*Disclaimer: All the pictures used belong to me. This post is not sponsored. Everything written over here is just my opinion.
That’s right, an April box review in the month of June. I have a lot of catching up to do with a few April and May items/boxes. I am currently down with a bad cold thanks to the sudden change in the weather and of course, the constant lounging in air-conditioned environments. Mumbai is a cruel mistress during the summer. This box is probably one of the most fun boxes I have reviewed so far from the Bookish genre and I’m glad that I can finally review it. The books and the bookish items in this box were quite interesting and boy, you’re in for a treat. With all that being said, I won’t have another book box review again for a while because, well, I just haven’t found anything I quite like and when I did find a theme that I was interested in, it was a Subscription Box that I have unresolved issues with, which I might bring up at a later date. So, the other boxes that I will be reviewing are from the Beauty/Cosmetic genre/category and they’re from some popular beauty Subscription Boxes/Bag and one of which, I’ve previously reviewed and that’s the Glamego Box. Granted, it wasn’t the best first impression but sometimes it’s just that one particular month where things are more of a miss than hit. While I’ve already tried and tested these items before writing the review, I won’t give out any spoilers because where’s the fun in that? So, stay tuned for the upcoming reviews!
What is a Subscription Box?
A Subscription Box is a monthly, bimonthly, trimonthly or quarterly planned and distributed box that usually holds a theme based on the genre or category it is from. You can receive Subscription Boxes from different countries depending on the list of countries they ship to. Some of the more common Subscription Boxes you will see on this blog will range from genres like Beauty, Books, Skincare, Kawaii(Cute/Japanese themes), Food, etc.
I’ve always enjoyed receiving Subscription Boxes, especially Book and Kawaii Boxes. Today, I will be reviewing the third Book Box that I’ve received and reviewed on this blog. Previously, I’ve reviewed The Big Book Box (Click here) and The Booklings Crate (Click here). There are a couple of other Indian Book Boxes out there that I can review but haven’t been able to get my hands on because they seem a little sketchy but I will try my best to get another Book Subscription Service in. Also, one of the reasons why I haven’t tried out an International Subscription Service for Book Boxes yet is because I wanted to get a taste for these boxes first via what I can get from the Indian Book Boxes first. Unlike the Kawaii Boxes, there are quite a few Subscription Services in India that provide Book Boxes and it would be stupid of me to not try them out first. Though, I really wish we had Kawaii Boxes here. Sigh.
What is it? Where is it from?
Books N Beyond is an Indian Book Subscription Service that also sells Bookish merchandise on its site as well. Books N Beyond is the Dream Project for Papiya and Pankaj, the Founders of the Literary Shop/Book Subscription Box. The first box was launched in January 2017 with a Harry Potter themed Box, and since then, each month has always been graced with a brand new theme that the BnB procures and assembles every month. A lot of these items are exclusive to the BnB brand and are made in collaboration with various artists.
Currently, BnB offers the following Subscription Packs-
The Custom made boxes are customer preference based. They could be of any genre or fandom, all you need is a theme with a basic idea and what should the box include. Based on the information given out by the customer, the rest is on the BnB team to try and make a plan for what all the box must contain and how it must be designed according to the customer’s taste. A lot of the items in the box are exclusive BnB products and designs and the rest are imported items that may or may not take a while to arrive or to arrange. After that, the BnB team will then quote their price and the rest is up to the customer. Some of the custom boxes they’ve curated in the past had the following themes-
The Vampire Academy
The other products available on their site are-
Book Sleeves or Bleeves, that are one of their most sought after products due to their exclusive designs.
Journals & Notebooks
Pins & Badges
To visit their site, click here.
Books N Beyond was down to their last April Box and I was the one who purchased it in the end because I had been waiting for the right moment to get the box and when I read on their Instagram Story that they had only one box remaining, I made a mad dash for it and boy, am I glad that I did so. One of the best parts of my whole experience with the box was that I actually had a chance to chat with Papiya, The CEO of BnB, via brief email correspondence. While it was short, it was great and I can see why everyone seems to really enjoy making their purchases with BnB. I had no issues with shipping or anything, for that matter.
Here are my scores so far-
Social Media Activity: 10/10
Customer Service: 9/10
And now, finally, let’s get into the review!
Circe by Madeline Miller (Hardback)
Madeline Miller was born in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. For the last ten years, she has been teaching and tutoring Latin, Greek, and Shakespeare to high school students. She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA, where she teaches and writes. The Song of Achilles is her first novel. The illustrated cover is the first thing you see when you come across this book and it will call for you like a siren with how attractively it has been designed and if you aren’t awestruck already, under the cover jacket, the front of the hardback is also very well illustrated and the back is in plain black. The cost of this book is ₹799. Click here, if interested in purchasing it.
