Tag Archives: Animals

C. Leah Wetherby. The Cherokee Star. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2007.

Three months ago, Celine lost her beloved adoptive parents in a terrible car accident. Now that the estate is finally settled, she lets her best friend Irene convince her to take a small vacation. Together, the friends plan a trip to North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains. Full of excitement, they head out with their partners Mark and Marsh for some relaxing fishing, camping, and swimming. But Celine, known to her friends as “C”, will find little rest on this fateful vacation.

Celine’s parents found her at the age of four, traumatized and sitting in a canoe on the Oconaluftee River just outside of Cherokee, North Carolina. They brought her immediately to the Sheriff’s Department in Birdtown (a small township in the Qualla Boundary) and eventually adopted her there. Incredibly, Celine and her friends have ended up camping on the outskirts of Birdtown, and the twice-orphaned young woman decides that now is the perfect time to look into her past. The recurring nightmares she thought she had banished as a child have returned with a vengeance since her parents’ deaths, and Celine is beginning to think that it might not be just a result of grief and stress.

This suspicion that the past is returning to haunt her strengthens when strange things begin to happen: Celine and her friends have the sense of being watched, animals are behaving oddly (a hawk follows Celine, appearing to guard her from danger), and a Cherokee called Tracker shows up in their midst. Will Celine ever discover her true identity? And what if finding her heritage means that she will lose it all once more?

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

 

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Mountains, Mystery, Swain, Wetherby, C. Leah

Rose Senehi. Render unto the Valley. Chimney Rock, NC: K.I.M. Publishing, 2012.

Karen Godwell is a curator at one of the most prestigious institutions in the United States: the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. She has carefully hidden the North Carolina-born mountain girl she used to be behind a veneer of New York sophistication, but when her husband Joel dies, everything changes. Joel, with his writer’s soul, fell  in love with North Carolina as much as Karen tried to forget it, and he always urged her to return. When Karen gets wind that something has gone badly wrong with her family there soon after Joel’s death, it’s the impetus she needs to fulfill his wish. She and her young daughter Hali pack their things and move south, where Karen takes a job at the Folk Art Center just outside of Asheville.

But it was a famous Ashevillean who knew that you can’t go home again so easily, and trouble waits for Karen in spades. Karen fled the Old North State for a reason: her sociopathic brother. Abused and neglected by their alcoholic mother’s string of shady boyfriends, Karen and her siblings Travis and Amy had a hard life that improved only when mom left for good, leaving the children to be raised by her parents. Grandma Pearl and her farm saved Karen, but there was never any hope for Travis.

Outwardly handsome and charming, Travis takes delight in seemingly random acts of cruelty and violation. Finally he has gone too far, placing Grandma Pearl in a rest home and taking her ancestral farm for himself by force. Obsessed with becoming wealthy, only his sisters stand in the way of his selling everything that their family has held dear for generations. In order to save her family’s, and daughter’s, future, Karen must finally face her childhood, with all its traumatic secrets.

The third of Senehi’s stand-alone novels set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Render Unto the Valley is an absorbing tale of homecoming, family, and the courage it takes to face the past. Art, environmental protection, and the preservation of personal and local history are all themes that make this an enriching and entertaining read.

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Buncombe, Mountains, Romance/Relationship, Senehi, Rose, Suspense/Thriller

Schweizer, Mark. The Tenor Wore Tapshoes. Tryon, NC: SJMP Books, 2005.

With writing that compares the rustling of a woman’s gown to the sounds of a cockroach rooting in a sugar-bowl, it’s safe to say that Police Chief Hayden Konig will never join the greats of American literature. Still, he insists on trying, even purchasing an old typewriter that once belonged to Raymond Chandler. Mr. Chandler, and his pipe, even show up on occasion to compliment Hayden’s efforts. Poor prose and ghostly sightings notwithstanding, Konig is an excellent police chief, and a talented organist at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in the small, sleepy mountain town of St. Germaine, North Carolina.

Hayden has just settled in from his last crime-solving adventure, which included the theft of a valuable diamond, a dead chorister, and multiple trips to England. You’d think that life would resume its leisurely pace, but this is just when St. Germaine chooses to get…interesting. First, there’s the body that parishoners discover hidden in the altar at St. Barnabas. Next, the local bakery produces a miraculous cinnamon bun in the shape of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is soon stolen. Poor Hayden loses a bet with his beautiful girlfriend Meg, and is made to enroll in a program designed to help him discover his religious masculinity, known simply as the Iron Mike Men’s Retreat. As if this weren’t enough, an itinerant preacher blows into town with his large revival tent and a feathered assistant known as Binny Hen the Scripture Chicken, who helps him select passages from the Bible.

