Art

Moon Draws: Book Box Club Bookmarks Pt. 1

So this month, Book Box Club is celebrating their first anniversary and while commenting on Maja’s instagram, the idea came of making a colouring bookmark for them. Of course, me being me, one colouring bookmark to celebrate the occasion became 12 bookmarks. Why not? This is the moment I have to tell myself that I already add so many details to any design I make, so 12 is not a good idea, but hey ho!

It took a bit of brainstorming with myself to decide what exactly I was going to do. I knew I wanted one bookmark per box and for it to match the theme of the box. But then, that is such a broad idea, so what else?

I dug out all my “theme cards” and suddenly the sparks came. I could not only base it on the theme, but make sure they were a very commemorative exclusive design. Add to the design kudos to items included in the box, or Easter Eggs regarding the book included.

And so, 12 designs were born. (Feel free to guess the book if you didn’t get the box or have fun finding the Easter Eggs if you did).

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You can see Enchanted Forest (September 2016), Freedom Squad (October 2016), Secrets & Sisterhood (November 2016), and Magic by Night (December 2016) above. Followed by Immortal Stories (January 2017), Troublemakers (February 2017), Time Travel (March 2017) and Belles & Beasts (April 2017).

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Finally, we have the last four designs: Wizards at War (May 2017), Schoolroom Scandals (June 2017), Spells & Remedies (July 2017) and Fearless Females (August 2017).

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So what do you think of the designs?

They are in the process of being inked digitally (Part 2 post will show more about how this went) and should be available soon. If you are interested in buying a set please let me know as they are an exclusive design and will only be available for a short period of time.

Subscription Boxes

Warbringer SpecialTea Bookish Tea Box

As you may know, I am a tea drinker. And not just have a cuppa now and then, but the kind of tea drinker that has a lot of loose leaf tins, pesters tea companies to help her find alternatives to tea bags or make their tea available (if you liked FairyLoot’s Warriors & Legends tea, look for Blend No. 66 here). And I am always looking out for new tea blenders and tea providers that care about their customers and specially about your tea.

This brings me to Zilan and Bookish Teas. She comes from a family that blends tea and has been blending tea since she was a child, and it shows, trust me. Every single one of her tea blends that I have tried has blown me away.

So today, I am unboxing one of her Bookish Tea Boxes, one inspired by Warbringer.

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As soon as I opened the box, the fragance of the teas welcomed me. Delicious as usual. The contents were:

  • 3 tea blends. Sisters in Battle (it was the one that had the most inviting smell and I couldn’t resist it, so I made a cup of tea almost as soon as I had unboxed it). Warbringer and Steve’s Gift. (I have yet to try this other two blends but they smell delicious).
  • Two delightful Warbringer pins by eachchronicles illustration.
  • A Themyscira lip balm by Behind The Pages.
  • A Wonder Woman bookmark with a lovely quote by wordsbyjasmine.
  • Themyscira bath salts by The Bookish Beauty Court (this made me very happy and I proudly boasted about them to my boyfriend).
  • A gorgeous illustration by LisyCorner showing Diana as a child and as Wonder Woman, it definitely catches your eye and makes you want to display it somewhere.

I admit I had actually missed out on getting this beforehand, or before first shipping, but once I saw an unboxing of it, I knew I had to have it and I do not regret this at all. Absolutely worth it.

 

 

Books

The Love Letters Review

The Love Letters featured in my favourite book(s) post, and it probably the hardest one to review properly, mostly because it is not YA and it is so much more an adult book than the rest of them.

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The Love Letters, by Madeleine L’Engle

Charlotte Napier has much to learn about herself, her faith, and her marriage. She flees to Portugal, desperately looking for comfort after the death of her son and, she thinks, her marriage. There she finds solace in the letters of a 17th century nun who struggled with temptation and sin. As Charlotte achieves a clearer focus on her own pain, she gains a powerful sense of the rigorous and demanding nature of real love.

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I have to say the GoodReads synopsis doesn’t really make it justice. This was the first adult book I read from Madeleine L’Engle (she writes YA and adult fiction and also non-fiction), and it soon became a favourite.

This is not a everything is well and will be well book. It is almost three parallel stories (though two of them are technically the same story). The first is the main story, where Charlotte has flown to Portugal to try to meet with her mother-in-law and in a way with herself to figure out if her marriage is worth keeping, if it ever was worth it and unknowingly, to grieve the grief she hasn’t been allowed to feel over the loss of her son. Where she ends up staying, has the book of the letter of a nun (which actually exist) and she starts reading it to pass the time and distract herself.

The letters are followed by the second storyline, which follows the nun (Sister Mariana) as she moves from a ‘perfect nun life’ to falling in love with a soldier.

The third storyline is Charlotte’s again, but this time as she looks at her past and what made her be who she is and choose Patrick as her husband.

