Willow Lane Book Subscription Box Review – June 2018
Willow Lane Books is a new monthly subscription of books and gifts that last for three months. Every month, a themed book box arrives with one book and up to four gifts that you hand-pick from their website. You can even request a different book if you’re not feeling that month’s particular tome!
This review is of the Willow Lane, $32.99 a month, box.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).
About Willow Lane Books
The Subscription Box: Willow Lane Books
The Cost: $32.99 a month + $9.99 shipping
The Products: 1 book + up to four gifts that you pick yourself!
Ships to: US and Worldwide
Good to Know: You can purchase a “One Timer” box from their store to see if you’re into the 3-month commitment. You can also add gifts and books to your box, and even swap out the month’s book if you don’t like it!
Willow Lane Books June 2018 Review
When I received my Willow Lane email to pick my items for the month, they let us know that it was a double book month! The chosen book for this month was “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr. My mom raved and raved about this one, so I was really glad to receive it – I hadn’t had a chance to read it yet. For my second book, we had seven to choose from, and I picked “The Secret of Magic” by Deborah Johnson.
This is a fun little bonus in the box! The old-fashioned writing is a neat throwback, and this is on a nice cardstock, so it’s sturdy.
EverBrite LED Book Light – Buy a 4-pack for $9.99
I have the fondest memories of reading under the covers long after it was supposed to be bedtime! I had a little purple flashlight that I stashed under my bed, but this book light is much nicer! The clip is nice and strong, perfect for thick books, and the light isn’t too bright, so it doesn’t hurt my eyes after using it for a while.
Toasted Almond Whole Bean Coffee
My mom and I are both big coffee drinkers, and I loooove going home to visit because I know she always has a pot going! She’s the one that introduced me to buying whole-bean coffee and grinding it myself – I really do think it tastes fresher and makes for a better drinking experience. This is absolutely delicious – almond is a big flavor hit with me anyway, but these beans were so good I found myself popping a few whole just to snack on!
Jewel Encrusted Brooch
I’ve been itching to change up my accessories game lately and to try to include some retro-inspired accessories, so I was delighted to see this brooch in-person. I have some really pretty brooches from my grandma that are gold with purple gems, just like this one, so I think I’m going to cluster them all on a cardigan for maximum visual impact!
Skeleton Key Bottle Opener
I am such a sucker for a useful object that is just unabashedly pretty. I have to say I’ve not encountered very feminine-looking bottle openers in my time, which is one of the reasons that this is so special. I think it’s a little too big to carry on my own keys, but it’s the perfect thing to have on a table for handy use. I also like that it’s a bit sneaky – I don’t think you can necessarily tell that this is a bottle opener just by looking! It works great, though – it successfully opened my bottle of Saison at a recent barbecue, no problem.
Baker Street Tea
Another bonus item! The email this month asked if anyone wanted some more of the yummy tea we received in a previous box, and of course, I signed right up! It’s just as delicious as I remember; the blend of Keemun Black Tea, Earl Grey Tea, and Russian Caravan Tea is so hearty and makes for a most wonderful afternoon pick me up!
This book was released on April 4, 2017, and is 544 pages long. Summary from Amazon:
Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.
I had a feeling I would love this book – I mean, it won a Pulitzer – but I was really impressed with the prose – it’s really emotional and beautiful. I haven’t read much fiction with a backdrop of WWII, but the setting and these characters were perfectly matched; Doerr used contrast expertly here by telling stories of war through the eyes of children. I almost immediately felt a connection with little Marie-Laure; on my father’s side I am also descended from the LeBlanc surname, and I ached for her deteriorating eyesight. Her father was an amazing character; the heart and soul he put into enriching her life and making sure she could get around herself was absolutely incredible. Seeing how her life intertwines with the orphan character Werner’s adds such a depth to this already-rich tapestry. My mom was so excited when I told her I received this book for the month, she immediately exclaimed, “Oh, honey, I think you’re going to love it!” And she was right.
This book was released on January 21st, 2014, and is 416 pages long. Summary from Amazon:
Regina Robichard works for Thurgood Marshall, who receives an unusual letter asking the NAACP to investigate the murder of a returning black war hero. It is signed by M. P. Calhoun, the most reclusive author in the country.
As a child, Regina was captivated by Calhoun’s The Secret of Magic, a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest.
Once down in Mississippi, Regina finds that nothing in the South is as it seems. She must navigate the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past. The Secret of Magic brilliantly explores the power of stories and those who tell them.
I was fascinated by the premise of this novel – I love frame stories, or, like this one, a story-within-a-story approach. This story also is not a fantasy or speculative novel, as I originally imagined from the title – it takes place in the south in 1964! It’s in a layered, but still easy-to-read third person format, and is equal parts history lesson as well as a fictional tale. The journey that Regina embarks on – not just to Mississippi, but through her own past – and the shocking discovery she makes regarding her beloved author’s identity kept me so engaged in this novel and reluctant to put it down when I had to take a break from it.
Verdict: Willow Lane really delighted me this month! Now that we’re a few months into what was previously a new subscription, it’s been nice seeing how the boxes are starting to come together, how the company is playing with themes, etc. I’m loving the book picks I’ve received so far, and it was awesome that this month was a double-book month. I think the skeleton key bottle opener is the MVP for me this month – I can’t wait to have an adorable bottle opener when I go camping with my friends next month! I also think I’m going to use the book light a lot, and that coffee is so delicious. Plus, bonus tea, and a cute brooch to jazz up my cardigans! A great haul, all told. I look forward to the boxes from Willow Lane more and more every month.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Sadly, no. You will receive the August box! After the 15th of the month, you’ll always receive the next month’s box.
Value Breakdown: I was able to find the books online for a total value of $33.00. This box cost $32.99 + $9.99 shipping, which means each of the 6 items I received (not counting the bookmark or bonus teas) have an average cost of about $7.16.
Check out all of our Willow Lane reviews and more Book Subscription Box reviews!
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What was your favorite item from Willow Lane?