Reeling from the amount of insanity a small town can apparently inflict in such a short time, Chief Konig somehow also finds time to be troubled by the arrival of a charming attorney called Robert Brannon, who immediately worms his way into everyone’s heart, and the very center of church politics. Hayden is also perplexed by the crimes that have sprung up throughout the community–very specific crimes that seem to follow a popular hymn depicting the trials of the saints. Will Konig solve all, or any of these mysteries? More importantly, will he have time to pay attention to what, or who, really matters? And will she say yes?

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

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Filed under Humor, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Schweizer, Mark, Watauga

Charles Frazier. Nightwoods. New York: Random House, 2011.

When Luce is appointed guardian for her dead sister Lilly’s young twins, her reclusive life in the back woods of a small mountain town changes forever. Frank and Dolores are not like other children. Witnesses to their mother’s murder at the hands of her abusive boyfriend Bud, their short past holds trauma and darkness that few will ever experience. But Luce has, and while she will never be able to shower them with expressions of motherly love, she comes to understand them better than anyone else ever could. When they kill her roosters, light various items on fire, and refuse to speak, she teaches instead of punishing. By taking them on long rambles in the foothills, Luce endeavors to instill in the twins the great healing interacting with the natural world has provided her. She doesn’t use force or lecture them, just allowing the simple lessons of observation and wonder to sink in.

Bud is an unsuccessful, small-time criminal, embarrassed that he has to rely on his girlfriend Lilly for support. When he unexpectedly successfully steals ten thousand dollars, the situation only gets worse: Lilly hides his money before he can drink it all away. Incensed, Bud’s behavior becomes more and more violent, until one day Lilly catches him in a monstrous act involving her twin children. She tries to kill him on the spot, but Bud murders her instead. Since the only witnesses were her kids, whom Bud is convinced are retarded since they refuse to speak, shaking the charges is a snap. The real problem is that he never found out where Lilly hid his money, but a sudden brainstorm convinces him that it must be with those kids and their aunt, Lilly’s sister Luce. So he sets out to the mountains to get back his cash, and to ensure that no one will ever be able to accuse him of Lilly’s murder.

Frazier’s third novel is a linguistic feast, combining a suspenseful plot and deep insight into the nature of love, revenge, and survival. It becomes apparent that the land, particularly the forest, is a character in this tale just as much as the men and women are, and its all-encompassing presence fills this satisfying read to the brim.

Nightwoods was the winner of the 2012 Sir Walter Raleigh Award.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Frazier, Charles, Historical, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Teresa D’Amario. Shewolf. Culver City, CA: Freya’s Bower, 2007.

Veterinarian Anna Callaway has always had a special talent with animals. Beyond her skill with a scalpel, sutures, and other tools of the trade, Anna has some extra gifts. These include extremely sharp eyesight, more strength than she should have, and a sense of smell that allows her to detect things no one else can: moods, illness, and fertility.

These gifts that make her such an excellent vet do have their downsides: she can’t stand noisy, crowded places. One night, feeling obligated to attend a staff birthday party at a local bar, Anna seeks a respite from the smoke and pounding music in the parking lot. There, she is assaulted by two strange men who are determined to kidnap her, rape her, or both. What frightens Anna the most is their bodies: they seem to shift and become hairier, and their smiles are full of pointed canines. Does she see claws sprouting from their fingers? Suddenly, a third man materializes to rescue her…but Anna is horrified to find that he is just as strange as the others. Is she hallucinating?

Kieran Hunter only wanted to rescue the human woman from Ryland and Joshua, who were dangerously close to exposing their true nature as wolven: a species with the ability to take both human and wolf form. He doesn’t understand his immediate attraction to the female…until he realizes that she’s just like him. More than that, she’s The One–his True Mate. Kieran must fight wolven instinct, exercising all of his self control to educate Anna about herself and her heritage until she is ready to accept him as a True Mate, and with him, his way of life. Despite her almost uncontrollable attraction to Kieran, Anna is angry and confused, and at first reluctant to see the truth. But violence is stalking the handsome wolven’s normally peaceful pack, and Anna is directly in its path, motivating her to acknowledge her true nature (and needs) sooner instead of later.

