The Stowaway by James S. Murray and Darren Wearmouth

Audio Narrated by Barrie Kreinik

Description from the Publisher through Netgalley

From writer, producer, and actor best known as “Murr” on the hit television shows Impractical Jokers and The Misery Index, James S. Murray, and co-writer Darren Wearmouth, comes The Stowaway, a suspenseful masterpiece that leaves a cruise ship stranded at sea with a serial killer hiding aboard.

Two years ago, Maria Fontana, the head of the Psychology Department at Columbia University, sat on a jury for one of the most depraved cases ever to pass through the hallowed halls of City Hall. Wyatt Butler, an antique watch restorer and alleged serial killer, was portrayed in the courtroom as a brutal monster. But Maria had to make the tough choice. In good conscience, she couldn’t convict him based purely on circumstantial evidence, and her deciding vote set Wyatt Butler free. The media soon outed her as the lone juror and her successful and quaint life was turned upside down. The victims of Wyatt’s ritualistic killings never forgave her either.

Now, she and her family have decided to take a vacation to get away from everything: a two-week-long transatlantic cruise. Nothing, and nobody should be able to bother her there. With her two twins and her fiancé Steve, she is set to put the past behind her as soon as the ship leaves port. But when a passenger mysteriously disappears, Maria is left to wonder if maybe this was no coincidence. When another passenger is discovered brutally murdered in a similar way to Butler’s ritualistic MO, the ship goes on lockdown.

Maria, one of only twelve people in the world with intimate knowledge of the case, faces a perilous ticking clock. Is it a copycat? Or is she trapped on board with the bloodthirsty maniac she chose to set free?

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin’s Press

“Murray and Wearmouth’s latest thriller THE STOWAWAY is a riveting high-seas game of cat and mouse. It’s Agatha Christie crossed with James Patterson. If you’re nervous about taking a cruise now, you’ll be terrified after this read. Pick up a copy and enjoy the thrill ride.”—James Rollins, #1 New York Times bestseller of The Last Odyssey

“Trapped on a cruise ship with a twisted murderer onboard. Intense horror. Frightening suspense. A true mystery. Lots of twists and turns. What more could you want? This is my kind of book!”–R.L. Stine, author of Goosebumps and Fear Street

My Review

When I saw that this book was written by Murr, I had to seize the opportunity to listen to it. I had no idea that James S. Murray had co-authored several books in the past. This book’s description seemed right in my wheelhouse.

If you listen to audiobooks, I highly recommend that you listen to this one. The narrator did an excellent job distinguishing between the characters’ voices and the story itself was excellent. It had the perfect mix of gruesome horror and mystery thriller. The fact that it takes place on a cruise ship with no way off the boat adds a level of fear that I haven’t come across in a long time.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received this Audio ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan

Description from the Publishers through Netgalley

Indie Next Selection | Buzz Books Selection | POPSUGAR “Best New Books of October” | CountryLiving “Best New Books for This Fall” | Atlanta Journal-Constitution “10 Must Read Southern Books This Fall” | Booklist Queen “Most Anticipated”

From Patti Callahan, the bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis, comes another enchanting story that pulls back the curtain on the early life of C. S. Lewis.

“Where did Narnia come from?”

The answer will change everything.

Megs Devonshire is brilliant with numbers and equations, on a scholarship at Oxford, and dreams of solving the greatest mysteries of physics.

She prefers the dependability of facts—except for one: the younger brother she loves with all her heart doesn’t have long to live. When George becomes captivated by a brand-new book called The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and begs her to find out where Narnia came from, there’s no way she can refuse.

Despite her timidity about approaching the famous author, Megs soon finds herself taking tea with the Oxford don and his own brother, imploring them for answers. What she receives instead are more stories . . . stories of Jack Lewis’s life, which she takes home to George.

Why won’t Mr. Lewis just tell her plainly what George wants to know? The answer will reveal to Meg many truths that science and math cannot, and the gift she thought she was giving to her brother—the story behind Narnia—turns out to be his gift to her, instead: hope.

