Saturday, February 20, 2016

Treat Yo Self: A Review of the Ever After Box

Subscription Box services seem to have their own cult-like following.  You subscribe to a plan and every month, depending on the theme of the service, you can revel in your Geekdom, try new snack foods, or get cool pet or cosmetic products.  There seems to be a little something for everybody out there.

The Ever After Box is the brain-child of three romance authors, Jeannie Lin, Shawntelle Madison and Amanda Berry.  I took part in a "focus group" for this concept back at RWA 2015 where Jeannie admitted to loving the various boxes she subscribed to.  Plus, being a bit of a Swag Queen (Jeannie always has great swag at conferences....), the fact that she thought a romance genre theme box would go over well isn't exactly a shock.  They offered to send reviewers a sample box once they got the service up and running and I, of course, jumped at the chance.  My review box happens to be the second box they've ever done, the themed Sweet Tooth box that went out to subscribers in February.

I got an e-mail notification that my box had shipped and it literally arrived in two days.  So delivery was very quick.  The box itself is the size of a small shoebox.  It's well packaged and everything arrived in great condition with no shifting around during shipment.

The box itself came with this cool card that gives details on everything inside the box. 

A print copy of Sweet Disorder by Rose Lerner w/ bookmark
A free download of All for You by Laura Florand
A cookie cutter and cookie recipe from Elisabeth @ Cooking Up Romance
Cupcake themed tarot cards from author Mindy Klasky promoting her Fright Court series
Necco Sweethearts conversation candy hearts
A strudel and spice scented candle
A bath bomb shaped like a cupcake

Cost for a one month subscription is $29.99 (this includes shipping), and there are slightly cheaper 3-month and 6-month plans.  Currently the service is only shipping within the US, although they're investigating international shipping options.

Is it worth it?  It depends on how much you like swag.  Some readers LOVE it, and some could care less.  Retail price on the books (without discounts) is currently $20.99.  What I personally like about this is the idea that you can "treat yo self" and give yourself a little bit of Christmas morning all year around.  I had no idea what was actually going to be in this box before I opened it.  I just knew the theme was "Sweet Tooth."  I really liked how they tied this theme in to cover cotemporary, historical and paranormal romance - and that subscribers got both print and downloadable titles.  My opinion on swag varies depending on what it is.  The better the swag, the more I like it.  And I thought this was a really well-thought out box.

Would I order a plan for myself?  Possibly.  I've been pretty consistently attending RWA conferences for many years, so I usually get my swag fix there.  Also, things like this always boil down to disposable income for me and if I can beat my Frugal Midwestern Tendencies into the nearest corner.  So the answer is - it depends.  If I wanted to give myself a pick-me-up and get surprised by mystery books?  In a hot minute - especially if the monthly theme intrigues (and Sweet Tooth is a great monthly theme).

So yes, mileage is going to vary here.  It honestly boils down to what type of reader you are.  I think it's a cute idea and there are even gift card options if you want to treat friends or have a blog contest you're cooking up.  Nothing is ever universally loved by everybody, but I think this is a fun idea for romance readers and it's nice to see a book-themed subscription box that caters to the genre, designed by people who truly know, "get" and understand the genre.

Final Grade = B+


azteclady said...

I think the first requirement for any of these box subscription services to work, is to enjoy surprises. I don't, so the mere idea of someone else choosing a book for me, gives me hives.

Wendy said...

AL: I like surprises when I know they're "good surprises." But yeah, I hear you. I know people who LOATHE Christmas and birthdays because the idea of surprise gifts sets their teeth on edge. So you're not alone.

Funny story: I used to by my niece books as gifts but by the time she was 7 or 8 she told me "I like to pick out my own books Aunt Wendy" - and it's been gift cards ever since. I miss shopping for her, but really - how can I argue with that sentiment?

azteclady said...

I am a firm believer of the awesomeness of gift cards, as you can imagine.

And yay for you taking your niece's sentiment in stride.

(All my family knows I prefer choosing my own gifts, thanks so much, but instead, they'll always choose according to their tastes, and add a passive-aggressive comment to the gift. God love them.)