Tag Archives: Politics

W. Ferrell. The Secrets of Sterling Shearin. Kernersville, NC: W. Ferrell, 2013.

Using the device of a diary, this novel tracks the life and emotional development of Sterling Shearin, a young man living in Warren County in the early years of the American republic.  Sterling has been mentored by Nathaniel Macon and through Macon meets other public figures of the period and is exposed to political ideas that shaped the philosophies of the Founding Fathers.  But Sterling doesn’t just live in a world of ideas.  He is a young man, trying to build up a farm, a family, and his position in his community.  Not all of his impulses and actions are noble–his relationship with his wife sours even as he savors the memory of his relationship with an enslaved woman and dallies with another man’s wife.  He finds his way in part by weighing his behavior against what he sees around him. The Secrets of Sterling Shearin does what historical novels are meant to do–it makes clear that this was a different time. Readers can ponder what they would have done had they lived back then.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Ferrell, W., Historical, Piedmont, Warren

F. C. Etier. The Tourist Killer. Hideaway, TX: Venture Galleries, 2012.

The Tourist KillerNow that she’s approaching retirement, Claudia Barry is reconsidering her career path. Even in her early sixties, Claudia remains in sharp shape, both of body and mind. A profession like Claudia’s demands that she stays ahead of all possible curves. Mistakes are not permissible. Morals need to be set aside. And a social life isn’t an option; the hours are long and the role requires a discreet personality. But the job pays well. The life of a professional assassin isn’t easy, that’s for sure.

This last kill is routine for Claudia. But she wonders if her professional legacy, 37 – going on 38 – kills, was worth the cost. Without her work, her self-styled isolation leaves her disconnected from the rest of the world. She wears and sheds different identities at the drop of a hat, but her own identity is stunted. She has no attachments, save two equally enigmatic men who drift in and out her life; one is a mysterious mentor of sorts and the other is a former FBI agent. Her sudden self-reflection forces Claudia to confront uncomfortable questions with unclear answers. When, or if, Claudia leaves her job, what is there for her to return home to after all these years?

First-time novelist F.C. Etier cultivates an intriguing character in Claudia. The book opens with a memorable and unusual scene: a female assassin observing her assigned prey, a female serial killer. Etier writes from a removed third-person perspective, zoomed out to capture a host of distinctive characters. Although his writing is thick with authenticating details, the story is told at a fast pace. This is an action-driven work with brisk chapters that never slow down. Interspersed between the chapters are seven brief non-sequential flashbacks that provide insight into Claudia’s past and explain the choices that led her into her line of work. These flashbacks emphasize Claudia’s irresolution as she approaches her final assignment.

Her target is Brian Farrell, the CEO of the ITTA Corporation, an amoebic conglomerate headquartered in London. Farrell is a quintessential power-hungry bad guy. Like many of Claudia’s targets, it isn’t difficult to want Farrell dead. Anyone that did take Farrell out would probably not suffer from a guilty conscience for long.  Meanwhile, Farrell, in his quest for expansion, is eager to eliminate his major opponent, Julian Thibaut. Thibaut is a self-made billionaire and charming Southern gentleman with a knack for sales and financial investments. Etier develops a subplot with Thibaut driven by conspiracies and social-political commentary on the One Percent.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Etier, F. C., Mountains, Suspense/Thriller

Jen Calonita. The Grass is Always Greener. New York: Poppy, 2013.

thegrassisalwaysgreenerThe conclusion to Jen Calonita’s Belles series finds half-sisters Mirabelle and Isabelle Monroe each facing her own crossroads. The Monroe family is used to an easy life, but that changed when Isabelle “Izzie” Scott (in reality Monroe) arrived. Hailing from the nearby struggling community of Harborside, the daughter State Senator and family patriarch Bill Monroe never knew existed has certainly made life interesting in the affluent town of Emerald Cove. No one has felt the changes more than Izzie’s half-sister Mirabelle.

Originally a quiet conformist, Mirabelle has started to march to the beat of her own drum. She’s pursuing her own interests in painting, as well as a quirky, artistic boy named Kellen. Izzie has changed her life,  but nothing is perfect. Kellen is moving away, and Mirabelle’s novice artwork faces harsh criticism from a teacher. Will she stay true to her newfound path?

