Tag Archives: Small towns

Elizabeth Craig. Shear Trouble. New York: Penguin Group, 2014.

sheartroubleIn order to ensure that quilts are finished in time for the upcoming quilting show, the Village Quilters of Dappled Hills decide to have a quilting party. However, the party is unexpectedly interrupted by Beatrice Coleman’s discovery of Jason Gore with Phyllis Stitt’s shears sticking out of his body. The same shears that Phyllis was just complaining about having lost and that Beatrice set out to find. Phyllis shouldn’t have even been at the quilting party!

Phyllis is actually the member of a rival quilting team, the Cut-Ups, and she wanted to come to the quilting party in the hopes that she could join the Village Quilters since her fellow Cut-Up member, Martha Helmsley, is now dating Phyllis’ ex-fiancé Jason Gore. But, Phyllis was not to escape the couple as Martha decided to join the quilting party as well and have her fiancé stop by. Everyone seems shocked to learn of Jason’s murder occurring, but none are surprised that someone would want to murder him.

Jason has just returned to Dappled Hills after having been gone for quite some time. The first time he came to Dappled Hills, he ended up running out on Phyllis after scamming people out of their money. Because of this, there are quite a few suspects for Jason’s murder. Beatrice’s best friend Meadow is soon encouraging Beatrice to use her sleuthing skills to uncover the truth, but what Beatrice finds might just end up costing her life.

One finding is that there is an eyewitness, but he refuses to go to the cops. Maybe he doesn’t even know anything. Nevertheless, when this claimed eyewitness ends up murdered as well, Beatrice must admit that he might have been on the right track. As Beatrice continues on the hunt for the culprit, it becomes clear that this killer will halt at nothing to get away with these murders, even if that means committing another.

Shear Trouble is the fourth novel in novelist Elizabeth Craig’s A Southern Quilting Mystery series. If you are interested in starting at the beginning of the series, take a look at our blog post on the first novel in the series, Quilt or Innocence. Check out this, Shear Trouble,  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

Denise Grover Swank. The Curse Breakers. Seattle, WA: 47North, 2014.

thecursebreakersEllie Lancaster has been confronted with the horrible reality of the curse that she spent her whole life denying. At twenty-three, Ellie has always lived in the small town of Manteo, on Roanoke Island. Like many young people she oftentimes felt out of place, like she would never fit in, and she would never find her purpose. That is until she met Collin Dailey and realized the four hundred year old curse that her father kept muttering about is real, and she and Collin are the two Curse Keepers.

Meeting Collin was fate and their loved seemed like fate too, a bond that couldn’t be broken, but then Collin betrayed Ellie. Instead of fighting alongside Ellie to maintain the curse and the keep the spirits locked away so that the world would remain safe, Collin tricked Ellie into breaking the curse. Now all the spirits have been released and they want Ellie’s soul. Even worse, Ellie’s father sacrificed himself to close the gate to the underworld, so Ellie is left on her own to figure out how to save herself and the rest of the world. Her first step in doing so is to find the mark of Ahone so that she can permanently tattoo it upon herself. This will protect her soul from being taken by the malevolent spirits, but will it protect her from death at their hands? And why won’t Ahone reveal his mark to her?

Not only is Ellie facing malevolent spirts, but she is also being hunted by men that she and Collin sold some items to. Thanks to Collin, they believe that Ellie knows something about a stolen artifacts shipment and will stop at nothing to get the information out of her.

The one good thing going for Ellie right now is the fact that she might have found someone who can help her. She tracked down a Native American Studies professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, Dr. David Preston, and has convinced him to help her. Then again, the last time she thought a guy was helping her, he was actually using her. Can she trust David or will he turn on her just as Collin did? When Ellie finds herself attracted to David, she must make the choice to take a chance on him or to push him out of her life. Will she be able to take that chance when her soul is entwined with Collin’s? Whether she does or not, there is still evil to be fought and Ellie must prepare to face her destiny.

