OwlCrate Unboxing – June 2020

As predicted, the June OwlCrate finally graced my doorstep this week. Hooray! At least that gave me plenty of time to sample all of its contents before writing up this review.

For those of you who haven’t seen any of my previous posts, OwlCrate is a monthly subscription service for fans of Young Adult novels. The boxes are usually dispatched around the 20th of each month and contain 3-5 items which are carefully selected to match a theme. Each box is also guaranteed to contain one brand new hardback, which is usually autographed and with an exclusive cover. Each box costs around £38 to ship to the United Kingdom and, so far, I do feel that they have all been great value for money.

OwlCrate guarantees that you will receive each box so long as your subscription remains active. I would strongly recommend thinking very carefully before you cancel, as the service is very popular and boxes tend to sell out quickly. I made this mistake last summer and it took me a few months to get back on the list again…

Anyhow, the theme this month is “All the World’s a Stage”. Be warned – there are a lot of photos and major spoilers for the box’s contents beyond this point…

The box this time felt a little smaller and thinner than the last few, but it was so jammed full of stuff that I had trouble getting the lid open! Look at all the exciting boxes and bags…I think it’s time for a rummage!

Naturally, this box was the very first thing to catch my eye, though it wasn’t entirely for positive reasons. I could not help but notice that there was a lot of packaging in this crate. Almost every item was wrapped in cardboard or paper which, on top of the standard paper goods and shredded packing, did feel a bit excessive. A lot of the contents of this crate could certainly have been packaged a bit more economically, as a shocking amount seemed to end up in my recycling bin.

Whinge over. Inside the box was this lovely little pencil tin / money box which was created by Forensics & Flowers. The design is inspired by The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which I have not read, but does match the theme of this crate very well. While I’m sure it will have greater appeal for fans of the book, I still love the design. There are some wonderful small details, like the stars on the lid and the OwlCrate logo on its base. As I do have many rogue pencils in my office, I am certain that I will get some use out of it.

The next item is the one that excited me most. I have been a huge fan of Bones Coffee Company since I tried the caramel corn flavour blend that was included in the October 2019 crate and so I was excited to get my hands on more. This time around, the blend is called “Cirque du Freak” and is mini-donuts flavour. While I don’t generally have much of a sweet tooth, I have just tried a cup and it is divine. It is rich and bitter, but has a slightly sweet after-taste. I am certainly going to be enjoying this for the next few days…

The next item was a slightly weird one. This is a shower steamer which was made by Whipped Up Wonderful. The scent is called “Gambler’s Ruin” – which translates to orange and coffee – and is inspired by Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody. While I had no idea what a shower steamer was before opening this crate, it turns out to be something that makes your steamy shower miasma smell nicer. I gave this a try this morning and, after a bit of trying to figure out the optimum placement, I can report that it does indeed work. The scent was not over-powering, but you could just about tell that it was there over the usual shampoo and soap smells. It’s not something that I would have ever bought for myself, but it was a fun little experiment.

The next item was something that is always handy to have around the house – pencils. These ones were designed by Team OwlCrate and each displays a different Shakespearean quotation. Here’s a close-up for you:

While I do think that they could have picked a couple of more interesting quotations, I must admit that I do have a fondness for ‘These Violent Delights have Violent Ends’. Although it’s not the most exciting of items that I have ever unboxed, pencils are one of those things that I am always happy to find lurking in my crate. You certainly can never have enough of them, and they do at least feel as though they are reasonably good quality.

The next item, however, is not one of my favourites. This little pad is apparently a habit tracker that was designed by @paperbackbones, who creates many of the paper goods found in OwlCrates. The quote on the top is taken from The Greatest Showman, but does not really seem to have anything to do with the item in question. I suppose that it might be useful to people who are trying to break a bad habit but, personally, I was disappointed. There is no alternate use that I can think of for this item and every page is exactly the same. Unfortunately, this is one of the rare items that I received that will probably go straight into the recycling bin.

Which brings us to this month’s enamel pin, which was designed by Blissfully Bookish Co. This time we have a postage stamp with circus tents and the word “Glorian”. I actually really like the design of the pin this time, as it is a lot more creative than last month’s random crystal. What does it mean? I suppose I will find out when I have read this month’s book…

Naturally, the crate also contained all the usual paper goods tucked into the bottom. There is the magazine, a spoiler card that explained what each item was, and a letter from the author of this month’s book. These are common features in every crate, so no real surprises there. Which, I suppose, only leaves one more thing to discuss…

This month’s read is Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles. It promises to be a re-imagining of both The Phantom of the Opera and Moulin Rouge, which has already gotten me far more excited than I would ever care to admit. The book is autographed and also came with two nice little laptop decals, though I will be waiting to see if I enjoy the novel before I commit to sticking them on anything.

The only downside this month was the lack of a dust cover, which was a bit of a disappointment. The cover has lovely foil highlights that I am really worried will quickly get damaged just through general wear and tear. The back-cover of my one is already showing a little bit of scuffing just from the bottom of the box. Given that everything else in the box was so over-packaged, it seemed a shame not to protect the most important item. However, at least all of the pages are intact which is the most important thing.

Anyhow, I think that’s everything. While this box was a little hit-and-miss for me, I do love that coffee. I’m also sure that I will get use out of the pencils and tin. And, of course, there’s the book. I’m so excited to get stuck into that, but need to finish off The Summer of Middle Grade first. Check back in a few weeks if you want to know what I thought.

The final item in the box was this sneaky peak at what to expect from the July crate. Pop back next month if you want to find out more!

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