Although used to blazing her own trail, Izzie has trials to face as well. Shortly following the death of her beloved grandmother, an aunt Izzie never knew about arrives in town. Zoe Scott had a terrible falling out with her sister, Izzie’s mom, before Izzie was ever born. Now Zoe wants to make amends and take her niece away to live in California. Izzie isn’t sure if she wants her aunt in her life, much less if she wants to leave the Old North State. Additionally, Savannah Ingram, the alpha girl of Emerald Preparatory, looks ready to make Izzie pay for disrupting the status quo. Forced to work with the snobby queen bee on a project, Izzie is sure she’ll be miserable. But is Savannah really as bad as she thought? Torn between the lessons of her meager upbringing and the challenges of her new, shinier life, Izzie must decide what her future will hold.

Both girls are about to turn sweet sixteen, and at this rite of passage they must decide who they will be. But since Isabelle and Mirabelle Monroe first accepted one another as sisters, one thing is certain– whatever they face, they’ll face it together.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Calonita, Jen, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

David Goodwillie. American Subversive. New York: Scribner, 2011.

Aidan Cole is only thirty-three, but his privileged existence in New York City has become an embittered one. Roorback (a word meaning a false or slanderous story used for political advantage) is the digital baby that has brought so much heaviness to his once idealistic life. A blog devoted to gossip and news, all served up with a healthy amount of disdainful sarcasm, Roorback was invented and is maintained by Aidan to great success, but it has now taken up so much room in his world that he has nowhere to go but deeper into his own malaise and disinterest. Even a mysterious explosion above world-famous Barneys quickly fades into the background of his routine. Outside of Roorback, Aidan’s life is a mixture of hip parties and expensive dinners with his fashionable Times columnist girlfriend Cressida. Then, someone sends him a brief but electrifying email: a photograph of a young woman walking away from the smoking explosion over Barneys, accompanied by a single sentence: This is Paige Roderick. She’s the one responsible.

Spurred into action, Aidan sets out to find the mysterious Paige Roderick…and stumbles into a world of secrets, eco-warriors, and fanatics. Set partially in North Carolina, American Subversive is a gripping portrait of a generation whose greatest enemy is its own boredom. Through the eyes of two very different but strikingly similar individuals, Goodwillie’s tale chronicles their efforts to develop meaningful voices and find anything in which to believe in a disinterested, mortally hip world.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Goodwillie, David, Haywood, Mountains, Suspense/Thriller

Jen Calonita. Winter White. New York: Poppy, 2012.

Isabelle “Izzie” Scott is still adjusting to the revelation that her uncle, North Carolina State Senator Bill Monroe, is in fact her father. The Monroe family may appear polished and smiling for the media sharks during the Senator’s re-election campaign, but away from the cameras, they’re falling apart. Mirabelle, who at fifteen is only a few months younger than Izzie, is still not willing to forgive her father, and neither is Izzie. Their younger and older brothers are fine, but the girls refuse to have anything to do with Senator Monroe beyond their filial duty to uphold his public image.

Meanwhile, mean girl Savannah Ingram, the queen bee of Emerald Prep, is on the warpath. Mirabelle, who used to be one of the most popular girls at Emerald Cove’s elite private school and Savannah’s best friend, is officially a persona non grata. Not only did she finally accept her strange and awkward half-sister as both a member of her family and a friend, but she didn’t help Savannah sabotage Isabelle’s burgeoning relationship with Savannah’s handsome ex-boyfriend, Brayden. Worst of all, one of the most important events in Mirabelle’s life is fast approaching: cotillion, where every young girl in Emerald Cove who is anybody comes out as an official debutante. Contrary to everyone’s expectations, Izzie is also participating. Will the girls survive the demanding preparations designed to turn them into proper Southern belles? As the preparations for the debutante ball become more difficult, boy problems loom, and more bad press appears, so the girls must once again work together to save their family and their own happiness.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Calonita, Jen, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Jerry Eden. Ashley Jordan’s Secret. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006.

