October 25, 2020

New Products Reviewed

We Test It, We Review It. Hands-on, Every Time.

The Book Resort book subscription service

Shauna McCrudden reviews the new Irish service, The Book Resort which is every book lovers dream come true

Intro 

Since being in lockdown, I’ve had a lot more time to myself. I have gone through a significant number of films and TV shows and have already read a full stack of books. However,  I have found myself wanting a better selection of books than I have. I see that big old copy of Moby Dick staring at me every time I’m contemplating a new read (I know I’ll have to get through it someday), but what I really wanted was a brand new book. But what is good to read? A new monthly book delivery could help with this question. 

I started to look around and while there were a few American book services available, there seemed to only be one Irish service. So I placed my order and got my first monthly box. Here is how I got on:

Pros/Cons 

Pros

+ Beautifully packaged

+ Supports Irish businesses

+ New book chosen for you

+ Includes a few little treats alongside the book

+ Free delivery

Cons

– A little on the expensive side

Inside The Book Resort box

Review

When my book box was delivered, it felt like a little gift to myself. According to the Book Resort’s website, they are a book subscription and gift box service based in Ireland. Every box you receive includes a luxury box with a brand new book, a bar of chocolate, and an artisan surprise from a small Irish business, all wrapped together in gold paper. They can also include a handwritten card, designed by an Irish artist with a personalised message if you wish. 

Set up by Aisling Finn and based in Waterford, the book box can be a lovely gift for someone in isolation. The boxes cost €27 for a monthly subscription and €30 for a one-time gift box. There are advance subscriptions, kids boxes with the latest kids’ books, and bespoke options where you get to specifically choose what you get.

The great book

Since I have only tried out one box so far, I can’t say for sure whether every book sent out is interesting or a particularly good choice. But the book I received, Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce, was a great choice for me!

The book is about a woman called Alison. On the surface, it seems like she has everything, a loving husband and daughter and she has just been given her first murder case to defend as a defense attorney, so her career is on the up. But beneath the happy exterior is a woman who is falling apart. She drinks too much, she neglects her family and is having an affair. And while her murder client appears guilty, there is something very off about her story. And to make matters worse, someone knows Alison’s secrets and wants to make her pay.

It’s a very twisty psychological thriller that I genuinely did not want to stop reading. The mystery aspect works well with the legal side which is based on truth as the author practiced as a criminal barrister for nearly a decade. There’s so much tension I felt I was clenching my teeth all the way through! With the occasionally unsympathetic characters, ambiguous motives and clear misogyny expressed by some characters in the book, I felt the way I was when reading The Girl on the Train, which is always a good thing. I give it Four out of Five Stars, as, despite the well-written story, the ending was a bit of a letdown. 

The Irish treats

To help you feel relaxed and pampered while reading, the box includes some Irish products – a chocolate bar and a special surprise. Past treats include chocolate from The Chocolate Garden of Ireland, Lir, and Sweet Living. While the surprises have had products from The Moher Soap Company and Lovato Candles.

In this box came a caramel milk chocolate bar from Kerry-based chocolatiers, Lorge. The chocolate is handmade from quality ingredients and if I’m being truthful, the bar didn’t even last until I opened the first page. It was absolutely delicious! 

The surprise was the Nía Calendula and Orange Blossom Facial Cleansing Balm. I have used this Irish-made cleanser twice now (I’m not wearing a lot of make-up these days!), and both times it left my skin feeling incredibly clean and soft. I have acne-prone skin so I’m always wary of new skincare products, but this works really well and smells divine. My only issue was that the instructions on the back of the product say to use the spatula and cleansing cloth provided and their website says those come with the balm but were unfortunately not provided here. It didn’t affect how I put it on or took it off, but it was interesting that they are apparently supposed to come with it.

The special treats were the cherry on top of the already entertaining read. And as I hadn’t heard of the Irish brands before, it made me check them out and order more from these Irish-grown businesses. 

The pretty packaging

The box itself is a pretty sight and I can see why these would be great to send as gifts. The black box opens up with a copy of The Happy News by Emily Coxhead. This newspaper is created to ‘celebrate all that’s good in the world’. Some stories include Finland giving dads the same parental leave as mums, falls in HIV transmission rates and reforms to help people in poverty. It’s a little light in the darkness of these days where it seems there is only bad news – here you can celebrate all the good things that are happening!

The book, the chocolate, and surprise are wrapped up neatly underneath this in a golden wrapping paper, making the opening of the box even more special. Even though I bought this for myself, it felt like a gift from a loved one, and what’s more special than that?

Verdict

I am so impressed with this book subscription service that I have now signed up for the monthly subscription. I had my doubts with the price as it is €27 per box, but when you put it together, the book is priced at €11.20 in Easons right now, the chocolate bar is €3.50 and the Nía balm is priced at €24.95. So you are actually saving over €12 by getting the box!

I would definitely recommend gifting this box to any book lover in your life. Imagine their face when they receive a carefully wrapped package filled with comforting treats and a brand new book to get them through the next week or two. Now that’s truly priceless.

I give this product FIVE out of Five stars. 

Additional Info 

Find the Book Resort’s subscription service on thebookresort.ie

Speaking of good reads, we also have reviewed some of the best books of the past year here: http://newproductsreviewed.com/other/top-five-books-of-the-past-year-everyone-should-read/

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