Rule the Stars Book Box Club Unboxing

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The last Book Box Club of the year, and it has some interesting things in it. (Plus I didn’t guess this book, so yay!). Starting from the theem card and going clockwise:

  • Theme card, with a cute blue and pastel decoration.
  • The secret clubhouse invite, still personalised. I love the fact that those are still personalised in every box. It is one of my favourite things (but not the only one for sure) about Book Box Club.
  • Astronaut bath bomb. Isn’t it super cute? I loved it so much, it’s a cute shape and perfectly tehmed (and the blue matches the theme colours, so perfect too).
  • This Splintered Silence by Kayla Olson. This book gives me a bit of “The Loneliest Girl in the Universe vibes, and I genuinely hope it is as good as that one was.
  • Book Box Club 2019 calendar! I had my artwork in this year’s calendar but didn’t make artwork in time for this one, so woops! But the artwork from all the artists is gorgeous and I love it!
  • The Binging bookmark, which helped remind me to get this book on preorder.
  • A Cinder inspired candle, full of glitter, all the shiny!
  • A cool double sized zipper pouch/purse, which shows different pictures or rather, gives you a “front” and “back” view of it.

So let’s see, I liked the box but it wasn’t my most favourite sadly. Still, I am looking forward to another year of Book Box Club!

 

Fallen Angels Book Box Club Unboxing

Turns out this was a very blue box apparently (I only really noticed once I put everything ready for a picture). And I have to say that as per usual, this was a lovely box from Book Box Club.

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Let’s unbox starting from the top right corner:

  • Jace notebook (from Shadowhunters) by A Traveling Sketchbook. I am not a fan of Shadowhunters but I do love the artwork and it is a notebook, I won’t complain at all.
  • On top of the notebook is a wooden feather bookmark that was an absolute stunner (the detail is so gorgeous!)
  • Theme card (feathers, feathers, feathers)
  • Publisher’s extras which were a bookmark for “More Than We Can Tell” and “Letters to the Lost“, and a postcard for State of Sorrow.
  • 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 🙂

Accio! Holiday Box (Ravenclaw)

Accio! is a box based in the US. They sell Harry Potter Universe merchandise, usually from superior quality (I tried them out for 3 months when they first opened up for international subscriptions, and the only reason I stopped my subscription is that the customs were making it too expensive for me, otherwise I’d get it more often!).

Anyway, they made a special Holiday Box, and I had to get one (Ravenclaw).

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As you can see it was packed full of stuff (and the cracker had also goodies inside, see picture below) and I am utterly in love with it. Contents are listed this time in the picture so I won’t list them again.

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The cracker had the list of items inside, a paper crown, a mini lotion bar and a joke.

Of course, the ornament went directly to my tree, the mug has become one of my favourites (it is quite sturdy and big and it is so gorgeous!) and all in all it really is an amazing box and I was extremely pleased with the contents.

So if you are a HP fan, do please try them out, they are absolutely worth it.

 

 

Oh So Regal FairyLoot

After the fiasco with Hermes and their bad delivery I was a bit scared that my Fairyloot would not arrive before Christmas, however I can say that it did!

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This was also an easy guess of the book for me, since I had already read it, but I had given my ARC copy away so it was nice to have a proper hardback version of it. Let’s start from the book and go clockwise:

  • Everless by Sara Holland. Just go read it, it is quite interesting and it left me with a book hangover. You can read my review here.
  • Prince Eric candle by A Court of Candles. It smells gorgeous and apparently there were 4 different smells to get.
  • Red Queen notebook by Stella’s Bookish Art, which matches the book of Everless which is pretty cool.
  • Theme card and theme bookmark.
  • Rosemarked sampler.
  • Keyring which I really liked and is now holding my keys, by Fiction Tea DEsigns.
  • William Shakespeare pouch by . Probably my least favourite item but it is still cool.
  • Promotional bookmark.
  • Simba Funko, there were supposed to be 6 different ones and all of the other options are princesses, so why do I get Simba? I did want one of the other princesses and would’ve preferred say Merida or Mulan over Simba as a choice. Oh well, can’t have it all.

Another nice wintery box to enjoy before Christmas (it arrived before, even if the post is after).

Winter FairyTales Book Box Club

This year has brought us a cold prewinter (since officially winter starts on the 22nd) so it has lovely to receive bookish boxes that make you feel even more Christmassy.

