Tales from the Ocean by Chae Strathie and Erin Brown
Read before: No
Ownership: Provided by the publisher after I requested it for review
Disclaimer: Receiving a review copy from the publisher does not affect my opinion of the book. If you think I review it highly it is due to me knowing my taste well and therefore not requesting books I won’t enjoy. And I am not obligated to review the book if I do not like it, so you may not see bad reviews due to me preferring not to hype down a particular book. I only do reviews of books I disagreed with if I think it is worth bringing a topic or warning to light.
Tales from the Ocean is a lovely collection of stories that may seem familiar alongside some new ones that each focus on at least one type of marine life. We have little seahorses crying Stingray when there are none and then not being believed when there is truly one, which is a familiar tale for many with a little boy that cries wolf. And yet the book not only tells a lovely tale but also shows the delightful camouflage abilities of the seahorse alongside their natural enemy, and this is just one of the 20 tales included in the book.
Each of the pages is beautifully illustrated and the whole book is a full-colour experience into many tales and marine life. And the familiar tales woven with true facts about the marine life or just new tales made to fit the particular place that creature plays in the ecosystem and making it a fun story. It was delightful to read. So much I basically didn’t put this book down until I finished all of them and then was left wanting even more stories to feature more creatures.
As such, I recommend this for anyone with a child interested in the ocean and fish and anything that has to do with water, or if you want to use it as educational but fun material, or just nighttime short stories to be read together or out loud to the child. It is a gorgeous book and worth having at hand.
This book is a collection of short “fairy tales” from different countries around the world. Each of the tales comes with an introduction of which country the story comes from and some background on it.
The book starts with The White Bear King which is the tale of the bear prince and the princess who goes with him and then sees him at night and has to go rescue him, from Norway.
Tanuki‘s Gold is a tale from Japan about a monk and a tanuki that visits him every winter instead of hibernating which I found very sweet.
The Mitten is short and sweet and feels like the kind of story that is a verse rather than a long tale, about a boy who loses one mitten in the snow and the creatures that find it ot be a cosy home.
A Cloak for the Moon is about the moon wanting a nice cloak but being unable to find cloth for herself until a brave tailor goes around on a quest for the Moon.
The Nutcracker is a familiar tale about a young girl, and an enchanted nutcracker gifted to her.
The Poinsettia is a tale from Mexico about why the poinsettias are called “Noche Buena” which is “Holy Night/the good night” as it was a gift during Christmas season.
Wee Robin Red Breast and The Little Black Cat are both are animals and winter and finding companionship and in similar sense feel shorter tales or verse tales.
The Snow Maiden is about a child made from snow by a couple and blessed by Winter to become a snow child.
The Silver Pinecones explains the tradition of painting silver pine cones thanks to a gnome king.
The Apple Tree Man is all about wassailing and blessings by taking care of what is given to you and nature.
Sister and Brother is about a pair of siblings that dont help their mother and end up having her taken away by Blizzard so they embark on a quest to rescue her and learn to be more helpful and kind.
The Mother of the Sea is about why winter nights become shorter and we get a nicer seaosn after ward.
The Snow Queen is a traditional tale of a queen that has inspired many other tales.
Rabbit’s Gift is a fun take on how what you give comes back to you in a way.
The Children and the Sun is a Southern African tale that I hadnt read before.
The Twelve Months is a tale about two young girls and how they see the world. I know this tale as the “Seven Days of the Week” but the actual results is the same on how the one girl is blessed and the other isn’t due to how they treat others.
Brigit and the Cailleach is the tale of the origin of Brigit.
Overall it is a lovely delightful collection of wintery and seasonal tales with stunnign illustrations and as I read it I felt like I was going back in time to sitting in my grandparents living room ont he floor reading the various treasuries of tales from different countries, and it was just a really nice read. I think you could also read this one tale each night to children and itd be a nice tradition for December for example.
“You cannot have a funeral for your mother without also having a funeral for yourself.” This book poses the ever-lingering question: What happens when someone dies before they’re able to redeem themselves?
