Monthly Archives: October 2010

Jacquelin Thomas. Samson. New York: Gallery Books, 2010.

Samson Taylor was raised to be a man of God.  His great grandfather founded Hillside Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the men of his family, down to Samson’s own father, have been pastors of the church.  Now Uncle Zachariah is the senior pastor, and he has called Samson to be his assistant.  Samson, a graduate of Duke and its divinity school, intends to walk humbly with the lord and make his family proud.

But Samson is not just a man of God, he is a man of the flesh too.  Like his father before him, Samson has a weakness for beautiful women.  His weakness leads him into situations that hurt him, his ministry, and those who love him: marriage to a woman not of his faith, an act of revenge against his wife that hurts many people, a dangerous relationship with a married woman that leaves him broken and humbled.  Uncle Zacharia and Aunt Hazel try to guide him, and a true friend is there for Samson when he hits bottom, but Samson has to decide for himself what kind of man he will be.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Thomas, Jacquelin, Wake

Cynn Chadwick. Cat Rising. New York: Harington Park Press, 2003.

Now that Cat Hood is finally a published writer, her life should be coming together. At least that is what she has always thought would be the case. Instead, she is even more unsure of who she is and her future. Being “famous” in (fictional) Galway, North Carolina, is tiresome, and she has never felt such a void in her romantic life. Her friends and family all have plans for her. Travel the world. Stay at home in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Find someone to share her life with. Stay independent. Although everyone has an opinion, no one knows Cat like she knows herself – or the lifelong dream she has to write a book about her grandmother in her homeland of Scotland. Just as Cat finds the perfect partner and becomes more comfortable promoting her book, she learns of an opportunity to spend a year in the United Kingdom. Although leaving means walking outside of her comfort zone and missing those dearest to her, Cat realizes that taking this chance is exactly what she needs.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Chadwick, Cynn, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship

Shirley Damsgaard. Ophelia and Abby Mysteries.

  • Witch Way to Murder. New York: Avon, 2005.
  • Charmed to Death. New York: Avon, 2006.
  • The Trouble with Witches. New York: Avon, 2006.
  • Witch Hunt. New York: Avon, 2007.
  • The Witch Is Dead. New York: Avon, 2007.
  • The Witch’s Grave. New York: Avon, 2009.
  • The Seventh Witch. New York: Avon, 2010.

Small-town librarian Ophelia Jensen and her grandmother, Abby, have special gifts: they are both witches with psychic powers. Although Ophelia would rather forget about her abilities, they come in handy when people are in danger. Over the past few years, the duo has helped to save their neighbors in usually sleepy Summerset, Iowa, and a missing teenager in an isolated part of Minnesota, all while trying to understand their supernatural powers. Although Ophelia struggles with her mysticism, her grandmother assists her with each case to show her how important their magick is.

Of interest to readers of this blog is the seventh novel in the “Ophelia and Abby Mystery” series, titled The Seventh Witch.  Ophelia, Abby, and other family members have traveled to their homestead in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina for Great-Aunt Mary’s 100th birthday party. Unfortunately, the celebration is overshadowed by some decades-old land battles with other local witches as well as a rogue family member. As Ophelia begins to uncover family secrets and good witch/bad witch battles, she realizes that she must save someone dear to her from danger who is at the center of the contention – Abby!

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Damsgaard, Shirley, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Series

Douglas Quinn. Pelican Point. New York: iUniverse, 2010.

Webb Sawyer, former career Army man, has been living at Blue Heron Marsh on the Outer Banks for a bit over a year.  In that time he’s gotten some perspective on the incident that ended his career, made friends with some interesting locals, and solved a string of murders dating back decades.  In this latest novel, Webb is joined by his son, Preston.  Preston has left a comfortable life in California with his mother and her new husband to make his own life, not the life someone else wants him to live.

