LitJoy Crate is a book subscription box service that offers 3 options targeting different age groups: the monthly Picture Book box aimed at ages 3-6, the quarterly Middle Grade box aimed at ages 8-13 and the monthly Young Adult box for ages 14 and older. This is a review for the YA box, which includes one new release book and 2-4 themed bookish goodies.
Cost: $29.99 USD
Shipping Costs: $10.48 within the US or up to $22.70 to other countries
Payment Method: Credit Card
Mailed Out: 20th of each month
Tracking is provided with the shipping notification – my box was shipped February 23rd and arrived March 1st. Yes, my review is super late, due to real life complications! Boring stuff involving the financial controller being fired at work and myself being promoted to his position, despite having no accounting background or finance experience…working late most nights and coming in to the office on Sundays…ah, good times. But my philosophy is better late than never, so let’s forget about the fact that I’m a little late to the party and embrace the idea I showed up at all!
OVERVIEW OF CONTENTS
I like that the LitJoy product card provides quotes to show how their bookish goodies relate to the book of the month – it helps make everything seem more cohesive. :)
Lovely artwork on the front of the card!
Good thing indeed that there is context for the items, because I would’ve been making a WTF face at the carabiner, for instance! I also like that the artists/creators receive credit and you’re able to look them up on social media to check out their other work if you’re a fan of what’s included in the box. :D
I haven’t seen other boxes do a spotlight on one of the small businesses included – it’s a nice idea to promote the artist! I’m not keen on massive magazines being printed for boxes as I feel it’s a waste of money, but this is just a small feature on the back of the pamphlet, so it’s not going too over-the-top and it’s a lovely tribute to one of the people who have provided one of the fannish items.
We have an author letter included – I’ve received a few of them in other boxes and normally I’m not really that interested. Sometimes they’re super hard to read (I get that having them in the author’s handwriting makes it more personal, but I feel like writing is a lost art with some of the chicken scratches I’ve struggled to decipher!) and mostly pretty boring, to be honest. But this letter made me snicker and really endeared the author to me, I had to lol at the droll ‘wait, that’s creepy, never mind‘ bit.
That’s actually quite sweet, thumbs up to this letter!
What a gorgeous cover! It embodies the ‘Fire & Ice’ theme perfectly. <3
For the perfect love, what would you be willing to lose?
It’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father’s shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods—only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.
X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. X is forbidden from revealing himself to anyone other than his prey, but he casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As they learn more about their colliding worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future.
It bugs me when there’s no synopsis on the back cover, but I guess if I had Peter Jackson of LotR fame praising my book, I’d probably want to highlight that as well. Jeff Giles goes into that a little bit in an interview here:
Asking the director of The Lord of the Rings to read my novel was exactly as terrifying as you’d think. I came THIS close to not doing it because I was so embarrassed. But he was so gracious about it. Later, I sent him a pic so he could see how prominent his blurb was. He immediately wrote back, “Wow, is it too late to change it to something really rude?” I am 85% sure he was kidding.
Gosh, this guy cracks me up, heh.
Um, that’s pretty damn cool! The text on the edges is a really unique feature, wow. :O
Jeff Giles went into that a bit as well:
The big shots at Bloomsbury (I love them all—Hi, big shots!) always wanted to do something special to make my book stand out. Cristina Gilbert suggested printing a message on the edge of the pages. Bloomsbury’s Creative Director, Donna Mark, had to do some math I can’t explain because every single page had to be printed differently so that “ONE MORE SOUL” wouldn’t look like gibberish. I love the effect, and it’s the first thing that catches everyone’s eyes. But before I actually held the finished book, I was worried that the type there would be distracting to readers. Actually, I was freaking out. Because I’m a writer, I’m really good at being nervous. My editor, Cindy Loh, who’s the biggest big shot at Bloomsbury U.S., has a doctorate in calming me down.
Another couple little bonus items include a signed book-plate and a themed bookmark. The quote from James Dashner made me smirk a little – ‘every human alive should read it‘, eh? What about the undead, that’s discrimination!
‘X On Ice’ bath salts by Literary Apothecary ($8-$10?): this is an exclusive item made specially for LitJoy, which is neat. :)
I’m not too sure how to use bath salts, lol – with a bath bomb, you don’t have to measure nothing, just throw the thing in, but I don’t know if you’re meant to use this sparingly or not? Oh, well, when in doubt, empty the packet into the tub in one go and see what happens!
Nerdy Cat Watch (varies between $15 USD here or $26.63 AUD here): how cute is this?! The best thing is that LitJoy has a spoiler item each month so you can see if it entices you to buy the box or not, and as soon as I saw this adorable kitty watch, I HAD to subscribe!
I don’t even care if it’s pretty much useless for telling time, lmao, I didn’t get this watch to accurately gauge the time of day, I wanted it because I’m a crazy cat lady! The numbers would’ve ruined that sweet kitty face, imo, I’m happy with it just the way it is. <3
Btw, my box was searched by Customs and I have a sneaking suspicion this watch was the cause – they probably wanted to find out what was behind that ticking noise. O.o Nothing sinister, just wonderful feline merchandise!
‘The Lowlands’ Chai & Amber candle by In The Wick Of Time ($22.70 AUD for 8oz, so approx $5.66 AUD for 2oz)
I will never get tired of candles in boxes! I love getting to try out new scents from different businesses, it’s so much fun. :D This one is a little different, it’s not as sweet and floral-y as other ones I’ve received, so that’s a nice change.
Carabiner ($0.20 – $0.50c on ebay): well, it’s not random, as the product card explains the significance behind this, but I don’t know what I’m gonna do with it… O.o
Skittles bite-size 10g pack (approx $0.35 AUD): I’m glad it wasn’t chocolate, as this box arrived in our summer and that would’ve spelled doom for any chocolate treats. But I’m sure the preservatives in Skittles will keep these fresh and chewy for ages!
The last item is the artwork, which is packaged separately – I’m not a huge fan of art in boxes, but I like that LitJoy at least sealed it for safety instead of dumping it in with everything else and risking creases. It’s very simple packaging, but still makes a good impression.
Quality of Curation: Given the format of their product card, of course the theme was well-executed since each item’s inclusion was justified with reference to the book!
The carabiner wasn’t the most practical item, lol, that’s just going to sit in a cupboard, but I love the creativity behind linking animal tattoos in the book to the Nerdy Cat watch! That was brilliant! So much more inspired and appealing than the cheap temporary tattoos that other boxes have included. And it’s cool that a couple other items were specifically designed for ‘The Edge of Everything‘, so that’s very on-point! I appreciate when boxes have relevant items instead of throwing together random products.
Worth It? The box cost me about $65.15 AUD and its value was around $85-$90 AUD! That artwork really bumped up the value, I’m surprised at how much it was worth. International shipping and the exchange rate against the Australian dollar means that subscription boxes are ridiculously expensive, but I’m happy that this was good value for what I paid.
I think it’s great that LitJoy showcases a spoiler item every month because it helped me decide to gamble on this box as I had guessed the book already and the value of that plus the watch was already $50 AUD, so I was pretty sure that the remaining items would make it worth the cost, and instead they far exceeded it! As I said before, I’m not a huge fan of art (I don’t frame them or put them on my wall, so it’s wasted on me), but I love candles and bath items, so it was a great box overall!
Personal Rating: 5 out of 5 kitties approve this box!
Disclaimer: I purchased this box. All opinions are my own and no compensation was received.