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: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue Owlcrate

Because I generally enjoy V. E. Schwabs books, I decided to buy Owlcrates special edition box. Sadly, I was not blown away by the book, but that is more on the book and contents than on the box and contents. So lets put aside the fact the book was underwhelming and go for the box contents which were not. Starting with the book since it is the main piece:

  • The exclusive edition of the book, it has a quote and design on the back of the book in rose gold. And the cover is subtle but nice.
  • The Darkness candle, meant to be about the gods that come after dark smells delicious!
  • A pin, since Owlcrate usually sends a pin and has a lot of gorgeous detail.
  • A wooden book holder, it is meant to help you hold your book one-handed and read through the page, and as much as they do their job I tend to read fast and it becomes more of a nuisance to move the holder around than to figure out a way without it. Still, this one is very beautiful and detailed.
  • A perpetual calendar, like a reminder of time passing for Addie, it is again in rose gold and I actually like the design a lot. My only dislike is that it is rose gold and that the quote disappears once you actually put the date up, so I would’ve preferred if it was at the back or something.
  • A gorgeous flask to keep your drink warm, which is very welcome since I had to throw out one that was too damaged recently, so this is perfect timing for this one. Subtle and gorgeous.
  • A three year journal, very very beautiful and felt like the right type of item to have in the box.

Overall I really liked the contents since they tie well with the book, which is nice to see. I am not keen on rose gold at all which puts me off a few items, it is like cheap gold, and even then I am not fond of gold so rose gold is a bit meh to me. The perpetual calendar was a cool idea as is the journal, and the items are all useful so it was nice to have the box come through and feel like it was well done. Still, it probably wasnt worth the shipping and potential custom charges for it, so I will know better next time a very special edition comes through to think very carefully about it before purchasing. If I was located in the US then it wouldn’t be such an issue.

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: A Glorious Haunting Owlcrate

For September, Owlcrate tends to send their “spooky” box through rather than October (makes sense given international shipping and that October is to come soon after shipping date), so here is their Glorious Haunting box, starting on the top right with the spoiler card and going clockwise:

  • Theme card, I love the artwork style they use for the art cards and this does look creepy and haunted.
  • A Sleepy Hollow lip balm which is pumpkin spice flavoured/scented.
  • “Death before DNF”, a very strong opinion, bookmark, which is a cool concept, I have used similar bookmarks but with thread or ribbon, so curious how it’ll work out if it is enamel/chain.
  • The monthly pin which matches the main book.
  • Three skull spoons, I already have two at home one in silver and one in black) because they’re pretty good fun dessert spoons and glorious as a fun prop for cakes and things like that.
  • Soft flannel blanket inspired by Poe’s Raven, and I can totally vouch it is super soft, the only downside is that it is white so it shows how dirty it is too soon, sadly, but still lovely cosy blanket.
  • Author letter, and the main book, Horrid, which I had had my eyes on for a while, so really looking forward to reading it.
  • Finally, a candle inspired by Hocus Pocus (here is where I admit I haven’t watched it and don’t really intend to do so anytime soon) but a candle is a candle and I like having nice smelling candles around, so no complaints there (as a reminder, candles need the wick trimmed and should be burnt only for a certain period of time and only to a certain minimum level, so worth checking what the label says here to avoid accidents).

Overall, the haunting vibes, and the spooky are nice, particularly because it isn’t just Halloween or some other holiday geared but more trying to capture the feeling of being haunted and some creepiness to it and I think it hit the right notes with the content to match the book included.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Sinister Surroundings Illumicrate

Wow, I definitely have a backlog of unboxings to catch up on. I think part of the problem is I haven’t been taking pictures as often as I should and then with the blog changes, totally got that delay, but here we are, slowly catching up! So lets now see last month’s Illumicrate, which was all about sinister surroundings.

Reviewing the contents, starting from the book on the bottom left and going clockwise as I tend to go:

  • A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik. Apparently this book has caused a bit of issues, I am not too crazy about reading because I loved Temeraire but didn’t love anything after it, so I now read Naomi’s books wondering if they’ll hit that Temeraire high or not.
  • Death Conquers All pouch, I admit a while ago I used to complain we got a lot of pouches but nowadays I use them to store stationery or small items and they are so useful!
  • Monthly collectable pin, I like pins way better than the magnetic coin
  • A Caraval inspired cushion cover, which gives me mixed feelings because I’d never use this cushion cover and do not like Caraval, but the quality was very nice and I wish it was something I’d actually display in my home.
  • A tumbler with a straw and can’t remember the fandom. I kept it becuase my husband steals my tumblers and that kind of water bottles often enough but I dont use them much or at all.
  • Probably my favourite item from the box, a mug isnpired by Uprooted. I actually don’t care about the fandom but I do love the artwork on the mug and the autumn vibes it has are perfect
  • A Red Rising or something necklace, not particularly into neckalces or charms, so this one is nice but also not that amazing.
  • A cute bookmark.

Overall I wasn’t as impressed with this box but I also know that boxes that have mugs usually aren’t as good, but I do like the mugs so still probably worth it the ideal would be to be able to choose which items you get and which you don’t, but I get that it is hard to sort a box like that).