Webb has helped Preston enroll at Elizabeth City State University, and Preston comes back to Blue Heron Marsh most weekends. Slowly, Webb and Preston are developing a father-son relationship.  That relationship is both accelerated and threatened by the events in this novel.  While working on a paper late one night, Preston discovers are the body of a professor who has been murdered in his office.  Preston knew the man only by reputation (not good), but he is nonetheless a prime suspect in the case.  As Preston and Webb look into the murder, they discover a ring of sexual predators, and both men are in danger.  It’s clear that the apple has not fallen far from the tree, and readers should expect to see Preston in later Webb Sawyer mysteries.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Coast, Dare, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Quinn, Douglas, Suspense/Thriller

Leanna Sain. Return to Nowhere. Kingsport, TN: Twilight Times Books, 2009.

Twenty-two years have passed since Emma Franklin walked through an iron gate to enter 1827 and to leave 2004 and her “modern-day” life behind forever. In that time, has married Gavin MacKinley, had six children, and never regretted crossing into a new century.

Now her tomboyish eighteen-year old daughter, Charlotte, has become transfixed by the magical gate. Charlotte is at a crossroads in her life. She’s known as “Doc Charlie” to everyone in MacKinley, North Carolina, and becoming a physician has always been her dream. Unfortunately, the Boston medical school where she hoped to go rejects her. Charlie’s parents tell her that she is to marry James MacGregor, the Scottish nephew of Gavin’s best friend, who they have never met. And the MacKinleys’ land is threatened by their aggressive neighbors, the Freemans. Sadly, the Freemans’ extreme measures result in the deaths of two of Charlie’s closest confidants.

Charlie feels the need to escape the pressure and heartache of the last few days. She decides to pass through the gate during the full moon intending to learn medicinal practices of early Cherokees. After spending a few days in 1819 learning about Indian herbal remedies (and warning her new friends of the Trail of Tears), Charlie returns home just as typhoid fever breaks out in MacKinley. She must put her new skills to the test, which means tending to the hated Freemans. When the fear and illness pass, Charlie has a chance to meet MacKinley’s new pastor – Jamie MacGregor! They quickly become devoted to each other, and Charlie is able to enjoy her two loves: medicine and Jamie.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Henderson, Historical, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Sain, Leanna, Science Fiction/Fantasy

Chris Cavender. Pepperoni Pizza Can Be Murder. New York: Kensington Books, 2010.

When someone is murdered, family members are often the first people who the police investigate. The police in (fictitious) Timber Ridge, North Carolina are ready to pin Wade Hatcher’s death on his brother, Greg.  Greg and Wade had been fighting over their grandparents’ estate, and to add insult to injury, Wade recently put the moves on Greg’s longtime girlfriend. Eleanor Swift, the owner of A Slice of Delight pizzeria, has herself been the victim of a crime–she was robbed while making the night deposit. That’s no great concern to Eleanor. She’s more worried about Greg, her deliveryman. She knows that he is no killer, and she’s going to prove his innocence. With the help of her sister, the flighty and much-married Maddy, Eleanor digs into Wade’s personal and business relationships. Their activities put the sisters in danger, antagonize the police chief (one of Eleanor’s former boyfriends), and show the sisters that sometime friendships are stronger than families.

This is the second novel in the Pizza Lovers Mystery series.  It includes recipes for thin-crust pizza and a basic pizza sauce.

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


Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Cavender, Chris, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Tom Bibey. The Mandolin Case. Chattanooga, TN: Ford, Falcon, & McNeil, 2010.

Hospitals, like small towns, are political places. Although crooked individuals can seem congenial, they have malice hiding up their sleeves. They try to get away with their evil deeds, and they often do until someone discovers their game.

The CEO of the hospital in rural Harvey County, North Carolina, is a shady character with something to hide. James Olden has always hated Dr. Henry “Indie” Jenkins, who is a physician at his hospital. When Indie’s patient and best friend, Blinky Wilson, dies under suspicious circumstances, Olden tries to find a way to benefit from the tragedy. He would like to see Indie out of his hospital – and even out of business. Olden recruits Blinky’s widow to join a suit against Indie; together they seek a large settlement.

