Unboxing: Carpe Librum’s March Book Box

Hey guys! It’s that time of the month again where Carpe Librum releases yet another one of their amazing book subscription boxes!

So if you didn’t know, Carpe Librum is a bi-monthly book subscription service that costs $35 (including local shipping)and comes with a novel and a number of other bookish goodies.

This month, in conjunction with International Woman’s Day, which fell on March 8, Carpe Librum decided to honour women by creating a box that was completely for us girls.

Their theme this month was ‘Who Run The World: GIRLS!’ and they featured items that were inspiring and girly and simply perfect.

Today, I’m going to be unboxing it for you.

1. Dear Ljeawele, or A Feminists Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

From the best-selling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists comes a powerful new statement about feminism today–written as a letter to a friend.

A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of response.

Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions–compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive–for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about clothes, makeup, and sexuality; debunking the myth that women are somehow biologically arranged to be in the kitchen making dinner, and that men can “allow” women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.

Goodreads

Published: 7th March 2017

This month, we received a hardback of this new release by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s a short book that I personally had never heard about before this box came.

Regardless, it really looks amazing and I can’t wait to dive in.

2. A CLGS #GRLPWR Tote Bag

The next item was a CLGS original tote bag with the words ‘Well-behaved women rarely make history’ emblazoned on it in a gorgeous red circle with beautiful typography.

Personally, I would be so proud to carry this bag because I truly believe in this quote with all my heart.

Let me tell you a little story that I have yet to address publicly because I was scared that this person would read it (I’ve learnt that I shouldn’t be scared. It was not my fault and I am not afraid). Also this needs some backstory so you can understand it better so bear with me.

So when I was in Youth.SG, there was a guy from my school who worked with me. Not in the editorial team but Youth was a small company so we basically worked together anyway. We were friends for 6 months. Myself and my other friends would often invite him to join us for lunch or we would include him in things. I thought we were friends.

Now around the time that this incident happened, I was doing a photo essay for my online journalism class and I had decided to go back to that same funeral company that I had interviewed when I was with Youth and spin it to focus on Sarah, the youngest local embalmer in Singapore.

However, as death goes, it’s unpredictable and because of that, instead of seeing an adult get embalmed, I saw a miscarried foetus being cleaned and placed in a coffin.

As a women and a journalist, that was both incredibly fascinating and also terribly sad.

At the end of the day, I was just in awe of what I had just witnessed and being me, I just wanted to talk about it. So I took one of the pictures that I had taken that had ended up being very blurry and  put it on my Instagram story. The foetus was half cut off in the shot, blurry and you really couldn’t see much. I’d even reckon you couldn’t tell what it was if I hadn’t said it.

I posted it with text that talked about how humbling it was to be in the same room as an unborn child. To know that I once looked like that. To think of the life this baby could have had.

About a week later, a friend showed me a screen grab from this guy’s private Instagram. He has taken a screenshot of my picture with my caption, blurred out my name and posted it on his Instagram with a long caption that basically said that working with me was okay but that I had to be an absolute psycho to be able to do this. He criticised my ethics with this assignment (though permission was sought for both articles and faces were always blurred or cropped out) and finally, he ended off by saying that if he had to do what I did, he would have been affected greatly. His rant was disgusting.

Now this guy has a lot of friends. So all of a sudden, that picture got loads of likes and comments. People I knew and people I didn’t know were agreeing that I was crazy and that he should stay away from me and some people said they knew who he was talking about. They talked about my lack of ethics and it was so terrifying for me at that time and even now, looking back, it’s still scary.

Of course I immediately blocked him and turned my Instagram private. I’m guessing he realised I did that because shortly after, he tried to follow me with another one of his photography accounts (I didn’t accept of course). He’s also tried to say hi or smile at me in school many times since. I’ve ignored him very pointedly.

Some life tips: Don’t gossip about your friends. Private accounts are never truly private. If you want to stay friends with someone, protect them with all you have in you instead of feeding them to the wolves.

But the point of telling you this story was also to talk about that part where he said that if he had to witness a foetus being put in a coffin and the full embalming of an elderly woman, he would be really affected and he wouldn’t be able to do it.

It just really made this quote makes sense to me. Who was he to say that I couldn’t be brave and do this? Who was he to decide that just because he couldn’t do it, that should mean that I couldn’t too? I am clearly braver then him. I clearly have more guts to go out there and find a story. All while he sits behind his screen like a coward with his useless friends who encourage the fact that no one else has the guts to do what I did. Just because you can’t do something does not mean that you should criticise the people who do.

