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Want to Join the Dacula Patch Book Club?

Do you enjoy reading? Share your picks with other book lovers -- especially me!

Let me just say this upfront -- this book club is entirely self-serving. I have had a terrible run of luck at the library of late. Let me explain.

I am often pressed for time when I go to the library, so I simply walk up and down the aisles grabbing books with interesting titles or covers. If the inside flap looks promising, I’ll check it out. Lately, this judge-a-book-by-its-cover technique has not been working so well (turns out the old adage is correct). In fact, some of the books have been so bad that I would be doing other patrons a favor if I just chucked the book in the trash rather than returning it to the library (note to any Gwinnett Library employees -- I have not chucked any of your books in the trash).

My last set of book selections certainly wasn’t my worst -- it was my second worst. First of all, I made the mistake of choosing two Dean Koontz books. I should know by now that only a handful of his books are truly worth reading. The rest are mildly entertaining diversions at best, complete drivel at worst. (I do like the “Odd Thomas” books though and “Lightning.”)

As for my other choices:

“Black Cathedral” by L.H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims – Verdict: Awful. I thought this would be a nice spooky story. Instead, what I ended up with is one of the most ridiculous books I have ever read. I kept hoping it would get better. I should have quit reading after the first chapter.

“Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel” by Samantha Grace – Verdict: Barely tolerable. I do like to read a romance novel occasionally. Their absolutely reliable predictability keeps me from having to think too much. I do however have a greater appreciation for those authors who can at least make me somewhat believe the story (as much as anyone can believe ridiculously handsome, wealthy and charming men are in ample supply). A solid attempt at historical accuracy is also a bonus.

“Unafraid” by Michael Griffo – Verdict: Total fail. Six pages. That is all I could stand.

“Monument 14” by Emmy Laybourne – Verdict: Pointless. Literally. This book had potential, but then just absolutely failed to meet it. Was there a plot? I’m not even sure. The ending? Well, let’s just say it ended and be thankful that I didn’t waste any more time reading it than what I did.

“Sword and Blood” by Sarah Marques – Verdict: Absurd. What is it about “The Three Musketeers” that compels screenwriters and authors to cook up the most preposterous tales? Is it so hard to just let the Musketeers be Musketeers? Aren’t their antics heroic enough without turning them into vampire hunters? Yes, you read that right. Vampires. I am beginning to think the publishing world should enact an immediate and indefinite moratorium on any books having anything to do with vampires. The whole genre has jumped the shark.

So, now that you see what I have been reading, you understand why I am ready to seek out some recommendations.

If you’d like to join the Dacula Patch book club, it is simple. Just add a comment and let me know what you have been reading lately -- good and bad. If you have more to say about a book than what our comment length will allow, post your review as a blog instead. I want to avoid any more awful choices, so your advice and recommendations are appreciated! 

