Tag Archives: LGBT

H. Leigh Aubrey. A Keen Edge. New York: iUniverse, 2009.

Scott Davan is the man with everything: he is a partner in his father’s successful architectural firm, has a supportive wife and three loving sons, and at thirty-seven, is still in peak physical condition. Poised to run for state senator, he is Charlotte, North Carolina’s golden boy in every way. There’s no reason for him not to be happy…but he isn’t. Randall Davan is a controlling man who refuses to relinquish his hold on both his son and the business, and in reality, Scott’s relationship with his wife Paula has been cold and distant for years. When the senior Davan hires Scott an assistant without his knowledge, it’s the last straw, but not in the way he thinks. Instead of plunging Scott deeper into his father’s stifling grasp, Neil Phelan will free him.

Because Neil turns out to be just what Scott needs: he’s an excellent architect, a competitive jogging partner, and incredibly easy to talk with, not to mention handsome. There is an undeniable connection, and the two men fall for one another instantly. Neil has identified as gay for some years, always struggling with the fact. Scott has denied that he is anything but heterosexual for his entire life, and must now embark on an inner journey to find his true self. The outside world is little help. The Davans have always held conservative views on certain topics, homosexual relationships included. When Paula and Randall are faced with Scott’s self-discovery, a painfully difficult time ensues for all involved, especially the children.

H. Leigh Aubrey, a pen name for an author who has written over forty romances for straight audiences, has tackled some of the most charged issues in his first novel for “romantic gay men.” He fits a great deal into 288 pages, but the result is a combination of many different types of love: romantic, sexual, familial, and most importantly, the love and acceptance of oneself. Romance readers everywhere will enjoy Neil and Scott’s budding relationship, and applaud their courage in the face of so many trials.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Aubrey, H. Leigh, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Lauren Myracle. Shine. New York: Amulet Books, 2011.

Patrick Truman was never afraid, or if he was it never showed. When his classmates called him a pansy or a fairy, when they stole his pants and left him trapped in the bathroom, when they knocked into him or threw the word fag in his face, it never stuck. He cast off their darkness and let his light shine, just like his grandma, Mama Sweetie, told him to. But some people are so infected with hate and anger that such strength, such survival in another is unbearable. A tourist finds Patrick one Sunday morning at the gas station where he works, beaten and left for dead with a nozzle shoved down his throat. He lies in a coma, an object of gossip and fascination to the entire community of Black Creek, his small, conservative mountain town.

Cat Robinson knows she has to get to the bottom of it. Despite their statements to the local paper, the sheriff’s department isn’t doing anything, and many people even whisper that Patrick was asking for it, maybe even deserved it. Though they haven’t spoken in years, Patrick was her best childhood friend, and Cat aches for the distance that grew up between them in high school. She starts asking questions, opening old wounds, and examining herself and her class-divided, embittered town with a critical and unsparing eye. Filled with a fire and bravery she had forgotten, Cat rediscovers herself in the search for her friend’s attacker. She remembers how to shine, even in the face of the intolerant, the mentally destroyed, and the beaten down. Even in the face of her own victimization. Undaunted and unwilling to remain silent any longer, Cat is an excellent example of how we hope our children will learn to respond to hate.

Native daughter Lauren Myracle has written an engrossing tale that acknowledges human nature’s strange capacity for both chilling evil and inestimable grace. While aimed at young adults, older readers will also find that the finely crafted characters, well-written narrative, and overarching themes of friendship, acceptance, and courage make for an excellent read. It is an apt message for our times.

UPDATE July 27th, 2012: Congratulations to Shine for winning the 2012 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award for Young Adult fiction!

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



Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Children & Young Adults, Mountains, Myracle, Lauren

Tamar Myers. The Glass Is Always Greener. New York: Avon Books, 2011.

