Hello readers! It’s Sunday afternoon here in Ireland and boy do I have a treat in store for you. For this weeks blog post, not only will I be unboxing November’s My Chronicle Book Box, which is one Hell of a box by the way, but I will also be featuring an interview with the creator of and force behind the book box, the lovely Louise. So, make yourself a cuppa, put your feet up and enjoy….
This month’s box features not one, not two, but THREE books, two of which are hardbacks. First up and with a truly drool worthy cover, we have The Corset by Laura Purcell: Dorothea and Ruth. Prison visitor and prisoner. Powerful and powerless. Dorothea Truelove is young, wealthy and beautiful. Ruth Butterham is young, poor and awaiting trial for murder.
When Dorothea’s charitable work leads her to Oakgate Prison, she is delighted to have the chance to explore her fascination with phrenology and test her hypothesis that the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their darkest crimes. But when she meets teenage seamstress Ruth, she is faced with another theory: that it is possible to kill with a needle and thread. For Ruth attributes her crimes to a supernatural power inherent in her stitches. The story Ruth has to tell of her deadly creations – of bitterness and betrayal, of death and dresses – will shake Dorothea’s belief in rationality, and the power of redemption. Can Ruth be trusted? Is she mad, or a murderer?
Next, we have Believe me by J.P.Delaney: Claire Wright likes to play other people.
A British drama student, in New York without a green card, Claire takes the only job she can get: working for a firm of divorce lawyers, posing as an easy pick-up in hotel bars to entrap straying husbands. When one of her targets becomes the subject of a murder investigation, the police ask Claire to use her acting skills to help lure their suspect into a confession. But right from the start, she has doubts about the part she’s being asked to play. Is Patrick Fogler really a killer . . . Or the only decent husband she’s ever met? And is there more to this set-up than she’s being told? And that’s when Claire realises she’s playing the deadliest role of her life . . .
Last, but not least, we have Cold Breath by Quentin Blake: Gunnhildur reluctantly allows herself to be taken off police duties to act as bodyguard to a man with a price on his head. Hidden away in a secure house outside Reykjavík, Gunna and the high-profile stranger, a guest of the interiors minister, are thrown together – too close for comfort. They soon find they are neither as safe nor as carefully hidden as Gunna and her boss had thought. Conflicting glimpses of the man’s past start to emerge as the press begin to sniff him out, as does another group with their own reasons for locating him. Gunna struggles to come to terms with protecting the life of a man who may have the lives of many on his conscience – or indeed may be the philanthropist he claims to be. Isolated together, the friction grows between Gunna and the foreign visitor, and she realises they are out of their depth as the trails lead from the house outside Reykjavík to Brussels, Russia and the Middle East.
As if this wasn’t good enough, we get a signed book plate from two of the authors (Laura Purcell and Quentin Blake) to make them extra special. All three of these books are right up my street and are perfect for curling up with under a warm blanket and getting lost between the pages. I love nothing better than a good crime thriller during a cold winter’s day, what about you?
Along with these gorgeous books, there is a whole host of specially selected bookish goodies. First up, there is this fabulous Phrenology print inspired by one of the featured books, The Corset by Laura Purcell. I have a bit of an obsession with all things Victorian so this one will be going right on my wall.
Next, we have a divine smelling candle by Bookworm Candles and Crafts called ‘Cosy Winter Reads.’ Perfect to set that cosy reading atmosphere, this candle smells and looks beautiful. Finally we have two bookmarks- first a set of Murder Mystery page markers by That Company Called IF. Each one features a crime based image, with my personal favourite being the chalk body outline! Second, we have a cute little 2019 crime themed calendar bookmark, perfect for keeping track of the days lost in reading.
This is the second My Chronicle Book Box I have received and it’s even better than the last one. It is so evident the amount of care and thought put into every one, from the way each book is individually wrapped, to the wax sealed letter, to the beautiful items themselves, I am seriously impressed. I have got a lot of book boxes over the years and this one truly is exceptional. Check them out now and use my discount code MIRRORS10 for 10% off now…trust me, you won’t regret it.
So who is the incredible woman behind this amazing book box? I had the pleasure of getting to know Louise while we have been collaborating and the more I got to know her, the more impressed and inspired I was…she is basically superwoman! She has been kind enough to let me interview her for this blog post, so you could get to know her too….
Tell us about the MCBB team.
Primarily the MCBB team is well… me! I do get a lot of help and support from my wonderful husband whose many talents extend to website design and the technical side of operating our business/website. I recently resigned from my sensible, secure job in accountancy to concentrate on My Chronicle Book Box and I spend my days selecting books, liaising with wonderful publishers, authors and suppliers, wrapping books, packing boxes, and taking care of my three childre
What inspired you to start My Chronicle Book Box?
I am a devoted book lover and spent much of my spare time reading and reviewing a wide variety of books. I loved the whole idea of book subscriptions and helping others discover new books and authors. I watched and read about many unboxings on social media and yet I never subscribed to one. I got to wondering why not and realised that most of the unboxings I had seen were focused on young adult fiction and that many of the subscriptions available were not focused on my favourite genres. The majority of the books on my bookshelves are crime novels or science fiction and fantasy based, or a diabolical combination of the two!
From the nebulous idea that I would like a book box tailored to my own interests the idea for My Chronicle Book Box grew. I began thinking about what I would like in my own book box and through chatting with friends and family I found I was not the only one who would like to buy such a subscription box for themselves or as gifts for others.
Add to that a long-held desire to run my own business and here we are!
What makes it different to other subscription boxes?
There are a few things that give our box its own character and set us apart from some of the other subscription boxes. We only include the latest releases and every box has author exclusives such as signed books, signed book plates, interviews and letters making the boxes extra special.
I like to give the boxes a personal touch each containing a personalised letter and envelope sealed with a wax seal which we stamp ourselves. I also gift wrap every book that goes into the subscription boxes and take great care on the packing so that every box is like receiving a gift.
The genres we offer set us apart from other boxes too, you can choose between crime & mystery and sci-fi & fantasy (my favourites!).
How do you decide what books and bookish goodies to include in your boxes?
This is a crazy juggling act and really, really difficult! There are so many great books and bookish goodies out there all of which I would love to include 😊
I spend a lot of time reviewing publisher schedules, reading ARCs, finding out author availability, drinking tea, chatting with book-loving friends, reading book blogs and keeping up with industry news to identify trends and possible book choices.
Then I have to consider what combination of books will work together, what will physically fit in the box, the budget (unfortunately), the time frame needed by suppliers, etc, etc…
I do have a few guiding principles for my choices:
- I read all the books that go into the boxes before making the final decision.
- The books have to be new releases preferably in the 3 months prior to be boxes shipping which reduces the risk of subscribers having already read the books.
- The books also must be standalone, I don’t want to include books that would require our subscribers to go and read previous books in order to enjoy the book they receive from us.
- In terms of goodies I like them to add to the reading experience and I like to include things that tie in to the selected books and/or the genre of the boxes whenever I can.
Speaking of which, if authors and businesses wanted to be in your awesome box, can they approach you?
Absolutely! Authors, designers, makers and suppliers are always welcome to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org contact us via social media letting us know what they can offer or suggesting how we could collaborate.
What’s next for MCBB?
We have grown a lot in the last year or so and as I say I am now focussing on the business full time (or as full time as three young children allows!). This should allow me to share my love of books and reading with more and more subscribers while maintaining the charm and personal touch of our boxes.
I’m also planning more single purchase special boxes celebrating books, authors and series that we are already in love with by commissioning special items to accompany new releases. Our A Discovery of Witches special edition book box was the first of this kind and went down a storm – we had to curate a second batch it proved so popular!