From the bestselling & award-winning poetess, amanda lovelace, comes the finale of her illustrated duology, “things that h(a)unt.” In the first installment, to make monsters out of girls, lovelace explored the memory of being in a toxic romantic relationship. In to drink coffee with a ghost, lovelace unravels the memory of the complicated relationship she had with her now-deceased mother.
This book was a title + cover buy. I saw it as I was looking for some books to gift for Christmas, it caught my eye, I skim read a few of the poems to try to see if I’d like it and went “yeah, sounds okay, buy”.
I read it quickly, and gosh, this spoke to me more than I thought it would. My mother isn’t dead, but a lot of what is touched in the book is either things I have encountered myself or seen people close to me live through. A few poems, I felt like someone had taken a peek at my life and gone “this is one of those do or die moments, this was a turning point”.
Before this little book I hadn’t read any of Amanda’s other books because a) I mostly don’t do poetry, but I have sudden bouts of liking it. Poetry in English confuses me, it feels way less poetic and makes less sense than it does in Spanish. And b) her other poetry books have been hyped and I have been burnt enough by “overly hyped bookes” that I mostly steer away from them because they’re 90% of the time not my type of book. I am not sure her other series is for me, but this one, it most certainly is.
One thing that made me smile is that it has an extensive list of trigger and content warnings so you know what to expect when you read it and it won’t shock you or do you wrong as you’ve been warned. Maybe it even helped knowing what may be coming to connect better with it, as I knew what parts of it would speak the most to me.
Now I have ordered the previous book on this collection and I have keep this one in my limited collection of poetry books (so far there’s 3 of them, not counting the one on the way). I guess that is high praise for this book if it is actually staying on my shelves…
This is my first round-up but it is not the kind to summarise what I posted, but rather what didn’t make it into a post of their own but is still worth mentioning.
Thank you gift
Someone posted on Facebook about her mug being broken (a mug that had a Sarah J. Maas quote, exclusive to FairyLoot) and I said she could have mine. Thankfully for all her fans I am not a fan. I asked if she could pay shipping but gave the mug away for free. I am a weirdo that likes sending care packages to people so I ended up adding another exclusive Feyre mug and a book and I can’t remember what else. The box took a detour to Canada and finally arrived.
I did this without expecting anything in return so it was a lovely surprise to get this lovely gift. (Also, those Chocolade Kanjers are awesome).
Ninja Book Box giveaway
I don’t usually win things, but somehow I managed to win a set of bookmarks from Ninja Book Box. They are gorgeous.
Since I became so lucky I also won a small instagram giveaway done by Booklepuff.
I ended opening a Twitter account to join #BooksBindUs (it’s Maja’s fault, entirely) and ended up winning a copy of Warcross from one of the giveaways. The funny bit is I also got that in a book box and then Marie Lu asked to donate to Puerto Rico and she was sending signed books to donators so I also got one of those. I wonder if the universe is trying to tell me something about Warcross… (it helps I am a gamer and a programmer/engineer).
I also started my own giveaway for a copy of After The Fire by Will Hill (what else would I giveaway, right?). I loved doing this so will probably do more giveaways soon enough.
Book sleeves are awesome, but I had been quite unlucky in snagging the prints from the shops I wanted and always missed out. So I decided to find all possible ones, see prices and shipping and choose one. Book Buddle had a fox print I wanted so I asked if she (Jules) could make me one in the right size, and ended up being unable to choose between two fabrics and ordering 3 book sleeves.
Of course, they are so gorgeous and perfect (those moons glow in the dark) that I checked if she could make a ‘book’ sleeve for Petunia. [Caveat: Petunia is my Wacom Bamboo Fun tablet I use for digital artwork, she is a bit petulant so the name came from that and she gives me heart attacks by deciding not to work, or the drivers aren’t right even if they actually are.] The sleeve for Petunia is also delightful and it has a little button to stop her from trying to escape. I cannot recommend Book Buddle enough.
Other things to note
Merake Candles resupply, because Heather makes some of the best candles I know about.
I managed to find a fox mug that was a cuteness overload and I had to buy it.
