Winter Reading -- Week 1 Reviews

Book cover of "The Son" by Philipp Meyer

Week 2 of the Winter Reading Program is in full swing — have you submitted your review this week? We had some great reviews last week and I wanted to share them with everyone to enjoy. There was a variety of books, from young adult fiction to mysteries and a western. Thanks to everyone who submitted a review the first week, and don’t forget to keep reading and reviewing for a chance to win!

The Son by Philipp Meyer
The Son is a very good book about not only the history of Texas, but of the United States. It is about how parents effect their children and how the search for that parent's approval and pride always leaves the child feeling unfulfilled. It is the story of the McColloughs, a family whose history starts with a white family settling in Mexican Texas and progresses through the 1970's. One of the family members is Eli, who is kidnapped by Comanches, very much like in The Searchers (not just the western with John Wayne, but the book The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend by Glenn Frankel). The next part is told by Peter, Eli's son, who tries to be like his father but struggles with that cost. The final part of the story is told by Eli's great granddaughter. She struggles with the responsibility of her family's mantle while being a woman in a man's world. Meyer does a great job of fleshing out these three unique voices while capturing the theme of what it costs families and the nation to conquer and maintain an empire.

Reviewed by: Brent

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

I never watched the TrueBlood series so I thought I wouldn't be disappointed from any expectations I had, from the series, while reading the books. I was NOT disappointed. In fact I was enthralled with the life of Sookie Stackhouse and her wonderful “gift” and new found special friends. If you enjoy supernatural beings this series of books is for you!

Reviewed by: Amanda

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The adaption from book to movie was just the beginning... Reading this book further clarified points of the storyline in the movie that most people familiar with the story do not know. By the end of the book you know Katniss has got herself into a bad situation that it will only cause her trouble later in the series. The complexities of each character makes them all equally loveable.

Reviewed by: Amanda

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
We join Sookie Stackhouse on her business trip to Dallas appointed by the vampires. She is getting much better with her “gift” these days and is using it to her advantage. New supernatural beings present themselves in the second installment of this series which can only mean there are still more to discover. Will Sookie find the killer in Bon Temps and the missing vampire in

Reviewed by: Amanda

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The second installment of The Hunger Games series did not disappoint. Katniss Everdeen is burdened with the Victory Tour, rebellions, and President Snow. This year marks an anniversary of sorts in the Hunger Games which means a special twist for the new tributes. As Katniss struggles with her new popularity, she realizes the influence she has against the Districts and just how unsatisfied they are with the Capitol.

Reviewed by: Amanda

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I loved this book! Sad ending but overall well written!

Reviewed by: Bevin

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
A great YA book for everyone with universal themes of growing up, living through trauma, discovering you can love yourself, discovering you can love others ... through the lens of music and comic books!

Reviewed by: Emily

Nano by Robin Cook

The book is a sequel to the previous Robin Cook book, which involves the interesting Pia as a lead character. Nano looks at medical tourism which is an interesting and sensitive subject, I have always been a fan of Robin Cook's ability to explore the subject and give a convincing ending. The book is a colorful read with intrigue although I would have expected the culmination of the climax to be less abrupt.

Reviewed by: Pavithraa

The Chamber by John Grisham
An oldie but goodie. I've read a lot of Grisham before, but never this one. An intense thrilling story about an inmate on Death Row. More emotional and character driven than I expected. It kept me reading and reading up to the amazing ending.

Murder in Retrospect by Agatha Christie
Hercule Poirot is hired to help Clara solve the mystery of her father's death. Her mother was accused of murdering her father, but Clara has a feeling that her mother was innocent. Poirot has to go sixteen years into the past to find out what truly happened and who is responsible for Clara's father's death. The suspects include family friends and family members and they are all reluctant to dig up the past tragedy.

I love the complex crime in this novel. The characters are complicated and all offer a different perspective of what happened that day. Poirot has to use his wits to solve the crime and put together the truth from the pieces of evidence he gathers.

Reviewed by: Katy