I received the March Sweet Reads Box in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. This post also appears on A Year of Boxes.
Anyone else feel like March was 8,000 days long? 🙋♀️ Oy vey! I’m doing my best to put one foot in front of the other but a lot of days I feel like I’m stuck in molasses. Hence my spotty posts. Please bear with me, dear readers. Lots of good stuff coming. (Psst: I’m supporting some of my favourite small businesses with some purchases to share with you including a Sweet Reads Box giveaway so watch for that very soon.) Today I’ve got the March box and after that, the latest limited edition. If it’s new to you or you’ve heard of it but you’re not sure what it’s all about, Sweet Reads Box is a monthly subscription box service that’s “me time delivered” with a new novel, something to eat and drink, and a few other products tied to the story or theme.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” — Ghandi
Each box opens with a product card with a quote related to the novel on one side and a description of the contents on the other. I like to be surprised so I put it aside to read after I’ve unpacked the box.
And the novel for March? A new release — very new, it only came out March 3! — The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi. Right up my alley! So much so that I’d bought a ticket to hear the author talk about the book at an event here in Ottawa before I’d even read it (it just sounded so much like something I’d enjoy). The day after the March Sweet Reads Box arrived the event was postponed 😭😭😭 but I was so happy to have the novel to read.
Here’s the description from the publisher:
Vivid and compelling in its portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel.
Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the most highly requested henna artist—and confidante—to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own…
Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow—a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does.
It’s in my TBR stack for this month (I’ll start it as soon as I finish The Honey-Don’t List and Rules for Being a Girl) so I’ll have to get back to you with some thoughts. Have you read The Henna Artist? What did you think?
Next, a temporary henna tattoo c/o the publisher, Harper Collins Canada. My tween and her friends love to draw on each other’s hands with henna pens (well henna-like, anyway) so this has her name all over it.
Lavender Shortbread (Sprucewood Handmade Cookie Co) Lavender is used by Lakshimi throughout the novel in her treatment of the women she sees. We love these delicious local shortbread cookies with a hint of lavender — igniting your senses with every bite.
Ahhh, so buttery, so fresh! Melt-in-your mouth cookies with a subtle touch of lavender. I loved them.
Seduction Organic Chai (Tea Leaf Co.) Chai features prominently in Indian culture. We chose this tea to connect to the act of seduction in the novel and Lakshimi’s practice.
If you’ve been following me for a while you know chai isn’t my favourite (I actually have to leave the kitchen when my hubby makes it because I find the spices so strong) so I’ll gift this tea and hope to see a breakfast blend, an orange pekoe or a fruity tea in a future box.
Mango Curry Dip Mix (Gourmet du Village) The flavours of this dip and scents reminded us of Indian food. We hope you enjoy making this as the perfect snack accompaniment to your read. Serve with vegetables or crackers.
We love Indian food — my kids especially — so this dip mix should be a hit too.
V&A Travel Set — Eye Mask, Hand Cream and Lip Balm (Victoria & Albert Museum by Wild & Wolf) The packaging of this product reminded us of the visuals and patterns of the story and the theme of beauty. We hope you will use this set for an upcoming journey, or a day of rest and relaxation.
This gorgeous set couldn’t have come at a better time. Between the dry air in the house and the extra hand-washing I feel like a husk but the hand cream and lip balm are saving my skin. I haven’t used the sleep mask but it feels nice and cool on the eyes. Which would be soothing if I wasn’t worried it would choke me to death in my sleep, ha ha. Anyone else feel that way about sleep masks? Just me?
Mandala Mirror (Kikkerland) Mandalas are representative of a spiritual journey and the concept that life is never-ending. Translated from Sanskrit to be circle this mirror offers an opportunity for reflection and self-care.
I have a super cute cat-shaped compact from another Sweet Reads Box so I might gift this one, but I do love the colours and mandala design.
If ever there’s a time to take care of yourself (or a loved one! or a frontline worker!) with some me-time delivered, it’s now. Sweet Reads Box makes such a thoughtful gift, an “I care” package with all of the work putting it together done for you.
Sweet Reads Boxes are available as a commitment-free single box or by 3-, 6- and 12-month subscription. I know April boxes are sold out, but it’s not too late to order a May box and subscriptions are always available (if you order now you’ll receive your first box in May). Limited edition boxes are also released from time to time (April’s Book Lovers Box just sold out).
Single box: $65.99 + shipping
Three-month subscription: $230.07 including shipping
Six-month subscription: $443.94 including shipping
12-month subscription: $863.88 including shipping
And you can save 10% on three- and six-month subscriptions when you sign up for the Sweet Reads Box mailing list. The co also shares bookish news, discounts and info on upcoming boxes on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
What else? What else? I think that covers the March box, but if you have any questions please ask away! If I don’t know the answers, I’ll do my best to find them for you.
What do you think of the latest Sweet Reads Box? Are you a subscriber? Have you gifted a box? What would you like to see in the future? Tell me everything!