I also got my hair dyed by Nikki and a different day she helped me learn how to make Yorkshire puddings and a good gravy. Being non British I am slowly mastering the art of a Sunday Roast. I can carve a chicken easily and my veggies are to die for, same as good roast potatoes, but I still forget to make gravy and had never made Yorkies. This was a huge success.
Clipboard have been a part of my drawing life for quite long. I used to have a very battered very decorated one that had been with me since 2004-2005 but it got lost in one of my many moves. Finally I decided to find a replacement and decorate it. It has been loads of fun, experimenting around and I found out temporary tattoos work well on wood… who knew?
Last but not least, if you have been following me before this blog was born, you will know who Knit Anele is (if you haven’t, just keep an eye out for the next edition of Meet the Character).
Anyway, when I created her, I always intended to make her superhero dress something in real life to be worn by myself. This had been put in the back burner for ages until this month when I got in contact with a dressmaker (I tried several but only one worked out). It was a lot of fun and we have chosen fabrics so I am very excited about this.
Subscription Box Tally
So this month I got:
Book Box Club
LeaferBox x2 in one box
Page Habit YA
Page Habit Fantasy
I think this is all for the month of September. I am looking forward to October starting and the lovely things to come.
As many of you may (or not) know, I tend to try and test as many book subscription boxes as I can, throwing a few non book ones in the mix just for fun.
I will list here all the ones I have tried to this day, plus the ones I’d like to try one day. Some do not exist anymore, which is such a shame…
As a disclaimer, I will post the ones that have a renewing subscription enabled (which means that after testing, they made it to the “this makes me so happy I can throw money at it and not have a panic attack” list). After that I will post (in no specific order amongst each category) the ones I tried that are still available, then the ones I tried that have closed shop, and finally the ones I’d like to try.
I will try to include one picture for each box mentioned (except the ones I haven’t tried yet) and a small general review of what they include, my review/thoughts and why I kept it or not. There are very few boxes that haven’t made me happy so most of them didn’t make it to the renewal list due to money (I do not own a money tree, sadly).
As per usual, rating is 0.5() to 5 ().
Boxes I am currently subscribed to
Book Box Club
Stuffed owl, fairy lights and lankyard not included (wand was).
My first box: Their very first box, launched on September 2016. Theme was ‘The Enchanted Forest’, subscriber since then.
Cost: Starts at £25 (6 months) up to £27.99 (monthly) for the box but if you only want the book (their other modality ‘Purely Books’) then it starts at £40 for a 3 month subscription. Includes shipping? Yes (UK at least)
Type of books: Young Adult, in various genres. We have had fantasy, contemporary, time travel, etc.
Goodies: There are usually 4-6 items included and there is always a Book Box Club exclusive that is usually personalised (I have so many lovely goodies that are Moon exclusive). If you want your personalised item to have a specific name, let them know. You also get publisher goodies and an information postcard. They really listen to your suggestions on items you’d like to have included.
This is currently my favourite book box, and there are loads of reasons for that. For starters, it was the first box to actually have an author chat (now a lot of them do it but none like they do). And the best part is that it is done exclusively in the Clubhouse, for those of us who are subscribers. The feel of community is amazing, we have a forum where we also have fun. Basically, you are not only getting a lovely book, the chance to chat with the author and ask questions (even joke around), and the extra goodies which are lovingly planned (Kate and Libby actually plan content thinking on how it’ll look all put together alongside how it will fit the theme), but you are part of a bookish community. No other box has ever given me that. I have made new friends and I am interacting more with lovely bookish people than ever before.
I am not a rep or anything, but I love it all so much, I pestered them to give me a discount code to share around so others could join in on the fun. So if you want to give them a go, you can use MOON17 for 5% off your subscription.
PS. The girls are so cool that I ended up making a lovely design for them (more about this on the unboxing post that will be my next post).
You can subscribe to the boxes or Purely books on their website.
