Best Book Subscriptions for Adults!*

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*Or anyone who doesn’t want a YA box, or anyone in the UK!

Sometime in 2015 I got very jealous of all of the book subscription boxes that seemed to be in the US. I loved the idea of getting surprise book post, but didn’t like the idea of paying ridiculous postage costs only to get a YA fantasy book I probably wouldn’t read (it’s the one genre I just can’t abide, with very limited exceptions.) Those boxes are great, but they aren’t designed for my kind of reading, which is fine, but I wanted a similar experience too! So I went on the hunt for UK based subscriptions that would be geared towards adult readers. Here are some of my favourites from along the way, and a couple that I am desperate to try!

Book and A Brew

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This was the first subscription I ever signed up for, back in October 2015. Since then I’ve had every box (Including their one-off Halloween special!) and I absolutely love them. I’ve blogged about them a few times already but the premise is quite simple; every month they’ll send you a hardback book and a box of tea to complement it. As someone who drinks tea like it”s going out of fashion it’s perfect! The price is well worth it too; most of the tea they’ve sent I’ve later seen in the supermarket for upwards of £5 a box, so £12.99 for that and a hardback is a bargain!

Subscribe here.

Book Voyage UK.

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As part of my ongoing Read the World Project I’m constantly on the look out for recommendations for books from different countries so when I found out about this subscription I was so excited! I think I ended up getting the very first box and again I’ve subscribed ever since. Similar to Book and A Brew, there is tea (or often coffee) involved, but with a twist. Each month they’ll send you a book from a country in the world (in translation), a snack from that country and a box of tea or coffee from the country too. Again, it’s well worth it price-wise, at £14.99 you get a monthly surprise and treats!

Subscribe here.

Ninja Book Box

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This is another favourite that I’ve subscribed to since the beginning- when I joined the Kickstarter back last year. Bex puts together a fantastic box each quarter; each with an independently published book and gifts that fit around a theme. Gifts are handmade, specially made for the box or from small businesses so it’s truly a celebration of small-businesses and small press! The theme each time is unique and well thought-out so I’d thoroughly recommend subscribing!

Subscribe here.

Persephone Books

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Now for something slightly different- publisher subscriptions! Persephone Books is a small, independent publisher in London that are always worth a visit. They publish mainly out of print female writers, but each book is produced so beautifully- with an endpaper based on a fabric produced at the time the book was originally published. They also offer a subscription service, either as a gift or for yourself, whereby they’ll send you a book from their catalogue a month for 6 or 12 months.

Subscribe here.

Tilted Axis Press

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Another publisher-based subscription! I met some representatives of Tilted Axis at Bare-Lit festival this year and fell in love with the idea of a small press publishing books in translation. I purchased their 2017 print subscription when I got home and so far have received two of their 2017 releases on release day! The subscription includes all of their 2017 releases, straight to your door (as well as any that have been published already this year) and they’ve got a fantastic catalogue!

Subscribe here.

The next two are subscriptions that I haven’t tried out yet, but I am absolutely desperate to because they look so good!

Moth Box Books

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Moth Box Books is another independent publisher inspired postal service that’s still very unique. On alternative months they’ll send out a box with two independently published novels or two independently published short story collections. They’re not technically a subscription service- you have to purchase one-off boxes that sell out very quickly- but I’ve got my thumb poised for 1st June when the next Short Story edition goes on sale!

Buy here from 1st of each month.

And Other Stories

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And Other Stories is a publisher that I’ve actually read a few times (One of my- many -current reads was published by them) but I’ve had my eye on their subscription for ages. It’s more of a reciprocal agreement; being a small press they rely on support from readers to source, translate and publish a wide range of international titles so your subscription directly supports individual books. They’ll print subscriber names at the back of each book they publish and send copies to you too so you get a real sense of involvement!

Subscribe here.

Books in the cover photo of this post all came from subscriptions:
The Impossible Fairytale: Tilted Axis Press 2017 print subscription.
Dragon’s Green: Ninja Book Box ‘Magical Lands’ box.
Raised From the Ground: Book Voyage UK ‘Portugal’ box.
Songs of Willow Frost: Book and a Brew Feb ’17 box.
NOS-4R2: Book and a Brew Halloween ’16 special box.

Book and a Brew February Box!

  
This month’s box threw me a bit of a curveball. Here I was, expecting something sugary sweet and romantic with a pink hued tea. I was half right, for the wrong reasons.

London, early 1950s. Marcia Beasley of St John’s Wood is discovered dead in her home, naked and covered with a coal scuttle. Detective Sergeant Greenleaf is tasked with solving the crime and bringing meaning to her gruesome death. It is a discomfiting matter, not only for the victim’s niece Rosy Gilchrist – eager to distance herself from her aunt’s fate and raffish reputation – but to all members of the deceased’s social circle. The floral Felix and acidic Cedric, awful Vera, self-enamoured artist Clovis Thistlehyde, the amiably inane Fawcett family – all, it seems, have secrets to hide and grudges to bear. 

Reluctantly Rosy is drawn into a mesh of intrigue, encountering those she would prefer to avoid and uncovering facts she would rather not know. Dragged from her ordered world, she is thrust into one of mad uncertainty. Who, for example, is the limping midnight visitor? Is the bibulous priest as ingenious as he seems? And will Mrs Burkiss ever yield her keys to the broom cupboard? A host of colourful and comic characters leap from the pages in their hurry to identify the murderer, unravel the mystery of Marcia’s life, and discover the importance of all that coal.

Described as an off best and witty whodunnit with an equally quirky tea, this is a lovely antidote to the overpowering hearts and flowers in the shops. Rhubarb is one of my favourite flavours, and for some reason the description of A Little Murder reminds me of another favourite, What A Carve Up! I’m excited to sip and read!

Book and a Brew January Box

  
I got a late night delivery of this month’s Book and a Brew box, which cheered me me right up.

This month’s theme is  Oriental and so the book is a translated novel by a Korean author. One of my re solutions this year is to read books by authors of different backgrounds so I was very excited to open this one!

Fukuoka Prison, 1944. Beyond the prison walls the war rages; inside a man is found brutally murdered.

Yuichi Watanabe, a young guard with a passion for reading, is ordered to investigate. The victim, Sugiyama – also a guard – was feared and despised throughout the prison and inquiries have barely begun when a powerful inmate confesses. But Watanabe is unconvinced; and as he interrogates both the suspect and Yun Dong-ju, a talented Korean poet, he begins to realise that the fearsome guard was not all he appeared to be . . .

As Watanabe unravels Sugiyama’s final months, he begins to discover what is really going on inside this dark and violent institution, which few inmates survive: a man who will stop at nothing to dig his way to freedom; a governor whose greed knows no limits; a little girl whose kite finds her an unlikely friend. And Yun Dong-ju – the poet whose works hold such beauty they can break the hardest of hearts.

I read a blog post as soon as I opened my box written by the author about his inspiration for the book. Yun Dong-ju was a real poet and the concept of writing a fictionalised version of a real person is one I really enjoy.

As usual the tea is matched perfectly. I enjoyed my first cup during my bath today and it was delicious and soothed my aching throat!

Rooms by Lauren Oliver

   
Rooms was the first book I got from A Book and A Brew and I was so excited because it was an author I had loved a few years ago and hadn’t kept up with. I first read the Delirium trilogy while I was at university, and later Before I Fall and Panic sat on a step when I was working a job where I knew no one at lunchtime. 

The thing I love most about Lauren Oliver’s books is that they’re so unique. Whether they’re a twist on dystopia, youth or even death, they have something to say. Rooms is no exception. Narrated by ghosts trapped within the walls of a house that keeps them tied to the world, and focussing on a family returning after the death of it’s last owner, there’s a lot going on. Lauren Oliver makes good use of the unreliable narrator trope, with Alice and Sandra keeping the secrets of their lives and deaths, or perhaps not even remembering, being so ingrained in the building.

It’s a good comment on letting go of the things that hold us down. The living, Trenton, Minna and Caroline, each battle their own problems and demons in the wake of their father and husband’s death. The ghosts, Alice and Sandra, learning to slowly forgive themselves for the mistakes they made.

I’ve never been one for ghost stories, but recently I’ve had my mind changed.


 

Book and a Brew December Box

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There was a mini bonus treat in this month’s Book and a Brew box! A mini box of delicious smelling Christmas tea! Inspired by mulled wine, it’s an automatic win for me!

As for the usual box contents… I’m still totally in love with this subscription. Teapigs have converted even this staunch PG Tips lover and I’m amazed at the range of teabags they have. December is my third month of Book and a Brew and every box I’ve received has been completely different and equally delicious.

Of course this applies to the books too. Each month has been perfectly selected and this one is no exception. Part of me was expecting the obvious; a sugar-sweet Christmas story. I’m so glad I was wrong. Zodiac Station, a thriller set in the Arctic Circle, sounds likes the perfect winter book; dark, cold and suspenseful. From Tom Harper’s website:

Deep inside the Arctic circle, the US Coast Guard icebreaker Terra Nova batters its way through the frozen sea. One day, a gaunt figure, half-dead, skis out of the fog from across the pack ice. The crew bring him aboard and give him medical treatment for prolonged exposure, malnutrition – and a gunshot wound.

