Tag Archives: Beach reads

Jean Reynolds Page. Safe Within. New York: William Morrow Paperbacks, 2012.

safewithinElaine and Carson Forsyth have been married and living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for nearly thirty years when he is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. At first Elaine and Carson carry on with their lives but later Carson decides he wants to spend his remaining weeks in Elaine’s childhood home–a whimsical house her parents built in the trees above a lake just outside of the Triangle. Elaine is devastated at losing her husband, but what’s worse when he passes on she’ll be left with her acerbic mother-in-law. Greta Forsyth does not like her daughter-in-law. Although both her son and his wife have tried to convince her otherwise, Greta knows what the woman who walked in on Elaine and that other boy saw all those years ago. She knows that her supposed grandson, a handsome young man in his late twenties called Mick, is really a cuckoo’s child. Her son might be taken in, but Greta is not that kind of fool.

Elaine doesn’t know how to get through to Greta; at this point in their long, bitter relationship, she’s stopped trying. Mick, her son, knows to leave his grandmother alone, but he can’t be absent for his father’s last few weeks of life. He comes home to Carolina from his shipyard job in Rhode Island, but runs into trouble he doesn’t expect when he stops to catch up with some old acquaintances. His high school sweetheart, a beautiful local girl named Kayla, went away for a time with her mother after she and Mick broke up. When the two returned, they brought Kayla’s new little brother with them. Kyle is six now, and everyone but Mick is sure they know who his parents are in reality. Caught between Greta’s accusation that he’s not his father’s son and Kayla’s family’s anxiety over his attempt to reach out to little Kyle, Mick must decide who he will be for himself. As the family dynamics shift with Carson’s death, Greta and Elaine must also reconsider their assumptions.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Orange, Page, Jean Reynolds, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Lisa Williams Kline. Winter’s Tide. Grand Rapids, MI: Zonderkidz, 2013.

winterstideStepsisters Stephanie and Diana have come to an uneasy truce over the last few years, but it’s still hard to get along. In Winter’s Tide, the fourth installment in the Sisters in All Seasons series, the girls face challenges within their two intertwined families and with each other.

When a popular girl walks by Diana in the hall at school and whispers that hateful nickname all the kids call her, “annnnnn-i-mal,” under her breath, Diana finally snaps. Both girls are suspended for fighting just before Christmas, and Diana’s mom and dad couldn’t be more disappointed. Stephanie feels terribly guilty, since it’s her fault that Diana gets called “annnnn-i-mal,” but she’s worried that if she reveals her secret, Diana won’t understand that it wasn’t intentional. Both girls are distracted, however, when tragedy strikes Stephanie’s side of the family.

First, Stephanie’s stepbrother from her mom’s re-marriage is driving drunk and gets into a car accident on Christmas Eve. Matt has always been mean to Stephanie, so she refused to say a prayer for him in church that night. Now this car accident feels like her fault, too. Next, Grammy Verra, Stephanie’s favorite grandparent, falls ill. Since it’s winter break, Stephanie, Stephanie’s dad, Diana, and Diana’s mom all drive down to Emerald Isle, North Carolina to stay near her. Diana is immediately entranced by the nearby animal life, including whales, horses, and even Grammy Verra’s dog, Jelly. When the girls meet a local boy, Jeremy, trouble begins: he takes them out on a secret trip on his dad’s boat to see the horses on Shackleford Banks, and everything goes wrong. Stephanie’s secret comes out, and the boat starts to float out to sea, potentially leaving them stranded. Will the sisters be able to reconcile, and will they find a way to get out of danger? If so, will Grammy Verra and Matt be OK? And will Diana finally be able to move past her bullies?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Carteret, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Kline, Lisa Williams, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Wake

Chris Cavender. Killer Crust. New York: Kensington Books, 2013.

killer crustAs regular readers of this series know, the bottom line at A Slice of Delight pizzeria is mighty thin, so it’s no wonder that Eleanor jumps at the chance to enter a pizza-making contest with a  $25,000 prize.  The contest organizer, the misnamed Laughing Luigi, is a bit of a snake, but Maddy’s fiancé, lawyer Bob Lemon, says the contract looks on the-up-and-up, so the sisters sign on the dotted line.

Things soon go very wrong.  Eleanor and Maddy are thrilled to be ensconced, at Luigi’s expense, at the new luxury resort where the cook- off will take place.  But it’s clear that the three other cooking teams all have histories–bad ones–with Luigi.  Luigi seems to be using the contest to settle scores but before he can do much damage, he’s dead.  Unfortunately for Eleanor, Luigi choked on a piece of her pizza. Despite Luigi’s death, the contest goes on.  Can Eleanor can score a double–win the cooking contest and catch the murderer?  With so many good suspects, Killer Crust is a classic who-done it.  As with other books in this series, the author includes a tasty recipe at the end.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Cavender, Chris, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series

Jessica Beck. Illegally Iced. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2013.