Praise for Once Upon a Wardrobe:

“I advise you to read this book, then wait for a while and then read it again, for while it may not be Narnia, there is magic in it.” —Douglas Gresham, C. S. Lewis’s stepson

“Exquisitely heartfelt, Once Upon a Wardrobe is a love letter to the magic of stories. I call it the Callahan Effect—from the first page to the last, Patti Callahan’s wise and beautiful prose draws you in and doesn’t let you go.” —Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author

“With a touch of fairy-tale magic, Once Upon a Wardrobe will take you behind the legend and deep into the English and Irish countryside, where you’ll encounter not only the inspirations for one of the 20th century’s most beloved works, but also a tale of heartache, hope, and discovery that will forever change the Narnia you thought you knew.” —Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling authorNew York Time bestselling authorAlso by Patti Callahan: Becoming Mrs. Lewis and Surviving SavannahIncludes discussion questions for book clubs as well as a note from Douglas Gresham, C. S. Lewis’s stepson.

My Review

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is one of my favorite books. There is something very magical about the story that touches its readers at their core. This book takes that beloved story and digs deeper. It is a reimagining of the life of C.S. Lewis and the events that may have influenced the creation of Narnia.

Megs is a young college student that would do anything for her beloved but ill brother. When he takes a strong interest in the story The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Megs vows to get answers from C.S. Lewis himself to her brother’s questions before it is too late. Megs does what she can to speak with C.S. Lewis (Jack) who works at the same University. As she asks all of her brother’s questions, Jack tells her his life story.

This was such a beautiful novel and one that will stay with me forever. If you are a fan of C.S. Lewis, do not hesitate to get your hands on this.

I gave this book 5 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Litani by Jess Lourey

Publication Date: October 19, 2021

The Amazon Charts bestselling author of Unspeakable Things and Bloodline explores the darkness at the heart of the rural Midwest in a novel inspired by a chilling true crime.

In the summer of ’84, fourteen-year-old Frankie Jubilee is shuttled off to Litani, Minnesota, to live with her estranged mother, a county prosecutor she barely knows. From the start, Frankie senses something uneasy going on in the small town. The locals whisper about The Game, and her mother warns her to stay out of the woods and away from adults.

When a bullying gang of girls invites Frankie to The Game, she accepts, determined to find out what’s really going on in Litani. She’s not the only one becoming paranoid. Hysteria burns through the community. Dark secrets emerge. And Frankie fears that, even in the bright light of day, she might be living among monsters.

The Violent Season by Sara Walters

Happy Book Birthday!

Description from the Publisher through Netgalley

There is something terribly wrong in Wolf Ridge. Every November, every teen is overwhelmed with a hunger for violence…at least, that’s the urban legend.

After Wyatt Green’s mother was brutally murdered last Fall, she’s convinced that the November sickness plaguing Wolf Ridge isn’t just a town rumor that everyone ignores…it’s a palpable force infecting her neighbors. Wyatt is going to prove it, and find her mother’s murderer in the process. She digs up every past brutal act she can find from Wolf Ridge’s past – from car wrecks, suicides, and unnamed victims turning up in rivers—and even reaches out to an out-of-state journalist that seems to believe her. But all of her digging leads to nowhere. Everyone in Wolf Ridge accepts that the November sickness is real, and absolutely no one will talk about it.

As Wyatt’s best friend Cash turns on her, and her friend is almost killed in a tragic accident, Wyatt panics – how can she keep her friends safe, and find her mother’s murderer, when no one believes her?

As the evidence stars to disappear, Wyatt wonders: is she just imagining everything? Is the sickness real, or are the people of Wolf Ridge just naturally prone to doing bad things?

Can Wyatt and her friends come out of the Violent Season unscathed, or is one of them going to be the next victim?

My Review

Wyatt is convinced that there is a sickness that takes over her town every year in November that makes people crazy and leads them to do unspeakable things. Wyatt has been angry and fearful ever since her mother was murdered the year before. Her friend Cash has been her only source of comfort until a school project changes that.

This was a quick read and had an air of thriller vibes to it. I was definitely a YA read but it was well done. This was a great read for October.

I gave this book 4 crowns.

I received this E-ARC from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.