In this second novel in the Curse Keeper series, Ellie is getting ready to fight the battle of a lifetime while struggling with her own internal wars. If you’re new to the series check out our blog post on the first novel The Curse Keepers.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Coast, Dare, Novels in Series, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Swank, Denise Grover

Ellie Grant. Treacherous Tart. New York: Pocket Books, 2014.

treacherous tartMaggie Grady has been enjoying seeing her Aunt Clara celebrate the wonders of Christmastime in Durham, North Carolina with her new love, Donald Wickerson. So it is no wonder that Maggie’s Christmas mood is completely ruined when her boyfriend, Durham Weekly newspaper reporter Ryan Summerour, presents Maggie with evidence that Donald is not what he seems. Instead of being the caring and trustworthy man that he presents himself to be, Donald is a male black widow. Donald has had six wives in the past and all of them suffered suspicious deaths. He has been investigated for every death, but has escaped charges. However, the evidence against him is condemning.

Faced with breaking her Aunt Clara’s heart, Maggie just doesn’t know what to do. When Maggie finally gets up the courage to tell Aunt Clara, she won’t hear any of it. Her wonderful Donald could never do such a thing. Wouldn’t Maggie be upset if Aunt Clara suggested Ryan was capable of hurting someone? The news spreads when Ryan puts a picture in the paper with his article on Donald’s philandering ways. It looks like someone must have believed it because that same day Donald stumbles into Maggie and Clara’s shop, Pie in the Sky, bleeding from a bullet wound.

Now, as the girlfriend of the victim, Aunt Clara is under suspicion for Donald’s death. Maggie isn’t going to let her aunt end up in jail over a murderous scoundrel, so she and Ryan start digging for more information on Donald and for possible suspects. They soon find out that there are a lot of people who could have wanted Donald dead seeing as he was dating more than Aunt Clara at the time of his death, not to mention the family of Donald’s supposed victims. Just when it looks like Ryan and Maggie are onto something, another crime is carried out. Will Maggie be able to find the murderer before anyone else gets hurt? Also, Donald wasn’t the only person in town with something to hide. Will the secrets uncovered shed light on the crimes committed or will they only add to the confusion?

Treacherous Tart is the second book in the Pie in the Sky mysteries.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Grant, Ellie, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Wake

Felicia Mason. Hidden Riches. New York: Kensington, 2014.

hiddenrichesAna Mae Futrell spent her life taking care of others. Now it’s her siblings and loved ones turn to return the favor by carrying out Ana Mae’s last wishes outlined in her will. This involves a reluctant return, and longer stay than expected, in Drapersville, North Carolina – a fictional town near Ahoskie, North Carolina.

There is a lot that Ana Mae’s siblings don’t know about her, such as she’d won big on a lottery ticket and she had a son, but they’re going to learn about Ana Mae now. Ana Mae’s estate consists of 3.8 million dollars and she has left clues that must be solved in order to claim the money. The clues are sewed onto a quilt and the first to uncover all the clues and discover the meaning of the quilt will inherit the millions. If the siblings cannot determine the meaning of the quilt or are unwilling to play by Ana Mae’s rules, then the money goes to Diamond Jim and Bay Sue – Ana Mae’s Cats – and “Too Sweet,” better known as Reverend Toussaint, with whom Ana Mae shared a special past. Ana Mae was a virtuous woman – one who believed in God and family. This quest will bring her family closer than they have been in years.

Let’s meet the siblings.

The oldest of the siblings is Marguerite, better known in her hometown as “Delcine”. Delcine and her husband, Winslow, both work for the government, and are pretty well off, or so it would seem. In reality, Delcine and Winslow are no longer taking exotic trips and can barely afford to rent a hotel for their stay in North Carolina. Actually, they can’t even afford to do that as they are bankrupt, and Winslow is facing an indictment. Delcine is determined to get this money for her family.

Next up is Josephine, who goes by JoJo. JoJo is trying to escape the fast life of Las Vegas along with her good-for-nothing husband Lester. JoJo made it big for a while as a showgirl, but now that she’s older and gained a few pounds, she’s just ready to settle down. That can’t happen with Lester around, and now that he’s caught the scent of millions she might never be rid of him. Moving back home to North Carolina is looking like a great idea. JoJo misses the simplicity and knows Lester won’t be able to stand being in such a slow paced environment. JoJo wants the money so that she can begin a new life and doesn’t mind sharing it with her siblings. Along the journey, JoJo just might learn some things about Ana Mae that help her to see herself in a new light.

