Monday, August 23, 2021

Walmart Spring Beauty Box Summer 2021 Edition

The Summer edition of the Walmart Beauty Box has arrived! It’s now been an entire year since they rolled out their ‘new and improved’ boxes. Was the Summer box new and improved? Let’s find out...



Let me tell you a little about this box. It’s a quarterly beauty box containing 5 beauty items from beauty brands sold at Walmart. These boxes are $5 (plus tax) $6.98 (plus tax)

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll know that I’m not the biggest fan of this box. I keep saying I’m going to cancel but I was intrigued when I received an email letting subscribers know they’ve revamped the boxes and they would be better than ever.

Walmart Beauty Box Website

Let’s see if these boxes are ‘New and Improved’…


Theme: Sunshine Ready

This is the fourth season of the ‘New & Improved’ boxes, so it’s officially been a year since Brand Share has rolled out the changes to the Walmart Beauty Boxes. Just a quick recap of the changes they claimed they were making.

 -no foil packets

-at least 1 Full Size Product

-the latest and greatest products from the buzziest brands

-beauty brands and products you won’t find anywhere else

-boxes curated around your reviews

-detailed shipping information

-easy access to their website

-6 products a season

-detailed product card

 The major change they made was the PRICE INCREASE; it is now $6.98 (plus tax) every quarter (with tax, mine came to $7.48).

There is a product card but it only lists a snippet of information about the first four products, regardless of whether or not they were in your box. The only prices included are the MSRP for the full size products. 

Here’s what was in my Spring Walmart Beauty Box



Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Sunscreen (Sample Size)—this is super small but it’s great to throw into my handbag to use on my arms and hands if I’m in the sun and forgot to throw on sunscreen.

Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub (Sample Size)—again, another super small tube, but I’ll probably use this as a body scrub as I don’t normally use face scrubs.

Listerine Read Tabs (Full Size)—these are okay. Not something I would normally use but, since I received them, I threw them in my glovebox in case I need them.

Almay Lip Vibes Lipstick (Shade: Love Yourself, Full Size, MSRP: $7.99)—I’m glad I received this in the cream, as it’s a formula that I do like, and the color is a lovely burgundy red that will be perfect in the Fall.

John Friends Frieda Ease Dream Curls Conditioner (Travel Size)—I haven’t tried this yet but I’ve never been a massive fan of John Frieda so we shall see how it goes.

Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner (Shade: Black, Full Size, MSRP: $7.99)—I was getting ready to purchase this, so I was excited to receive it. A lot of people compare it to the Maybelline Lasting Drama, my favorite black liner, but I gave it a go and I don’t think it stays on as long or looks as vivid. It’s still a nice long-lasting option through—and I believe slightly cheaper. 

My thoughts: I like the lipstick and the eyeliner—these are both products I know I’ll use. The sunscreen is super small but okay to throw in my handbag. The other products, I’m just not thrilled or excited about.

There were several other items on the product card that would have fit my profile better (NYX Bare With Me Primer, Wet n Wild Big Poppa Mascara, Find Your Happy Place Hand Cream, Clean Beauty Sleep Mask) and would have made the box feel as though it was curated for me. I’ve told them time after time that I do not like to receive oral care products (a lot of the time they send products with stevia), hair care products, or face scrubs yet it seems like those products are the ones I constantly receive.

Am I seeing these ‘New & Improved’ changes? I did receive 3 full size items (the Listerine tabs, lip stick, and eyeliner), which I was thrilled about and I did receive 6 products in my box. Sadly, that was it. None of the products I’ve received are the latest releases—they’ve all been around for years. Nothing in the box was fresh/new-to-be brands—these are the brands I always receive in the box.

The website isn’t easier to use, in fact, I’m currently locked out of my account and when I try to reset my password, it says that my email isn’t associated with any account. I also never received a review survey for the last two seasons. The detailed tracking email never arrived, normally it arrives about a week after the box shows up but I’ve had this for a bit and nothing has popped up in my email.

