Slayer sticker by Quotify, referencing Buffy which I squealed when I saw and is now on my laptop (obviously).
The book, Out of The Blue by Sophie Cameron, which was in my list of possible preorders and thankfully I guessed it’d be part of this box and didn’t get doubles! (Go me!)
Angel Veil Body Butter by Shimmer Luxe. Sadly you can’t smell it but it is so yummy and perfect that I was salivating over it (yes, I know it is not edible, but still).
Karou & Akiva candle by Bookish Burns. I enjoyed Daughter of Smoke and Bone a lot (the series in general) so it was a lovely surprise to see this one in there, and it has glitter too!
A teacake in a silver box (which somehow survived despite my best efforts to clumsily drop it while unboxing, woops). This is related to the book but since I haven’t read it yet, I can’t say what the relevance is, but I am sure there is one (a friend who has read it bought a box of teacakes because of the book so I guess there definitely is something there).
If you liked the box and it’s contents, you can try Book Box Club and use code MOON17 for 5% off if you’d like 🙂
We have had our clubhouse meeting so this review is definitely due now!
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…
Two centuries ago, in the small, isolated town, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return from the depths, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them down to their watery deaths.
Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into or the fact that his arrival will change everything…
Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.
But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.
This is a spooky and dreamy read, and I was so glad to read it. You meet Penny just before the Swan seaosn starts, and things are being slowly explained as they happen yet you always feel like you aren’t actually sure.
The setting was lovely, Sparrow was a wonderful spooky, coastal town that just kept me half wanting to be there, and part not wanting to at all because of the sisters.
And Penny is such an interesting character on her own.(This is a hard review without spoilers!!!!! There is so much I’d gush about but can’t really because it’d spoil this story and this is the kind of story you shouldn’t be spoiled before you read).
So, I can say the writing was gorgeous and dreamy and I just kept wanting to keep reading (and I did do that after a few buddy reading sessions, and got told off for that but it was just irresistible).
I recommend The Wicked Deep, and all previous Book Box Club books with similar styles like The Memory Trees or The Disappearances, which have that kind of dreamy melancholic feel to them that just wraps you and takes to a different world, one slightly tinted with dreaminess, melancholia, old life.
Hi all, I have more boxed goodness to show you. Illumicrate is UK based and I have been subscribed to them for two years I think (my memory is fussy with my long term subscriptions, sorry), and I absolutely love the box. It usually comes with the book and an ARC which makes it even better (twobooks? yes please, always!) and it tends to have unusual goodies (like a money jar which I am trying to fill with coppers only and then try to find out if I can afford a book with them, it’s about 2/3 full for now, so if you have coppers to donate, please do it for the science!).
I will stop blabbering now, sorry and do the unboxing.
Let’s go, just to mess yp with your heads again, counter clockwise this time, starting from the bottomleft corner:
Bookish Tea Towel by Evannave, if you want me to love your book box, include a tea towel with some awesome designs. It’s even better if it is colourful. I will squeal and be all happy about it and love the rest of the box because, tea towel…
The theme for this month’s Book Box Club was Haunted Minds. And one of the things I loved about it is that it seems to be geared up to soothe haunted minds rather than actually haunt your mind.
Let’s do the unboxing clockwise starting from the theme card:
Theme card, Haunted Minds, which also on the other side says what everything is and who made it (I love, love, love that they include links to the makers).
Underneath everything there is a wonderful delightful Raven Boys tea towel which made my day (I really love pretty tea towels, the pretty ones are used on our coffee table as centre of it or to hold warm tortillas when we have tacos or freshly baked homemade bread, which is one of the most honourable tasks a tea towel can have in our home).
Bath Salts by , because having a relaxing bath is exactly what everyone needs when your mind is haunting you. The tin they came in is beautiful too and much better than a plastic bag so bonus points for that.
Heathcliff candle, in a TipTree jam jar. If you missed my unboxing I mentioned this made it really cute because the jars are usually given out when you order toast with jam at a coffee shop/tea room and they usually have a saying in the lids. I used to collect the lids because some have encouraging or fun phrases.
An Usborne YA 2018 books sampler with a lot of interesting reads there.
A Calm Colouring pocket book, because once again it is all about relaxing and calming your mind.
This box was a cuddly hug to calm and soothe the mind and the body and I am glad about it. If this sounds good, then maybe subscribe for the month of December? They are including two books! And you can use code MOON17 for 5% off.