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Book Box Club did not disappoint this time, so starting on the theme card and going clockwise:

  • Winter Fairytales theme card.
  • Baba Yaga wish bracelet by Charmed Delight Co. Last year they sent a different one which had three stars, so I am seeing a theme here, can we keep it up?
  • Hansel & Gretel’s Gingerbread Mallows by Bonboosh. They are the reason this picture was taken during nighttime using the lights in the room, as they didn’t make it to the next day.
  • Christmas Card, this was personalised to all the members of our house (sans the 9 chickens, but it’s hard to know all of their names!  PS. Cow, Big Mama, The Sweeties, Skittles, Scarface, Red 1 and Red 2, Pearl) including our puppy and it is now proudly being displayed alongside the other Christmas cards we’ve received.
  • Underneath it all is a super soft scarf with shiny golden trees that makes me want to get dressed up already for Christmas (by Hazel & Pip)
  • A bookmark featuring the two books in the box.
  • Fairy Godmother notebook by TJ Lubrano.
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. I actually guessed the books because I already had this one. The bonus is that the extra book is going to a good home and now I have a signed book plate for the book.
  • The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden. Second book of the series and yay to double books in the box.
  • Fairytales pencil.
  • Scrolled Clubhouse invitation.

All in all, a lovely box with a very wintery feel.

December’s Fantasy + Sci-fi Leafer Box

Just in case you didn’t know, Leafer Box are UK based and the cheapest book box out there (that is not just book). And for December, I collaborated with them and designed an exclusive bookmark.

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I get a custom box, which bundles up sci-fi & fantasy and only gives me one chocolate and one of any item that may be repeated, clockwise starting at the chocolate:

  • Chilli Dark Chocolate, Leafer Box always has chocolate.
  • Witches’ Curse incense sticks (Fantasy Box)
  • Pegasus 1, which looks interesting and I like the cover. (SCi-Fi)
  • Space keyring, which is already on my keys (Sci-Fi)
  • Saturn/planet patch. I love this one! (Sci-Fi)
  • Star & Planet earrings (which I have been wearing since I got them and have received a lot of compliments). (Sci-Fi)
  • Exclusive Moon Kestrel Designs colouring bookmark.
  • Harry Potter nail decals (Fantasy)
  • I put a spell on you bookmark. (Fantasy)
  • Mulled Wine tea. I can’t wait to make a cup of tea with this. (Fantasy)
  • The Living Curse Novella (Fantasy)
  • The Witch’s Kiss, which ironically, the day before I got this box, I had been saying that I needed this book and should buy it. They read my mind! Witchcraft 😉 (Fantasy).

As per usual, an amazing box.

Also, I am giving away one of the theme of your choice on my twitter @themoonkestrel, if you’re interested. it ends on Boxing Day (26th of December).

 

 

Best of YA 2017 Wildest Dreams Box

I present to you Wildest Dreams Book Box, a new UK based box with low price as part of their aim (the box is £18 so they’re the second cheapest one available at the moment, and it has free shipping to the UK).

This is their first ever box and I was lucky enough to get hold of one.

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So here we go, clockwise unboxing, starting with the book:

  • The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed. This is a brutal book to my understanding and I do really want to read it.
  • Sorting Bath Bomb from Geeky Clean. I love anything by Steph, so this is always a great way to start a book box. And so so bookish.
  • Spoiler Card explaining why everything was chosen. Also, as a note, there was a special note from Amy Reed that I left inside the book.
  • Book of Fire bookmark and postcard, and the bookmark is signed.
  • After The Fire tea. I squealed and reacted very much to this as After The Fire is my absolute favourite book of the year and having a tea made for it was just the best!

So my veredict is that the box has potential and it looks interesting. I am currently on a 3 month subscription to trial it a little more and see how it pans out.

Also, as a note, this box has new releases that are more mainstream than what Leafer Box offers, so I’d recommend both of them depending on what you want out of your box.

November Illumicrate Unboxing

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.

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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…
  • JK Rowling quote print by Nutmeg & Arlo, it is shiny, I like it.
  • This Mortal Coil and Iron Gold samplers.
  • Moon + stars necklace by Oh Panda Eyes which I absolutely adore because I am Moon so it is perfect!
  • Artemis pamphlet.
  • Reading in bed candle by Meraki Candles. It smells like a fresh mug of hot chocolate and it is utterly delicious.
  • A 2018 planner with unicorns by Prism of Starlings, it was AWESOME to receive this since I had started thinking I ought to plan what planner I’d buy but now that is sorted.
  • Artemis by Andy Weir and a bookmark too. I ma looing forward to reading it.
  • And a City of Brass ARC, which is awesome because I have been lookign forward to reading it so now I have the ARC and yay!

All in all I was absolutely pleased with this box and the only thing I am not keeping are the samplers, so I think it is a 10/10 box. Very very happy with it.

Haunted Minds Book Box Club

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.

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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).
  • The Memory Trees by Kali Wallace, the book sounds intriguing.
  • 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.

Witch, Please! Fanmail Box

First let me tell you that I had been eyeing Fanmail for a while but managed to miss all the awesome book editions that they made. And choosing this one was a spur of the moment decision (as I am not that into Halloween so it could’ve gone wrong). However it left me with my mouth wide open, I kept pulling things out of the box and it was awesome.

