Category Archives: Avery


Ryan Jakubsen. Portals III: Band of Rogues. Kernersville: Alabaster Publishing Company, 2011.

portals In Ryan Jakubsen’s conclusion to the Portals trilogy, the Pierce brothers, dropped  on Grandfather Mountain by a tornado and lost in other-world realms linked by portals, move through one final gateway. Their mission?  To find home.

Having fixed the portal that will transport them stateside, brothers Axel, Alex, and Exile are ready to say goodbye to their brother Jacob, the new warrior king of wolf-man hybrids, a faction of “manimals.” Joined by Lucy and Jackellel, the group ventures on, this time in a dimension where trees have eyes, ancient Pierce kin reign, manimal spiders joust, and the “shrockney” beatle conjures instant death. But control of the portals is unstable, and a War of the Rogues is blooming. When a written message from the Pierces to their hosts disappears by way of courier concussion, the company’s safety is jeopardized. The addition of mysterious newcomers Araknia and The Dark One keeps suspicion, lies, and allegiances ever-puzzling and occasionally deadly while the Pierces travel.

Told by cosmic, animal, and human voices, the brothers’ story imaginatively beams from a spaceless battlefield to North Carolina locations like the UNC School of Law and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Families and their journeys are taken to new worlds in fifth-grader Ryan Jakubsen’s last installment of this series for young adult readers. Follow the portal home? If only it were that simple.

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


Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Avery, Caldwell, Children & Young Adults, Jakubsen, Ryan, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Orange, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Watauga

Brian Lee Knopp. Naked Came the Leaf Peeper. Asheville, NC: Burning Bush Press of Asheville, 2011.

What happens when you mix twelve of western North Carolina’s most adept storytellers with one impossible plot? The answer is Naked Came the Leaf Peeper, a merry and mysterious game of literary tag among the likes of Vicki Lane, John P. McAfee, Tony Earley, and Alan Gratz. Brian Lee Knopp, the mastermind behind this zany novel, begins the plot: high on an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a man falls to his death…helped by a young assassin armed with a potato gun. Improbable? Absurd? The fun is only just beginning.

Garnell Lee Ray, assassin-for-hire, is out to avenge her mother and father, murdered for their land by greedy developers and their compatriots. She has knocked off three of the four with her simple, yet effective style: the use of gravity. A man overbalances on an overlook, helped along by a stray potato. Another is crushed by a conveniently placed tree. Gunning down the first was a mistake, but not one that the savvy Garnell will make again. Now the only one left is rapacious State Senator Andy Micheaux…and Garnell is coming for him. Unfortunately, someone gets to Garnell first, and she is highly annoyed to find herself passing out from a gunshot wound at her campsite in Linville Falls. She survives, but getting shot raises questions, even in the Appalachians. Relocated Yankee detective J.D. Kontz has a lot of questions for the attractive Miss Ray, but she escapes from the hospital before providing any real answers. Still, Detective Kontz begins to piece together Garnell’s tale, despite the clumsy ministrations of his dim-witted deputy, Marshall Harris. In fact, if he didn’t know better, Kontz would suspect the Fife-like deputy to be purposely misleading him.

Buckle up as this story weaves through the switchbacks at breakneck speed in a plot including (but not limited to): llamas, Baptists, golf, the Blue Ridge Parkway, moonshine, first love, runaway wives, pigs, tourists, heathen Yankees, beagles, ladies selling Mary Kay, gun-toting grannies, the SBI, ravens, backstabbing relations, secret agents of all different kinds, camping, and folk tunes. So grab some biscuits and red-eye, y’all, and gather round for the tallest tale ever told!

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Avery, Barrett, Linda Marie, Buncombe, Caldwell, Wayne, Chappell, Fred, Cheek, Gene, Clapsaddle, Annette Saunooke, Earley, Tony, Gratz, Alan, Hays, Tommy, Knopp, Brian Lee, Lane, Vicki, Madison, McAfee, John P., Mitchell, Mountains, Mystery, Reinhardt, Susan, Romance/Relationship, Suspense/Thriller

Peggy Poe Stern. Heaven-high and Hell-deep. Boone, NC: Moody Valley, 2003.

Mountain women are often noted for being strong-willed and independent. This is true of Elaine “Laine” Elder. The Appalachian teenager had already lived a difficult life before Rafford “Rafe” Johnson came into the picture. Treated like a modern-day Cinderella by her sister and hysterical mother, Laine efficiently runs the family farm while her father works at the local sawmill. When Rafe comes to the Elder homestead to ask for Laine’s hand in marriage, her downtrodden father accepts his offer to appease his wife. Although Laine barely knows Rafe, she is eager to be a good wife and to be in charge of his fine plantation house in Kentucky.

