I purchased the November BiblioBookBox from BeccasLittleBoutique last year – it doesn’t appear that this box is still in operation as its instagram page has been deactivated, but since it only just arrived after 11 weeks (shipped on November 6th!), I figured I may as well make the wait worth it by posting a review!
OVERVIEW OF ITEMS
The Mortal Instruments-inspired Parabatai Photograph: I’m not sure if Becca did the artwork for this, but there isn’t a contents card as she’s supplied all the items, so I’m assuming this was her design.
I wouldn’t call these bookish novelties, it’s not really book merch as I understand it. If the first image was self-designed, then that at least had a bit of effort put into it, but the actual execution is disappointing. I can google an image and go print it at my local pharmacy or K-Mart for $0.20.
Oh, wait, that’s exactly what this is – when I turned the item over, I could see the file name on the back. If this was a sticker or proper artwork on card stock, that at least WOULD be a novelty, something I couldn’t do myself, but printing a photo is pretty lame, and doing it for TWO items is even worse.
Lord Of The Rings-inspired Bookmark: first of all, this is another image I found on Google; second, I’m not against using public images in boxes, but I would like some attempt at crafting the items in a professional manner. You can’t quite tell in the image, but this has been laminated and cut in a really shoddy manner, the edges aren’t straight, it’s all choppy.
I could basically print this at work, use the laminating machine and guillotine, and create a better version myself. The only thing added to this was the quote, and if you’ll look closely, you can see that only about two seconds of thought went into the only personal touch added to this item – ‘JRR Tolkein‘. Couldn’t even spell the author’s name correctly…
Game Of Thrones-inspired House Targaryen Magnet: I like magnets, so I’m happy with the choice of item, but the quality is pretty poor; it’s so thin that the edges are curling in. The artwork itself is fine – it may LOOK like it’s all scratched and dusty, but that’s just the odd choice of design, apparently it’s meant to look like it’s been scraped up.
Blood of Bat: I…don’t know what inspired this – maybe Dracula? But another subscriber received a jar labelled ‘Essence of Spider’, so that can’t be it. This is a novelty all right, a tiny jar with colored glitter. Yay.
Apple Cider In Hogsmeade Sample: this smells interesting enough, although I don’t know if it’s safe to drink after being in shipping hell for 3 months! I’m not much for tea, so I probably won’t risk it, but this is at least something new and creative.
Harry Potter–inspired Deathly Hallows Bracelet: it’s pretty small and may not fit people with larger wrists – it just fits me and it’s quite snug; I think I have an average wrist size! But otherwise this iconic design is classy.
Game Of Thrones-inspired Candle: finally, something I can be excited about!
The candle is super pretty, I love the glitter on top and the scent is wonderful! I can’t ever identify what anything smells like, but this one is delightful! ❤
Seeker Of Time by J M Buckler ($27.38 AUD):
Blurb from Goodreads:
“I cannot guarantee that I will be the person you want in your life, but I will do everything in my power to be the person you need.”
Elara Dunlin never imagined how much her life would change after moving across the country at the start of her senior year of high school. Who is the mysterious man with the deep blue eyes that follows her everywhere she goes? Strange events begin to unfold, causing Elara to question her own reality. The predictable and simple life she has always known dramatically changes on one cold, fateful night…the night when the elusive blue-eyed man finally approaches her directly and shares information that completely turns her world upside down. Eventually, Elara realizes that she has to tell her only friend, Cyrus, the truth about the mysterious visitor. Will he believe any of it? The elusive man continues to reveal dark secrets about her troubled past, adding a new dimension to their growing relationship. Is she willing to place all of her trust in this one person who pushes her physically and emotionally farther than she ever thought possible? He had warned Elara that her life would change forever, but does she have the courage to move forward?
Cost: $21.60 USD plus shipping (I paid $42.73 AUD in total)
Curation: in a word, underwhelming. This box was advertised as coming with ‘6-8 bookish novelties’ and ‘filled with goodies and merch from your favorite series’, but 2 items were simple photographs and 1 was a bottle of sand (whose inspiration is unknown). The candle, bracelet and tea elevate the box’s standing, but not enough to overcome its flaws in my eyes.
Worth It? I guess it’s true you get what you pay for – I was intrigued by this box as it was a good $20-$30 cheaper than the other boxes I’ve tried (Shelflove, LitJoy, Owlcrate), and unfortunately, the quality was about half what I expected after those boxes.
It’s not simply the lack of originality or creativity in design, it’s the lack of effort and care in making these items as well. Handmade bookmarks are a staple of all book boxes, but I haven’t seen one as amateur-ish as the LotR bookmark I received in this box, which hadn’t even been proofread. I don’t expect every handmade bookmark to be as painstakingly designed as one by LittleInklingsDesign or LexyOlivia, but at least cut the edges in a straight line and get the author’s name right!
The magnet was a step in the right direction, but I don’t understand the distressed background, which enhances the cheap factor. However, while I don’t drink tea, at least this is a proper item more in line with what I expect from a book box in terms of quality. And the saving grace for this box for me is the cost of the paperback – I was surprised it had such a high retail value and checked Amazon in case it was artificially inflated on Book Depository for some reason, but nope, it was $30.38 AUD. Sure, it may not be a book I would choose for myself, but it helped me feel a bit better about the money I spent!
Personal Rating: 1 out of 5 kitties approves this box.
Disclaimer: I purchased this box, and this review is based on my personal opinion. No compensation was received.