So today I have something new for you all—a bookish subscription unboxing! I have been admiring book boxes for quite some time now and have been doing a lot of research into them to find the one I feel would fit me. I was struggling for a while since most of the really nice book boxes seemed to revolve around new release YA books, which is not bad and I would still love, I just don’t read YA as often as adult books. Being a lifelong fan of horror lit I freaked out when I stumbled upon this subscription service while browsing CrateJoy, a marketplace for subscription boxes.
The Nocturnal Reader’s Box is a horror-themed monthly subscription service that includes two books, one new release and one previously released title. In addition to the books there are several gift items that follow each month’s theme. Two guaranteed items are a bookmark and a special art print specifically commissioned for the box. Boxes are $35 and will always include at least seven items in total.
To my knowledge, many of the items in the Nocturnal Reader’s Boxes are exclusive and can’t be purchased anywhere else. For the purposes of reviewing the box and assessing it’s value, I will be checking online retailers to come up with estimated prices of the items inside. Unfortunately the box did not seem to include any listings for who made the items so it is a bit difficult for me to assess the actual retail price of these items, so take my estimates with a grain of salt.
This is my very first book subscription box ever and I am so thrilled to have gotten this box as a birthday present from my husband! He also ordered the August box for me as well so you all can expect an unboxing for that sometime next month!
The theme for the box is The Feast!
What’s in the box?
I completely forgot the bookmark when I took this picture, I’m sorry!
Item #1: NOS4A2 Bike License Plate
The first item that I pulled from the box is a bike license plate featuring NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. It’s funny because just last week I was considering saving up and purchasing a bicycle for myself so that I can start biking every weekend to work out. This may just be the sign that I needed that I should go ahead and do it! While I have not read NOS4A2 it is on my to read list. Getting a Christmas-themed item in July also made me chuckle. It’s an alright item and I’m sure great for fans of the book, though at the moment I can’t do anything with it without a bike or proper bookshelf to display it on.
Estimated Item Value
Average listings for a custom or novelty bike plate ranges between $7-20 and I couldn’t find one even remotely like it.
Item #2: Bloody Apron
The second item is an apron, very appropriate for the theme. I actually don’t own an apron even though I love cooking and baking and pretty regularly get annoyed when I get my clothing dirty. I have thought about buying an apron in the past but it was just low on my priority list of things to buy, so this solves that issue for me. I am not one hundred percent sure on this, but I’m fairly certain that the apron is made of nylon as it is waterproof (I tested it). It’s actually a little shiny and not at all soft and while I don’t like the way the fabric feels it will definitely serve it’s purpose and protect clothing. As a personal preference I almost wish that this apron was black with red lettering for aesthetic reasons, but the white is quite nice as well. As a zombie fan I also like the overall design of the apron and will be making good use of this.
Estimated Item Value
Listings for simple novelty aprons are around $10-12, sometimes a little higher or lower, but this was the most common price for bloody/horror/zombie related aprons.
Item #3: Silence of the Lambs Wine Glass
The third item is a stemless wine glass bearing a quote from The Silence of the Lambs. Even though I like Hannibal Lector and this classic quote, I actually don’t really like having the quote on the glass. Quite frankly I would have preferred it if the glass only had the moth etching on it as it is very beautiful. The font used just isn’t all that nice and only the first half of the quote is actually on there. If the quote was going to be included I would have preferred it if the full quote would’ve been included on the glass.
“A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”
Despite my mild complaint about the quote, I actually really like this glass. It’s just the right size for a small glass of wine or scotch to sip while I read or write. I’m not a very heavy drinker, I don’t like mixed drinks and most beer bottles are a little bit too much for me. I do however enjoy an occasional shot or small serving of something nice to unwind on rare occasions so this glass is actually quite nice. I will definitely be getting a lot of use out of it and I like that it references a movie I love.
Estimated Item Value
Prices for novelty stemless wineglasses ranged between $7-15.
Item #4: Jaws Keychain
I LOVE Jaws and I like sharks! The quote on the shark made me chuckle, though I think the quote could have been done better. A nicer font, remove the quotation marks and the note about the quote’s origin and I think this keychain would have been perfect. The keychain is made of metal with a coat of paint on it and seems to be decent quality. Both my husband and I initially thought that this was a bottle opener but a beer bottle test didn’t go so well, I couldn’t get it open and instead scraped a tiny bit of the paint off of the shark, oops! Even so, it’s a pretty cute albeit kind of generic keychain that I will probably put on my purse. I found the exact same keychains online minus the quote which was a little disappointing but not the end of the world. It’s an alright little gift in the box but nothing too exciting.
Estimated Item Value
The exact keychains are available on Amazon for $4.18 just without the quote.
Item #5: The Troop Enamel Pin
I can’t stand buttons, but I can appreciate a nice enamel pin. This pin is a reference to The Troop by Nick Cutter, a book about a boy’s scouting troop that spend a nightmare filled weekend in the Canadian wilderness. This is another book that I have yet to read but has been high on my to read list since it was published. The pin is beautiful quality and the picture I took honestly doesn’t do it justice. I’m actually quite pleased with this item as I usually wouldn’t buy pins for myself due to price, but I will be gladly putting this pin on my library tote bag.
Estimated Item Value
Enamel pins are usually priced between $7-10 and other enamel pins sold in the nocturnal reader’s book shop are priced at $10.
Item #6: Vampire Art Print
I love vampires (I went through a phase in middle and high school, okay?) and this print absolutely blew me away. The art is printed on a slightly thicker but still floppy paper but does include a thin cardboard back. The print appears to be around 8×11 inches so it is a decently small sized piece that can easily be framed and hung up. I already plan on purchasing a frame for this piece, just have’t decided where I would like to hang it as I think it might be a little scary for my two young daughters.