Overall, I’m just not satisfied with my box. It doesn’t fit my profile or align with the review surveys I’ve completed. I’ve basically received the same products since I’ve signed up, which was 2 or 3 years ago. I’ve emailed Brand Share regarding several issues and never once received a reply.

While I’m not thrilled about the box, for once, I actually feel like I got my money’s worth with the lipstick and eyeliner (I was going to purchase the eyeliner anyway). With that being said, if I can get into my account, I do plan to cancel my subscription because I’m not seeing any changes to my box that would make up for the price increase. 


 

Do you get the Walmart Box? If so, are you keeping it with the price increase? What products did you receive? 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Be Kind Box by Ellen

I’ve been wanting to try the Be Kind Box for a while now but I just couldn’t justify spending $54.99 (plus tax) on such a small box. When I spotted the past boxes on sale, I decided to pick up the Fall 2020 box for $15 (plus shipping). Did this box convince me to subscribe? Let’s find out…



When I was scrolling on Facebook, I noticed an advert for the previous Be Kind Boxes. At the time, they had 2 boxes, the Fall 2020 and the Winter 2020 box, available for $15 each (plus shipping). Being an Autumn soul, so I knew that if any box was going to impress me, it would probably be a box curated for the Autumn so I selected the Hope & Change Fall 2020 box.

At the time of posting, they had 3 choices available (Fall 2020 and Winter 2020 for $15 plus shipping and The Treat Yourself & Others Box for $25 plus shipping) you can check out their past boxes HERE if interested (not an affiliate link).

If you don’t know what the Be Kind Box by Ellen is, it’s a quarterly/seasonal box that features 6 social conscious products worth over $290. The box features products that are Kind to the Earth, Inclusive of All, Nature Friendly, and Donate to Causes. A One-time box is $64.99, Annual/Quarterly $54.99, Yearly is $197.96. If you’re interested in checking out the Be Kind Subscription, you can do so HERE

Let’s see what was in the Fall 2020 Hope & Change Box



Bychari ‘Hope’ Necklace (MSRP: $100)—this is a cute, dainty necklace. I like that it’s lightweight and I often forget that I’m wearing it.

Be Kind Wireless Earbuds (MSRP: $39.99)—I’m not a massive fan of earbuds—I’m not a massive fan of anything being in my ear, actually,—so I haven’t decided if I’m keeping these or passing them to a friend.



StoJo Collapsible Travel Cup (MSRP: $20)—I’m in love with this cup. It’s the perfect cup to throw in your handbag in case you need it when you’re out and it comes with a silicone straw. It’s come in rather handy, especially when you’re traveling with a toddler (my cousin’s daughter) who pokes holes in the bottoms of paper cups.  

Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Eye Masks (MSRP: $25)—these are my favorite eye masks, so I was thrilled to receive another pack of these.

Be Kind Hygiene Key (MSRP: $30)—this seems a little odd to me, especially for thirty bucks. Not sure what I’ll do with it, maybe use it to open paint cans?

Let’s Make Art (MSRP: $59)—this looks like it’s going to be fun to dig into. It’s basically a sip and paint party minus the sipping. I will say that the MSRP was a little up there, but it’s a box exclusive, so they could tag any price they wanted to and, no matter the type of box, when it’s a ‘box exclusive’, it’s often the highest priced item in the box.



There’s also a pamphlet in the box that tells you about the products and features artwork by the artist that designed the box.

My thoughts on the Fall 2020 Box: I liked 4 of the items (necklace, travel cup, eye masks, art kit) in the box, so 4 out of 6 isn’t bad. The thing is these are items that are found in either lower priced boxes or boxes with higher quantity.

For a $15 (plus shipping) box, this is a nice box. I, personally, don’t see spending over $54.99 (plus tax) a quarter for this box. I’ll probably watch the sale page to see if I’m interested in any of the past boxes they post, but I don’t think this is a subscription box for me.

 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

LitJoy Spring Crate: Wishes & Curses

Hello Lovelies, I have another fun subscription box to share with you. I’ve reviewed LitJoy’s Magical Crate before and now I’m sharing with you their fun Young Adult Crate. While this is marked YA, adults will love this box as well. If you’re a Cinderella fan or a fan of bookish-themed boxes then stick around as I dive into the Wishes & Curses Crate from LitJoy!



