Well, it’s December 21, so of course that means it’s time for the November 2019 Shelflove Crate box! It just arrived at my doorstep a few moments ago, and I am excited to share it with you!
Those of us who buy YA book boxes know that Shelflove has really been beleaguered with shipping issues basically all year and this month was maybe one of the worst. I’ve thought about cancelling their boxes a couple of times now, but generally their quality is so high that it reels me back in. I did like a couple of the items in this month’s box, but will say that overall it wasn’t my favorite from them. THAT SAID, there are some great items and every company suffers an off month here and there. I’m willing to give them another chance for sure since some of my favorite book boxes have been from them.
The first thing I noticed about this box is that it came in a random, unbranded white box. Usually SLC boxes come in a really cute blue box, so I was kind of surprised. Maybe they ran out and didn’t want to hold shipping anymore? Who can say! There were also a few random things in my box, like the packers weren’t great — I had a duplicate of an item from last month (one of the movie posters) and a bookmark from a completely unrelated book. I didn’t photograph those, of course. Also, my book came with some damage. It’s minor, and I don’t get super worked up about that stuff, but I know some people (reasonably) do.
Here are the smaller items that came with the box. First up, we got two bookmarks. The one in the top of that picture represents this month’s theme — Reading the Restricted Section. As usual, the theme art is from Kat Adara. We also got a bookmark from Hey Atlas Creative with a great quote from Ray Bradbury. I was a bit disappointed with the quality of this one — most bookmarks I’ve gotten in crates before are a bit sturdier, and this felt exactly like the one they always throw in as an extra. It’s fine, but could have been done a bit better.
Next up, we got a Twilight inspired pocket mirror designed by Ink and Wonder. I’m not a huge Twilight fan, but the design is cute and made me laugh, and the mirror is good quality, with one side with a higher magnification than the other.
We also got the typical chess pieces — this month they were Lazlo and Sarai from Strange the Dreamer.
Next up, we got a storage book — one of those boxes that looks like a book, but is empty when you open it and can be used for storage. This is meant to represent Potions book from the Restricted Section at Hogwarts and was designed by Kiko Illustration. The design is cute, it does look like a real book from afar and has a few potion recipes on the inside cover. But overall the material they used to make it feels kind of cheap and you can see the reinforcing tape inside. I wasn’t super impressed by this item.
Next up, we got a grocery tote bag with a quote from The Handmaid’s Tale designed by Blanca Design. The bag is really attractive and feels like it is good quality. I did notice a slight odor from the bag, but maybe this is the item they were waiting on so it was freshly printed? I will leave it out a day or so and see if it clears up (I hope!). I think this is super usable and will go into my usual grocery bag rotation.
Finally, we have my favorite item of all — a small bin with spines of banned books all over it designed by Sweet Sequels. The artwork is very cute and there are some great books represented on the bin. I can definitely see putting this on my bookshelves for some decor, or using it in my closet for storage. I will definitely use this and thought it was the best item in the box!
The book this month was Blood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao. There was a good amount of controversy leading up to the publication of this novel, so it is a great choice for the theme this month. I have a lot of friends who have already read it and they say it is great, so I am really looking forward to checking it out. As you can see, my book came with a bit of damage on the bottom, but no pages are impacted — it’s just the end paper that came up a bit. It came with a signed bookplate that I can insert as well.
What About You?
What did you think of this box? For me, there were a couple stand-out items, but the rest seemed kind of low quality and thrown together, which is too bad since we’ve already had to wait so long for the box. Do you subscribe to Shelflove Crate? What’s your favorite item this month?