Here’s a little excerpt from what Googlereads.com has to offer,
In the house of Helios, the god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.
But there is a danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
I’ve been very excited about this book, not just because of how extravagantly it has been designed but also because it deals with Greek Mythology and that’s always been a topic of my interest. As always, I haven’t read this book but I’m fairly aware of the different Mythological aspects and stories within the genre of the book. I did go through a lot of the reviews and everyone seems to really like this book and there are a lot of praises going around for it, there were a few people who felt that the book wasn’t revolving around the ‘epic’ aspect and it dragged on like a prolonged story instead and became a bit of a hit or miss for some people throughout the book. I’m very familiar with the story and personally, I absolutely love it and I’ve no qualms with it whatsoever. Even though there are people who aren’t particularly happy with their purchase, it doesn’t turn the book by default into a miss. Everyone has their own tastes and opinions. Judging from the vast majority of the positive reviews and my own interest in this book, I would recommend that you make a quick purchase and have a go with this book, especially if you’re into Greek Mythology.
Value(to cost): 9/10
Relevance(to theme): 10/10
The Wolf Brooch, as mentioned on the card, was added as a tribute to the famous Hogwarts Professor; Prof. Remus Lupin, who was named after a Greek God. The design for the Wolf Brooch is simple and well made with a bronze gold hue. Be wary with the pin, though, it’s sharp and you may accidentally prick yourself. Click here, if interested in purchasing it.
When you first start reading about Roman Mythology, you first come across the story of the twin brothers Romulus and Remus who are the founding fathers of the Roman Kingdom and the city of Rome. I really like this little touch that BnB has added in their Mythos Box and I’m sure, everyone who purchased this box was pleased to find this pin inside. The only thing that concerns me is that the Brooch might lose its color or start rusting in some time if it’s exposed to dust, water, and whatnot.
The Riptide Pendant from the Percy Jackson novel series
Percy Jackson is a fictional and title character as well as a narrator of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & The Olympian series. Riptide is deciphered from the Greek name, Anaklusmos. It is the prized sword of Percy Jackson that is made of Celestial Bronze, a material that is only deadly on Gods, Demigods, Titans, Giants, and Monsters. It does not affect mortals, as it just passes through them harmlessly. The sword is a medium length xiphos (a Greek one-handed double-edged sword). The chain is long and the pendant is a replica of the word Riptide, and they’ve both silver in color. Click here, if interested in purchasing it.
Of course, adding merchandise from the popular series Percy Jackson is a goto for a theme like Mythos. While that was quite well thought of, I wish the quality had met some standards. The poor replica of Riptide is well, in fact, poor and much like the kind you would find on the streets for fake merchandise and keychains. Once again, the chain and pendant both seem susceptible to changing color or rusting.
Defects: Poorly made.
The Bifrost Socks
In Norse mythology, Bifröst is a burning rainbow bridge that reaches between Midgard and Asgard, the realm of the gods. The socks are knit with a fine material that stretches with the size of your feet.
I was a bit taken aback by these socks in the beginning because of how small they locked. Things like socks are such personal items and they usually come under hit or miss.
*P.S The Norse Mythology Book is just a prop. Not an item from the box.
As you can see, these socks are a tad bit too small for me. I may be 5’4″ but my shoe size is 9-9.5. Though just to give the socks a fighting chance, I asked my mom to try them own and they did seem to fit her alright. Her size is a 7 and quite honestly, I thought it wouldn’t fit her either but I guess my feet stretched up to the material and behold, it’s perfect for her. Now, as for utility, I think socks like these would be a little itchy on the feet and the threading does tend to come off in a couple of spots. A pretty item, yes but considering how diverse the customer base is, I can’t guarantee that everyone who purchased this box might have been very thrilled with this item.
Defects: Stringy parts come off.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Paperback), Author letter and Map for the book
Tomi Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American writer and creative writing coach based in San Diego, California. Her debut novel, CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE, comes out March 6th, 2018 and the movie is currently in development at Fox with the producers of Twilight and The Maze Runner attached. After graduating from Harvard University with an honors degree in English literature, she received a fellowship that allowed her to study West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil. When she’s not working on her novels or watching Scandal, she can be found blogging and teaching creative writing to her 3,500 subscribers at tomiadeyemi.com. Her website has been named one of the 101 best websites for writers by Writer’s Digest. The illustration on the front cover is tribal like and easily piques your interest. The letter is printed out with the logo of BnB and the map is the same as the one found in the book as well. The cost of the novel is ₹399. Click here, if interested in purchasing it.
Here’s a synopsis of the book from PanMacmillan.com,
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Zélie remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Only a few people remain with the power to use magic, and they must remain hidden.
Zélie is one such person. Now she has a chance to bring back magic to her people and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must learn to harness her powers and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where strange creatures prowl, and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to come to terms with the strength of her magic – and her growing feelings for an enemy.
