Category Archives: Onslow


Corrine Jackson. If I Lie. New York: Simon Pulse, 2012.

lieWhen you’re in high school, things can seem very black-or-white. Girl cheats on her boyfriend who is a Marine on duty in Afghanistan, she’s trash. When that boyfriend is MIA after a firefight, the whole town shuns her and calls her ugly names.  Since this girl is the child of a woman who ran off with another man, even her own father treats her with a cold disdain. Like mother, like daughter.

This is Sophie Topper Quinn’s life. Quinn–the name her father insists on–has learned to accept her father’s cold manner. In the years since her mother left, Quinn has wondered what role she might have played in her mother’s departure. She can’t say that her father’s behavior is unreasonable, but she is shocked to find herself so on her own after a photo surfaces on Facebook that shows her kissing someone other than Carey Breen. No one knows that Quinn turned to someone else after Carey told her her that he was gay and asked her help in covering that for him in their small military town.

To keep Quinn out of trouble, her dad arranges for her to volunteer at the Veterans Administration Hospital in nearby Fayetteville.  There she becomes friends with George Wilkins, a retired military photographer.  George recognizes Quinn’s talent and enlists her to work with him on the Veterans History Project. Quinn’s edgy defensiveness does not put off George and as their friendship grows, he helps her navigate additional curve balls–like her mother’s return–that come her way.

Although If I Lie focuses on how Quinn responds the turmoil in her life, readers also get a look into the lives of other characters, particularly George, Quinn’s mother, and Carey’s best friend, Blake.  All have behaved in ways that they regret, without mercy or grace to themselves or those closest to them. By placing this coming-of-age novel in a military town in the Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell Era, Corrine Jackson has produced a book that will engage both young adult and mature readers.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Children & Young Adults, Coastal Plain, Cumberland, Jackson, Corrine, Onslow

Lee Mims. Hiding Gladys. Woodbury, MN: Midnight Ink, 2013.

Cleo Cooper has just found the mother-load–literally. The largest deposit of granite ever discovered on the eastern seaboard is sitting quietly underneath a farmhouse on the Carolina coast, and Cleo is certain that it will both make her fortune and her reputation as a geologist. The property owner, an elderly woman named Gladys Walton, is thrilled as well, since she’ll be equally as wealthy. Unfortunately, Gladys’ two ne’er-do-well adult children, Robert Earle and Shirley, have their greedy little eyes set on wresting control from their still-capable mother. Tension builds when a body is found in the well on the property and a rival geologist gets wind of Cleo’s find. When Gladys has finally had enough, she goes into hiding, and sometimes not even Cleo can find her.

This might be for the best, as Cleo has enough to deal with– mystery attackers, rattlesnakes appearing mysteriously in her locked car, and two men vying for her attention. Luckily, Cleo can take care of herself, both in the back woods of Onslow County, and in fending off unwanted attention. But what if the real danger is from someone she doesn’t even suspect? This first novel in the Cleo Cooper mysteries is definitely rock solid entertainment.

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


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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Coast, Mims, Lee, Mystery, Novels in Series, Onslow, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller, Wake

Deborah Wallis. Child’s Play. New Bern, NC: McBryde Publishing, 2011.

The subject matter of this book is every parent’s worst nightmare: the kidnapping of children by a pedophile ring. When Abby Weaver sees the Amber Alert message for a missing boy on her television, she wants to take action. Abby joins the group of volunteers looking for Garrett Morrow, hoping to give back to the community some of the kindness that she experienced when her husband died six months ago.  When another young boy is kidnapped and Garrett’s body is found, Abby’s thoughts turn to something else.  In an earlier book, Sweet Dreams & Flying Machines, Abby’s son, Chris, was almost abused by a pedophile. That experience has haunted Abby, and when she sees how much the kidnapped boys looked like each other and their resemblance to Chris, Abby injects herself into the investigation.  As a journalist, she knows how to talk to people, and her articles in the Raleigh newspaper give her visibility. Following a lead given her by an elderly woman, Abby and her friend Fran find where the boys have been kept, but the danger is far from over as Abby and Chris become targets of two men who want revenge.

Although parts of this book are chilling, there are some lighter moments, and the reappearance of NCIS special agent Brad Marshall left this reader wondering if future books in the series will include a new romance for Abby.

This is the second book in the Abby Weaver Mystery series.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Craven, Novels in Series, Onslow, Wallis, Deborah

A. L. Provost. The Unwilling Spy. New York: Xlibris, 2011.

It is 1943, and the atomic arms race is on. In Los Alamos, New Mexico, physicists labor night and day to develop the first atomic bomb … and nearby German spies observe them. In this fictional account of espionage and murder, German, American, and British agents are embroiled in a battle of wits to uncover scientific secrets first, before the enemy has a chance to gain the advantage.