This is the Spring Wishes & Curses Crate. This was a wee-bit late as they were waiting on an item to complete the crate and certain items are hard to get right now. I will say the item was definitely worth the wait!

 Just a quick bit of info before we get into the box; LitJoyYoung Adult Crate is a quarterly crate that’s unique in the fact they allow you to select 1 of 3 options. You can choose the whole crate (book with the items), just the book, or just the items. The book will be a new-release YA that is always signed and will be a LitJoy-Exclusive Edition.  I will have more information about each option in the box down below.

The Full Crate, which I’ll be reviewing, comes with 4-6 bookish items, a signed, LitJoy exclusive newly released YA book, print with author’s note, collector photo strip, and a pamphlet that tells you about the box. 

 

Here’s what was in the Spring Wishes & Curses LitJoy Box

 


Book: The Shadow in the Glass by JJA Harwood—this book is gorgeous with its lovely cover, beautiful endpaper, and sprayed edges. This is a Cinderella re-telling where her fairy godmother grants her seven wishes and it sounds like it’s going to be such a fun read.



While I do love the cover, there is a reversible dust jacket with a lovely illustration by Sophia Volovik.

Also included is a gorgeous print with an author’s note on the back.



1-Cinderella Ice Tray—this is a silicone ice tray that’s adorable. I’m not one to typically use ice trays, but this would make a fun candy mold.

2-The Princess Bride Magnetic Notepad—I can always use a notepad and this one’s magnetic, which I love.

3-Blood And Ash Sticker—cute little sticker with a quote from Blood & Ash.

4-Daevabad Series Teacup And Saucer—I’m obsessed with this magic carpet teacup and saucer.

5-The Invisible Life of Addie Larue Wooden Box—I’ve been searching for a cute little round box to hold a roll of stamps that would look cute on my desk and this box is perfect and it’s book-themed!  

6-Caraval Zipper Pouch—this is something that I will definitely use, especially when I’m running quick errands.

7-Cassian and Nesta Photo Strip—these make the perfect bookmarks.



My thoughts about the Spring Wishes & Curses LitJoy Crate—this was a fun little box full of unique but useable items.

The ice tray isn’t something I would have gravitated to but I’ve been wanting to get a small mold for candy and this will be perfect. While it’s nicely detailed, it looks like it will be easy to clean, so that’s plus. The teacup and saucer is amazing and, while it’s a mini, it can be used as a tea and biscuit tray, which I love. I’m so thrilled for the wooden box and love that the lid’s magnetic, so I can just slid the lid to the side when I need to open the box.  The zipper pouch will be used on my next errand run—it’s the perfect size where I won’t worry about losing it.

I’m not a fan of getting single stickers as an actual item, especially one that’s on the smaller side. It would have been nice if the design and quote would have been on an enamel pin or something else.

When the box first arrived, I had intended to break it up and use parts of it as birthday and/or Christmas gifts (as I do with the majority of the items in the Magical Crate) but I absolutely loved every single item in the box so I think I’ll be enjoying this box for myself!



Overall, I loved this box. The items are very well crafted and of very nice quality. The ceramic used for the teacup and saucer is heavy-duty and I don’t have to worry about the cup breaking from use or crazing.

This box is considered a ‘YA’ box but I don’t find that items to be kiddie and I love that. I also like that they offer different crate options although given the price for the entire crate, you really can’t go wrong with getting the whole thing.

I highly recommend this box to all book lovers. It would be something nice to gift to others or yourself. 



LitJoy’s Young Adult Crate offers three crate options as well as two subscription choices. You can subscribe quarterly; with this option, you do get the option to ‘skip’ a box.  Or you can subscribe annually, shipping for all 4 boxes is calculated and charged at the time of purchase.

Full Crate Option comes with 1 new release YA book (always signed and always a LitJoy Exclusive), 4-6 curated and useful book-themed items, an illustrated card with a letter from the author, and a collectable photo strip.