Yes, I haven’t read it but there are hundreds of people who have read it and their reviews are on display for folks like you and me to read. I always read both the good and bad reviews while trying my best to dodge any spoilers, which at times is hard but that’s just how it is. As for this book, there are many mixed reviews regarding it. The positive reviews highly appreciated and praised the diverse culture that has been introduced into the YA genre and this has definitely intrigued people’s interest in Nigerian Mythology. Of course, this book like many others has its own share of negative reviews which mostly consist of people complaining about how long this book takes to reach its climax and how slow paced it is and hence, causing a decline in the readers’ interest as well as the plot coming across seemingly mediocre and overhyped. Now, as you know I haven’t read this book yet, but considering how there are so many people who genuinely like this book and describe it as a well-detailed fantasy novel, I would suggest that you take a look at this book and decide for yourself.
Now, as for the letter and map. I’m honestly quite disappointed. For starters, the letter is generic and the sort you might find online as authors note but nothing of the sort that was personalized and meant for the folks who purchase this box. The addition of the map was unnecessary because we already have the same map in the book and considering how it had been rolled up in the box, the creases make the map look less attractive.
Overall, aside from the book, the letter and map were pointless because they either didn’t meet expectations or they were just completely unnecessary.
Product Ratings (Book, Letter & Map)
Quality: 8/10, 7/10, 7/10
Defects: The letter and map were creased.
Value: 8/10, 6/10, 6/10
Relevance: 9/10, 6/10, 6/10
The Feather Quill Pen
Qalam, ancient reed pen still used in Arabic calligraphy and formerly used for all writing. Now, the card mentions that this quill pen also significant to Athena, The Goddess of Wisdom and Strategy. While I couldn’t find any particular reference between the quill and Athena, I suppose it’s safe to assume that it’s because knowledge can be written down with the help of a quill(?), I’m not sure but I guess it’s along those lines. If you have any theories or corrections, then do comment below. The feather quill is a deep blue color and the same goes for the ink.
My cat, Momo, loves the quill. Not because she’s a poet at heart but because she loves to chew on anything and everything. This quill was a really nice addition to the box and I’ve actually always wanted to purchase such a pen, so, I’m glad to finally have one of these. Quite honestly, I don’t have much to say about this one.
Bookmark of Circe by Kitabee Keera (Exclusive)
Circe was a minor goddess of magic in Greek mythology, daughter of the Titans Helios, the god of the sun, and Perse, an Oceanid. She had two brothers, Aeetes, who was the guardian of the Golden Fleece (which Jason and the Argonauts sought after), and Perses; and a sister, Pasiphae, who was the wife of Minos, king of Crete. This design is exclusive to the BnB Mythos Box. You can follow Kitabee Keera on Instagram, click here.
Like every other book box, of course, we have the usual bookmarks and this is an exclusive bookmark designed by Kitabee Keera. The illustration is bold and wonderfully made, a good combination with the hardback Circe novel. Although, I wish it was a little bigger.
The Nebula Dice Set (Exclusive)
This set of Nebula dice contains the following:
• 1 four-sided dice (d4)
• 1 six-sided dice (d6)
• 1 eight-sided dice (d8)
• 1 ten-sided dice (d10)
• 1 percentile dice (d%)
• 1 12-sided dice (d12)
• 1 twenty-sided dice (d20)
The dice have a blue-purple-gold color scheme. While they’ve been mentioned in the card as an exclusive item, I did find a similar set online, click here, if interested.
I honestly don’t know how to use these dice but they’re pretty much my favorite item in this box. I don’t see how this is an exclusive item to BnB, since there were a couple of sellers who had the exact same dice color scheme as well but maybe there’s more it and I just don’t know.
This box was one of the rare kinds where all of the items made sense and were relevant to the theme. It was a wonderful experience to unbox it and I’m so glad that I actually went ahead and purchased this box. I would’ve really regretted not getting this box otherwise. So, to the important part, would I recommend this box? Heck yeah! This was one of my favorite boxes so far and I look forward to purchasing another box from Books N Beyond. Of course, I would also suggest that you stay tuned with all the amazing sneak peeks and little updates on the boxes so that you know that you’re making the right choice by purchasing that particular box. I really want to try out the option of the custom box and see how that works out but that’s for another time. The Mythos theme was my favorite of all the themes I’ve come across so far with my experience with Subscription Boxes.
As always, you know I try my best to present as much information as I can, so, if I did miss out on a link or something like that, then please comment below and the same goes for feedback’s as well! This entire review has been typed on my phone because my laptop crashed, so I apologize in advance if there are any typos or errors I missed out on. I hope this review was helpful for you and don’t forget to leave a like or to follow me for similar reviews. Also, check out my Instagram account where I post little updates and videos for the blog!
Until the next post,
Laters, folks! :3