The tale begins in Santa Fe with Gunter Fleiss, cleverly disguised as all-American Bill Wilson. When he and his attractive co-conspirator, Marla Hawkins, discover the location of a bomb test-site near Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, they get word to the Fuhrer as quickly as possible. The Nazi network in America works overtime to set up an attractive, female German spy who will meet a German expert in Camp Lejeune to ferret out the secrets of the bomb. But these observers are not themselves unobserved. The FBI gets wind of their plan, and dispatches their own attractive, female German-American counter-agent to North Carolina.

The Fuhrer decides to send trusted SS Colonel Max Reiner on this dangerous North Carolinian mission, but there is one problem: Colonel Reiner doesn’t know the first thing about atomic physics, and the powers of the beautiful German spy lie in chemistry of another kind. The Fuhrer is forced to send along an expert in atomic physics. When physicist Hans Richter is chosen, he has no desire to go. His father was murdered by an SS officer, and Richter abhors the Nazi Party. Ever since that tragedy, Hans has been biding his time for revenge, and what better revenge than using this opportunity to sabotage the Fuhrer’s plans?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Historical, Lenoir, Onslow, Provost, A. L., Suspense/Thriller

Andrea Johnson. Blood of My Blood. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2009.

Samantha thought her life was on the upswing when she was adopted from an orphanage by Janet and Paul Rivers who brought her to live with them and their two children in Jacksonville, North Carolina.  Samantha began to blossom, making good grades and becoming a cheerleader.  But suddenly bad things began to happen in Jacksonville–poisonings, accidents, explosions, murders.  As this supernatural thriller opens, Samantha is on the run with Jason, a young drifter to whom Samantha has given her heart.  The two young people know that the violence in Jacksonville wasn’t random and that an evil force is coming for Samantha. Their journey takes them to Charlotte and then on to New York City where they learn they must go back to the small town of Melrose, North Carolina so that Samantha can find out who she really is.  Before the novel is over, readers will read the stories of Samantha’s mother and grandmother and learn Jason’s true nature.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coastal Plain, Horror, Johnson, Andrea, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Onslow

Waldron Baily. June Gold. New York: W. J. Watt & Co., 1922.

It’s rare to find a novel about the illegal liquor trade in North Carolina that isn’t set in the mountains. This is that rare novel. It’s a prohibition era romance set around Bogue Banks. When one of their friends is blinded by bad liquor, a group of New York financiers decided to use a hunting preserve on Bogue Banks as a way station for their rum running. Lora Humphrey falls for one of the New Yorkers and spurns the attentions of a local coast guards man. Her jilted suitor seeks revenge by mobilizing the religious folks in the area against the liquor trade. When Lora takes her New Yorker to a revival they are singled out for condemnation; a well-described brawl ensues. As the locals start taking sides, Lora occupies herself helping a minister’s daughter and searching for long-buried treasure. All the plot lines come together in the end; along the way, the reader gets a good sense of the local geography.

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

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Filed under 1920-1929, 1922, Baily, Waldron, Carteret, Coast, Novels to Read Online, Onslow, Romance/Relationship

Carolyn Rawls Booth. A Chosen Few. Chapel Hill, NC: Chapel Hill Press, 2008.

A Chosen Few is the third in Carolyn Booth’s trilogy of books that recount the struggles of rural, coastal North Carolinians during the 1920s and 1930s. While the plot revolves around the Ryan and McBride families and their relationships, much of the characters’ attention and activities are directed toward the the Penderlea Homestead Farms and other New Deal politics/projects of the Great Depression. The brainchild of Wilmington businessman Hugh MacRae, the Penderlea Homesteads were meant to be part of a cooperative, self-sufficient “farm city” in Pender County that would provide resettlement and relief for bankrupt farmers. The author was born in Bladen County and her family lived on a Penderlea Homestead until 1939; A Chosen Few is loosely based on her family and its experiences.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Bladen, Booth, Carolyn Rawls, Coast, Coastal Plain, Historical, Novels in Series, Onslow, Pender

Phyllis A. Whitney. Amethyst Dreams. New York: Crown Publishers, 1997.

When Hallie Knight receives an invitation to visit Topsail Island, she accepts, viewing it as a welcome opportunity to take a break from her California life and her unfaithful husband. The visit is not a simple one, however. The invitation was extended by Captain Trench, the wealthy and ill grandfather of Hallie’s old friend Susan. Susan disappeared from her home two years ago and the Captain wants Hallie to find out what happened to her. As Hallie becomes more involved with the family and its secrets, she discovers that some relatives stand to inherit a fortune if Susan stays missing and decides that people know more than they are telling about the disappearance.

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

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1997, Coast, Mystery, Onslow, Pender, Whitney, Phyllis A.

Nicholas Sparks. The Guardian. New York: Warner Books, 2004.

Julie Berenson is only twenty-five when her husband dies of a brain tumor and she struggles to decide how to go on with her life. As the novel progresses, Julie begins to date again, but one of the men she encounters becomes too possessive too quickly and when somebody begins stalking her, she fears that it’s him. The “guardian” is a Great Dane puppy, a posthumous gift from her late husband. The novel is set in the coastal town of Swansboro.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2004, Coast, Onslow, Sparks, Nicholas