Tag Archives: Cats

Elizabeth Spann Craig. A Body at Book Club. United States: Elizabeth Spann Craig, 2014.

abodyatbookclubMyrtle Clover may be in her 80s but she can still think of better things to do with her time than go to book club meetings where no real literature will be discussed. But, a missing cat has forced Myrtle into attending book club in order to get the word out around the fictional town of Bradley, North Carolina. Pasha may not be a house cat, but Myrtle cares about her and wants to make sure she’s safe. After making her announcement, Myrtle finds herself quite teary-eyed and makes her way inside Rose Mayfield’s, the hostess for book club, house in search of a tissue. Instead of tissue, Myrtle stumbles upon a neighbor, Naomi Pelter, dead in Rose’s living room. Now she wasn’t there just thirty minutes ago.

Naomi had emailed Rose to let her know that she was sick and couldn’t make book club. Her death seems to be from natural causes, but Myrtle decides her son Red, the police chief, should be called anyhow. Whether or not Naomi died from natural causes, the story would still be a good one to write up for the town paper. So, of course Myrtle is determined to sniff out all the details. When it’s discovered that Naomi was poisoned, Myrtle already has her suspicions and sets out with her widower sidekick Miles to begin her investigation. Handing out flyers about Pasha is the perfect excuse to talk to suspects. Red wants her off the case and blocks her at every turn. Myrtle decides Red must be the one off his rocker when she gets a call from Greener Pastures telling her that she’s been added to their waiting list and they need to set up an interview and tour to determine if she would be a good fit for their retirement community.

The case is looking like a no-brainer for Myrtle. There are other suspects, but Rose Mayfield had a grudge against the victim and was very vocal about it. However, there is a twist; another murder knocks out the biggest suspect. On top of that, Myrtle and Miles have a falling out over his not caring about Pasha. Nevertheless, Myrtle is not giving up on solving these crimes. The return of Pasha and reconciliation with Miles helps Myrtle to focus on the case. As Myrtle draws ever closer to the killer, the danger to her life continues to increase. Confronted with death, who would have ever thought Greener Pastures would be Myrtle’s salvation?

A Body at Book Club is the sixth novel in the Myrtle Clover Mysteries. Read on to find out if our favorite octogenarian sleuth will retire for good.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Craig, Elizabeth Spann, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Lisa Wingate. The Prayer Box. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2013.

The Prayer Box“I don’t believe it,” I answer. “Men are always trying to solve the mysteries of God, but they never will.”

She plucks a whelk shell from the sand, contemplates it, turning it over with her bone-thin fingers. “There will always be another mystery. God is infinite.”

Ninety-one year-old Iola Anne Poole doesn’t have the best reputation. The people of Fairhope regard her as a hermit and a squatter. Word around town is that Iola wormed the Benoit House away from its rightful owners. Girard Benoit’s nephews intended to sell the estate to a group of locals who had grand plans to turn the Victorian house into an upscale beach resort on Hatteras Island. But supposedly Iola intervened and manipulated the old Mr. Benoit, who was not in a clear frame of mind. Or so the story goes.

Meanwhile, thirty-three year-old Tandi Jo Reese has recently started renting Iola’s nearby cottage. Desperate and down on her luck, Tandi fled from an abusive and criminal husband with her two children, JT (age 9) and Zoey (age 14). Without a home, the cottage was the best deal Tandi could find, apart from sleeping in her car. But her money is running out. The rent is already overdue and Tandi is struggling to find a job that will hire her since she is too afraid to provide any details of her former life.

Tandi grew up in a family of slick smooth talkers – her father, her mother and her sister, Gina – who merge fact with fiction to get what they want. Her home life was tumultuous. Then again, it still is. Although Tandi has escaped from her husband, Trammel, she sees the disillusionment in her kids’ faces. Up until Tandi decided to leave, she hadn’t been the world’s greatest mom. After an accident, she became hooked on Oxycontin and walked around in a doped up haze. Because of her tough upbringing and her abusive husband, Tandi hasn’t trusted anyone in a long time, if ever. Now JT and Zoey’s faith in their mother is wavering.

One day, not long after Tandi and her kids have moved into the cottage, she notices a suspicious lack of movement in Iola’s house. When she investigates, she finds Iola’s body lying peacefully in a bed. At first, Tandi is worried that hubbub surrounding Iola’s death might draw notice to the fact that she’s behind on the rent. But Tandi isn’t aware of Iola’s general unpopularity around Fairhope. Tandi’s financial woes aren’t a complete secret though. One of the lay people at the Fairhope Fellowship Church strikes a bargain with Tandi: she will clean out Iola’s house in exchange for her rent.

Tandi accepts the deal. But it isn’t an easy job. The house has been damaged by the most recent hurricane. Architecturally, the house is unsound. Buckets are scattered throughout the rooms to catch dripping water. And Iola hoarded a massive stockpile of food from home grocery deliveries. Canned goods flooding out of the pantry shock Tandi, especially since she can barely afford food for JT and Zoey without skipping meals herself. However, the prayer boxes are the best surprise that Tandi stumbles upon.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of a prayer box, check out this blog entry by Lisa Wingate on making and using prayer boxes. The basic concept behind a prayer box is to create a box or decorate a pre-existing box, which the owner will fill with prayers and reflections, or even favorite scriptures. Every year, for eighty-one years, Iola fashioned a prayer box and filled it with letters to her father. As Tandi combs through the boxes she relates the struggles in Iola’s life to her own. Strangely, the lessons in Iola’s letters resurface and guide her through this trying chapter in her life. And in the process, Tandi discovers that Iola was not the woman that many presumed her to be.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Coast, Dare, Religious/Inspirational, Wingate, Lisa

Faith Hunter. Raven Cursed. New York: Roc, 2012.

The fourth book in the Jane Yellowrock Series, Raven Cursed sees the hardened vampire killer return to her home state of North Carolina. Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee skinwalker bonded to the soul of a mountain lion called simply Beast, has been living and working in New Orleans for the past few years. At first she was a one-woman operation, hunting down rogue vampires, but lately she’s been working for Leo Pellissier, the vampire master of New Orleans and the entire southeast. While suspicious of her true nature (which Jane hides), the vampires see the value in her hunting down those rogues that threaten their uneasy peace with humans.

What brings Jane back to the Old North State is a vampire parley– a powerful vampire named Lincoln Shaddock wants to form his own clan in Asheville, but has to petition Jane’s boss for the right to do so. Jane is in charge of security, and while she isn’t thrilled, she has reason to hope that the parley will be over quietly and quickly with minimal fuss. But when Jane arrives in Asheville, she finds more than she bargained for: a pair of werewolves out for revenge, a pissed off grindylow, a coven of witches whose leader has gone insane, and something far more dark and dangerous that knows all about Jane. Will Jane and Beast survive their return to the Appalachians? Readers of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and fans of True Blood will be excited to find a modern, gutsy heroine in this supernatural thriller.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Buncombe, Hunter, Faith, Mountains, Novels in Series, Science Fiction/Fantasy

R. K. Hardy. The Cheetah Diaries. Charleston, SC: CreateSpace, 2012.

Fifteen-year-old Kenya Taymore is definitely a cat person. This is important, because her veterinarian father owns and operates a big cat rescue sanctuary high in the North Carolina mountains. All of the cats (six tigers, one jaguar, one panther, three leopards, a puma, and assorted ocelots, servals, and margays) are enclosed in spacious habitats designed to mimic their native surroundings as closely as possible. The only cat allowed free range is Kenya’s cheetah, Shaka, whom she raised from a kitten. Shaka is special: Kenya’s mother, a brilliant writer, passed away just over a year before due to cancer. That’s when Shaka entered Kenya’s life, a helpless kitten. Kenya knows that treating a wild animal like a house pet was wrong, but having a constant companion in Shaka helped her survive the initial stages of her grief.

Now Kenya is starting her sophomore year in high school and feeling her mother’s absence acutely. The majority of faculty and students at her school are deeply religious, and because of this often use Christian doctrine as a basis for their lessons. Kenya, who has grown up in a household that embraces atheism and science, hates being asked to pray or listening to Creationism presented as a valid alternative to Evolution. She begins to rebel in small ways, one of which is befriending the new English teacher, Mr. Draper. Mr. Draper supports Kenya’s ambitions as a budding poet, and he lends her books that have been banned from the school library. Meanwhile, other teachers and students become increasingly fixated on Kenya. Some attempt to force Christianity on her, while others claim that the scratches she gets from working with large cats are failed attempts at suicide. But Kenya slowly begins to realize the situation is far bigger than her problems at school, and by then it’s nearly too late– everything she holds dear is threatened.

R.K. Hardy’s second work of fiction, aimed at young adults, provides an interesting combination of his opinions on the presence of religion  in education and how to care for rehabilitated wildlife. The author includes a note in the back, expressing the hope that readers will check out organizations such as Carolina Tiger Rescue, which is a clear inspiration for the Taymore’s sanctuary.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Children & Young Adults, Hardy, R. K., Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Suzetta Perkins. Betrayed. Silver Spring, MD: Strebor Books, 2011.

When her daughter Afrika insists on attending North Carolina Central University, Mimi Bailey feels she has no choice but to move back to Durham, North Carolina to support her daughter. Mimi also attended NCCU, but only for her freshman year, before she abruptly transferred away. The cause of this was her best friend Brenda’s vicious, controlling boyfriend, Victor, who raped Mimi right before becoming engaged to Brenda. Mimi quickly married her next boyfriend,  military man Raphael Bailey, and together they raised Afrika in a happy family in far-off Kansas. But then Raphael is deployed overseas, and Afrika enrolls as a freshman at Mimi’s old school.

Now Mimi is back where she hoped never to return, and by freak coincidence, her Afrika has befriended another NCCU freshman who could almost be her twin…a young lady named Asia Christianson. The two are inseparable, and often mistaken for sisters by those who don’t know them. Mimi is horrified to find out that Asia’s parents Victor and Brenda Christianson, whom she hoped to never see again, are living and working in the Triangle. Worst of all, Victor is the Director of Admissions at NCCU. He quickly discovers Afrika’s existence and true identity, which leads him to Mimi. He is extremely anxious that his true nature, that of a repeat adulterer, remain a secret. Mimi’s presence endangers this, so he threatens her with drastic consequences if she and her daughter remain in Durham.

But Mimi is done running, and finished keeping secrets. Unfortunately, the secrets she holds, combined with Victor’s violent nature, mean that many lives could be lost or ruined once Mimi tells. As is often the case, the children are the ones who will suffer the consequences of their parents’ actions.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Durham, Perkins, Suzetta, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

Alice J. Wisler. A Wedding Invitation. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2011.

When Samantha Bravencourt misinterprets a wedding invitation and lands up at a stranger’s nuptials in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, she’s embarrassed and annoyed. Still, the trip gives Sam the chance to visit her eccentric Aunt Dovie, and to get away from working in her mom’s D.C. fashion boutique. What she doesn’t count on is the past returning to haunt her with a vengeance.

When Samantha last saw Lien Hong , it was nearly a decade earlier, and Lien was Sam’s student at the Philippine Refugee Processing Center near Manila. In 1985, many Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian families were trying to immigrate to the United States. The teachers at the PRPC taught them English and American culture, attempting to ease their transition. Now Lien and her family are in Winston-Salem, and she is thrilled to find Samantha. Sam isn’t sure how she feels about their reunion. Lien was a handful then, and obsessed with the man Sam had a crush on–her handsome fellow teacher, Carson Brylie, also a North Carolinian. Carson broke Sam’s heart, and she would rather not be reminded of him or this part of her past.

But she doesn’t have much choice when Carson hears about her presence, and calls. Soon he’s back in her life, and as confusing as ever. Sam doesn’t know what Carson wants, but she does know that she won’t be so fast to give away her heart a second time. Unfortunately, since Lien needs both Sam and Carson’s help badly, Sam can’t avoid him. The young Vietnamese is an Amerasian: the daughter of a Vietnamese woman and an American G.I. Ridiculed and stigmatized, Lien’s mother gave her up to relatives as a baby, and fled. Now Lien is getting married, and wants to find her birth mother more than anything. As Samantha and Carson spend more and more time together in an effort to unite a family, Sam learns that the surest path to happiness lies in learning to trust herself, others, and God once more.

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Forsyth, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship, Wisler, Alice J.

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

Lois Gladys Leppard. The Mandie Collection, Volume Five. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2011.

This volume of three Mandie novels picks up where the previous volume left off.  Mandie is still on her European tour in Mandie and the Fiery Rescue.  She’s in Ireland, where, egged on by Jonathan, she is determined to find out whether or not leprechauns exist.  She meets an Irish girl, Molly, who is also looking for a leprechaun, and they team up for a series of adventures.  When tragedy strikes, Mandie’s grandmother volunteers to take Molly to America, and the expanded entourage sails to America in Mandie and the Angle’s Secret.  Mandie is back in North Carolina in Mandie and the Dangerous Imposters.  Mandie is traveling yet again.  This time it’s a quick visit before school starts to Uncle Ned and Aunt Sallie’s where Mandie learns of opposition to a school that is being built for the Cherokees.  In all the novels in this volume Mandie shows her curiosity, her open heart, and a talent for getting into–and then surviving–dangerous scrapes.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Children & Young Adults, Leppard, Lois Gladys, Mountains, Mystery

Lois Gladys Leppard. The Mandie Collection, Volume Two. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2008.

The five novels in this volume take Mandie over familiar territory–the mountains of North Carolina–but also include a trip to the beaches near Charleston, South Carolina. Mandie is trying to learn to become a lady as her teachers in Asheville demand, but back in Franklin, she wants to visit old friends, roam the neighborhood, and just be herself.  And there are always things to investigate! Vandalism at a hospital, an abandoned mine, buried treasure, and church bells at midnight all attract Mandie’s attention, and she mobilizes her friends to get to the bottom of each mystery.

The titles in this volume are: Mandie and the Medicine Man, Mandie and the Charleston Phantom, Mandie and the Abandoned Mine, Mandie and the Hidden Treasure, Mandie and the Mysterious Bells.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Buncombe, Children & Young Adults, Leppard, Lois Gladys, Macon, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series

Clay Carmichael. Wild Things. Honesdale, PA: Front Street, 2009.

Zoë and Mr. C’mere approach people the same way.  Both are skeptical and skittish of others.  Both are fiercely independent and would be more than happy to live alone.  Both have been described as “feral.”  However, there is one distinction: Mr. C’mere is a cat, as one might assume, but Zoë is an eleven-year old girl.  Zoë Royster’s short life has been full of uncertainty and instability.  Her mother, who has just passed away, was mentally ill and neglectful, and Zoë never met her father.  When her paternal uncle Henry (who Zoë had never even heard of) comes to the hospital in Farmville to take her home with him, Zoë is distrustful of the new adult in her life.  However, Henry, a renowned sculptor and former successful naval cardiologist, is different.  While he does make her go to school for the first time, he also provides her with a secure home life and compassionate grown-up friends.

This new home includes Mr. C’mere, who wearily befriends Zoë, although it takes time and coaxing.  Zoë’s explorations of  the woods behind Henry’s home leads her to a forgotten cabin and a mysterious boy who roams the forest with a beautiful, rare albino deer that he calls “Sister.”  The bizarre boy watches over Zoë and his desire to protect her gets them both into some trouble, but it ultimately teaches Zoë the value of family in ways she’s never imagined.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Carmichael, Clay, Children & Young Adults, Coastal Plain, Pitt, Scotland