Time for an unboxing, my fellow bookwormies! I’m so excited about this for several reasons. For one, I love subscription boxes. I mean I love them. Getting subscription boxes is like getting Christmas presents every month. And sure, they’re sort of from yourself because you paid for them—but you still don’t know exactly what you’re going to get! Ergo, presents!
Except these presents are even better because you know it’s going to be something you like, since, after all, you’re the one who signed up for the subscription box. And this is especially true in the case of OwlCrate, because everything is related to books.
So July was actually my very first OwlCrate, even though I’ve wanted to sign up for quite some time now.
Just the tiniest bit of preamble before I dive into all the goodies and my thoughts on this month’s OwlCrate. If you’re not familiar with OwlCrate, it’s a monthly bookish subscription box focused on YA. Every box has a theme for the month, and each box contains a YA book, exclusives from the author/publisher of the book like a letter and other bonuses, and anywhere between 3-5 book-related goodies that are in keeping with the theme of the month. Each box is $30 plus shipping (which varies depending on where you are, of course), with some discounts available through discount codes or through which subscription plan you choose (i.e. it’s a little bit cheaper if you sign up for three months at a time, or six months at a time). If you’re interested your own OwlCrate, visit their site here.
So the theme for the month of July was wanderlust, which immediately caught my attention and I knew right away July was a month I needed to be in on. Despite my introvert tendencies, I actually love traveling and discovering/exploring new places, and sometimes get bitten hard with the wanderlust bug.
Of course, after my trips, I quickly retreat back to my home where my blankets and my home-brewed coffee reside (and where all my books live, of course), and make myself a hermit for a good long time in order to recover from all of that, you know, being out in the world stuff.
OwlCrate also drops hints on their social media over the month leading up to the release of the new crate, and they successfully got me super hyped for this box, especially when I found out it would include an item inspired by Lord of the Rings (a logical choice, of course, since it’s basically one of the most epic literary journeys ever) and that it would be a wearable item. They also hinted that every box would include a Pop Funko keychain, and that it would be a character very beloved in the bookish world.
So OwlCrate says that they send you a box packed full of bookish goodies, and they are not kidding. This box is packed full of goodies.
I literally gasped when I opened up the box and saw everything inside. They really do an amazing job of treating their subscribers, and fostering that whole Christmas every month feeling. Just by looking at the sheer number of items in the box the value definitely seems worth it, but I’ll touch on that again later! Now, let’s dive into all the individual bookish goodies!
OwlCrate Specific Materials
So right on top, you get a little card from OwlCrate. In this month’s case, it’s designed to look like a postcard, which is super adorable. On the back of the card, there’s a breakdown of all the month’s items—what they are, who made them/where they’re from, what book they are inspired by, etc. It’s super helpful but chockful of spoilers, so I put that aside so that I could be surprised as I pulled out each thing!
At the bottom of the box, there’s also a card announcing next month’s theme with a little sneak peek on it, and August’s theme, if you haven’t already heard, is Something Wicked This Way Comes, which is basically tailor made for my personality so I’m basically internally screaming with excitement.
Every OwlCrate also includes an exclusive OwlCrate pin that has to do with the theme of the box, and this month’s was super fitting and definitely brought vacations to mind, with an image of a palm tree and a plane in the sky.
Lord of the Rings Inspired Drawstring Backpack
My eyes lit up when I saw this because it is so awesome. This is a light tan drawstring backpack with bright green strings and bright green screen printing—a perfect color scheme for LOTR—printed with a portion of The Walking Song from The Fellowship of the Ring.
This will definitely be getting lots of use on hiking trips, exploring, or even just carrying around books.
One of the best parts is, this backpack was created by the folks at OwlCrate and is exclusive to OwlCrate—so it’s really something special with a lot of thought put into it. And as a bonus, everyone won’t have the same one!
A Darker Shade of Magic Inspired Pocket Mirror
This cute little mirror has a design on one side and a mirror on the other, and arrived in this soft little red drawstring bag, which made me like it even more because I’m a sucker for cute packaging. This is created by Miss Phi and inspired by A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, which I have to admit—don’t freak out!—I haven’t read! The mirror, printed with the words “As Travars” meaning “to travel”, definitely intrigues me, though, and it arrived at the perfect time since I just downsized my purse from a giant, hulking, way-too-heavy, definitely-causing-damage-to-my-shoulder beast to a smaller, more practical cross body bag (because I need both my hands free to carry an iced coffee in one and books in the other when I’m shopping, obvi), and this little mirror which is no bigger than my palm is a great size to fit in my new, small bag!
Luggage Tag from MudPuppy
This felt luggage tag is shaped like an owl and definitely has a bright enough color scheme to help you spot even a basic black bag on the luggage carousel at the airport! But, of course, if you don’t really fly, you could always use it for a backpack or just hang it up on a bulletin board where it will look cute. My suitcase is a dark gray and can easily get lost in a sea of similar rolling bags, so this owl will definitely make it stand out.