This is my first LitJoy Crate, I had heard that sometimes they get an author to curate them or something like that so decided to give it a go before they even announced the theme for October. (Yeah, by now you should know I just go and buy book boxes because book boxes, in all fairness, I do check past boxes before buying but the theme rarely ever bothers me and I only worry about theme so I can figure out what kind of items/books are there).
Let’s do around the clock, (one day it will be counterclockwise I promise) starting with the book:
The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli. I AM so happy this was the book because for Gollancz Festival there was an event with Kristen and I got my book signed (plus she curated this box and recognised my scarf at the event!).
Underneath everything is an infinity dragon scale scarf which took me ages to figure out how to wear because I have never had an infinity scarf despite having a nice collection of scarfs at home.
A Khaleesi Kisses lipbalm which smells delicious, warm and firey and just perfect.
A dagger/knife shaped bookmark.
Shakespeare quote print which also has on the toher side the author letter (this broke my heart because I usually stick author letters to the books but I can’t do this for it because it is such a gorgeous print… decisions, decisions, decisions!).
The Complete Book of Dragons by Cressida Crowell which is all about dragons and I think is such a wonderful companion to The Last Namsara.
Jon Snow bookmark, which is stunning too.
Content leaflet which explains why each item was chosen and has pictures identifying each one.
I was very pleased with the box, and I am very happy this was my first one. Of course I am getting more of them so hopefully this will go beautifully well and I will keep raving about it (also no customs which was an amazing bonus).
For this box, as soon as they announced the theme I knew what the book was. I had won an ARC of the book from the FairyLoot stand during YALC by running to their stall and drawing a dragon (I love drawing dragons! I love drawing! I do not love running…), so once I read the book description I knew what it was, it was still a nice box and I am just sad I didn’t get a kitty inside (in case you aren’t part of the FB group, people posted pictures of cats and pets inside their boxes and it has been a running thing which I absolutely love!).
You can even see I struggled to fit everything and there are some items from other book boxes sneaking into the picture (money jar from Illumicrate and dragon stickers from Book Box Club). As per usual, going clockwise, starting from the fairy in the box:
Quote print by Evie Seo. It is a quote from a poem by Virgil but used in The Mortal Instruments.
All in all it was a box full of goodies and from it all the only things I am not a big fan of are the prints (I just don’t do prints, there’s not much I do with them so even if they are gorgeous, they’re not my thing) and the mirror.
This month’s theme is all about dragons and then there is December which is So Regal and I am excited for both boxes (somehow I wrote foxes here, I am also excited about foxes but that’s not new, I like foxes). Hopefully you can manage to snag a box when they go on sale. Fingers crossed if you need the luck.
After that long 101 for book boxes, let’s do some unboxings, starting with Book Box Club.
The theme was Quests & Legends and I was really hoping the book would be the one they actually sent since it was one I really wanted to read (and the author is such a dear).
Let me tell you that boxes with edibles in them usually make me want to take the unboxing picture there and then because yummy must be eaten NOW (I am not the only one, right? RIGHT?).
As per usual, let’s do clockwise, starting on the theme card.
Gorgeous Quest & Legends theme card. I saw it and loved it, there’s such a simple beauty in it, so dreamy and makes me want to be all cosy.
Dragon stickers by Wild Sally, I squealed when I saw them, they are so cute and they are stickers! I am torn between adding them to my laptop or my drawing clipboard.
Mountain earrings by Kate’s Little Store, they are wooden and really pretty but alas my double piercings are too close together for them to work with double earrings except hanging ones. This did not stop me from wearing them a few times (but I will reserve them for special wear rather than my go to pair for everyday).
Wooden bookmark by Hughes Laser Designs, this is probably the only item I have issues with and it is because the bookmark is so thick it’d damage books which is such a shame because the wood is beautiful (so it is more decorative than useful).
Bookish postcards & bookmarks by publishing houses.
The book, A Shiver Of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke which is such a fantastic story and I really want to read, also the book is sparkly and beautiful.
Narnia Hot Chocolate Spoon/Stirrer by Maple Molly’s. Another squeal and I was so happy about this, it is such a beautiful one and has a quote on the label and it is just perfect.
And of course, no hot chocolate should go without a mug, so we have a mug inspired by the heroine of the book by Four Season Fox. I love the fact that the mug and chocolate go so well together. And then the mug also matches the book…
Absolutely delightful cosy box, with a gorgeous book, wonderfully matching extras and I am just loving it. I usually complain* when book boxes send tea/coffee/chocolate and no tea strainer/mug/etc or vice versa, but the girls did it and sent both. I am SO happy about this.
