Category: Monthly Book Service


I ran a bit late with this one. The nice folks at Scribe Stash were kind enough to supply me with a box for review in July. They’ve got a really good selection of customization options including the colors you want included and genre preferences. I went with cool colors and YA horror.

July Box1

I do really like that the name I gave them for customized items was stamped on the box. That is just super cool to me and it’s a nice touch that I haven’t seen before.

July Box2

Digging into the box itself there’s a new release novel, Now You See Her by Lisa Leighton and Laura Stropki, it sounds really cool from the blurb so I’m definitely looking forward to checking it out. There’s also a rather nice notebook, it’s pages are unlined and they feel fantastic. The paper feels top tier and I’m going to be looking for a project for this note book in the near future.

July Box3

But then we get to the rest of the scribe aspect of the box. Beyond that notebook, the rest of the box is a bit underwhelming. None of it really fits together beyond the color scheme and none of it, aside from the bookmarks, is anything I couldn’t find shopping around town. The book marks were a fun touch.

While you do get your money’s worth here, the writing implements and second writing pad leave me with the impression that Scribe Stash goes too hard on letting customers customize their boxes, so they stretch themselves super thin to have new release books for each choice and stuff for each color combination. It leaves it feeling scattered because, to account for any choice combination, they can’t have any sort of box theme to tie everything together. They can’t really have anything that ties specifically to any one of the books either. This isn’t something I expected myself to say walking into this, but I think that cutting back on options and having a cohesive monthly theme would let Scribe Stash have across the board higher quality items and let them dig into nifty things that they couldn’t while having to juggle so many combinations of items.

I think that I like the box better in concept than in practice, but I do very much like the idea of what they’re doing and hope that they continue doing well.

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Past the line on this one. I’ve had a lot of fun getting my review for this one done though, so it works out. I’m still fiddling with the video editing software, with work and all I haven’t had as much time for that as I would like, so at this point I think I’m going to do June’s box but not May’s. It’s a little late at this point. I’m excited to see where Second Star Books goes from here though.

Alright, let’s get this thing started. I really dig the little thank you sticker on the tissue paper that’s around everything. It’s a cute little detail.

May pic 4

The coloring pages and the cover sheets for Jesikah Sundin’s Biodome Chronicles series are, likewise, a nice addition. Plus the bonus code for the ebook of the first Biodome Chronicles book, Legacy, was an awesome touch. I’ll definitely be digging into that once I have a chance. I admit that with this layer I think fewer cover sheets would have worked a bit better, with all four plus the book mark and dropcards.com code card it feels a little cluttered on this level.

That said, I am seriously enjoying the “Aboard the Rochester” candle for this month. It’s billed as having a blackberry, sage, and spice scent but I get more plum or blueberry out of it. The wooden wick crackles a little as it burns, adding a nice secondary sensory detail. It is something I would look for again if Second Star Books started offering their candles on their own.

May pic 3

The “Tea With Stella” tea is an interesting thing for me since it’s more of an herbal tea than what I usually drink. The on tin instructions were quite useful as well, especially the suggested time for steeping. The strawberry flavor really stands out, though I don’t catch much of the lemon. I had it hot, but this is definitely a tea that I could see being awesome with a little more sugar and iced. As a bonus, the loose leaf nature of the tea gave me an excuse to try out the tea ball that came with the box. I’ve been meaning to get one of those for awhile now, so that was a pretty great surprise.

The mug is about the only place in the box where I have any sort of issue. It’s very much more Jane Eyre than Brightly Burning, so it stands out a little compared to the other items included, no space them for the mug. Plus there was no indication on if it was microwave or dishwasher safe. I have roommates who do the dished fairly often, so not knowing is something of an issue for me.

May pic 5

I don’t have a ton to say about the books themselves. I do like that Jane Eyre was included with the sci-fi reimagining, and the ribcage and flower cover is nifty. The note from the author, Alexa Donne , and the signed book plate are both totally awesome. I’m also looking forward to the online author talk this Saturday, that’s a non-physical aspect of the box that I just find cool. It’s a nice way to let readers get introduced to authors while also having everyone in the comfort of their own homes.

So, yeah, I’m definitely happy that I was able to order one of the Second Star Books May boxes, and I’m excited to see what’s going to be in June’s box.

