So Long and Thanks for All The Fish

Hi Everyone.

This post is really difficult to write but really has been a long time coming. I started this blog back in 2014 with a purpose in mind – I wanted to motivate myself to read more young adult literature in order to become a better writer. Over the last six years, I’ve had a fantastic time writing for Arkham Reviews. I have post almost 600 book reviews, spoken with talented authors and passionate readers, and discovered books that I never would have picked up before.

However, all good things have to come to an end.

This year has been unimaginably difficult on everyone and I’ve taken a lot of time to reflect on what is most important to me. Working on this blog is incredibly hard work. Despite what some people seem to believe, this blog is entirely non-profit and has always been a labour of love. Keeping up with my target of two posts a week eats up a lot of my time, and also means that I rarely have time to read anything outside of my set “blog books” anymore.

Due to this, I have made the incredibly difficult decision to step away from Arkham Reviews to give me time to work on other projects. I have no plans at this moment to take down any of the old reviews, so they will be still there for everyone to enjoy, however this website will no longer be updated or monitored by myself. The Arkham Reviews Twitter and Goodreads feeds will now also no longer be in use going forward.

Thank-you again for all your support over the years. It’s been a pleasure discussing young adult books with you and hope we meet again in pastures new!

Fazbear Frights: Bunny Call

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments in the series. You can read my reviews of these novels by clicking the links below:

Into the Pit | Fetch | 1:35AM | Step Closer

Fazbear Frights: Bunny Call was written by Scott Cawthon, Elley Cooper and Andrea Waggener and first published in 2020. It is a collection of three short stories, all set within the vague canon of the Five Nights at Freddy’s video game series. Although most of the stories do stand alone, it does follow on from the previous collections in this series – Into to Pit (2020), Fetch (2020), 1:35AM (2020) and Step Closer (2020).

In Bunny Call, Bob loves his family but is starting to the resent them. His wife is eager for them all to do everything as a family, while Bob just wants to go fishing on his own. On a family camping trip, Bob gets a chance to have his revenge in the form of an early morning wake-up call from “Ralpho” – a person in a rabbit costume. Bob soon gets cold feet and tries to cancel the bunny call but Ralpho does not seem to get the message. Can Bob protect his family from the psychotic rabbit?

In In the Flesh, Matt is proud to be working on ‘Springtrap’s Revenge’ – the latest instalment of the popular Five Nights at Freddy’s game series. Unfortunately, things are not going well. The release date is looming and early reviews are not impressed by Springtrap’s lack of AI. Matt goes to great lengths to try and improve on this, but is only met with further problems as Springtrap seemingly vanishes from the game altogether. Shortly after, Matt starts to get sick. Is it just stress or is something far more sinister at work?

In The Man in Room 1280, Arthur is called to administer the last rites to a burn victim at Heracles Hospital, but isn’t prepared for what he finds. The man is grotesquely disfigured by his injuries and yet impossibly clings to life. Even his nurses believe that he evil, connecting his states to sightings of a ghost around the hospital. Somehow, Arthur manages to communicate with the man who expresses a desire to visit a Fazbear Entertainment Distribution Centre. Naturally, the priest is determined to fulfil his dying wish, but why does the man have such an odd request?

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OwlCrate Unboxing – September 2020

Wow, my September crate was super delayed in the post (thanks COVID…) but at least it has finally arrived. And I am really excited to show you what was inside!

Before I get into the meat of it, let’s talk a little about where this exciting box of mystery came from. OwlCrate is a monthly subscription service that caters to fans of young adult literature. Each box costs around £38 and is guaranteed to contain a hardbacked book, usually autographed and with an exclusive cover. In addition to this, the crate also contains 3-5 other items, all picked to match a set theme. As Halloween is fast approaching, the theme this time was ‘A Glorious Haunting’. Read on to find out what I though though, be warned, massive spoilers and photos lie beyond this point…

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Point Horror 31-35

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments in the series. You can read my reviews of these novels by clicking the links below:

1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25 | 26-30

It’s time for another retrospective look back at the Point Horror series. Yay!

