July Unplugged Book Box Unboxing and Review

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            This was my choice to get this box instead of literally of the other boxes that I got up until this month. I got rid of IPSY and fabfitfun because they no longer align with what I am into and what I want. I decided that I wanted a book box. I love Once Upon a Book Club’s Halloween boxes because they are so fun. Maybe someday I will get that as well, this company though, popped up on my Instagram about a month or two months ago and I started thinking about subscribing. I bought this one as well as my subscription that starts in August. 

            Alright so this blog post will be two parts the first is what was in the box, they pull different fandoms and that’s super cool, different from Once Upon a Book Club, that goes with the book. Different companies have different things and I am not complaining about it. I just like the idea of getting a box with a book in it and items related to that book or books that I have read or maybe might want to read. The second part is going to be the book review when I get around to reading the book. (Which as I am writing this at the end of July it’s my next book on the list.)

            So, what was in the box? 

Song of Achilles tea cup and saucer:

            Never read Song of Achilles, from what I have heard it’s sad. I might read it eventually to understand. I do really like the tea cup and saucer, right now it’s going to stay in the box because I don’t have anywhere to keep stuff like that so while it’s really interesting and I love the artwork on it. It’s just going to have to hang out in the box until I have the room to put it out on display.

Verity hand and body lotion:

            Never read a Colleen Hoover book and that is a personal choice. I know people who have read this and no one that I personally know enjoyed it. The smell of the lotion is really good though and I like it. I have heard what it’s about and it’s just not up my street and that’s totally okay because books are subjective and not every book is for everybody. It feels really nice on the skin and like I said, smells amazing. 

The Jasmine Throne lip balm:

            It sounds like a really interesting book and the lip balm smells amazing. I am one of those people who uses lip balm like twice and then all of a sudden, I lose them. I have never actually gotten through a full tube of lip balm. Literally found seven or eight Burt’s Bees lip balms in my desk when I still lived in Indiana because I would lose one and then have to open another one. I still so that I have three? On my desk at the moment and that seems excessive. 

Book Garden Beach/ Garden Tote:

            This is the coolest thing! I love this bag. I love this bag so much. It’s super cool and non-themed to a book. I love this bag and I plan on using it all the time. I love the artwork on the front of it and the rope handles. I am going to love using this canvas bag and I can’t get over how nice this one is. There is a zipper on top and that is such a cool feature! 

Tea bag holder:

            It looks like a squirrel! It’s super cute. I drink a lot of tea during the fall and winter so having this as a cute little friend on the edge of my teacup is going to be so fun! It’s just a cute little red silicon squirrel. I love the idea of it and that’s so exciting! 

These two were different from what was in the booklet, so just an FYI. 

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires vampire repellent rosemary oil:

            This book I have seen in Barnes and Noble before and I haven’t bought it, I want to read it now. I now just have a bottle of rosemary oil on my desk. I am not real mad about that and I like essential oils, I usually diffuse essential oils again, during the fall and winter. It smells good and that’s about all I want when I have oils, I just don’t use it on my skin because that’s just not something I deal with.

Sherlock Holmes amethyst bath bomb:

            Another thing that smells amazing. I cannot use bath bombs in my bathtub because my bathtub doesn’t seal properly to allow me to use it. It’s bergamot (which is one of my fave scents), sandalwood, and mysteries. I don’t know what mysteries smell like but I do like that already. I really love bath bombs though; I miss being able to use them. 

            Now for the book! 

The Woman in The Library by Sulari Gentill (3.7/5)

            It was really interesting. I loved the fact that it was a book in a book. I really enjoyed watching the emails from Leo, you never hear from the author Hannah and I thought that was really interesting. It kept me guessing from the first page on who actually did it. They leaned into one character super hard and that was kind of how I figured out that he didn’t actually do it. I figured that out pretty early on. The emails with Leo! They got me real creeped out real quick and that was one thing that was also super interesting throughout because you watch this character devolve into well…read the book to find out. 

            I loved the characters in the novel within the novel though and I was happy about the little touch of a love story. I am American so seeing all of the stuff about the author and the author being Australian was really cool to see just the subtle differences in the dialogue and actions. I read a lot of English fiction though so it wasn’t as jarring as it might be for others. 

            I have never been to Boston but I would really like to go see the reading room now. I want to live in a big city for the big city libraries alone, nothing else, just these big public libraries in old buildings with history and architecture. I grew up near Chicago and I was never in the Chicago Public Library, but I should have gone, I should have gone whenever I was in the city. 

