Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: At the Masquerade Book Box Club

Subscription box: Book Box Club

Theme/Month: At the Masquerade, January 2021

Ownership: Subscribed on their 12 boxes option. If you are interested in purchasing a Book Box Club subscription, you can do it on their website.

Book Box Club is a young adult subscription box, the unique thing is the Clubhouse where you can chat to the author a month (or so) after the box was shipped and ask questions and just chat around. It also includes several goodies and usually the choice of book is one that is unique and not in other book boxes so very little chances of duplicate books and a lot of new reads discovery power.

Ok, were finally catching up with this years boxes, and this was a good one, so let’s see what was inside, starting at the top left and going clockwise:

  • Theme card, I like that it shows the name of the theme and the month it is from so it helps my brain remember which month it was.
  • Mask of Mirrors, which sounds amazing and I am looking forward to reading it with some buddies!
  • Some advert for the Penguin Book Club.
  • Sumptuous Supplies list, which is becoming a shopping list soon once I finish up the last few pages of my current one. Love getting this perfect shopping list pads.
  • A mini tote/lunch bag which is super cute and a wonderful size.
  • Slightly hidden under the book is a nucao, which is vegan chocolate bar. It was slightly more bitter than I expected it to be, so it wasn’t bad but wasn’t amazing either.
  • A metal bookmark inspired by Nevernight.
  • Extra surprise cute face mask. I am glad the boxes are sending fabric masks that are cute and fun to wear.
  • And finally a candle which is all gold and glittery and wonderful .

Overall, I enjoyed the contents a lot, they felt sumptuous and like you were going to a masquerade. A face mask is an interesting spin to a masquerade attendance but why not? Quite good and February is meant to be awesome, so looking forward to it!

Book Review

Moon Reads: The Magpie Society: One For Sorrow

The Magpie Society: One For Sorrow by Zoe Sugg and Amy McCulloch

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

Read before: No

Ownership: I had ordered a signed copy from Waterstones, plus a copy came in Book Box Club Secret Societies

Spoiler free review: Yes

Series: The Magpie Society, Book 1.

Content warnings: Some adult grooming and relationship between adult and underage girl implied.

Obviously this one caught my interest a lot initially because I wanted to read it and got two copies. However I have to say the lower rating is partly because I really struggled to get on with the main characters up until probably the very end.

The mystery, the murder, I was loving that and the whole Illumen Hall atmosphere alongside the rules and you know, the feeling of it being a boarding school and how the students interact and have ways around rules but also how they follow certain rules to a specific point, it was fasicnating and that part I loved, alongside the interview/podcast we get in some chapters which added to the mystery and also moved the story along with new insights.

But as much as I could understand a bit where Ivy was coming from, she had been working super hard to achieve a single person room, and to achieve so many things, and then Lola’s death crumbled some of those plans, and obviously, she’s also grieving. Like a lot has happened to her and is out of her control and also, Audrey doesn’t make it easy to fit in, but rather easy to not get along too much. However, despite understanding her, I wasn’t initially too much into her character and struggled to connect, the writing just wasn’t doing it for me. I did get there once we get more into the action and less just for the sake of, and I have to say, what happens at the boat was pretty fun and helped me like the characters more.

And we have Audrey, who was too American, too meh and just a bit self centered and trying too hard to keep her mystery to herself. Once again, I kept reading the chapters of her and just could not be interested in her except to go “oh you poor dear who is trying so hard to not fit and be trendy and fit at the same time”. Maybe I could not relate because I have never been the popular girl demoted from popularity and seeking it again, but given that I was struggling to get along with both of them, I assumed it was more to do with how the story was being presented rather than specifically the characters.

It does get a lot better as the story goes, but I was sad that barely anything happens in the book, and I think partly it was those starting chapters that could have made it much bette rif they had been trimmed down and maybe had less of them. But overall, I want to know more, want to see who the Magpie Society are and how you join them, and we still don’t know who killed Lola or why or anything.

As I said, overall, it was a good boarding school read but could have been a lot better.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Secret Societies Book Box Club

Subscription box: Book Box Club

Theme/Month: Secret Societies, November 2020

Ownership: Subscribed on their 6 boxes option. If you are interested in purchasing a Book Box Club subscription, you can do it on their website.