Lastly is Clayton, the baby boy of the family and the most successful of them all. Clayton is a doctor married to a lawyer. The only catch is he’s married to a male lawyer, Archer. Anyone from a small Southern town knows that most of the people aren’t accepting of those who are different. A gay black boy was the epitome of different when Clay was growing up, and he couldn’t wait to escape North Carolina. Clay and Archer don’t need the money, but they soon discover that this quest is about more than money. It’s about getting to know the woman that was Ana Mae–and Clay may have more to learn than his siblings.

Hidden Riches is a tale of family, the changes that can occur, and the differences that can get in the way. This is a novel that many families can relate to.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Coastal Plain, Hertford, Mason, Felicia, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Marybeth Whalen. The Bridge Tender. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014.

thebridgetender“Don’t forget, you made a promise and I’m going to hold you to it.”

In July of 2001, Emily Shaw made her first trip to Sunset Beach, North Carolina with her husband Ryan. It was a magical honeymoon, so magical that the two made a promise to someday have a house there.

It is presently March 3, 2006, and Ryan and Emily have never made it back to Sunset Beach. This date has not been of past importance to Emily, but now, in 2006, it has become one of the worst days of her life–one that will forever be branded into her memory. Today is the day that she must say goodbye to her husband. Emily was so sure, up until the very end, that Ryan would win the battle against cancer. She has no idea how she is going to go on without him, and is nowhere near ready to let him go. So, when Paul Griffin, a lawyer, comes to Emily stating that he has information left for her by Ryan, she jumps at the chance to have this last connection with him.

Griffin reveals that Ryan had another insurance policy, one that he kept secret from Emily. He gives Emily a letter from Ryan which details that the policy must be used for one thing, to buy a home in Sunset Beach where a future awaits, “…bright as that sunshine we walked in, as warm as those days we spent on the beach together, as happy as you’ve made me[Ryan].” Emily’s best friend Marta eagerly pushes her to go, but it isn’t until a year later that Emily forces herself to return to Sunset Beach so that she can keep her promise.

During her search, Emily meets a kindred spirit, another woman tied to a promise made long ago. This marks the start of many new meetings and developing friendships that will show Emily she is needed, there is hope, and that she is loved and can learn to love again.

The Bridge Tender is fourth in the Sunset Beach series, a series filled with love lost, hope renewed, and chances taken. Check out The Bridge Tender’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog. If you’re new to the series, check out our blog post on the first title The Mailbox.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Brunswick, Coast, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship, Whalen, Marybeth

Jodie Bailey. Quilted by Christmas. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2014.

quiltedIt has been twelve years. Twelve years since that fateful night when Taryn McKenna pushed Justin Callahan, her high school sweetheart, to take the next step in their relationship. Taryn hasn’t seen him since. Reeling from the breakup and guarding a secret that must never come to light, Taryn went off to school, but soon found herself back home and is now a teacher in fictional Hollings, North Carolina.

Not too long before Christmas, Taryn finds her calm and quiet existence disrupted by Justin’s return from the army. But, he’s not back for a short visit; Justin has retired and come home to Hollings for good. Now, Justin’s words, “You’re needy. Manipulative. You used me,” are ringing in Taryn’s head once again. Moreover, not only does she have to face him in town, but Taryn’s Grandma Jemma has hired Justin to do some work around Jemma’s house. What is Taryn to do when her only haven has been invaded by a man she has done everything to forget?

When Grandma Jemma is rushed to the hospital, Taryn must admit that it isn’t feeling a lot like Christmas, though this new event does show Taryn exactly the kind of man that Justin has grown into. Before her stint in the hospital, Grandma Jemma was working on a hand-stitched quilt as a wedding present for Taryn’s cousin. It is a tradition for a hand-stitched quilt containing an Irish chain to be made for every new McKenna bride. With Jemma in the hospital, it is Taryn’s duty to finish the quilt. Nevertheless, fate must be working against the McKenna’s because there is no way that Taryn will finish this quilt on her own. When Justin offers to commit his quilting skills to the cause, will Taryn be able to set her feelings aside? Even more importantly, will Taryn recognize the opportunities for healing that God is placing in front of her?