Keychains for a Cause August 15, 2012 at 09:17 PM
There are so many! THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHTIME by Mark Haddon is amazing. If you're looking for Non-Fiction, STOLEN INNOCENCE by Elissa Wall and STIFF: THE CURIOUS LIFE OF HUMAN CADAVERS by Mary Roach are wonderful as well. STOLEN FURY is an excellent suspense novel, but the BEST book I've read in a long time is THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothsfuss. It's sequel is beyond captivating as well. They were fantastic and life interfered with my reading of them. There isn't a book/series I recommend more. That being said, I have a reading problem. Yes, I keep a spreadsheet of the books I read. It's sad.
Kim S August 15, 2012 at 09:31 PM
Still Missing by Chevy Stevens - it will stay with you. I can't reccomend it enough I'd Know you anywhere by Laura Lippman - Not as good as Still Missing, but I read it while waiting for the Kindle price of Still Missing to go down. It was a good read Atlas of Love by Laurie Frankle - Great book, another that I reccomend over and over It you like the genre called Urban Fantasy I like the Rachel Morgan series by Kim Harrison
carol Atkinson August 15, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Anything at all by Gilbert Morris is an enjoyable and enlightening read. Most recently I consumed The Crossing (book one) and The Sword (book two) in his Cavaliers servies. It is civil war era romance and adventure that revolves around the lives of such historical figures as General Stonewall Jackson, and General J.E.B. Stuart to name just a few. Both books are page turners that held my interest from start to finish and left me longing for more.......... My recommendation is to go online and search for the authors and/or titles that appeal to you most and request them. That way when you have the opportunity to stop by the library, they are all waiting for you in the p/u section and you aren't limited to what is on the shelf at the moment. You get a much more tailored-to-your likes selection that way!
carol Atkinson August 15, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Dog lovers should not miss reading A Dog's Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron. Seriously, Written from the dog's perspective, it makes all the dogs I've loved come alive again, with Purpose!
Debbie Stanton Lyman August 15, 2012 at 10:11 PM
I am so excited - just made a list of all the above book recommendations. The only one I've already read was "The Art of Racing in the Rain". I do what you do, Kristi - grab books that I see as I walk around the tables at the library, and it really is hit or miss. I read a series several years ago that I really enjoyed: The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. There are currently 7 books in the series, and I just discovered that the 8th book will be published in April.
Kristi Reed (Editor) August 15, 2012 at 10:28 PM
The "interfered with my life reading them" is exactly the type of book I want! I like to find books that are totally engrossing.
Kristi Reed (Editor) August 15, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Please tell me more about Urban Fantasy. I don't know what that is, but it sounds intriguing.
Kristi Reed (Editor) August 15, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Thanks for the recommendation Carol - I have never read anything by Gilbert Morris but I enjoy historical fiction so I will definitely give him a try.
Kristi Reed (Editor) August 15, 2012 at 10:31 PM
I saw a list once that ranked The Outlander as the best romance novel of all time. I am going to have to track that one down. It must be awesome!
Keychains for a Cause August 15, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Urban Fantasy is a sub genera that focuses on the action being in mostly urban areas. It can include specified areas of fantasy (creature/mythical/elemental) and is detailed in back story and world building. It's relatively up and coming and hasn't had the publicity it deserves. If you like, check out the JUST BREATHE series (first book: INHALE, second book EXHALE, third book is in the works) by Kendall Grey. They're available for Kindle and Nook and have fabulous reviews.
Keychains for a Cause August 15, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Oh, did I mention the author of INHALE and EXHALE lives in the Atlanta area and donated an afternoon last year to speak with students at Dacula HS about novel writing. She even took home samples of their writings and offered detailed feedback.
Kristi Reed (Editor) August 15, 2012 at 10:55 PM
That is cool! Now I am really interested to read those books. I am going to have to do like Debbie and make a list of all of these.
Ed Varn August 16, 2012 at 01:33 AM
I freely admit that I read for escapism--ergo, I love myteries and police/medical thrillers, especially if they educate me. Examples: 1. Tony HIllerman has a series of detective mysteries set on the Navajo reservations of New Mexico and have learned more about Navajo culture, customs and religion than I'll ever need to know. They feature two protagonists, Joe Leaphorn and JIm Chee, and though I always think series books should be read in their proper sequences, these don't really require it. 2. Plum Island by Nelson DeMille. Murder mystery revolving around a real place in Long Islands waterway where research used to be done on germ warfare. 3. I am an unabashed Stephen King freak (note to Kristi: Koontz is a poor man's King, so you got what you deserved :-) ) and have been wading my way through his magnum opus, The Dark Tower. Have just finished Wolves of the Calla and am resting before I start on Song of Susannah. 4. If you like a little humor with your fiction, try Lawrence Sanders' series of PI novels featuring Archy McNally--good mysteries and entertaining to boot. None of this qualifies as literature, I admit, but it's what I enjoy.
Kristi Reed (Editor) August 16, 2012 at 09:40 AM
Ed - I can't argue with you. King is a far superior writer. The Dead Zone is one of my favorite books, but he has several I like. I'll have to give those other authors a try. I've tried a lot of mysteries and police/medical thrillers (Robin Cook, Patricia Cornwall, James Patterson, etc.) but haven't read anything good in some time.
