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: One new-release book annotated with notes by the author, a letter from the author, a bookmark, short work of fiction, and 2-3 bookish goods.
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 June 2018 Horror Genre Review
Each PageHabit purchase goes to supporting children’s literacy across the world, and for June, PageHabit is working with Books for Africa to donate books to the Botswana Book Project. The card gave some information on the origins of the project, some stats on the region, while the opposite side of the card shows you every book chosen for June in all the genres they offer.
Each PageHabit box has a letter from the author, which makes these boxes extra special. This month’s letter is a two-pager from Paul Tremblay, and within it, he prepares us for “The Cabin at the End of the World.” In the letter, Paul explains that he came up with the characters of Eric and Andrew first, then threw them into an impossible situation that, as he puts it, asks some really tough questions. He even includes a sketch of the titular cabin!
Each PageHabit box also includes a bookmark, and this month’s features a quote from American essayist Anne Fadiman. I appreciate the sentiment here of getting solid use out of a book and using it in every way you can, but Anne, we must part ways on the muffin crumbs. I haaaaate finding food in my books - yuck!
Short Story: Wings by Nidhi Pugalia
This month’s short story offering was much, much darker than what I’m used to in this box - but it was also very high-quality! This month’s writer crafted a skillful tale about fairies, childhood, and the consequences to our actions. This story kept me guessing steadily until the end, and had some nicely unexpected twists and turns among the character work here. It was actually quite sad, but I felt it had greater points to it than just the straightforward story it presented, which added depth to the tale.
The other item this month was a sticker sheet! The colors are nice, and they seem thick and well-made, but these little books are a bit hard to take out of context, once they’re removed from the “all the feels” sheet. I love stickers, but I usually end up sending them to my older familiar members in letters; these emoji-like book faces might be lost on my sweet centenarian (!) aunt.
Gimble Book Holder - Retail Value $8.02
I wanted to love this. I really, really did. I mean, this is genius! I love reading a book with a cup of coffee or tea, and I also love reading at the beach, flopped on my stomach atop of a fluffy towel. Hands-free reading is the dream, friends, so this gadget seemed like the answer to a question I hadn’t even asked yet! Maybe it just wasn’t meant for me, but I had a lot of difficulties adjusting this for the thickness of a full novel (I used a thick paperback, as it didn’t work at all with this month’s hardback). I tend to read fast enough that it felt like I was flipping the page a lot, which was a delicate process to navigate around the holders on this. It wasn’t as easy as the directions on the back made it seem! I felt like I was always going to rip a page, which made reading a less enjoyable process and felt like twice as much work as just holding the novel in my hands. Bummer!
The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay - Retail Value $26.99 (found here for $16.19)
This month’s book is from American author Paul Tremblay. I was very curious to read his work; I haven’t read his other books, but I know he’s a juror for the Shirley Jackson awards, so he must have the goods. This book was released on June 26, 2018, and is 288 pages long. Summary from Amazon:
Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.
One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, "None of what’s going to happen is your fault." Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: "Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world."
I’ll start this review with a trigger warning: this book centers around a home invasion, and it’s upsetting. It begins in New Hampshire, where parents Andrew and Eric, and their daughter, Wen, have rented a vacation cabin on a lake. Wen is approached by a giant man named Leonard, he’s soon joined by his friends, and the rest of the events unfold over the course of one terrifying day. Leonard and his people insist they don’t want to harm anyone, but one of the people must be sacrificed in order to prevent the end of the world. Leonard’s beliefs seem insane on the surface, but this book looks further to ask questions about viewpoint and opinion. The way that Tremblay presents the situation and the two sides within it is extremely ambiguous; he doesn’t tell you who is “right” and who is “wrong,” so you have to consider it all for yourself, which is what really gets under your skin while reading it. In an age where information is everywhere, but it’s a constant struggle to verify its validity, believing Leonard and his people - or not - feels similar to any number of popular conspiracy theories or polarizing topics that are commonplace in the world today. At its heart, this story is a tale about control; how people can lose it, feel the need to possess it, and how people will do anything to gain it over their surroundings when they feel helpless. This book bugged me for a while after finishing it; I thought the home invasion part was scary, and I feel like the world can be an upsetting place at times - my imagination did not enjoy the extra fuel to the fire, haha!
Verdict: If I’m perfectly honest, this month’s PageHabit box wasn’t quite my favorite! Mostly, the book-themed items left me just a little bit cold. I’m not sure I fully mastered the book reader, and the stickers, while nice, just aren’t my taste. This box sometimes comes with more items, and I was disappointed that there were only two bookish goods, and those goods didn’t seem to have that much value this time around. I did, however, really enjoy the short story, and even though the book itself was rather scary, I thought it was well written and interesting, and I think that people who really want to be scared will be big fans of it.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Sadly, no. You will receive the July 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.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of this PageHabit box?