Reviews

Book Subscription Box Review: OwlCrate

OwlCrate: January ‘Classic Remix’ Box

Okay, so if you don’t know what a book subscription box then;

  1. Where have you been?
  2. Check out my blog post about them HERE.

As some of you might have gathered I am the sort of person that researches upcoming releases and tries to guess which books will be featured before I decide to order a box – or at least I’ve begun doing this and do not intend to stop.  This is a handy little practice that means I can better maintain my funds and spend less on books and book boxes so I can begin paying back the excessive amount I owe my mother.  But I didn’t need to do research to guess which book would be included in the January box, I knew, I had anticipated it since I first heard of it’s eventual existence, and I had a lot of hope for this box – I was a little disappointed with the overall contents of the box, but I’ll get into that throughout the unboxing and in my final thoughts.

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As always OwlCrate has lovely Introduction/Information cards in each box that are surprisingly detailed.  I love this one!  And of course the box arrived in perfect condition and the packaging was excellent.

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The first thing I saw in the packing worms was this The Little Prince inspired tea by First Edition Tea Co. which I think is cute but as I am not a tea drinker and no one in my household drinks herbal teas I shall be gifting this to a teaholic friend for her upcoming birthday.  It’s mint and rose flavoured and was created exclusively for this OwlCrate box.

The next item hidden in the packing worms was this open book soap by TeaSoapBooks.  The scent is inspired by The Secret Garden and it is scented with white tea and berries.  I don’t typically use bar soaps (they carry a lot of germs and usually leave my skin either dry or with an oily residue) but this soap does smell nice and I’m willing to give it a try.  It was made exclusively for this OwlCrate box but they have heaps of others open book soaps and bath salts inspired by literature so be sure to check them out!

The next thing I pulled out was this double sided bookmark which says ‘Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.‘ which is a quote from Slaughterhouse Five – a book I have not and will not likely read.  But I love this quote and the bookmark, made by the talented Lexy Olivia, is stunning! Again, it was made exclusively for this box and is not available anywhere else – a running theme with this box.

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Up next we have something that, though cool and pretty, is completely useless to me.  A desk calendar, designed by Obvious State.  Each month features a unique print with a quote inspired by 12 different classic children’s stories.

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January: Peter Pan “Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?

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January: Peter Pan “Would you like and adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?
February: Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland “Where childhood’s dreams are twined in memory’s mystic bond.
March: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz “The north and south winds met where the house stood.
April: The Call of the Wind “Old memories were coming upon him fast… stirring the realities of which they were the shadows.
May: Anne of Green Gables “To sleep in a wild cherry-tree all white with bloom in the moonshine.
June: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn “It did seem so good to be free again and all by ourselves on the big river.
July: The Secret Garden “It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine.
August: Treasure Island “Hang the treasure! It’s the glory of the sea that has turned my head.
September: The Wind in the Willows “And still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.
October: The Time Machine “Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life.
November: The Jungle Book “We will leave the lights of the village and go to the low moon.
December: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea “If one’s destiny is strange, it is also sublime.

As I said I don’t have any use of a calendar such as this but the prints are lovely so I’ll cut them out and stick the ones I like around my room.

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Next up we have this magnet of The Phantom of the Opera designed by Sweet Sequels.  I love The Phantom of the Opera and so does my mum so this magnet now lives on our fridge.

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Something to know about OwlCrate is that they don’t typically include promotional stuff but I am so glad they included this promotional mini poster for Wires and Nerve – I love it and I love the series and I can’t wait to read the graphic novel following Iko (I just have to properly read the series…).  This is the kind of promotional stuff I like and enjoy hanging on my door.

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Something OwlCrate has included in all their most recent boxes is a collectable pin that matches the introduction card.  I’ve been thinking of putting all my pins on a book bag, but I’m unsure- until I decide I have very little use for the pins but they’re fun to get.

 

And this month’s book is….

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Roseblood by A.G. Howard.  This is an atmospheric and dark romance set in the tunnels of Paris.  It is a modern-day retelling of The Phantom of the Opera and I am so excited this exists.  The Phantom of the Opera was the first musical I saw live, I was 13 and instantly fell in love with the dark tale.  Back then I didn’t understand the dark themes, it was just beautiful music and costumes.  But in the past 8 years I have come to understand that the Phantom is a tale of obsession and possession and is in fact not a love story.  I love how dark it is and I’m so excited to read this retelling.  I’ve already started a bit and it’s stunning, it’s so descriptive and the writing almost makes the music come alive and take hold of you as it does to Rune.  I’ve also been loving the subtle nods to the original story that only people who have seen the production or movie (or even read the book) would pick up on.  I can see how those who haven’t had a prior introduction to this tale could become confused or not really click with the story but I love it and can’t wait to continue.