My first box: The Steampunk box done last October (?). I wasn’t too impressed so I stopped there but renewed my subscription for their anniversary box and I am currently renewing
Cost: £26 per box. It doesn’t matter if you subscribe monthly or in 3 or 6 months, it’s the same price. The only way to get a discount is through a rep code. Includes shipping? No, and be careful because VAT will also be included separately if you are in the UK/EU.
Type of books: Fantasy Young Adult
Goodies: 5-6 goodies. Usually includes a candle or scented item and other goodies. They try to include items no other box has done before (like oven mittens, tea towels, fairy lights, etc).
FairyLoot is a fun box and it also has a community feel but it done mostly through Facebook. It is fantasy only, so you know what you are getting here and it is easier to guess the book. They are currently doing a bookmark collection and try to keep it fresh by including different items. To me it is about 80% hit and 20% miss. I enjoy the boxes but some are quite disappointing. There is usually at least one item I am happy to get rid of and pass on (if not more) and the cost sometimes feels a little steep. It is still good and there is the FairyChat and FairyScoop which add extras.
My first box: August 2016. Have a subscription since then.
Cost: £29.99 Includes shipping? Yes for the UK.
Type of books: Varied Young Adult
Goodies: It says you get a book and 3-5 goodies but I always find two books and lots of goodies in it.
I was shocked by the amount of goodies and content in it and the fact it had not one but two books, one being an ARC. They are a quarterly subscription so it feels less heavy on your pockets when you get it and there is definitely a good value for money in the contents of the box. It has a good effect on me and usually makes me smile when I receive it.
They are currently sold out but you can subscribe on their website.
My first box: June 2017, Birthday Box
Cost: From $27.50 to $29.99 USD. Includes shipping? Yes, worldwide
Type of content: Kawaii (cute) items from Japan
Goodies: Usually around 4-5 goodies with a plushie included. At least one of the goodies is an options one (as in you could get one of many variations of the product, it is random).
I am still umming and erring on this box. The content is super cute and the plushies are good quality, which is delightful. It makes me feel cosy and cute all over. But I don’t collect plushies or use most of what it includes so it is tricky. I want it but I also don’t want to spend on something I don’t use. Thankfully they post most of the items included (not all of them) on the box, so you can decide if you want it or would rather skip (the surprise factor is in the items not mentioned and which version of them you got). I have done this for August’s box since nothing really made me go “I want it” but there are some items from September I want so there we go.
This is a mix of boxes. Some I buy one every now and then when the theme is something I really really want (and can afford an extra box). Some I tried and they just didn’t make me happy so I didn’t renew. A few I have liked but the cost was too steep to keep it up so I had to stop. Here is this collection of boxes.
You can see that my unboxing picture skills needed a lot of improving
My first box: Myths and Legends, November 2015
Cost: Monthly subscription is $29.99 USD. Includes shipping? No, it is added afterwards.
Type of books: Young Adult
Goodies: 3-5 goodies
Owlcrate was my first subscription box, but as you can see, I started doing them almost two years ago. There weren’t as many choices at the time so I kept this going but it came to a point when the goodies felt rehashed, it wasn’t good value for money and I had so many issues getting my box delivered to my home (and it was just this box, other deliveries were fine) that I stopped my subscription in August 2016. Also most of the books included weren’t the wow factor except maybe This Savage Song which was a repeat I got (another book box had sent it a month before Owlcrate did) and I have to say that since then there hasn’t been a box I feel I missed out on.
Type of books: Varied, not exclusively Young Adult though it does have some of those.
Goodies: Bookish goodies to make a magical experience. I can’t remember exact quantities.
I loved the B&B box I received and then that month they had to make a tough decision and stop sending international boxes so there died my subscription. I have only recently found out that they are doing international shipping again, so I looked at the September theme and decided to give this a go again. Depending on results I may consider more of them. The only downside is that it is on the pricier side of the scale and from America (all boxes from America generate customs issues or delays, and it is not the boxes fault at all).
Also sadly I do not have a matching picture of the unboxing but you can check out their website for more info on them. They also make a Stars-Hollow monthly box if that peaks your interest (which I haven’t tried so yeah).
