Once Upon a Book Club - Past_Boxes_Adult_2021
Hover over the photo of the wrapped gifts to see the complete unboxing underneath!

June Box

You May Say I'm a Dreamer

images by @The_Bookish_Runner

    Reset by Sarina Dahlan
  • Page 19
    "The next scene unfolds as if it is from one of the films. The fedora man approaches the angry man slowly and deliberately. The angry man steps back until his body hits a column of the building. For a moment, Aris wonders if he is going to hurt the newcomer. In a quick move, the man in the fedora grabs his hand as if wanting to shake it. Instead, he puts a silver bangle on the angry man's wrist. Instantly, the angry man becomes silent and still as the column behind him. His rage dissipates into the air like smoke."
    - a silver hinge bracelet.
  • Page 53
    "'I brought you something even better.' Benja hands her a package. Aris unwraps it and reveals a small desertscape painting. Her face breaks into a wide smile."
    - a beautiful, desertscape art print.
  • Page 68
    "The notes transition. A familiar tune. The one she asked Lucy to wake her with each morning since she first heard it. Luce. She sighs and leans back in her seat. The spring inside her unwinds. The rhythm of the song slows down her pulse and she closes her eyes."
    - A QR Code that links the reader to the song that was the authors' inspiration for Luce.
  • Page 73
    "She goes to the restroom and brings out a candle she uses during baths. Benja is at her side at once. She places it on the table and lights it, sending the calming scent of lavender into the air. She takes the piece of blue paper and holds it over the flame. Benja sucks in a breath. His eyes stare unblinking. A corner of the paper curls and a burning smell rises. She raises the paper. She needs to find that perfect place between answer and ash. Brown lines slowly appear, one by one, until words form."
    - a gorgeous speckled candle jar containing a candle, and a blue folded paper crane meant to be burned to reveal the message included in the book.
  • Page 263
    "In his hand is an old book with a cover so tattered she can barely see the words. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He opens the book and reads a passage. Suddenly, a bright light shines up from the book, bathing the room in white, like the inside of a hospital."
    - a wooden book wrapped in custom paper reading, 'Love in the Time of Cholera' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, that when opened reveals a beautiful, warm swath of light.

May Box

Madame Moustache

images by @The_Bookish_Runner

    A Betting Woman by Jenni L. Walsh
  • Page 39
    "I smiled to myself. Between two of the men's scraggly faces, a mirror hung. I saw my smile. Life's timing was fortuitous, because there, I also saw the comforting likeness of my sister. 'Miss?' a man asked. I picked only him to focus on. 'You will play?' His smile showed a blackened tooth. 'Play with you?' I wished for gloves as I palmed the deck. 'Do you see anyone else sitting here, monsieur, brandishing a set of cards?"
    - a custom printed, elegant, waterproof deck of cards
  • Page 75
    "I heard the scratch of his brush slowing, as if he was performing final touches. 'Well?' He finessed one spot more, then turned the canvas around. I laughed, even while my forehead creased and I fought the urge to run from embarrassment. 'You've removed all my underclothes?!'"
    - a beautiful art print.
  • Page 197
    "In that moment, I felt as if no one could. I rolled the dice. It was clear my mountain men enjoyed chuck-a-luck, but it was my vingt-et-un they loved, that they asked for."
    - a custom designed game board and all necessary pieces to play Chuck-a-Luck
  • Page 218
    "The hair on Gerald's face was stuck between clean-shaven and a beard. He reeked of alcohol, the smell even greater than the nearby livestock. His clothing was the same as the evening before. I'd put him in his forties, but he wasn't aging well. 'Bonjour.' I did not break stride. However, I twisted my parasol to my other side to keep an eye on him.'"
    - a polka-dot parasol umbrella.

April Box

Oh Darling, Let's Be Adventurers

images by @The_Bookish_Runner

    Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher
  • Page 110
    "We swam through tunnels and one dark cave. I gripped Luca's hand tightly. It was like being in another world completely. I could feel the history of the island bubbling up as liquid rock from the ocean. Around us, spires emerged from the ocean floor. We skirted along the bottom, finding sponges and more fish, a squid, patches of coral, even something Lucas wrote was a flamingo tongue snail. The bottom was littered with shells. Lucas produced a mesh bag, and we put some interesting ones into it."
    - a mesh fresh produce bag.
  • Page 156
    "'You're up, and I need your song. Or do you wanna pass?' I wanted to pass. I really wanted to pass. I glanced behind me. The light was spinning around the room, illuminating random faces in the crowd. It caught on Lucas for an instant. He was looking right at me and he nodded. I thought of what he'd said to me - just have fun. 'Do you have Dancing Queen?' The DJ scoffed. 'Of course! I have everything ABBA ever wrote. Classic choice.' He handed me the microphone. 'Knock 'em dead.' I blew out a long breath as I stepped on to the stage clutching the microphone."
    - a rose gold, bluetooth microphone.
  • Page 245
    "Felix's gaze settled on the coconut water. It was perfectly normal. The little carton. The straw. Oh my God, the ring around the straw. There was a ring around the straw."
    - a holigraphic rainbow, reusable rubber and steel straw with carrying case and cleaning rod. Around the straw is a rose gold and cz ring.
  • Page 325
    "He held up his fist in front of me and opened it. There in his palm was a perfect pearl, white and lustrous like bridal silk, but it was set in the middle of a simple golden disc hanging from a delicate chain. I picked it up between my fingers. 'Is this what I think it is?' 'Well you can't find treasure and leave it behind.'"
    - a gold seashell pendant with a pearl set into the shell.

