk, Debra’s background is not one that could boost Trey Winston up the political ladder that he is seeking to climb in Raleigh, North Carolina. Not to mention that he is her boss’s son.

Trey Winston has just announced to his family that he is planning on running for United States Senate. Everyone knows he has it in him, as he is the product of a political family. Trey’s father was a politician up until the day he died, and his mother still is one. Kate Winston, Trey’s mother, has served as an ambassador to France and was also the first female vice president. With a legacy like that, Trey can win this race. Of course, he would appeal to voters more if he was married. Trey has the perfect candidate in mind to be his wife, Cecily McKenna. Cecily comes from old money and has everything it takes to be the perfect politician’s wife – including the ability to set aside her emotions. Everyone expects that Trey will propose to Cecily very soon in order to cement his candidacy. The only problem is that Trey can’t get his mind off of Debra. Trey hasn’t even touched Cecily since the night with Debra that is forever burned into his mind.

When Kate Winston, Debra’s boss, asks Debra to help Trey with his announcement gala, the two will have to spend a lot of time together. Seeing how much Trey is invested in running for the Senate, Debra’s determination to keep the father of her baby a secret only grows. However, the more time Trey spends with Debra, the more he realizes that he can’t marry Cecily because he is in love with Debra. After attacks on Debra’s life, Trey resolves to keep her safe–but is he only putting her in more danger?

Her Secret, His Duty is the first novel in The Adair Legacy series. This series is the tale of a family steeped in politics, and how love can help to heal all wounds.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Cassidy, Carla, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Wake

Tyora Moody. When Perfection Fails. Wyandanch, NY: Urban Fiction, 2014.

whenperfectionReverend Jonathan Freeman and his wife Lenora have been married for twenty years and they are the couple that other couples look up to in Charlotte, North Carolina. Lenora owns her own bridal shop where she plans extravagant weddings and provides the wedding dresses. Her husband Jonathan is just as successful, and has recently became the pastor of Victory Gospel Church. Victory Gospel Church was his father’s church and is one of the premier black churches in Charlotte. With the passing of the elder Reverend Freeman, Jonathan has inherited the church and responsibilities that come along with being the pastor of a prominent church family. However, there is even more greatness in store for Jonathan. The mayor has asked that Jonathan run for Charlotte City Council District 2 seat. The lives these two lead seem like ones to envy, but outsiders don’t get to see the turmoil that takes place behind closed doors.

Jonathan is struggling with his new role as pastor of a “mega-church,” and whether to take the mayor up on running for the city council seat. He hasn’t even brought it up with Lenora yet as he knows that she is busy adjusting to becoming the first lady of such a big church. Jonathan just doesn’t know if his marriage will be able withstand an entrance into politics. When Lenora learns of Jonathan’s political aspirations from another source, will she stand by his side as their family is pulled even more into the spotlight?

Lenora is dealing with her own secret – a secret that has been buried for decades. Lenora feels the strain that her marriage has taken and knows that revealing this secret will only place more burdens upon her relationship with her husband. Nevertheless, when faced with the reality that keeping this secret is threatening her life and her family, Lenora knows she must come clean in order to protect the man she has loved for years and the blessed life that God has given her. Will Lenora’s revelation cause more harm to her family and her relationship with her husband than keeping the secret? Is Jonathan willing to stand with Lenora just as he constantly requires her to stand with him?

When Perfection Fails is the third novel in the Victory Gospel Series. If you are new to the series, check out our blog post on the first novel, When Rain Falls.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Mecklenburg, Moody, Tyora, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational

Chalmers G. Davidson. Cloud over Catwaba. Charlotte, NC: Mecklenburg Historical Society, 1949.

In the Catawba Valley of North Carolina in 1815, a girl of sixteen is old enough to marry, and Priscilla Brevard would be a catch for any man.  Priscilla’s father, Colonel Jonathan Brevard is a wealthy foundry owner in Lincoln County.  Her mother’s people are solid, God-fearing Presbyterians, and they all are longtime members of the local church where plain living and high thinking are the norm.  But Priscilla is just back from school in Charleston, South Carolina.  There she learned French, studied literature, and developed a taste for finer things. The fancy churches and casual attitude toward religion of her schoolmates shocked her, but in truth, Priscilla herself lacks the religious convictions of her family and neighbors.

When confronted with the choice of marrying a talented young preacher or a planter who will build her a beautiful house in nearby Mecklenburg County, Priscilla chooses the planter.  Alexander McIntosh is the son of a successful planter. When he turned twenty one, his father gave him land and slaves, but Alec’s oversight of his holdings has been perfunctory.  He didn’t feel a desire to work, to drive himself, until he gave himself to Priscilla.  She is his goddess and he will build her a temple to match her perfection.  The mansion, “Priscilla’s Price,”  is soon widely recognized as the most elegant, distinctive house in the valley.  But that is not necessarily a good thing among people who value frugality and piety.  As the years go by, Priscilla as cause to reconsider her fateful decision.

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

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Filed under 1940-1949, 1949, Davidson, Chalmers G., Historical, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Piedmont

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