Books, Subscription Boxes

Illumicrate #8 Unboxing

Illumicrate is a quarterly book subscription box that despite saying it only includes one book usually includes two. My first box was in August last year and I really like receiving it. (I admit I have had issues with delivery but Daphne has always been quick to reply, and apparently Hermes has stopped being nasty with deliveries since this box made it on the first attempt and there were no issues).

Of course, this box was no exception in being packed full of goodies (and I guessed the book correctly, I felt so proud!)

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Starting from the top left corner and going clockwise, contents were:

  • Cute notebook with a Percy Jackson quote
  • Wonder Woman Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo with delightful tinted edges that I adored (and this is the book I guessed)
  • A cute savings glass jar that says “Book Jar” by Blossom Books.
  • An ARC/proof of Nyxia (it sounds like a mix between Hunger Games, Enders Game and The Maze Runner, and according to the author it’s all about depicting compasion).
  • Several publisher bookmarks.
  • Blossom Books cute book note/tags which make me want to use them all on my books as I read (even if I don’t have the having of annotating books)
  • Moxie pins
  • Warbringer square pin/badge
  • Pouch with Shakespeare quote.
  • Quote aout happiness and books that came inside the Book Jar
  • Promotional postcard
  • T-ology The Red Church tea which may or may not contain the blood of your enemies.
  • Coaster that feed my engineering and artist side with feels for some reason and I love it.

At first I wasn’t sure what to think of the contents but somehow they have all made me squeal a little as I write about them. The pouch is holding some picture props like ribbons and other bits and bobs, and the Book Jar is now a challenge my boyfriend gave me.

We’re trying to fill it with coppers (1p or 2p) and see if once full it is enough to buy a book (at retail price). It was such a fun challenge that we ended up turning the house upside down just to find all the pennies we could and somehow managed to do half full jar. Crazy, right?

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So as you can see this Illumicrate was a success once again (it even managed to get my boyfriend involved in the goodies), so check them out if you’d like to buy a subscription.

 

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Books, Subscription Boxes

Sci-fi August Leafer Box

If you remember my long post about subscription boxes, I mentioned LeaferBox.

This is a UK based box that sells through Etsy rather than Cratejoy or their own site. It is also not Young Adult exclusive, instead you get a choice of genres of books to pick from.

Having had a quick conversation with them, currently the only boxes that have a monthly theme are the Historical and Fantasy ones since they are the ones that sell more, but they are not the only ones they sell.

You can choose between Historical, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Chick-Lit, Comedy, Thriller or Surprise (for when you’re not sure which one you want and any will do, or you just like surprise). In each category you can either buy a single box (it does not renew automatically), 3 months or 6 months. Neither option renews itself so once it is done you can decide which one you want next if you do.

Any way, I was divided between trying the Sci-fi one and the Fantasy one, but decided to go for one I didn’t know the theme (Fantasy this month is Mermaids). The wonderful thing is that you can buy the month’s box any day of that given month (which is great because the cut off date is just the end of the month).

So without more rambling from my part, here are the contents of the box.

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Most of the lovely extras were beautifully wrapped in a leafy tissue paper (I thought it was such a sweet little extra thing) and the book was not wrapped (I don’t mind).

The box included some fruit tea called Grandma’s Garden, a cute tea bag shaped infuser (I already have found my most favourite infuser so probably won’t use this one, but that does not take away the cuteness factor and that they thought about how to help you deal with loose leaf tea). There was also a timey whimey Tardis official merchandise Doctor Who bookmarks (isn’t it lovely?). A delicious Ritter Sport (last night I told my boyfriend that I had to take pictures of this box there and then because I couldn’t resist wanting to eat the chocolate and could not wait any longer, so I did -this was the actual day I received the box-). And an absolutely stunning gorgeous galaxy pendant necklace that has made me swoon so much.

Finally, the book included was HellHole which I probably wouldn’t have chosen on my own but it sounds interesting and will definitely be read.

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Look at that wonderful galaxy pendant, isn’t it gorgeous?