Indie, heartbroken over the loss of his friend but sure that he made no errors to cause Blinky’s death, builds an incredible legal team with the help of his friend, Dr. James “Bones” Robertson. As the lawyers from both sides begin to understand ulterior motives of the plaintiffs, the case moves in Indie’s favor. Not only does Indie look innocent, but Olden does not. Picking up nuances in unlikely sources, Bones finds a way to ensure that his friend’s reputation is saved – and justice is served.

Indie and several other characters love bluegrass music; it gives them moments of comfort and pleasure.  As Indie suggested during the prolonged trial, sometimes in life music is the only thing that makes sense.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Bibey, Tom, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Monique Truong. Bitter in the Mouth. New York: Random House, 2010.

All of her adult life, Linda Hammerick has been asked “what it was like to grow up being Asian in the South.” Linda, adopted at the age of six by a white couple in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, has always given the following response: “You mean what was it like to grow up looking Asian in the South.”

The dissolution of her engagement, a job demotion, and a bout with cancer were all events that Linda could deal with on her own, safely in her New York City brownstone. However, it is the sudden death of her beloved great-uncle, Harper, that brings Linda back to Boiling Springs as a thirty-year old, twelve years after leaving for college at Yale. On this visit, without the gentle, insightful perspective of Harper, Linda has to come to terms with her childhood–her strained relationship with her mother, DeAnne, her understanding of her synesthesia (a neurological condition that makes Linda associate tastes with words, like Lindamint and Jesusfriedchicken), and the circumstances of her adoption. Revisiting her memories of the different people and stages in her life, Linda finds that although there are no easy answers to the questions of her youth, exploring them helps her grow.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Cleveland, Piedmont, Truong, Monique

Marybeth Whalen. The Mailbox. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2010.

Nineteen years have passed since Lindsey’s first summer in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, when she was introduced to the mysterious mailbox on a deserted stretch of beach. Her beau at the time, Campbell, described the folklore behind it and encouraged her to write a letter to the Kindred Spirit who guards the mailbox. Over the years, Lindsey has dutifully left an account of the year in the mailbox, often describing her life in Charlotte, crumbling marriage, and sadness over losing Campbell.

Now she is back in Sunset Beach with her children, just days after finalizing her divorce. Although Lindsey has hoped over the past year that her husband would come back to her, she is trying to accept her new beginning. She runs into Campbell, and her emotions from nearly two decades ago return. Even though Lindsey felt betrayed  by the way things ended in 1986, she still feels a connection to him. However, Lindsey discovers that Campbell violated her trust by reading her letters in the mailbox over the years. When she decides that she cannot lose him again, Lindsey realizes she and Campbell have always been each other’s Kindred Spirit.

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

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

Kim Reynolds. Alex Charles: The Evening Oak. Plymouth, MI: HMSI Publishing, 2010.

Alexandra “Alex” Charles is at a crossroads in her life. Over the past eighteen months, she has wished many times for her parents’ guidance. After both perished in a tragic car accident when she was just sixteen, Alex was left with no family. Having just graduated from high school, she wonders if college is the right next step. Alex is trying to enjoy a carefree summer when a man contacts her claiming to be her long lost uncle. Although Alex is apprehensive about meeting the stranger, she is enticed by the idea that she might not be completely alone. She decides to meet Joseph Graham.

Alex immediately likes her Uncle Joe, but she must learn to trust him. Joe has some (almost) unbelievable information about her heritage: her family has the ability to travel through time. They see themselves as special angels who can go back in history seven times throughout their lives to right wrongs. Although her parents chose to live a normal life, Joe wants Alex to know her options.

As she gets to know her sole family member through his own stories of time travel, Alex realizes that this is the direction for which she has been yearning. She lets Joe introduce her to the family business, which includes teaching her how to research an event in history that she would like to change (nothing too big or too personal, so she cannot save her parents), and allowing Alex to view his own first experience in 1865 Bentonville, North Carolina. With this knowledge, Alex must choose which life to live.

Alex Charles: The Evening Oak is the first book in the “Alex Charles Book Series.”

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Johnston, New Hanover, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Reynolds, Kim, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Wake