Quilted by Christmas is the twenty-second title in the Quilts of Love series. This series is made up of a multitude of books written by various authors to share their stories of “love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings.” This is much like how a quilt is made up of many tiny stiches that are assembled together to tell a story.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Bailey, Jodie, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship

D. D. Ayres. Irresistible Force. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2014.

irresistOfficer James Cannon is on a mission to find his missing partner. Bogart, James’s partner, was kidnapped a month ago, and James has a lead on his location. Even knowing that going out on his own could land him in trouble, James can’t help but confront the kidnapper when he sees Bogart come running out of a cabin in Lake Gaston, North Carolina.

Shay Appleton is a wounded woman. Dealing with an abusive ex who just doesn’t know how to let go has taken its toll on Shay. However, her adoption of a stray dog, Prince, and escape to a cabin at Lake Gaston have brightened her life – the fact that Prince will make a great watch dog is just an added bonus. This bright spot is threatened when Officer James Cannon, of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, shows up claiming that Prince’s real name is Bogart and that he is a trained police K-9. Faced with this threat, that is more painful than the thought of her ever-present ex, Shay has no idea what to do.

Shay’s reaction to losing Bogart touches James for some reason he can’t explain. When he realizes that Shay’s tale of Bogart being abandoned at a shelter is true, James decides to bring Bogart back for one night so that Shay can have time to say goodbye. James and Bogart walk into a scene that convinces James that Shay needs more than a guard dog. Shay’s abusive ex has found her and has shown himself willing and able to follow through with his threats.

As James and Shay’s lives intertwine, it becomes clear that Shay has more to fear than just her ex. Also, James may have to confront his own personal fears when it begins to look like Shay has stolen more than just Bogart’s affection – she may just have stolen James’s heart as well. When sealed records from Shay’s past are unveiled, will Shay trust James with her story? Is James willing to risk his reputation within the police force to protect Shay?

Irresistible Force is the first novel in a series about lawmen, their loyal K-9 partners, and the women they both fall for.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Ayres, D. D., Mecklenburg, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Wake

Melissa Marr. Made for You. New York: Harper Teen, 2014.

madeforyouEva Cooper-Tilling is the town darling of fictional Jessup, North Carolina. As the granddaughter of a prominent minster and a girl born into a family with wealth and status, Eva is very popular and above reproach to most of her peers. So, it is big news when Eva is the victim of a hit-and-run, and it’s even bigger news when evidence points to the accident being a deliberate act.

While in the hospital, Eva refuses to see anyone but her closest friend Grace. But during her stay, Eva runs into her old friend Nate and the two are soon on their way to redeveloping their old friendship, but with new feelings. However, Nate and Eva’s renewed closeness only seems to make the would-be killer even more upset. The bodies of Eva’s peers start showing up with messages to Eva.

A stalker-killer and amorous feelings for Nate aren’t all Eva is dealing with after the hit-and-run. Whenever someone touches Eva she receives a vision of their death. In order to avoid these flashes, she must initiate contact with the person before they touch her. Eva confides in Grace, who is skeptical, and in Nate, who believes her. When Eva realizes that the killer will continue to go after her peers to get his message across, she quickly decides to use her new ability to her advantage. Will she be able to discover the killer before he gets his hands on her?

Throughout Made for You, readers are provided with insights into the mind of the killer, who thinks of himself as “Judge.”  This tale is a great suspenseful thriller that will capture the minds of teenagers and older readers. Do you think you can figure out who the killer is before all is revealed?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Children & Young Adults, Marr, Melissa, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

Michele Summers. Find My Way Home. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2014.

findmywayhomeJust three weeks before interior designer Bertie Anderson is supposed to move from Harmony, North Carolina to a new job in Atlanta, Georgia, Keith Morgan appears looking for a designer to fix up the big Victorian he just bought. Getting the chance to work on this house has always been a dream of Bertie’s. She didn’t even know someone had bought the property. Staying in Harmony to do this renovation looks even sweeter when Francesca Balogh, Bertie’s surrogate aunt, offers Bertie a $150,000 bonus for getting the work done in three months. Bertie could use that money to help Dwelling Place – a charity that builds homes for those who cannot afford to do so on their own. Even though Bertie must turn down the Atlanta offer in order to complete this new job, she still plans to move out of Harmony when the Victorian house is finished. Bertie never expected to find herself falling in love with the owner, Keith, and his ten-year old daughter Maddie.