Book Box Club is a young adult subscription box, the unique thing is the Clubhouse where you can chat to the author a month (or so) after the box was shipped and ask questions and just chat around. It also includes several goodies and usually the choice of book is one that is unqiue and not in other book boxes so very little chances of duplicate books and a lot of new reads discovery power.

For some reason I got my monthly boxes mixed up and didn’t show off the November one! Who knows why? Still, nevermind let’s see what the contents were starting at the bottom left and going clockwise:

  • Theme card
  • The main book, The Magpie Society: One for Sorrow by Zoe Sugg and Amy McCulloch. I have liked previous books by Amy so was excited to read it, I have read it now and well, review to come.
  • A Starless Sea sticker of bees and books, it is very cute.
  • A book sleeve, which to be fair I have used more as lunch bags and stuff, but they are really good and strong.
  • A cute little Unashamedly Bookish notebook for all those secret society meeting notes 😉
  • Clubhouse invite
  • Chocolate orange key, you’ll definitely lose this key in your stomach!
  • And a patch, which I can’t remember what it was about, you can totally see I am not big on patches, right?

Overall, once again the box puts a lot of effort into fitting the theme, getting a variety of fandoms included and a balanced mix of cute items and useful items. I do like the ideas they have behind choosing each item and the book was an interesting read, so all good.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Miracles at Midnight Book Box Club

Subscription box: Book Box Club

Theme/Month: Miracles at Midnight, December 2020

Ownership: Subscribed on their 6 boxes option. If you are interested in purchasing a Book Box Club subscription, you can do it on their website.

Book Box Club is a young adult subscription box, the unique thing is the Clubhouse where you can chat to the author a month (or so) after the box was shipped and ask questions and just chat around. It also includes several goodies and usually the choice of book is one that is unqiue and not in other book boxes so very little chances of duplicate books and a lot of new reads discovery power.

I like the December boxes because they usually have a treat feel to them and this is not the exception, starting on the top left and going clockwise, lets go through the contents:

  • A sampler of eight awesome reads, there is a link to them and also just a bit of info on them. I like this one as it gives me an idea of new reads and when to expect them.
  • Theme card.
  • Personalised clubhouse invite, which I think is a lovely detail!
  • Cute star pin
  • Night circus inspired ornament which went straight to the Christmas tree.
  • Bibbidi bobbidi boo soap
  • Mystery proof, I like that you get a random one out of a choice if a few so you never know which one you will get and then asking others which oen they got!
  • A cute calendar full of quotes for 2021
  • Reading socks! I love socks in book boxes.
  • The main book, Paris in Starlight by Robert Dinsdale, the author of Toymakers which was interesting so quite intrigued by it.

Overall, I enjoyed the box, it had a festive quality to it and it was full of midnight and miracle vibes so I felt it matched well the theme. I totally recommend it as it has the bonus of the clubhouse, and it was through them I found a lot of friends.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: From Afar Book Box Club

This year has been challenging, but who says you can’t find other ways to travel? I do know it is hard and it is not the same, but having this box arrive and add some sunshine to my day does help. Starting from the bottom left corner and going clockwise:

  • Grown sampler, this looks like a tough but very good read and I am intrigued by it.
  • A South Korea mug which I love the artwork for and I have been using it a lot, it makes me smile.
  • A list of books to read that may give you adventures and travel feelings.
  • Once and Future Witches promotional items
  • A tea towel to match the main book. Tea towels are usually a great addition to book boxes and I end up using them a lot, plus this one is a generous size.
  • Exclsuive clubhouse invite, personalised.
  • The theme card, vibrant and showing off the world.
  • The Deep Blue Between, book of the month.
  • A Chai hot chocolate mix, which I havent tried because I have a few other hot chocolates open, but love the fact that we had a mug and a hot chocolate in it!
  • A room spray which smells very delicious and inviitng.

