Books, Subscription Boxes

Cursed Kingdoms Book Box Club Unboxing

One thing I admire about the girls is that somehow they’ve maanged to make a great box despite the delays in deliveries other boxes seem to be struggling with (and delayes in delivery, etc). The box even suffered from a change of the main featured book, but somehow they still made it on time. So, let’s unbox this, starting from the top center:

  • Zelle inspired soap.
  • The invite to the Clubhouse.
  • Framing both sides of the picture, are set of gorgeous prints that I can’t stop admiring.
  • A patch that says “Rule the World” (I am not big on patches, but I like this one is not iron on but more like “sew on”).
  • Seven Endless Forest, which is by the same author of Boneless Mercies and I am so excited to read it!
  • A sampler to The Book of Longings. I got hooked on Sue’s books with The Secret Life of Bees so was excited for this.
  • An eye mask to give you the best sleep out of a 100 year curse 😉
  • A biscuit, which was yummy and my husband even recognised which fairytale this was from without a hint from me.
  • Thorn, which I am utterly excited to read and heard great things about it.

There was also a promotional for Tales by Mail their middle grade box that will start soon.

All in all, I enjoyed the contents, the box doesn’t feel like less quality than usual (I’ve been feeling this with another book box so I highly appreciate all the care of this one) and one thing the girls get right is how the box looks all together not just each item. I am very pleased with it.

Books, Subscription Boxes

Natural Magic WeReadBox Unboxing

I managed to get a nice deal for the WeReadBox of November 2019, since there was some issues with the one for The Strangeworlds Travel Agency. As expected, as soon as I saw the fox theme I had to have it (what else, right?). So to unbox what is inside, let’s start on the top right:

  • A jigsaw puzzle for the image on the box. This is to match both books, and I love it.
  • The Clockwork Crow and The Velvet Fox, as the two featured books by Catherine Fisher.
  • A bookmark that is two sided one per book.
  • A super gorgeous fox enamel pin (it is inbetween the books).
  • A tiny acorn phone charm (it’s on top of the black piece of paper)
  • And the final item is a craft to make an ornament with an origami fox and crow and a cog.

This was my first WeReadBox and I am glad I got it, plus the theme was wonderful and it has a lot of foxes. The craft intrigues me, but you need to go to their website to find instructions and I kinda wish there had been instructions on the leaflet that comes with the books just in case, but otherwise I like the contents of the box and can’t wait to get the one for Strangeworlds!

Books, Subscription Boxes

Sparks Fly Illumicrate Unboxing

A slightly delayed unboxing of Illumicrate’s February box since the box itself was delayed due to the pandemic. So let’s see what was inside!

Starting from the center with the theme booklet, and going clockwise:

  • Sparks Fly theme booklet/spoiler card
  • A book shaped tin. I like these because they’re useful for trinkets and look so good on the shelves. This one is inspired by Stalking Jack the Ripper.
  • A roll-on perfume, it smells amazing even if the name makes for amusing “what scent are you wearing?” “I’m wearing god of lies”. I like the roll-on ones because they’re easy to apply and “top up”.
  • Sorcery of Thorns pop socket. I am a bit torn on this one. The quality looks bad and the artwork which is nice doesn’t look too great, so it is tricky (also, how often does one change the pop sockets? I haven’t changed the one on my phone since I first put it a few years ago, so this won’t get used any time soon).
  • Coasters inpired by A Darker Shade of Magic pairings.
  • Serpent & Dove inspired bookmark clip.
  • And the book, which is The Midnight Lie. I haven’t read any of the other books by the author, so I am curious to see how it reads.

All in all the box still feels like there’s not enough love going into it (I know that there was no coin so I am not taking any points out due to that, delays have been affecting everyone, this pandemic isn’t the reason the box wasn’t as great). I just wish I could feel all the care going into the boxes as they used to.

Books, Subscription Boxes

A Power Within Owlcrate Unboxing

So far, Owlcrate has been the overall favourite in the office and it is not hard to see why. They seem to have the most interesting items and feel like quality plus less “you only get it if you like the fandom” and more “even if you’re into the the fandom, you’ll enjoy this item” which helps attract people to the box (they love it at work). So what did this box include?