In case you haven’t read my previous reviews, Point Horror was a horror anthology series that was at peak popularity during the 90s. The series was aimed at teenage girls and ran for over 100 novels which were written by popular horror writers of the time including R.L. Stine and L.J. Smith. As there isn’t really much by way of continuity in this series, I’m reviewing them in the order that they are listed on Wikipedia. Be warned, this is more a retrospective discussion so there will be massive spoilers for the books in question.

In The Train (written by Diane Hoh), Hannah and her friends are excited to be on a cross-country train trip from Chicago to San Francisco, but that is before they learn that they are sharing the train with a coffin. The coffin belongs to Frog – a fellow student who recently passed away – and one who each of them were responsible for doing nasty things to. When each of them are attacked, it becomes clear that someone is out for revenge. But Frog is really dead, isn’t he?

In The Waitress (written by Sinclair Smith), Paula has just accepted a waitressing job at a local diner, but things aren’t going well. Not only did she lie about her experience to get the job but weird things have started happening. What initially seem like harmless pranks grow increasingly sinister. Paula soon discovers that she can’t trust her colleagues, but why are they hurting customers and why are they trying to make it look like it’s Paula’s fault?

In The Window (written by Carol Ellis), Jody is nervous about going on the skiing trip as she doesn’t really know anyone. When she sprains her ankle on the slopes, she finds herself feeling more isolated than ever. With nothing better to do, she spends her time looking out of the window of her cabin. It is then that she sees the murder. Although Jody doesn’t see enough to identify the killer, is it possible that the killer has seen her?

In Camp Fear (written by Carol Ellis), Rachel is excited to start her summer job as a camp councillor but first there is a lot of work to be done. She and her new friends need to clear trails, clean cabins and generally get everything ready before the kids arrive. But then the pranks start happening, each corresponding with a fear held by one of her fellow councillors. It soon becomes clear that each of the victims shares a secret. Something terrible happened at the camp seven years before, and now someone wants revenge.

In Dream Date (written by Sinclair Smith), Katie is seventeen years old and desperate to find the perfect guy. Much to her surprise, it’s not long before he comes to her in her dreams. Heath is handsome and rebellious, but it quickly becomes clear that he’s also possessive and controlling. Katie soon finds that she’s sleeping more and more. What will happen to her when she gets to the point when she can no longer wake up?

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Kidnap on the California Comet

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for The Highland Falcon Thief. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Kidnap on the California Comet was written by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman and first published in 2020. It is a mystery novel that follows the continuing adventures of Harrison Beck as, this time, he and his Uncle Nat journey across America. The book forms the second part of the Adventures on Trains series, following The Highland Falcon Thief (2020). A third instalment – Murder on the Safari Star – is planned for release early next year.

Harrison “Hal” Beck had such a great time with his Uncle Nat on the Highland Falcon that he’s overjoyed to be invited on another train ride. This time, Uncle Nat is going to spend three days aboard the California Comet as it travels from Chicago to San Francisco. While aboard, he is going to be reporting on a press conference staged by August Reza – a billionaire entrepreneur who is believed to be working on some kind of rocket.

Although Hal is jet lagged and bit nervous to be so far from home, he is really excited to be on the train. He quickly makes friends with Hadley and Mason – a pair of kids his age who dream of creating their own magical stage act. He also meets Marianne – daughter of August Reza – who does not seem to like her father as much as everyone else does.

While the first leg of their journey is uneventful, things change after the press conference when a figure in black snatches Marianne away. As Hal comes to suspect that Marianne might still be hidden on the train, he finds himself in the middle of another mystery. Can his keen sense of observation help him to uncover the kidnapper’s identity before they reach San Francisco?

