Owlcrate Unboxing – February 2020

Hi everyone! It’s time for another look at Owlcrate! As I mentioned in last month’s unboxing, Owlcrate is a monthly subscription service for fans of Young Adult books. With shipping to the UK, each box comes to around £38 and comes packed with goodies. They are guaranteed to include a hard-backed recent release, usually signed by the author and with an exclusive cover. There are also 3-5 additional items, all of which are tied to a monthly theme.

Owlcrates sell out incredibly quickly, though they do have a waiting list and they guarantee that you will receive each box so long as your subscription remains active. I would recommend against cancelling your membership unless you are sure – I made this mistake last year and it took me a couple of months to get it back again! The February theme was ‘A Power Within’. Please read on to find out what I thought of this one, but do be warned that this post does contain photos and lots of spoilers if you are still waiting for your box to arrive…

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Goosebumps 59-62

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels here:

1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25 | 26-30 | 31-35 | 36-40 | 41-45 | 46-50 | 51-54 | 55-58

It’s finally time for the very last part of my retrospective look at R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. Wow. What a long and crazy trip this has been! In case you’ve missed all my previous posts, Goosebumps is a middle grade horror series that originally ran for sixty-two books, which were published between 1992 and 1997. The series was massively popular and has since spawned a handful of spin-offs, movies, video games and a television show. As always, this post will contain massive spoilers for the books in question. You have been warned.

In The Haunted School, Tommy has just moved to a new school and is eager to fit in. However, there is something strange going on. The building is like a maze, strange whispers fill the halls and there is even a creepy room that has been left as a memorial to a class that vanished years before. On the night of the school dance, Tommy finds himself trapped in a parallel version of the school where everything seems to be black & white. As his colour starts to fade, he realises that he needs to find a way out before he is trapped forever.

In Werewolf Skin, Alex’s grandparents warn him not to head into the forest at night, but it seems like a perfect time to take photographs. However, the forest is more dangerous than Alex could ever have imagined. Their neighbours are reclusive and seem to hate children. Alex is told that they keep big, vicious dogs but he is beginning to believe that this is a lie. Could it be that the Marlings are actually werewolves?

In I Live in Your Basement!, Marco’s mother always warned him that softball was dangerous but he never believed her until he took a nasty blow to the head. When he woke up, strange things started to happen. There is now a strange boy named Keith living in his basement – a boy who says that it’s Marco’s job to look after him. Marco knows that Keith is evil but no one will even believe that he exists. How can he prove it to them before it is too late?

In Monster Blood IV, Evan is keen to forget all about his previous terrible experiences with Monster Blood. However, he finds himself reliving the horror again when Andy manages to find a fresh can. The Monster Blood this time is blue and seems to take the form of a slimy monster. While it seems benign at first, it’s not long before the creature begins to multiply and grows vicious. Will Evan be able to discover its weakness before the monsters overrun his town?

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Goosebumps 55-58

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels here:

1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25 | 26-30 | 31-35 | 36-40 | 41-45 | 46-50 | 51-54

We’re starting to get close to the end of this series now, so let’s take another look back at the original Goosebumps books. These sixty-two novels were all written by R.L. Stine and published between 1992 and 1997. The series is still massively popular today and has spawned a number of spin-offs, movies, video games and even a television show. For the purpose of today’s review, I will be looking at books 55 to 58 only. Oh, and as this is more of a retrospective, there will be massive spoilers. You have been warned.

In The Blob That Ate Everyone, Zackie loves to write horror stories despite being terrified of everything. Due to this, he is thrilled when the owner of a strange, burned out antiques store gives him an old typewriter. In fact, she seems desperate to get rid of it. Trouble is, it’s not long before Zackie realises that everything he writes seems to be coming true. What can he do when he inadvertently releases a giant pink monster on the town?

In The Curse of Camp Cold Lake, Sarah is not having a good time at camp. She hates water, the rules seem far too restrictive, and her roommates are all horrible. To get back at them, Sarah decides to fake her own death. That will make everyone sorry. The problem is that something goes horribly wrong and Sarah finds herself haunted by a ghostly girl. One who is determined to be her buddy. Forever.