Starting from the top left corner and going clockwise:

  • Chain of Gold sampler. Don’t care much about it, but sure others did.
  • Throne of Glass playing cards. I am very much a “do not want this item if it is SJM inspired”, but I swooned for the deck here. The cards are more hard plastic than card stock, a gorgoeus purple with a stunning gold design and they feel amazing when you shuffle them. The artwork is an added bonus which is gorgeous (even if I have no clue who they are).
  • The monthly pin just underneath the card box, probably not the best one but not bad.
  • Ok, this for me was the best item in the box. A bento box with cutlery set and space for it. Look at it. It has the clips on the side to ensure it closes, it is just SO good and a cute light green. Oh, and the symbols are from Mistborn series and all the metal allomancies, which is extra bonus.
  • Another unusual item and I am so happy to have it, a glasses cleaning cloth. With stunning artwork and it came in a cute pouch and I was like “heck yeah, one to keep”.
  • The Magicians inspired keyring. It is fun and has gone into my collection.
  • Metallic bookmark ruler stencil thing that is just a wonderful little gadget to have insire a book for an artist or ruler seeking fiend like me.
  • The theme card with a gorgoeus lilar background I was just happy with (the whole thing is great)
  • Finally, the book. All the Stars and Teeth which I don’t much about but I like the cover and I am intrigued to read it, so we shall see how that goes.

All in all, it had a few new items I haven’t seen in other boxes and that Bento box fully blew me away. It was a stunning box and it is still the favourite overall (some people preferred February’s Fairyloot box over this one in the office, but most thought the Bento was too good).

Book Review, Books

The Guinevere Deception Review

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

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

This book was one that came in Tales of Trickery Owlcrate, and a few of us decided to buddy read it. Now, from previous reading of the author’s books, I was a bit unsure if I’d like it as I haven’t really clicked much with her books. But this is a book about Guinevere, and Arthurian legend which automatically makes me want to give it a chance (which I did).

Guinevere is one of those “naive, don’t know much about the world and the reader discovers through my eyes”. This kinda works but at the same time it doesn’t. Maybe because I’ve read other books about King Arthur and watched Merlin and all that, that the whole “oh, discover the world” wasn’t as intriguing and got old relatively fast. But it did help see the interpretation of the Arthurian world int he book, and how magic is banned and there’s some magic supporters but it is a tough decision for Arthur and he’s sticking by it.

Now, we know little of Guinevere except that she isn’t actually her and has another name she has to forget (mild spoiler alert: we never really find out her name, she conveniently forgets it, somehow, which really put me off because it is solely for the purpose fo making you read the next book). And she knows magic and is being married of to Arthur so she can protect him and make sure everything is fine. I found the concept of the whole she isn’t who she is, and the “is magic good or should it be banned, but there’s bad magic?” intriguing.

However, this quickly became a guide to “knot magic” without actually even telling you how to do the know magic. What do I mean by this? Her magic is knots, and she makes them for everything. So every few pages, she decides she needs magic to protect Arthur or set a warning or some odd thing and goes on about needing knots and how the knot makes magic but it isn’t like Merlin’s magic. And it gets old fast as there is nothing new there except what we already know from fae lore and from Arthurian legend.

In general, the book feels like it dragged to try to make a full book just to sell more books into the story. Some fo the twists on characters were refreshing and made me like the book, but it just felt like it dragged and some of the twists felt like they went against everything and were plot characters rather than actual fleshed out characters and solely relied on you being familiar with Arthurian legend (or maybe not so you don’t care) to fill in the gaps.

All in all, I just really wish this had been a duology or a better fleshed book. There’s not enoguh of the magic explained, and just barely anything explained to move the plot forward much except sending Arthur on adventures to keep him busy so Guinevere can do more knots (I ended up rolling my eyes at this all after a while), and getting cryptic chapters to fill int he gaps with more useful information (that only really gets useful closer to the middle-end).

Not sure if I will buy the next one or read it. Depends on if someone thinks it is great and redeems the story.

