Tag Archives: Adoption

Monique Miller. Secret Sisterhood. Deer Park, NY: Urban Books, 2010.

Secret SisterhoodInfertility can be all-consuming. It’s a devastating setback for couples ready to start their families. Novelist Monique Miller writes a story of three women from different backgrounds united by their struggles with infertility.

At first Shelby Tomlinson loved her job as a registered nurse with the Silvermont Women’s Center. Her patients’ happiness at their good news rubbed off on Shelby. She felt excited to come to work in such a positive atmosphere. That elation has fizzled out ever since Shelby and her husband Phillip started trying for a baby. They’ve tried for two years without any luck. Now, whenever Shelby deals with prenatal patients their good fortune depresses her. Suddenly, she feels a stronger bond with the patients who suffer from infertility too. However, her anxiety attacks, a lifelong problem, are increasing and Phillip has been distant whenever she broaches the topic of children. Shelby can’t figure out his odd behavior. Does he have a secret he’s hiding? In the face of all this stress, Shelby manages to find some hope when a patient struggling with infertility gets pregnant. Maybe Shelby still stands a chance at beating her infertility.

Crystal Shaw wants to open a day care center of her own one day. She also wants to have a baby, but it doesn’t look like that dream is going to come true any time soon. Crystal is envious of the pregnant women around her, especially those who don’t seem worthy in her eyes. Everyone around her is getting pregnant, including her sister Shanice, who already has a baby with another man and refuses to work, relying on public assistance and her “Man of the Quarter” instead.  Crystal is tired of breezily claiming that she’s not quite ready for kids. Even her work toward establishing a day care center is difficult. Spending all her time around children only reminds Crystal how she and her husband Warren, her childhood sweetheart, haven’t been able to conceive despite trying for years. Crystal starts thinking how nice a desk job might be so she could stop confronting the harsh reality of her childlessness.

When she was young, Vivian Parker made a promise to her grandmother, Eva – a promise that she has managed to fulfill, and then some. Eva emphasized the importance of an education as a priceless investment. Once Vivian earned an education, she insisted, it could never be taken away. After Eva passed away, Vivian focused all her energy on her grades and her career. She obtained her bachelor’s and master’s, eventually becoming a successful and esteemed architect with careful planning and hard work. But she’s behind on her plans for her personal life. By thirty she assumed she would be married, and then a child or two would follow shortly thereafter. Instead, Vivian didn’t get married until thirty-eight. Her husband Roland is the CEO of the company Vivian works for. Together, they’re a powerful couple professionally. But now that they’re more serious about having a baby, they learn that even though they can bankroll expensive procedures like in vitro fertilization, they still might not be able to fight time.

Faith is a central element to Secret Sisterhood. Shelby, Crystal, and Vivian turn to their religion to strengthen themselves in the midst of hardships. Miller breaks the story up, chapter by chapter, alternating the perspectives of the three main characters, although she also creates some areas of overlap and interconnection between the women during their journey to become mothers.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Miller, Monique, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational

Kim Williams Justesen. The Deepest Blue. Terre Haute, IN: Tanglewood Publishing, 2013.

deepestAt fifteen, Mike Wilson is a typical teenage boy, with the same concerns as his peers.  His is counting the days until he can drive, and each day he hopes that he will better understand girls and one girl in particular–Rachel, his on-again, off-again girlfriend.  In the meantime he is working this summer, like previous ones, on his father’s charter fishing boat.  Mike doesn’t know if he’ll want to make this boat his future, but he enjoys spending time with his father, Rich.  Rich has been Mike’s sole parent ever since the two of them left Mike’s mom.   Mike was just five when he and his dad moved from Washington State to the North Carolina coast,  but Mike has memories of his mother’s unhappiness and her coldness toward him.  It’s fine with him that he has rarely heard from her these past ten years.

As The Deepest Blue opens, Rich tells his son that he is going to ask his long-time girlfriend, Maggie, to marry him.  Before he offers Maggie a ring, Rich needs to know that Mike will be OK with this change in his life.  Mike is thrilled.  Sure, it will be different, but Mike knows that Maggie and Rich love each other and, in truth, she has been like a mother to him for the past few years.  But before Rich can pop the question, tragedy strikes.  Rich is killed by a drunk driver.  Maggie and Mike are devastated–the future that there were to share has been taken from them.

But perhaps they can have a different future together.  Mike would like Maggie to adopt him, but because he is a minor he is not free to do as he pleases in such an important matter.  And because his age, his mother, Julia,  is notified of her ex-husband’s death.  To everyone’s surprise, Julia asserts her parental rights and makes plans to take Mike to live with her new family on the West Coast.  The Deepest Blue follows Mike and Maggie as they, though grief stricken, try to mange their feelings, bury Rich, and do battle with Julia for Mike’s future.  The story is told from Mike’s perspective, and readers come to see a decent, ordinary boy struggle toward the maturity that he will need to become the person his father hoped he’d be.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Carteret, Coast, Justesen, Kim Williams

Clay Carmichael. Brother, Brother. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2013.

