subscription box

November’s Illumicrate Box

This months Illumicrate box arrived this weekend and I when I opened it I was so pumped! But first things first, let me do the usual spiel at the start of a subscription box unboxing. Illumicrate is a quarterly UK based YA subscription box that unlike some subscription boxes doesn’t have a theme each time so you can get a real eclectic mix of goodies in the box each time. It costs £29.99 per box, with free shipping to the UK, it ships internationally but it does have a shipping cost that varies depending where in the world it’s travelling to. There’s always at least one book (though the last few boxes have included an ARC) and 4-6 goodies.

Now onto the box! I loved everything in this box – the goodies and the books(s) are all great and just the sort of thing I will actually use/appreciate.

First the goodies – and all but two of these things were Illumicrate exclusives. The first thing I saw was a bookish tea towel designed by Evannave Illustration which is lovely, and I will be taking it with me when I move to a new place in a couple of weeks. Then there was a print with a quote from J.K. Rowling from Nutmeg and Arlo and a moon and stars necklace from Oh Panda Eyes, which I’ve given to a friend because I knew she’d love it. There was a candle from Meraki Candles called Reading in Bed and it smells of hot chocolate and is a pale yellow with pink glitter on it and it smells divine. There was a 2018 Unicorn Journal from Prism Of Starlings which I will definitely be using. It’s a week per page (just how I like my diaries) and what’s really cool is it not only has the usual holidays already printed on the right day, but it also has various authors birthdays printed in it which is a nice touch for a book lover. There were also two samplers on for This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada and one for Iron Gold by Pierce Brown.

Now onto the books. The first book I saw was an advanced reader copy of The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. I’d seen this book a bit over Twitter recently and I like how it’s set in eighteenth century Cairo and has magic and spirits. I’m looking forward to reading it even if it’s a big chunk of a book! Now the other book got me seriously excited! It’s Artemis by Andy Weir! I adored The Martian so much and I’ve been looking forward to Artemis a lot but because I don’t pre-order books I hadn’t realised it was now out. This copy is an exclusive Illumicrate edition with black sprayed edges and it also came with a bookmark and a travel brochure which I thought was a very nice touch. I honestly can’t wait to read Artemis and it’ll probably be my next read.

I really love everything in this quarters Illumicrate box and I definitely think it’s worth the price tag. I may have to cancel my subscription as I’m moving to a flat and while I know there’s post boxes for each flat, I’m not sure what happens to parcels – but I have three months to figure that out.

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Choose 4 Words Book Date from The Book Matchmaker

This week I decided to treat myself after I heard about The Book Matchmaker on The Owl on the Bookshelf‘s gift guide for bookworms. The Book Matchmaker is a company that offers customers a mystery or blind date with a book. The way they do this is wrapping their books and only giving you a couple of clues before you decide to make a purchase. The clues can either be four words that are to do with the book, or is just the books genre. I thought this was a great way to find a book I may not normally pick up.

So, the date I decided to go for a Choose 4 Words Book Date. There’s lots of different books to choose from but the one I went for was the one with the words; Australia, Community, Secrets and Crime. My thoughts were that it must be a crime story and possibly either by an Australian author or set in Australia. I do like crime fiction but don’t read it regularly in case it becomes a bit repetitive, so I thought there was a good chance I wouldn’t have read it and if it turned out to be by an Australian author it could go towards my Read the World Project.

I was very impressed with how quick my Book Blind Date arrived, it dropped through my letter box just three days after I ordered it. I was also impressed with how it was wrapped – it looked lovely and very professional.

My book date turned out to be The Dry by Jane Harper. It’s a book I hadn’t heard about before but having read the blurb it’s definitely a book I’m looking forward to reading. The book also came with some hot chocolate! That’s another nice thing about this service, it lets you choose between tea, coffee, herbal tea and hot chocolate so you can have a hot drink as you enjoy your book date.

 As well as the 4 Words and Genre Book Dates, where you receive just the book and a hot drink, they also have Book Date Gift Boxes which include a book, mug, hot drink, an edible treat and a bookmark.

I think The Book Matchmaker is a great way to take a risk with what you read. I’m looking forward to reading The Dry and I will probably be making a purchase through The Book Matchmaker when I want a surprise book again.

Have you used The Book Matchmaker before? If so, what was your surprise book?

October’s FairyLoot Box – Villainous

This months FairyLoot box arrived on Monday – after some confusion with a lack of tracking number (my email with a tracking number actually arrived after my parcel did) this month’s box still arrived in good condition and I couldn’t wait to open it. I love a baddie so was looking forward to seeing what sort of goodies and book(s) (yes books plural!) were inside.

