Author Archives: smcmlibrary

Read Books. Win these prizes.

LAMC Hoodie

This year’s grand prize is a $25 amazon gift card and a fabulous LAMC hoodie. You can also win a water bottle, thermos, stickers, enamel pins and books. Yes, we will have books.

Amazon Gift Card

Summer Reading is Coming

Summer Reading 2018Summer Reading starts on June 1, 2018.

The SMCM Library Adult Summer Reading Program will begin on June 1 and end on August 17, 2018.  Look for 2018 prize and challenge updates over the next few weeks.

The Summer Reading program is sponsored by the St. Mary’s College Library, Archives & Media Center and is open to all members of the St. Mary’s Library community including students, staff, faculty, alumni and residents of the Tri-County area (St. Mary’s, Calvert and Charles counties.) You may read anything you like as long as a copy is available at the St. Mary’s College Library (SMCM) or via COSMOS, the Southern Maryland Libraries catalog, or the USMAI catalog. You do not need to check the book out of the library. To get points you must post a review on the St. Mary’s College Library Summer Reading blog.

Library Summer Reading has Ended

Cover Mix Everybody wins!

But Jane Kostenko wins the Amazon gift card, Mary Hall the LAMC Hoodie and Shane Hall picks up the August raffle prize.

Thanks to all the readers who participated in Library Summer Reading. We had a really great mix of reviews and dedicated readers. Nine people qualified for the bag of library swag.

Our top reviewer was Jane Kostenko with 15 reviews and 18.5 points. Lynette Starke was a close second with 11 reviews and 13.5 points. Andy Ashenfelter was the only person to complete seven different challenges. The only challenges he left unread were the LAMC Class of 2017 and the 2017 TOB. This year we also had our first reviews of audio books, because yes, the reader matters.

Our readers went head to head on a number of books including Camino Island, Dragon Teeth, The 16th Seduction, The City of Light, City of Poison, Homegoing and Golden Prey.

So what were you reading this summer? Lots of,

  • beach reads (35)
  • thrillers (30)
  • mysteries (27)
  • literary fiction (22)
  • history: non-fiction (18) and historical novels (17)
  • fantasy (15) and
  • books to film (15)

The VegetarianLord of ShadowsHimselfLincoln in the Bardo The Last Chance Olive Ranch

Black by Ted Dekker


I read book #0 (Green) of the series with mixed feelings, so I wanted to try book #1 (Black). The fantasy story takes place in two time-periods (current and future) and I really like how the action in both time periods is weaved into one story via the main character, Thomas Hunter – the author does a good job keeping you interested about activities in both timelines. The overall idea and plot is interesting, but I continued to have trouble relating to characters and their actions.

I did enjoy Black more than Green and I think it is a much better series entry point, but I still think the book and the series are “okay”. I’ll go with a fairly weak “recommended” for those who like this type of fantasy.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Andy Ashenfelter
Rating: Recommended
Challenge: Book with a one word title.

The Competition by Marcia Clark

The Competition

I first received a copy of a Marcia Clark book free from Amazon. I was totally surprised at how well written it was (yes the Marcia Clark from the OJ Simpson trials). This book did not disappoint me. It starts off with a school shooting, similar to Columbine, but with more deaths. And the shooters continue to try and out-do every other massacre, including the movie shooting in Aurora. As LA prosecutor Rachel Knight tries to connect dots along with her friend, Bailey Keller, the shooters still remain on the loose. Just when you think you have it figured it out, something happens to blow that theory away. It kept me on my toes until the end. My rating is highly recommend.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by Shelley Clark
Rating: Highly Recommended

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

The Oprhan's Tale

The Orphan’s Tale is about two women during the Second World War one of whom is a Jewish circus performer and another who took a Jewish baby from a rail car at a train station and they have to work together at the circus to survive.

I enjoyed the relationship between the two main characters; they had two opposing but believable personalities. I also liked the themes of atonement and survival that are in the novel. The end of the novel was also something I didn’t expect and it left me in tears.

The only problem I have with it is that one of the women has a lover that is kind of stalker-y and it makes you a little uncomfortable.

Availability: COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Madeline Rivard
Rating: Recommended
Challenge: Published in 2017

A Single Spy by William Christie

A Single Spy

This is the best book I’ve read all summer and may turn out to be my favorite for 2017. The main character, who is difficult to love but fascinating to follow, is a Soviet orphan who takes the street survival skills of the Artful Dodger to a far meaner and more violent level. As a teenager, he’s recruited by the Soviets to impersonate the nephew of a senior Nazi official in Germany. After arriving in Berlin, he later joins the German army, where he becomes an intelligence officer. He winds up spying in the Middle East FOR the Germans, but at the same time, he’s spying ON the Germans for the Soviets.

Building a plot around a double agent can be tricky; I’ve read other “spy thrillers” where I’ve had to double back to make sure I haven’t lost the thread. But Christie does a great job keeping everything straight, which lets the reader focus on one of the best aspects of the book: all the spying and intelligence “trade craft” that Christie works into the plot. Although I seldom read a book twice, I might be compelled to read this a second time just to savor its cleverness. The ending is marvelous but I can’t say more about it without giving too much away.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by:  Mary Hall
Rating: Must Read
Challenge: Published in 2017