Quarterly: $34.99 (plus shipping)

Annually: $135.00 (plus shipping)

Book Only Option comes with the book, illustrated card with author note, and collectable photo strip.  

Quarterly: $23.99 (plus shipping)

Annually: $91.00 (plus shipping)

Items Only Option comes with 4-6 useful book-themed items plus the photo strip.

Quarterly: $23.99 (plus shipping)

Annually: $91.00 (plus shipping)

You can learn more about the LitJoy Young Adult Crate and HERE

To Save $5 off your purchase of $40, click HERE



Monday, August 16, 2021

Bout of Books 32


Bout of Books 32 starts today! I normally set a list of books that I want to tackle but I think I’m just going to wing it this time and see how that goes as I have several books on my TBR pile that’s calling my name but I’m not sure what my reading mood will be. Lately I’ve been a mood reader so going with the flow seems to be the best bet to tackle my goal of 4-6 books during BOB 32.

I’ll be posting a blog updates on the 18th and 20th with a final roundup post on Tuesday the 24th.

I’ll try to post daily updates on my Instagram @simplyangelarenee

Do you participate in readathons? Are you taking part of BoB 32?
 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Down The Rabbit Hole Book Box July 2021

July’s Down The Rabbit Hole Book Box includes a thrilling tale about a reporter returning to her home town to cover the murders of two preteen girls and a thrilling array of gifts taken straight from pages.


Hello Lovelies,

 

I have a thrilling new book box to share with you and it’s the Down The Rabbit Hole Book Box. This book box is a bit unique because it’s a box that’s been curated around a dark read (more about dark reads in a bit). As someone who has always loved dark, gothic novels, I was intrigued by this book box.  

Here’s a little more about the box before we dig in.

 




What is Down the Rabbit Hole Book Box? Down the Rabbit Hole Book Box is a monthly book box that sends you one dark, mesmerizing, and gripping read (either paperback or hardback) along with 4-6 individually wrapped gifts that’s been curated around the book.

 Website

Price: $34.99 (plus shipping) at the moment this is only offered in the US

Use the coupon code SIMPLYANGELA10 for 10% off your first box or a year's subscription. This code is not an affiliate code.

How is it shipped and packaged? The box is shipped via USPS and the last two months it has arrived  in a plastic poly mailer. The box itself contains shredded paper packaging that protects the items inside. Each item inside the box (other than the book and pamphlet) is individually wrapped and numbered.



What is a dark read? Per their website, they define dark books as a book without a happy ending. The books we will choose for you will have scary and dark plots, not so nice protagonists that will leave you questioning the world as it is.  There will be no books with happy endings coming from us!

Genres included (but not limited to): Southern Gothic | Dark Fantasy | Psychological Thriller | Horror | Mystery | Dark Fiction | Crime

Because of the content of the dark reads, the website does recommend that this book box is for those 18 years of age and above.

Can I find out the title of the book? Unlike other companies, Down the Rabbit Hole Book Box makes it easy to discover the title. Each month hints will be revealed on their website and Instagram. You can also email the company directly to discover the title. 

Each month you receive a pamphlet that tells you the theme of the month, a little about the author, and how to open your gifts. Because this is an Immersive Experience Book Box, it’s best to open the gifts as you read (you’ll find a little sticky tab on the page telling you which gift to open).



What is an Immersive Experience Book Box? It’s a box that’s been curated to pull the reader further into the sensory experience of the story with sounds, scents, tastes, and objects of interest from within the story. While items like candles, drinkware, and jewelry could be included, it also includes story specific items such as letters, photos and such. 



Here’s what’s in July's Down the Rabbit Hole Book Box.

 




July’s Book: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (Trade Paperback, $17.00, 2006)—my book club selected this book as the group read for their thrill-a-thon that’s coming up so it timing was perfect! I’ve heard mixed things about this one, either people loved it or hated it so I’m eager to give it a read!

July’s ThemeMama Always Told Me I Was Not A Nice Little Girl


Here’s what’s in July's Down the Rabbit Hole Book Box.



