Hello, bookish peeps!!!
I hope you’re doing fantastic because I am! This is an unboxing I’ve been dying to share with all of you because everything is too perfect to be true. In case you’re wondering, Once Upon a Book Club Box is a monthly subscription book box featuring both Adult and Young Adult boxes so you can choose between the two based on their hints, or you can simply order both for double pleasure. 😛
Long story short, since I’ve been eyeing this box forever, when I saw their April YA hint, I was ten thousand percent sure their book-of-the-month would be the one on the very top of my 2019 most-anticipating read, so of course I placed my first ever order right away. 😀
Now I’m beyond excited to show you all the bookish goodies in this box and how amazingly the wonderful ladies working behind this lovely business have curated for this one. ❤
Are you ready?
The April YA hint goes something like this:
A swanky, vintage hotel in Seattle + a mysterious author who no one has ever seen + a concierge and a hotel van driver with a love of mysteries = a couple of teenage detectives on the case!.
Our mystery-book aficionado has an overactive imagination. Raised in isolation and homeschooled by strict grandparents, she’s cultivated a whimsical fantasy life in which she plays the heroic detective and every stranger is a suspect. But her solitary world expands when she takes a job the summer before college, working the graveyard shift at a historic Seattle hotel.
The hotel’s charismatic young van driver shares the same nocturnal shift and patronizes the waterfront diner where she waits for the early morning ferry after work. He also shares her appetite for intrigue, and he’s stumbled upon a real-life mystery: a famous reclusive writer—never before seen in public—might be secretly meeting someone at the hotel.
Filled with mystery, romance, and personal growth, this stunningly atmospheric novel paints Seattle in its best light while embodying Nancy Drew throughout the mystery and suspense of the story.
An inspiring novel that focuses on the challenges of mental health and sex positivity in a society that looks down on both concepts, discover a story where self-care is front-and-center and growing up is more than just a growth spurt. Brought to life through gifts that will bring this mystery to life, we cannot wait for you to enjoy this box! (From: Instagram @onceuponabookclubbox)
Doesn’t the entire clue sound so obvious and familiar to you? Since their pick for April’s YA box is a book I’ve been dying to read since last year, I already memorized the synopsis for said book by heart and this teaser just rang the bell. Have you guessed the book?? Yes, it IS Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett!!!!! I literally jumped out of bed when I knew for sure there’d be a whole box dedicating to the masterpiece from Jenn.
Aside from the book, this box also came with a pamphlet telling you the discussion dates/questions (There are questions ready for you to discuss with fellow subscribers on Once Upon a Book Club’s Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as a “Meet the Author” section on a specific day/time, where the author will join the discussion on Instagram.), and a Book Club Perks envelope. Typically, there will be some ads or promotional flyers in the envelope but for some unknown reasons, mine arrived totally empty. There was nothing in the envelope and according to them, they said there’d be some sort of surprise in the upcoming email, which I never received. *shrugs*
They always include a quote card in their boxes and this happens to be my most favorite item in this box. I absolutely love the calligraphy brushstrokes of these beautiful words, the pretty background color, and the texture of the card. This is one of the chapter quotes in Serious Moonlight (on page 184, FYI) that I adore so I’m very happy with this item.
What I wasn’t expecting is that there’d be a SIGNED BOOKPLATE from Jenn Bennett, one of my top favorite contemporary fiction authors!!!!!! I was shocked speechless when I received this gorgeous bookplate and now I have an autographed book (technically) by my favorite author. Ahhhh, my life’s complete. ❤
What made this box stand out was the fact that all the wrapped gifts were meant to be unwrapped when you reach a certain page indicating on the gifts. This way, you could fully immerse yourself in the book by having exactly the same thing the characters own as if you ARE experiencing the journey in the story. Therefore, the first gift here is from page 221, and the corresponding part of the book is:
Aunt Mona–dressed as a 1960s Mad Men secretary, complete with tangerine wig, typewriter nail decals, and cat-eyeglasses on a beaded chain–took her boxy Jeep on the ferry and drove us to pick up Daniel there.
