Tag Archives: African Americans

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

Sundee T. Frazier. The Other Half of My Heart. New York: Delacorte, 2010.

Minni and Keira King are fraternal twins, so they already look different from one another. But most people have trouble telling they’re related at all, or don’t believe it, due to a one-in-a-million genetic coincidence: Minni is white, and Keira is black. This phenomenon, known as “mixed twins,” occurs because only eight or nine chromosomes in the human genetic code determine skin tone. Each human being possesses the possibility to pass on a lighter or darker skin tone to their children, and both father and mother’s genes are in the mix. Born to a black mother and a white father, Minni and Keira often describe their family as a walking chessboard.

Now entering the sixth grade, the twins and their parents live in dreary, drizzly Washington State. But a phone call from their maternal grandmother in North Carolina means a visit to the sunny South. As a child, their mother competed in  the Miss Black Pearl Preteen pageant in Raleigh, winning the Miss Congeniality award. Grandma Johnson is determined that her granddaughters will continue the tradition, and is even more certain that one of them will win. But Mama and Grandma Johnson have very different ideas of what it means to be beautiful, and what it means to be black. While practicing for the competition, by turns both girls feel criticized and incomplete due to their many differences in appearance and talent. This pageant marks Keira and Minni’s coming of age, when they must learn to accept their uniqueness along with their identity as sisters.

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

 

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Filed under 2010, Children & Young Adults, Frazier, Sundee T., Piedmont, Wake

Shana Burton. Catt Chasin’. Deer Park , NY: Urban Books, 2011.

Who likes it when some new co-worker comes in and starts telling you that you’ve been doing your job wrong?  That’s what chemist Catt Cason gets when Jamal Ford joins the R&D department at Telegenic, an up-and-coming cosmetics company in Charlotte.  Catt has just been promoted from the teen fragrance line to the women’s line.  Jamal thinks her creations are unsophisticated bubble gum scents.  Catt is stunned by Jamal’s arrogance and the way he doesn’t hesitate to get in her face with his opinions.  Catt complains to management, but she is told that Telegenic has paid a lot of money to lure Jamal and that she will have to learn to work with him.  And Catt gets no sympathy from her friends at the the company– Jamal is good looking, charming, and sexy, and half the women in the company want to date him.

Jamal is not the only man making trouble for Catt.  Her father, Pastor Jeremiah Cason, thinks that it is time for his only child to marry and produce some grandchildren.  Pastor Cason is sure that that his assistant, Eldon James, would be a perfect husband for Catt and begins to put the two of them together in all kinds of situations.  Catt is a dutiful daughter and a believing Christian, but she knows that there is no real spark between her and the young minister.  Although she resists it, Catt feels an electricity between her and her arrogant, sexy co-worker.  Her faith and self-restraint are put to a test when Catt and Jamal are sent on a three week promotional tour for a new product line. Pastor Cason gathers a group of prayer warriors to pray for her, but little do they know what the trip has in store for Catt–and for Jamal.  This will be a road trip that goes a long way toward healing some old hurts, and advancing their careers—and just maybe something else.

 

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Burton, Shana, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship

Kayla Perrin. Control. Don Mills, Ontario: Spice Books, 2010.

Elsie Campbell was a struggling waitress in Charlotte, North Carolina. Robert Kolstad was a wealthy, retired CEO thirty years her senior. While others might dismiss her as nothing better than a gold digger, Elsie knew she married Robert for all the right reasons. But now, eight years into their fairy tale, things are starting to change. Robert is beginning to control everything, from where they go out to eat, to how Elsie dresses, to far more serious subjects. Elsie desperately wants to have children, and she thinks Robert does too…until she finds out a terrible secret he’s been hiding from her.

This stunning revelation comes on top of Elsie’s own shameful secret: she’s been having thoughts about another man. A nameless, handsome stranger bought flowers in her shop just a few weeks earlier, and Elsie can’t stop thinking about him. Soon this stranger enters her private fantasies, and when she meets him again in person, she begins to learn what true love really means. But Robert won’t give up his young wife that easily, and soon Elsie fears for her life and her future.

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

 

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Mecklenburg, Perrin, Kayla, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Cheris Hodges. Recipe for Desire. New York: Dafina, 2012.

Imagine a “chocolate Paris Hilton” and you have Charlotte’s number one party girl, Marie Charles. Wealthy, spoiled, and riding on her father’s coattails, Marie is living a life of luxury until the night that she drunkenly assaults her ex at Mez, an exclusive nightclub. Such an embarrassing act would be enough fodder for The Queen City After Dark, Charlotte’s version of TMZ, but blogs and papers go wild when Marie is found behind the wheel of her wrecked Jaguar. Thinking that her father will get her out of her latest crisis, Marie takes the blame for the accident although it was her unlicensed public relations intern who was really behind the wheel. But Richard Charles, a prominent civil rights attorney, is not happy with his daughter’s latest antics, and he supports the judge’s decision to give Marie a strict sentence: a suspended license and five hundred hours of community service at a local women’s shelter.

Marie is angry, but she realizes that she can cope as soon as she lays eyes on Devon Harris, her supervisor at the women’s shelter. Incredibly good-looking and a successful gourmet chef, Devon is not impressed with Marie’s party girl past. Over time, though, the two find that a person’s reputation doesn’t always match who they are: Marie has a generous heart, and Devon is not as guarded as he thought he was. After five hundred hours together, Marie and Devon fall in love, with both agreeing that Marie’s meltdown was the best thing that ever happened to either of them.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Hodges, Cheris F., Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

William F. Kaiser. Hellebore. Vilas, NC: Canterbury House Publishing, 2011.

In this rousing sequel to Bloodroot, the Civil War has ended and peace has been declared. Billy Jack Truehill and his wife Elvira May have retired to a small farm deep in the high mountains of fictional Afton County, North Carolina. But while peace may be the official state of the once more United States, life is far from peaceful in a North Carolina undergoing Reconstruction. Billy Jack must face raiders from both the former Union and Confederate armies, an ongoing feud with the treacherous McBigger clan who killed his parents, and the willful ways of his own wife, who insists that in order to be a true husband, Billy Jack must always stay by her side. Unfortunately for Billy Jack, veteran of two armies and a seasoned hunter and tracker, the pastoral tranquility of farming is not very exciting. He longs to once more take to the Blue Ridge as the wild, fierce mountain man he knows himself to be at heart. But soon he’ll have all the excitement he can stand, as a terrible new power known as the Ku Klux Klan begins to rise and wreak havoc on an already destitute community. Billy Jack must once again take up arms to defend his life, his family, and what he knows to be right.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Historical, Kaiser, William F., Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places