All in all I was pleasantly surprised with the box. So much so that I ended up having a quick conversation on Instagram with them and bought the Fantasy box because Mermaids, right?

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This box reminds me a lot of the simplicity of Novel Tea Club (which closed at the beginning of the year) and I am loving it very much. It is also more affordable at £12.99 + shipping than most book subscription boxes, so that’s a plus.

Have you tried LeaferBox? Would you consider it? Let me know your thoughts.

 

Books, Subscription Boxes

Spells & Remedies Book Box Club

This is the first unboxing I post here, and I am so happy it is for Book Box Club.

In case you are new to this blog or just living in another planet, this is my favourite book subscription box and I haven been subscribed to them for almost a year (I still am and there are no plans to cancel that subscription).

The theme was Spells & Remedies and it was for the month of July 2017. It was also a perfect birthday present in so many ways (more on this further in the post).

But before I start raving about them too much, let’s go directly into the contents of the box!

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Starting from the theme card and going in clockwise order, the box was packed full of delightful goodies.

First we have a bookmark from Usborne YA. It is a promotional for After The Fire, by Will Hill. I will just say that you have to read this book because it is currently my 2017 best read book.

Then we have a Hocus Pocus tea pocuh from BlueBird Tea Co. They started out in Brighton and have slowly been introducing themselves into the bookish box world (if I am not mistaken their first book box was Nerdy Bookworm Box).

Then we have a Cabeswater soap which I have yet to try, from Just Fribble. There was another option you could get which was blue. They’re both inspired by The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.

On top of the book of the month is a lovely Shakespeare inspired bookmark (isn’t it so cute and delicate?) by Holly Grace Illustration. It’s so pretty looking I don’t want to take it out of it’s protective cover.

That takes us to the actual book, which was the most gorgeous cover version of The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy. And I have just found out that this paperback cover version of the book is technically way ahead since it won’t be released until next year!

The book has gorgeous prose and at first it is quite strange but it quickly grows on you and now I want to read more and finish it. Can’t wait for the Clubhouse!

Delightful bunting from The Literary Omnistore, it is so pretty and lovely I am tempted to use it but since my bookshelves are on the living room that’s not really a good idea.

Two bookish samplers also were included, one for S.T.A.G.S and one for It Only Happens in the Movies. Haven’t read them yet but surely will at some point and they’ll probably end in my TBR list.

Then we have the scrolled invitation to the clubhouse which is a chat with the author. This are usually packed full of fun, reveals and other tid bits and they’re one of the highlights of my month.

And finally, the Bookish Reflection mirror, designed by yours truly, Moon Kestrel.I didn’t know what the book was but I was given a good idea of what the design should cover and so I did a few sketches, the girls chose the one they liked most, and then I did a final drawing by hand. Once it was approved, I inked it digitally and technically I wasn’t going to colour it, but I couldn’t resist! I over did the details too. Here’s a much bigger version of it.

Book Box Club - Spells and Remedies Coloured

And last but not least, my lovely box arrived a day after my birthday and inside there was a little extra… A birthday card and a copy of After The Fire. I was so surprised by the kindness of the girls, I was speechless.

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If you find Book Box Club interesting, they’re currently selling their Outlaws September box, which is also their anniversary box. If you’d like to get a 5% discount on your subscription, you can use code MOON17 at checkout.

Disclaimer: Those are Amazon Associates links, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs.
None of the other links are sponsored nor do I get anything from promoting them except sharing the love. I am not an official rep for Book Box Club or anything like that either.

Books, Subscription Boxes

A collection of subscription boxes

As many of you may (or not) know, I tend to try and test as many book subscription boxes as I can, throwing a few non book ones in the mix just for fun.

I will list here all the ones I have tried to this day, plus the ones I’d like to try one day. Some do not exist anymore, which is such a shame…

As a disclaimer, I will post the ones that have a renewing subscription enabled (which means that after testing, they made it to the “this makes me so happy I can throw money at it and not have a panic attack” list). After that I will post (in no specific order amongst each category) the ones I tried that are still available, then the ones I tried that have closed shop, and finally the ones I’d like to try.