Overall the box makes me feel like I subscribed to one of those travel around the world in items boxes but with a bookish twist. Since I didn’t travel this year and a lot of plans got changed, it was nice to have a lot of colour and variety in it and just feel like maybe in the future things can happen again.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Once Upon A Story Book Box Club

Still behind on my unboxing posts, but will hopefully catch up soon on it. For today I am unboxing Book Box Club’s Once “Upon A Story” box, which does have a distinct fairytale vibe with all that was included. So what was inside? Starting from bottom left corner and going clockwise:

  • Personalised clubhouse invite, this is for a chat with the author which is pretty fun as you get to aks questions and interact with other people who get the box.
  • Fairytale Sparrow + Wolf designed cushion cover, which is super cute and big fairytale book vibes. It feels right for a kids room or a reading room for sure.
  • The main book, which has a middle grade feel to it but looks stunning here, D: A Tale of Two Worlds by Michel Faber.
  • A Weekly Book Planner all lovingly decorated with magical beings and lots of ways to record what you’ve read. I like the concept of these but I am terrible at the execution of it, somehow this blog and Goodreads are as good as it gets with my reading tracking and I don’t plan much what I read or set specific goals because then that takes the fun out of reading sadly.
  • No Place Like Home candle, I have generally no complaints abut candles since they’re usually nicely scented and I use them when I am working so all good.
  • Postcards to promote another book but also they are very dance and circus-like which I like a lot given I train aerial arts in my free time.
  • Theme card, which on the other side has the contents detailed and why alongside links to the makers.
  • A multiuse scarf with a fantasy story/fairytale vibe. I have to admit I haven’t used any of the ones they send but they are quite fun as a multiuse thing and I think if I put my head to it I would use them more, but I end up not doing much with my hair or neck, so this goes unused.
  • An Auryn pin, which is very stunning.

Overall the items look amazing together and outside of the fact I am not very good at making use of two of them I like them, they fit the theme and are generally useful rather than just clutter generating. I do wish I was more into making notes and organising things. I can still highly recommend their boxes as they bring me a lot of joy!

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Moonlit Melodies BookBox Club

A slightly moon themed box, as we know Book Box Club tends to be less “popular” books (not that they aren’t good books, but it is the kind of box I’d recommend buying for diverse and not hyped enough kind of books), but the content tends to be nice and you get the benefit of the Clubhouse, so let’s see the contents starting with theme card and going clockwise:

  • Theme card, they have a resident artist that works on making the theme card match both theme and book and they are always lovely.
  • A biscuit, this literally only lasted long enough to have the picture taken and then it was devoured by yours truly. I love that they send a gluten free biscuit so trying to make sure it is a nice experience for even more box recipients.
  • A quote pouch, I like them since they’re quite useful and like that they’re fabric.
  • A sampler for Cinderella is Dead
  • Promotional book mark for Daughter of Lies and Ruin.
  • A playlist and EP from The Bookshop Band. Look to me this was really cool because it means they’re looking at recommending things to go with the theme and the box and just more bookish items.
  • An eye (?) mask or some kind fo facemask.relaxation item with a space motif, which sounds intriguing and good for a relaxing day.
  • Moon Child stickers, they are beautifully themed and I was having a cute moment with them.
  • Clubhouse invite, this is a month or so after the box is delivered and you get to chat with the author alongisde other members. It’s really fun.
  • Door hanger to indicate you’re busy either reading or lseeping for both day and night usage. It is wooden and has gorgeous art on both sides.
  • And finally, the main book, Ghost Wood Song which I had been looking forward to reading and can’t wait to buddy read with friends.

One more thing I want to highlight is that Book Box Club have been super clear when they have had delays, and even then the delays have been minimal. They even managed to get a replacement book for a previous box when the publication date got moved and found a perfect replacement in a short span of time. I can highly recommend them as great customer care, great service and nice little perks.

