PageHabit Horror Box Review – January 2018
PageHabit is a book subscription box that sends a title in the genre of your choice with annotations from the author, a bookmark, and other book-related goods. Choose between the monthly genres: Literary Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction, Romance, Horror, or Historical Fiction, and quarterly genres: Literary Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, or Cookbook.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).
This review is of the PageHabit Horror genre, $29.99 a month, box.
The Subscription Box: PageHabit
The Cost: $29.99 a month + shipping
The Products: 1 hardback book annotated with notes by the author, a bookmark, a blank notebook, a letter from the author, and a book light.
Ships to: the US for $4.99, Canada for $14.99, and Everywhere else in the world for $19.99, plus any local taxes that may be applied.
PageHabit January 2018 Horror Genre Review
Each PageHabit purchase goes to supporting children’s literacy across the world, and for January, PageHabit is working with Sanitation and Literacy Ghana and Books for Africa to raise funds to ship books to Ghana. The card gave some interesting info on the region, while the opposite side of the card shows you every genre’s book chosen for January. This card was also included in the PageHabit Quarterly YA Fiction Winter 2018 Box!
Each PageHabit box has a letter from the author, which makes these boxes extra special. This one is from Grist Mill Road author Christopher J. Yates. Sometimes it’s a little rough with these author letters because their handwriting can be hard to read, but I’m usually so charmed by the whole prospect of the letter in the author’s own hand that I don’t mind struggling a bit to read it. Yates says in the letter that despite his subject material being quite dark in nature, he hopes that the reader can find the light in it, appreciate the humor throughout, and above all, enjoy the experience of reading it. This author invited readers to engage with him through social media and his website, which I thought was a nice touch.
Any book-related experience that begins with a quote from J.K. Rowling is a-okay with me! One of these was included in the PageHabit Quarterly YA Winter 2018 Box, too, so I’ll be giving this one to another Potter-verse loving friend.
Immaculate Obsession by John Affleck
This month’s box included a short story commissioned in partnership with Great Jones Street. This story was written by a journalist in sports writing for the Associated Press, and fittingly, this story focused on football. The author discusses an incredibly exciting football-watching experience that takes place during a crisis at his house. Living in Pittsburgh, the subject matter of this story is one I’m familiar with: it details the Raiders-Steelers playoff game in December of 1972, and Franco Harris’ miraculous catch that won the game for the Steelers, later known as the “Immaculate Reception.” The story is played lightly for humor, wherein the main character (presumably John Affleck himself), is much less concerned with the proximity of physical danger and more with his own love of watching the game. I’m sure it’s meant to get a few laughs, the idea that someone would ignore actual peril in favor of catching a nail-biter of a playoff game, but growing up with Pittsburgh fans all my life, this just felt accurate. This particular game is a bit of history that every Pittsburgher hears, so reading an account of someone that actually watched the game live was awesome to me. I wasn’t familiar with this author’s work previously, but I enjoyed this story a lot.
Tree-Friendly Pencils – Retail Value $9.35
These are so cute! They remind me of when you go putt-putt golfing on vacation – only these pencils are actually good for the environment! I feel like I could stick these in my car for when I need a pencil on the go. I also really liked the sharpener on the container – it reminded me of a matchbook, and the entirety of the package’s design was so clever.
Library Bookmark – Estimated Retail Value $10 (value based on a similar item)
I do love bookmarks! This is really sturdy and I like the library shelf motif of the illustration. This holds up really well to a hardback, like this month’s book, and I like having something so immediately useful upon opening the box.
The year is 1982; the setting, an Edenic hamlet some ninety miles north of New York City. There, among the craggy rock cliffs and glacial ponds of timeworn mountains, three friends―Patrick, Matthew, and Hannah―are bound together by a terrible and seemingly senseless crime. Twenty-six years later, in New York City, living lives their younger selves never could have predicted, the three meet again―with even more devastating results.
Books like this one, where there is a puzzle within the narrative, are hard to discuss fully without accidentally giving up spoilers. To say the least, from the very first chapter, this book is intense, and definitely violent in parts, though I wouldn’t say the writing necessarily revels in gory elements. The story alternates, as many of these thrill-seeking horror books do, between two different time periods. This one alternates between the summer of 1982, and 2008; two very significant years in the life of the main characters. Something terrible happened in 1982, and we start with Patrick’s perspective in ‘08 as he is still haunted by his past while navigating unemployment in the face of the financial crisis. The 1982 chapters are written in first-person, past tense, and are easily digestible, but the 2008 chapters move to third-person, present tense, and the separate parts of the book allow for the reader to connect with more characters than just Patrick. I can relate to some parts of this book because my own childhood was similarly rooted in the outdoors, even though mine was about ten years later (and thankfully, far less horrifying). By contrast, the “older” version of Patrick is less relatable; even though he’s struggling with identity and career in ‘08, he has enough wealth and privilege that he doesn’t seem to truly be in crisis when so many people struggled so severely during that time. The characters are gripping, and as we get to know Patrick better, I’m interested in how the socioeconomics of this very specific period of time, 2008, plays into this story that is largely focused on trauma of all kinds. As the story shifts perspectives to each character, more and more of the puzzle starts to fit together, which is really satisfying and makes me eager to finish this book.
Verdict: I enjoy PageHabit boxes so much, and this was another good one! I particularly love the insider information in the books for these. The annotations this time around were really interesting, too – the author told stories about his own childhood, things that inspired the story, and insights into his research. This month’s short story was so cool, especially for me personally – I always like to read something related to my beloved city of Pittsburgh. The bookish goods are a nice element to this subscription and I never know what to expect. This month, the pencils were super-unique, and a high-quality bookmark like this one will always be used in my house.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Sadly, no. You will receive the February Box!
Value Breakdown: This box cost me $29.99 + $4.99 shipping, which means that each of the 4 items (not including the author’s letter and paper bookmark) in the box has an average cost of $8.75.
This is our first PageHabit review, but be sure to check out the rest of our Book Subscription Box reviews!
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