I will try to include one picture for each box mentioned (except the ones I haven’t tried yet) and a small general review of what they include, my review/thoughts and why I kept it or not. There are very few boxes that haven’t made me happy so most of them didn’t make it to the renewal list due to money (I do not own a money tree, sadly).
As per usual, rating is 0.5(MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey) to 5 (MoonKestrel Logo2 20pxMoonKestrel Logo2 20pxMoonKestrel Logo2 20pxMoonKestrel Logo2 20pxMoonKestrel Logo2 20px).

Boxes I am currently subscribed to

Book Box Club

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Stuffed owl, fairy lights and lankyard not included (wand was).

My first box: Their very first box, launched on September 2016. Theme was ‘The Enchanted Forest’, subscriber since then.

Cost: Starts at £25 (6 months) up to £27.99 (monthly) for the box but if you only want the book (their other modality ‘Purely Books’) then it starts at £40 for a 3 month subscription.
Includes shipping? Yes (UK at least)

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Type of books: Young Adult, in various genres. We have had fantasy, contemporary, time travel, etc.

Goodies: There are usually 4-6 items included and there is always a Book Box Club exclusive that is usually personalised (I have so many lovely goodies that are Moon exclusive). If you want your personalised item to have a specific name, let them know. You also get publisher goodies and an information postcard. They really listen to your suggestions on items you’d like to have included.

This is currently my favourite book box, and there are loads of reasons for that. For starters, it was the first box to actually have an author chat (now a lot of them do it but none like they do). And the best part is that it is done exclusively in the Clubhouse, for those of us who are subscribers. The feel of community is amazing, we have a forum where we also have fun. Basically, you are not only getting a lovely book, the chance to chat with the author and ask questions (even joke around), and the extra goodies which are lovingly planned (Kate and Libby actually plan content thinking on how it’ll look all put together alongside how it will fit the theme), but you are part of a bookish community. No other box has ever given me that. I have made new friends and I am interacting more with lovely bookish people than ever before.

I am not a rep or anything, but I love it all so much, I pestered them to give me a discount code to share around so others could join in on the fun. So if you want to give them a go, you can use MOON17 for 5% off your subscription.
PS. The girls are so cool that I ended up making a lovely design for them (more about this on the unboxing post that will be my next post).

You can subscribe to the boxes or Purely books on their website.

FairyLoot

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My first box: The Steampunk box done last October (?). I wasn’t too impressed so I stopped there but renewed my subscription for their anniversary box and I am currently renewing

Cost: £26 per box. It doesn’t matter if you subscribe monthly or in 3 or 6 months, it’s the same price. The only way to get a discount is through a rep code.
Includes shipping? No, and be careful because VAT will also be included separately if you are in the UK/EU.

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Type of books: Fantasy Young Adult

Goodies: 5-6 goodies. Usually includes a candle or scented item and other goodies. They try to include items no other box has done before (like oven mittens, tea towels, fairy lights, etc).

FairyLoot is a fun box and it also has a community feel but it done mostly through Facebook. It is fantasy only, so you know what you are getting here and it is easier to guess the book. They are currently doing a bookmark collection and try to keep it fresh by including different items. To me it is about 80% hit and 20% miss. I enjoy the boxes but some are quite disappointing. There is usually at least one item I am happy to get rid of and pass on (if not more) and the cost sometimes feels a little steep. It is still good and there is the FairyChat and FairyScoop which add extras.

You can subscribe to the boxes on their website.

Illumicrate

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My first box: August 2016. Have a subscription since then.

Cost: £29.99
Includes shipping? Yes for the UK.

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Type of books: Varied Young Adult

Goodies: It says you get a book and 3-5 goodies but I always find two books and lots of goodies in it.

I was shocked by the amount of goodies and content in it and the fact it had not one but two books, one being an ARC. They are a quarterly subscription so it feels less heavy on your pockets when you get it and there is definitely a good value for money in the contents of the box. It has a good effect on me and usually makes me smile when I receive it.