Ninja Book Box
My first box: Summer Box
Cost: £26 per quarter Includes shipping? Yes if you’re in the UK.
Type of books: Indie
Goodies: Bookish goodies
This is an indie books box, and as such is more low key. Still, the one box I’ve tried which is their summer reads (which is totally different to the usual box as in it didn’t have any goodies alongside except bookmarks) and I was pleasantly surprised with it. It even included one book I had been eyeing up for a while so definitely recommend.
I have missed out on the next boxes for one or another reason and they end up being sold out before I make up my mind about getting it.
Cost: They have one time boxes and a regular subscription, Ravenclaw box was on the quite expensive side. Includes shipping? No
Type of content: Bookish goodies
Goodies: 3-5 bookish goodies and usually a wearable (if I am not mistaken). You can add a book for extra cost.
I was a little disappointed with the content for this box. Definitely it wasn’t a good value for money and this one time box made me decide not to keep trying. IT was also delayed a lot to be delivered (I had even forgotten I had paid for it and was supposed to receive it until it arrived, which isn’t very encouraging). The T-shirt is nice and the candle smelled delicious but otherwise I wasn’t wowed by it.
You can check their other boxes and options on their website.
The Accio Box
My first box: I am not sure which month, but I know I emailed them to see if they would open international shipping just for me (I was willing to pay the shipping just to get this box).
Cost: From $34 per month to $39.99 Includes shipping? No
Type of content: Exclusively Harry Potter themed goodies, no book.
Goodies: 3-5 indie goodies, hand curated. High quality.
This is not your usual subscription box. It doesn’t have lots of items, but the ones it does have are quite high quality. They are the kind of things I would favourite on Etsy but never buy because I would think they are too expensive even if they are lovely. There is no book to be included in the box either.
The only reason why I stopped my subscription is that customs was becoming very difficult to navigate. The actual custom was very small but the “handling” charge the post office was adding made it become at least half the price of the box which was most definitely not fun.
I sincerely recommend this box to anyone in the US & Canada, or if you don’t mind paying customs on top of the box price. The content was indeed high quality (highest quality tote bag I have ever received, even better than some I have bought independently) and most of it has been used nicely (for example, soap dish is happily being used in my shower and the bubble bar I am trying to ration to make it last because it is so lovely!).
Type of content: Candles and other goodies related to the theme.
Goodies: I think it is 2 4oz candles and about 3-5 other goodies.
I love Ghibli and also love Meraki Candles. Heather is amazing at making delightful candles that smell oh so good, so this was a no brainer for me. I didn’t regret it at all though I just realised that I never took a picture of the content which is very silly of me.
I didn’t buy the next box mostly because of the theme rather than because I don’t like the content, Yuri on Ice doesn’t do anything for me. But I have bought other of her candles and have loads more in my collection.
You can check her Etsy, but at the moment it is closed temporarily.
Bookish Teas Box
My first box: Magical London
Cost: £22.45 Includes shipping? No
Type of content: Tea and other goodies
Goodies: Three different kinds of bookish themed tea and extra goodies.
This is the best tea I have ever tried. It is amazing! I was blown away by it when I received my box, and now I want to buy more because I need more of these wonderful tea. Zilan includes a Tealicious pamphlet which has recipes you can do to use the tea in fun ways. I am not subscribed mostly because of being picky about the themes of the boxes but I buy her tea separately anyway because it is so good.
You can visit her website to find more lovely tea.
My first box: Sometime around December 2016
Cost: £15 per month Includes shipping? No
Type of content: Art supplies
Goodies: Several art supplies, a bookmark detailing contents, and something to use your supplies on.
This is an art subscription box and for the price it wasn’t too bad, it is good value for money. But as an artist I don’t use every supply, so some of them were more like “oh I don’t do this medium but I guess I can try it” and then I contacted their customer service and had a bad experience and empty promises so that put me off and I didn’t renew after 3 months.
My first box: Can’t remember exactly when I think start of this year, February/March
Cost: Prices start at £16 per box Includes shipping? No
Type of content: Asian snacks
Goodies: Loads of asian snacks, loads.