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Let’s go back to the usual and go clockwise starting from the Witch Please card:

  • Witch Please! card, it includes the items, and recommendations about the theme and what to do and see and watch.
  • Pancake Madness (Sabrina the Teenage Witch) apron.
  • Jiji (Kiki’s Delivery Service) keychain, it is the most adorable thing ever.
  • Print
  • An extra “treat” and no tricks, which was a Marvel pin.
  • “Anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve” T-shirt.
  • Broomstick pen (this made me laugh and is now sitting on my HP cauldron mug)
  • Two promotional bookmarks.
  • Two mini comics.

 

Dragon Slayer LitJoy Crate

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).

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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.
  • Candle
  • 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).

Villainous FairyLoot

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!).

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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.
  • Forest of a Thousand Lanters by Julie C. Dao, with an anti-heroine and an interesting story.
  • Monthly theme bookmark.
  • Signed bookplate (I like that it has the snake and flower from the cover)
  • Moriarty inspired coaster by Evie Seo, I like how it is dark and oh so gorgeous!
  • Death Eater pin by House of Wonderland (it is such a cutie, despite being a dark bad thing).
  • The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. This is an exclusive cover and I have to say I love it and kinda prefer it over the official one.
  • Postcards from The Language of Thorns, they are absolutely stunning.
  • Promotional print for Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor.
  • Maleficient candle by MerakiCandles, as per usual it has a wonderful smell and I love it is the “disney evil lime green” kinda colour.
  • The Young Elites Mirror by Little Inkling Designs.
  • Theme postcard.

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.

101 on Book Subscription Boxes

I love subscription boxes. This is not a secret.

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).

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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.

  • Book Box Club – YA, website, UK.
  • FairyLoot – Fantasy YA, website, UK.
  • Leafer Box – Various box per genre, website, UK, No subscription but can buy for 3 or 6 months in one go.
  • LitJoy Crate – YA/Children’s, website, US.
  • Owlcrate – YA, website, US
  • Owlcrate Jr. – Children’s, website, US
  • Unicorn Crate – YA, website, US
  • Hootloot Box – YA, website, US, bi-monthly
  • The Bookish Box – YA/Adult, website, US
  • Enchanted Book Box – YA, website, US
  • The Bookie Box – YA, website, US
  • Shelflove Crate – Fantasy and Sci-fi YA/Children’s, website, US
  • Shelflove Reads (+) – Part of Shelflove Crate, but does general YA.
  • Whimsify Box – Fantasy YA, website, US
  • Uppercase – YA, website, US (only ships to US/Canada)
  • Illumicrate -Usually YA but has exceptions, website, UK, quarterly.
  • Once Upon a Book Club Box – YA/Adult, website, US
  • Spearcraft Book Box – YA, website, US
  • The YA Chronicles – YA, website, Australia
  • Celebrate Books (*) – YA, website, Netherlands (also does Dutch editions)
  • LitCube – Adult Fiction, website, US
  • Book of the Month Club – Various, website, US
  • Nocturnal Reader’s (*) – Horror, website, US
  • Coffee and a Classic (*) – Various/Classic, website, US
  • My Book Box – Adult, website, US
  • Cozy Reader Club (*) – Adult(women’s fiction), website, US
  • Magic Chest -YA, website, Germany
  • Romance Reveal Book Box -Romance, website, US
  • Book Case Club – Various/Children, website, US
  • The Bookworm Box –  Various, website, US
  • Ninja Book Box (*) – Indie, website, UK, quarterly
  • Wildest Dreams Box (+) – YA, website, UK
  • Rainbow Book Box (+,*) – Diverse reads, website, UK
  • Bookish Land (*) – Various, website, France   *See Note at end of list
  • The Book Matchmaker (*) – A mystery book, website, UK
  • DragonBookBox (+) – Adult Fantasy, website, UK
  • Page Habit – Various, website, US
  • Mark the Page – YA, website, Australia
  • Blue Spiders Attic (*) – Secondhand various, website, US
  • My Guilty Pleasures Book Crate (*) – Various, website, US
  • Bookmarked Box – YA, website, US
  • Mirror Book Box (*) – Diverse, website, US
  • Send me Swooning – Romance, website, US (only ships to US)
  • Novel Editions – Various, website, Canada (only ships to Canada)
  • The Book Crate – YA, website, Australia (only ships to Australia)
  • Never Never Book Box (*) –  Spec Fiction, website, Australia
  • The bookstabox (+) –  YA, instagram, US
  • Absolutely Booked –  YA, website, Pakistan, bi-monthly
  • Story Trunk – YA, website, India
  • The Big Book Box – Various, website, India
  • I Am A Kid (IAAK) (*) – Funko+T-shirt/Book, website, India
  • Aurora The Box Of Dreams – YA, website, India
  • Book Box – Various/Short Stories & poems, website, India (only ships to India)
  • Books N Beyond  – Various, website, India
  • Yureka Books (*) – Book Match/Various, website, US
  • Pop Reads Box (*) – YA+Funko Pop, website, US
  • Parnassus Next (*) – YA Signed Book, website, US
  • The Book Hook Up (*) – Various Box per genre , website, US
  • Goldsboro Book of the Month(*) – Signed Book, website, UK (only book)
  • Willoughby Book Blub – Various, website, UK (only books)
  • And the Story Begins –  Various, website, US
  • Nerdy Bookworm Box
  • My Bookish Crate
  • NovelTea Club
  • Blue Tome