Pocket Journal from Ooly
OMG, this is so cute, and once again, perfect for my new smaller purse. But aside from that, I’m literally just obsessed with any kind of journal or stationery product, so I was over the moon when I saw this little cutie. Apparently there were eight different styles, so subscribers weren’t sure which one they’d get. Honestly, it’s a tiny travel-inspired journal, which is so cute, I would have been happy with any of the styles!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Pop Funko
It’s Newt! It’s Newt Scamander, of Fantastic Beasts fame! It’s funny because this is exactly who I guessed the Pop Funko keychain was going to be, and I never guess things correctly, but this time I was right! I love Newt, so this was a perfect character to receive. He’s so adorable. Just look how cute he is!
Looking for Alasksa Inspired Art Print
The quote on this print is actually by Francois Rabelais, and the print was inspired by Looking for Alaska by John Green. Whether you’re a fan of Looking for Alaska or not (I am), if you’re a traveler, wanderer, or dreamer, this quote is perfect, and I love this print. It’s so simplistic yet beautiful with the map background, and I love the blues and greens of the text. This amazing art is by Shailey Ann Designs, and I’ll definitely be putting it up in my office soon.
And now for the grand finale…
The book itself!!!
The book included in July’s OwlCrate was The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by MacKenzi Lee, and I actually didn’t guess what the book was going to be, despite the hints OwlCrate dropped. The Gentleman’s Guide is a YA historical fiction novel starring Henry “Monty” Montague, a young British lord who embarks on a 1700s-style road trip across Europe with his best friend Percy—who he secretly has a crush on. But when the impulsive playboy’s actions get them involved in a straight up manhunt, Monty is in for a hell of a trip and probably quite a few life lessons, too.
What I loved about receiving this book is that despite loving history, historical fiction isn’t usually my first choice as a genre, so I don’t have a ton of it on my shelves. This diversifies my collection, and I always love expanding my horizons to new authors, less-read genres, or unfamiliar titles. One of the great things about bookish subscription boxes is that they can introduce you to books you might not have otherwise picked up, and as I’ve mentioned before, expanding your horizons and getting outside your comfort zone with reading can always be a good thing.
One of the awesome things about receiving this book from OwlCrate is that in addition to the book itself, you get lots of little surprises/goodies from the author. In this case, we got a signed book plate, which OwlCrate usually includes with their books, as well as a letter from MacKenzi Lee and a map inspired by the novel and all the places Monty and his friends visit on their trip!
The map is such a cute and original idea, and I think it really helps bring the book to life!
The letter from the author is adorable and really sweet, and definitely felt like a personal touch to add to the experience of receiving this book via OwlCrate vs. picking it up at the bookstore.
I’m also glad the letter pointed out that that is indeed not Hayden Christensen on the dust jacket of this book because…let’s be serious…that really looks like Hayden Christensen.
Based on this box, if someone were up in the air about subscribing to OwlCrate because they had worries about the value, I would definitely recommend it! I mean you only pay $30 plus shipping for the box and look at all the amazing stuff you get.
The book alone, if bought individually at the bookstore, would cost you about $24 in American dollars, which means that if the rest of the box even equaled a value of $6, it’s already worth it.
But even more so than the outright monetary value, I have only good things to say about the overall experience of receiving an OwlCrate box, for several reasons: 1. You receive exclusive items (and an exclusive book cover) that you can only get from OwlCrate, so it’s not like you could just go grab these off the shelf anywhere. 2. The boxes are so well thought-out and well put-together, you can tell the OwlCrate team really puts a lot of thought into the theme, the quality of the items, obtaining exclusives, choosing items subscribers will enjoy, and making it feel like a really special and unique experience for you when you’re unboxing it. And 3. Of course, I can’t stress this enough, it’s like getting presents!
The experience of receiving a subscription box is a lot different from going to the store and picking out items yourself, and while both are good and enjoyable, it’s exciting not knowing what you might get. Sure, here and there you might get an item you’re not sure if you’ll use or something from a fandom you’re not a part of, but with all the goodies in an OwlCrate box, the chances you’ll be disappointed in everything are super low. Plus, who knows? You might get an item inspired by a book you haven’t read and then want to read that book—and maybe you’ll find a new favorite. So OwlCrate is great for opening doors to new books in that way, as well. I would definitely recommend OwlCrate, and I will definitely keep getting boxes!
Faves & Next Month!
I think my favorite thing out of this whole crate honestly might be that tiny little travel notebook. Is that weird? I know it’s a smaller item, but it is just so adorable and I love journals and notebooks so much! But, it’s a bit of a tie between that and the LOTR inspired backpack, which is just downright gorgeous, and I was super excited to see the Newt Scamander keyring!
As mentioned in the beginning, next month’s theme is Something Wicked This Way Comes, and it is slated to have items inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, This Savage Song, Harry Potter, Six of Crows, and Sleepy Hollow. I am fuh-reeeaking out about getting something Poe-inspired because I absolutely adore him, and of course, I’m a huge Harry Potter nerd, too, so that’s super exciting! And I can’t wait to see what the book is because it is a said to be great for fans of slightly dark stories, which, hi—that’s totally me.
So does anyone else subscribe to OwlCrate? Did you love your box as much as I did? And of course, will you be getting next month’s box?! Let me know in the comments! You know I’d love to talk.