In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

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Something extremely cool to note about this copy of Roseblood (not sure if it’s just those included in OwlCrate, just hardbacks or for all) is that the text is all red!  I will say that when I come across italics (which is frequent because all French is in italics and they’re in France) the red text does blur a little to me, but I don’t even care.  This is something I’ve never seen before and it fits so well with the story.

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And of course a letter from the author to us subscribers is included in each OwlCrate box.  This is one of the things that initially drew me to OwlCrate, I love reading about what inspired the author.  I love reading their passion for their book and I think it’s such a special thing to have – especially when it’s a book that means a lot to you.  A signed bookplate was also included, which is as always awesome.

Dear OwlCrate Reader,

While re-reading The Phantom of the Opera in preparation to write RoseBlood, I was once again struck by the Phantom’s loneliness: being rejected by so many because of his gruesome appearance, something he couldn’t control or change.
Any of us can relate to rejection.  In high school, I was too introverted and shy to fit in.  My clothes weren’t cool enough, and neither was my beat-up Datsun.  But there were other classmates dealing with far worse: a girl who’d been in a car accident that left her with brain trauma; a boy who walked alone to school each day in a worn-out jacket, even when storms or snow weighed heavy on his shoulders; kids no one talked to due to rumours surrounding them.

I defended that injured girl once when she was teased for being different, and it felt so good to step outside of my own problems and stand up for someone else; even though several classmates shunned me for it.  That shining moment made such a positive impact on my life, that when it came time to build on the Phantom’s story, I wanted to give him a chance to embrace altruism. to step outside of his bitterness and help another human soul.  However, there’s a sacrifice involved, as there was when I stood up for my classmate.
I won’t tell you if the Phantom does the benevolent thing and finds peace; you’ll have to read RoseBlood for that answer.  But what I will do is challange you to look for opportunities when you can set aside your own fear of rejection to help another person.  There’s nothing more rewarding than being a friend to someone who feels alone, even if it’s only for one shining moment.
Wishing you happy reading and courageous living,
A.G. Howard

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Final Thoughts:

Okay, so odviously I loved the book and the related items (the letter and signed bookplate), the Wires and Nerve mini-poster now lives happily on my bedroom door and I do enjoy collecting beautiful bookmarks.  But to be honest I wasn’t that over-joyed with the main three items included in this box.  It isn’t that they’re bad quality or anything like that; they’re just not things I really use.  As I said I’ll give the tea to a friend, test the soap out and use the pictures from the calendar as art but I felt somewhat let down by the contents of the November box as well.  Primarily the inclusion of tea.  I know a lot of people really enjoy getting tea in their book boxes, but I really don’t like that it’s included to the extent that it is.  Also while I think it’s cool that OwlCrate have included something they’ve never included before (the soap but also the calendar) I know there are people who have sensitive skin or are vegan who may not be able to use the product.  Although everything individually is good the combination of them is kind of a let down.  I’m not upset that I got the box, I feel the value of the book with the signed bookplate and author’s letter is equal to the total price of the box (minus shipping) but I have felt somewhat let down by OwlCrate these past two boxes.  I’m thinking of giving OwlCrate a rest for a little while (unless the theme matches a release I’m eagerly anticipating) so maybe absence will make the heart grow fonder? (The break from OwlCrate has nothing to do with feeling disappointed, but more to do with the fact that I owe my mother A LOT of money and I need to start saving for my license and a car…)

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Just as I’ve said I’m thinking of giving OwlCrate a break; the theme for February is ‘Run Away With the Circus‘ – if you’re part of the book community you can probably guess what the book included will be and you know that it is a highly anticipated novel for everyone.  And the two sneak peek’s we’ve been given are both from artists or companies that I look forward to receiving products from, so that’s promising.  I think you can still order this box, either as a subscriber or as a single purchase.

 

You can order your Owlcrate box HERE for $30 USD (not including shipping). If you want to check out past boxes you can click HERE and HERE.

 

My Links:

Goodreads : Becca Winter

Instagram : becca_theory

Twitter : @Becca_Theory

Facebook : The Troubles And Woes Of A Bookworm

Becca

xxx

The opinions expressed in this review are mine and mine alone.  This post is not sponsored I paid for the box myself.

2 thoughts on “Book Subscription Box Review: OwlCrate

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