July 2023

Laura's Picks:

Mysteries of Thorn Manor by Margaret Rogerson (2023)Thorn Manor Opens in new window

This teen novella picks up several months after the events of Sorcery of Thorns. Thorn Manor is behaving very strangely—instead of keeping people out, the magical wards are keeping people in: librarian Elisabeth, sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and their demon companion/friend Silas are trapped together. As hosts for the upcoming Midwinter Ball, they will need to figure out what the house wants—fast!


Witch King by Martha Wells (2023) Witch king Opens in new window

The past is very much present in this stand-alone fantasy from the author best known for Murderbot. Kai was assassinated, placed in an underwater tomb, and resurrected a year later by a mage who very quickly regrets the decision to bring a powerful demon back to life. As Kai uncovers the plot against him, he remembers the events of his long past—and comes to realize that they are not as disconnected as he had thought.

John's Picks:

Seven Psalms by Paul Simon (2023)Paul Simon Opens in new window

The fifteenth and possibly final studio recording by Paul Simon.  Originally conceived from a dream Simon had, the album is an acoustic record arranged and performed as one continuous piece interwoven with the leadoff track, “The Lord.”  The digital track listing has all seven parts listed as one entire song, reflecting Simon’s intention to listen to the whole album in one sitting.  There is no guarantee that this is Paul Simon’s final album; but if it is, it’s quite a way to go. 

Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre (2023)Operation Fortune Opens in new window

An action spy comedy from director Guy Ritchie and starring Jason Statham as Orson Fortune, with a supporting cast that includes Aubrey Plaza and Hugh Grant.  In the film, Statham’s character leads a team of spies to stop the sale of a digital arms device from being sold to the highest bidder.   A standard action film from Ritchie and company; if you’re a fan of his, it hits all the right notes.

John Wick: Chapter 4 (2023)John Wick

The fourth film of the John Wick film series and potentially its final installment.   Keanu Reeves returns again as legendary assassin John Wick alongside newcomers Donnie Yen and Bill Skarsgård.   Directed by Chad Stahelski, the film follows John Wick as he seeks to finally end his one-man war against his former employers.  At nearly three hours long, the movie is an extended thrill ride that doesn’t let up and solidifies the John Wick films as one of the best action series of all time.

Lauren's Picks:

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (2022) Glad My Mom died

A poignant memoir by former child actor Jennette McCurdy, best known for her role as Sam Puckett on the Nickelodeon show iCarly. McCurdy focuses on her complicated relationship with her mother and all that came with it: the emotional manipulation, the career she never wanted, and her struggles with eating disorders, addiction, and mental health. You don’t need to be familiar with her work to dive in, and though the subject matter is far from light, her delivery nonetheless makes for an enjoyable read.