They are currently sold out but you can subscribe on their website.

Yume Twins

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My first box: June 2017, Birthday Box

Cost: From $27.50 to $29.99 USD.
Includes shipping? Yes, worldwide

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Type of content: Kawaii (cute) items from Japan

Goodies: Usually around 4-5 goodies with a plushie included. At least one of the goodies is an options one (as in you could get one of many variations of the product, it is random).

I am still umming and erring on this box. The content is super cute and the plushies are good quality, which is delightful. It makes me feel cosy and cute all over. But I don’t collect plushies or use most of what it includes so it is tricky. I want it but I also don’t want to spend on something I don’t use. Thankfully they post most of the items included (not all of them) on the box, so you can decide if you want it or would rather skip (the surprise factor is in the items not mentioned and which version of them you got). I have done this for August’s box since nothing really made me go “I want it” but there are some items from September I want so there we go.

You can check them out on their website.

Boxes I have tried that you can try

This is a mix of boxes. Some I buy one every now and then when the theme is something I really really want (and can afford an extra box). Some I tried and they just didn’t make me happy so I didn’t renew. A few I have liked but the cost was too steep to keep it up so I had to stop. Here is this collection of boxes.

Owlcrate

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You can see that my unboxing picture skills needed a lot of improving

My first box: Myths and Legends, November 2015

Cost: Monthly subscription is $29.99 USD.
Includes shipping? No, it is added afterwards.

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Type of books: Young Adult

Goodies: 3-5 goodies

Owlcrate was my first subscription box, but as you can see, I started doing them almost two years ago. There weren’t as many choices at the time so I kept this going but it came to a point when the goodies felt rehashed, it wasn’t good value for money and I had so many issues getting my box delivered to my home (and it was just this box, other deliveries were fine) that I stopped my subscription in August 2016. Also most of the books included weren’t the wow factor except maybe This Savage Song which was a repeat I got (another book box had sent it a month before Owlcrate did) and I have to say that since then there hasn’t been a box I feel I missed out on.

You can subscribe to their box  on their website.

Lit-Cube

My first box: Beauty and the Beast themed

Cost: $34.95 per box.
Includes shipping? No.

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Type of books: Varied, not exclusively Young Adult though it does have some of those.

Goodies: Bookish goodies to make a magical experience. I can’t remember exact quantities.

I loved the B&B box I received and then that month they had to make a tough decision and stop sending international boxes so there died my subscription. I have only recently found out that they are doing international shipping again, so I looked at the September theme and decided to give this a go again. Depending on results I may consider more of them. The only downside is that it is on the pricier side of the scale and from America (all boxes from America generate customs issues or delays, and it is not the boxes fault at all).

Also sadly I do not have a matching picture of the unboxing but you can check out their website for more info on them. They also make a Stars-Hollow monthly box if that peaks your interest (which I haven’t tried so yeah).

Ninja Book Box

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My first box: Summer Box

Cost: £26 per quarter
Includes shipping? Yes if you’re in the UK.

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Type of books: Indie

Goodies: Bookish goodies

This is an indie books box, and as such is more low key. Still, the one box I’ve tried which is their summer reads (which is totally different to the usual box as in it didn’t have any goodies alongside except bookmarks) and I was pleasantly surprised with it. It even included one book I had been eyeing up for a while so definitely recommend.
I have missed out on the next boxes for one or another reason and they end up being sold out before I make up my mind about getting it.

You can check them out on their website.

Magic Chest

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My first box: I think it was May’s box and it was Against All Odds.

Cost: €29.99 for a monthly subscription
Includes shipping? No

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Type of books: Fantasy books

Goodies: 3-5 bookish goodies

Sweet box for fantasy books, with cute content though I couldn’t justify the cost considering it comes from Germany so I have put it on the side burner to see when a theme is something I really want.

You can check them out on their website.

The Bookish Box

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My first box: Ravenclaw House Box (2017)

Cost: They have one time boxes and a regular subscription, Ravenclaw box was on the quite expensive side.
Includes shipping? No

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Type of content: Bookish goodies

Goodies: 3-5 bookish goodies and usually a wearable (if I am not mistaken). You can add a book for extra cost.