An erotic romance novel set in and around the Uwharrie National Forest in Montgomery County, North Carolina, Teresa D’Amario’s steamy tale (a 2008 Prism Finalist) takes readers on a wild adventure. Due to the nature of the content, this book is recommended for mature readers only.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, D'Amario, Teresa, Montgomery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Science Fiction/Fantasy

Kathy Reichs. Flash and Bones. New York, NY: Scribner, 2011.

This image courtesy of www.kathyreichs.com/bones.

Emily Deschanel portrays Dr. Temperance Brennan in the TV show Bones. She poses here with Kathy Reichs (right). Image courtesy of www.kathyreichs.com/bones.

What do NASCAR, missing teenagers, and an audacious tabby cat all have in common? None other than Dr. Temperance Brennan, the brilliant, savvy forensic anthropologist based in Charlotte, NC. In her latest case, Brennan is called out to the nearby Charlotte Motor Speedway to look at a barrel containing human remains. Soon she is caught in a tangled investigation involving the FBI, a dangerous white supremacist group, a local organic farmer, and sweaty, chain-smoking detective Erskine “Skinny” Slidell. But perhaps most dangerous of all, Brennan’s ex-husband, Pete, has asked her to intervene on his behalf with his new fiancée: blonde, bosomy Summer. Driven to hysterics over planning their wedding (and Pete’s disinterest in the ceremony), Summer clings to Brennan for emotional support, calling at all hours of the day and night. Harassed by both FBI agents and dangerous militants, drenched by unpredictable Piedmont storms, and romantically adrift, disgruntled Temperance doesn’t realize that she will soon be more thankful for the needy Summer than she thinks.

Kathy Reichs upholds her winning formula of science, mystery, and a strong female lead in this fourteenth installment of the series that inspired the hit TV show Bones. NASCAR fans will be delighted to watch Brennan’s education in racing , as well as the slew of characters she meets along the way. When she can take a break from the Speedway, Temperance touches base with her daughter Katy, old flame Andrew Ryan, and stalwart feline companion Birdie, although beau Charles Hunt doesn’t make an appearance. But Team Ryan and Team Hunt beware- there’s a new man on the scene providing Brennan with equal parts assistance and annoyance: tall, dark and handsome ex-detective (and ex-con) Cotton Galimore.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Reichs, Kathy, Suspense/Thriller

Jeanne Webster. Strays. Fawnskin, CA: Personhood Press, 2011.

Jane is deeply unhappy. At 24, just starting out in life, she feels as though she has come to the end of the road. She lives with a smothering boyfriend in Atlanta, a city she dislikes, putting her dreams of being an author on hold just to make ends meet. She exists, but she does not live, no matter how hard she tries or prays for some kind of sign. No one answers. Things disintegrate further when she looses her job. With only a few hundred dollars in her bank account and feeling lost, she heads north to a cabin in the Smoky Mountains to regroup and get her life back on track. One wet, rainy day, she stops at a mountain outlook, thinking that if God is anywhere, surely she will find Him here. But the silence is louder than ever. Enraged and frightened, she pleads, screams, and threatens whatever is out there until a chance misstep sends her crashing onto the stony outcrop.

Waking with a large, throbbing lump, Jane is at first frightened and then bewildered to find that she has developed an interesting gift: she can understand the speech of animals and plants. Soon, a guide arrives: a tough and capable but compassionate stray mutt who calls himself Max. With Max as her companion, Jane slowly learns about the power that has always existed within her to change, to choose, and to fill her life with meaning. Together they wander the mountains, speaking with ancient trees, animals, and insects who share their purpose and wisdom with the two strays.

Jeanne Webster, a certified life coach, has written a narrative that is both a novel and a guide for those of us seeking our own passion and authenticity as human beings. Based around Native American stories she heard as a child, the plot is heavily focused on Jane’s, and by extension the reader’s, inner journey. As Jane finds her truth through the wisdom of the natural world, we begin to believe that such a transformation is possible for us as well. Readers will be particularly charmed by the sweet and lovable Max, a familiar figure of wisdom and grace to any friend of dogs.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mountains, Religious/Inspirational, Webster, Jeanne

Steve Watkins. What Comes After. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2011.

