Tag Archives: African Americans

Cheris Hodges. Forces of Nature. New York: Kensington Publishing Corp., 2013.

Forces of NatureIn the 1970s,  jealousy drove Douglas Wellington Jr. to great success in establishing his manufacturing company, Welco Industries. As a young man, Douglas Jr. was ashamed of his poor background, and his intellectual interests led his peers to dismiss him as nerdy.  But “money changed things and changed the way people viewed” Douglas Jr. He wielded his power and money to exact revenge on the people who once thought of him as just a poor boy from Waverly. His most ambitious sights were set on the Hughes Farm. In Douglas Jr.’s mind, Joel Hughes stole Erin Hamilton from him. Although Douglas Jr. married another woman, he was still besotted with Erin. And if he couldn’t win Erin back, then he would make them both pay.

Fast forward into the present day and Douglas Wellington III is now CEO of Welco Industries. Much of nearby Reeseville has been developed by Welco. But not quite the entire town has been dug up and gentrified. Not the Hughes Farm, at least. Douglas hopes to solidify plans on the Douglas Wellington Jr. Business Park as soon as possible to honor his deceased father’s memory and to appease his board of directors. The chairman of the board, Clive Oldsman, hounds Douglas relentlessly about speeding up the project. Originally Douglas had dreams of making a name in the music industry, but when his father fell ill with colon cancer, he was lured into the family business to please his dying father. So his sights are fastened on the Hughes Farm.

Crystal Hughes, daughter of Joel and Erin Hughes, is not about to let Welco steal her family’s farm out from under her. She’s feisty and full of ideas to protest the business park, including handcuffing herself to the desk of Douglas’s receptionist. Crystal’s determination is understandable. After all, the Hughes Farm is a legacy. The farm was the first property owned by African Americans in Duval County. Under Crystal’s management, the farm produces vegetables that are donated to the local homeless shelter. Also, Starlight House, a group home for young girls, sits on the property. Crystal has a fierce devotion to the girls at Starlight, who in turn, show their affection and appreciation by helping with chores around the farm. Crystal loves the farm and she is confident that anyone who spends time on the land will fall in love with it too. She is so confident, in fact, that she challenges Douglas to spend one week on the property before he continues with his plans to destroy the farm. Douglas accepts the offer, if only because of his attraction to Crystal.

In Forces of Nature Cheris Hodges offers a light rendition on Romeo and Juliet: two sworn enemies stifling their attraction to each other out of familial loyalty. Will Crystal’s proposition change Douglas’s mind? There is plenty of intrigue and family secrets to keep readers turning the pages of this book.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Hodges, Cheris F., Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Sarah Martin Byrd. The Color of My Heart. Greenville, SC: Ambassador International, 2013.

color heartHow well do we know our neighbors?  How well do we even know our own family?  Laura Carter loves her husband, Cam, and although she knows his father Monroe is a hard, racist man, she treats her father-in-law with respect.  Laura accepts the fact that Cam, an accountant, has to help his father with his farm, and she does not object when Cam goes out at at night to assist his dad.  Laura believes that she and Cam are a team, and that together they can weather any storm.

Laura’s belief is put to the test in more ways than she could have imagined.  Laura has always known that she was adopted.  At her birthmother’s request, it was a closed adoption–Laura has never know anything about her birth family.  As The Color of My Heart opens, Laura’s birthmother, Nelda Brinson, is dying and Nelda’s grandmother makes the fateful decision to contact Laura.  Nelda and her Me-Maw live so close by that Laura can visit them, and in doing so she finds out that her mother and her people are African Americans.  As Laura, Cam, and their daughters are adjusting to that fact and getting to know their new family, their older daughter Larkin becomes pregnant.  The baby’s father is her long-term boyfriend, a boy whose father is a good friend of Cam’s father and who shares his racist views.  Sarah Martin Byrd weaves these three strands together in multi-generational story that contains history, horror, cruelty, compassion, and uplift.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Byrd, Sarah Martin, Davie, Iredell, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Rowan

Janice Sims. Escape with Me. Toronto: Harlequin Kimani, 2013.

escapeLana Corday has made a good living as a decorator in San Francisco but when her husband is accused of an enormous financial fraud, she is pursued by the media and her business dries up.  Both the media and the police badger Lana because he husband, Jeremy, is nowhere to be found.  Did Jeremy die when his yacht exploded, or did he fake his death so he could start a new life?

The FBI thinks that Jeremy is still alive and that he will come back for his beautiful wife.  Believing that Lana is the bait to catch Jeremy, the FBI enlists Lana’s father’s help. When she hears that her father has a touch of heart trouble, Lana returns to Hatteras Island to be by his side.  The FBI follows, in the person of handsome special agent Tennison Isles.  Jeremy’s deceptions have caused Lana to doubt her ability to judge people, but she can’t help but notice how her father trusts Tenn and enjoys his company.  Could she let herself fall for this upright, handsome, sexy man?

Janice Sims does a nice job of interweaving Lana and Tenn’s romance with the business of catching Jeremy, but what will set this book apart for North Carolina readers is the author’s familiarity with the Outer Banks–its geography, its beauty, its heritage.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Coast, Dare, Romance/Relationship, Sims, Janice

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thomas Meinecke. Pale Blue. Las Vegas, NV: AmazonCrossing, 2012.

