Tag Archives: Politics

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

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

Halcyon is rumored to be a miracle drug–a cure-all for post-traumatic stress disorder. Inducing a state of calm amnesia, the drug helps people completely forget their fears. Those afflicted with PTSD, most notably veterans from the recent wars, will finally be able to lead normal lives. But the research process behind the medication is shadowy and filled with terrible secrets.

Dr. Sebastian Briggs, Halcyon’s inventor, was a respected professional conducting his research at UNC. During trials, the accidental death of Susan Sharpe, an undergraduate test subject, forced the university to let him go, but Briggs refused to stop testing. The scientist’s obsessive, sadistic nature pushed him to continue for his own evil enjoyment, and besides, powerful people were willing to fund his work. Briggs sets up a new lab in nearby Research Triangle Park, and gives it a sinister nickname: the Monkey House. What he does there is anyone’s guess. His funders, sensing major returns, make sure they don’t look too closely at his methods.

But what these powerful, wealthy benefactors don’t realize is that Briggs developed another drug alongside the calming Halcyon– a pill that strips away everything that makes a person human, bringing about a state of complete and total animal fear and anger. Briggs called it Seethe, and unbeknownst to UNC, he was testing this drug when Susan’s death occurred.

Ten years later, Briggs’s other test subjects, also students at the time, find themselves struggling to control their behavior. Each person finds a mysterious bottle of pills among his or her belongings, cryptically labeled take every 4 hours, or else. Somehow, all paths lead back to Dr. Briggs and his fateful experiments, and soon each is drawn to the Monkey House. They come to get answers about troubling memories that seem to stem from nowhere–Was Susan’s death really an accident? Is one of them responsible? What are the pills for? Most importantly, why are they still being affected? But Sebastian Briggs isn’t interested in providing explanations. In fact, he has one final test in mind: put his old subjects in the Monkey House, inject them with the deadly Seethe, and watch. After the lights go out, who will emerge alive?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Horror, Nicholson, Scott, Orange, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

Barbara Wright. Crow. New York: Random House Books for Young Readers, 2012.

“We will never surrender to a ragged raffle of negroes, even if we have to choke the Cape Fear River with carcasses.”
-Alfred Moore Waddell, leader of the 1898 Wilmington race riots

The only complete overthrow of a local government in US history, the Wilmington race riots successfully removed the Fusionist party from power in the North Carolina town of Wilmington. In early November, a group of  insurrectionists known as the Red Shirts seized power from the legally elected officials, both white and black. Armed with rifles and a Gatling gun mounted on a wagon, they burned the offices of the  local African-American newspaper and wounded, killed, or ran off the majority of the black population.

Crow is the story of this coup, as seen through the eyes of Moses Thomas, a young African-American boy just entering the sixth grade. Moses is a typical child; he likes swimming, eating pie, riding bicycles, and getting into a little trouble now and again. Bright and motivated to learn, he loves going to school and finding new words, but lately he’s been frustrated. There’s trouble brewing in Wilmington, and no one will explain what’s going on. Groups of men in red clothing walk the streets, getting drunk and listening to angry speeches, and he isn’t allowed to enter the slogan contest at the hardware store, even though he’s under 18 and has the best entry. Worst of all, everyone is whispering words like “lynching” and “rape” without telling Moses what they mean.

Despite the tension,  Moses is mostly happy. His daddy, Jack Thomas, is an educated and honest man who works as a reporter for the Record in addition to serving as an alderman. Father and son share a particularly special bond, and together they spend hours playing word games and discussing philosophy. The other pillar of Moses’ life is Boo Nanny, his aged grandmother. Boo Nanny is the opposite of her son-in-law Jack in many ways–superstitious, filled with stories and poems, and prone to making bad-smelling medicinal concoctions. A cautious person lacking in self-esteem due to the abuse she endured as a slave, Boo Nanny’s ideas on the best ways to approach the growing conflict with white Wilmingtonians often cause her to clash with Jack, but the little family loves one another deeply all the same.

But with election day looming and the Red Shirt violence increasing, will the relative peace of Moses’ small world be shattered forever? A mature and heartbreaking look at an often ignored piece of American history, Wright’s novel, though aimed at young adults, will capture readers of all ages.

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Historical, New Hanover, Wright, Barbara

Jody Meacham. Through the Heart of the South. San Jose, CA: Doodlebug Publishing, 2010.

It’s the summer of 1968, and Chris McAndrew should be relaxed and looking forward to his senior year of high school in Shortridge, North Carolina. But this year, the local black school, Booker T. Washington High, is closing, and all of the students there will matriculate at the formerly whites-only Shortridge High. The School Board fought long and hard against this integration, and when nothing prevented it, did everything they could to make this year as uncomfortable as possible for the black community. Class activities and trips are eliminated, and if any black player should even think of scoring the winning point in a football game, there will be hell to pay. Chris is convinced it’s just plain wrong to treat anyone this way, but speaking up means being labeled a “nigger-lover” by the rest of the whites in Shortridge, especially his girlfriend Susan Marks’s angry father, Wade.

But as Chris and his best friend Cam get to know the new students, especially Malachi Stevens, a particularly gifted singer and football player, it gets harder to be friends in the classroom but treat them as less than human when school lets out. Susan and the rest of the town continue to try to convince Chris that “they” are the ones taking everything from the white population and polluting it, but somehow that doesn’t make sense. The situation finally comes to an ugly head when a local NAACP representative is murdered and found by his young daughter, and a teenage biracial couple flee to South Carolina to get married, only to return under a shadow when they find out it’s illegal. With the Vietnam War hanging over their heads and the railroad industry that supports Shortridge sliding under their feet, the graduating class of 1969 must at least agree on one thing: the times, they are a’changin’.

This heartfelt and engaging coming-of-age novel is Meacham’s first, and is based partially on his own experiences growing up in Hamlet, North Carolina.

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

 

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Historical, Meacham, Jody, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Richmond

Jimmy C. Waters. The Bender Legacy. Toccoa, GA: Currahee Books, 2011.

The story of the Bender Family, begun in Waters’s New Bern: 1710 in the Carolinas, continues in this account of the Civil War in and around the family’s hometown of New Bern, North Carolina. Since Martin Bender built the family plantation in the 18th century, life has been good for the Benders- they have become successful cotton farmers and dry goods merchants. This novel begins in 1854 at the deathbed of John Knox Bender, the current Bender patriarch, as he instructs his sons in a shocking legacy passed down from father to son since Martin’s time. John Knox’s three sons, Philemon, Bryan, and Jake, are as different as can be: Philemon, the eldest, is boisterous and commanding, while Bryan, the middle son, is a quiet, bookish young man with a crippled arm. Jake, the youngest, is the sharply intelligent first mate on a ship transporting cotton to Britain. Although each reacts differently to their father’s surprising command, they all agree to honor his wish and keep the family legacy.

Soon, though, they will be tested. The dying John Knox Bender foresees what none of the rest can imagine: war will strike the South in just six short years. As the three sons scatter to the winds in an attempt to defend their homes and homeland, we accompany them to witness the war in different places: from the trenches on battlefields, through the eyes of a blockade runner out to sea, and where the conflict was perhaps the most brutal: on the farms and homesteads of Southern families. As these young men and their compatriots fight for their lives and for everything else they hold dear, some will emerge from the conflict, while others will fall.

Half history and half historical fiction, Jimmy C. Waters weaves statistics, facts, and a plethora of imaginary characters together in this stirring sequel to New Bern. Witness every battle that took place during the War Between the States in North Carolina, on the front lines with the brothers Bender.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Craven, Historical, Waters, Jimmy C.