Beth Solka

I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert

I Never Promised You a Goodie Bag cover

I picked up I Never Promised you a Goodie Bag, by Jennifer Gilbert, thinking that it would be full of hilarious mishaps that occurred at weddings and events that the Save the Date’s CEO had experienced. However, I soon found that it was something more. It is the memoir of a young woman who started out life being fiercely independent, the daughter of wealthy parents who had an import business and were frequently overseas. Jennifer traveled all over without a care in the world until at 22 years old she was attacked in the hallway of her best friends’ apartment. Her friends were too frightened or too selfish to come out, even though Jennifer was screaming for help. The girls in the apartment did call some boyfriends and they came over with baseball bats and drove the attacker away.  

Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurdard

Hinds' Feet on High Places cover

One of my customers recently called to tell me that she really enjoyed Hinds’ Feet on High Places.  This is an inspirational novel that has been described as Christian fiction at its best.  It got its name because the girl in the novel wants to be like the deer in her mountains that have special feet that allow them to leap and play high up.  She, too, wants to be free of fear and strives to be a courageous person who can overcome her limitations with the help of her God.  She wants to rework herself into a better and more spiritual person.

Nocturnal by Scott Sigler

Nocturnal cover

My son and I were discussing books the other day, and he asked me, “Would you recommend a book in a blog that you didn’t completely love?”  I thought for a minute and said, “No”.  He asked why not, and I replied, “What if someone noticed the blog who didn’t love books?  What if they just wanted to try reading a book for the first time in a long while?  I couldn’t recommend a book that I thought maybe they would like or maybe not.  I have to feel strongly about the book. I want people to love books as much as I do.”

Nocturnal, by Scott Sigler, is a detective novel that involves the supernatural.  So if you love both genres as I do, this is a glorious combination.  The characters are so well-developed that several reviewers described this novel as Sigler’s attempt to write like Stephen King.  I don't know if that is true, but I just think that Sigler has always been known as a fast-paced horror writer. In Nocturnal he adds more character and depth to the plot. 

The President’s House, 1800 to the Present: A First Daughter Shares the History and Secrets of the World's Most Famous Home, by Margaret Truman

The President's House cover

A customer recently called me to tell me that he loved The President’s House, by Margaret Truman, so when I gave a talk in Northern Virginia a few days later, I passed on the recommendation to the group. The next customer who read it just called to tell me that he is really enjoying this book, too. Several of the book reviews said that it is a fun and interesting look at the White House written by a woman who has a deep love for this national icon because she was lucky enough to grow up there. 

Crashers by Dana Haynes

Crashers cover

A patron called me this week to say that he loved Crashers, by Dana Haynes, so much that he didn’t even want to stop the audio book to go to sleep at night!  That is an excellent endorsement!  He wanted more books by this author, and we found out that this was the debut novel of Dana Haynes.

It is about an airliner that crashes outside of Portland, Oregon, and a team of experts assembled to investigate the cause of the crash. Some of the members of the team are: Kiki Duvall, a “sonar witch”--a recorder specialist who can hear things that other people cannot; John Roby, a former cop and bomb expert; Walter Mulroney who can build any plane given the right number of bolts; engineer Peter Kim, pilot  and former F.B.I. agent Isaiah Grey; pathologist Tommy Tomzak; and the leader,  Susan Tanaka who is an intergovernmental liason.  They soon discover that this plane crash was no accident--it was a trial run. 

Suck Your Stomach In & Put Some Color On! What Southern Mamas Tell Their Daughters That the Rest of Y'all Should Know, too! by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

Suck Your Stomach In & Put Some Color On!

I loved my Southern Mama and my Southern Grandma, so when I found Suck in Your Stomach In and Put Some Color On! I knew that I would love it, too.  It is chock full of wisdom from mothers across the South--plus a running commentary by the author which is hysterical!

There are such wonderful pearls of wisdom as:

"My mom’s advice on raising children:  ‘If it washes off or grows out, it doesn’t hurt anyone.  Don’t worry about it!’”

“Mama said, ‘Just because it fits doesn’t mean you oughta wear it.’”

“My mama told me ladies never answered the door barefoot!”

“My grandmother advised me to marry a man my age or a little younger, ‘because they don’t improve with age.’  I now know what she meant.’”

Music By Ear

picture of a piano and guitar

Many of you may not know that the National Library Service has been keeping the full libraries of Guitar by Ear and Piano by Ear lessons available for its clients to check out. The most recent order of 117 titles will mean they have well over 900 “by ear” titles ready for loan to their patrons.

The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry

The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry

Every once in a while a patron will call me to tell me how much they enjoyed a book.  Now I have a blog to share these sentiments with you.  The Jefferson Key (DB 73400) by Steve Berry is a book that received a glowing endorsement from a patron. 

Steve Berry has written a series of books using the character of Cotton Malone, a former Justice Department operative, who gets caught up in historical mysteries. In the newest book of the series, four presidents have been assassinated.  Were the assassinations unrelated or were the presidents all murdered for the same reason?  After saving the current president from an assassination plot, Cotton Malone realizes that he has angered a secret society.  The hunt for  that society leads him on a fast-paced chase that is highly thrilling.

Berry always does incredible research for his novels and even lets the reader know what is fiction and nonfiction at the end of the book. If you are looking for a good conspiracy theory, this might be it!

The Catch: a Joe Gunther Novel by Archer Mayor

The Catch: a Joe Gunther Novel cover

The Catch: a Joe Gunther Novel (DB 73170) was highly recommended by a patron who loves mysteries.  He said that he really didn't want to stop listening to it until it was done.  Just as a sighted reader cannot put the book down, he couldn't turn his audio book off.  The Joe Gunther series is built around Joe Gunther, the head of the Vermont Bureau of Investigation.  When one of the Vermont state troopers is shot and killed during a routine traffic stop near the Canadian border, the investigative team lead by Joe Gunther is taken to Maine where a drug kingpin has also been murdered. These two murders are interconnected.

One Thousand White Women: the Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus

One Thousand White Women: the Journals of May Dodd

One of my patrons called me to discuss One Thousand White Women: the Journal of May Dodd by Jim Fergus. (RC 47157) This is a fictionalized account of a true incident in which an Indian delegation traveled to Washington, D.C. to negotiate a treaty.

One of the Indians was a Cheyenne leader named Little Wolf. As part of the negotiations, Little Wolf requested that his tribe be supplied with 1,000 white women, in an effort to assist in the assimilation of the Cheyenne peoples with the white man. Predictably, the request was met with derision and horror.