In case this is the first time you pop over to my blog, you can use code MOON17 to get 5% off your subscription with them. *wink wink*
*Nevermind the fact that I have more mugs than I need, enough tea to go around well and a tea strainer that is perfect for all my needs (it fits mugs, tea pots and has handles so you don’t burn your fingers when taking it out of the mug, plus fine mesh for complicated teas like rooibos or a few others that love escaping most tea strainers). I do think about subscribers that may not be as crazy about their tea as I am and will wonder what to do with either the tea or the strainer without the other.
I have been subscribed to at least one since 2015 (before Owlcrate was so popular I was subscribed to them). And I have tested a huge quantity of them as my first post about them shows (there is a second one in the making, I am just waiting on a couple more to arrive so I can review them).
So I will try to do a 101 on them to help those trying to decide which box to start off with, and what to consider.
What is a book subscription box?
It is a box full of magic. On the most basic level, it is a box with a book inside and some extra goodies (usually bookish merchandise). It can be simple and cheap (like Leafer Box, starting at £12.99 + shipping) or expensive and custom made (like Bookish Land, €40.00 + shipping, which sadly I can’t recommend to you anymore due to quality issues with the last boxes).
Clockwise from top left: My Bookish Crate (out of business), Bookishland, Lit-Cube and Illumicrate (Hermes are bad in my area so they tend to mistreat my boxes but I know it is just the particular drivers I get).
How do I get one?
In general, they will open subscriptions for a box a month ahead and close for that month near shipping date (most ship between 15th-20th of the month). Some sell out quickly, so be prepared to miss out on subscriptions or having to wait until the subscriptions renew and they have some available (from those subscribers that skipped or didn’t renew). A select few will be available the whole month and you can buy any day of the month to get that month’s box.
If you are unsure when subscriptions open, usually their website or social media will say (or you can contact order support).
How do people afford them?
I have a full time job, so I use some of my income for it. What helps is I try to buy a 3 month subscription for a box (A) one month. This is because most will have discount codes if you subscribe and also the more months together you buy the “cheaper” it is (there are exceptions to this like Fairyloot, which costs the same regardless of how many months you choose). Next month I will subscribe to another box (B) for 3 months (which means I don’t have to pay that month for box A, but yes for box B), and so forth the next month (which means I’ll be able to get A,B & C all in one month). I know I am paying for all of those boxes but it is easier for me to pay one lump sum once and not have to worry about it each month. Also, by the third month, I have made up my mind about the box and if I will subscribe again or not.
Also, discount codes are your best friends. Find them! Most boxes have Reps who will have codes for 5-10% off.
For example, if you use code MOON17 on Book Box Club, you get 5% off. Or you can use KESTREL10 for 10% on a Leafer Box.
The best way to find these codes is check for their reps on Instagram. (You can also try to become a rep, but this is tricky since despite them saying followers DO NOT count, they don’t usually choose people with less than 1k followers).
And finally, you can always cancel renewal/subscription. Most won’t refund you, but will send boxes due to you.
When does the payment happen? And you mentioned renewal day?
So, if this is the first time you subscribe, it is usually paid the day you subscribed (if you subscribed before renewal day, it is possible it’ll be on renewal day rather than the day you subscribed). Again, this will be on the website of the box. If you buy it on Etsy, it will be paid immediately regardless of when the box is sent. If you are renewing, most boxes have a renewal day which is when the next payment will be taken.
In most cases, you can see when it is due to be renewed on your Cratejoy account or the box’s account website.
One-Off vs Subscription?
Some sell one-off purchase boxes as a choice. This is if you do not want to subscribe but want that particular box. I use this option when there’s no discount code and I really don’t want the hassle of subscription. Subscriptions have the bonus of being able to use a discount code so it may be cheaper for you.
One-Off boxes will always be paid when you buy them, subscriptions can wait until renewal day.
Past Boxes? No Book Box? Other options?
Some will make available past boxes from previous months on their shop. This gives you a chance to buy a specific box if you missed out and really want it. Sometimes you can also get a no book box from their site. Or you can check online on Facebook or Instagram to see if someone is selling items from the box or the full box (they subscribed and didn’t like it, etc, it happens).
I see a lot of YA, are there boxes for adults?
There a lot of YA ones, but there are also adult options (and I am not referring to Erotica and XXX content). And also junior or children’s options. Check my post or feel free to ask me about recommendations for a specific genre you’d like to find a box about. There are also a few options in country of origin language (there are a couple of Dutch boxes sending books in Dutch, for example).
Now tell me all about shipping, please…
This is probably the worst part about the book subscription boxes. Some boxes include shipping to the country they are located in for free, others have shipping aside.