Books, Subscription Boxes

Courageous and Kind Book Box Club Unboxing

June’s Book Box Club definitely felt like they took the condition of the world into stride and wanted to give us all a pick up, a lifeline saying “you can be courageous and kind” and that they care, so let’s see what was inside. Starting from the top right corner and going clockwise:

  • A cute banner with watercolour art, I generally do not keep banners or prints but this one immediately went on to the side of one of my bookcases. I guess it felt right for me…
  • Vegan rainbow sweets, I love it when sweets and treats are included in the box.
  • Clubhouse invite
  • A patch/decal that says Courage Dear Heart and has a nice desing, it makes me think of a cool tattoo design or something.
  • The theme card, very vibrant and alive!
  • A tiny cute planter which I think is adorable (just be careful as it doesn’t have drainage holes)
  • And to top the tiny planter, some seeds. This is one thing I like in some book boxes, they add things that go together, like value add, in this case you don’t just get a planter, you get something to plant in it.
  • The main book which is The Short Knife. It wasn’t in my radar at all and it sounds quite interesting so looking forward to buddy reading it.
  • A print with a quote from the book.

All in all, this is a cute box and it lifted my mood and spirits plus was a gotcha in that the book was completely out of my radar and I love that.

Books, Subscription Boxes

Dangers & Dragons Book Box Club Unboxing

Book Box Club’s May box was all about dragons and I am always happy with a dragon themed box (who doesn’t like dragons? as long as they’re not toasting you to a crisp). And I also had the super awesome jigsaw puzzle somehow match this, so let’s see what was in the box, starting on the top right corner:

  • Theme card.
  • Dragon socks, they are the PERFECT socks to make a dragon sock puppet because the other side has an open dragon mouth. I wish it came with two pairs of them so I could do sock puppet and wear a pair of socks.
  • A golden foil print of Smaug, which is super gorgeous!
  • Dragon necklace
  • Dragon egg bath bomb, it smells delicious and I am looking forward to it.
  • Hungarian Horntail candle.
  • The main book, which is Burn by Patrick Ness. I am unsure about it mostly because I wasn’t too keen on previous books.
  • Personalised clubhouse invite
  • A sampler of All Your Twisted Secrets
  • A card set to promote Wodnerland by juno Dawson.

My favoruite thing was the socks, because they’re so cute, but it was a very dragon themed box and I am happy with it.

Book Review, Books

Thorn Review

Thorn by Intisar Khanani

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

Thron was included in one of the recent Book Box Club boxes. However, I had it on preorder and didn’t catch that it was the same book, so I got duplicates and gifted a copy to a friend.

Obviously means I was eager to read it, right?

From the start, there is a fairy tale undertone to the story (I know it is based on the story of the goose girl, but some books that are based on fairy tales do not read like one) and it sets the tone for the rest of the book in a wonderful way.

We meet Alyrra as she is preparing to meet her future husband’s family. She is in general a resigned unhappy princess that would rather have a different life. However, she doesn’t want an adventure as one would expect. What she wants is just peace, to be able to be insignificant in a way. And she wants to not have her cruel family over her. As much as she is unsure about the alliance through marriage and who the prince is, she sees this as a way out of her family and country to somewhere that may be better.

What she doesn’t expect is to end up as the lady in company of the princess rather than the actual princess, which puts her into the position of a goose girl as ajob. Which she finds delightful. It is hard work, but it is work and she is gettign exactly what she wants. Plus there’s a wonderful talking horse, Falada, that she has for ocmpany.

The story follows the bones of the goose girl fairy tale but adds to many beautiful layers on top. One of my favourite lines is the concept of family and unity, of found family rather than the given one (which really spoke to me). Another one is the concept of justice and what that may mean. Can justice be truly fair? What does that mean and how is it decided? There is also the way Alyrra starts to figure out who she is outside of the obligations of being a “princess”. And it is interesting to see how she views herself as something but in truth she is ahead of how she sees herself. She calls herself a coward often, but has a lot of courage, and it takes her time to understand that and to see what she is doing as courageous.

I think those layers and the many characters that are very defined in the story, like Sage, Violet, Ash, Oak and Joa make it even better as a fairy tale on it’s own. Vety enjoyable, feels old and as if it has existed for so long and yet it is fresh and has a lot of questions. Probably the best way to describe Thorn is to say that this is what a fairytale ought to be in 2020. Something to become a classic read over and over and seen as a comfortable uncomfortable story with magic woven through it.

Highly recommend reading it and giving it a chance.