Kim S August 16, 2012 at 10:53 AM
If you like King, check out Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill. (I also have Horns, but I haven't read it yet). Urban Fantasy was already explained.....The Rachel Morgan series is about Rachel, a witch, who lives with a living vampire (born a vamp and hasn't died and become a full vamp yet), and a pixie (dont call him a fairy, lol). There is also a gargoyle that keeps watch, and lots of other supernaturals living in Ohio.
bobby black August 16, 2012 at 02:01 PM
If this is the book I am thinking about, it sure has some heart tugging chapters.
Rosemary Cantrell August 16, 2012 at 02:45 PM
There are some great suggestions here. I have certainly added some of them to my list! I also like light fiction by southern authors or that take place in the south. I love Haywood Smith and nearly died laughing at her book Ladies of the Lake. I was listening on CD in the car and had to pull over! Another I loved was Saving CeeCee Hunicutt by Beth Hoffman. It had humor and some very serious issues all together. By the way, love your idea of sharing book ideas!
Kristi Reed (Editor) August 16, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Thanks Rosemary! I am going to compile a list of all the books mentioned here and include them in next week's "meeting." I'll update everyone on whatever I manage to get read within the next week (I got a whole new stack of books before this article published, so we'll see if I got anything good) and hopefully you all can share a comment-review of whatever you read in the next week.
Kim S August 16, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Diane Chamberlain is a wonderful Southern author. She lives in Raleigh, NC and a lot of her books are set in NC. One of my favorites from her is The Secret Lie of CeeCee Wilkes (which I saw at the Dacula Library on Monday). Before The Storm and Secrets She Left Behind are a pair. Secrets continues the story in Storm. Hmm, others.... The Midwife's Confession was pretty good. Summer's Child has a good mystery to it. The Lies We Told is good too. Diane Chamberlain is one of my Facebook "friends" and she often asks for input there on her books, character names, fictional names of cities, just this morning she was asking for title suggestions for her new book. Best thing about her is, she writes fast and always seems to have another book in the works, so if you like her stuff, you always have something to choose from
Kristi Reed (Editor) August 16, 2012 at 04:42 PM
That's good to know. I like finding good authors who are new to me, but have been around long enough to have several works on the shelves. I do tv shows that way too. I just watched the entire series of "Lost" earlier this month. I totally missed it during its original run.
Twyla J Peace August 16, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Check out "new and featured titles" on the library web site. Usually each books has a summary page and you can get an idea of what the book is about. Then you can reserve it. Then you can pick them up at the library when they are available.
Elizabeth August 16, 2012 at 11:27 PM
If you enjoy "regional" non-fiction, I recommend Rick Bragg (he grew up on the Alabama-Georgia border). His works are at times poignant, and at times funny - much like life is. Having grown up in the South, I enjoy the expressions he uses that one does not hear nowadays.
Brian Crawford August 16, 2012 at 11:40 PM
I just finished David Sedaris' collection of essays, "When You Are Engulfed in Flames" and I'm still laughing.
Debbie Holt August 17, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Oh there are so many Excellent books to read but they sometimes get lost in a Sea of less than excellent (shall we say) books. So many that you wonder how a publisher ever thought they were good enough to publish. Many great ones have been mentioned already but a few others are: Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross (my all-time favorite!), Sarah's Key by Tatiana DeRosnay, The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jaimie Ford, Still Alice by Lisa Genova, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Unbroken by Lauren Hildenbrand, and Defending Jacob by William Landay. I could go on but depending on your particular taste, you'll find some gems here in this list, I can assure you! So glad you reached out to us for suggestions!
Kristi Reed (Editor) August 17, 2012 at 05:45 PM
I hope I didn't miss any: http://dacula.patch.com/announcements/dacula-patch-book-club-recommended-reading? I'll keep updating the list as we go along. I have also created a topic page for the Dacula Patch Book Club. Just hover your mouse over the news tab at the top of the page and you should see the Dacula Patch Book Club in the pop up menu. I'll make sure all related articles end up there along with any book-related blog posts/reviews any of you may write: http://dacula.patch.com/topics/dacula-patch-book-club
Yo August 19, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Anything by Ken Follett, tho my favs were Eye of the Needle and Pillars of the Earth.
Kristi Reed (Editor) August 19, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Both of those are good books. In fact, those are my two favorite Follett books as well.
GwinnettLibrary August 20, 2012 at 06:31 PM
@Twyla -- I'm glad you mentioned the library! Not only does GCPL have New and Featured title lists, but there is also a reading recommendations blog and a GCPL goodreads page run by staff members who love to help people find new great reads. Find them here: http://www.gwinnettpl.org/booksandreading/index.html
Mary Broussard August 24, 2012 at 12:10 AM
John Katzenbach is my new favorite author. Two great books are What Comes Next and The Wrong Man. I am new to the book list and am very excited. Love to read. Mary B
Kristi Reed (Editor) August 24, 2012 at 10:37 AM
Hi Mary - Welcome! I just added Katzenbach to our list of reader recommendations: http://dacula.patch.com/announcements/dacula-patch-book-club-recommended-reading I will post all the book club related articles here if you want to bookmark this page: http://dacula.patch.com/topics/dacula-patch-book-club

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