Most book boxes are located in the US, so there’s a bigger variety there. If you live in the country the box is located, shipping will be straight forward (either already included or flat rate). However, if you are international, you may find they do not ship to your country (Uppercase only ships to US/Canada, for example). It may also be the shipping is costlier than the box. Or you will find a customs charge note left at your address rather than your box. This are all possibilities, so it is a good idea to check with someone who has already got the box what the shipping will be like, and if there will be the dreaded customs charges. (Note: I do not mind paying the customs charges, but it is not a pleasant surprise when you really just want your box and usually the post offices add a charge to the customs charge as a “handling” fee which usually means it doubles up and may cost as much as the box. This is NOT fun at all specially if you already spent £30 on box + £30 shipping + £15-20 on customs, as an example).
As I mentioned before, most boxes will ship between 15-20th of the month, with a few exceptions. If the company is big enough, they will do staggered shipping so some may ship a little earlier and others later. Give it a few days before you freak out about getting a shipping email. (Stressing about when your box will arrive and if it has been shipped and going all over social media about it, just adds stress. If you are worried, contact support, and they will probably reply. If you know someone who also subscribes to that box, ask them how shipping usually goes and how long it takes for it to arrive to your area/country).
Why does my box add VAT/Tax when I purchase?
This is an interesting one. See, if you are in the EU and the book box company is also located there, VAT may be displayed as extra charge. (Not all boxes do this). Or it may happen if you are in the US and the box is located in the US. However, international customers will not see this charge, so prices can vary between customers. This charges are to accomodate the law, so yes, they may not make it great to see extra charges (some are just a breakdown of what is VAT/Tax without additional charges) but it means you’re a lawful citizen, howdy! (this always makes me think of westerns and cowboys… don’t know why).
What about the contents of the boxes?
You will find a book in all the book subscription ones, there are bookish merchandise subscription boxes and some that allow the option of book or not book, and some that only include a signed/first edition book. But let’s go with a book box in the most generic terms.
You will find a book in the genre/style of the box. This may be YA Fantasy, YA general, Horror, ChickLit, etc. It may be a new very hyped release, or a “not released this month but this year” book with less hype. Make sure you are aware which kind of books the box you choose tends to feature. There is a group in Facebook called Book Box Sherlocks that guesses which books will be in each different box, which usually gets it right, so if you don’t mind getting spoiled about what book is in the box, you can check out the possible guesses there. Heck, you can even get an annotated by the author (with sticky notes) book from Page Habit.
Most boxes will include 2-6 bookish items alongside. The amount will depend on the box you choose and also on the month. Usually if you get costlier items in a box, there will be less of them that month. Most book boxes reveal a few suppliers so you have a hint of what kind of possibile items may be in the box. Social Media is your friend.
In general, expect a more female based approach (there is a huge possibility there will be jewelry or items that cater more for females but it isn’t always the case). Check all my unboxing posts if you’d like to get an idea of contents of book boxes.
Just so you get an idea of contents. PageHabit, Novel Tea Club (out of business), Magic Chest, FairyLoot, Leafer Box.
Spoilers? Unboxings? What are you talking about?
Unboxing is when you show the contents of the box. You can do this in so many ways but the usual ones are Instagram Stories, Instagram posts, Blog posts and Facebook posts/comments on groups.
Spoilers is when the contents of the box are revealed before you have received your own.
As a good base policy (this is not forced, just courtesy to other subscribers), warn people you are starting an unboxing in your stories (I add a picture of the box unopened and add a “Unboxing ABC Box” then another one with a countdown before actually showing the contents). If you decide to post on Instagram or a blog, you can either wait at least two weeks, or the start of the 5th of the next month before doing a full unboxing (showing ALL the contents without warning), or you can add a featured image without spoilers (say a picture of the box closed). Or you can do both. This is just a policy I use. I don’t mind spoilers in general, but understand others do, so I try to be polite about it and respectful.
Ok, so why buy them?
I buy them for several reasons. I started to help me deal with PTSD and depression. It was something to look forward to, and there is something lovely about receiving a box of goodies in the post. I also just love books and appreciate bookish merchandise. They also help me find small businesses (which I love supporting) and discover things I didn’t even know where made or that existed. They give me joy when I open them. (I admit if a box makes me sad every box and I am not feeling happy with it, I do consider not renewing subscriptions, and I have it for some boxes).
Reasons can be very varied.
But what if I don’t like all the items in my box? What do I do?
