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Thoughts on Bookish Boxes

Dear lovely readers,

I want to talk today about Book Subscription Boxes. As I sit and write this, I have a small pile of the cardboard boxes that contain all the bookish goodies next to me – I love using the boxes themselves to store things – papers, nail varnishes, bits and bobs etc.

At the end of last year, I moved by entire TBR onto another bookshelf (and a shelf on my ‘Read’ bookshelf because my TBR is HUGE) and finally got a really good look at what I don’t tend to pick up. I don’t tend to pick up big books (too intimidating!), the first book in a series (must read the rest of the series before forgetting what happened in the first book!) and hardbacks. I find it hard to find the time to read hardbacks because I don’t like carting them around on the commute in my backpack, I can’t take them with me when I travel for work (too big!) and I find them bulky and cumbersome to read. That being said, I love to look at hardbacks – pristine and shiny, often unread.

I also noticed something else, undeniably linked – I don’t seem to read books that come in book boxes.

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So, I’m not a hardcore subscriber of book boxes. In an attempt to be somewhat careful with my money, I only buy boxes when 1. I know what book is likely to arrive, and 2. I really want to read that book. Otherwise, I can’t justify paying that much for a box, when I’m unlikely to ever read the book.

Despite this, I still don’t seem to pick up the books that arrive in a book box. Sometimes, it’s because the book gets bad reviews and my interest wanes (this happens more than you would think), and sometimes it’s just the fact that a hardback is unlikely to be my next read.

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I do often enjoy the little book-related goodies that come in book boxes – I particularly like candles (although finding a place to burn them can be difficult!), mugs, coasters, etc. I’m less interested when I don’t ‘understand’ a piece – it comes from a fandom I have no knowledge of, or concerns a character I just don’t care about.

The one thing I do want to say on bookish goodies – I am really not a fan of food. I have food allergies so I’m unlikely to be able to dig into any treats that arrive in the box – and people with more severe allergies may react to just opening the box. Bath treats and candles should steer clear of allergens too – or state them clearly.

I also don’t drink tea – I much prefer a fruit tea, but haven’t tried any of the teas I’ve received so far. I know a lot of people do love tea though (and it feels like a good book accompaniment) so this is 100% personal preference.

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So where does that leave me and book boxes?

Honestly, I’m pretty happy with my current policy of waiting to see when book boxes are announced and deciding if I really need that book. I won’t buy a box unless I know what book it is coming with, and even then, I’ve been trying to cut down on book buying anyway, so it’ll have to be a really anticipated release for me to indulge.

That being said, I think they’re definitely worth trying – I really do love many of the little goodies inside the boxes, and I love sniffing the bookish candle collection I’ve built up.

 

What are your thoughts on bookish boxes – are you an ardent subscriber, book box newbie or something in between? Let me know!

annalsie

On Book Hype

Hello lovely readers,

My book-buying ban has spectacularly failed – although I am still intending to cut down significantly. I have pre-ordered some books that are coming out in February and March which I think I will really enjoy – and some are finales to trilogies that I’d like to finish this year. It’d be rude not to buy them.

When you’re trying not to spend spend spend, the hype becomes real. Books you hadn’t even heard of last week become a must-buy. It’s FOMO, and it feels real and urgent because everyone else is reading this book NOW.

Hype can be for a number of reasons. It can accumulate because a lot of book bloggers and vloggers have received copies – they’re hauling their copies in videos and gushing about how much they want to read it – and then the reviews come in, posted on blogs and vlogs and Goodreads. The book is appearing on your newsfeed and subscription list almost constantly and a book you were ‘meh’ about is now top of your to-buy list. Everyone else is reading it, why aren’t you?

The opposite can be true – a book can be hyped because only a few select bloggers have read it, and they loved it. This was the case with Caraval, where the hype began a full calendar year before the book was released. It was hard to get your hands on a copy of Caraval, and that drove up the hype ever more. Yet when I finally got my hands on the book, I was disappointed. It was still a fun read, but it didn’t live up to the expectations in my head.