Keith Morgan is a retired pro tennis player who has given up the fast-paced Miami life in order to provide his daughter, Maddie, with the best environment, which is how he ended up in the small town of Harmony. After the death of his wife in a car accident–she was driving drunk– Keith sought to lose himself in the fast life filled with partying and women. However, his mother’s sister, Francesca Balogh, threatened Keith with an ultimatum. Keith must straighten up for Maddie or Aunt Franny will fight for custody. Since Keith’s lifestyle choices have been plastered all over the media, Aunt Franny stands a good chance of winning a custody battle.

Aunt Franny may have given Keith a kick-start, but he also wants what is best for Maddie and knew a change was needed. However, Aunt Franny takes it too far when she demands that Keith find a wife and mother for Maddie in three months. The whole town has heard the news and every lady in the town is after Keith. In travels to Raleigh, Keith believes that he has met the perfect mother for Maddie; Gail is sweet and loves children. So why can’t Keith keep his mind off of one seductively gorgeous interior designer? Keith has had the seductive, fashion forward type before in his first wife and he’s not looking to add a “Betty Boop” look-alike into the mix.

Everyone in Harmony, including his own daughter, can see what a catch Bertie would be for Keith. Nevertheless, Keith denies it all, even when Bertie admits her love for him. Will Bertie be able to complete her dream renovation while feelings for her client burn unrequited? Does Keith have the sense to see the gift that is staring him in the face, or will he ruin his chance at the perfect family?

Find My Way Home is the first novel in the Harmony Homecoming series. A series that is shaping up to be a look into how home definitely can prove to be where the heart is, in more ways than one.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Iredell, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Michelle Major. A Brevia Beginning. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2014.

aBreviabeginning“Something had changed in her when she’d chosen her act of rebellion. From the start, she’d known he’d find out, and she’d understood there would be hell to pay. She also believed it couldn’t be worse than the hell she called a life.”

From the day she was adopted at six years old, Lexi Preston has done everything she can to be the perfect daughter to her adopted father, Robert Preston – this includes following in his footsteps to become a lawyer in his firm. All of that ended when Lexi went behind her father’s back and gave the opposing client information. The Prestons’ clients, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, were trying to dig up dirt on Julia Morgan, the mother of their grandchild, so that they could gain custody of their grandson Charlie. Taking note of how Julia kept fighting even with all the odds piled against her, Lexi decided to help her out, knowing that it would mean “hell to pay.” When Robert Preston found out, he publicly humiliated Lexi and kicked her out of his life. With nowhere else to turn, Lexi travels to Brevia, North Carolina in search of Julia, who is now Julia Callahan and married to the police chief of Brevia. Julia isn’t too keen on helping out the woman who made her life a living hell during the custody battle, but she wouldn’t have ended up being able to keep her son Charlie if it wasn’t for Lexie. So, she offers to get Lexie a job working at Riley’s Bar.

United States Marshal Scott Callahan is in need of some time away from it all after losing his partner during a botched arrest. Not ready to face the interrogation from the Marshals office or the constant questions from others, Scott finds himself at Riley’s Bar in the hometown of his father, Joe, and brother, Sam. Also not ready to face his family, Scott decides to drown his sorrows for a while. Scott ends up in an argument with the bar owner which results in Scott buying the bar, with the help of a legal contract drawn up by one of the waitresses, Lexi Preston. Lexi is the worst waitress the town has ever seen. After Scott recovers from his drunken night, he and Lexi make a deal – Scott gets to share her two bedroom apartment and Lexi won’t hear mention of her getting fired for the month she plans to stay.

Sparks flew between the two on the night they first met; the close quarters instituted by both working at the bar together and living together only adds fuel to the fire. However, this arrangement is only temporary. Scott knows his greatest talent is the ability to mess everything up. He can’t expect to ever be good enough for Lexi. On the other hand, Lexi has never been on her own. She doesn’t know if she can make a life without her father, but this may be just an adventure that will end when her father is ready to take her back. When Lexi stands up to her father, letting him know that she won’t be coming back, will Scott be able to give up the action of U.S. Marshals Service and settle into the small-town life?

A Brevia Beginning is the third novel set in the fictitious town of Brevia North Carolina. The series continues to show that small-towns can have big-city action.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Major, Michelle, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship