Category Archives: Book Box Subscriptions

Ninja Book Box Unboxing – A Grand Adventure

Ninja Book Box is a quarterly subscription box that specialises in books from independent publishers.  I’ve received two boxes, and you can see my unboxings here:

I’ve really enjoyed the two boxes I’ve received so far, and love the themed gifts that are chosen to go along with the books, all of which have been of excellent quality.

For the summer, Ninja Book Box have added a new package to their product offering, centred around the theme of A Grand Adventure. These boxes aren’t available as part of the regular subscription package and need to be purchased separately, and rather than containing one book plus gifts, they contain three books!  These can be books aimed at adults or children or a mix of the two, depending on whether you want to take your family on your adventure with you.  There is also a mini adventure box available, containing a single book.

When I first saw these boxes advertised, I was immediately taken with the idea, and duly purchased a box, which arrived last week:

NBB - grand adventure

Doesn’t it look wonderful!

(Be warned – this next bit contains spoilers!)

Here are the books I received:

Electric Souk by Rose McGinty (Urbane Publications)

Ireland’s gone bust, and with it Aisling Finn’s life. She flees austerity for adventure in the desert. But the Arabia she finds is not that of her dreams. Everyone is chasing a fast buck, a fast woman and another G&T. Expats and locals alike prickle with paranoia. Debonair fixer, Brian Rothmann, charms Aisling with champagne brunches and nights at Bedouin camps. But is Brian a hero or a desperate expat prepared to go to any lengths to get what he wants? Is this Aisling? Or is he using her as bait? Her only hope is Hisham, a local activist. But where do his loyalties lie? Aisling faces severe peril when the sleazy expat and blood-lusting desert worlds collide, as the Arab Spring erupts. She has to ask, whom can she trust? Can she trust her instincts? Humanity blisters in this haunting, lyrical thriller about trust and treachery.

The Great and the Good by Michel Déon (Gallic Books)

From the acclaimed author of The Foundling Boy comes this new classic set in 1950s America.

Arthur Morgan is aboard the Queen Mary bound for the United States, where a scholarship at an Ivy League university awaits him, along with the promise of a glittering future.

But the few days spent on the ship will have a defining effect on the young Frenchman, when he encounters the love of his life.

Sometime a River Song by Avril Joy (Linen Press)

Set in a river boat community in Arkansas in the 1930s, this poignant story chronicles Aiyana Weir’s spirited determination to break away from a life, like that of the women around her, defined and dominated by brutal patriarchy. Aiyana’s voice, unique, hesitant and uneducated, expresses the turmoil of her inner world through the details and rhythms of her beloved river and charts her secret pursuit of literacy – her only means of escape from the abuse of her father and the indifference of the man to whom she is casually given. Her grandmother, a mythical figure steeped in wisdom and folklore, and her brother, Lyle, are Aiyana’s only allies in her struggle for survival and as shameless plans to leave the river.


I’m really pleased with the books I’ve received, and I love how they all fit in in with the idea of a grand adventure in different ways.  Whilst I’ve heard a little about Electric Souk from other reviewers, the other two books and authors are completely new to me, and I’m really looking forward to diving into these stories which I may not have discovered otherwise.

It’s worth noting that the boxes don’t all contain the same books – four have been selected for the adult box, three of which are shown above.  I am, of course, dying to know what the fourth book is!

In addition to the books, there is also is a little challenge contained within each box to encourage you to take your own adventure and try something new – completing these six tasks wins you an extra little something.  I won’t share what my tasks are right now – I’m not sure if they are the same for all boxes – but they do fit in with the books selected, and I’ll definitely have a go at completing them.

I’m going to be completely honest – I preferred this style of box to those usually offered.  As I’ve said, the gifts contained in the quarterly boxes are wonderful, but for me it’s all about the books, and so getting three themed books was a better option for me personally than one book plus gifts, and I hope that Ninja Book Box decide to offer more of these themed boxes going forward.

You can find out more about Ninja Book Box on their website: www.ninjabookbox.com

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Mini Ninja Book Box Unboxing – Feb 17

I’m a little late with posting my unboxing, but better late than never, right?

You may remember that in November 2016, I received the first Ninja Book Box following their extremely successfully Kickstarter campaign – you can see my unboxing of the first Ninja Book Box here.

When it was announced that the theme for February’s box was “a Shakespearean Mystery”, I was immediately intrigued, and I decided that I would get the Mini Ninja Book Box this time round.

Here is what the mini box gets you:

NBB - Feb17 - 1

Everything in the box is individually (and beautifully) wrapped.  The possible spoilers envelope, and I think that it’s a nice touch that it’s marked as such so that you can choose whether or not you open it straight away, contains a summary of the book along with why it was chosen and suggestions for further reading.

I then opened the blue package, which was the gift included in the box:

NBB - Feb17 - 2

These are three Shakespeare inspired teas:

  • Twelfth Night: A bright blend of wonderful high grade Sencha enhanced by the saltiness from Seabuck Thorn and the blue cornflower reflecting our own fresh sea air and glorious coastline
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A truly wonderful mix of chamomile, lavender and passion flower.  This is a wonderful all natural relaxant that has been known to aid restful sleep
  • Hamlet: A wonderful aromatic Oolong tea, being a gently oxidised leaf, so taking away the slightly bitter taste that you may get from a green tea.  Our particular choice of Oolong is a delicate light leaf, but still with plenty of flavours, with slight hints of peach

I drink green tea at work, but apart from that, I’m not much of a tea drinker.  I will definitely try these, however.

And then there is the book:

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Ninja Book Box specialises in books from independent publishers, and The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett is published by Alma Books.  Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:

A mysterious portrait ignites an antiquarian bookseller’s search through time and the works of Shakespeare for his lost love.

Hay-on-Wye, 1995. Peter Byerly isn’t sure what drew him into this particular bookshop. Nine months earlier, the death of his beloved wife, Amanda, had left him shattered. The young antiquarian bookseller relocated from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, Peter is shocked when a portrait of Amanda tumbles out of its pages. Of course, it isn’t really her. The watercolour is clearly Victorian. Yet the resemblance is uncanny, and Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture’s origins.

As he follows the trail back first to the Victorian era and then to Shakespeare’s time, Peter communes with Amanda’s spirit, learns the truth about his own past, and discovers a book that might definitively prove Shakespeare was, indeed, the author of all his plays.

Guaranteed to capture the hearts of everyone who truly loves books, The Bookman’s Tale is a former bookseller’s sparkling novel and a delightful exploration of one of literature’s most tantalising mysteries, with echoes of Shadow of the Wind and A.S. Byatt’s Possession.

The Bookman’s Tale is not one that I’ve come across before, and I’m excited to read it.

Unfortunately, my box came without the little charm that is meant to be included, although they did offer to send me one when they heard about this, which shows what great customer service they offer.

I really like the Ninja Book Box and their dedication to independent publishers.  I think that if I was going to purchase a box in the future, I would go for the full box though – I think it’s worth the additional spend to get the full box and all the wonderful gifts they provide.

You can see unboxings of the full box from fellow bloggers:

And you can find out more about Ninja Book Box at www.ninjabookbox.com.

Ninja Book Box Unboxing – Nov 2016

I love the idea of book subscription boxes – a regular delivery of a (hopefully!) new book, plus a few little gifts based around a theme.  It’s like getting a wonderful bookish present even if it’s not your birthday.  Coincidentally, it is my birthday later in the week, so this was an extremely timely delivery!

Whilst book subscription boxes are becoming more prevalent, I have had a bit of an issue in finding the right one for me, as many – not all – are focussed on young adult novels.  I don’t mind reading young adult novels occasionally, but I’m not enough of a fan to warrant the cost of a regular subscription box.

But now there’s a new book box on the scene.  Following a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, the first Ninja Book Boxes have been released.  Ninja Book Box is a little different to what I’ve seen on the market as it will supply books for a variety of genres whilst promoting indie publishers.

I was suitably intrigued, and supported the Kickstarter campaign, which was the only way to get the first box.  My pledge rewarded me with:

  • The first Ninja Book Box
  • A shortlisted title
  • A bookmark
  • An additional bookish gift

Without further ado, here’s my unboxing of the first Ninja Book Box.  Please note, this does contain spoilers, so feel free to look away now!

Upon opening the box, I was thrilled to see that it was absolutely jampacked!  Showing an unusual amount of restraint, I unpacked everything in the box without opening anything:

What a treasure trove!  I started with the goodies shown on the left, which included:

This beautiful book mark –

ninja-book-box-bookmarkI love the colours and the relatively straightforward design, this is very “me”.

A coaster with a beautiful star print:

ninja-book-box-coasterThis has an excellent quality feel to it, and the back is cork so no danger of scratching the surface it’s placed upon.

A starry nights tea towel (spotted the theme yet!?):

ninja-book-box-teatowelI absolutely love this print – I think it’s really enchanting.

A little frog charm, complete with a lily pad shaped holder:

ninja-book-box-frogThe frog is relevent to the book, and future boxes will each have a charm included that fits in with the theme of the box.

Additionally, there was:

  • A greetings card printed with a colourful Cardiff street map
  • A key ring
  • A recipe for Welsh cakes
  • A little card giving a bit more info about Ninja Book Box, with a thank you to all those that backed it on Kickstarter
  • An interview with the author of the book (to be revealed shortly!) plus a review of the novel

And, of course, the book.  I’m always a little apprehensive about being given books – I read a lot (duh!), so I worry that it will be something I’ve already got, read or even worse, dismissed, so I was delighted to see that it was not only something new to my TBR, but also a title that I’d never heard of!

Published by Seren, this quarter’s book is Star-Shot by Mary -Ann Constantine:

star-shotHere’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

Part fable, part mystery, Star-Shot is a stylish debut novel set in and around Cardiff’s National Museum in a time that is almost, but not quite, our own. As their paths cross in a circumscribed world of benches, parks and galleries, a handful of characters reveal their stories of obsession, loss and recovery, creating a fragile network of relationships which will help to resist the inexorable channels of silence eating into the city.

A brittle young woman sits on a bench in Gorsedd park, conscious of the powerful building behind her; a tall man carries a box full of a strange organic substance up the entrance steps; a young father explains the formation of stars to his tiny son. As university researchers try to map and understand the destructive silence snaking around them, it becomes clear that the linked lives of these and other marginal characters offer ways of countering its effects. Poignant and humorous, Star-Shot is an exploration of how objects and images can focus our grief and desire; it is also a meditation on the regenerative power of garden ponds, and the cosmic significance of frogs.

Beautifully illustrated with woodcut-style motifs by Clive Hicks-Jenkins, this is a subtle urban novel with a supernatural twist.

Then there are the two Kickstarter rewards, which included yet another book that I’d never heard of, as well as a mug thematically matched to the book:

desire-for-chocolateThe synopsis of Desire for Chocolate:

Three women, three centuries and the same porcelain chocolate pot: Sara, the scion of a dynasty of chocolatiers from Barcelona, who prides herself on maintaining the family tradition; Aurora, the daughter of a nineteenth-century maidservant, for whom chocolate is a forbidden luxury; Mariana, the wife of a famous seventeenth-century chocolate manufacturer, an official purveyor to the French court and the inventor of a revolutionary chocolate mill.

In Desire for Chocolate, Care Santos takes us on a spellbinding journey, masterfully juxtaposing the destinies of her protagonists, chronicling the history of our favourite confection and exploring Europe’s changing social norms. Luscious and addictive, this novel will delight the reader’s senses from start to finish.

In case you can’t tell, I’m really pleased with the Ninja Book Box, and I will be subscribing for a regular box.  Due to the Kickstarter campaign, this box did contain more than future boxes will, but I think that the thought that has gone into the box and the themed gifts, as well as the quality of those gifts, makes this a worth-while subscription.

Does this sound like something you might like?  You can find out more about Ninja Book Box on their website: www.ninjabookbox.com