Dacula Patch Book Club: Horror, Romance and Regrets in This Week’s Selections
What have you been reading this week?
Thanks to all of you who shared your book recommendations in last week’s virtual book club meeting. I haven’t been back to the library yet, but I have my Dacula Patch Book Club recommended reading list ready to go.
During my last trip to the Hamilton Mill library, I checked out several new books hoping to have better luck than I did on the previous visit. Overall, I would say this week’s selections are an improvement, but given how bad the previous set was that isn’t saying much.
Anyway, here are my mini-reviews of what I read this week. Please let me know what you have been reading this past week -- good and bad -- by posting a comment below or sharing your thoughts in a blog.
“House of Reckoning” by John Saul - Verdict: Ambivalent. On the one hand, the book was interesting enough to keep my attention. On the other hand, it wasn’t anything groundbreaking and really felt like any number of books I have read previously. It isn’t particular spooky either, which was disappointing given the ghostly “horror” sticker GCPL cleverly places on the spines of the creepier books. The main character of the book is a young girl named Sarah who ends up in a foster home after her mother dies and her father drinks himself into a funk that ultimately lands him in prison after accidentally killing another man and nearly killing Sarah. Sarah’s foster family, needless to say, is no Brady Bunch and Sarah finds a kindred spirit in Nick, a boy that most of the town believes is insane. There are no real scares in the book and, in the end, I almost felt like I was watching an old Vincent Price movie -- old school horror I guess you would say. If you’re really bored, it’ll do. Otherwise, there are better, scarier books out there.
“Some Like It Scot” by Donna Kauffman – Verdict: Pleasantly diverting. I passed by this book several times on various trips to the library before I finally gave in and checked it out. The plot is, even for a romance novel, ridiculous. A handsome, charming, rich Scotsman has to find a bride from another clan by a certain date in order to fulfill the terms of a 400-year-old marriage pact through which he is currently allowed to be the “laird” of a Scottish island. My Alabama-born eyes kept wanting to read that as “lard,” which is of course very different from what a laird actually is. Anyway, our handsome Scotsman heads to the U.S. of A. to track down a descendant of the appropriate clan and convince her to marry him. Naturally, it all works out and ends happily ever after as romance novels are wont to do. What made this novel refreshing was how honest the two main characters were with each other. You get so used to all the beating around the bush that typically transpires in these type novels, that it is actually surprising when both parties admit their attraction almost immediately. It was a fun read despite the somewhat weird parts involving visions of their past life together (parts which I suspect were some kind of homage to “The Outlander,” but am not sure since I’ve yet to read that book). By the way, if you are familiar with the song “The Scotsman,” I promise you’ll be humming it as you read this book. I’m pretty sure this Scotsman would be a blue-ribbon prize winner -- at least he would be the way I have him painted in my mind.
“Odd Apocalypse” by Dean Koontz – Verdict: Regrettable. As in, I regret reading it. Remember how I mentioned that I was an Odd Thomas fan? Well, that is all in the past now. Koontz has ruined that character for me. On page one, a ghost rider on a giant, black, ghost stallion confronts Odd. Eight pages in, Odd is being chased by a weird flock of bat-like flying monsters. And then it gets weird. I should have put the book down and walked away, but I wanted it to be good. I wanted Koontz to redeem himself. I wanted to be entertained. What I got instead was a headache. The book, in a nutshell, is about a psychotic, murderous pervert who enlists the help of Nikola Tesla (Yes, THE Nikola Tesla) to create a time traveling machine that also reverses the effects of aging and does a bunch of other weird stuff I cannot explain. Alfred Hitchcock, as a ghost, also makes an appearance for no explicable reason. The end result -- Koontz has now been blacklisted. That’s right. I have an author blacklist and he is now on it.
Now it is your turn. What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments.
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