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Goddess in the Machine

Goddess in the Machine was written by Lora Beth Johnson and first published in 2020. It is a science fiction novel which focuses on a teenage girl who finds herself a thousand years in the future. The novel forms the first part of a planned series, though at the time of writing no further instalments have been announced.

When Andra was put into cryo-sleep, she expected to wake up on a different world. She and her family had been chosen as colonists and were only going to be in stasis until they arrived on the planet of Holymyth. However, something went wrong. When Andra awoke, her family were no where to be found. She soon realised that a thousand years had passed and the people of Holymyth (now known as Hell-mouth) believed her to be a goddess.

Andra quickly met Zhane and his servant, Lew-Eadin, who fill her in. The domed city of Eerensed is slowly dying and their prophecies have said that only Andra will be able save them. Problem is, Andra has no idea where to start. She is just an ordinary teenager with no useful skills. How can she possibly be able to engineer away to keep the dome from deteriorating to the point where it can no longer sustain life?

Yet Andra soon realises that if people learn who she truly is, she will surely be executed. In order to preserve her life, Andra decides to play along until she can source the things that she needs in order to return to Earth. Yet things will not be so simple. Eerensed is filled with all manner of people and some are far less trusting of a goddess. Will she be able to escape Hell-mouth before she becomes someone’s sacrifice?

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Point Horror 25-30

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments in this series. You can read my reviews of these novels by clicking the links below:

1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25

It’s time for another retrospective look at Point Horror. Yay! In case you’re not in the know, Point Horror was a massively successful anthology series that hit its peak in the 1990s. There are a lot of novels in this series (and even some debate as to which Point titles count as being part of it) so I’m currently reviewing these novels in the order that they are listed on Wikipedia. Oh, and this is a retrospective so be warned that there will be massive spoilers for the novels in question….

Anyhow, let’s take a look at the next five books!

In The Fever (written by Diane Hoh), Duffy wakes to find herself in hospital suffering from a mysterious fever. While she was asleep, she is sure that she overheard a murder taking place in her room but has no idea who is guilty. Now she is certain that someone is trying to silence her before her memory can return. But how will she convince people that she is in danger when everyone believes that she is still delirious?

In The Hitchhiker (written by R.L. Stine), Christina and Terri are on their way home from Spring Break when they decide to pick up a hitchhiker. Christina thinks that James is charming but Terri is less than convinced. He seems evasive about where he is heading and news reports have been warning about an elderly driver who was recently beaten to death. Is Terri paranoid or is there more to James than meets the eye?

In The Mall (written by Ritchie Tankersley Cusick), Trish is not the biggest fan of her job at the mall but it becomes even more insufferable when she attracts a creepy customer. It’s not long before the same sinister man starts to call her at home and it becomes clear that he is watching her every move. The stranger is certain that Trish is the girl of his dreams and is willing to do anything to ensure that she is his forever…

In The Perfume (written by Caroline B. Cooney), Dove knows that she shouldn’t buy the latest trendy fragrance. Venom is a terrible name, yet she soon finds that she can’t resist. The perfume has an odd effect on her, releasing the spirit of her unborn twin from where it had been trapped within her and forcing Dove to become a passenger within her own body. Wing hates Dove for living the life that she always wanted and now wants to hurt everyone that she loves to get revenge…

In The Return of the Vampire (written by Caroline B. Cooney, also published as Evil Returns), Devnee has just moved to a new house and a new school but already feels as though she is being ignored. She hates being so plain and ordinary and therefore is quick to be tempted by the vampire’s promise of beauty and brains. Yet Devnee is slow to realise that her wish will come at a terrible price…

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F.O.X.E.S

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments in this series. You can read my reviews of these novels by clicking the links below:

S.T.A.G.S | D.O.G.S

F.O.X.E.S was written by M.A. Bennett and first published in 2020. It is a young adult thriller which follows the continuing adventures Greer MacDonald as she tries to save her fried Ty from the machinations of the Dark Order of the Grand Stag. The novel follows on directly from where S.T.A.G.S (2017) and D.O.G.S (2019) left off, so I would strongly recommend reading these novels in sequence in order to fully appreciate them.

