Mundie Moms

Friday, January 22, 2016

UPPERCASE BOX: A Monthly Book Box Subscription / Review #uppercasebox

One of the best things about being a book blogger is being able to feature books. I have a weakness when it comes to books. It doesn't matter if my shelves are overflowing with books, I feel like I can never have enough books. Along with my love of books, are book related items. I've been long time picture stalker of all the beautiful pictures that bloggers share of their book subscriptions. You know the ones. The cute pictures of a box with a book, and a few other book goodies with it. 

I've looked into getting a subscription or two before, but there are a lot of book subscriptions to choose from. Uppercase Box is one I've looked into a few times, and they seem to be one of the most popular among book fans. This month, I finally had the chance to check out their subscription! During my looking around, Lisa, from Uppercase Box reached out to me about the possibility of reviewing January's subscription. Having idea I had been looking into her monthly book box subscription, I immediately jumped on this opportunity. Honestly, Lisa's email to me came at the right moment, because I had been extremely interested in checking out her subscriptions, but had previously signed up with another subscription company. Now that I've received this one, and the other one, I now know why readers love Uppercase Box!  

I am in LOVE with January's Uppercase Box! Now I why readers love this subscription so much! January's box came with everything you see pictured above; A signed copy of Truthwitch (which I LOVED and reviewed here), a map from Truthwitch, these adorable book nerd socks, a personal note, and a color book, which I know my daughter probably already has in her possession. This box is a WIN-WIN!! If you've been like me, and have been on the fence about signing up with Uppercase Box, I definitely recommend signing up with them! Lisa has been amazing to talk, and the box of book goodies is awesome! I know it's a leap of faith to wait on a box that you have no idea what will be in it, but this box came with everything I loved! 


In every box, subscribers receive a YA book we've personally read and recommended, one to two bookish bonus items, a handwritten letter explaining our selection, access to exclusive author content and a Goodreads group to discuss the book.

Uppercase boxes ship the 15th. Some additional background info:

Uppercase started in August 2014, and we've selected some great YA books so far. You can check out our past boxes


We offer three options: Expert, Personalized and Book Exclusive box. The Expert box is $23 a month and includes a recently published YA book we think everyone will enjoy. The Personalized box is $29 a month and we pick a book based on the subscribers personal tastes. The Book Exclusive box is $17 a month offers the same book content and publisher-provided goodies as the Expert box, just without the bookish items.


I've been a part of the YA community for almost 5 years through my YA book blog, Read.Breathe.Relax. I personally read and recommend all Uppercase box books, and I absolutely love sharing my passion of books with my subscribers.

Thank you to Lisa, of Uppercase Box, for this month's box! * I received this box in exchange for my honest product review.

Shadowhunters TV Series: Episode 2: The Descent Into Hell Is Easy / Review

*Series SPOILERS Mentioned*

Shadowhunters episode 2, "The Descent Into Hell Is Easy," picks up right where the pilot left off. While I was disappointed in last week's pilot (you can read my review for episode 1 here), this week showed small signs of an overall improvement. Maybe it helped that I went into watching Episode 2 with no expectations at all, vs having a lot of expectations last week. The writing for Episode Two is better than the pilot, and was written by Holly Overton.

Let's talk about the things I liked about this episode. I enjoyed the Simon and Jace banter. In the books, their banter and love/hate relationship is something I enjoy and I was glad to see it here. Alec is spot on in many scenes, very close to the grouchy, rule-following Alec of the books. His hostility toward mundanes and Downworlders provides some of the few comic moments of the show. Like when he referred to Simon as an "it" during that City of Bones scene. His disdain for outsiders Simon and Clary is characteristic of early Alec from the books. It's nice to see it portrayed in this episode; like when he's forcing himself to accept Clary for Jace's sake, but without any tolerance for Simon.  The Izzy and Simon scenes were good as well. I really loved the Izzy and Clary moment, when Izzy is giving her a pep talk. 

 Out of all the characters, I feel like Alec and Simon are the closest to the book characters brought to life. I really want to say that about Jace and Clary. Is it just me or do Alec and Clary have more chemistry than Jace and Clary? I tried to figure out why that was, and realized that it's because Alec hates Clary, which is at least a strong emotion. Jace doesn't appear to feel anything for her that is explicable or logical. Not that love is logical, but it's built on a foundation of shared experiences, discussions, and moments, none of which are present here. I'm missing my Jace and Clary moments from the book. Their characters have been written so awkwardly for the show and unfortunately as Jace and Clary are the heart of the books, it's currently ruining the series for me. No, it's not the actors. We've seen proof of the cast chemistry via the videos that have been shared from the set. Actors can only do so much with the script they're given and unfortunately the awkward dialogue and terrible speeches, continue to destroy scenes that should otherwise have an emotional impact.