Iris Wight knew that moving to Craven County, North Carolina, from her lifelong home in Maine would come with many changes, but she had no choice. Her father had just passed away, and her best friend’s family who was supposed to take care of the sixteen year old backed out of their promise. Iris’s only option was to start over in a new land where she would stand out with her Northern accent, attend a high school that did not offer the AP (Advanced Placement) classes she was used to, and would be without the comfort of her best friend and softball teammates.

What Iris could not have anticipated, though, was just how different her life in Craven County would be. Her Aunt Sue and cousin Book, both of whom she met briefly as a young child, do not welcome her with open arms (although Aunt Sue is more than happy to take Iris’s inheritance). Instead, they treat her as if she is a nuisance and give her the chores of milking the goats and pasteurizing the milk for cheese that will be sold at the farmers market. Iris does not mind these responsibilities; playing with the goats is the only form of warmth she receives in North Carolina. The way Aunt Sue and Book treat the farm animals and the family dog, however, deeply troubles Iris. Their cruelties are in stark contrast to the way her veterinarian father taught her. When she tries to protect the four-legged friends she has grown to adore, Aunt Sue and Book beat her. This violent act puts Iris in the hospital, then into foster care, and Aunt Sue and Book in jail. Over the next few months, Iris must prove to herself and to others that she is worthy of independence, trust, and affection.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Craven, Watkins, Steve

Maureen Crane Wartski. Yuri’s Brush with Magic. Durham, NC: Sleepy Hollow Books, 2010.

“Mean” Yuri Hamada is a family legend. When Nana married an American, her sister Yuri refused to reply to her letters and never spoke to her again, or at least that’s what everyone thinks. So when “Mean” Yuri surprises the family and rents a cottage on the Outer Banks, living with Yuri for the summer is the very last thing Tammy and her brother Ken want. Unfortunately they have no choice: their mother, the victim of a terrible accident, is in the hospital and their father thinks it would be better for them to get away for awhile, even if it means living with “Mean” Yuri. Protesting, the youngsters are bundled off to the North Carolina shore, where they decide to be as terrible as possible in order to convince Yuri to send them back to Raleigh. But it doesn’t work. Yuri’s magical painting abilities entrance the children, as does her storytelling. Tammy and Ken begin to understand more about their Hamada roots, and even “Mean” Yuri. Their terrible summer trapped with an evil woman turns into one they will remember forever, bringing with it both difficult and liberating life lessons about self-reliance and the power of the heart. Filled with compelling characters, Japanese lore, and baby sea turtles, Yuri’s Brush with Magic will keep young readers and parents alike as enthralled as if Yuri were reading it aloud herself, for Maureen Wartski’s beautiful prose lingers in the mind long after the tale is done.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Piedmont, Wake, Wartski, Maureen Crane

Carolyn Guy. Autumn Bends the Rebel Tree. Vilas, NC: Canterbury House Publishing, 2011.

Clarinda Darningbush enters the world at the turn of the 19th century, the youngest in a large family rooted in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Absent parents and dangerous surroundings means she grows up quickly, learning from her older siblings how to thrive in the unforgiving mountain environment. One day, she stops with her brother to speak with a handsome, blue-eyed stranger, and her whole world does a “dipsy-doodle.” Rufus McCloud is just as smitten as Clarinda, and soon they are happily married. Seventeen children and Rufus’ banjo music fill their joyful home on Levi’s Mountain to the brim, but tragedy comes to call. Left without her dearest love, Clarinda must weather life as a widow and single mother, struggling through the Great Depression and World War II with the help of her devoted children. Hooking rag rugs for trade, fighting off panthers and bears, and even building a new house when a devastating fire destroys their old home, Clarinda is the epitome of strength and courage. Throughout this bittersweet life of toil, she sometimes sees and hears her winsome husband, although she tells no one. Clarinda is sure that one bright day they will be reunited, and as spry as they were in youth, dance off together on the air.

A Boone, North Carolina native, Carolyn Guy has put forth what many readers are calling one of the most accurate depictions of North Carolina mountain life during the 1930s and 1940s that they’ve ever read. Bursting with Appalachian dialect, music, and customs, readers will find Clarinda’s resourcefulness and faith an inspiration as much as they will enjoy the humorous scrapes and stories of her large, warm family.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Guy, Carolyn, Historical, Mountains, Religious/Inspirational, Watauga