Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Spellbinding Stories Illumicrate

Subscription box: Illumicrate

Theme/Month: Spellbinding Stories, November 2020

Ownership: Subscribed on their 6 boxes option. If you are interested in purchasing an Illumicrate subscription, you can do it on their website.

Illumicrate is a book subscription box, it usually features fantasy and sci-fi but not exclusively young adult, sometimes it features adult too. It usually contains a new release, a pin and several bookish goodies.

Today we can go through the November box, which was all about spellbinding stories and how they capture you. It even had a surprise book! So let’s see the contents starting on the top right with the theme card:

  • A book sleeve for the Great Library of Zosma which is officially licensed.
  • The monthly pin which is quite cute.
  • A Forgotten Fables and Folklore ceramic book pot, I like these but haven’t been collecting them as I don’t have a specific sue and as cute as they are I decided to pass them on, however, I did enjoy the look of this one and it was a gift to a friend who can complete her collection/
  • A reusable face mask with a herblore print. I was very pleased to see this in the box as it is a way to provide a fabric mask for everyone and it fits the whole set up and theme, so it felt right to have it there.
  • The Once and Future Witches, which I reviewed a few months back when it came out as I had had a proof copy for it (and I knew I’d end up with more copies of it via preordering and also book boxes like this one).
  • Letters in Bottle ornament (it doesn’t show great on the picture because it is shiny but it is utterly gorgeous on the Christmas tree, my only sadness is that the writing is still illegible and it just looks like an hourglass).
  • Starless Sea bookplate set, they’re golden, shiny and gorgeous!
  • Legendborn which is a highly anticipated read (I still need to get to it, I’ve been a slow reader recently, life just got a bit too much and I didn’t read as much as I normally would), so I am happy to have it and looking forward to reading it.

Overall I liked the contents, it felt like a solid box with useful and decorative items being equally distributed rather than just things I wouldn’t keep or dust gatherers. And the book is a great choice, powerful, witchy and intense, and fits well with the rest of the items.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Life & Death Illumicrate

October was a busy month for book boxes it appears and Addie definitely had them scrambling for it. Illumicrate featured The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue as their main book rather than making a special edition whcih I appreciate as a decision and really appreciate.If you are curious, you can find the Owlcrate special edition here. But what was in this box?

Lets unbox starting on the bottom right with the leaflet and going clockwise:

  • Theme leaflet, I do like the simplicity and style matching the book and items for most of their boxes.
  • Journey to the Afterlife room spray, those are really popular in book boxes nowadays and I just wish they were more like the ones that actually get rid of the bad smells because these are nice but not effective enough and fade generally quick.
  • Their version of The Invisble Life of Addie LaRue which I really like what they did with it, though my copy came wrong and I still need to chase a replacement.
  • A really cool pencil case I am utterly in love with due to artwork.
  • A cool acrylic picture thing, I really like the concpet but it isnt exactly the item for me, maybe if one could add their own pictures to the frame or something itd be better for me.
  • A double pin which I love for like collars or stuff o the sun and themoon I think? Really like the design.
  • Monthly pin for Addie and I like monthly pins so no complaints here from me.
  • Two wooden tarot cards which are gorgeous and surprisingly one of the few tarot and woodmark kind of objects I like.

Overall the box was cohesive nad nice and it had good and bad items. Most of the not so good were more due to personal choice and not that I didnt like the item, just I wouldnt use it much. But still good quality and Illumicrate keeps sending strong boxes.

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).

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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!