Laine’s contentment quickly evaporates as her new husband shows his true stripes as a menacing, abandoning, and cheating drunk. While Rafe is away on a trading excursion, Jonas Jones, the local doctor, pays a visit to Laine. Dr. Jones is a former acquaintance, and their friendship blossoms as Laine solicits from him information about her elusive spouse. She discovers that Rafe is lying to her; not only has he been married before but they are mere miles from Banner Elk, North Carolina – not in Kentucky. Laine realizes that she is pregnant, and she is determined to give her child a proper rearing and to improve her own situation. When Rafe, her sister, her now-widowed mother, and a panther threaten her safe haven, Laine demonstrates her grit in standing up to them and protecting her new life.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Avery, Historical, Mountains, Stern, Peggy Poe

Sharon Wildwind. First Murder in Advent. Detroit: Five Star, 2006.

Throughout the past few years, parallels have been made between the current war in Afghanistan and the war in Vietnam four decades earlier. The popularity of each war dwindled over time, and acclimation back into society was difficult for veterans. For Army nurse Captain Elizabeth Pepperhawk (also known as Pepper), ex-Special Forces first sergeant Benny Kirkpatrick, and former military policewoman Avivah Rosen, getting used to 1972 America after tours in Vietnam is especially difficult. They experience flashbacks, have trouble relating to civilians–and are pushed back into survival mode in the mountains of North Carolina.

After receiving a phone call from Benny, Pepper drives in a snowstorm to the Convent of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in mountainous Crossnore, North Carolina. Benny is concerned about Avivah’s well-being following a conflict in New York City with a robber; specifically, he worries that the press will hassle Avivah and uncover some secrets from Vietnam that she did not want to surface. Being surrounded by friends for a restful break is exactly what Benny thinks Avivah needs. However, their plans change when members of the Saratoga Patriotic Foundation arrive at the convent. This organization, which sees itself as an alternative to the U.S. Army, is forcing the convent to turn over its buildings and land using a suspicious deed nearly a century old. When Avivah’s new lover, Gary, is found dead, the three friends begin to wonder which characters in this strange cast they can trust: the nuns, the members of the foundation (including a history professor, a troubled Korean War veteran, and a World War II general), even each other. As they race to get to the bottom Gary’s murder and others and to uncover the secret of the convent, Pepper, Benny, and Avivah must soldier on in the remote retreat – without electricity or an exit plan.

First Murder in Advent is Sharon Wildwind’s second novel in the Elizabeth Pepperhawk/Avivah Rosen Vietnam Veteran Mystery Series.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Avery, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Suspense/Thriller, Wildwind, Sharon

Karen Salyer McElmurray. The Motel of the Stars. Louisville, KY: Sarabande, 2008.

It has been 10 years since Jason Sanderson’s son Sam was lost at sea. Over the years Jason has moved from North Carolina to Kentucky and remarried, but he never really dealt with his grief and his wife’s New Age attempts to help him do so backfire. Sam’s lover Lory has also spent the last decade with her grief, hiding from the world in her father’s rural hotel. After Jason meets Lory, their stories and memories of Sam are told in a series of flashbacks. Both Jason and Lory head toward Grandfather Mountain and the celebration of the Harmonic Convergence Anniversary Gathering, hoping to find some kind of peace. The Motel of the Stars won the 2003 AWP Award for Creative Nonfiction and was a National Book Critics Circle Notable Book.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Avery, McElmurray, Karen Salyer, Mountains

Shepherd M. Dugger. The Balsam Groves of the Grandfather Mountain: A Tale of the Western North Carolina Mountains. Banner Elk: Shepherd M. Dugger, 1892.

A travel novel that follows an assortment of vacationers climbing Grandfather Mountain. The climbers enjoy the scenery, adventure, and romance. A wedding performed against the backdrop of Linville Falls is one of the high points of the novel, but modern readers may be most interested in the illustrations and tourist information scattered throughout the volume.

Check this title’s availability and access an online copy through the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1890-1899, 1892, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Dugger, Shepherd M., Mountains, Novels to Read Online, Watauga

Robert Morgan. Gap Creek. Chapel Hill: Algonquin, 2000.

Gap Creek follows a newlywed couple in Appalachian North and South Carolina in the early 1900s. Julie Harmon Richards, an independent hard-working woman, narrates the story of the difficulties she and her husband face just trying to get by. Battling fierce weather, personal tragedies, and thieves, this novel details the difficulties of mountain life. Morgan gives careful attention to the details of farm work, with a particularly memorable description of the butchering of a hog. Gap Creek was a selection of the Oprah Book Club in January 2000.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2000, 2000-2009, Avery, Historical, Morgan, Robert, Mountains