Well, it’s not hard to take a guess the gift prepared for us, right? It’s the said cat-eyeglasses necklace and 2 sheets of adorable typewriter nail decals in a total of 48 pieces. I particularly adored the necklace since it’s my first wearable bookish jewelry and it took me off guard with its delicate details. By the way, I really thought the gift was that polka dot change purse because I honestly didn’t expect something in it. Color me surprise to find out these extra somethings when reading this part!!
The second gift here was on page 258 with the paragraph:
I rummaged through my desk drawer until I found what I was looking for: the not-a-penny fortune-teller card I’d gotten with Daniel in the magic shop.
I see that you will have a chance meeting with a dark stranger who will reveal great secrets to you. If you collaborate, a bold and dashing adventure will be in your future. But beware of perilous pitfalls that lead to ruin. It takes a level head and determination to survive a run through the gauntlet. In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail, because in conflict you will find common ground together.
Carefully stuck in the luggage tag was a beautifully crafted fortune-teller card mentioned above, with exactly the same words from the novel. Birdie, the main female protagonist in the book, got this card in a magic shop called Elvis’s Prophecies, which according to the author, is an actual shop in Seattle. How cool is that?
The third and final gift in this box brought a HUGE SMILE to my face. It was from page 403, yep, I practically devoured the entire book just so I could reach this page to open this gift because the anticipation was killing me. Here’s the hint:
I have the key….My gaze flicked to the slits at the top of the lockers. Big enough for a key? I strode to my assigned locker, unlocked it, and what do you know? A tiny key sat on the top shelf.
Grabbing it, I went back to locker twenty-seven and stuck it inside the padlock. Success! I popped the lock, opened the locker, and peered inside. Empty. No, wait. Something sat on the shelf.
A single yellow sticky note on the cover read Birdie in neat handwriting.
I peeled it off and stared at the peach cover of an old Agatha Christie paperback–The Body in the Library. I’d read it many times. Not this edition, which looked to be from the 1970s or ’80s and had a fifty-cent price tag on the front.
My heart raced. I looked around the locker room as if I’d find Daniel lurking in the shadows. But no. Why had he left this here? Just a random gift?
Or worse: another misdirection?
Never trust a magician.
Right, well…Too late for that, wasn’t it?
I inspected the book, thumbing through the pages. No marks inside. Nothing unusual…except a receipt that fluttered out.
It was purchased at the mystery book shop in Pike Place Market. This morning. The name of the clerk who rang up the purchase was circled in red ink–the shop’s dull-minded assistant, Holly. Three read question marks were written above it.
Was this a clue?
Yep, you probably got the correct answer for this meticulously curated gift. It was indeed a vintage paperback copy of Agatha Christie’s The Body in the Library with a yellow sticky note saying BIRDIE on it, AND the most brilliant part was that receipt with Holly’s name circled in red ink adorned with three question marks…just exactly the same as the scene depicted in the book!!! I was completely blown away by its thoughtfulness and creativity!
Even though I may be slightly biased on this box because the book itself has been on my most coveted read this year before unboxing it, but I am 100% sure that this box definitely added spice to my entire reading experience and made it an extraordinary one. I’ve never had that much fun reading a book, let alone unwrapping all the gifts along the way. No kidding, I was like a little kid on Christmas, waiting to open all the beautifully wrapped presents while reading and unboxing everything.
Once Upon a Book Club box will always be my highly recommended book box if anyone wanted to try it. Again, I’m so grateful that my current job allows me to afford such an amazing box with international shipping. I know it’s not easy for everyone to buy this experience but as long as you could, please don’t hesitate to give it a shot. You’ll be totally amazed by everything in the box.
Besides, I really need to shout out to their wonderful customer service reps. The incredible team from Once Upon a Book Club truly takes customers’ feedbacks, opinions, and problems seriously. Not only do they reply to your messages promptly, they also interact with you as much as they can. That, my friend, is what I value most in a book box company. ❤
Before I go, I just want to let you know that I ordered another book box from them and it’d be May Adult box. The hint is Nature Boy, featuring what I think will be Clover Blue by Eldonna Edwards, a historical fiction about a boy from the 70s seeking the meaning of life, love, and family in general.
Can’t wait to talk more bookish with y’all soon and now I’ve got to prepare for another test I need to take on the upcoming Sunday. Please wish me luck!! ❤
Until next time,