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Identity Crisis Illumicrate

Unboxing image of Identity crisis Illumicrate

Apparently I have a huge backlog of hauls to throw at you all, so why not start with an Identity Crisis box from Illumicrate? Starting on the theme card (bottom left) and going clockwise, we have the following items:

  • Theme leaflet, I have to say I love their simplicity. They match the book perfectly so it’s easy to remember which leaflet was which book and they are comprehensive on social links/websites, etc for artists and makers.
  • Mistborn art print. I have to say that at first sight I did NOT think Mistborn and I do love that series, but once I knew what it was of, I can appreciate the little details on each character.
  • The main book, the Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson. I like the alternative universes and parallel universes theories so this is a very intriguing read for me and that had been on my radar for a while.
  • Hoop pin/badge holder inspired by Illuminae series and it is the first badge holder I absolutely LOVE. Honestly, I have plans for it, so many plans and love the hoop idea too. I need more of these.
  • Fable and Black pin, way better than the collectible magnetic coins.
  • Book tin, I have liked those as they look great on the shelves and also are storage so win win for me, this one is inspired by Percy Jackson series.
  • The Huntress, I can’t remember if it is perfume or aromatherapy but what I do remember is that the scent was perfection and I have used it a few times like a treat of scent.

Overall, a lovely box with useful items except for the print (not a fan of prints) but I was extremely pleased it was for Mistborn rather than an overdone fandom like many tend to do. Like the freshness of it all and that it matched the Sci-Fi theme of the book. Just a good box overall!

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

A Different Kind of Magic Fairyloot Unboxing

A bit delayed, but this was June’s Fairyloot box which had two books and a magical vibe to it with some darkness too (or at least that’s how it felt to me). Starting from the left and going to the right:

  • Print. I think something to do with Sarah J. Maas? (you can see how little I care for prints in general, sadly)
  • The main book, Forest of Souls. I am increidbly excited to read it since I heard about it, so definitely happy to have it.
  • Also included an early copy of The Gilded Ones which has also been high on my list so all good books!
  • A Shadows Between Us pin.
  • And a gorgeous Starless Sea patch. I am just sad it isn’t a sticker or something more useful than a patch because they just go in a box to be admired when I remember they exist. Why are book boxes obsessed with sending patches?
  • A teapot tea strainer. It is a bit small and doesn’t have a lot of space for the tea to swish around so as cute as it is, it feels a bit not fit for purpose.
  • A pair of socks for the Bone Season.
  • Tarot cards as per usual.
  • The theme card.
  • And an elemental set of coasters.

Sadly the biggest most exciting items for me where the books. The rest wasn’t as great or useful to me and it made me sad because it didn’t match the theme as well as I expected and also it just didn’t make me smile the way I hoped. But maybe it hit everybody else’s themes and fandoms? (I think part of the thing is that the books I love aren’t big fandoms, like for example Mexican Gothic and Gods of Jade and Shadow, or the Spellslinger series… )

Books, Subscription Boxes

All the World’s a Stage Owlcrate Unboxing

Time to unbox a circus or at least performance based Owlcrate box for June! I particularly like the way the items seem to match each other for a good theme picture. Starting on the far left and going towards the right:

  • Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles. Apparently kinda Moulin Rouge type of book, peaked curiosity.
  • Chocolate Orange scented batch bomb which did not smell like chocolate orange even when I used it in the bath but it was nice.
  • Authors Letter
  • Collectible pin related to the book, which I don’t know yet the meaning since I haven’t read it.
  • A weekly tracker, bullet journal style that is a pad with a lot of sunshine yellow. Not my thing but I like the idea.
  • A set of Shakespeare pencils, which aren’t all that fascinating since it’s just pencils with some writing on them. This is probably one of those items I wish book boxes would do less frequently. Maybe send us a really nice fountain pen, or at the very least some nice fineliners or something instead of pencils.
  • Bones Coffee, this is some of the best flavoured coffee I’ve ever had so I can’t wait to try this one out!
  • There were also some stickers for the book, which I left at the bottom of the box and rescued much later than the picture was taken.
  • And finally, a pencil/money tin, with a circus theme. I like it but I already have a money jar and well, no need for a pencil tin so alas not an item for me.

I have to say, this wasn’t their strongest box in my liking but I can see the appeal and the coffee makes me happy enough so at least there’s that. I do know some themes are not for me and this was probably not as good (which is funny since I do circus arts, so I should’ve been all over this box). Oh well!

Book Review, Books

Burn Review

Burn by Patrick Ness

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

This was included in a Book Box Club box and I was cautious. I have read The Chaos Walkign trilogy and did not like it, so wasn’t sure how to go about this one but I mean it has dragons, so I had to give it a fair chance.

My best summary is that this is a conspiracy during the Cold War with a very American/US view of the world, but with magic and dragons. If you like conspiracy theories and that type of books, this is definitely up there, it has a lot of the elements for it, which is probably why I wasn’t so keen. And obviously the outlandish things can actually exist in the book because dragons and magic.

The writing style still didn’t sit too well with me as it isn’t character driven yet it requires you to be with the characters for it to move through the plot, so it’s hard as you can’t engage as much and it just the magic, dragons and cosnpiracy taking it through and it wasn’t enough for my liking.

However, the whole dragons and magic concept was fascinating and it was probably my favourite part of the book same as the whole prophecy and the little twists regarding the main character around it (without spoiling, it is not about our main character). It did take me a while to get into liking them because it starts with an obvious “it’s Russian, it’s evil or spying on us” view and that wasn’t a great start to get me liking it (I did give it the benefit of the doubt but it still kinda fell flat).

I probably would’ve enjoyed it more if this was a full fantasy, not based on the Cold War and America vs Russia and more just nations warring and the dragons caught in the middle. That would’ve been probably my favourite approach and given this a star more.