Gift 1—Metal Bookmark

Gift 2—Straight Razor Pin

Gift 3—Stainless Steel Stork Scissors

Gift 4—Mason Jar Cup with 3 bags of Southern Breeze Cold Brew Tea

Gift 5—Flower Crown with card tell the myth of Persephone

Gift 6—Letter 

My thoughts on the July box: This was a fabulous box!

 While there wasn’t a matching bookmark with a bookish quote, we did receive a lovely metal bookmark as the first gift. These are the types of bookmarks I enjoy getting as gifts in subscription boxes. The straight razor pin will go on the bookish cross-stitch pin hanger I’m planning to make. I will never say no to a good pair of scissors, especially ones that I can use in my embroidery box. I like getting tea and tea items, and the Mason jar type cup was definitely a different type of cup, but I wish that they had included an unsweetened tea as I’m allergic to stevia and sucralose (and this contains sucralose). The flower crown is cute and I can see it being used as a prop in pics or maybe wearing it to a Renaissance Faire. I also liked that they included the myth of Persephone card. I’m always happy to receive a letter as I can use it in my book journal.



Overall, I’m excited about the book and the products were fantastic. A lot of these items are useful items so I won’t have them just sitting around and I do like when useful items are included. 


Number of Items received6 (5 bookish items, 1 story specific item)







 

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the unsolved murder of a preteen girl and the disappearance of another. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.


Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The Decoy by Florrie Palmer

Tucked in an idyllic village in the English countryside is a group of The Armstrong’s tightknit friends. When two members of the group die in suspicious accidents, another member of the group starts their own investigation. Are the deaths accidents or something more sinister?


In the rural English village of Heronsford, Eliza and David Armstrong live in the farmhouse Eliza grew up in. Her now elderly mother lives in a small converted barn close by.

Surrounded by friends, the Armstrong’s appear to have an idyllic life. But when two members of their social group die in suspicious circumstances, a cloud falls over the village.

Are the deaths linked? And were they really accidents?

Publisher: Audible | Narrator: Lucy Tregear, Louise Jameson | Length: 6 hrs 11 mins | Genre: Contemporary Thriller  | Source: Publisher | Rating: 3 Cups 


I’m not going to reveal a lot about the plot in this book as it will ruin the book for future readers.

This is my first experience reading Florrie Palmer and I found her writing style to be a mix of chic lit, mainstream fiction, and mystery. I’m going to be upfront and say skip the audiobook; I’ll explain why in a bit but, trust me, print or e-book is way to go with this one.

The book starts slow, exceedingly slow, as the characters, their backstories, and their current situations are slowly introduced. I don’t mind backstories, but I don’t need three chapters of them. It would have been nice if they had been mixed in with the story rather than just a bunch of rambling at the start. Several times I almost DNF’d this because the start was so slow and I had to force myself to pay attention to what was going on as none of the backstory reveals were major things.     

Another thing with this book is that it happens over a series of months and you’re quite a bit in before anything happens that’s an attention grabber. Once things finally kicked off, I did enjoy watching how things played out although the attempt at using red herrings fell a bit flat as the clues never really connected.

The book is slow and, sadly, the narrators didn’t help the feeling of slowness this book had. They weren’t bad but they were really mellow and easy to tune out. I had to really force myself to pay attention and I found myself rewinding often, as I wasn’t paying a bit of attention to what was going on. The narrators just weren’t my cup of tea. I ended up borrowing a copy from Kindle Unlimited and found it was able to hold my attention better than the audio version.

Overall, this isn’t going to be one of my favorites—even when I became invested in what was going on, it was easy for me to become distracted by other things going on around me.  I would put the book down for weeks without giving it a thought and only pick it back up when a review reminder popped up on my calendar.

This is more of a fiction novel that’s built around the mundane lives of the Armstrong family and their friends. If it had been billed as a fiction novel with a side of mystery, I would have been more prepared for the pacing of it. If you’re not interested in reading about everyday struggles (money problems, work issues, marital issues, family issues) then you’re not going to be able to get into this book.

I gave it a 3-Cup rating because I did like the way the mystery was solved.  



Have you read any good mysteries lately?