This astounding vampire art print is by the talented Michael Broom. Broom has an impressive résumé having done creature and concept designs for several movies and television shows, which can be found on IMDB. His art is really fantastic and worth checking out. I am especially exciting to have a signed custom piece by this artist!
Estimated Item Value
A nice quality art print of this size on average can go for around $13-20. Since I could not find any of this specific artist’s prints on sale anywhere however it is hard to compare and this to me makes this print special.
Item #7: Eyeball Bookmark
The last gift item in the box is of course the bookmark and let me tell you: I need more bookmarks. I’ve never really bought bookmarks since I mostly read ebooks thanks to NetGalley ARCs. Since I recently got a library card however I have been reading A LOT of physical books and it’s been hurting only having two bookmarks (only one of them is even nice) when I regularly read multiple books at a time. It’s stupid I know, but I’m actually extremely excited to have a nice new bookmark.
The bookmark is what I would consider to be medium-sized, it is roughly 2/3 the size of a book page which is a good size to me. The material is a thicker cardboard and it’s not very floppy which is really nice. I prefer these types of bookmarks compared to metal or wood that are too hard or unattractive. Despite the gruesome design I actually kind of like it as it stands out and isn’t too scary or gross.
Estimated Item Value
A bookmark like this would usually go for about $2-5 depending on the artist.
Come to Dust by Bracken MacLeod
Deceased children miraculously come back from the dead and although they act like normal children there’s something wrong about them. As an uncle of an undead little girl tries to put their lives back together the world around them begins to unravel… Read the full synopsis here.
Come to Dust is the new release title published just last month. The plot definitely has an interesting concept which I become more and more interested in the more I think about it. I really enjoy post apocalyptic fiction and am a very big fan of The Walking Dead and other series that seek to explore themes of humanity in apocalyptic settings. I think this book will be a real treat.
Ever since her mother abandoned her, five-year-old Sophie has had to depend on her uncle Mitch for everything. Though their life is difficult, he works hard to keep their family together, despite the obstacles in their way. But just when everything seems to be looking up for them, it all comes crashing down when Sophie dies tragically. Mitch descends into a crippling grief, not knowing how to continue on without her.
When scores of children around the world begin to inexplicably rise from the dead—Sophie among them—everything becomes much harder.
Mitch rescues her from the morgue, determined to carve out a normal life for them no matter what, though it soon becomes clear that may not be possible. While the kids who’ve returned behave like living children, they still look very dead. And they can do something else that normal children cannot. Something terrifying. While debate rages over whether the children’s return is a mercy or a sign of approaching judgment, a congregation of religious fanatics determined to usher in the apocalypse has its own plan for salvation.
Now Mitch must find a way to save Sophie from an increasingly hostile world that wants to tear them apart and put her back in the ground for good.
Bleed by Ed Kurtz
A man finds a red spot on his ceiling that gradually grows bigger and bigger with a hunger for blood… Read the full synopsis here.
Bleed is the previously released title and it is another book and author that I have never heard of. Of the two this is actually the one that I am most excited to read, it sounds exactly like my kind of book.
When Walt Blackmore moves into an old gable front house on the outskirts of a small town, things are really looking up for him—he has an adoring girlfriend, a new job, and an altogether bright future. But Walt’s destiny is irreparably changed when a dark red spot appears on the ceiling in the hallway. Bit by bit the spot grows, first into a dripping blood stain and eventually into a grotesque, muttering creature.
As the creature thrives, Walt finds himself more and more interested in fostering its well-being. At first he only feeds it stray animals, but this soon fails to satisfy the monster’s ghastly needs. It is gradually becoming something more, and for that to happen it requires human blood and human flesh. And once Walt has crossed the line from curiosity to murder, there is no going back.
Actually it’s pretty good. When comparing the estimated costs of the types of items individually from multiple retailers the total came up to over $100, which is a pretty great value for a $35 box. The cost of the two books in paperbacks easily makes up the price of the box alone.
Are these items I’d buy?
I find this question really important when deciding on ordering one of these boxes. Are the items the kinds of things that I would have bought for myself separately? Yes and no.
Bookmarks are always a yes for me and I don’t mind what it is as long as it’s nice and decent quality. The apron and the wine glass probably, having good kitchen items is something important to me and I love having novelty themed items like these, so these two items were definitely a plus. As for the print yes maybe. The art print is phenomenal and for a while I’ve actually really wanted to get some nice art prints to frame and hang throughout the house that my husband and I are currently saving for, so this item is pretty exciting.
I would probably appreciate the bike plate more if I had read the book (which I will!) and if I had a bike or proper bookshelf to put it on, though it is not an item I would have purchased personally. The same train of thought goes for the pin, I like having it to put on my bag, but it’s not something I would have gone out of my way to buy unless I was that big of a fan of the book.
Both books are definitely a yes, especially Bleed, though being a heathen ebook reader I would have had to have bought the ebook copies due to the high price tag of the paperbacks. Since both of these books are from a small indie press the chances that I would have run into them on my own are quite low. It’s hard to find quality horror books sometimes since it’s a niche genre they get significantly less advertising. It was really fun getting books that are unexpected and a little more obscure.
Would I order again?
Yes, this is definitely the sort of thing that I would ask for on my birthday or for Christmas. If I could afford a monthly subscription I’d consider it, but at the moment the price tag is a little high for me to continue monthly so I would be limited to buying single boxes on special occasions.
I think that this subscription service is decently high quality for the price point. The company is run by a couple that reads and curates the books together which I think is really great and adds that personal touch that I have been looking for in a book box. I would definitely recommend it to any fan of the horror or speculative fiction genres, particularly for fans of Stephen King or his sons as many of the boxes tend to include items related to their work.
Would you be interested in seeing more of these types of posts in the future?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!