Hi everyone! This post today will show you my opening of the very first Ninja Book Box which was delivered to me in November. I first talked about The Ninja Book Box a while ago but just to remind you, it’s a quarterly book subscription service that supports independent publishers and includes a whole host of other bookish goodies, usually connected to the book for that month. For more information please go to the official site HERE where you can also sign up to receive the February box, the theme of which is A Shakespearean Mystery. Also, please check out my previous post HERE if you’re interested where I talk about The Ninja Book Box in more detail.
So, without further ado, let’s get to the unboxing!
A box of joy! Ooh, what could be inside?
The first thing I noticed was how nice the box was. I know, sounds silly but just seeing the words Ninja Book Box on the side made me stupidly excited for the contents within! On opening the box, it was a huge surprise. I was expecting a couple of extra goodies for being a funder of the Kickstarter campaign for this project but the amount of goodies that I did receive was incredibly generous and thoughtful. So what was there?
There was a lovely little bookmark (from Skinny Hues), a nifty little keyring which had a brilliant surprise on it – one one side was the words Ninja Book Box (of course!) and the second, the tag-line from my blog main page which had me thoroughly delighted! The green item? A lily pad of course and what should sit on it but a little frog charm, perfect for a bracelet if you have one, if you don’t like me, it’s just a beautiful object.
Close up pic of the keyring and little frog charm
But wait, there’s even more. A card with a street map of Cardiff (by Crafty Bacon Studios) a coaster with a star on (from J Talbot Designs) and a “Starry Skies” tea towel (from Blinkin’ Imp). Can you figure out the theme yet? I’m starting to feel thoroughly spoiled.
I was excited to discover that the book provided with the Slightly Surreal box was Star Shot by Mary-Ann Constantine published by Seren Books (a small Welsh publisher) which looks and sounds fabulous according to the GoodReads synopsis:
“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-Shotis 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.”
Also provided was a great little interview with the author which I’m saving to read after I’ve finished the book for fear of spoilers, a review from Bex (Ninja Book Box developer extraordinaire) and her recommendations for other Cardiff based books/TV series and further books with a similar feel to Star Shot. The second book in this box was Busker by Liam Murray Bell and was an extra reward for funding the Kickstarter campaign. This also looks brilliant and is set in my home country of Scotland, an additional bonus for me!:
“Three cities, two years, one chance: from the author of the critically acclaimed debut So It Is ? shortlisted for best first book at the Scottish Book Awards 2013 ? comes the hard-hitting story of a young man determined to find his voice. Plucked from obscurity in Glasgow, Rab Dillon is about to become the next great protest singer. Seduced by promises of stardom, carrying only the guitar given to him by the girl who broke his heart, he travels down to London. There he records the debut album that will speak to the dispossessed, the disenfranchised and disheartened. One year later, he is sleeping rough on the streets of Brighton. A modern-day ballad set across three cities and two years, The Busker is a richly comic expos(r) of the music industry, the Occupy movement, homelessness, squatting ? and failing to live up to the name you (almost) share with your hero. It is also the story of what survives when the flimsy dreams of fame fall apart.”
One final little surprise, another reward for funding the Kickstarter campaign – an excellent mug which sums up everything I want from life.
Oh yes! So to sum up my first Ninja Book Box I would use two words – ROARING SUCCESS! I loved that there was a mixture of items and that there was a connection to the book from each item. The book itself looks excellent and is one I’m really looking forward to diving into. I’m eagerly anticipating the Shakespearean Mystery Box in February and highly recommend this new book subscription box service to everyone! A huge thank you to Bex and all the companies, publishers involved in this venture for this amazing first box, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
COMING UP IN FEBRUARY: Ninja Book Box Unboxing – A Shakespearean Mystery