 

Friday, August 6, 2021

Friday Favorites: On My Telly: The Deceived

In this edition of Friday Favorites: On My Telly, I’ll be talking about The Deceived, a modern gothic thriller that’s kept me on the edge of my seat. If you want to know why I’m hooked on this show and why you should be watching it, keep on reading…



The Deceived
is a story about a young Cambridge student, Ophelia, who has an affair with her professor, Dr. Michael Callaghan. Discovering she’s pregnant, she goes to tell Michael the news only to discover he’s gone back to his hometown in Ireland. Deciding to track him down, she arrives only to discover Michael’s wife, Roisin, has died in a mysterious house fire. Convinced to stay at Knockdara House, his creepy ancestral home, Ophelia soon finds herself surrounded by Roisin’s things and wearing her clothes. As though that’s not creepy enough, strange noises are coming from Roisin’s office, her ghost keeps popping up in the garden, a psychic issued dire warnings, and there’s something off about Michael. 



 

 Dark, thrilling, and addictive The Deceived is a psychological thriller that’s been keeping me on the edge of my seat and constantly has me asking questions.

There’s a lot going in this four-part mini-series. Michael’s played around before. His wife has been aware of his misdeeds so when she dies in this mysterious fire at Knockdara house, the villagers are questioning how the fire started. When Ophelia arrives, it’s obvious to everyone she’s Michael’s new fling even though she pretends to be Roisin’s literary agent. As the days pass, and odd events start happening, you start questioning whether it’s paranormal, gaslighting, or if Roisin is still alive and, if she’s alive, whom did they bury.

This mini-series definitely has Jane Eyre, Rebecca, and The Wife Upstairs vibes, which is right up my alley. It also has a dark gothic atmosphere complete with a creepy ancestral house in the midst of a wild Irish wood.  

If you enjoyed the three books mentioned above, like dark academia, thrillers, or enjoy being an armchair sleuth, I think you’ll really enjoy this one. I have one episode left and I’m eager to see how things are wrapped up and if my predictions are correct. 



What have you been watching?

 

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Pause by Kylie Scott

What happens when you wake up from a coma to discover your husband has been unfaithful and the stranger that saved you has been by your side throughout the ordeal? Sounds intriguing, right? If you want to learn more about Pause, keep reading…



When Anna wakes up from a coma after a car crash, she discovers life has gone on without her. Her husband has been unfaithful—with her best friend—and she’s been long since replaced at work. While her old life is a distant memory, her new life feels like an empty shell. Then she meets the stranger who saved her life during the crash, and he changes everything.

 

Leif Larsen—tattooist, joker, and player—has his own scars thanks to the crash that put Anna in a coma. Helping her move on from her failed marriage, and create a new life, sounds like a perfect distraction. So when he needs a new roommate, he invites Anna to begin her new life with him.

 

Although their lives may have been put on pause, together they just might find a way to heal.

 Series: Larsen Bros #2 | Publisher: Audible  | Narrator: Andi Arndt | Length: 6 hours 17 minutes  | Genre: Contemporary Romance  | Source: Publisher  | Rating: 4 Cups

When Anna wakes up from a coma, she discovers that her husband has been cheating on her with her best friend (who also happens to be her boss). Needless to say, her world’s been turned upside down. Wanting to create a new life for herself, she’s surprised and pleased when an offer comes from Leif, another victim of the wreck and the man who saved her. Leif’s been in need of a distraction and helping Anna seems like the perfect fit plus it doesn’t hurt that they’re both attracted to each other. While the two could be perfect together, they have a lot of healing to do.

Kylie Scott’s writing is raw and realistic. The plot and characters seems as though they’ve been plucked from the real world and the reader’s been invited in to watch them heal and figure out who they are.

Anna and Leif were so good for each other. They’re both going through a lot of things—and some of them occurred before the wreck—so there’s a lot of healing, a lot figuring out who they are, learning to trust, and soul searching going on. We get to see a lot of their emotions on the page and I love that, especially with this type of book.

The romance in this one is a slow burn romance, which is exactly what this book needed. They needed to heal and to trust each other. While Leif was there for Anna during her coma, they don’t really know each other and they allowed themselves that time before jumping into a relationship.

