Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Uppercase Box February 2016 YA Book Subscription Box Review

Uppercase Box is curated by Lisa Parkin from ReadBreatheRelax, a blog dedicated to all things YA Literature. Since I'm a big fan of Young Adult books Uppercase Box is hard to resist. What I have been doing is following it on social media and adding all the book suggestions to my TBR on GoodReads. I admit my shelves are overflowing with books, my Kindle has over 300 books on it and my TBR has four hundred or so.

Yeah, I like to read.

So Uppercase Box sends a newly released book along with some bookish items. There's also a way to participate in an online experience related to the reading of said book. That part doesn't really interest me. I'm mainly about the book and the goodies.

The Cost: $29/month ($23 plus $6 shipping)

What You Get: A brand new, hardcover YA book either signed by the author or with a bookplate, 1-2 high quality, exclusive bookish items, reading experience content and a personal hand-written note to you.

Starflight by Melissa Landers- This book is signed which is pretty awesome! I think it might be the only signed book I have. It's a science fiction story which is a genre I'm starting to fall in love with in YA. I used to not like space stories but that disappeared when I read the Paksenarrion books. Now I have a whole new world opening up before me.

Solara Brooks needs a fresh start, someplace where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. The outer realm may be lawless, but
it's not like the law has ever been on her side.

Still, off-world travel doesn't come cheap; Solara is left with no choice but to indenture herself in exchange for passage to the outer realm. She just wishes it could have been to anyone besides Doran Spaulding, the rich, pretty-boy quarterback who made her life miserable in school.

The tables suddenly turn when Doran is framed for conspiracy on Earth, and Solara cons him into playing the role of her servant on board the Banshee, a ship manned by an eccentric crew with their own secrets. Given the price on both Doran and Solara's heads, it may just be the safest place in the universe.

It's been a long time since Solara has believed in anyone, and Doran is the last person she expected to trust. But when the Banshee's dangerous enemies catch up with them, Solara and Doran must come together to protect the ship that has become their home-and the eccentric crew that feels like family.
See? Signed! Whee!

Value: $11 (on Amazon)
Nail Wraps- I don't even know how this is possible but these nail wraps have the Starflight cover on them. That's pretty cool. I'm not sure that I would wear them except maybe for Halloween.
Value: $10?
Quote Poster and Bookmark- This stuff I consider promotional material and not necessarily part of the box. I don't think that's how I'm supposed to think but still... The bookmark is the key to an interactive session with your book and the internets. :)
Quote Scarf Anne of Green Gables- This is a lightweight cotton scarf made in India. It has a quote from Anne of Green Gables on it. (It also has a typo-- well, at least one that I saw). I love the idea of this scarf but I'm not sure I would ever wear it. It would be a conversation starter for sure.
Value: $14?

VERDICT: So, what do I think? I think it's pretty cool to get a newly released book signed by the author. But is it $29 cool? It's hard to justify when the book itself is $11. I find that the bookish items tend to be things I won't really use but maybe that's just me. I'm probably not the target audience.

I believe that I might be cheap when it comes to books, though. I check mine out from the library onto my Kindle. I used to buy all my favorite books. My exploding shelves can attest to that. But I discovered it's really impractical because that's a LOT of space if I was buying all the new, amazing YA books. It's also a lot of money, especially considering I can check them out for free. I can always buy one or snag the whole series later if I decide I love it enough to read it more than once. And that does happen.

So who is this box good for? Someone really involved in the book community, who loves YA and who doesn't necessarily run out and buy a new book the second it hits shelves. It's good as a gift for someone just getting into YA. It's good for someone who likes to read but maybe isn't avid enough to pick out books themselves but will happily read something new if it's handed to them.

For old ladies like me, I think I'll stick to taking all Lisa's book suggestions and getting them at the library, then buying them if they're so good I can't live without them on my self.

If you would like to sign up for Uppercase Box, you can do that here. I don't know of any coupons-- Actually that's not true. If you sign up for emails on their website, they'll send you a coupon code for 10% off. So do that, then wait for the code to arrive.

What do you think of book boxes?


  1. Pretty photo! What does " YA" mean? I see it used a lot in sub. reviews, but I don't know what it stands for. Thanks.

    1. YA is Young Adult. It wasn't a genre when I was growing up, there was actually quite a dearth of books for the late teens, early 20's. I remember my mom taking away some of my books because they were "too old" for me (specifically Victoria Holt/Jean Plaidy/Philippa Carr) but since I'd read everything else all that was left were Classics.

      I love the genre no matter that I'm almost 40. I suppose the Anne McCaffery Pern books that I cut my teeth on would be some of the first YA in the mid-80's. Those along with David Eddings and his Belgariad and the Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Those definitely shaped my love for fantasy and later, science fiction.

    2. Oh, that makes sense. Young Adult genre.
      You don't ever have to justify what genre literature you read!! I read Victoria Holt ( who was also Phillipa Carr) in HS. My favorite books in that time period were a group of books based upon the Arthurian legends. The author's name is Mary Stewart, and a quick search shows that the books have stood the test of time. I'm so glad teens and YAs are still interested in historical fiction, which is a fave genre of mine. Some of the books in the venerable series are " The Crystal Cave" and " The Hollow Hills". She concentrated a lot on Merlin, Morgaine, and Nimue, I think the character's name was, rather than going with Lancelot and Arthur as the typical main characters. I used to be really into Sci-Fi in college because a friend of mine was Terry Brooks' best friend. I got totally hooked into his huge multiple main character books. I really had to wean myself away. He wrote way too many books for me to keep up with my extremely hectic college schedule.