Following her trial and near-execution at the hands of the Grand Stag, Greer is more certain than ever that she needs to do something to put an end to the Order. When she receives a message from Ty suggesting that she should investigate Cumberland Place in London, she heads off with Shafeen and Nel to find out why.

Cumberland Place is another residence belonging to the de Warlencourts, but nothing can prepare them for what they find there. Henry’s father – Rollo de Warlencourt – embodies everything that Greer hates about STAGS and his mother, Caro, seems convinced that her son is still alive. Yet the most surprising thing is the way that the de Warlencourts welcome Greer into their home. More than that, they seem to be pleased to see her.

As Greer and her friends investigate further, they find some unsettling connections that further link STAGS to the work of Ben Jonson and, more surprising still, the Gunpower Plot. They also learn that Rollo is planning a hunt at Longcross for Boxing Day. Yet, with fox hunting illegal, Greer worries exactly what the STAGS are planning to hunt. She knows that she only has a few days to learn the truth, or Ty’s life could very well be in danger…

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Where Dreams Descend

Where Dreams Descend was written by Janella Angeles and first published in 2020. It is a fantasy novel that focuses on a powerful female magician who is desperate to be noticed in a world where only men are taken seriously. The novel forms the first part of a planned duology and its sequel, When Night Breaks, is expected to be released next year.

Kallia is the headline act of Hellfire House, yet yearns for more. Despite the fact that her powers are second to none, female magicians have no choice but to use their magic domestically or on seedy nightclub stages. When she hears about the Spectaculore – a contest taking place in the nearby city of Glorian – she is determined to take part to prove herself. Yet Jack, the possessive master of Hellfire House, is reluctant to let her go.

Escaping from the club, Kallia runs away to Glorian and finds a willing assistant in a charismatic thief called Aaros. Together they shock high-society by entering into the Spectaculore as the only female participant, competing against a host of upper-class and deeply prejudiced young men. Her dazzling act also catches the eye of Daron Demarco, a young judge who hides a terrifying secret of his own.

Yet, as Kallia rapidly becomes a crowd favourite, it soon becomes clear that all is not right in Glorian. Someone, or something, is manipulating the contest from behind the scenes. As contestants begin to disappear and sinister notes are discovered, Kallia starts to realises that someone does not want the Spectacular to go ahead. Will she be able to uncover who is responsible and become the champion, or will the saboteur finally claim someone’s life?

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Harrow Lake

Harrow Lake was written by Kat Ellis and first published in 2020. It is a dark mystery novel for older teens containing some horror elements, focusing on a girl who is forced to stay in her mother’s sinister home town. The novel stands alone, so you do not need to read any of the author’s earlier work to fully appreciate it.

Lola Nox is the daughter of the famous Nolan Nox – a filmmaker who shot to success with his critically acclaimed horror film, Nightjar. Although Lola loves her father deeply, she is also aware that something has been missing. Her mother abandoned them when she was only small and her father has never shown any interest in letting her visit Harrow Lake – her mother’s hometown and Nightjar’s filming location. That is, until the attack.

When Nolan is stabbed during an break in at his home, Lola is sent to stay in Harrow Lake with her grandmother. Although she is initially excited, she soon learns that the town is not quite what she expected. The locals have a love/hate relationship with Nightjar and a tendency to ignore the many strange disappearances of people connected to the film.

It’s not long before Lola starts to realise that Harrow Lake hides some terrifying secrets in the old mines that run beneath the town, particularly ones that relate to a legendary monster known as Mr Jitters. As she explores the famous locations featured in Nightjar she comes to realise certain uncomfortable truths. Mr Jitters may well be real and have a connection with her mother…

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