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Moon Hauls: A Darker Shade of Magic Illumicrate Collections

Any Illumicrate Collections box tends to be really good, so when they announced A Darker Shade of Magic being a box, I jumped at it and got it. And of course, as per usual, it was packed full of goodies (so much I struggled to fit it all on my usual table), so let’s see what it had starting at the bottom right and going clockwise:

  • Contents booklet, mostly it lists what each item is and who the artist/companies behind it are.
  • Underneath most of the goodies is a Four Londons blanket by Yoshi Yoshitani, which I like a lot (usually the blankets are gorgeous)
  • Then we have a booksleeve inspired by Lila’s and Kell “dance”, it’s a good size and slightly plastified so really nice. The artwork is by Laia Lopez and the quote typography design on the other side is by Chatty Nora.
  • Essen Tasch hanging poster, this makes me feel like I’ve been to it and got a memento poster to hang on my wall. Normally I am not crazy about posters but I somehow really like this one. Design by Sylvia Bi
  • On top are some acrylic figures of the characters and one of the author too, which I thought was a cute idea and they’ll look good on a shelf to decorate. Design by Monolime
  • There was also a set of dust jackets for all three books if you’re not that into the naked look. Those were hard to display as they had come rolled in to be protected but difficult to quickly lay flat (they’ll be flat after a few days under some books). Artwork by Rosie Thorns.
  • A pin of Lila’s mask designed by Stacey McEvoy-Caunt.
  • In the middle is a microfibre cloth to clean glasses and gadgets with a design by Victoria Ying.
  • And finally the hardcover book with a foiled naked cover, silver sprayed edges and front endpapers with artwork by Em Allen. It is gorgeous, honestly!

All in all it was a great box, the item I will probably love the least is the dust jackets because I am not normally fond of them in books and prefer naked covers. But they are still gorgeous. And of course all the contents are so well tailored for the trilogy that it is like magic!

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: We Are the Resistance Illumicrate

The latest Illumicrate had a very scifi feel to it and the contents were as follows:

  • Seven Devils, just look at the gorgeous cover change!
  • A promotional bookmark for Sweet Black Waves.
  • Star Wars sunglasses (these were a bit meh, they feel like a filler item as they have nothing beyond a logo, and it’s not that amazing, plus I can’t use sunglasses).
  • A cute keyring, this will definitely be used soon.
  • Theme leaflet.
  • Another book planter, probably my favourite of the set.
  • A Bone Season notebook.
  • And some character cards.

To be fair, this definitely wasn’t their strongest box, and I wish it had been but it seems to be common that they’re not as strong for Scifi boxes than they are in fantasy boxes. There’s a lot of fun that could’ve been done here, so hopefully the scifi side gets stronger.

Books, Subscription Boxes

In the Shadows Illumicrate Unboxing

Somehow I took the pictures for this and completely forgot to actually upload the unboxing, which is very sily of me. Oh well, le’ts unbox June’s Illumicrate which was all about hidden glamour (or at least that’s the vibe it gave me, who knows maybe I got it a bit wrong?).

Starting on the far left with the theme card:

  • In the Shadows theme booklet.
  • The main book is The Court of Miracles, the naked cover is stunning, and I am intrigued by the book but not a big fan of Les Mis, so we shall see if I like it.
  • Metallic bookmark.
  • An odd tea towel (the fabric and size were a bit different than usual) for Game of Thrones and Arya’s kill list.
  • A Sarah J. Maas foiled print, which I found an owner for it.
  • Villains series inspired mug which is stunning and I am so so pleased by it.
  • Collector’s pin, I am liking these more than the weird magnetic coins.
  • A fan with a quote from Nevernight (I liked the timing of getting a fan during the hot week in the UK, so this was very welcomed)
  • Authors letter.

All in all it was a good box, quite fancy and I like the timing for some of the items. The mug is utterly stunning and I am happy for that.

