Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Uppercase Box Personalized Subscription Review

Uppercase Box sends you a new YA book every month, along with some extra goodies. There are two ways to subscribe. One is to get the regular subscription, which will send you a book released within the last month or two and the other is to get a Personalized subscription where a book will be chosen for you based on a questionnaire sent after subscribing.

I chose the Personalized version for $5 more because I read quite a bit and was curious to see what was chosen for me. I'm big on fantasy but not the urban kind. I like science fiction but not dystopian futures. Steampunk makes me happy but not so much vampires and werewolves (though there are definitely exceptions to that rule- Gail Carriger is one and Anne Bishop's The Others series is another).
Even though I'm an adult, I don't mind YA at all. In fact, sometimes I just prefer it. Robert Jordan is great (and so is Brandon Sanderson) but sometimes you just want a nice, light read.  A book you can finish in five hours or so.
Authors I like are Sherwood Smith, Sharon Shinn, Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon, Isobel Carmody, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman and I just read two fun books by Tiffany Truitt.

The Cost: $29/month plus shipping for the regular subscription, $29/month plus shipping for a personalized subscription.

What You Get: One YA book and one bookish item. Plus online access to extras like a live book discussion & recommendations for similar books.

The book I received is a paperback Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. The included note said this was recommended because I like Sharon Shin. This is a book about a girl who discovers she has magic when she's about 17 and it turns out she's pretty special. I liked it up until a point where some decisions the character makes become stupid. When you're running away and you've had combat training where you were not allowed to use your magic, why on earth would you use your magic first, especially when you're trying to be inconspicuous?! I understand the plot must go on but there has to be a better way. /sigh
Because of my frustration, I haven't finished this yet. I need time to get over my annoyance. I just started it last night. I may finish it tomorrow just to get it over with. And then I'll order the second book in the series from the library. Hey, it's interesting, even if it's flawed and I need to know how it all ends! :)
Value: $10.99 (Amazon value: $5.72)
Badge Bomb Strong Magnet 4 Pack- Reading related magnets.
Value: $9.95

Postcard- This postcard is a quote from the Emery Lord book (The Start of You and Me) that was the choice for the regular April Uppercase Box subscription. I'm disappointed that the regular subscription people received this postcard matted while those who opted for a personalized subscription did not.
Value: $4

Personalized note- The curator behind Uppercase box is Lisa, a YA blogger who started up this subscription. She definitely knows her books and I appreciated the handwritten note.

VERDICT: I purchased this personalized Uppercase Box for $32.10. The regular cost is $29 plus $6 shipping and I used a 10% off coupon. The total value of this box is $25 for the product and $5 for the personalization bringing the total value to $30. I don't like the fact that I could have bought this same book on Amazon for under $6. I *do* like that it's a book I haven't read before. I don't like that the value doesn't reach the full purchase price including the shipping. Especially since I wouldn't even have to pay shipping if I bought the book on Amazon. I do like the little extras, though it bothers me that the people who are paying more for the subscription are receiving less (no matting, softcover instead of hardbound).

There is an inherent value in the personalization and I may have been lucky that it worked so well for me. I do read a lot so I wouldn't have been surprised if I'd received a book I'd read before. I think, though, that the price is too high. It's possible it's just because the book I received was low value?

Uppercase Box does offer an alternative to subscribing. If you sign up for their email list, you can receive all their recommendations without any payment. I like that better. Because then you can look at what they're recommending and decide if you want to buy the book or not, and you can get it for a much cheaper price.

I'm really tempted to do one more month just to see if this value was a fluke. If you'd like to sign up for Uppercase Box, you can do that right here. I'm not aware of any currently working coupons, though. The one I used expired the night I used it.

I'm going to try OwlCrate next month, if I can manage to subscribe in time. They're the same price but you get more stuff (it seems like). I'll find out. :D


  1. I don't read a lot of YA but I'd be willing to give this subscription a try. I love that it's personalized and it seems like Lisa really knows her stuff, even though this might not have been the best pick. If you give it another try I hope the next book is better!

    1. It was a really good pick for me because it's got all the elements I like. Except the bad decisions made by the main character for the sake of the storyline. I'll probably subscribe again and get the regular sub just to compare.

  2. I sent this subscription, the regular version, as a gift to my friend at home and I loved the little touches they add to this. I enjoy reading, but I can be picky because I lose interest quickly. I've been trying to get through GOT book 5 and sometimes weird things happen and I need to stop reading for awhile. I've managed to sign up for Owl Crate for May but I'm wondering if I should sign up to UpperCase to get a feel for both of them.

    1. I really want to try OwlCrate! I would have signed up for May but I don't like dystopian futures. Or maybe the theme was parallel universes... Either way, I decided to wait until June. Hopefully I can get it.

      You are a SAINT if you've made it to Book 5! I was so depressed after the second book, I decided that I didnt need to torture myself or my emotions so much. I would be angry for days because they killed ANOTHER person I loved. Apparently now the show is going to deviate from the books which is interesting, I wonder why. I don't watch the show (I rarely watch TV- I read!) but I'm curious to see what ends up being different.

      Also... OMG, LitCube!! I just signed up because their theme this month is Steampunk!