This book is very much an emotion/character driven book so there are not a lot of outside things going in and I didn’t mind that. It gave me the chance to watch the characters grow.

Pause is the second book in the Larsen Bros series and while you technically don’t need to read the first book in the series, Repeat, I would recommend reading them in order as there seems to be a lot that happens in the first book that attributes to the way Leif acts. I didn’t read the first book (honestly, I completely forgot that I had the audiobook) and I wasn’t lost as the book does explain what happened but I would have liked to have known more of the backstory.

Andi Arndt narrates this book brilliantly but I would have liked a male narrator for Leif. Lately I have been enjoying dual narrators as I find it enhances the listening experience.

Overall, another great book from Kylie Scott. It was the perfect starting over romance. 


Larsen Bros Series

Repeat #1

Pause #2


 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Down the Rabbit Hole Book Box (May & June 2021)

It’s time to get thrilled and chilled! Down the Rabbit Hole Boxes have arrived and these boxes were full of some pretty spookily amazing gifts and treats. If you want to see what was in the May and June Down the Rabbit Hole Boxes then keep reading!


Hello Lovelies,

 

I have a thrilling new book box to share with you and it’s the Down The Rabbit Hole Book Box. This book box is a bit unique because it’s a box that’s been curated around a dark read (more about dark reads in a bit). As someone who has always loved dark, gothic novels, I was intrigued by this book box.  

Here’s a little more about the box before we dig in.

 




What is Down the Rabbit Hole Book Box? Down the Rabbit Hole Book Box is a monthly book box that sends you one dark, mesmerizing, and gripping read (either paperback or hardback) along with 4-6 individually wrapped gifts that’s been curated around the book.

 Website

Price: $34.99 (plus shipping) at the moment this is only offered in the US

Use the coupon code SIMPLYANGELA10 for 10% off your first box or a year's subscription. This code is not an affiliate code.

How is it shipped and packaged? The box is shipped via USPS and the last two months it has arrived  in a plastic poly mailer. The box itself contains shredded paper packaging that protects the items inside. Each item inside the box (other than the book and pamphlet) is individually wrapped and numbered.



What is a dark read? Per their website, they define dark books as a book without a happy ending. The books we will choose for you will have scary and dark plots, not so nice protagonists that will leave you questioning the world as it is.  There will be no books with happy endings coming from us!

Genres included (but not limited to): Southern Gothic | Dark Fantasy | Psychological Thriller | Horror | Mystery | Dark Fiction | Crime

Because of the content of the dark reads, the website does recommend that this book box is for those 18 years of age and above.

Can I find out the title of the book? Unlike other companies, Down the Rabbit Hole Book Box makes it easy to discover the title. Each month hints will be revealed on their website and Instagram. You can also email the company directly to discover the title. 

Each month you receive a pamphlet that tells you the theme of the month, a little about the author, and how to open your gifts. Because this is an Immersive Experience Book Box, it’s best to open the gifts as you read (you’ll find a little sticky tab on the page telling you which gift to open).



What is an Immersive Experience Book Box? It’s a box that’s been curated to pull the reader further into the sensory experience of the story with sounds, scents, tastes, and objects of interest from within the story. While items like candles, drinkware, and jewelry could be included, it also includes story specific items such as letters, photos and such. 


Hey Lovelies, there were shipping issues with both of my Down the Rabbit Hole boxes, which is why the May & June boxes are just now posting. The May box was stuck in Kentucky with DHL for nearly a month before it finally arrived. The company that handles the assembly and shipping of the boxes forgot to ship out my June box. I contacted DTRH, who are amazing to deal with, and they got in touch with company the ships the boxes and my box was sent out the next business day on July 12.

 

If you are a subscriber, just note that the boxes generally ship out around the 21st of each month and take about 7-10 business days to arrive. If you don’t receive a shipping notice or if your box hasn’t arrived reach out to DTRH and they will gladly look into it for you. 


Here’s what’s in May’s Down the Rabbit Hole Book Box.

