Let’s end the week on a high note with a look at a new subscription box for book lovers, LitJoy CRATE. The Utah-based company offers three book boxes: board books (ages 0 to 2), picture books (ages 3 to 7) and young adult books (ages 14+), which each come with two to four products to match the theme of the box. LitJoy CRATE sent me May’s young adult box to review, the “Lady Bandit” box. Intrigued? Let’s look inside!
First up: a look at the cover of this month’s book, Rebel of the Sands, with a note on the back from the author, Alywn Hamilton. “Welcome to the Rebellion!,” Alwyn writes, “I hope you enjoy crossing the dessert with my blue-eyed bandit!” You can’t see it here, but under that there’s a card from LitJoy CRATE describing the contents of the box. Which I didn’t read straight away because I wanted to be surprised and uncover them one by one myself.
Oooh a hardcover, even! LitJoy CRATE describes Rebel of the Sands as “a gunslinger western meets Arabian nights.” Subscribers normally receive books released that month, but for May this popular March release was included instead.
Here’s the description from inside the front cover:
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumour has it that somewhere, dijinn still perform their magic. For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned or female.
Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.
Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse — or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.
Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes — in the fires of rebellion, the solder of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno or a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power.
It’s not a book I’d pick up on my own, but I like a strong female lead and it sounds fast-paced so I’m game to give it a try.
You might have noticed I swapped my blanket for the scarf (“perfect for concealing your identity or adding another layer to your rebel garb!”). It came in the box too, along with a bookmark, a signed bookplate (not pictured), sand-coloured lip gloss (clever!), a notebook by Chick Lit Designs, and a compass necklace “that can lead an outlaw, a foreigner, and a rebellion!”.
When you push the button on the top the cover pops open and inside is a real working clock! (My kids are fighting over it already.)
So how much will it run you? There are four subscription options: 1, 3, 6 and 12 months, starting at $29.99 US + shipping per box, and less when you sign on for a longer term. The box currently ships to the US, Canada, Ireland, the UK, Australia and Brazil, with shipping outside the US starting at $14.99. (It’s a flat rate $14.99 for us Canucks.) And for each crate sold, the company donates one book to local literacy programs so others can share the lit joy too. (I love a company that gives back!)
Even with our dollar as low as it is, I think the young adult box is a good value. The hardcover alone would cost nearly $30, and the additional items (clearly carefully curated) feel like good-quality products. The scarf is lovely and sheer, the compass has a good weight to it (it’s metal, not plastic) and the sand-coloured lipgloss is a neutral shade a lot of people could wear. And you know how I feel about stationery — I love the notepad inspired by the book. Everything was carefully packaged and arrived in perfect condition. (Nothing bugs me more than ordering a new book only to receive a copy with a ding in it. Okay a few things bug me more, but that really does too.)
To enter to win a LitJoy CRATE of your choice, tell me a favourite board book, picture book or young adult book in your household in the comments below.
For additional entries, follow me on Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook and subscribe to the blog (one entry per follow; scroll down for the form to subscribe) and tell me your handle/s there in the comments below.
You may also tweet the following once per day and leave the url for your tweet in the comments below (one entry per tweet).
Win a subscription box for book lovers from @trysmallthings http://wp.me/p4xBed-27B CAN/US 6/17 #sharethelitjoy #litjoycrate
The giveaway is open to Canadian residents 18+ (excluding Quebec) and residents of the continental US 18+ and ends at midnight EST on June 17, 2016.
Update June 19: Congratulations to Renee J!
LitJoy CRATE sent me the May young adult box to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.