Episode two is very much a transitional episode. Not much happens and we spend a little more time with the characters. In the end, Simon is kidnapped and Clary learns Valentine is her father. Both these events made me very nervous as there are good reasons both these things happen later in the books. If Simon becomes a vampire this early, we never know and come to love human Simon, and we will never mourn for his loss or feel the emotion his transition into a vamp is meant to evoke. Those unfamiliar with the books also have no understanding of Valentine currently and no understanding of what it means that he's Clary's father. It also means that the show will have to play through the complexity of having everyone in the Institute find out that Valentine is Clary's father before they have ever known or come to trust her, a huge change from the books and one I lack the confidence, I'm sorry to say, to believe they can pull off. It's another massive blow to not just Clary's relationship with Jace, but her relationships with each of the Lightwoods. 

Now let's talk about the technology. This is a change I understand, and could work if written correctly. In the books, the Shadowhunters are a race of warriors who are on the verge of dying out. They operate very differently than what we've seen in the series so far. They lack technology and rely on training, and what they've been taught, to survive. How they are changed by having all this technology is something the show has failed to show so far. If they have all this technology, and understand how to use it, how does Jace not know what a G.I. Joe is? Yes, that stood out to me. I get that they had to change his comment about what's an eBay (which is in the books), but changing it to what's a G.I. Joe was a downgrade and not funny. 
Maybe it's just me, but having technology I would except them to have some mode of transportation. So far we know they can glamor themselves, and go through portals to get places. Do the Shadowhunters own a car, a bike, a subway pass or anything?  We know Luke has a police vehicle, and Simon has his van. 

Also horrid, Valentine's hide out. What in the world is he doing in Chernobyl? Don't get me wrong, Valentine's character is brutal and spot on so far, but I can't take him seriously when I know he's "hiding out" in Chernobyl. It's hard not to find it funny. Let's talk about Hodge's character! It's great that he's younger. He is supposed to have gone to school with Valentine after all. But why oh why is he cursed with a curse that means that he can't talk about the Circle? The Clave put a curse on him that means they can't ever interrogate him for useful information? Why would anyone do that? It's an unfortunate example of the fact that when you start destroying existing world-building, you need to replace it with something that makes more or equal sense, or you'll wind up with nonsense.

It seems to me that being a fan of the books has given me an advantage over those unfamiliar with the material: I know what's going on in the series because I can fill in the information the show is failing to give me. If I watch the series pretending I know nothing, it's down right confusing. Things aren't adding up, and while I realize it's only episode 2, there are things that should already be explained. When Alec says "That would break the Accords" when Jace suggests intervening when Simon is being threatened, it's a problem because "the Accords" means nothing to a newcomer. They could infer that maybe it's a treaty, but the actual depth and meaning of the Accords is lost. It doesn't help that the writers don't appear to know what the Accords are either, given that preventing Raphael from hurting Simon doesn't break the Accords and wouldn't break any reasonable treaty. It's unfortunate that Alec appears to be spouting off some nonsense that will frustrate those who know the books and confuse those who don't. Speaking of Raphael, I loved his, "Tick-tock people", comment. I'm looking forward to seeing more of him in the series.

In the end, I'm a fan of the cast and their chemistry, and a fan of the few times I feel like I'm catching a glimmer of what I cared about in the books, or a faint sign of something that seems familiar or like it's going somewhere. (Unlike the entire Dot plot line. Dot was a hard change to accept at first, but I liked her, however now that seems pointless to have introduced her and killed her off so quickly. It seemed to steal a lot of action from Magnus and ultimately ended with nothing when Valentine sliced off her head, in one of two scenes of women being brutally murdered in this episode alone). I just don't know if it's enough. I'm hoping the next episode will be a further improvement. I've decided to treat this series like I would a book. If I'm not into the book by chapter 3, at the latest, I'm picking up a new book. If this series doesn't win me over by episode 3, I may have to move on to something different. I really, really, really hope, that's not the case.