 



May’s Book: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough (trade paperback, $16.99, 2017)—I’ve been hearing so much about this book (and the NETFLIX series) and I was very happy to receive it in May’s box.

May’s ThemeNo theme this month 




Gift 1—Daisy Friendship Bracelet Set

Gift 2—Death’s Door Coffee

Gift 3—Bruno Visconti Notebook

Gift 4—Watch

Gift 5—Satin Sleep Mask, Hair band

 

There’s also a themed bookmark included 

My thoughts on the May box: May’s box was definitely a bit different content-wise but it was still a fun box to open and I’m so excited to dig into the book that was chosen.

 

The notebook and satin sleep set (eye mask, hair band) are items that I will use and I love that the sleep set came in a nice little drawstring bag, which will sit nicely in my nightstand. The bracelet set is cute but I will probably pass it on to a friend’s daughter. The watch is a nice quality but I’m not a watch wearer (I have too much electricity in my body and I kill watch batteries) so I’ll pass this along to someone. I’m not a coffee drinker so, again, I’ll pass this along.

Number of Items received: 5 Gifts (all bookish gifts) plus the book

OverallThis box was an odd mix of items but it was interesting. I’m excited to use the sleep set and the notebook is the perfect size to keep on my nightstand.



Here’s what’s in June’s Down the Rabbit Hole Book Box.

 




June’s Book: Confessions by Kanae Minato (Paperback, $16.99)—originally published in 2008 and translated in 2014, this is both a new-to-me author and book and it looks rather intriguing. At 234 pages, I imagine this will be a quick read.

June’s ThemeI have no idea. They either didn’t have a pamphlet this month or forgot to add mine in, which I’m guessing is the case seeing as I had some issues with my box.




1-Black Change Purse

2-Milk Carton Water Bottle

3-Teatulia Oolong Tea (3 packs) & Vienna Fingers (3 packs)

4-Mini Alarm Clock

We also received a matching bookmark, this time it has a lovely tassel.  

My thoughts on the June box: This was a fun little box to open and a bit different from the previous boxes.

The change purse, with a matching rose accent and keyring, is the perfect thing to toss a credit card and a bit of cash in, which I’ve been doing a lot lately for quick store runs. The milk carton water bottle is adorable, I’m not sure if I’ll use it a lot but it will make an adorable piece of d├ęcor in my kitchen. The tea and cookies were a nice addition. While I don’t like receiving a lot of snack items (cookies, etc.) I do like them every so often and I never say no to tea. This was the smallest alarm clock but it’s a nice quality and had a loud alarm.

While this was a smaller quantity then some of the more recent boxes, I really enjoyed unboxing this one. There were a lot unique items that I wouldn’t pick up for myself and I do think the change purse will come in useful. I’ve been using a small cardholder (that I worry about losing) when I do quick store trips so this is a bit bigger and I feel like I’ll be more comfortable with this size. 

Number of Items received: 4 Gifts (all bookish gifts) plus the book

Overallthese were both really unique boxes with fun items. While some of the items weren’t for me, I did enjoy the majority of the items and the way they correlated with the books.  I will say that I do missing receiving the story-related items as I like to use them in my book/reading journal. 

One of my favorite things about the Down the Rabbit Hole box is the presentation. Everything is uniquely packaged and carefully arranged. The items are nice quality and I often find most of them to be useful. The boxes themselves are gorgeous and make for great storage boxes or gift boxes. 










Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

 

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

 

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?

 

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.

 


Confessions by Kanae Minato

After calling off her engagement in wake of a tragic revelation, Yuko Moriguchi had nothing to live for except her only child, four-year-old Manami. Now, following an accident on the grounds of the middle school where she teaches, Yuko has given up and tendered her resignation.

 

But first she has one last lecture to deliver. She tells a story that upends everything her students ever thought they knew about two of their peers, and sets in motion a maniacal plot for revenge.

 

Narrated in alternating voices, with twists you'll never see coming, Confessions explores the limits of punishment, despair, and tragic love, culminating in a harrowing confrontation between teacher and student that will place the occupants of an entire school in danger. You'll never look at a classroom the same way again.