      Now, I love mysteries. Not the slasher- gasher type but I love James Patterson's Women's Murder Club series and others with a strong feminine cast of characters.
      I lost a boyfriend once because of Diana Gabaldon's " Outlander". We went to Virginia Beach for the 4th of July weekend, and I happened to take the original "Outlander" which I had carried around for a while but never read. I was so engrossed in the book in about 30 minutes that I couldn't put it down. As it is a fairly thick book with a rather complicated plot with the time traveling, and it rained all weekend, I had plenty of reading time. :)
      Best way the weekend could have ever gone. He demeaned me for reading a " sappy book", when it is one of the most inventive historical/ fantasy/ romance/ drama series I've ever read- and I can hardly wait until the next book is released. :).
      I could never stay with someone who doesn't like to read for pleasure.

      If I had a teen daughter, I would buy the Sophie Kinsella books for her for sure. The comedic content is refreshing, and as far as I can recall, there really aren't many adult-specific themed situations.

      Oh, didn't Anne McCaffery write the books about the flying dragons? I think I read some of those a long time ago. :) Liked them a lot.
      Funny how things so long buried come back easily if it relates to good books. :)

      Read what you love and love what you read, and the rest of your world will fall into place because your heart is happy.


    3. I don't think I've read Mary Stewart!! I'm going to get a couple and find out (I can usually tell once I start reading if I've read it before). I also love Arthurian legends. :D Thanks for mentioning that!

      I listened to some of James Patterson's Women's Murder Club books on tape. I had a job that was boring in the extreme and I had to stop listening because I was either a)getting frantic about finding out what was going to happen and b)crying my eyes out at a certain death that occured. I decided I should go to less involving books on tape after that. At least for work.

      The Outlander series (the ones that I read) were SO engrossing. That first one was unbelievable. And so long! I loved that. I always like it when the good ones are super long. I did stop reading hers after book 3, I think, because I couldn't take any more rape. I get too emotionally invested in my reading to be able to put up with that.

      Yes, Anne McCaffery wrote all the dragon books. Now her son is writing them but I still think she did a better job. I love dragons and elves and have read some (but not all) of Terry Brooks' books.

      I read to escape and to exercise my imagination. I'm a very visual person so it's fun. Just to get away from my world and happily immerse myself in another one.

    4. Oh my gosh, you *have* to read Mary Stewart!

    5. I just ordered up The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment and The Wicked Day! I'm going to read them on the plane :D

    6. Sarah,
      There is definitely a chronological order to Mary Stewart's Merlin books. IF you read them in sequence, they tell a story that lasts for around 1000 "Merlin years". (smile).
      The books you have are to be read exactly as you listed them, plus there is one you didn't get, and which I've never read either. It's "The Prince and the Pilgrim" and as I understand it, is not really a part of the other books in what she calls " The Arthurian Series", because every other book in the series focuses on Merlin and those who bedazzle and bedevil him. :). I guess she made more money by attaching it to the great other 4 books.

      I was definitely a YA age- wise, maybe even a pre- YA when these books were released.
      I'd love to read them again!!
      I remember that one book is extremely sad- not sure which one. I read these and a ton of other books inside my textbooks in middle school- prop them up at the right angle and the teacher never knew. I had all my textbooks read by the middle of summer before each school year, so my reasoning was that I needed something to do in class, ha. :)

      Arthurian legend books have always been among my favorites, but these, which focus on Merlin and his loves and foes are the most imaginative, I think. I just realized what the series reminds me of in some intangible way- the movie " Ladyhawke". One of my faves. :)

  2. Well, I am glad I am not the only one who had no idea what "YA" stood for. :D

    1. It took me awhile, too! You were not alone! I only learned within the last year.

  3. Thanks, y'all. After I hit the " publish" button, my face was as red as a rose-- I was totally embarrassed not knowing what an entire reading genre is. I'm fairly sure there wasn't this designation when I was working in my HS library in lieu of P.E.

    Also, I feel that I should explain why I mention Kindle books frequently. I do not mean to derail any subscription box review about print books and the very fun looking accessories at all. I have a very serious and non-correctable vision problem which was a side effect of my extremely premature birth, and Kindle lets me adjust the font size so I can read the text easily.
    I realized the condition has worsened with age when I subscribed to BOMC box and had to buy some of those drugstore magnifying readers to read the book ( and they produce headaches as well as being hideous).

    Have you read the Sara Peretsky series with V.I. Warsharski? I was reading one of the Sue Grafton Kinsey Millhone books late last night, and remembered how exciting it was when Patricia Cornwell starting writing (the Kay Scarpetta mysteries), Sara Paretsky, and Sue Grafton were all new and extremely entertaining writers. ( Also, the first 10 or so Janet Evanovich books featuring Stephanie Plum were very good, but I don't think she even touches the manuscripts now- She obviously has a very inept ghostwriter now that the series is up to book 25).
    A REALLY good and funny mystery/ adventure series which never gets any press is the " Miss Julia' series by Ann B. Ross. Unlike most popular series with female protagonists, Miss Julia is " of a certain age", which I vaguely suspect is a number her fans will never really know, as she is a true Southern spitfire of a lady. :)

    Sarah, have you thought about starting a forum for book discussions?? :) :)