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.

20171029_160245.jpgClockwise 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.

October’s Fantasy & Sci-fi Leafer Box

As you may know, Leafer Box is one of my “permanent” boxes. There are a lot of good reasons why I love it:

  1. It’s cheap, each box costs £12.99 plus shipping (UK is £2.99) and you can use code KESTREL10 for 10% off so even cheaper!
  2. It doesn’t have a crazy hype and there’s like zero chance you’ll get a repeat with another book box.
  3. You can buy the box of the month any day of the month! No missing out because it sold out in a few hours and you couldn’t connect at the time, no problems if you only get paid until the end of the month. As long as you order during the month, you get that box.

My list could go on but I’d rather just show you my bundled Fantasy & Sci-Fi box.

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Starting from the chocolate bar because chocolate and going clockwise:

  • A Galaxy chocolate bar, this is one of the big ones and that makes me so happy, they don’t go small on chocolate and yummy goodies.
  • Sci-Fi book, Champion of Mars by Guy Haley. I don’t know why but it makes me think of mythology despite knowing it isn’t exactly that…
  • Botanical bookmarks (they are not part of the box but rather a thank you gift from them because I rave so much about them)
  • Glow in the dark constellations! I always wanted glow in the dark stars on my ceiling but never got my parents to get some for me, and as an adult forgot, but now I do!
  • A space/Mars pen (usually their pens are fine point and have beautiful ink and write lovely)
  • An Alien necklace that made me laugh when I saw it, it is cool.
  • Now for the Fantasy box contents, a summer wax melt tart thing that definitely smells like summers and picnics and just good!
  • A thunder and lighting necklace, also quite lovely and cool.
  • A golde twig/branch hair pin which looks amazing on my hair and people have been complimenting when I wear it.
  • And the book, The Fifth Season which was already on my “I’d like to read that book” list so I was very happy to get it in this box.

As you can see, the box(es) was packed full of goodies and it is a great bang for your buck. Absolutely recommend it and there are several other genres you can try.

 

Pixel Me Gaming Spearcraft Unboxing

So, one of the books I really wanted was Warcross, and when I found out the theme for Spearcraft I was sure it’d be the book I wanted, so I fished discount codes and tried to get it as cheap as possible (because it is on the expensive side with expensive shipping to the UK).

On a funny note, I ended up winning a giveaway for Warcross, so now I have both hardback editions (US & UK). UK edition is the colourful one, US is a robin egg/turquoise colour and smaller.

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Starting from the book and going clockwise:

  • US edition of Warcross by Marie Lu. (link provided is for the UK version)
  • Pacman earrings (they are quite cute).
  • Nerve sticker (the film was interesting but I wasn’t really into the story even from the book).
  • Ready Player One bookmark
  • Mario Bros inspired soaps (cute, I like them, Mario was one of the first games I played n a console, alongside the shoot the ducks one)
  • Hunger Games quote magnet
  • Character card
  • Ready Player One quote print by treehousebooks
  • Triforce wax melt
  • Mario Bros keyring, which is now with my keys, to show my geeky gaming side.
  • Hunger Games quote postcard

**Start of rant about gaming**
I have to admit with such a massive gaming industry and such a diverse choice of games, I was expecting less of the same one (there’s two of each, Hunger Games, Mario Bros and Ready Player One) and more variety. And to me Hunger Games is out of place because it is not a pixel game nor is it console or anything, it is a book fandom (and film if you want to go with that).

I may rant but I love gaming and love games and it was a little like “but why is HG here when there is so much more that could be here instead? So many series of games, so much Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and all other gaming developers have brought out that we love, why not include them in here?”. PS. I restrained myself from reciting all the possible games that could’ve inspired an item because you’d be stuck in a vortex hole of game names and weird old stuff like Chips or Carmen San Diego and that red hat… Plus the 8 bit music… **End of rant**

Ignoring the gaming bit, it was a nice box though I do prefer when the boxes have less “paper” items and I am happy to get my Warcross book. Due to shipping + box costs, it is not good for me so I haven’t kept it but it will probably be quite good for others in the US.