Books, Subscription Boxes

Monstrous Illumicrate Unboxing

Illumicrate has been a bit of hit and miss the last few months, but I knew what book was coming in this box and it was one I was looking forwad to read so decided to see how the box would feel this time. Starting from the book and going clockwise:

  • The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence. I got into his writing thanks to Illumicrate and the proof copy for Red Sister. Borrowed his other books from the library and haven’t looked back. They’re definitely grim dark, so not for everyone.
  • Theme card.
  • Mercado de la Muerte Dark Spice hot chocolate. It smells slightly like Mexican chocolate, but I tasted it plain and it isn’t exactly right (it’s too much European/USA cocoa style and not enough mix of bitterness and sugar). But I’ll give it a try in water and shall see if it compares to proper hot chocolate.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets book sleeve. The art is gorgeous, it’s really nice and do not find faults here at all.
  • Toss a Post it note to your witcher! (does this need explaining?)
  • A phone stand with the Moving Castle on it. This is my favourite item in the box and prefer it to other phone items they’ve done except for the battery charger thing.
  • Foiled stickers, they are gorgeous. Love them

All in all, it was a much better box than previous ones and it gives me hope. And it matches well with my new puzzle (shame I didn’t keep the one with Howl’s Moving Castle in the background whcih would match the phone stand!). Looking forward to the next box!

Books, Subscription Boxes

Squad Goals Illumicrate Unboxing

Another slightly delayed bookbox due to COVID19, was Illumicrate which also ended up at the wrong address, but oh well. Things happen. Hopefully that’s it.

Starting on the tote bag on the right, and going clockwise, contents of the box were:

  • Gorgeous tote bag, the sad thing is that it is only one sided art and it is the kind will end up kinda peeling off. Sad because the artwork is gorgeous.
  • A cute necklace for Dark Materials (I am told this was meant to be in the previous box).
  • A power bank with Aurora Rising squad on it. I haven’t tested it yet but think it is a fun idea and definitely useful, plus makes it feel like more value for the box.
  • Bookmarks for the Witchlands (?) series.
  • A print to go with the book of the month.
  • The main book, Dangerous Remedy. I love the edition but I am still unsure about the book as it felt a bit unpolished (the ideas were cool but it was all over the place and I think a few more edits would’ve helped it become much better).
  • A magnetic whiteboard for notes on your fridge which my husband spotted as soon as I added it to the fridge and found to be in his opinion one of the best items in a box (he’s biased).

All in all this box felt a little better in quality than the previous ones have been, which is good because it was lacking (and no I wasn’t counting the whole delay in stuff, etc). The book wasn’t super exciting but it is a hyped interesting one so that’s more my problem than an issue with the box. So far it looks promising for their quality if they keep upping it.

Books, Subscription Boxes

Worlds Collide Illumicrate Unboxing

This is March’s Illumicrate box, and I am aware it is missing an item (it is listed in the card, so we know what is misisng but I won’t spoil it) and that is due to the pandemic affecting deliveries, so I won’t be counting that into this unboxing. They were more or less communicative about delays, but they were late in doing so and not very clear, which is not a great point to them (yes, it is a bit of a weird time, but most companies have been quick to notify and let customers and everyone know what’s going on).

So let’s see what was in the box, starting from the left and going clockwise:

  • The featured book, which is Havenfall by Sara Holland. I was looking forward to it and the edges are a gorgeous turquoise, really lovely.
  • This month’s coin and the previous month’s too (so they do keep their word of sending them once they have them). I am not big on the collectible coins, so this rarely ever weights in my opinion.
  • A clear plastic keyring. The artwork is nice and I get that they made it transparent to see the bottle through and all that, but it feels really cheap and like a “filler”. Specially if you compare to keyrings included in previous boxes.
  • A very nice print for City of Brass/Daevad trilogy, which I find gorgeous.
  • A mug, the artwork is nice but the quality is slightly blurry which doesn’t bother me much, but when it is next to the other mugs it feels a bit meh and doesn’t shine as much as it could have done.
  • Shrestha candle. It is glittery and smells delicious.

And the missing item. But even if that had been in the box, the recent boxes definitely feel like the quality and love have been missing from them. This makes me very sad, because given that at least hte last 2-3 boxes were much lower quality and felt underwhelming, I will probably have to cancel my subscription. Hard to do since I’ve been a subscriber for so long (from their fourth box, the Nevernight one). But I can’t keep paying for something that isn’t making me happy and that is lowering the quality and care for the box.