In My Best Friend is Invisible, Sammy loves science-fiction but is less than impressed when a mysterious invisible boy invades his room. Brent eats his food, messes things up and claims he only wants to be Sammy’s friend. Trouble is, Brent seems to excel in getting Sammy in trouble and now his parents think that he’s losing his mind. But how can Sammy manage to get rid of something that he can’t even see?

In Deep Trouble II, Billy and Sheena are once again spending their summer at their uncle’s floating lab in the Caribbean. Once again, something weird is happening on the reef. Giant fish and jellyfish are appearing, and even Billy’s goldfish have been affected! They soon learn that it’s all due to the horrible experiments of another scientist. However, now that they have learned his secrets, he can’t possibly allow the kids to leave the reef alive…

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Fighting off the Winter Blues

Hi Everyone!

I’ve finally finished my winter reads and I hope that you enjoyed them all! Unfortunately, it’s still cold and dreary outside and spring feels a long way away. It’s time to return to business as usual here on Arkham Reviews to help fight off those winter blues. I have a great selection of novels both new and old to share with you over the coming weeks.

At the moment, I’m reading Scott Cawthon’s latest collection of Five Nights at Freddy’s short stories – Into The Pit. After that, here is a sneak peak of what you can expect as we head into spring. I’m trying to alternate a bit more between new releases and things that have been sitting on my to read pile for a while, so hopefully you will find this selection to be nicely varied:

Dreamland by Robert L Anderson

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

The Stone of Kuromori by Jason Rohan

Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The Night Country by Melissa Albert

Aiden’s Quest for Apollo by Tanvi Kesari Pasumarthy

The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Final 7 by Kerry Drewery

Shadowsea by Peter Bunzl

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

Crownbreaker by Sebastien de Castell

Naturally, I will also be finishing off my series of retrospective Goosebumps reviews over this time as well. I hope you’re as excited about this little selection as I am!

TTFN!

Owlcrate Unboxing – January 2020

Hi Everyone! You might have noticed that I’ve gotten a bit hooked on Owlcrate over the last few months and so I thought that I would start to share my unboxings with you.

In case you haven’t see the adverts for this online, Owlcrate is a monthly subscription box for fans of Young Adult books. These boxes aren’t the cheapest to buy in the UK (with postage, it costs about $50.00 / £38.00), but I have been absolutely blown away by the quality of the collectables that they contain. Each box is guaranteed to include at least one new release, which is always a hard-backed book and is usually signed by the author and with an exclusive cover. It also contains 3-5 other items, all tied to a monthly theme.

Owlcrates tend to sell out very quickly, thought if you continue paying your monthly subscription they do guarantee that you will receive each box. The January theme was ‘Vengeance Will Be Mine’. Please read on to find out what I thought about the items that it contained, though be warned that this post does contain pictures and lots of spoilers if you’re still waiting for your box to arrive…

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Goosebumps 51-54

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels here:

1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25 | 26-30 | 31-35 | 36-40 | 41-45 | 46-50

Hello everyone! I think it’s time for another trip down memory lane as I take another look back at one of my childhood favourites. In case you’re unfamiliar with R.L. Stine’s most popular work, Goosebumps is a horror anthology series which is aimed at middle grade readers. Although there have been a number of recent spin-offs, movies and video games, the original series ran for sixty-two novels. For the purpose of today’s review, I’m going to be looking at books fifty-one to fifty-four. Oh, and there will be massive spoilers. You have been warned.

In Beware, the Snowman, Jaclyn is annoyed that her Aunt has moved to Sherpia. The tiny village is in the middle of nowhere! Yet it’s not long before she learns that the frozen village has some terrifying local customs. Every house has a scar-faced snowman in its front yard, and the local kids warn her that something terrifying lurks on top of a nearby mountain. Jaclyn is determined to discover if the legends are true, but in doing so learns secrets about her family that she never could have imagined…

In How I Learned to Fly, Jack is rapidly growing to detest Wilson. No matter what he does, Wilson is always determined to prove that he can do better and it is driving him insane! However, when Jack discovers a strange book that claims to contain the secrets of human flight, he realises he has a chance to finally do something better than his rival. After all, there is no way that Wilson can possibly be able to fly, is there?