Abby Timberlake Washburn, proprietor of the Den of Antiquity in Charleston, South Carolina, is delighted when she is invited to a soiree in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is not just any party – Jerry Ovumkoph, the eccentric and elderly aunt of Abby’s friend Rob, is hosting her own going-away party. Rather than being a sorrowful event in which family members and dear friends share their happy memories of Jerry, she uses the occasion to express her disappointment in her family and to announce the minimal gifts she will leave them. She also makes the peculiar bequest of her enormous emerald ring to Abby, a complete stranger.

Therefore, when Aunt Jerry is found lifeless in the freezer, the people closest to her become the prime suspects. Unfortunately, it was Abby who made the discovery, and the fact that the prized ring was missing from the deceased’s finger does not help Abby convince people that she is no murderer. As theories begin to form with her at the center, Abby enlists the help of her mother, best friend, and former sister-in-law to get to the bottom of the situation. Along the way, she befriends Aunt Jerry’s family members, leading her to uncover upsetting Ovumkoph family secrets.

The Glass Is Always Greener is the sixteenth and final novel in Tamar Myers’ “Den of Antiquity Mystery” series. The series began with Gilt by Association in 1996, and the first eight novels were set in Charlotte before Abigail moved her shop to Charleston, South Carolina. It’s nice to see our intrepid heroine come full circle.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mecklenburg, Myers, Tamar, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont

Mary Lambeth Moore. Sleeping with Patty Hearst. Seattle, WA: Tigress Publishing, 2010.

It’s difficult growing up with a mom who is not very grown up herself.  Connie and Lily were born when their mother, Lorraine, was barely out of her teenage years.  Lorraine was not married to either girl’s father, and the shame of that probably killed Lorraine’s mother, according to community opinion in little Carlington, North Carolina.  Some women in Lorraine’s position would have left town, but not Lorraine.  She continued to live in the grand house that she inherited, supporting herself first by selling the antiques in the house, and later, developing a fair business in antiques and collectibles. In her free time, she went out to the roadhouses in Carlington and nearby towns looking for the male attention that she craved.

Connie and Lily learned to juggle school, helping out in the antiques business, and working around their mother’s moods and drinking.  It wasn’t  a comfortable situation, but the girls were close to each other and that was a help, especially to Lily.  When Lorraine kicked Connie out of the house, Lily could have left with Connie, but she didn’t.  Lily is not sure she made the right decision.  The book follows Lily as she ties to adjust to life at home with Lorraine and Lorraine’s boyfriend and to reconnect with Connie.  Although this is chiefly Lily’s story, readers also can follow Connie as she too makes her way to adulthood

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Moore, Mary Lambeth, Novels Set in Fictional Places

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

Cynn Chadwick. Babies, Bikes & Broads. Ann Arbor, MI: Bywater Books, 2008.

After five years teaching literature and carpentry at a girls’ school in Scotland, Cat Hood returns home to Galway, North Carolina. Unfortunately, her homecoming is for the sad occasion of her sister-in-law’s funeral. Although Cat believes this will be a short trip back, she quickly discovers that she has more reasons to stay in the Blue Ridge Mountains than to go back to Edinburgh.

First, there is the matter of helping her brother and his twins cope with the death of Marce. Cat realizes that the three of them need her, which is a strange feeling for someone so solitary. However, she quickly falls in love with her niece and nephew and appreciates the youthfulness that they bring out in her. Second, she finds herself drawn to the people and the places of Galway. Cat has missed her friends and being a part of the community. She secures odd carpentry jobs and work at OzGirlz, the lesbian bar, supplementing her income as she continues writing novels. Third, Cat decides to end her destructive relationship with Isobel, her Scottish married lover. Getting over Isobel is made easier by the return to town of Janey, a former flame. Feeling comfortable around each other again takes time, but eventually Cat finds that she can trust Janey and becomes willing to accept her love.

If the old adage that “home is where the heart is” is true, Cat belongs with her friends and family in Galway.

Babies, Bikes & Broads is Cynn Chadwick’s third novel in the “Cat Rising” series.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Chadwick, Cynn, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Cynn Chadwick. Girls with Hammers. New York: Harrington Park Press, 2004.