Set in mid-1999, Pale Blue follows the thoughts of Tillman, a young German living temporarily on the Outer Banks. Fascinated by blues music, he traces its evolution through time, musing on iconic figures and significant events from Josephine Baker and World War II to Ronald Reagan and Mariah Carey. This history is interspersed with his own ethnic and sexual self-explorations, which he embarks on with the aid of Vermilion, a local waitress earning her doctorate at Duke studying Hasidic Jews. Tillman also corresponds with an old girlfriend in Germany, Yolanda. As he and Vermilion travel from Ocracoke to Kitty Hawk to Roanoke Island, we journey with them on their voyage of self-discovery and historical inquiry.

Meinecke’s second novel, translated from the German by Daniel Bowles, is a twisting path through time and narration, often switching location and speaker abruptly. Those interested in stream of consciousness writing in particular will enjoy the style of this novel.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Coast, Meinecke, Thomas

J. Leon Pridgen, II. Hidden Secrets, Hidden Lives. New York: Strebor Books, 2011.

Travis Moore has been able to move beyond his troubled past.  As a high school student named Perry he became a drug runner, in part to keep his mother off the streets. His partner in crime was his good friend Kwame “Bone” Brown.  But while Perry kept his grades up and his street profile low, Bone wanted respect on the streets, dressing flashy and pushing the limits. Bone’s behavior eventually landed him in a juvenile detention facility.  As agreed, Bone did not give up Perry and in return Perry left Bone their remaining drug stash and all their cash.

As the years go by, Bone comes to believe that he got the raw end of the deal, and he plots revenge against Perry, now a college graduate, married man, and a financial professional for a large home improvement chain.  The crafty Bone uses his drugs and cash to lure old friends and a young boy that Travis has been mentoring into the plot against Perry/Travis.  Author Pridgen gives us a chilling look at how the desire for revenge can warp a person and how in tense moments each of us acts in our own self-interest.

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

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

J. Leon Pridgen, II. Color of Justice. New York: Strebor Books, 2011.

James Pruitt grew up with the security that every child deserves.  He knew that he was adopted, but his adoptive parents, William and Mamie Pruitt, always made him feel like he was their own.  Their love, and the careful guidance that he received from them, has helped him to succeed in school.  As this novel opens, James believes that he has the inner strength that will allow him to be successful in his career, begin his own family, and handle whatever life throws at him.

Have brother …. Help him.  James has no idea what his father’s final words could mean until he finds a box of newspaper clippings and photographs in William’s closet.  Only then does Mamie tell James about his parents and that his birth mother had another son–a man who is now on death row.  Warren Johnson isn’t pleased when James comes to see him in prison.  Warren resents the easy life that James has had and he thinks that the man who raised him, Geoffrey Taylor, is doing all that can be done to save him.  James, a lawyer, has a bad feeling about Taylor, and his prosecutor’s instincts won’t let him accept Warren’s case at face value.  Although it upsets his mother and strains his relationship with his girlfriend and his boss, James and his friend Chuck race to clear Warren’s name, no matter what the cost.

Despite the dirty dealings that James and Chuck uncover, this well plotted novel is at heart a warm story of family and loyalty.

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

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

Kim Cash Tate. Hope Springs. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012.

Hope Springs is a small, fictional town 40 minutes east of Raleigh, North Carolina. Geraldine “Grandma Geri” Sanders, the matriarch of the Sanders clan, holds family reunions here every summer and every Christmas, welcoming her far-flung chicks back to the nest where they grew up. Some, like her granddaughter Libby who lives in Raleigh, haven’t strayed so far. But her other adult grandchildren are so far away; some haven’t visited in years. Sisters Cyd and Stephanie grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, where they spend most holidays with their husbands’ families. Janelle has refused to make the journey down from her home in Maryland ever since she lost her husband two years ago.

The Sanders aren’t the only family in Hope Springs hosting a reunion: the Dillons, their neighbors for many years, are all congregating after the death of their patriarch, Jerry Dillon, who also happened to be the local pastor. His son Todd and daughter-in-law Becca are also heavily involved in ministry, but have moved outside of Hope Springs. Now all the adults from both families have a chance to reconnect over shared happiness and sorrow, and each person must ponder what God truly wants for him or her in their hearts. When Grandma Geri contracts cancer, everyone pulls together, and what is meant to be a Christmas visit turns into a months-long extended stay.

While the novel is told through the eyes of Stephanie, Janelle, and Becca, we witness everyone’s journey together as a family in more ways than one. Will Stephanie be able to adjust to her family after so many years away? Will Janelle eventually overcome her husband’s death, and even find new love? Will Becca do what’s right for herself and her children? Most importantly, will everyone survive in a house full of young children and toddlers? Only God has the answers.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Tate, Kim Cash

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, Urban Fiction

Victor L. Martin. The Game of Deception. East Orange, NJ: Wahida Clark Presents Publishing, 2010.

At twenty-six Ghetti is beginning to tire of his life as a drug hustler in Durham, North Carolina.  It’s a dangerous life and it has been getting harder and harder to know who to trust. Still, Ghetti is surprised when a deal with two new customers–Arabs looking to make a big purchase–turns out to be a near-deadly setup.  Can it be that his young buddy Poo-Man has turned on him?

After Ghetti settles the score with his two dangerous customers, he hightails it to Goldsboro, North Carolina where he hides away with his cousin Mance.  There he plots his revenge against Poo-Man.  Back in Durham police detectives Amanda Hartford and Volanda Carter investigate the murder of two Arab men. A nosy neighbor leads them to Poo Man’s girlfriend, Maria.  Maria become one–but not the only–point where the officers’ professional–and personal–lives intersect with Ghetti’s.  The mistaken identities and hidden connections that fuel the plot of this book may remind readers of Elizabethan comedies, but Shakespeare and his contemporaries never wrote anything as X-rated as The Game of Deception.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Durham, Martin, Victor L., Piedmont, Urban Fiction, Wayne