This is a fun subscription box if you like food and snacks and asian things. I found it to be great for trying new things and then going and buying the ones I liked at the asian supermarket nearby. I found a lot of snacks I wouldn’t have tried otherwise and also some I had wanted to try but hadn’t dared.
I stopped my subscription because I wasn’t eating all of it by the time the next box came so I felt like it was going to waste. This is mostly because it is just so full of nice stuff. And I do consider rejoining at some point.
You can check out their website if you’d like to try some snacks.
My first envelope: Sometime early this year (2017)
Cost: $10 per month Includes shipping? No
Type of content: Stickers
STICKII is a bundle of cute stickers (you can choose from three types and each gets a different theme each month) and sometimes extra stationery. I like it a lot but for financial reasons cut it short and now only buy a theme if I am dying to have it. They usually send spoilers so have an idea of part of the stickers you will receive.
No picture because for some reason I never took one (even though I have received 5+).
Check their website out if you’re interested in stickers.
LootWear (For Her)
My first box: It was Bioshock related
Cost: £14 per month Includes shipping? Yes
Type of content: A wearable specific for females
This was a fiasco. A big one. I tried it twice and both times they sent the wrong item or the wrong size and I had to contact support and get them to send the right item (I got to keep the one that was wrong) and the delivery took ages and it was just not great. Items were also not such great quality so didn’t continue.
LootCrate J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World
My first box: Their launch box
Cost: £39 (it was much higher when they started at over £50)
Includes shipping? Yes
Type of content: Harry Potter/ J. K. Rowling wizarding world themed
Goodies: 5-7 items
This was also a sad affair with Lootcrate. As I mentioned before, the box cost a lot more before, so it was most certainly NOT good value at all. I can’t say how it fares now. But what I can say is that most of the items were cheap quality and most certainly had not much of “exclusive” (I had seen items almost the same at Primark for a fraction of the price, and hey look Primark has even launched an HP themed line). Most of the items I gave away since I didn’t enjoy them at all and they felt so cheap I was not happy with how much I had paid for the box.
You can check both LootCrate boxes on their website alongside more of their options.
Boxes I have tried that have stopped their services
I try a lot of boxes and there are a few that haven’t made it and stopped their services. Most of them were very good and I wish they had had a better chance.
My Bookish Crate
This was a UK based box that first introduced us to TJ Lubrano’s artwork and it used to have good content. I was sad to hear it say they would stop their services and the last box was a slight disappointment. The picture is the first box I bought from them (my unboxing skills still evident). This was last year and I had an ongoing subscription until the last box.
Nerdy Bookworm Box
Anther good UK box that didn’t make it. It had more indie content and was less popular but still good. Sadly I didn’t keep a subscription and just bought boxes here and there…
Novel Tea Club
A box from Canada that was focused on sending pampering goodies, it used to have an indie book, some tea/coffee, pampering goodies and a bookmark and I used to love it very much until they stopped at the beginning of this year. I was sad to see them go since they always made me smile.
Boxes I’d like to try
Most of these I haven’t tried due to them being from America (customs and shipping are killers), some of them because of how expensive they are, and a few I haven’t had a chance to grab one and they are sold out each time I try to get one. They are still on my wish list for now.
I am not reviewed in detail any of them until I have actually tried them so this is more of a “these boxes exist, may be worth trying”
If you have any boxes that you think I might like to try please let me know. I am willing to try to review boxes if they pique my interest.
Disclaimer: These are my opinions and only that. I have tried so many boxes I know what I like in a box and what I don’t. What makes a box is the wow factor and the “this makes me happy and I don’t feel like I wasted money on this” feeling. Please know that for most boxes I subscribe for at least 3 months to give them a good chance, so I form my opinion over several boxes, there are a few exceptions were one box was enough for me to decide not to try them any further. It is up to you to decide what you want on a box and if the content is good value for money to you. I pay for the boxes from my own pocket so I try to choose wisely. None of the boxes mentioned here have sponsored me to review them or given me a free box to review.