I was a little disappointed with the content for this box. Definitely it wasn’t a good value for money and this one time box made me decide not to keep trying. IT was also delayed a lot to be delivered (I had even forgotten I had paid for it and was supposed to receive it until it arrived, which isn’t very encouraging). The T-shirt is nice and the candle smelled delicious but otherwise I wasn’t wowed by it.

You can check their other boxes and options on their website.

The Accio Box

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My first box: I am not sure which month, but I know I emailed them to see if they would open international shipping just for me (I was willing to pay the shipping just to get this box).

Cost: From $34 per month to $39.99
Includes shipping? No

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Type of content: Exclusively Harry Potter themed goodies, no book.

Goodies: 3-5 indie goodies, hand curated. High quality.

This is not your usual subscription box. It doesn’t have lots of items, but the ones it does have are quite high quality. They are the kind of things I would favourite on Etsy but never buy because I would think they are too expensive even if they are lovely. There is no book to be included in the box either.
The only reason why I stopped my subscription is that customs was becoming very difficult to navigate. The actual custom was very small but the “handling” charge the post office was adding made it become at least half the price of the box which was most definitely not fun.
I sincerely recommend this box to anyone in the US & Canada, or if you don’t mind paying customs on top of the box price. The content was indeed high quality (highest quality tote bag I have ever received, even better than some I have bought independently) and most of it has been used nicely (for example, soap dish is happily being used in my shower and the bubble bar I am trying to ration to make it last because it is so lovely!).

You can check them out on their website.

Anime Quarterly Meraki Candles Box

My first box: Ghibli themed box

Cost: £21.99
Includes shipping? No

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Type of content: Candles and other goodies related to the theme.

Goodies: I think it is 2  4oz candles and about 3-5 other goodies.

I love Ghibli and also love Meraki Candles. Heather is amazing at making delightful candles that smell oh so good, so this was a no brainer for me. I didn’t regret it at all though I just realised that I never took a picture of the content which is very silly of me.
I didn’t buy the next box mostly because of the theme rather than because I don’t like the content, Yuri on Ice doesn’t do anything for me. But I have bought other of her candles and have loads more in my collection.

You can check her Etsy, but at the moment it is closed temporarily.

Bookish Teas Box

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My first box: Magical London

Cost: £22.45
Includes shipping? No

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Type of content: Tea and other goodies

Goodies: Three different kinds of bookish themed tea and extra goodies.

This is the best tea I have ever tried. It is amazing! I was blown away by it when I received my box, and now I want to buy more because I need more of these wonderful tea. Zilan includes a Tealicious pamphlet which has recipes you can do to use the tea in fun ways. I am not subscribed mostly because of being picky about the themes of the boxes but I buy her tea separately anyway because it is so good.

You can visit her website to find more lovely tea.

Scrawlr Box

Scrawlr

My first box: Sometime around December 2016

Cost: £15 per month
Includes shipping? No

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Type of content: Art supplies

Goodies: Several art supplies, a bookmark detailing contents, and something to use your supplies on.

This is an art subscription box and for the price it wasn’t too bad, it is good value for money. But as an artist I don’t use every supply, so some of them were more like “oh I don’t do this medium but I guess I can try it” and then I contacted their customer service and had a bad experience and empty promises so that put me off and I didn’t renew after 3 months.

You can check them out on their website.

Chimasu

Chimasu

My first box: Can’t remember exactly when I think start of this year, February/March

Cost: Prices start at £16 per box
Includes shipping? No

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Type of content: Asian snacks

Goodies: Loads of asian snacks, loads.

This is a fun subscription box if you like food and snacks and asian things. I found it to be great for trying new things and then going and buying the ones I liked at the asian supermarket nearby. I found a lot of snacks I wouldn’t have tried otherwise and also some I had wanted to try but hadn’t dared.
I stopped my subscription because I wasn’t eating all of it by the time the next box came so I felt like it was going to waste. This is mostly because it is just so full of nice stuff. And I do consider rejoining at some point.