Hype around certain books can be difficult to avoid – especially when you live on Book Twitter and Booktube – but I’ve been trying (and failing) recently to wait until a book is released into the world, and reviewed by more than the select few. Sometimes sky-high Goodreads ratings come tumbling down once the book has been released – and sometimes they stay high, and you’re genuinely going to be in for a great read.

One of my goals this year is to reduce the amount of money I spend on books – I want to reduce my TBR but also increase the quality of books I’m reading. If I know I’m not going to enjoy a book, I’d rather not read it. Part of this is also not subscribing to book subscription boxes – I already pick and choose which boxes I buy, and make sure it’s a book I know I want to read. That being said, I realised at the end of last year that I really struggle to pick up books that have come out of book boxes, even though I would have picked them up if I had bought them alone.

I’d love to know your views and experiences on book hype – let me know down in the comments or tweet me at @annalisebooks.

annalsie

July Fairyloot Box – Pirates and Power Unboxing!

I was lucky enough to get my hands on the Fairyloot box this month – I knew I had to have it when it was announced (and there’s *two* books in this one!).

The theme this month was:

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Obviously this will be spoiler-ific, so if you haven’t received your box yet, look away now!

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So this month’s box included:

  • I didn’t receive a guide to the box (I think it might have fallen out!) so sorry in advance for not being able to source these items!
  • Jon Snow Funko Pop! Keyring – two of these were available, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen i.e. A Song of Ice and Fire. I love Game of Thrones (and Jon Snow!) so I was excited to get this figure!
  • Treasure Island notebook – this is such a cool addition, a gorgeous gold notebook based on the cover of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. It even has a map inside!
  • Tropical Fruit bathbomb from Geeky Clean – repackaged as Frostblood and Fireblood bath bomb by Fairyloot. I LOVED THIS – it smelled so great and turned the bath the most gorgeous midnight blue. The repackaging fits in with the second book in this box.
  • Pirate Bounty lip balm by Geekyclean. Another cool addition – this smells of coconuts and has such cute packaging.
  • Currently Reading colour-in bookmark by Behind The Pages – I’ll definitely be using this one and colouring it in! Really cute and useful.
  • ‘I Ship It’ tote bag – afraid I don’t know where this one is from! Will come in useful at YALC.

And onto the books…

  • Inherited by Freedom Matthews – this book came signed (and dedicated) by the author, with a letter from the author, a signed letter from the publisher Benjamin of Tomes, and a book postcard.

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If saying ‘I love you’ meant death, would you still say it?

The Wilted Rose, of faery-tale and folklore, is a pirate ship filled with unfortunate souls-each forbidden to love. One such soul is Valencia ‘Lennie’ Roux. Raised in a brothel and an heir to a curse; Lennie never expected to pique the interest of any man. Yet with the arrival of vivid-eyed Nathaniel, she is torn between wanting to know him better and fearing what that knowledge would mean.

With Nathaniel bringing the crew’s total to six, the Wilted Rose sets off in search of the remaining two heirs. They hope that in reuniting, they will convince the faery Sorceress responsible for the curse, to end it. However lurking beneath the water is a long standing enemy of the Wilted Rose; who is determined to thwart their quest and bring down its leaders.

Together the eight heirs fight for survival, friendship and love.

  • The second book was an ARC of Frostblood by Elly Blake. There were two ARCs available this month – the same book but two different covers, the Frostblood and Fireblood editions.

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Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a fireblood who must hide her powers of heat and flame from the cruel frostblood ruling class that wants to destroy all that are left of her kind. So when her mother is killed for protecting her and rebel frostbloods demand her help to kill their rampaging king, she agrees. But Ruby’s powers are unpredictable, and she’s not sure she’s willing to let the rebels and an infuriating (yet irresistible) young man called Arcus use her as their weapon. All she wants is revenge, but before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to take part in the king’s tournaments that pit fireblood prisoners against frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Fast-paced and compelling, Frostblood is the first in a page-turning new young adult three-book series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies—but together create a power that could change everything.

I’m so excited to start these two books!

Another absolutely fantastic book box from Fairyloot this month – they always deliver something special! I’ll definitely be purchasing again!

annalsie