This is normal. Remember, this is a box curated by the person behind it. You’re different to that person. And we don’t all like the same things. I usually have at least one item per box I won’t keep or that I don’t like. (I get concerned when I only liked one item from the box, and disliked most of it).
Once again, there are a lot of options. You can use the items as giveaway prizes. You can use those items as gifts for someone else. There are also groups on Facebook specifically to trade book box contents, so you can buy/sell/trade there. You can also donate to charity.
After unboxing a box, I will make separate piles (book to bookcase, items to decorate bookcase, things that go to certain rooms in my house, etc, and a pile of items I don’t want ot keep). Once I have a “I won’t keep pile” I set it aside. I check trade groups to see if someone if searching for that particular item and offer to send it if they are interested. Sometimes I will post on them offering them for sale. Most of the time I will either send to friends, or to my mum who teaches English to poor orphan children (where English isn’t their mother tongue) so she can give them out as prices and incentives to the children. Trust me, they LOVE it and my mum is very happy to have this extras to encourage her students.
What about repeat/duplicate books?
Most boxes will try to get exclusivity to a book in their country (or they may have an exclusive cover), so this shouldn’t be a big issue, unless you choose to subscribe to several of them that do not guarantee this. It is a risk you take. If you buy international boxes, there is a higher risk of this happening.
In the two years and all the different boxes I have tried, I have only had duplicates 3 times. Two of them were because UK box had exclusivity to the UK edition and then a US box also did the book. If you are into collecting different editions, this is a “bonus”. This also applies for exclusive covers (at the moment only OwlCrate and Fairyloot do exclusive cover books in their boxes, and Fairyloot isn’t every box). The other time was when a publisher had given exclusivity to box A, but box B bought the books from a bookshop rather than directly from publisher. This is rare, since most boxes will try to contact publishers directly rather than buy through third-party. Of course, box A had a signed bookplate which box B didn’t.
You will most probably NOT get a refund if this happens. The very first few times this happened, the boxes involved did a discount and offered some incentives, but this was back then. Now they try to make sure to keep things clear with publishers.
Last but not least, a list of book subscriptions I know about.
If the box is in bold, I am currently subscribed to them. If it is strikedthrough, it is out of business (these do not include further information). Cursive means I have yet to try it (this is probably due to shipping costs). Underlined is that I have tried it already but I am not currently subscribed (it doesn’t mean it is a bad box, I have to be selective, can’t afford all of them). If it is just normal text it means it is not possible for me to try because of my shipping/other restrictions. An asterisk (*) alongisde it means it has a special focus (diverse, indie, gives back, sends books in language other than English, etc). A plus sign (+) means they have recently launched or are about to launch.
Alongside it, I will state genre (if there is a / it means it does separate boxes, one for each part), country of origin, a link if it is available, code if I have one available, if box isn’t a monthly one, I will also include what kind of schedule it does. I am not including boxes that do not include a book in this list, but you can find those in my Collection of Subscription Boxes posts.
Last month I would’ve recommended Bookish Land Box since they had sent a fun box to me, it was a bit pricey but it was fun and lovely. So I encouraged Maja to try a custom made one and we both asked for one centered around An Enchantment of Ravens (I mean, fairies, wonderful magic, enchantments, it sounds good, right?). However we were both sent Halloween themed boxes, with cheap items (Maja’as book was damaged, mine wasn’t but it was the only item that matched what we requested), both of us were blocked by the account and told different stories about it (To me she was never in hospital until this week when her story changed when I asked for a partial refund because this was definitely not what I had paid for, to Maja it was a ping pong you can read more about in her blog post, our experiences are basically almost the same).
Neither of us has got their money back, and we both tried several times to contact them about it and making amends privately. A “discount” for the next box means I have to spend into something I can’t trust (which they insist was offered but it was never offered to me, no discount, no refund, no nothing). We were told owner was sick, but I would’ve appreciated an email warning us our orders would not be customised as expected, then I could’ve decided to wait until it was all good again or to cancel my purchase. I wasn’t offered this opportunity. So I just make you aware that if you buy from Bookish Land, you are going to receive an overpriced box full of cheap things, bad customer service and get blocked if you complain.
As you may have noticed, I buy a lot of book boxes out of my own pocket, no one sponsors me, so it is difficult when something like this happens. And I do not wish it on anyone.
Clockwise from top left: Leafer Box (sideways), LitJoy Crate (sideways), Book Box Club, Nerdy Bookworm (out of business), SpearCraft Book Box, and FairyLoot.
Have any more questions? Feel free to comment them here or use the Contact form. I am happy to answer all your questions if I can.