It’s a beautiful day at the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park just outside of Goldsboro, North Carolina. But the day turns bleak when a couple celebrating their thirtieth wedding anniversary with a trip to the park discovers the body of a young girl. Wayne County law enforcement, headed by the handsome Officer Rico Acosta, quickly determines that foul play was involved. At the same time, powerful State Senator Zachary Jordan contacts Rico to inform him that his teenage daughter, Ashley, is missing. What Rico fears soon proves to be true: Ashley Jordan and the murdered girl found at the Neuse River are one and the same.

Slade Lindsey is just passing through Wayne County on his motorcycle, so when he’s arrested for murder, he’s very surprised. He agrees to cooperate with Rico, whom he trusts, but it soon becomes clear that someone wants Slade to take the fall for Ashley’s murder. It doesn’t help that Slade is an outsider to the community, and looks a little rough around the edges. What follows is a complicated court case that eventually involves highly skilled professionals from New York City, as well as one of the best defense attorneys in the United States. As the trial progresses, it becomes clear to all that Ashley Jordan’s death was neither a crime of passion nor opportunity. The young woman knew something valuable, and it got her killed. Will this crack team of law enforcement professionals discover who killed Ashley Jordan? More importantly, will they be able to prove Slade’s innocence and save him from certain death?

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Coastal Plain, Eden, Jerry, Mystery, Wayne

Tim Myers. Coventry. United States: CreateSpace, 2010.

Widower Abraham Cole has just sent his only daughter off to college, and his home in the small mountain town of Coventry, North Carolina feels a little empty. Luckily (maybe), he is both the town’s mayor and its sole handyman, so there is a nonstop list of tasks to which he should be attending. Some he enjoys more than others, but Abraham takes it all on, from fixing Opal Matheson’s front door to soothing tensions between feuding business owners. Although his friends and neighbors threaten on a daily basis to withhold their vote from him in the next election, he is roundly loved by the small, tightly knit community…at least until Rena Ashe arrives.

Rena Ashe has everyone excited– the town’s ancient librarian, Ms. Miller, is retiring, and Rena is going to be her young, multi-credentialed replacement. Some of the men in the town have also been quick to note that she isn’t bad looking, either. Unfortunately for Abraham, he gets off to a bad start with the town’s newest resident, and things go downhill from there. A neighbor keeps dropping her unruly son off at Abraham’s on the weekends because he needs the influence of “a good man,” the fight between two shop keepers becomes increasingly chaotic, and worst of all, his daughter Hannah has announced she’s going to Europe with a friend for the holidays. But it’s certain that things will turn around soon, because Coventry always looks out for its own.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Mountains, Myers, Tim, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Jen Calonita. Belles. New York: Poppy, 2012.

Fifteen-year-old Isabelle “Izzie” Scott loves her life in Harborside, North Carolina: working as a life guard at the beach, hanging with her friend Kylie at the local ice cream shop, and swimming laps at the pool in her beloved community center. Orphaned at ten when her single mother was killed in a car crash, Izzie lives with her aging grandmother, and it’s a daily battle to convince her concerned social worker that Grams is a good enough guardian.

Grams is slowly losing her grip on reality, and one day Izzie arrives home to find that a decision has been made without her: Grams is moving to an assisted living facility, and Izzie is sure she’s destined for foster care. But Grams has been hiding a secret from her. Unbeknownst to Izzie, she has a long-lost uncle: a wealthy state senator who lives with his wife and children in nearby Emerald Cove. Her uncle and aunt have agreed to take Izzie and raise her with their children, offering her all the best love and care and a first-rate education at the prestigious Emerald Prep.

Harborside and Emerald Cove are only a few miles apart on the scenic North Carolina coast, but they might as well be on separate planets. Emerald Cove is home to some of the wealthiest families in the state, sporting boutique shops, sprawling mansions, and a refined country club, while Harborside is barely above a slum with its low-income housing, gang violence, and seedy boardwalk. Izzie’s aunt and uncle Monroe are welcoming, but her cousin Mirabelle, nearly the same age, is one of the most popular girls in school, and Izzie definitely doesn’t fit in her with her crowd. Worst of all, the gorgeous Savannah Ingram (Mirabelle’s best friend and the queen bee of Emerald Prep) takes a particular dislike to Izzie, and stirs up plenty of trouble for the new girl. Soon Izzie isn’t sure if she’s fighting to fit in or fighting to get out, but the true drama and scandal haven’t even begun.