You can check out their website if you’d like to try some snacks.

STICKII Club

My first envelope: Sometime early this year (2017)

Cost: $10 per month
Includes shipping? No

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Type of content: Stickers

STICKII is a bundle of cute stickers (you can choose from three types and each gets a different theme each month) and sometimes extra stationery. I like it a lot but for financial reasons cut it short and now only buy a theme if I am dying to have it. They usually send spoilers so have an idea of part of the stickers you will receive.
No picture because for some reason I never took one (even though I have received 5+).

Check their website out if you’re interested in stickers.

LootWear (For Her)

My first box: It was Bioshock related

Cost: £14 per month
Includes shipping? Yes

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Type of content: A wearable specific for females

This was a fiasco. A big one. I tried it twice and both times they sent the wrong item or the wrong size and I had to contact support and get them to send the right item (I got to keep the one that was wrong) and the delivery took ages and it was just not great. Items were also not such great quality so didn’t continue.

LootCrate J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World

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My first box: Their launch box

Cost: £39 (it was much higher when they started at over £50)
Includes shipping? Yes

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Type of content: Harry Potter/ J. K. Rowling wizarding world themed

Goodies: 5-7 items

This was also a sad affair with Lootcrate. As I mentioned before, the box cost a lot more before, so it was most certainly NOT good value at all. I can’t say how it fares now. But what I can say is that most of the items were cheap quality and most certainly had not much of “exclusive” (I had seen items almost the same at Primark for a fraction of the price, and hey look Primark has even launched an HP themed line). Most of the items I gave away since I didn’t enjoy them at all and they felt so cheap I was not happy with how much I had paid for the box.

You can check both LootCrate boxes on their website alongside more of their options.

Boxes I have tried that have stopped their services

I try a lot of boxes and there are a few that haven’t made it and stopped their services. Most of them were very good and I wish they had had a better chance.

My Bookish Crate

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This was a UK based box that first introduced us to TJ Lubrano’s artwork and it used to have good content. I was sad to hear it say they would stop their services and the last box was a slight disappointment. The picture is the first box I bought from them (my unboxing skills still evident). This was last year and I had an ongoing subscription until the last box.

 

Nerdy Bookworm Box

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Anther good UK box that didn’t make it. It had more indie content and was less popular but still good. Sadly I didn’t keep a subscription and just bought boxes here and there…

 

Novel Tea Club

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A box from Canada that was focused on sending pampering goodies, it used to have an indie book, some tea/coffee, pampering goodies and a bookmark and I used to love it very much until they stopped at the beginning of this year. I was sad to see them go since they always made me smile.

 

Boxes I’d like to try

Most of these I haven’t tried due to them being from America (customs and shipping are killers), some of them because of how expensive they are, and a few I haven’t had a chance to grab one and they are sold out each time I try to get one.  They are still on my wish list for now.
I am not reviewed in detail any of them until I have actually tried them so this is more of a “these boxes exist, may be worth trying”

ShelfLove Crate

Bookish Land (it has a fox, I need this but price has kept me from buying it)

Enchanted Book Box

Unicorn Crate

Leafer Box (I am awaiting my first box, I chose sci-fi)

SpearCraft Book Box

Once Upon A Book Club

So the tally is 20 boxes tried, 7 to try.

If you have any boxes that you think I might like to try please let me know. I am willing to try to review boxes if they pique my interest.

Disclaimer: These are my opinions and only that. I have tried so many boxes I know what I like in a box and what I don’t. What makes a box is the wow factor and the “this makes me happy and I don’t feel like I wasted money on this” feeling. Please know that for most boxes I subscribe for at least 3 months to give them a good chance, so I form my opinion over several boxes, there are a few exceptions were one box was enough for me to decide not to try them any further. It is up to you to decide what you want on a box and if the content is good value for money to you. I pay for the boxes from my own pocket so I try to choose wisely. None of the boxes mentioned here have sponsored me to review them or given me a free box to review.