Another thing for my readers out there: Never ever ever ever let the opinions of someone else dictate what you can or cannot do. Never. You want to do something, you go and do it. Who cares what other people say or do. Who cares? You do it.

If you read that long story, thank you. Thank you for finally giving me the voice and courage to talk about something that really ripped me up and left me reeling for ages after. Thank you.

3. A Hand Brushed Poster

This month, Carpe Librum worked with @fuzzygreenlights to create this beautiful poster with a gorgeous quote on it. I adore it. Just that I don’t know where to put it yet.

4. A #GRLPWR Badge

The next item was another CLSG original. This was a very pretty button that you can put on bags, cases and other things. I love the design. Just wish it were a little smaller. I like my badges a bit more subtle. But that’s just a personal preference.

Actually now that I’ve said that, maybe CLSG did it because woman should loud and proud. Hmm. Makes sense. Or I’m reading too much into it.

5. A Lip Scrub

I have actually never used a lip scrub before even though I probably need it.

So receiving this lip scrub that was a collaboration between Nomi and Co and CLSG was such a treat.

It comes with all natural ingredients (you can look at the ingredients in the label above) and it actually tastes and smells amazing even though I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t be eating it.

So I tried it the other day and even though I got a lip sore the next morning (probably because I’ve never used one before so my lips were resisting) I think it was great. I think I might have scrubbed too hard or something but regardless, my lips were so soft and fresh afterwards.

It tastes sweet and pink. Did you know pink has a taste? And I loved it. I am certainly going to be using this again really soon (as soon as that lip sore goes away).

6. A Mystery Gift


This month, Carpe Librum gave ten of their subscribers a special mystery gift and I actually got one!

I was completely not expecting this since I never win these kinds of things but I am so glad because they gave each of us a hand-sewn pouch. Astrid, who is also part of the CLSG team, made these pouches and they are gorgeous.

There is a sewn on fist on the front with ‘girl power’ sewn at the back. And inside is the most gorgeous printed material. The best part was that I think the inside material was different for each pouch but this material completely suits me. I saw that Huda had posted a pouch with blue lining inside and while that’s beautiful, blue isn’t really my thing. But somehow this pattern is just prefect and complements who I am perfectly.

Amazing job Astrid and Huda!

So that was all that was in this month’s box. Sorry my unboxing was ridiculously long this month. I mean, as a woman myself, this box meant a lot to me so I think I have permission to word vomit.

Special thanks to Huda for accommodating my schedule like she does every single time (I’m honestly the worst customer I swear haha). Huda had to courier the box to me on Monday because I was away on holiday last weekend and I felt so bad because she had to do a whole back and forth with the timings since I was starting my new job at the Straits Times on Tuesday.

So thank you Huda for not murdering me over the phone. Love you loads! 🙂

Also another exciting thing has happened. CLSG has officially got their website up and running. You can access it here though I think they are on hiatus for a bit.

That said, happy International Woman’s Day from me to all my beautiful female readers. I love you.

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Unboxing: The December Book Boyfriend Box 

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Let me just start by saying that I know this unboxing is coming late. I am aware of that. It’s just that the box arrived quite late because of where I live and by the time it had come, I was swamped with assignments and exams and life was so hectic that I just had no time to sit down and write it.

I did unbox it on my Instagram though so if you were following me (@twentythreepages) you might have seen it on my story.

But since the Book Boyfriend team very kindly sent me a box, I wanted to still put up a full review. So here it is:

We Are Tornados By Michael Kun and Susan Mullen

It’s the summer of 1982, and for Scott and Cath, everything is about to change.

Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends for most of their lives. Now they’ve graduated high school, and Cath is off to college while Scott stays at home trying to get his band off the ground. Neither of them realized that their first year after high school would be so hard.

Fortunately, Scott and Cath still have each other, and it’s through their letters that they survive heartache, annoying roommates, family dramas, and the pressure of figuring out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they’ve ever wanted to turn to is each other. But does that mean they should think about being more than friends? One thing is clear: Change is an inescapable part of growing up, and we share unbreakable bonds with the friends who help us navigate it.

Goodreads

The book that came with this box was We Are Tornados by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen.

It’s a young adult contemporary book and it looks so good!

I’ve actually heard so much about this book before it was even published and I’m sure it had a lot to do with the gorgeous cover. Anyway, this is a hardback copy (you guys know I have a soft spot for hardbacks) and I literally can’t wait to start reading it.

A Signed Book Plate

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Inside the book, I found a signed bookplate by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen, the authors of the featured novel. So that was really cool. I’ve actually only ever gotten one other signed postcard so this was cool.

Other Cool Paper Things

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In addition to the signed book plate, there was a postcard with a playlist from the book, a handwritten letter from Michael Kun and Susan Mullen to the Book Boyfriend subscribers, a card with readathon dates, a postcard with February’s theme on it and a signed postcard by R.S. McCoy, the author of Blossom and The Beast.

Literary  Tea

The next thing in the box was a packet of tea from the First Edition Tea Co. The tea was Pride and Prejudice themed and it was a citrus-y type of tea that honestly tasted amazing. As tea goes, I never really get how they can be literary except for the packaging but I thought this was super cute.

A Jane Austen Notepad

Next, we have a notepad with a Jane Austen quote on it as well as some blue roses. It’s absolutely gorgeous and I have literally fallen in love with it. And the best part is that it goes perfectly with the next item in the box.

A Feathered Ink Pen

In the box, there was a plastic quill pen that is actually a ball point pen. Mine was gold though I think some people got different colours. Regardless, how cute is it? I can’t wait to use it to write on my notepad.

Pride and Prejudice Soap

Now this was my absolute favourite part of the entire box and I have to say that I could smell this soap before I even opened the  box and after that, all I wanted to do was to sit there and sniff this beauty.

So in the box, I found a lavender soap from The McBath. They do really natural soaps with quotes on them. This quote was obviously from Pride and Prejudice. The soap was lavender and it had little exfoliating things in them.

Now usually, I hate bar soaps but with this one, I have been absolutely obsessed and I’ve been in love with it since receiving it. I use it almost everyday actually.

A Literary Coaster

The final item in the box, and another favourite, was this cute coaster. It’s a solid coaster with a page from a book in it. What I really like about it is that it is very sturdy and will not spoil if you put a cold drink down. It’s very durable and I love it. It looks gorgeous on my night stand.

So there you go! Everything that was in the December Book Boyfriend box. I apologise that this is coming late but guys, Book Boyfriend literally have the best boxes that I have ever received. They really provide you with value for money. I mean just the hardback alone is worth the price you pay.

If you would like to find out more or to order your own box, visit The Book Boyfriend’s website. Their June box will be going on sale on April 12th. You can also use my special discount code, ’23PAGES’, to get 10% off of your first box at checkout.

Once again, a huge thank you to The Book Boyfriend Box team for sending this treat my way!

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Unboxing: Carpe Librum’s January Book Box

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Hey guys! It’s January and Carpe Librum has just released their first book subscription box of 2017!

So if you didn’t know, Carpe Librum is a bi-monthly book subscription service that costs $35 (including local shipping)and comes with a novel and a number of other little bookish goodies.

This month’s theme was ‘Out of This World’ and let me assure you, the box was completely out of this world. So let’s get to what was inside:

1. Carve The Mark by Veronica Roth

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On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.

Goodreads

Published: 17 January 2017

This month’s book was a hardback copy Carve The Mark by Veronica Roth. Let me repeat that to make sure you got it. HARDBACK.

I was honestly so excited to receive this because it was only released late last week so how cool that they decided to be so current?

I’m also really digging the fact that they decided to do a Young Adult novel again because you guys know I live for YA and it just really gives the box this added boost that just makes us Singaporean subscribers feel like we aren’t missing out on anything special from the American and Australian book boxes.

I feel bad saying this because I’m currently doing a big feature in HYPE magazine about Singaporean authors and their books, but seriously. Getting books that are hyped worldwide is such a treat in a local box in my opinion.

Anyway, at this point, I’m sure you have heard just as much as I have about Carve The Mark. There has been so much controversy about this book however I refuse to boycott it until I’ve read it. The internet has just gotten too sensitive to even function anymore jeez.

I personally cant wait to get to this book.

2. A Moon Phase Watch

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Okay when I saw that the Carpe Librum team had included a watch in this month’s box, I quite nearly died. I mean seriously. A watch. How. What. Why.

Guys.

I died okay.

The watch is so pretty and I can assure you that I’ll be wearing it for a very long time because it’s really adorable. And the funny thing is that I’ve been thinking of buying a Rosefield watch lately and obviously this is nothing like a Rosefield and I’ll probably still end up buying one but like how funny that this should come in right when I decided I needed a new watch?

3. Galaxy Keychain

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Just look at this keychain. How mesmerisingly gorgeous is it? Okay actually the picture does not do this justice.

Honestly I didn’t think Carpe Librum could impress me anymore with this box after the watch and the book but they did. I am in love with this keychain. Honestly it’s beautiful and I don’t really know where to hang it yet but I’m going to hang it somewhere because it’s a beauty and it’s purple which is my favourite colour.

4. Leia The Space Goddess Soy Candle

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In every box, there is always at least one thing that I don’t quite fancy and unfortunately, it was this candle. Now don’t get me wrong. I love love love scented candles.

In fact, when I saw it in the box, I got so excited. Even more so when I saw that it was a Leia soy candle (even though I don’t watch Star Wars). So I opened the tin and I saw the blue wax with the glitter on top and my heart was soaring because GLITTER AND SCENTED CANDLES AND BLUE WAX. But then I took a sniff of it.

Now okay I don’t completely hate the smell. I mean really it’s not that bad. But it does have a very medicated oil kind of smell which after I identified it, I couldn’t stop smelling it. Now obviously everyone likes different scents so maybe if you have smelt this candle before, you might like it. Everyone’s different. I personally didn’t like it.

Though I do like looking at the glittery wax so there’s that.

5. A Bookmark

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The box came with a Carve The Mark bookmark which I think was a nice touch. Nothing remarkable but it’s nice.

6. Stickers

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I love stickers and this month’s box came with three space themed ones. I’m still trying to figure out if they are normal stickers or laptop stickers or if it doesn’t matter. Regardless, I’m in love with them!

The designs are gorgeous and the sticker with the quote is literally perfection. It’s actually one of my favourite book quotes so this was a very lovely surprise. I can’t wait to stick them over my stuff.

So that’s all that was in this month’s Carpe Librum book box. Honestly guys, I’ve been getting every single one of their boxes for a very long time now and I can truly say that this is their best one yet.

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I’m not joking or exaggerating at all when I tell you that I screamed and started jumping around in joy when I opened the box. And if you need further proof, I’ll tell you that I was wearing a strapless bra and it fell off. Too much info? Okay I’ll stop.

But seriously guys. I am so proud of how far Carpe Librum has come and I truly hope that the incredible standard of this box carries through with the rest of their boxes in 2017.

If you want to get your hands on the next box, you can visit Carpe Librum’s Facebook page or their Instagram page to find out more.

If you got a box, let me know in the comments what your favourite item was this month.

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Unboxing: Carpe Librum’s November Book Box

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Hey guys! It’s that time of the month again where Carpe Librum releases yet another one of their amazing book subscription boxes!

So if you didn’t know, Carpe Librum is a bi-monthly book subscription service that costs $35 (including local shipping)and comes with a paperback novel and a number of other little bookish goodies.

This time, as a Christmas special, Carpe Librum gave us the option of choosing between two themes (or getting both). The themes were: Happiness & Love Yourself. I got the Love Yourself box because obviously.

Anyway, today, I will be unboxing it and reviewing each item.

1. Holding Up the Universe By Jennifer Niven

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Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

Goodreads

Okay I’ll be honest, I read this book and finished it in the week that it was released. But, I read the ebook so I don’t actually have the physical copy and I have been trying to decide if I should just buy the physical copy for the longest time.  So this completely solved that problem for me. I can’t wait to put in my shelf right next to my beloved All The Bright Places.

Also, if you’re wondering, the book is incredible and a review of it will be going up on Youth.SG next month so I’ll certainly link you guys up as soon as it’s out.

2. A Tote Bag

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Do you even know how much I love tote bags? I love them. And this one is so adorable. I won’t lie, I did wish it came in black because black goes with everything but I love it all the same.

And, if you look closely, you’ll see Carpe Librum’s little stamp at the bottom because they actually came up with this themselves. I feel like a proud mama not gonna lie.

3. A Mug

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Ever since Carpe Librum put in a mug in their May book box, I’ve been waiting and waiting for them to put in another mug. I mean I used the last mug religiously every single morning.

So I was so excited to open my box and to find a cute little mug. It’s adorable and my only problem is that now I’m going to have such a hard time figuring out if I should use this mug or the mug from May in the mornings.

*tea not included

4. Six quote cards

This month, we got six little quote cards with a little wooden stand to prop them up on. I really love these cards. Especially the one that says ‘Eat like you love yourself’. I think that was the best and most powerful line out of all the cards. I don’t know I guess a lot of times we need to remind ourselves that we do actually love ourselves and we should treat ourselves like we would someone we love.

I don’t know about you but I would never withhold food from someone I loved. I would never beat someone I loved over the head for a small mistake. So just remember to love yourself. It was such a great reminder.

5. Drink coasters

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I love coasters and I was so excited to see two of these bookish ones in the box this month. However I am concerned about the quality. The coasters were a little sticky like the paint hadn’t dried properly yet and it just doesn’t look very durable. They are gorgeous no doubt but I don’t think they are too functional.

So there you have it. Everything that was in Carpe Librum’s November box. I am honestly so impressed with this month’s selection. I’m so glad that they finally delved into the young adult genre because I’ve personally really been wanting to see that show up in the boxes.

I also really like how Carpe Librum experimented with making their own products this time. They usually do a lot of collaborations but this time, I was very excited to see their own little stamps on some of the items.

If you want to get your hands on the next box, you can visit Carpe Librum’s Facebook page or their Instagram page to find out more.

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Unboxing: Carpe Librum’s September Book Box


Hey guys! It’s that time of the month again where Carpe Librum releases yet another one of their amazing book subscription boxes!

So if you didn’t know, Carpe Librum is a bi-monthly book subscription service that costs $35 (including local shipping)and comes with a paperback novel and a number of other little bookish goodies.

This month, Carpe Librum’s theme was Wanderlust. A box all about travelling and appreciating the world. It was curated by Azura and it features a total of six items.

Today, I’m going to be unboxing it and reviewing each item for you.

1. Land Of The Midnight Sun by Alexander Armstrong

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In an adventure of a lifetime, Alexander Armstrong wraps up warm and heads ever north to explore the hostile Arctic winter – the glittering landscape of Scandinavia, the isolated islands of Iceland and Greenland, and the final frontier of Canada and Alaska.

Along the way he learns from the Marines how to survive sub-zero temperatures by eating for England, takes a white-knuckle drive along a treacherous 800-mile road that’s a river in summer and, with great reluctance, strips off for a dip in the freezing Arctic waters – and that’s all before wrestling Viking-style with a sporting legend called Eva as part of an Icelandic winter festival.

Goodreads

This is a non-fiction book by Alexander Armstrong in which he takes us to the Arctic on an incredible adventure. This is the first time that Carpe Librum has included a non-fiction book in their box and I’m so excited to get to it because it just sounds like a very fun read.

2. A Wanderlust magnetic bookmark

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Just like last month, Carpe Librum decided to include a bookmark in their box. This is a magnetic book mark that was made by Craftedvan.

I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. However after opening it, I realised that it was actually just cardboard with two magnets glued to it. Terrible quality if I have anything to say about it. However after putting it into one of my books and trying it out, I realised that it actually wasn’t that bad and it was quite durable. So props to them!

Now I don’t usually do this but I’m so glad that Carpe Librum introduced us to Craftedvan this month because I checked them out and they literally have the most adorable selection of bookmarks, cards and magnets ever. I completely recommend that you check them out.

3. A custom leather luggage tag

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You can’t have a travel box without a luggage tag can you? This month, Carpe Librum worked with madebysukma to put in a handmade leather tag. I really love it because you can tell it’s handmade but it’s still so beautiful. I can’t wait to use it!

4. A pair of charms

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This was probably my favourite item this month. We got two little charms. One of an open book and another of a suitcase. They are both so adorable and even though I have yet to figure out where to put it, I’m already in love with it.

5. Four travelling drawstring bags

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We got travels bags! In the box, we were given four travel drawstring bags in different sizes. They are so adorable and practical. I know I will be using it for my next holiday. And till then, I might just use one of them to keep my makeup when I go out because they are just too cute!

6. A postcard from Azura

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This month, we got a beautiful, handwritten postcard from the curator herself. I’ve always loved how Carpe Librum personalises the things in their boxes and I really liked how they went a step further to make this box extra special.

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I mean I’m thinking of how many boxes they had to pack and to think that Azura actually sat down and wrote each of us a message just makes me so happy.

So there you have it! Everything that was in this month’s Carpe Librum Wanderlust book box. If their intent was to want to make us travel, let me tell you that they have completely succeeded.

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I’m always so impressed with Carpe Librum. With how hard they work, how lovely they are if you text them about not being able to receive the package and just how genuine they are.

Thank you once again to the Carpe Librum team for putting together this wonderful book subscription service. If you have yet to try it, follow them on Instagram and keep an eye out because I’m sure they will be announcing their next box really soon!

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Unboxing: BooksActually’s July Book Box

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Hey guys! So last Monday, BooksActually announced that they were officially starting their new book subscription service!

The second I heard about it, I knew that I needed it in my life because you know how I get about subscription boxes.

So let’s break it down. With BooksActually, you pay for either 3, 6 or 12 month subscriptions. They are $129, $229 and $369 respectively (including local shipping).

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These boxes come every single month and they have a book as well as little bookish goodies.

The best part is that BooksActually has seven Book Elfs or Curators and they let you pick which one you feel would best suit you.

There’s really something for everyone with the different Curators and that’s one of the reasons why I really like BooksActually so much.

I received my box last week and before I go into anything else, I have to say that I’m freaking impressed with the speed of their shipping. Mine took two days to arrive.

Okay now that that is out of the way, let’s get to what was inside the box. Here’s my unboxing of BooksActually’s July Book Box by Rachel Quek:

1. The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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‘The horror, whatever it was, had not yet entirely spoiled that marvellous beauty’ 

Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life, indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his decadence. The Picture of Dorian Gray was a succès de scandale. Early readers were shocked by its hints at unspeakable sins, and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895.

Goodreads

The book that was included in the box this month was The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Now I tend not to read a lot of classics so I was glad to know that I had yet to read it.

I’ve also actually been wanting to read more classics, specifically this book, because I have a quote from the book up on my  wall and I figure it’s probably good that I read the book if the quote is going to be up on my wall right?

Not to mention that the edition of this book that BooksActually included is absolutely gorgeous!

2. A drawstring pouch

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In this box, there was a medium sized drawstring pouch with an illustration of someone reading on it.

Now I absolutely adore the illustration but I have no idea what I’m going to use the pouch for. I mean if it were smaller I would use it for my makeup but it’s not.

I guess I could use it to carry books around?

3. A lavender soy candle

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Next up, is a lavender candle from Hush candle. This is my absolute favourite item in the whole box because it smells absolutely heavenly!

Now if you know me, you would know that my go to has always been Yankee candles. I love them to bits. But I think this soy candle has revolutionised everything I’ve ever thought of scented candles.

The scent is so strong but so incredible. It just fills your head and forces you to relax. Quite honestly, I’m just so impressed by it and even if you don’t get this box, go and buy this candle. It’s freaking amazing.

4. An empty, rusted tin

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Now this was rather interesting. There was an empty, rusted tin in the box. Now sue me for believing that when you pay for something you should actually get something.

I honestly did not see the point of an empty tin. I mean I get that BooksActually is all about the aesthetic but sorry. That was a no go.

5. Dead leaves

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Guys this was honestly the highlight of the whole entire box. I got some dead leaves. I mean seriously? Where else can you find a subscription box that will give you dead leaves? I’m just so blown away by how creative they are. I can’t wait to use my dead leaves. It’s just going to make the whole reading experience so much better!

So there you have it. That was everything that was in this month’s BooksActually box. I’m honestly really excited that Singapore is branching out (no pun intended) and getting more involved in the book world. I think it’s such a great step in the right direction.

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Also, I know that many of you will now be wondering which book subscription service you should go with. Carpe Librum or BooksActually. As someone who has gotten both, I will be helping you out of course. So look out for a Carpe Librum and BooksActually comparison coming really soon (hopefully this week)

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Unboxing: Carpe Librum’s July Box

Hey guys! It’s that time of the month again where Carpe Librum releases yet another one of their amazing book subscription boxes!

So if you didn’t know, Carpe Librum is a bi-monthly book subscription service that costs $35 (including local shipping)and comes with a paperback novel and a number of other little bookish goodies.

This month, Carpe Librum’s theme was Made In Singapore. Presumably because our country’s 51st birthday  is next month and National Reading Day falls at the end of July.

So the box featured a whole bunch of truly Singapore goodies and today I’m going to be unboxing and reviewing each item that was included in the box.

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A signed copy of Let’s Give It Up for Gimme Lao! by Sebastian Sim

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“I don’t aspire to be nice. I do what is necessary to get what I want.”

Born on the night of the nation’s independence, Gimme Lao is cheated of the honour of being Singapore’s firstborn son by a vindictive nurse. This forms the first of three things Gimme never knows about himself, the second being the circumstances surrounding his parents’ marriage, and the third being the profound (but often unintentional) impact he has on other people’s lives.

Talented, determined and focused, young Gimme is confident he can sail the seven seas, but he does not anticipate his vessel would have to carry his mother’s ambition, his wife’s guilt and his son’s secret. Tracing social, economic and political issues over the past 50 years, this humorous novel uses Gimme as a hapless centre to expose all of Singapore’s ambitions, dirty linen and secret moments of tender humanity.

Goodreads

As is fast becoming Carpe Librum’s signature style, there was a beautiful, signed copy of Let’s Give It Up for Gimme Lao! by Sebastian Sim in the box.

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Now I’ve never heard of this book primarily because I don’t read or bother with local literature. I know I probably should but I just can’t make myself care enough. But I’m really excited about trying this book. It looks really interesting and I’m hoping that it will push me to read more local novels.

A Notebook

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There was a beautiful red notebook in the box that said, ‘I am not kiasu. I am Singaporean.’ This notebook is from Epigram Books and I love it. It has blank pages and it is the perfect size to stuff into a small handbag or even a pocket if you are a boy and have the wonderful privilege of actually having functioning pockets on your clothes.

I actually have a notebook exactly like this one from a random shop. It’s a a plain black one and I use it or when I interview people or when I need to take notes for an article. I was actually running out of space and I know I’ll certainly use this one as a backup.

An IKAT Handwoven Bookmark

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Who doesn’t love bookmarks am I right? This gem is limited edition from Gypsied and it is absolutely gorgeous! I love the colours and the material. And speaking of the material they used, I have to say that for a cloth bookmark, I was very surprised to find that it was actually quite sturdy. I will certainly be using this all the time.

Singlish Stickers

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Okay this one is something that you will 100% not get if you are not Singaporean and that is precisely why I love it so much.

So in Singapore, we have this slang that we call ‘Singlish’. Basically it’s a mix of Malay and English and Chinese that forms phrases that are super common here but that pretty much no one else understands or can accurately say.

So these stickers from Zinkie Aw  have some of our more popular phrases and I really love it. Though someone needs to explain what ‘Hanar Hanar’ is because even I’ve never heard of it before.

“Complain King” Pencils

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This is another thing that I love because it is so uniquely Singapore. This beautiful set of six pencils have some famous Singaporean complaints on them and I am in love with them. I only wish I used pencils more often because I would totally use these everyday if I did.

Discount Vouchers

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And of course, because I am Singaporean, I have to complain now. I really didn’t like the fact that Carpe Librum put discount coupons in the box. This month, Carpe Librum gave us a 20% discount for Books Actually and a 15% discount for Epigram Books.

Now I love discounts. But not in a book subscription box. The idea of the box is to get tangible stuff. You mean I now am forced to go spend more money (on top of what I’ve already spent for the box) on two different stores to get books I may not even really want (Epigram only has local books)?

And of course I have to use the discount codes because let’s face it, I’m Singaporean and I need to get my money’s worth right?

Hmm… The more I write the more I think that the coupons were an excuse to let our inner Singaporean shine through our complaints and ‘kiasu-ness’…

Anyway, that was the only not so fantastic item in the box.

As usual, I really enjoyed Carpe Librum’s book box and I am so grateful for the team who work so tirelessly to curate the boxes each month and to deliver them to each and every person who orders one.

I’m especially grateful this month because I was covering the National Day Parade preview on the day that they were delivering the boxes and I needed Huda to deliver the boxes earlier because of it and she very kindly did it for me even though their schedule was packed.

If you want to order the next box, you can visit Carpe Librum’s Instagram page or their Facebook page where they have all the details you will need to order a box.

I know I can’t wait for them to announce their next box because I will be first in line.

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Unboxing: Carpe Librum’s May Book Box

Hey guys! Guess what arrived on Saturday! Carpe Librum‘s May book box!!

So if you didn’t know, Carpe Librum is a local book subscription box that comes once every two months. It costs $35 (including local shipping) and it comes with a book and a bunch of other bookish items.

This month, Carpe Librum’s theme is Books & Tea and today, I’m going to be unboxing and reviewing the box for you.

Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beasley (Signed and Personalised)

Sisters Cassie and Sid Sunday have not done a bang-up job of keeping in touch. In their defense, it hasn’t been easy: life veered in sharply different directions for the once-close sisters. Today, beautiful and big-hearted Sid lives an expat’s life of leisure in far-off Singapore, while harried, iPhone-clutching Cassie can’t seem to make it work as a wife and a mom to twin toddlers in Manhattan.

It doesn’t help that Sid spurns all social media while Cassie is addicted to Facebook. So when Sid issues a challenge to reconnect the old-fashioned way—through real, handwritten letters—Cassie figures, why not?

The experiment exceeds both of their expectations, and the letters become a kind of mutual confessional that have real and soul-satisfying effects. And they just might have the power to help Cassie save her marriage, and give Sid the strength to get her life back on track.

But first, one of Cassie’s infamous lapses in judgment comes back to bite her, and all of the letters wind up the one place you’d never, ever want to see them: the Internet…

Goodreads

This was the book that was featured in this month’s book. I’ve never heard of it before but apparently it’s partially based in Singapore so that’s really cool. I can’t wait to read it!

Also, I opened the book and found a little surprise. Carpe Librum had actually got the author to not only sign but also personalise each book! I mean seriously! How amazing are they?

A Mug

This was my absolute favourite item in the box. It was a cute little bookish mug that said, ‘Drink good tea. Read good books’. How adorable! I loved it and fun fact, I actually have been looking for a nice bookish mug so this came at the perfect time.

Tea

Of course the Books & Tea box would not be complete without some lovely tea. This is from Literary Tea Co. and it’s a relaxing black tea with loads of little fruits and stuff. I brewed some yesterday and it was heavenly!

Chocolate Chip Cookies


You can’t have tea without some good old chocolate chip cookies can you? These little yummies come from De Cookies Lab and they are incredible! My aunt who is an awesome baker actually made some chocolate chip cookies last Christmas and these cookies taste so similar to them it’s unreal.

Socks

I don’t wear socks very often because of the horribly hot weather here but these socks from Sock Avenue are incredible. They are really soft and long so they are perfect for Bookstagram (look at me getting that promo in there). So I’m really happy with these funky socks.

So there you have it! Everything that was in Carpe Librum’s May book box. I’m so excited to curl up in my socks with my tea and cookies and A Court Of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas because that’s what I’m currently reading and it’s amazing.

Thank you once again to the Carpe Librum team for putting together this wonderful book subscription service. If you have yet to try it, follow them on Instagram and keep an eye out because I’m sure they will be announcing their next box really soon!

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Unboxing: Carpe Librum’s Magic Box

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Hey guys! So a little while ago, I found out that there was a couple of wonderful ladies in Singapore who had decided that they, like the rest of us on this island, were tired of seeing other countries have amazing book subscription boxes while we had to either pay exorbitant shipping prices or simply have no way of getting it because international shipping wasn’t an option.

So unlike the rest of us, these women decided to do something about it and thus, the wonderful Carpe Librum was formed.

Carpe Librum is a bi-monthly book subscription service that costs $35 (including local shipping) and comes with a paperback novel and about five other little bookish goodies.

Last week, my box was delivered and today I’m going to be unboxing it for you. I decided to wait a week mainly because I know some people didn’t get their boxes last week and I didn’t want to be the one to spoil it so I’m really excited to be finally getting to do it.

This month, their theme is ‘Magic’ and everything in it was related to that theme (of course). So here’s what the box looked like in all it’s glory. It came with blue ruffly truffly paper which I thought was super cute and of course, each box had our names printed on the top in beautiful writing which was such a wonderful touch.

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s ever-growing ailments. Little do they realise that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

Goodreads

I have actually never heard of this book before which was completely fine by me because I love finding new books and reading stuff that I might never have picked up if it wasn’t quite literally shoved into my hands.

I will be getting to this book as soon as I can and I will do a full review on it when I’m done.

This is a Snape stamp that was made specially by Baisimu for this box. It was added into the mix in memory of Alan Rickman and I absolutely love it. It comes with a little ink pad and it’s such a cute little stamp. My only problem is that I don’t really know when I’m going to get a chance to use it because I’m not a very arts and craft kind of person.

This was probably my favourite thing in the whole box. It’s a little bracelet with a charm that has a crescent moon and a fairy sitting on it. It is honestly just so gorgeous and you can literally wear it with anything. My only issue is that I have tiny wrists and this bracelet is huge on me. A clasp so we could adjust the size might have been better but I really don’t mind too much. It’s just too gorgeous.

In the box, there were two cards with quotes on them. They were both designed by Doodle It Write and I thought that they were so adorable. I have put both of them on my bookshelves and I adore how much it brightens it up.

This was probably my least favourite item in the whole box. It’s a little button with a quote by Albus Dumbledore on it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the quote. I just didn’t like how the button was designed. The background makes the words hard to read and the whole thing just looks a bit crowded. That said though, I’ve put it on my shelves. It’s right on top of my Harry Potter books and it looks pretty good there.

Overall I absolutely loved the box. Everything was just so on point and wonderful. I will certainly be getting the next box which a little birdy told me is going to be announced really soon. I simply can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

If you’re a book lover in Singapore, please please please do support them. They are such lovely people and they really are so accommodating and efficient. Also we need to support the bookish culture in Singapore. Everyone of us knows that Singapore isn’t as good as it should be when it comes to all things book related and so we really need to band together to support the little that we have.

To find out more about them or to purchase a box, you can visit them on their Instagram page which is @carpelibrumsg or their Facebook at Carpe Librum SG.

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