Lily Cameron has always done things her way. While she followed her father’s footsteps in her career choice of contracting, she did not join the family business. Instead, Lily founded her own all-female construction company, Girls with Hammers, with her best friend, Cat. The youngest child – and only girl – of seven siblings, Lily is still a tomboy. She drinks, smokes, punches, and curses, although she still has a soft spot. And Lily is in a devoted relationship with Hannah in (fictional) Galway, North Carolina, a small town where homosexuality is discussed in hushed tones.

Lily’s life takes a sudden turn with three events: Cat’s decision to take a teaching position in Scotland, Hannah’s distance – both emotional and physical – as she accepts a fellowship in the Netherlands for a few months, and the unexpected death of Lily’s father. Although Lily would crawl underneath a rock to avoid addressing these changes, she is pushed to action with the reading of her father’s will. Of all of his children, she was the only one who showed interest in the business, so he left Cameron Construction Company to her.

Lily is faced with many challenges in her new role, including the unwillingness of men to work for a woman. Banding together a motley crew of musicians-turned-construction workers, Lily tries to keep the company together. Unfortunately, a spree of vandalism and arson cause the collapse of the company. Lily was happier and less stressed with her small company, so when the opportunity arises to sell the family business, she takes it.

When Hannah returns after six months overseas, Lily is not sure what the state of their relationship will be. However, the time apart brings them closer together, and they begin to consider starting a family. With Hannah back, Girls with Hammers back in business, and plans for an exciting future ahead, Lily finds relief in a return to doing things her way.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2004, Chadwick, Cynn, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Cynn Chadwick. Cat Rising Series.

Cat Hood and Lily Cameron have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Although they occasionally argue about matters such as women, the two are always supportive of each other. For example, Cat helped Lily get her business, Girls with Hammers, started, and Lily celebrates Cat’s literary achievements. Although being a lesbian is not always easy in rural Galway, North Carolina, the pair stand by each other with compassion and honesty. Their friends and families, though ever changing, also provide Cat and Lily with guidance, respect, and love.

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Filed under 2000-2009, Chadwick, Cynn, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Series

Cynn Chadwick. Cat Rising. New York: Harington Park Press, 2003.

Now that Cat Hood is finally a published writer, her life should be coming together. At least that is what she has always thought would be the case. Instead, she is even more unsure of who she is and her future. Being “famous” in (fictional) Galway, North Carolina, is tiresome, and she has never felt such a void in her romantic life. Her friends and family all have plans for her. Travel the world. Stay at home in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Find someone to share her life with. Stay independent. Although everyone has an opinion, no one knows Cat like she knows herself – or the lifelong dream she has to write a book about her grandmother in her homeland of Scotland. Just as Cat finds the perfect partner and becomes more comfortable promoting her book, she learns of an opportunity to spend a year in the United Kingdom. Although leaving means walking outside of her comfort zone and missing those dearest to her, Cat realizes that taking this chance is exactly what she needs.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Chadwick, Cynn, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Tom Mendicino. Probation. New York: Kensington Books, 2010.

Andy Nocera seems to have it all: an adoring wife, a successful career, a beautiful house in High Point, and a doting mother. He is content, but he is not satisfied. Andy has long been attracted to men, and he feeds this desire one night in the bathroom stall of an Interstate 85 rest stop. Although in the past these trysts have been discrete, the police catch Andy this time, and he is arrested. Andy’s wife, at the insistence of her father (who is Andy’s boss), kicks him out, and he moves in with his mother. At his hearing, the judge offers Andy probation and an expunged record after a year if he if he goes to counseling. He is reluctant, considering his sessions with Reverend Matthew J. McGinley, S.J., M.D., to be a waste of his time. However, Father McGinley is persistent in helping Andy explore his past, even when that past is difficult. After a period of depression, alcohol and drug abuse, dangerous flings, and the death of his mother, Andy is able to make peace with himself and with his loved ones, including his former wife. In getting Andy to discuss his life, Father McGinley helps him to understand and accept where he is in the present as a gay man.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Gaston, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Mendicino, Tom, Piedmont, Watauga