The first thing I saw was an exclusive candle from Meraki Candles, it was named Maleficient after the witch from Sleeping Beauty and smells and looks great. It’s lime green in colour and has purple glitter in it too (I may have spilt some of this glitter when I first opened it, I’m not used to glitter candles) and smells of jade orchid and lotus blossom – it’s a really subtle, fresh smell. Then there was an enamel pin in the shape of the Dark Mark of a Death Eater from House of Wonderland that is surprisingly cute for something so evil. There’s a pocket mirror made by Little Inkling Designs with a quote from The Young Elites by Marie Lu – a series I’ve been meaning to try forever! – and a coaster inspired by Moriarty made by Evie Seo. There was another goodie from Evie Seo, a print featuring a quote from The Aeneid by Roman poet Virgil, and a second art print inspired by Night of Cake and Puppets by Lani Taylor.

Now onto the books!

The first book I saw was The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. This an exclusive edition of the book, it has red where there’s normally gold, and it looks gorgeous. From what I can gather this is a collection of short stories, or fairy-tales, set in the Grishaverse. I’ve read Six of Crows but as of yet haven’t finished that duology nor read the original trilogy. Still, this is a gorgeous book with some wonderful illustrations on just about every page and I’m looking forward to delving into this world again. Especially as you don’t need to know anything of the main story to understand these tales. The book also came with a set of postcards featuring art from the book.

The second book was Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie Dao – a book whose cover I’d seen on social media a lot but hadn’t really looked into it much before. It sounds intriguing though, with it being a retelling of the Evil Queen from Snow White’s story but set in Eastern Asia. I’m always interested in retellings, seeing how they’re familiar to what we know but if and how they forge their own narrative. The books came with a letter from the author and a signed bookplate as well.

I was really impressed with this months FairyLoot. I don’t get a box every month, instead seeing what a theme is and purchase a box if it’s a theme I’m interested in. I liked that the goodies were varied, my favourites are the pin and the candle, and that there were two books this month! I’m looking forward to reading them both (hopefully) very soon.

August’s Illumicrate Box

My August Illumicrate box arrived today and I am seriously impressed with it! Illumicrate is a quarterly YA box based in the UK. It costs £29.99 per box, with free shipping to the UK included, it ships internationally but there is a shipping cost that varies depending where you live. Unlike a lot of subscription boxes Illumicrate doesn’t have a theme each quarter so it’s a surprise to see what’s included. There’s always at least one book and about 4-6 bookish goodies.

I really liked all the goodies in this box. There’s usually one or two things in any subscription box, not just Illumicrate, that I’m not that fussed about but all of these goodies put a smile on my face. There was Nevernight-inspired The Red Church Tea which is an exclusive from T-ology, I don’t drink tea but this tea smells gorgeous and might just leave it out as potpourri or something. There’s a zip bag with a Shakespeare quote from Miss Phi which is an exclusive, an exclusive dot grid notebook with a quote from The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan on the cover from Hey Atlas Creative and an exclusive Alethiometer coaster from Hannah Hitchman Art which I quite liked because you rarely see His Dark Materials goodies in subscription boxes.

There’s bookmarks for Ringer, After The Fire and The Bear and the Nightingale. Then there’s pin badges for Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu, a book I hadn’t heard of but based on the badges I googled it and it sounds like the most perfect book for me and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. And finally, from Blossom Books there was a set of sticky bookmarks and a book money jar. I have a random tin I’d been using to put £1 in for every book I read so I’m going to move that money to the jar.

There were two books in this quarters box. The first I saw was an exclusive edition advanced reader copy of Nyxia by Scott Reintgen. I hadn’t heard of this book before but it sounds like a sci-fi space thriller so I am intrigued. Nyxia is released at the end of September and it came with a bookmark in this box. The second book was Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo! I’ve seen this book pretty much all over Twitter for the past few months and after seeing Wonder Woman at the cinema three times and loving it a lot, I was definitely interested in Wonder Woman: Warbringer. This copy is an exclusive to Illumicrate with its red sprayed edges and has an exclusive Wonder Woman pin badge.

So that was this quarters Illumicrate box! I loved everything inside it and was very impressed with the book choices and all the goodies included. Now I always say I’ll read the books I get in subscription boxes sooner rather than later, and 99% of the time that doesn’t happen, but this time I mean it! I’m looking forward to reading both books and it was a lovely surprise to see them included in this quarters box.

July’s OwlCrate Box: Wanderlust

I ordered my third ever OwlCrate when I saw that July’s theme was “Wanderlust” – a theme that is pretty perfect for me as I love travelling and books about characters going on adventures.

OwlCrate is a YA subscription box service based in America, so because of the kind of expensive shipping costs to the UK I very rarely get one (she says even though this is her second box in three months – they’ve had cool themes recently!) Even though it comes from the US I do think it arrives really quickly and everything is well packaged so nothing gets damaged in the post.