            This book was a really good book though, I am actually really glad that it touched on the pandemic and the racial tensions in this country because that’s just what we are dealing with. I really liked that the novel in the novel was pandemic free. (As someone who writes, I have left it out of a lot of my books because the pandemic was hard, it was so much and it changed so much, I have written it into a few, but I wanted to use the alternative timeline where we didn’t have millions and millions of people die.)

            The descriptions were great, the reality of it all was really interesting, but the ending came up super-fast for me and it did leave the ending open because of a character that is mutual between the novel and the novel within a novel. The character building in this was phenomenal though and I loved seeing all the twists and turns and secrets uncovered throughout the entire novel. 

            I want to know if they actually got a happy ending! Though sometimes with thrillers you don’t get that “happy ending”, I am a fan of the happy ending though so, I would have loved an epilogue in this one. 

Overall:

            The box is super cool and I am looking forward to August! That’s all I can say about it at the moment, I am excited to see the stuff this upcoming month. The book choice was good, the self-care items are nice and you know what; This box suits me more than some of the other boxes that I used to get. I used to get so many lifestyle boxes that just no longer suited me. 

            Alright, until next time, I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy! 

            -MJ 

Once Upon a Book Club Sweet Halloween Unboxing and Review

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Happy spooky season y’all, by the time this goes up it will be November 1st so after spooky season so welcome to 60% off chocolate season leading into Thanksgiving season but that is not what this post is about. This is about a really cool service and the fact that they make reading experiences immersive and who can be mad about that. All the opinions in this are my own I’m just willing to support brands and services that create things that I enjoy. 

            I found Once Upon A Book Club well over a year ago and my first box I purchased was their Sweet Halloween box last year and that book was Housewitch by Katie Schickel which took me a long time to read because last October and November was difficult for me, let’s be real all months are hard for me but I’m still kicking. But I loved that book when I got into it and the gifts were perfect, a pink scarf and mud mask and I have enjoyed both. 

            This year I decided that I wanted to write a post on the book I got this year which was 15 Minutes of Flame by Christin Brecher which is the third in the Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries and if you think that I am not purchasing the first two you are wrong. (I will probably have them by the time this post goes live if I am lucky.) I devoured this book it was so good. I am a sucker for a cozy mystery and the story in this weaving Nantucket history and current affairs on the fictional version of the island. I loved it so much and I am excited to see the beginnings of Stella Wright in the first two novels and all of the rest that will eventually come out in the series. 

            Because this was the third in the series I did feel like I was missing some things so I want to rea the other two though I am no stranger to reading mystery series out of order I read like the 19th book in the Meg Langslow series by Donna Andrews first and then the 16th before I read the first one so I understand reading it out of order and needed to go back and meet the characters for the first time. 

            So what was the book about? The lead up to Halloween, a skeleton found in a wall of a 19th century chandlery, a murder near an old well, a mysterious map, a more mysterious map, and trying to unravel a mystery that happened over a century ago. 

It is for sure worth a read just in general, I will put this one my list for my Books Read This Year Part 4 which I expect to come out at the end of the year because I finished this book just a day after I posted the last one, (you can check out 1, 2, and 3.) 

            I don’t want to give too much away about the book but I will tell you about the gifts. On the page where you are to open your gift is a sticky note and it’s important not to open your gifts until you get to those pages and they were all late in the book so I had to wait to get them. 

            The first gift was a candle clock with a prominently featured throughout the book and it’s a really interesting concept so I am excited to actually give it a try, but I live in an apartment at the moment and I can’t burn candles so it will just have to wait until I get a more permanent place. 

            The second gift was a cup that has to do with a cup in the book and I kind of love reusable coffee mugs and this one has books on it so I cannot be mad at all about it. 

            The last gift was my favorite, in the book the group of women that come to the main character’s candle classes are called The Candeleer’s and they made cobwebs for the Halloween Haunts event and for the “cobwebs” it is a beautiful spiderweb shaped table runner which will fit perfectly on my bistro table next year when I have a chance to put it out before Halloween and I am so jazzed to have something really cool and kind of spooky to put on my table next year.

            So I think that this Halloween box is going to be a yearly tradition for me because I love the idea of this whole Once Upon a Book Club idea, eventually I would love to subscribe to their regular box or get their Advent Box one year but this year is not that year for either of those things. It’s such a fun concept and I love the suspense of waiting to open a gift that goes along with a book that I am reading. 

            If you like cozy mysteries give this one a read because it is totally worth it and I know that I am going to sink my teeth into the first two as soon as I can. 

            I hope everyone had a really Happy Halloween if you celebrate it and I hope y’all have a great start to November and I will see y’all mid-week with a new post. 

            -MJ