The man says his name is Thomas Anderson. He says he’s come from the research station on the ice-bound island of Utgard, two hundred kilometres south. And the tale he tells is the most extraordinary story the crew of the Terra Nova have ever heard.

I’m reminded of the Charlie Brooker series Black Mirror (which, incidentally, had one of the greatest, creepiest Christmas episodes which is probably why I’m drawing comparisons) I’m looking forward to curling up with it in the dark evenings!

I think my favourite thing about Book and a Brew is the commitment to hardbacks. I very rarely buy a hardback for myself, predominantly for cost reasons, and it’s bee nice to see my pile of hardbacks growing recently. I’m aiming to get a small display bookcase for my hallway in the new year to display them because there’s something wonderful about having a neat line of hardback books out for everyone to see!

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Book and A Brew: November Box


This was my second box from Book and a Brew and I’ve been waiting for it for it seems like much longer than a month! But it was worth the wait as this one was absolutely stunning. The picture doesn’t do this cover justice, in the light there are gold threads in the peacock’s feathers and the lack of dust jacket reminds me of a scrapbook that has been painted. As usual Book and a Brew have included an introduction to the book and tea:

A fugitive train loaded with the plunder of a doomed people. A dazzling jewelled pendant in the form of a stylized peacock. And three men – an American infantry captain in World War II, an Israeli-born dealer in art stolen by the Nazis, and a pioneering psychiatrist in fin-de-siecle Budapest – who find their carefully-wrought lives turned upside-down by three fierce women, each locked in a struggle against her own history and the history of our times. And at the centre of Love and Treasure, nested like a photograph hidden in a locket, a mystery: where does the worth of a people and its treasures truly lie? What is the value of a gift, when giver and recipient have been lost – of a love offering when the beloved is no more?

The tea was delicious, I definitely enjoy a stronger earl grey than the regular stuff (one of my biggest qualms about travelling across America was that the only tea option was earl grey) but this stuff was delicious. A very slight hint of liquorice. And it went with the tea so well.


I really love this subscription and I wish there was the option to have it more frequently than once a month!

A Book and a Brew

I wish I could take credit for the title of this post because I do think it’s brilliant. Sadly, I can’t as it’s the name of a subscription service I stumbled across recently. It was a happy accident, as I was actually looking for UK-friendly equivalent to Owl Crate (mentioned or reblogged, I think, by the lovely Lady Bookmad on Tumblr) and after going round the metaphorical houses I found Book and a Brew.

A Book and a Brew is a monthly subscription service where you receive a hardback novel and a box of tea to drink alongside it. And if there’s anything in the world I love as much as books it’s tea. So I signed straight up.

My favourite (but not my only) teapot. My collection isn't quite matching my book one yet!
My favourite (but not my only) teapot. My collection isn’t quite matching my book one yet!

Firstly, I should talk about the service I received. Thanks to some confusion involving PayPal I originally signed up using an address I no longer live at. Entirely my fault, but within 24 hours of emailing Book and a Brew’s customer service to explain they had replied saying they’d amended my subscription and not to worry. Phew!

So, to the actual subscription. Packages are dispatched on the 15th of every month, so signing up beforehand is essential so you don’t miss it. I received mine on the 17th (Luckily, as it was a Saturday and I was home to take it from the postman!) so delivery was pretty speedy! The box was far too big for a letterbox, but given that it contains more than a hardback book I wasn’t surprised.

Rooms by Lauren Oliver and popcorn tea from Teapigs
Rooms by Lauren Oliver and popcorn tea from Teapigs

This month, unsurprisingly, was Halloween themed with my package coming with a card that explained the link between the book and the tea. Rooms by Lauren Oliver is, in part, a ghost story and what could go better with a ghost story but popcorn? I’m an utter whimp when it comes to horror films and I hate popcorn but weirdly I love horror books and this tea was delicious. The mix was adorable and really well thought out.

Incidentally, and by complete stroke of luck, Lauren Oliver is an author I already love. Panic is probably my favourite of hers but I really enjoyed the Delirium series when I read them a few years ago (in the midst of my love affair with YA dystopian fiction). So I was pleasantly surprised that my first package from Book and a Brew contained a book by an author I already liked, but hadn’t already read.

So, I’m really impressed with my first box and I’m looking forward to next month. I’m still jealous of the range of book subscription services available in the US but for now this is filling the void!

Also, my cat very much loves the box.

Nuha models my Book and a Brew delivery!
Nuha models my Book and a Brew delivery!