At first the stories don’t seem very related (young Charlotte goes on about her father, Christmas, life at boarding school, etc at first), but slowly the stories become one and there is beauty in all of them.

As young Charlotte struggles to define herself amongst all the changes and constant moves, the lack of stability and even her father’s moods; adult Charlotte reflects on her decisions and her marriage. Parallel to all of this is Mariana, falling helplessly in love (in a way an act of rebellion, showing that she is untouchable, and trying to justify her actions in so many ways) and then dealing with the aftermath. Poor Mariana never really thought it through, and asked herself what a soldier would want with a nun when he has a family waiting back home (or any woman, to be fair).

The Love Letters tackles exactly what the title says, love. It tackles love from a father, love from caretakers, love from a mother to her son, love between a husband and wife, love between sisters, all the different ways love can exist (and no, it is not only romantic love, but rather family, friends, others, romantic, lust, etc).

Moon recommends

If you are up for a read that will leave you feeling like love doesn’t have to fit the Hollywood script and it is a beautiful but messy thing, then please read this book. I’d just note that it is an adult book and as such tackles topics that a little hard to understand and even relate with as a teenager/young adult.If you’d rather read a Young Adult book that has a similar flavour, I’d recommend And Both Were Young by Madeleine L’Engle, or any other of her books. She has such a marvellous way of writing.

If you’d like to buy the book, it is being reprinted as a paperback and released on the 19th of September here. [I have my mother’s 1980’s copy, I pleaded with her to gift it to me when I moved to the UK, since the book was out of print at the time, so it makes my heart skip a tiny beat to see it is being reprinted.]

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, 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. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.

Books, Subscription Boxes

Otherworlds FairyLoot

One of the boxes I am on a “permanent” subscription is FairyLoot, and somehow I haven’t done an unboxing of any boxes yet, so here goes the first one.

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The theme of the box was Otherworlds which sounded quite interesting. Let’s see what was inside (starting from bottom left corner, going clockwise):

  • A Northern Lights print by Melissa Nettleship.
  • Underneath the print there are also two samplers, one for Blackwing and one for Godsgrave (I already have both samplers, and Blackwing is signed so this was a repeat but not complaining).
  • The book this month was Wicked like a Wildfireby Lana Popovic. It was already on my TBR list so this is a win in my eyes and isn’t it such a gorgeous cover?
  • A magnetic bookmark pairby Paperly and Co, there were 3 different pairs and I got Arwen and Aragorn (aren’t they cute?) which made me quite happy.
  • A Peter Pan inspired notebook by TJLubrano (in case you didn’t know, I really like her work so getting anything new from her will make me happy, though I do wish there were more mugs from her). Also, you can’t see it but on the inside it has a map on the back and a quote on the front. It’s really cute.
  • A Witchsoul candle by Book&Nook. I got Azareen but apparently there were 5 different smells.
  • A Westeros tea infuser in the shape of a sword. It looks really cool, but I have to say what I usually say, it is quite impractical. Getting the loose leaf tea out of it is tricky and you end up with bits and pieces stuck to it. Also, this would have been better if there had been some loose leaf tea included to match and use with it.
  • A Sarah J. Maas necklace by Oh Panda Eyes (you can see how big a fan I am just by how I wrote this description, woops. Thankfully I have a friend who loves her so she will be happy with the necklace). I don’t mind necklaces but I admit I prefer non text charms and if they are fandom related something more classic.
  • The FairyLoot postcard and the matching bookmark (I am still curious to see what the plan is for the collection of bookmarks).
  • A Blackwing temporary tattoo (I have so many left from YALC, so repeat but still okay, it’s extra stuff).
  • A sleep mask that says “Fictional Worlds fuel my dreams”. Fun item to have in a book box but I don’t really use sleep mask except to stop people from peeking when I do a piñata party and I have a fox mask and a cat mask to make for fun pictures of them trying to hit the piñata. This is too “conservative” for that, even if it is cute.

So, this wasn’t my favourite box but somehow August hasn’t been the best box month in general it seems. Still, book, candle, notebook and bookmarks made me happy.

On a wonderful note, FairyLoot for October will include two books and one is an exclusive cover edition. Sounds very exciting. (The interesting part is I am amost 100% sure I have an ARC for the book included for this box).

 

 

 

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Art

Meet the Character Series

Hi and welcome to a new series in my blog, Meet the Character.

As you may (or not) know, I am not only a reader, but I am also a creator and artist (and engineer but that one has not much to do here). And I have several characters that pop up in my drawings relatively frequently (some do more than others). If you follow me on Instagram you may already be familiar with some of them.

The idea behind this series is to give you a little of their story, and to let you know more about them.

This means that each Meet the Character post will include several of my sketches and illustrations that portray that particular character. There will also be some trivia information. For example, my character Moire (a Fasquee) was developed during my time at uni and has gone through several redesigns to get to her current name and design.