Reminiscent of Gossip Girl with a southern twist, Belles is the beginning of a fantastic new series about family, community, and fashion for young adults.

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Calonita, Jen, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Diane Chamberlain. The Good Father. Don Mills, Ontario: Mira Books, 2012.

Travis Brown is struggling. A single father at the young age of twenty-two, he loses his mother and home in Carolina Beach, North Carolina to a terrible fire. Beyond the grief of his mother’s death, Travis has also lost the only source of free, reliable childcare he has for his four-year-old daughter Bella. Without it, he can’t keep his job as a construction worker, and without work, he and Bella are quickly living on the edge of homelessness. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to reach out to Bella’s mother Robin, Travis’s high school sweetheart– Robin’s father forced Travis to sign a contract after Bella was born, swearing that Travis would never again seek to contact her.

Robin Saville is living in Beaufort, North Carolina. Born with a serious heart condition, her teenage pregnancy nearly killed her, but the recent gift of a new heart has given her new hope for life. Lied to by her father and believing Travis to be happily married, Robin puts him and her baby behind her, beginning work at a small bed and breakfast in the coastal town. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with Beaufort’s wealthiest son, Dale Hendricks, but she does, and they quickly  engaged. The Hendricks clan are a central pillar of Beaufort life: politically active and well-connected, they present a perfect facade to the rest of the world. That is, until teenaged Alissa Hendricks, the youngest and proverbial black sheep of the family, gets pregnant. Suddenly Robin can’t stop thinking of her baby, and what she gave up. But how could she ever have her daughter back in her life?

Living in a trailer park in Carolina Beach and relying on the kindness of a new neighbor to look after Bella, Travis fruitlessly searches for work. But then the neighbor, a beautiful woman named Savannah, mentions that a friend in Raleigh has sure construction work. All Travis has to do is pick up and go. It seems tenuous, but Travis is desperate, so he and Bella hit the road for the state capital. But when they arrive, the situation is much different, and much more dangerous, than Travis was lead to believe. He’s willing to do anything for Bella…but will he do something that means he might lose her forever?

In a style that readers of Diane Chamberlain have come to know and love, the author weaves together three separate voices and lives to create yet another beautiful tale of parents and children in the Old North State.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Carteret, Chamberlain, Diane, Coast, New Hanover, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Suspense/Thriller, Wake

Scott Nicholson. Chronic Fear. Las Vegas, NV: Thomas & Mercer, 2011.

After the death of Dr. Sebastian Briggs, the cohort of strangers and old friends who survived the murderous events at the Monkey House try to go back to their old lives, but with little success. Roland and Wendy flee to the Blue Ridge Mountains, looking for some peace. Psychologically ruined Anita and David undergo extreme medical treatment, though with little hope for recovery. Senator Burchfield heads back to Washington, DC, intent on making a run for the presidency. Mark and Alexis Morgan return to their marriage, and while Mark is understandably fired from CRO for destroying their pet project, Alexis continues to conduct research at UNC.

But some people aren’t content to let Halcyon, a calming drug meant to cure PTSD, live on in memory alone–or its rage-inducing counterpart, Seethe. Although Alexis would prefer to forget everything, she can’t. Mark, who had never been exposed to Seethe before, has reacted badly to the dose from the Monkey House. He’s become unpredictable, prone to violent outbursts, and has developed a paranoid obsession with firearms. Quietly, Alexis has begun attempting to revive Halcyon, the only thing that can tame the Seethe left in Mark’s system. And someone has noticed. Alexis receives a chilling phone call at her campus office: Surely you didn’t think we could let you live, after what happened?

Soon, the survivors from the Monkey House are embroiled in a second fight to keep Seethe and Halcyon out of government hands, a race that takes them all across the Old North State. As before, their worst enemy isn’t the CIA, NCS, or even the greedy Senator Burchfield, but the darkness that Seethe brings to the surface in every human being it touches. How will they survive the Monkey House when the Monkey House is all around them?

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mountains, Nicholson, Scott, Orange, Piedmont