Now onto what was included in this month’s box! #Spoilers

I’m not going to lie but I kind of rummaged to the bottom of the box straight away to see what the book was because I had a small inkling/hope based on the hints given by OwlCrate. The book was what I hoped it would be and that was The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee! I’ve seen this book on the book blogosphere and it sounds like such a fun adventure and I’ve heard so many positive things about it. I wasn’t sure what I’d been seeing was ARC’s or if the book was already out as I am terrible at keeping up with books release dates. I’m really looking forward to reading it and it might even be the next book I pick up. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue came with a signed bookplate, a cute illustrated note from the author and an art print map. Also, the cover is an OwlCrate exclusive and it’s more of a blue cover than green cover of the standard hardback which is cool.

Now onto the goodies. There’s an art print featuring a quote from Francois Rabelais and is somewhat inspired by John Green’s Looking for Alaska which was designed by Shailey Ann Designs. There’s a Lord of the Rings-inspired cloth backpack which is rather cool and a Newt Scamander keychain from Funko – if there’s a character that has wanderlust it’s Newt. There’s a pocket mirror inspired by A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab and was designed by Miss Phi. Then there’s a pocket journal from Ooly (one of eight different designs) and an owl luggage tag from Mudpuppy.

Once again there’s a lot of cool stuff in this OwlCrate box. Newt is going to be joining the rest of my Funko collection on my bookshelves and I’ll definitely be putting the pocket mirror in my handbag. I’m super excited about The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and I think the rest of the goodies will be things I’ll use.

Next months OwlCrate theme is “Something Wicked This Way Comes” so if you like things that are magical and something evil then maybe August’s OwlCrate box is for you. If you got this months OwlCrate, do let me know what you thought. Are there any other bookish subscription boxes I should try?

Ninja Book Box – A Grand Adventure Summer Reading Box

Last week my first ever order from Ninja Book Box arrived. Ninja Book Box is a UK-based quarterly subscription box that focusses on independently published books. The book featured each quarter are from a variety of genres and are not particularly YA focussed, so if you like the idea of a subscription box but aren’t a huge YA fan, then the Ninja Book Box might be for you.

At the moment, they have a special box for sale called A Grand Adventure Summer Reading Box which contains three books but none of the usual goodies you find in the usual subscription box – this is the box I got. I chose to get this box because while I like the goodies you get in subscription boxes, the main draw for me is the books. This is a cool one-off box and you can choose if you want adult books or kids’ books or a mixture of both – and you can stipulate the age range for the kids’ books.

So that’s what the Grand Adventure Summer Reading Box is so let me show you what was inside.

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May’s Illumicrate Box

My May Illumicrate Box arrived earlier this week while I was visiting a friend abroad so it was a nice surprise waiting for me when I got home.

Illumicrate is a quarterly YA box based in the UK. Unlike a lot of subscription boxes this one doesn’t really have a theme each quarter so it’s always a surprise to see what’s included. There was a lot of stuff in this month’s box.

There were two books included in this month’s box. There’s a signed copy of Truth or Dare by Non Pratt which sounds like a super interesting book. I believe it’s got the same story from two points of view so you read it like a normal book and then you flip it around and read the over characters side of the story. It’s all about friendship and internet fame which since I’ve read Eliza and Her Monsters I’m a lot more interested in. The other book was an advanced reader copy of The Waking Land by Callie Bates. It’s a fantasy story with magic and warring kingdoms and I think it’s released later this month. Book books came with a letter from the author and The Waking Land also came with a signed bookplate.

Now the goodies were pretty cool too. There’s a Feyre mug from Merwild, who I believe is a character from the A Court of Thorns and Roses series but I don’t really know I haven’t read those books, but I really like the design and you can never have too many mugs. There’s a Mermaid Lagoon Candle from Flickerink which has a really strong and sharp tropical scent – I love it but my mum’s not a fan so that’ll be one I use when she’s out.

There’s a very cute keyring from Nutmeg and Arlo which has the “Swish & Flick” quote from Harry Potter along with a wand – my house keys used to have a felt bird on them but that fell off a while ago so have been meaning to find a new keyring for them so this could well be the replacement. There’s some lovely Beauty and the Beast artwork and door hanger from TJ Lubrano which is so pretty. Though I’m always unsure as what to do with art prints.

Then there was a map bookmark from Penguin Co which is quite clever and sits on the corners of the page you’re up to, and then some extra goodies for Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith, Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles and The Gender Games by Juno Dawson. I am very tempted to put The Gender Games pin badge, which has the quote “Let the Gender Games Begin” on it, on my work lanyard just to see what the reaction may be – I work at an all-boys school so it could be interesting.

So that was all that was in this month’s Illumicrate box! It was definitely jampacked and I feel I will use most of the stuff featured. I think I’ll be reading Truth or Dare sooner rather than later and I am intrigued by The Waking Land.

Now my bank balance can take a break after I ordered three different bookish subscription boxes this month!