In Chicken, Chicken, Crystal has always been sceptical of the rumours about Vanessa. Just because someone wears all black, it does not mean that they are a witch. Unfortunately, when Crystal and her brother, Cole, accidentally spill Vanessa’s shopping, they discover that Vanessa just might be magical after all. After all, Crystal and Cole are now changing. If they can’t find a way to stop it, it’s not going to be long before they stop being human altogether…

In Don’t Go To Sleep!, Matt can’t understand why he is forced to sleep in a tiny room when a much larger guest room is going spare. To prove a point, he sneaks into the guest room once night and sleeps in there. Unfortunately, when Matt wakes up, he finds that everything has changed. His two siblings are now little kids and he has suddenly become a teenager! As each day becomes stranger than the one before, Matt starts to regret ever complaining about his old life. Will he ever find a way back to his reality?

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New Year, New Reviews

Hi Everyone!

I hope that you enjoyed this year’s picks for The Sobeks and sorry that it’s taken me so long to wish you a very Happy New Year. I hope that you all had a brilliant festive season, however you chose to celebrate it.

I, for one, took a few weeks to just rest and reflect away from this blog. As you’ve probably noticed, I didn’t do a great job of updating the blog over the past year. This is purely because 2019 was a pretty bad year from me. Between sickness, massive vet bills, and even a particularly nasty spell in which I received some unpleasantness from an author who was not very happy with a review that I left, I was left at times with very little motivation to go on.

I am in a much better place right now and am certainly hoping to be able to update the blog with more regularity, but please be mindful that I might still disappear every now and again to preserve my own mental health. This blog is ultimately just a hobby of mine, and I’m happy to continue so long as it remains fun.

With that out of the way, here’s a sneak peak of what is to come in the new year. As I did not take part in any Secret Santa events this year, I instead took myself down to Waterstones for a treat. As I really enjoyed my Summer of Middle Grade, I’ve picked up a few more novels of this sort to tide me through this grim part of the year. Each of these books has a wintery theme, and I’m very excited to share my reviews of them with you over the next few weeks:

The International Yeti Collective by Paul Mason

Nevertell by Katharine Orton

Frostheart by Jamie Littler

The Girl Who Speaks to Bears by Sophie Anderson

Explorers on Black Ice Bridge by Alex Bell

Of course, I will probably also have the next instalment of my Goosebumps retrospective ready to share with you over this time.

TTFN!

The Sobeks 2019 – Part 4

And here it is – the final part of The Sobek Awards for 2019.

Are you feeling the January blues? Well, here are some ideas of things that you can read next to get your spirits back up! The Sobeks are named for my blog’s mascot and are a celebration of all the very best books that I have read over the last twelve months. These are determined based on the ones that I awarded 4+ stars to on Goodreads.

For this final post, I will be looking at the books that I reviewed between October and December. While I was a bit lax in my posting over this time, I was still lucky enough to find some real gems. You should definitely check these authors out!

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The Sobeks 2019 – Part 3

Welcome back to The Sobeks – my annual book awards.

While I didn’t have a lot to say in my previous post, I’m pleased to say the most of the books that I read over the summer months have made this list. This was when my “Summer of Middle Grade” event was well underway and I discovered a whole bunch of exciting new authors. It was also around the time that I discovered Owlcrate – a monthly Young Adult subscription service – which has become my favourite new source for random books!

As always, these are all books that I read between July and September of 2019 and awarded 4+ stars on Goodreads. Please do check them out – I really enjoyed them all and would love to hear what you think.

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The Sobeks – Part 2

Welcome to the second part of The Sobeks – my annual award ceremony to honour my very favourite reads.

In case you missed my last post, this is a brief look back at everything that I read last year so I can share with you my absolute favourites. As you are aware, I can sometimes be quite a harsh reviewer and books have to do a lot to earn 4+ stars from me on Goodreads and Amazon.

There actually weren’t any books in April that made the cut this year, but here is a selection of my favourites from May and June, including links to my reviews and where you can buy them for yourself!

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