James Settle was a newcomer to April Springs but with his easy going style he fit right in.  He was a blacksmith and many people, including Suzanne Hart, were delighted to have the lovely things that he made.  Everyone in town knew that Suzanne and James were friends, but that doesn’t prevent Gaby Williams from fingering Suzanne as the murderer when James is stabbed in the city park across from Suzanne’s donut shop. Yes, Suzanne and James did have a public argument the morning that he died, but a little bit of smoke wafting into the donut shop wouldn’t have spoiled their friendship.

Suzanne has an alibi for the time of the murder, but she knows that she will be under a cloud of suspicion until the murderer is found.  As in similar situations in the past, Suzanne turns to her friend Grace to help with the sleuthing. The friends discover that James was estranged from the other members of his very wealthy family, so greed could been the motive for his murder. But we all know that the other common motive for murder is that nasty mix of love/jealousy/revenge. Which is it in this case? As Suzanne and Grace add to and subtract from their list of suspects, it is fun to see how their minds work and how they navigate Suzanne’s delicate relationship with April Springs Police Chief Martin who is still courting Suzanne’s mother.

Readers will also enjoy the scene in which Suzanne’s book group discusses The Killer’s Last Bite, a book in a long running series of mysteries. The women ask some of the same questions that readers might ask about this series. Can we assume that the answers are the author’s?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Beck, Jessica, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Erin McCarthy. Fast Track.

The motorsports industry is reported to pump $4 billion into the economy of the Charlotte metro area–that means lots of jobs beyond just racers and their pit crews.  That wider circle of racing is present in Erin McCarthy’s Fast Track series.  The drivers—all hot, hot, hot—share their high-pressure world with journalists, PR consultants, team owners, sponsors, hangers-on, and even a few academics.  Each book features two people who are clearly attracted to each other but whose path to happily-ever-after is complicated things such as professional jealousies, previous relationships, pride, and Mars/Venus misunderstandings.  Snappy repartee and sexy scenes are standard elements of this series, but some of the novels include as plot elements serious subjects such as adult illiteracy and alcoholism.  The novels are loosely connected in that some characters–especially the Monroe brothers–appear in several books, but each book can stand on its own–and each one is a wild, fun ride.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2010-2019, Cabarrus, McCarthy, Erin, Mecklenburg, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Series

Colleen Coble. Tidewater Inn. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012.

Libby Holladay is an archaeological historian. Together with her business partner Nicole, she restores historical properties for their wealthy new owners. More than anything, Libby wants to own one of the houses to which she devotes her time and expertise, but at millions of dollars, they are far beyond her means. That is, until Nicole travels to a small island called Hope Island off the coast of North Carolina, where she makes a startling discovery about Libby’s family.

When Libby was growing up, her mother always told her that her father died when she was five. But when Nicole mentions Libby’s name to a local attorney assisting with the acquisition of some property, he wastes no time in informing her that he’s been searching for a Libby Holladay for months. Ray Mitchell, Libby’s father, did not die when she was five, but lived on Hope Island until his death just a few months ago. In his will, Ray left his estranged daughter a rundown but historic building, the Tidewater Inn, which stands on a substantial piece of land. Libby is stunned and delighted by her new good fortune, but even more important to her is the discovery that she has two half-siblings. Unfortunately Brent and Vanessa are are neither thrilled to discover they have an older half-sister, nor glad that their father left her what they see as a substantial part of their inheritance. Brent in particular had big plans for the property, involving sale to a major developer who would turn Hope Island from a remote fishing town without access to the mainland into the next Ocracoke.

It seems as though Brent’s plans are foiled by Libby’s inheritance, but things aren’t going to well for Libby, either. Nicole is kidnapped by some rough looking men, and a hurricane is bearing down on the Outer Banks. Will she find Nicole in time? And will the Tidewater Inn survive the storm? Most importantly, will Libby mend the bad blood between her and her newly found siblings, and finally have the family she’s always wanted?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Coast, Coble, Colleen, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship, Suspense/Thriller

Donna Ball. Bone Yard. Mountain City, GA: Blue Merle Publishing, 2012.

Raine Stockton is ready for the quiet life. After the adventures of the past few years, all she wants is to sit back and run her boarding kennel in peace. Well, in as much peace as one can have with two active Australian shepherds, one very regal collie, and a two-and-a-half year old golden retriever. Raine is actually doing very well: she’s expanding her boarding kennel in the mountains of Hansonville, North Carolina to include an indoor training ring. If it would just stop raining, the construction crew could finally pour the concrete and she could get started working with her dogs on agility and obedience in much greater comfort.

