Lit-Cube August 2015 “Home Sweet Oz” Book Subscription Review Plus September Theme

Lit-Cube is a subscription box that sends books and bookish goodies each month. While I love my Kindle, I’ve always been a big reader and I resisted that invention for a long time. I insisted that the smell of books and the turning of pages was far superior to a piece of electronics. Weeell…. I don’t say those things any more but that doesn’t mean that I don’t still love a good book.

The Cost: $29.98/month

What You Get: A hand selected book accompanied by high quality literary-themed items to create a great reading experience.

Spelled by Betsy Schow– This is an interesting glom of fairy tales, classic children’s lit and modern day appropriations.

“Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.
Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks―like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the not-so-charming prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.
Talk about unhappily ever after.
Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called “Kansas.” Now it’s up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse…before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.”

My Thoughts (Spoilers Ahead):

I love the fairy tale aspect. I love the twist on the Wizard of Oz tale but I did feel I kept being jerked out of the story by modern day allusions to 1Direction and Louboutins. They were cute but the problem was that I would think “oh, cute” or in the case of 1D “you’re joking, right?” I like to immerse myself in a fantasy but the references kept me from being able to do so.

Other issues were character-development related. Dorthea Emerald is the princess. She’s trapped in her house because of a prophecy involving the line of Emerald indicates that one descendant will burn down the whole world.
Through a series of unusual events, she is tossed out into the world with a prince/dog/chimera and a maid/frog/girl. For some unexplained reason, the maid/frog/girl hates Dorthea.  I felt we were given no insight into the relationship(indeed, if there even was one), her plight or her character. She’s just a bratty girl who was a maid in the palace.
Dorthea doesn’t seem offensive enough to warrant the behavior displayed toward her even with her love of haute couture. And that problem lingers throughout the book. Even at the end, the attitudes don’t make sense. There wasn’t enough depth to any of the characters to really root for one over the other.

This is a fun book. It’s definitely YA, probably more on the young side of YA. With that audience the flaws won’t matter. It’s a really cute story even if you don’t get to bond with the characters. The language and writing style are excellent. I definitely think this is an author to watch. If you’ve got a young daughter, she’ll probably love it. I do think it’s most helpful to have read all (or most) of Frank L. Baum’s books. This is not based on the movie but on the books. I suggest reading Ozma of Oz.

STCHandmade Oz Inspired Origami Necklace– This is adorable. A Wizard of Oz fanatic would love this origami heart necklace. It’s made from an old book page and is coated with a several layers of water-based finish. This is a wonderful and truly “bookish” item.
Value: $16

Oz Inspired Bookmark– Heh. This is actually funny. It’s the Wicked Witch’s legs. And when you use it as a bookmark it looks like your book is the house that fell on her and her legs are sticking out from it.

Lollipop– What’s a munchkin with out a lollipop?! Not tasty but a fun addition nevertheless.

Contagious Covers 11 x 17 Dorothy Poster– Contagious Reads is a blog about books. Well, reviews of books. But they are also apparently into posters. Hence this one. It says “Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.”
Value: $10

RT Book Reviews Magazine– At first I was going to brush this off as ads. It has ads but even better it has piles of reviews of all kinds of books. New books! I already put a bunch on my hold list at the library and I haven’t even gotten through half of it! So many new authors!
Value: $2.99
I thought these were book downloads but they aren’t. However, I looked them up and they look interesting and are in the same vein as Spelled. They’re fractured/flipped/rewrites of fairy tales. If you’ve got Kindle Unlimited, you can read them for free.

VERDICT: Lit-Cube is a great way to be introduced to new authors. I’ve really appreciated that. “Spelled” was a fun, cotton candy read. The bookish goodies are really stellar. Maybe the best I’ve seen so far in a book subscription. The necklace is a wonderful addition. I do wish that there weren’t so many bookmarks as filler, though.

One thing I’ve noticed about Lit-Cube is that the age-level of books tend to be all over the place. Last month, we were sent a novella suited for a pre-teen and a definitely “not YA” romance novella.

Lit-Cube tends to send new and/or up and coming authors. Ones you won’t find at the library but you will find on Amazon. I don’t mind reading self-published books or ones from small publishers but I do like the quality to be there. Spelled was a great choice, I think. Only one spelling error that I noticed (poured instead of pored- yes, I am that person). It’s also a good, clean read and suitable for all ages.
That said, I would really like to see a firm commitment to an age level. I’m not really fond of getting a book for a 12 year old and then a book for a mature audience. I think when you try to cater to too broad of an audience, you’re going to lose something. Most forty year olds aren’t going to want to read a book at a 7th grade reading level. And most mothers of 14 year olds would not be happy with their kid reading books with graphic sex.

Lit-Cube has started a new subscription called Lit-Cube Junior and that may solve some of the issues with the spread. Although it’s for 8-12 year olds who are reading chapter books at a middle school level. Now *that* sounds like something perfect for kids who love to read. Hm, maybe I should sign up to see what kids get. You can sign up for Lit-Cube Junior right here. The theme is “Magic, Mystery and Mayhem.”

If you would like to sign up for Lit-Cube, you can do that here. If you get it within the next 7 days, you’ll be in for the September “Royals” box! Soooo many options for that!