Brother, BrotherMem always had two rules for Brother: “Never assume anything and Pay attention, pay attention, pay attention.” When he came home late and tired after working at double shift at The Elms Rest Home and then getting into a fight with his best friend, Cole, seventeen-year old Brother didn’t think to check in on his grandmother. The next morning he found her dead in her bedroom. Mem’s death was not a total surprise to Brother. She had been sick with breast cancer and the doctor estimated she had only weeks left. But her death was still a blow. Mem raised Brother as his adoptive mother after Brother’s birth mother left him with Mem as a toddler. His mother died in a car accident soon after she passed Brother over to Mem. His father’s identity remains a mystery. The truth died with his mother. Or so Brother thought. That identity might not be a secret for much longer.

Brother discovers from the undertaker, Bayliss, that Mem had a newspaper in her bed when he came to take her body. The newspaper contained an article about the reviled Senator Gideon Grayson, and his son Gabriel, who recently suffered an overdose. Mem was the housekeeper’s daughter for the Grayson family. But that’s not the eerie part. Gabriel and Brother are spitting images of one another – and, feasibly then, twins separated at birth. After he sees the picture, Brother sets out for the Grayson family home, on Winter Island off the coast of North Carolina, to find his brother and learn the truth behind his parentage.

Before Brother leaves his small-town with his faithful Australian shepherd mix, Trooper, he winds up saddled with another unexpected burden. Cole has vanished. Cole was a flashy big-talker who dreamed about winning a fortune through cards or the lottery. Presumably, Cole skipped town to seize such an opportunity. In his absence, Cole left behind his little brother, Jack. Along the way to find his twin, Brother, Jack, and Trooper meet Kit, a teenaged girl, who helps them on their trek to the Grayson home. As they journey closer to the island, Brother is mistaken for Gabriel, and the reaction is anything but pleasant–it turns out that Brother’s long-lost twin has quite a reputation.

When they reach the island, the Senator’s stepdaughter Lucy intercepts them. She hides the band of castaways in a cottage on the island and delivers them food and other supplies. Lucy insists that the three fugitives remain hidden, at least initially. She assures Brother that he must wait for the right opportunity to approach the Senator. Over time, Brother suspects that Lucy might not be as sweet as she pretends. He grows restless and ready to march into the Senator’s estate, named – amusingly enough – Eden. But Brother would be wise to remember Mem’s two life rules. Eden is unlike his small town. It is full of the most disingenuous types of people around: politicians, lawyers, and their lackeys who spin lies in any direction they want.  To get to the truth, Brother must think savvily. The truth he hopes to uncover though might be much more poisonous than he could have ever imagined.

Novelist Clay Carmichael revises the prince and the pauper tale for a modern audience and weaves in elements of a road trip story. The book is geared toward young adults, but has content that could grip readers of many ages. Carmichael is a Chapel Hill native with a degree in creative writing from UNC-Chapel Hill. She currently resides in Carrboro. For information on her first novel, Wild Things, read this post.

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

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Filed under 2013, Carmichael, Clay, Children & Young Adults, Coast

Jen Calonita. The Grass is Always Greener. New York: Poppy, 2013.

thegrassisalwaysgreenerThe conclusion to Jen Calonita’s Belles series finds half-sisters Mirabelle and Isabelle Monroe each facing her own crossroads. The Monroe family is used to an easy life, but that changed when Isabelle “Izzie” Scott (in reality Monroe) arrived. Hailing from the nearby struggling community of Harborside, the daughter State Senator and family patriarch Bill Monroe never knew existed has certainly made life interesting in the affluent town of Emerald Cove. No one has felt the changes more than Izzie’s half-sister Mirabelle.

Originally a quiet conformist, Mirabelle has started to march to the beat of her own drum. She’s pursuing her own interests in painting, as well as a quirky, artistic boy named Kellen. Izzie has changed her life,  but nothing is perfect. Kellen is moving away, and Mirabelle’s novice artwork faces harsh criticism from a teacher. Will she stay true to her newfound path?

Although used to blazing her own trail, Izzie has trials to face as well. Shortly following the death of her beloved grandmother, an aunt Izzie never knew about arrives in town. Zoe Scott had a terrible falling out with her sister, Izzie’s mom, before Izzie was ever born. Now Zoe wants to make amends and take her niece away to live in California. Izzie isn’t sure if she wants her aunt in her life, much less if she wants to leave the Old North State. Additionally, Savannah Ingram, the alpha girl of Emerald Preparatory, looks ready to make Izzie pay for disrupting the status quo. Forced to work with the snobby queen bee on a project, Izzie is sure she’ll be miserable. But is Savannah really as bad as she thought? Torn between the lessons of her meager upbringing and the challenges of her new, shinier life, Izzie must decide what her future will hold.

