Hi all, I’ve got something really special for you today – a review of the January 2017 Uppercase Box! When founder Lisa Parkin reached out to me asking if I would review her book subscription box for the next few months, I jumped at the chance.
Uppercase Box is a YA exclusive book subscription box. In each box, you get:
- A new hardcover YA book
- The book will be signed, or there will be a signed bookplate
- Signed Book or Bookplate Signed by the Author
- 1-2 exclusive and custom bookish items
- The Uppercase Reading Experience with exclusive content for that book
- A hand-written and personalized note
A Note on Me & Subscription Boxes
I’m a big fan of subscription boxes. I’ve tried everything from makeup samples to fandom ones, but I admit to not having tried a book one yet. There are a few reasons for that, and I think many book people will agree:
- I get and buy a ton of books already, so I’m always worried about duplication.
- I also get and buy a lot of fandom/swag so I’m wary of trying something unless it’s something really special.
- Shipping costs to Canada are often prohibitive.
So today, I’m going to give you a really balanced review of what I got in January, and let you know what I think of Uppercase Box so far.
P.S. I originally did an unboxing video when I got the package last week, but the whole file got messed up and I couldn’t fix it! I’m so sorry, Lisa – I promise this will happen next month. If you follow me on Snapchat @tiffanieing, you’ll get the first look at my February box.
What’s in the January 2017 Uppercase Box
A signed hardcover of Frostblood by Elly Blake
A Frostblood magnet
A beautiful, high-quality Alice in Wonderland scarf (an Uppercase exclusive!)
Book shaped seed paper (it’s an herb mix!) from Bloomin
A bookmark for the Uppercase Box exclusive reading experience (pictured below)
A personalized note from Lisa (not pictured)
Author: Elly Blake
Publication date: January 10th 2017
The Frost King will burn.Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.Despite her unpredictable abilities, Ruby trains with the rebels and the infuriating--yet irresistible--Arcus, who seems to think of her as nothing more than a weapon. But before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to compete in the king's tournaments that pit Fireblood prisoners against Frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her--and from the icy young man she has come to love.Vivid and compelling, Frostblood is the first in an exhilarating series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies...but together create a power that could change everything.
So you guys know that I’m not usually a fantasy reader, right? But in each Uppercase Box, Lisa leaves a personalized, handwritten note (not pictured, sorry). Her note to me this month reassured me that she also feels that it takes a lot for fantasy to impress her, and that this one blew her away. I’ve since talked with a ton of people about Frostblood, and not only is it brand-spanking new (just published on Jan 10th!), but it’s also got a fast-paced plot (thank goodness!), and a strong heroine. So yeah, I’m in. Have you read Frostblood yet?
Also, I totally appreciate that it’s signed, and the magnet just gives it a little something extra, doesn’t it?
Part of the reason I was super excited about working with Uppercase Box is because I’ve seen their stuff around the blogosphere, and it’s always really fun, but also classy. I admit to being very picky about my book swag – it has to fit my aesthetic.
Uppercase Box knocked it out of the park with this fun, unique Alice in Wonderland scarf. It’s a nylon-y fabric with wool fringe, so it won’t itch or catch on anything. With the Alice logo on one side, and a lovely floral print on the other, I could totally see wearing this for fun at a bookish party – and then flipping it around to wear to work to display your literary prowess. You can just see the edge of the lovely floral print on the bottom of my photo.
P.S. It’s also way more subtle on than it is in the picture – it pretty much just looks like a old books literary scarf once you wrap it around. =)
I already talked a bit about the magnet. Lisa has also included a special bookmark that is part of the reading experience when you participate with Uppercase. You go to the website listed when you get to each page number (I think she’s reversed the page # and the code here), and type in the word code. There, you’ll find questions, polls, and videos that correspond to that moment in the book. I’ve blacked out some of the codes because, you know, exclusive. =)
I feel like with a book I’m not sure about, this is a great addition to the reading experience. It’ll give me something to work towards while reading.
The book seed paper from Bloomin. Guys, this is SO cool. Some of you know that my husband and I have a veggie garden and a flower garden – we love plants! I love that this is shaped like a book, and it’s supposed to turn into an herb mix. I can’t wait for spring!
All of this was wrapped up in the beautiful Uppercase Box tote – which I actually like better than getting a box. 1) it’s cheaper to ship and 2) it can totally be used again.
Ok, so let’s break this down.
Uppercase Box has two plans:
- the Expert Plan (what you saw here) – $23 USD + shipping
- the Book Exclusive Plan, which doesn’t include the accessories or swag – $13.99 USD + shipping (on sale!)
Shipping to the US is only $6/month. Shipping to Canada is $22.75/month.
So for the US, the Uppercase Box is no more than $29 USD per month – a pretty good deal considering that the list price of Frostblood in the US is $17.99. That means you’re only paying $11 for shipping, accessories, and swag.
For Canada, the total price ranges between $36.74 – $45.75 USD per month. In Canadian dollars, that’s $48.19 – $60.00 on today’s exchange rate.
The Canadian list price of Frostblood is $23.49. That means you’re paying approximately $24.70 for shipping, signing of the book/signed bookplate, and the reading experience and note. To me, that still feels expensive.
For the Expert Plan, however, you’re paying $36.51 for shipping, accessories, swag, and all the other stuff. To me, that’s more reasonable, especially considering that the scarf would probably be $10-$20 in store.
Is it expensive for Canadians? Yes. But having done several different subscription boxes, I can honestly say that this price is pretty standard. Here’s a comparison:
Lit-Cube Stars Hollow Monthly – $39.95 USD ($52.41 CAD)
Loot-Crate Wizarding World Monthly – $66.95 CAD for 1 month (price goes down if you pre-pay for 3 or more boxes).
Shipping & Experience
I LOVE the extras that Lisa threw in – as someone who loves personalized notes and book extras, I was really pleased with this box. I also appreciate that once the box is shipped, you get a really nice email from Uppercase with all your tracking information. Shipping only took about 4 days, which is AMAZING for something from the US. Overall, I had a great experience with Uppercase.
The Final Word:
The things I liked most about Uppercase are:
- the obvious care that Lisa puts into the personalized notes and making this a great reading experience
- the fact that the book was something totally different for me, but also has gotten great reviews.
- the fact that the book was brand new, so I probably wouldn’t have gotten to it yet anyway (no duplication)
- the swag was different, exclusive, and high quality
- the shipping was really fast
- the whole feel of getting a surprise box in the mail – it’s just the best feeling. Presents for you!
The only thing that might make me pass are the shipping costs to Canada. But if you’re in the US, Uppercase Box is like, GOLD. It’s a good deal on a new book and some great swag. For Canadians, I would recommend this as really great gift from your parents; or if you love reading a variety of young adult genres, and you don’t get a lot of books or ARCs. It’s a good way to learn about new books, and so far, I’ve been pretty impressed with the picks.
Are you guys interested in subscribing to Uppercase Box? Are you into subscription boxes? How do you feel about this month’s pick of Frostblood? Let me know in the comments!