There may also be a palette included, and the inspiration behind the character. Maybe there will also be an explanation as to the particular times that character gets drawn or what usually prompts me to choose that particular character for a sketch. (Some characters I only draw when I am feeling in a certain way, some are my go to character to draw when I want to sketch, like Knit or Vixy/MoonKestrel logo fox).

To make this post a little less empty, I can make a short introduction to a “character”, my logo.

Meet the Character: The Flying Bean + Little Fox/Vixy

My first official watermark/logo was The Flying Bean. This started as a joke with a friend, where I was arguing that you could add wings to anything and make it look interesting/cool. You can guess what item they suggested… a bean. So I added some wings and flourishes and it became my logo.

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Fun Fact: During the time this was my watermark, by coincidence I would place it on the character’s shoulder and it looked like a tattoo. To commemorate this, I have it as a tattoo on my shoulder.

I never really planned to change The Flying Bean, but one of my doodling sessions I doodled a sleeping fox and really liked it so I kept refining it until I reached the current logo I use a lot here (it is the one I use for my rating system and my banner).

Being associated with a fox is not new, and we would all draw me as a fox in any caricature we did during school (the earliest drawn record I have of me as a “fox” is from 2005-2006). During my time in uni I would draw short caricatures of friends and me and I started drawing Little Fox (that’s what it was called at the time).

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Little Fox evolved to become Vixy (short of Vixen) and appear all over my sketchbooks as a quick way of materialising my feelings or ordering the chaos in my head.

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Then the logo came to life and somehow I knew it was me, and it was the perfect fit. The logo is a curled up sleeping fox that fits the concept of “Full Moon, Crescent Moon”, has a Vixy/Little Fox and my handle “Moon Kestrel”.

I turned it into a logo when I decided to take the plunge and buy an embosser by Ladd Designs (I have not regretted this at all, the embosser is a magical tool, perfect for books, stickers and any other idea that comes to mind). The original logo was all in Black, and there was a lot of changing the thickness of the lines and figuring the right way to make the design work well with the embosser. I now use it in a tone of orange or a light grey.

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So there you have it, an introductory Meet the Character.  Hope you enjoyed it.

The next installment will introduce you to the Wig Bag Trio.

Disclaimer: All of the artwork belongs to me and has been created by myself unless otherwise stated. Ladd Designs have not paid me to promote them and I do not benefit from this in any way (unless you’d like me to design your logo for your embosser/stamp/wax seal).

Books, Subscription Boxes

August Fantasy Leafer Box

After receiving the Sci-fi LeaferBox, I couldn’t resist but decide to also get the Fantasy one (when I decided to try it, I struggled to decide between the two of them) and once again I wasn’t disappointed.

I should add a note here saying that there was no having to wait to subscribe or buy it or anything, as long as you are still purchasing it during the month you want, you will get that month’s box, so I was able to get both and try one first without issue.

Apparently the only boxes that get a theme (for now) are the Fantasy and Historical boxes, so the theme for this box was Mermaids.

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The box was definitely true to the theme, even in the chocolate included, so without further ado, let’s start from the chocolate and go clockwise on the content.

  • A delicious Ritter Sport chocolate, in Coconut flavour because of course coconuts remind you of beaches and seas and summer and water and it just goes to match with Mermaids. (I did a massive boo boo with the chocolate and left it in the conservatory at midday so it was melted when I came back in the evening and wanted to have it).
  • A temporary tattoo of starfish and seashells and other water/sea bits.
  • A bronze mermaid bookmark which makes me think of those figures at the front of the ships, carved to “protect” it.
  • A necklace with a mermaid tail look and a tiny mermaid charm too (I keep swooning over these simple charms, though the galaxy one still wins over this one).
  • A mermaid pencil (that is hard to show just how full of mermaids it is).
  • And the book which is The Forbidden Sea by Sheila A. Nielson.

Now I hadn’t heard about this book before but hey it is about mermaids and the cover is purple and quite gorgeous so I am all up for reading it and giving it a go.

All in all the box was once again good value and easy to get. So I am still recommending it to anyone that feels like trying it and doesn’t want to dish £25+ for a book subscription box with goodies. You can check them out on their Etsy page if you’d like.

Books, Subscription Boxes

Fearless Females Book Box Club

August’s Book Box Club box was themed Fearless Females and completes the first 12 boxes from them (this being the 12th). At first I was slightly concerned this may be Warbringer since I didn’t want a repeat, but thankfully it wasn’t, and I am happy about it.

As per usual the box was packed full of goodies (and thankfully none of the bonus extras was something I already had from YALC! Bonus points there to no repeats).