Both girls are about to turn sweet sixteen, and at this rite of passage they must decide who they will be. But since Isabelle and Mirabelle Monroe first accepted one another as sisters, one thing is certain– whatever they face, they’ll face it together.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Calonita, Jen, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Elizabeth Flock. What Happened to My Sister. New York: Ballentine Books, 2012.

Carrie Parker, age nine, and her mother Libby are leaving Hendersonville, North Carolina. Before they drive away, Libby makes her daughter promise never to talk about anything that happened there, and to remember that her sister, Emma, was just an imaginary friend she made up. But Carrie knows better– Emma was real, until something bad happened.

After moving down into the foothills, Carrie and her mother eke out a miserable existence at a motel in the fictional Hartsville, where Libby is often too intoxicated or too busy with her boyfriends to even feed her daughter. The little girl lives on paper and stolen food, until entirely by accident, she meets the Chaplin family. Ruth, Honor, and Cricket Chaplin are three generations living under the same roof. Living in a comfortable house filled with memorabilia dedicated to their famous relative, Charlie, the Chaplin women nevertheless have their own struggles. Cricket’s sister, Caroline, passed away only a short while ago from cancer, and it has torn her parents apart. Honor, Cricket’s mother, thinks that she’s hallucinating that day in the Wendy’s when she sees the little girl stealing from the salad bar– she’s the spitting image of her Caroline. When she discover’s Carrie’s name, she knows that she has to keep this unloved, sad little girl in her life. This conviction will change her and her family’s life, and will help Carrie discover what actually happened to the sister she’s sure she didn’t imagine.

A simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting story about family, blood ties, and what’s most important in life, Elizabeth Flock has written a beautiful story that gets at the heart of child abuse. Told from the dual perspectives of Honor Chaplin and Carrie Parker, it is an intricately woven tale that both surprises and satisfies.

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Buncombe, Flock, Elizabeth, Henderson, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Suspense/Thriller

Jen Calonita. Winter White. New York: Poppy, 2012.

Isabelle “Izzie” Scott is still adjusting to the revelation that her uncle, North Carolina State Senator Bill Monroe, is in fact her father. The Monroe family may appear polished and smiling for the media sharks during the Senator’s re-election campaign, but away from the cameras, they’re falling apart. Mirabelle, who at fifteen is only a few months younger than Izzie, is still not willing to forgive her father, and neither is Izzie. Their younger and older brothers are fine, but the girls refuse to have anything to do with Senator Monroe beyond their filial duty to uphold his public image.

Meanwhile, mean girl Savannah Ingram, the queen bee of Emerald Prep, is on the warpath. Mirabelle, who used to be one of the most popular girls at Emerald Cove’s elite private school and Savannah’s best friend, is officially a persona non grata. Not only did she finally accept her strange and awkward half-sister as both a member of her family and a friend, but she didn’t help Savannah sabotage Isabelle’s burgeoning relationship with Savannah’s handsome ex-boyfriend, Brayden. Worst of all, one of the most important events in Mirabelle’s life is fast approaching: cotillion, where every young girl in Emerald Cove who is anybody comes out as an official debutante. Contrary to everyone’s expectations, Izzie is also participating. Will the girls survive the demanding preparations designed to turn them into proper Southern belles? As the preparations for the debutante ball become more difficult, boy problems loom, and more bad press appears, so the girls must once again work together to save their family and their own happiness.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Calonita, Jen, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Sheila Turnage. Three Times Lucky. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012.

Moses “Mo” LoBeau is no stranger to mysteries. Found as an infant floating down the Tar River on some debris during a powerful hurricane, the rising sixth grader’s very existence is something of an oddity around Tupelo Landing. Which is not to say that she is shunned by the (fictional) eastern North Carolina town; on the contrary, Mo is a star. Helping her guardians, Colonel LoBeau (who found and named her) and Miss Lana, run the local cafe (which serves such specials as peanut butter and banana on Wonder Bread and Mountain Dew as the drink du jour), Mo is beloved by all of the hotspot’s customers. Although she would love to know who her “Upstream Mother” is, and she tries to find her by sending letters in bottles along nearby tributaries, Mo is content. But then Joe Starr, a lawman with too many questions about the Colonel, shows up, and  Miss Lana goes missing.  The town is shocked when Mr. Jesse is found murdered and Mo’s best friend, Dale Earnhardt III, was the last to see him alive. With all this trouble so close to home, Mo steps up as pint-sized detective to crack the multiple cases. In doing so, she preserves  the only family she has ever known and returns her close-knit village to normalcy.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Children & Young Adults, Coastal Plain, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Turnage, Sheila

Marcia Gruver. Raider’s Heart. Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing, 2011.