But life is going to stay interesting for Raine and her excitable pooches. During an especially wet and muddy day, her retriever, Cisco, digs up a bone from the construction site. When a friend points out that the bone the retriever dug up is a human tibia, Raine prepares herself for the worst– an encounter with her ex-husband, the local sheriff. Soon her backyard is crawling with state police in addition to the sheriff and his men, and when a plastic bag full of remains is discovered, Raine knows that her indoor training ring won’t be built anytime soon. But how could a body be buried here in the first place? The home has been in her family for over a hundred years, which could lead to some awkward questions. On top of the bones, Raine has other problems with both dogs and men– her collie Majesty keeps sneaking off, and handsome Miles Young, a local developer whom she should dislike, is clearly attracted to her. Luckily, her faithful companion Cisco is never very far away, especially when Raine has liver treats.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Ball, Donna, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Susan Donovan. I Want Candy. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2012.

Set just after the events of Cheri on Top, I Want Candy follows the misadventures of Cheri’s best friend Candace “Candy” Carmichael. Like Cheri, Candy was a high roller in Tampa’s real estate scene. When the market crashed and the girls lost everything, Cheri was the first to come crawling back to their childhood home of Bigler in the mountains of western North Carolina. Cheri’s return home went better than well– she’s happily engaged to her childhood sweetheart, and editor of the local newspaper, the Bigler Bugle.

Broke and crashing on the couch in her mother’s apartment at fancy retirement home, Candy can’t imagine what Bigler could offer. The answer comes in the form of the dashing Turner Halliday, Cataloochee County Sheriff and Candy’s former high school classmate. Turner has been in love with Candy ever since the seventh grade, but she seemed to see him as nothing more than a friend. Candy’s racist father, one of Bigler’s good ole boys, quickly put an end to any ideas the biracial Turner might have had about dating his blonde, blue-eyed daughter, too. But Jonesy Carmichael has been dead for years, and Candy is back in Bigler. When their first encounter leads to a steamy kiss, Turner begins to hope Candy might see him differently. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have as much time to think about Candy as he would like– Cataloochee County is becoming central to the production of illegal methamphetamine in North Carolina, and Turner is working overtime to bust the dealers. Additionally, Candy insists that she’s only staying in town long enough to regain her bearings before heading out to make more millions. Can Turner convince her that Bigler is more than just her past?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Donovan, Susan, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Sandra Balzo. Dead Ends. Sutton, Surrey, England: Severn House, 2012.

AnnaLise Griggs has built a life as a journalist in Wisconsin, far away from her childhood home in the fictional town of Sutherton, North Carolina. But when her mother begins having health issues and an affair with a married man has a messy end, AnnaLise takes an extended leave of absence and returns to her home to the North Carolina mountains. She’s worried about her mother, but expects her month-long vacation to be relatively uneventful. Then Ben Rosewood, her erstwhile beau, shows up with his wife Tanja and college-aged daughter Suzanne.

Suzanne is starting as a freshman at a prominent local university, so Ben’s appearance isn’t all that suspicious, but AnnaLise still feels stalked. She ended things with Ben, and he was less than agreeable to the idea. When his wife Tanja is killed in a car accident that turns out not to be an accident, AnnaLise immediately suspects he’s gone off the deep end in order to be with her. But could the steady, very sane Ben Rosewood she knew in Wisconsin really murder his wife in cold blood? Between her mother’s memory lapses and a potential murderer, AnnaLise’s vacation is shaping up to be less vacation and more work than expected. Balzo’s second novel in her new Main Street Murders series gets off to a fast-paced start as her heroine applies all of her investigative skills to the case.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Balzo, Sandra, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Marybeth Whalen. The Guest Book. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012.

Macy Dillon and her family used to take a vacation to Sunset Beach, North Carolina every year. Her most treasured childhood memories are of walking the beach with her mother, brother, and especially her father. But Darren Dillion passed away when she was just sixteen, and Macy’s life has contained a gaping hole ever since. Macy is barely holding it together, working at the local grocery store, and suffering through her mother’s forced celebration of her father’s birthday each year. The only good thing that has happened since Macy’s father’s death is her now five-year-old daughter, Emma, even though Emma’s father walked out on them both shortly after she was born.

But this year at the birthday celebration they hold annually for her deceased father, Macy’s mom announces that they are once more taking a family vacation to Sunset Beach. Macy begins to hope. As a child, her father encouraged her natural artistic talent by asking her to draw a picture in the guest book at their beach house rental each year. Amazingly, another child, a young boy, would answer Macy’s drawings each year with a drawing of his own. The children traded drawings for ten years without meeting, but in what she knew would be her final drawing, Macy promised to come back and find him. Macy is determined that this trip to Sunset Beach will be the one in which she finds the boy. But when they arrive, no less than three men begin vying for Macy’s attention…and any of the three could be the artist. Will she ever find out his identity? And will her family ever find peace without her father?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Brunswick, Coast, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship, Whalen, Marybeth