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Starting from the theme card and going in a clockwise fashion we had:

  • Cute promotional pins of a Vespa and a film (silver screen vibes for me) to promote Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennet.
  • The actual book, Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls, which I’m buddy reading this time. It is set in the suffragette time and sounds interesting but my history crazy person is going haywire saying “please, please, don’t mess this up, it can be so good”. We shall see, await a review soon.
  • The Clubhouse do not open until the end scroll which includes the time and date for the next meeting and an interview with the author.
  • A jungle like (or at least it gives me that feeling) cute notebook by Nikki Strange. As a random fact, the first box they made also included a notebook by her too.
  • Exclusive Sarah J. Maas magnet which is currently on my fridge (alongside a few other bookish magnets and some pots and pans on hooks but that is another story).
  • A “Fight like a Girl” coaster (it is extremely pink which is a bit not me but it is still kinda cool) by Munky Make.
  • A Crooked Kingdom inspired necklaceby Compton Four, I like the green charm a lot but I have yet to read Crooked Kingdom so I have to take their for it.
  • A postcard promoting the book. (I like the vintage vibes)
  • A delicious smelling Hermione candle by Meraki Candles. There’s no going wrong by having a candle made by Heather. Probably my favourite item of the box.
  • A ‘Fight like a girl’ sticker which I am considering adding to my drawing clipboard somehow.

I have to say it wasn’t my favourite box from the girls, but I also understand they had holidays and YALC getting in the way of this box so it’s okay with me.

I am super hyped about the next box which is the anniversary box with the theme fo OUTLAWS. I wonder what is inside…

If you would like to join our bookish community and discuss the books we read with the author in the Clubhouse, you can use code MOON17 for 5% off your subscription. If you just want goods, you can choose the PURELY BOOKS option. Up to you.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, 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.

 

Books

After The Fire Review

I have been saying that After The Fire is my best read of 2017 but I haven’t actually reviewed it here, so I say it is long overdue and here it is!

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After the Fire by Will Hill

The things I’ve seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.

Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming.

Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out.

What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

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This book was recommended (and gifted) to me by the lovely Kate and Libby from Book Box Club who also loved it and thought it was ideal for me. One of the many reasons is that the main character is called Moonbeam, which made them think of me (because I am Moon, just in case).  So much they wanted me to read it that it was my birthday gift, and what a gift it was!

The story starts with the last moments that Moonbeam spends inside The Fence while a terrible fire is wreaking even more havoc around her. Then the story starts when she actually wakes up in the hospital and realises she is in the hands of the very people she was warned never to talk to, never to disclose all the secrets from inside The Fence to. Poor Moonbeam, can’t blame her for feeling confused and conflicted inside.

But deciding what she should share with the strangers that are giving her sessions and keeping her “locked” in a room isn’t the only thing that is eating her up inside. She is also trying to puzzle out what happened in those last moments once the raid started and then with the fire.

The narrative is amazing at taking you into Moonbeam’s mind and helping you understand why she is thinking what she is thinking. She has been brought up inside the Fence most of her life and after her mother leaves, she is fending for herself inside, unsure if this is the best or not.

The story progresses in jumps since we are being told what Moonbeam sees fit to share with the psychologist and the detective. Of course, at first she isn’t willing to share much, they are the evil and the voice in her head resonates with Father John’s voice blaming her and giving her free guilt trips. [I know all too well how this feels, because more than two years after leaving an abusive relationship I still battle with that voice at times, every day a little less, but it is a nagging persistent pesky thing]. But slowly she makes the so-called progress she is being told about and starts telling more and more and she talks about it, more comes to the surface.

And without spoilers I just have to say that the last few chapters were the right note to end the story and I did not expect a few of the twists about the ending but it was good to find them happen. Once I closed the book I felt okay, pleased with how it had ended despite all that Moonbeam had had to go through.

You’re seriously in for a ride with this one. It is not a soft and fluffy romantic read, but it is a gripping ‘can’t put the book down’ read and I was utterly blown away by it.

From what I have learned (and after meeting the author, who was amazing and signed my copy and remembered me after I kept coming back to chat to him) this was inspired by the Waco Siege in Texas in 1993. I only learned this afterwards, and have now done some research into that. I admit that it is a good inspiration but love Will’s story on its own and to me they are two different events and cults.

Moon recommends

Go read it now. You needs this on the top of your TBR or straight into your hands. But if you’d like interesting gripping reads I can recommend Lies like Love by Louisa Reid, which is about a mother daughter relationship but it is also about manipulation, control, depression and mental illness. Or you can try This Is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn by Aidan Chambers, which is another gripping read, written in six ‘books’ of Cordelia’s adolescent life, by turns funny, poignant, sad, exciting, fascinating ironic and truthful about topics that parents often do not tell their children.

If you’d like to buy the book, you can find it here or you can check out my GoodReads review.

Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, 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. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.

 

 

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.