Back in the early 1850s, Silas McRae was a no-good thief and a charlatan. He had to be: despite having the surname name “McRae” he and his family, like other Lumbee residents of Robeson County, North Carolina, were looked down on and scorned by most North Carolinians. Now it’s 1871, and as an older man with a family, Silas regrets his thieving ways. But his greatest regret is the loss of a beautiful golden lamp, stolen from a rich Fayetteville home one fateful night in 1852. Silas has told the tale repeatedly to his two boys, Hooper and Duncan: how beautiful the lamp was, and how Silas was sure that its strange shape held a genie that would answer all of his problems. When Hooper and Duncan hear from a cousin that the lamp might have found its way to the family of a wealthy local planter, how can they resist stopping by to acquire it?

It seems like a simple job of thievery, but the boys don’t count on the feisty Dawsey Wilkes, the (supposedly) gently raised daughter of Colonel Gerrard Wilkes. Dawsey apprehends the criminals in the act of stealing her father’s precious lamp, but the situation goes terribly awry for all parties involved, and somehow the McRaes end up kidnapping Dawsey. But the trouble is just beginning. When the McRaes arrive home in Scuffletown with Dawsey, they discover that she is the spitting image of their little sister Ellie, who is exactly the same age. Are the two girls twins? And could the beautiful, haughty Dawsey ever fall for the likes of Hooper McRae? What unfolds is a tale of danger, unexpected family, and romance. This first novel in Gruver’s Backwoods Brides series charts a stormy course through the racially charged history of Reconstruction era Robeson County.

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Gruver, Marcia, Historical, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Robeson, Romance/Relationship

Péron Long. The First Person. Deer Park, NY: Urban Renaissance, 2010.

T’Shobi Wells is an up-and-coming gospel star who has just moved to Charlotte, North Carolina from his childhood home of Atlanta. Running from a dark childhood filled with abuse and molestation from adults who should have been there to protect him, he has tried to move on with his life, but keeps getting caught in bad situations. At the moment, he’s currently involved in a torrid affair with two people: one is the wife of his pastor…and the other is the pastor himself. Justine and Seth Reynolds have no idea that T’Shobi is fooling around with both of them, and T’Shobi plans to keep it that way. But Tanisha Jackson, an innocent young woman with a serious crush on the charismatic and talented T’Shobi, might ruin everything.

Tanisha truly believes that what God wants most is for her to make T’Shobi see that she’s the one for him, but as he continually pushes her away, the impressionable young woman slowly loses herself. The sweet Tanisha vanishes, replaced by her alter-ego TiTi: a violent, sexually deviant young woman who will go to any length to make sure T’Shobi is punished for ignoring her. In this dark, gritty urban drama, the reader is witness to the psychological and physical damage that human beings are capable of visiting on themselves and others in their intimate relationships.

This book is not recommended for young readers.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Long, Péron, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Mary Kay Andrews. Spring Fever. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2012

The town of Passcoe, North Carolina is a rather unremarkable hamlet in the Piedmont, but it does have one claim to fame: it’s the birthplace of a unique, cherry-flavored beverage known as Quixie. Since 1922, Quixie, run by the wealthy Bayless family, has been the center of Passcoe’s economy. Everyone works for Quixie, but Annajane Hudgens thinks it’s time to move on. Annajane is closer to Quixie than most– in addition to drinking it for her entire life and working at the company for years, she used to be married to Mason Bayless, the Quixie family’s favorite son and current CEO. But now Mason is getting remarried, and Annajane is taking it harder than she thought she would. Strangely so, since she’s also engaged to someone else. But Mason’s fiancée is the bubbly, petite Celia Wakefield, and something about that woman leaves an queasy feeling in Annajane’s stomach.

This sensation almost leads to Annajane to interrupt her ex-husband’s nuptials, but incredibly, the wedding falls apart on its own. Suddenly Annajane and Mason both have more time to grapple with their leftover feelings for one another. It doesn’t take much for anyone who knows him to see that as much as Annajane isn’t over Mason, Mason isn’t over Annajane either. But Celia is a force to be reckoned with, and her claws are firmly embedded in Mason, the Bayless family fortune, and the Quixie company. Is Annajane willing to fight for her man? And will she be able to handle the secrets the battle will uncover?

Mary Kay Andrews’ latest novel is perfect to bring to the beach and enjoy with a cold can of Cheerwine.

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Andrews, Mary Kay, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship