Tag Archives: College students

Susan Whitfield. Sin Creek. London, TX: L&L Dreamspell, 2011.

When she’s called to investigate a murder on the UNC-Wilmington campus, Logan Hunter certainly doesn’t look the part of a tough and capable SBI Agent. Clad in high heels and a silk dress, she comes straight from her own bridal shower. The scene she finds couldn’t be more different than the genteel high tea honoring her impending marriage. Maeve Smoltz wasn’t only killed, she was torn apart. Perhaps more troubling is the evidence of heavy sexual abuse on her body, especially for a brand-new college freshman. Agent Hunter is determined to find some answers, but the ones she uncovers point to far more terrible deeds and only raise more questions. Married quickly in the middle of the investigation, she and her new husband, handsome fellow Agent Chase Reilly, have even more to lose as they work together to bring down the perpetrators of this and other heinous acts. Will their new marriage survive? Will they?

Inspired to write this next installment in the Logan Hunter Mystery Series as a way to raise awareness of the effect the porn industry has on impressionable, often monetarily needy young women trying to make their way through college, Susan Whitfield has written a gripping and sad novel that nonetheless has a hopeful ending. Due to the explicit nature of some material, 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 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series, Suspense/Thriller, Whitfield, Susan

Cleveland Jones. The Firescalds Road to the Sky. Summerville, SC: Holy Fire Publishing, 2009.

The Firescalds Road to the Sky is the life story of a young boy, called simply RC, growing up during the 1950s and ’60s. As a small child, RC lives happily on his family’s farm in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. But when hard times come to the farm, RC’s father EC has to go back to work building ships in Newport News, Virginia. Getting by but unhappy at being separated, the family relies on hard work and their Christian faith, somehow finding a way to survive and be together. RC does his part, too: hauling groceries, mowing lawns, delivering papers, and anything else he can for his mother, sisters, and at times faraway father. He even has a furry, fierce companion for a few years: a spirited Airedale named Bobby. But the evils of the world are constantly at hand, and RC must remind himself to follow what he has been taught in order to stay safe and true to his faith. RC’s story is a successful one: he leads an upright, Christian life, and goes to college all the way in California. In the end, though, he returns to his roots in the Appalachians, where he finds what he has somehow always known: his family farm is the true road to Heaven.

This book promotes a strong Christian view of modern society and history and is filled with direct quotations from the Bible. It offers an inspiring story of a young man who pulled himself up by his bootstraps and found comfort in both the strength of his family and his religion.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Jackson, Jones, Cleveland, Mountains, Religious/Inspirational

Diane Chamberlain. The Midwife’s Confession. Don Mills, Ontario: MIRA, 2011.

Thus far 2010 has been a difficult year for Tara Vincent and Emerson Stiles. First, Tara’s husband, Sam, dies in a car accident; then their best friend, a local midwife named Noelle Downie, inexplicably commits suicide. Sam, Noelle, Tara, and Emerson have been best friends since attending UNC Wilmington together in the 1970s, so the double loss is especially hard. The Noelle who Tara and Emerson knew was an ethical, passionate human being devoted to her work; she had no secrets, especially from them. But it appears they didn’t know the real Noelle, something that becomes uncomfortably evident as her private papers reveal more and more about her life, her family, and a horrifying mistake that may have led to her mental destruction.

The shocking revelations pile up, but what hurts Tara even more is the gaping distance growing between her and her daughter, sixteen-year-old Grace. Quiet, dark Grace was especially close to her father, as different from the blonde and outgoing Tara as night is from day. Tara loves her daughter desperately, but she feels helpless to repair their foundering relationship. She envies Emerson’s easy, close bond with her daughter (and Grace’s best friend), Jenny. But Noelle’s secrets will spiral wide to include both mothers and daughters, and nothing will ever be the same again.

Diane Chamberlain presents a heartfelt, intriguing novel about familial relationships: both those we construct through friendships, and those we are born into. No matter how close we are, we never truly know those we love as well as we might think. Written from multiple first-person viewpoints, Chamberlain tells the tales of Noelle, Grace, Tara, and Emerson across fifty years, flowing effortlessly between the past and present. This is an excellent beach read, book club novel, or for any time.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Chamberlain, Diane, Coast, Mystery, New Hanover, Robeson, Romance/Relationship

Heather Newton. Under the Mercy Trees. New York: Harper, 2011.

When Leon Owenby, the eldest of five siblings, goes missing in Willoby County, North Carolina, his family rallies together to try to find him. Although he is an ornery (at best) individual, his disappearance is unsettling. Leon always keeps to himself, close to the family’s mountain homeplace, so leaving unannounced is out of character for the sixty-five-year-old.

With the family’s assistance, the sheriff’s office searches the property. As they collect clues that point to Leon’s whereabouts, facts about the siblings surface. James is having an especially hard time dealing with his brother being gone. His wife’s affair with Leon decades earlier left him demoralized, and he feels conflicted now. Martin, the baby of the family, is lost in his own way: he is in a dead relationship, unemployed, and an alcoholic. Coming home to Willoby forces Martin confront old wounds, but being with his childhood friends rejuvenates his spirit. People have always considered Ivy troubled because she sees spirits. Her gift, however, gives Ivy greater insight than anyone suspects. Eugenia resents her siblings’ quirks. Uncomfortable with the undesired attention, she is more interested in keeping up appearances than helping her family cope with their loss.

In their search to find their brother, the Owenbys learn about themselves and their family.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mountains, Newton, Heather, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Roger Saltsman. Agony Hill. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2009.

Running is Eric Roberts’ passion. He admires runners, enjoys the sport, and excels to the point of setting records in his Brevard, North Carolina, high school. His dream is to run in college, and he is delighted to have been courted by some big schools. Sadly, that all disintegrates when he is injured in an accident that kills a friend. Eric, blaming himself for the tragedy, distances himself from his friends, his family, and even his obsession.

After spending two years away in Charleston, Eric decides to return home. He rekindles his friendship with Mary, a favorite running partner, and she challenges him to get back into the sport. By a matter of chance, his landlord is a former running coach who agrees to train Eric. Although he has not run in two years and has put on considerable weight, Eric is determined to be a great athlete. Months of careful training lead him to a race in which he defeats his high school nemesis and qualifies to join the North Carolina State University track team. Three years after his life changed course considerably, Eric puts himself back on track.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Mountains, Saltsman, Roger, Transylvania

Paul Ader. The Leaf against the Sky. New York: Crown Publishers, 1947.

This is a classic coming-of-age novel.  The main character, John Perry, is the son of a Methodist minister.  Soon after his family moves to a new town, John strikes up a friendship with Milton Silverstein and Zona Cahill.  Zona is flirtatious and worldly; Milton is Jewish.  John’s father does not approve of his new friends.  Still, the friendships continue even after the trio goes off to college.  John intends to return to his small hometown one day to edit his local newspaper, but first he has to find his own way, struggling to break free of religious orthodoxy and develop his own opinions.  The college the friends attend is called Trumbull University, but is is easily recognizable as Duke. The mountain town which the friends leave and then return to is called Macon, but a contemporary reviewer thought it was actually Franklin, in Macon County.

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

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Filed under 1940-1949, 1947, Ader, Paul, Durham, Macon, Mountains, Piedmont

Bob Boan. Bobby Becomes Bob. Kingsport, TN: Twilight Times Books, 2009.

As the title suggests, Bobby Becomes Bob is a coming-of-age story.  At twenty-eight Bobby Padgett has returned to his childhood home of St. Umblers, North Carolina.  Before the reader learns why he is back or what his mission there is, we follow Bobby as his mind flashes back to the experiences of his childhood – from his first broken bone to his first love, Sam.  He also recalls experiences such as finding a wallet on the sidewalk, working hard to pay for college, and twice avoiding the Army draft.  As he grew up, Bobby’s parents taught him how to be honorable, a gentleman; they also instilled in him strong family values.

Bobby was drafted for a third time and quickly sent to Vietnam. This altered the course of his life. On his second day in Vietnam, Bobby and his squad were captured. In captivity they were brutally and repeatedly tortured. When Bobby was rescued by American soldiers three and a half years later, he was a different person.  After spending months in Japan, Germany, and Washington, D.C. recovering, Bobby resolves to go by “Robert” or “Bob” from now on as a sign of his maturity.

When he finally returns to St. Umblers, Bob finds a street named in his honor, and Sam walks by him without recognizing her former flame. Bob realizes that his family and friends believe that he died in Vietnam, and that they have changed as much as he has. Although he plans to set the record straight eventually, Bob decides that this day would not be the day for his homecoming, and he returns to Washington.

Small-town North Carolina in the 1950s and 1960s is vividly portrayed in this novel.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Boan. Bob, Coastal Plain, Johnston, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Kenneth Butcher. The Middle of the Air. Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair, Publisher, 2009.

The Colebrook family is not your typical four-generation span of Hendersonville, NC residents. The patriarch, Pipo, is a talented but controversial painter. His son, Philip, has an active business account with a nuclear weapons facility, and Phillip’s wife Lilly heads an ecological watch group while running the local chocolate shop. Their three sons, Xavier, Charles, and Leon have built prototype unmanned spy planes, developed government satellites, and made breakthrough archaeological discoveries, while Leon’s 6-year-old daughter has a precocious knack for drawing and detecting ancient artifacts.

One day a truck full of nuclear fuel goes missing. The theft occurred suspiciously close to where Leon finds a downed unmarked surveillance plane on the Appalachian Trail. After he brings the fuselage of the plane to Xavier’s workshop, all of the Colebrook men fall under investigation by the FBI. It turns out that the higher-ups in Washington are trying to protect a government nuclear power project that doesn’t officially exist. As the FBI discovers, there is more to the entire Colebrook family than meets the eye in this novel of hiking, chocolate, politics and government intrigue.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Butcher, Kenneth, Henderson, Mountains

Burgess Leonard. Phantom of the Foul-Lines. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1952.

A new college basketball season is just around the corner, so it’s an appropriate time to add this novel to your reading list.

Mickey Barton was the captain of his high school basketball team–a team that won the state championship and a national invitational tournament.  That should make him a hot prospect for the premier basketball colleges in his state.  But Mickey has a problem–he is only 5′ 6″.  The big time schools rebuff him, and his best friend and teammate 6′ 10″ Hub Duncan trades his friendship with Mickey for a chance to play for an elite coach.  Mickey, whose dad is dead, needs a scholarship to attend college.  Luckily, his high school coach becomes the basketball coach at Greyling Tech, the perennial cellar dweller in the conference.  Mickey joins Coach Royce there.  Despite the ragtag nature of the team and bad behavior by the coach’s son, they go on to glory.

Mickey’s college, Grayling Tech, is thought to be Wake Forest, but I could not identify any of the schools in the conference.

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

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Filed under 1950-1959, 1952, Children & Young Adults, Leonard, Burgess

Cathy Holton. Beach Trip. New York: Ballantine Books, 2009.

On a resort island off the coast of Wilmington, four friends gather to renew the ties they had as college students twenty years earlier. Mel, Sara, Annie, and Lola plan to sunbathe, laugh, and party, but their conversations develop a darker tone.  Each woman has made her share of mistakes, and each lives with some sorrow.  Annie and Mel unload secrets that have burden them since college, but it is Lola who finds a more dramatic way to turn her life around.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Brunswick, Coast, Holton, Cathy, New Hanover