Books, Subscription Boxes

Roses are Red Book Box Club Unboxing

Can’t believe it is March already! But this is an unboxing for the February box from Book Box Club. The theme was Roses are Red which is very much a “romantic” one and as such I wasn’t too sure what to expect. A romantic book box without being too cliche or too much is hard to do, but the girls managed it amazingly.

I have no theme card, which I am not sure why, but my box was quite bashed on one side, so maybe it fell out or something? Who knows… But I’ll start the unboxing from the main book and go around clockwise.

  • The Upside of Falling. I’ve heard good things about this book, so I am curious even if romance and contemporary aren’t usually my thing. It came with a recipe which I am curious to try.
  • Just me & my book Tote bag. This is cute and I am usually happy with tote bags.
  • Ok, this is my favoruite part. A mug cake Belgian Chocolate brownie mix.
  • And not only that, it came with a mug! *excited* I usually complain that we get sent one item and nothing to go with it, but in this case, it is a perfect match and I love it. Plus the mug is cute and full of books and lots of references that I kept going “oh, oh, oooh”.
  • A notepad, again, these don’t go wrong for me unless they are hideous but this isn’t a bad one, it is even nice for notes or letters.
  • Promotional stuff for releases coming soon by publishers.
  • A roses are red hair scrunchie. This is probably the item that was the most sweet and probably the one I wouldn’t use (mostly I don’t use scrunchies). But I love the fact we get something useful and cute and just very nice quality.

I really enjoyed the box, it has a lot of items I would use or can see being used a lot without feeling like they are exclusively bookish or tied to a specific fandom you may not like or relate to. I am happy with it and my husband is extra happy about the mug brownie (I will have a few spoonfuls but he’ll benefit the most out of it).

Books, Subscription Boxes

Magical Realms Book Box Club Unboxing

The third anniversary Book Box Club box was packed full of wonderful magical things. Starting with the theme card on the bottom right and going clockwise:

  • Theme card, with a gorgeous magical illustration.
  • Ten Thousand Doors postcard
  • Personalised Clubhouse invite. (The Clubhouse is awesome, we get to chat with the author and ask questions and chat between us).
  • A super gorgeous book sleeve that matches the book but also stands well on its own.
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow. I’ve been very excited about this book and can’t wait to read it and also have a chance to chat with Alix at the clubhouse!
  • Elsewhere room spray, meant to evoke the scent of the magical realm of the book.
  • Take me to Narnia bath melt. It smells wonderful and looks gorgeous, can’t wait to use it in a nice bath.
  • Spirited Away magnetic bookmark, it is super cute and I was just excited to see it in a book box (more Ghibli stuff in book boxes!)
  • Night Circus pin, also extremely gorgeous and dreamy.
  • Featured book bookmark and a promotional bookmark for the M word.

As you can see the box was full of many “doors” to magical worlds, through scent, or scenes or a book…

Books, Subscription Boxes

Blood & Blades Illumicrate Unboxing

My very first Illumicrate box included this hardcover book with a crow and a red sun on the cover (sound familiar?). So it wasn’t any surprise that when they announced they w0uld be doing a special edition for Darkdawn, I had to have it (plus they special editions boxes are stunning!).

My very first Illumicrate. I had zero clue on how to do unboxing pictures.

As you can see above, Nevernight wan’t the only book and it didn’t have an author letter like The Graces did. Nevernight was the “afterthought”, the second book, rather than the main one. Back then the boxes weren’t themed either and it was way more of a surprise what you could get…

But back to the main thing, the Darkdawn box. Because we’ve come to the end of the trilogy.

Look at that, I have a slightly better idea what I am doing with an unboxing, and this time the blanket underneath is not one I made myself, but part of the box. Oh how time goes by! Let’s unbox this, starting from the top left corner and going clockwise:

  • Underneath everything, a Mr Kindly and Eclipse blanket. It is the softest thing ever and I love it!
  • Nevernight Short-Form Series Extras, a kind of script and sneak peek book for what Piera Forde has been doing on trying to adapt it to “film”.
  • A wooden map of Itreya. I don’t know what I will use it for, but I really like it.
  • Mr Kindly bath bomb by Geeky Clean. This smells gorgeous and I am looking forward to using it in my bath.
  • Contents zine.
  • A gorgeous mug called “Goodnight Kiss”, but spoilers, so yeah…
  • Darkdawn book, with yellow edges (like the Italian edition if I got it right). (Sadly I prefer the dark edges, but I think part of it is I am not a fan of yellow).
  • On top of it, a Mia magnetic coin.
  • A print of Mia and Trik (same artwork as the script thing extra stuff)
  • Three, the extra content/deleted scene.
  • Character bookmarks that are double sided.
  • Foil (it is super extra stunning) Hard at work print of Mia.
  • A gorgeous book sleeve with two different sides, A Story to Tell.
  • Mia “Funko Pop” style figurine.
  • Two amazing pins by Fable and Black. I was blown away by them!
  • Finally, close to the mug, the Corvere crest as a necklace.

All in all, a very full box with lots of stunning items! Illumicrate did an amazing job and I am glad I bought that first box with Nevernight way back when (I have been subscribed to them since then…)

Books, Subscription Boxes

Armed and Dangerous Illumicrate Unboxing

I was very excited about the theme of this box and I liked the contents, so let’s see what was in it. Starting from the book on the left and going clockwise:

  • Gideon the Ninth, necromancy, space, what else do you need?
  • Sister Apple inspired liquid soap. I am fond of liquid soaps as they work great as shaving creams (as they’re fancy ones and usually handmade or at least, small business made).
  • Weapons bag, which is the perfect Illumicrate colour. The size is wonderful for a summer day when a jacket is too much but I still want to carry minimal stuff and at the moment I only have one suitable small bag, so this is a great thing to find in the box (the only thing that would make it better is if it was black)
  • The collectible coin, it’s Lila Bard, but still not convinced on the coins.
  • Above there’s a promotional map.
  • A gorgeous mug designed by Rosie, it is not enamel but ceramic but it is gorgeous. A happy Moon here.
  • A Scythe for opening bottles (it is nicely heavy and SO gorgeous).
  • A Cutlery set which made me very very happy and is now at work on my desk. Plus it came with a metal straw. Really really happy with this part.
  • The theme booklet.
  • Gideon the Ninth trading cards (though there weren’t nine of them in it, wonder if the why is in the book which I haven’t read).

As you can see, there’s very little I didn’t really like (moslty the coin) so this was a great box for me and quite handy. I loved the cutlery set and bottle opener but all of it was nice to get. Looking forward to the September box! <3

Subscription Boxes

Libraries of Wonder Owlcrate Unboxing

I mean with a theme like that, hard to resist, right? (Also, sorry this is a boring picture, I was between puzzles decorating my table so didn’t have a “background” except the actual table. Woops) And I have to say it was definitely worth it. Let’s do the unboxing from top left corner and going clockwise:

  • Theme card and zine. I generally enjoy the artwork and this isn’t the exception.
  • Key shaped gel pen. It is a gorgeous blue key, and it is a pen, and even better, it is a gel pen (the only thing that could top up this is if it was a fountain pen!)
  • Underneath it is a tote bag inspired by Strange the Dreamer. I like the bag it has a more “bottom” shaped design which made it a bit more useful for carrying stuff as it keesp shape nicely.
  • Book Beau coffee. This smells good but I am frustrated to no end as there are NO instructions on it, or anything that says how fine the coffee has been grinded, or literally anything useful (is it just coffee? does it have some spices grinded into it? Who knows?!). I even tried searching Book Beau’s site and she has zero info about the coffee, not even ifn their FAQ.
  • Metal bookends which are Narnia themed (and it was easy to see that and they are freaking gorgeous!)
  • The collectible pin. I have to say the pins have only gotten better each box. And this one is utterly gorgeous
  • Spoiler card
  • Gorgeous coasters. I love the style of them, they feel vintage but not tacky or what everyone else has, they’re unique.
  • Sorcery of Thorns sticker.
  • The book, I like this cover and I like the original and I am looking forward to reading the book.

All in all, a very strong box from Owlcrate, I am quite pleased except for the whole coffee without ANY useful information on it (please, if you’re senidng coffee, hot chocolate, tea, have a list of ingredients, some helpful info!). The rest of it is gorgeous and dreamy and fits the theme perfectly.