I’m running late posting this, but I’ve been really excited to dig into this and talk about it.

 

April Box 1So, the theme for April’s Unicorn Crate was Northern Myths. That means lots of Viking and Celtic based stuff. I’m going to go down through the layers of the box and talk about things as they were packed, so the actual book itself is going to be the last item I reach. Let’s dig in then.

May Box 2

First thing, I really like the cover art/ list of contents. It’s a nifty print with the art from the website thumbnail and about the size of a post card. The big thing I like with this is that it sources where the items are from, which means that if you enjoy them you’ll be able to find the shop that made them. I adore that completely and will be making use of it.

Moving clockwise from that, we hit the Thor’s Hammer key chain. This is the only thing that I’m not big on. A big part of this is that it’s Marvel’s Thor’s hammer rather than a Mjölnir of some stripe. Well, it is, but it feels aesthetically out of place with the rest of the box. It’s also really big for a key chain and, while not as heavy as one that I use, the size isn’t great for my bag. Plus, with everything else having been hand made or small company sourced, it feels like a bit of an odd inclusion.

The unicorn book plates are nice. The art is really pretty and they’re big enough to look good but not so big as to affect the look of the page it’s placed in too badly. Plus, it’s cool to see how they tied in the unicorn theme with the rest of the box.

I need to find some place to put the Celtic shield pin. The lines are crisp and well defined and the colors complement each other well. The combination of Celtic knots and runes is a little odd, but it isn’t distractingly so. I like it quite a bit.

On to one of my favorite things here. The Book Balm’s Mead of Valhalla lip balm, from Cedar Chest Press, is awesome. It feels fantastic and it does a really good job moisturizing. It also doesn’t need to be reapplied constantly and lasts through drinking stuff. There isn’t a ton of flavor to it, I think that could be because it’s a honey/vanilla/raspberry flavored balm and two of those don’t tend to be heavily flavored in my experience. The raspberry adds a fantastic scent to it, which was nice. This is something I’m definitely going to look for once I’ve used the stick included..

The last thing in this layer is the Shield-Maiden of Rohan candle from Half Oak Candles. I’d been looking forward to this since I ordered the box and before I knew anything about the scent or where it was from. I have a hard time placing quite what the scent of this candle is. It mostly just smells clean, there might be an undercurrent of something floral, but it is subtle. It burns really well and melts evenly, which is great. I do wish that the candle was a bit bigger, the two ounce size leaves me wanting to stash it back for later rather than use it. That said, I’m definitely going to be checking out Half Oak Candles etsy shop. If this is a fair example of their quality, then their other stuff is going to be awesome too.

May Box 3

Layer two includes the item that hands down excited me most to see was in the box. I’ve been meaning to get a copy of Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology since before it was released. It being a bonus book for this box was a fantastic surprise.

The art print is really cool featuring Yggdrasil, the world tree, and the nine realms. The color works really well and it sort of strikes a balance between just being a nifty print and kind of reminding me of a map. The runic styling on the writing on it can make it difficult to read the names of the realms. This isn’t a downside, they can be read, it just takes a little effort. As a nifty side thing, it includes a version of Jörmungandr, the world serpent, approaching Midgard.

May Box 4

The last layer held the book of the month itself, Jessica Leake’s Beyond a Darkened Shore, the signed book plate, and a note from the author. All of this came in a Unicorn Crate drawstring bag. The bird drawn on the bookplate is a fantastic detail, especially with the bird on the dust jacket. I appreciate the note from the author, it’s a really cool inclusion and Unicorn Crate including something like that is just super awesome.

Overall, I like what’s included here. It feels worth the admission price and, as mentioned before, I’m really glad that they included where the various items came from on the list. It’s also introduced me to a new author and a book I would not have heard of otherwise. My only real issue with the Unicorn Crate itself is the shipping. The cost isn’t terrible by any means, but the method of shipping they used was a fusion between FedEx and USPS that took close to a week to arrive and that I couldn’t track for the last couple of days before it arrived because FedEx didn’t have the USPS tracking number. I’m pretty distinctly not a fan of that. That said, I would order another one of these. It feels worth it and I just enjoy getting things like this in the mail.