March Box

The Secret Poison Shop

images by @The_Bookish_Runner

    The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
  • Page 41
    "I walked to a shelf behind Eliza and retreived the small, milk-colored dish. Resting inside were four brown hen's eggs, two of them slighly larger than the others. I set the dish of eggs onto the table. 'Eggs,' Eliza whispered, jolting me from my reverie. She looks up at me confused. 'You have a chicken that lays poisonous eggs?'"
    - a small ceramic dish and three wooden eggs.
  • Page 158
    "Nella paused at my words, the quill in her hand. But without replying, she placed the nib to parchment and began to write. 'Miss Berwell. Mistress to, cousin of, the Lord Clarence. Cantharides. 9 Febrary 1791. On account of his wife, the Lady Clarence.' On the last mark, she held the nib to the paper and exhaled, and I felt sure tears were imminent. Finally, she set the quill on its side, and a gentle roll of thunder rumbled somewhere outside."
    - a stylus quill.
  • Page 222
    "'Very unsafe, this one,' he said holding up the vial. 'If you've got kids, I suggest you toss it altogether. Isn't the first time I've dealt with accidental ingestion of this stuff.'"
    - a bottle of eucalyptus oil.
  • Page 301
    "I clutched the vial to my chest. Eliza must have done the same while standing on Blackfriars Bridge, not far from here. Raising the vial above my head, I thrust it forward to the water with as much strength as my arm allowed. I watched as the bottle made an arc upward and over the water, then splashed gently in the far depths of the Thames."
    - a glass apothecary reed diffuser bottle.

February Box

The Snowbound Mystery

images by @The_Bookish_Runner

    Shiver by Allie Reynolds
  • Page 152
    "The floorboards seem to wobble beneath me and I have to grip the bunk before I fall down. There on top of the folded pile of clothes lies Saskia's lift pass. My hand shakes as I pick it up. He shouldn't have this."
    - a custom printed lanyard and ski pass.
  • Page 198
    "I study her, hoping her amusement is due to surprise rather than the demise of Jacinta's season. She reaches into her pocket and pulls out a black scrap of cloth. 'You mean this?' I notice the symbol in the corner - the white lightning bolt of Electric eyewear. 'Hey, that's my goggle cloth.' 'I found it in the pipe where poor Jacinta fell. You dropped it right on top of her.'"
    - a custom pair of snowboarding goggles with the quotes from the book printed on it.
  • Page 313
    "Curtis bolts from the room. Left in the dark, the rest of us have no choice but to hurry after him. Around the corner, the music is louder. Oh God, I know this song. It's the one Saskia used to love: the Killers' 'Somebody Told Me.' Heather sucks in her breath, clearly recognizing it, too. We reach the stairs that lead up to the function room and once again I smell perfume. Dread pools inside me."
    - a custom poured black orchid and vanilla perfume inspired by Saskia's perfume.
  • Page 318
    "Hardly aware of what I'm doing, I make coffee. Behind me, she continues dressing. I shouldn't do this, but I'm going to. I hand her the coffee and wait until she finishes it. 'I hope you break your neck,' I say."
    - a black digital thermos for hot or cold beverages with an internal tea strainer.

January Box

From the Pages of History

images by @The_Bookish_Runner

    Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson
  • Page 19
    "'Got something for you.' 'What is it?' I sat cross-legged with my skirt pulled down over my feet. 'Close your eyes and no peeking.' I could hear him rummaging around. 'Now, open them.' My lids blinked open to see Essex holding up two leather strips. Hanging from each was a wooden carving of a half a heart. 'This one for you.' He took one of the necklaces and tied it around my neck. 'Just a little something to hold us over till I can marry you properly and get us 'ways from here."
    - a set of two wooden half-heart pendants on black cord.
  • Page 93
    "'Well, Pheby, I brought you something.' He took a few steps toward me and held out his hand. Inside there was a thimble. Silver, shiny, and quite honestly the most beautiful thing anyone had ever given me."
    - a silver thimble.
  • Page 125
    "I sat on the edge of the bed, trying my best to take in my new situation. When I stood to leave for my shed something caught the corner of my eye: a dusty leather-bound book on the nightstand near the far wall. I had not been near a book insce I arrived at the jail. I listened for footsteps. My heartbeat increased as I turned the book over in my hand. The cover read Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. When I opened it, I had to press the leaves down a few times at the front and then the back for it to fully spring to life."
    - a custom, exclusive edition of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.
  • Page 258
    "I ran my fingers over my dress. 'What did he say?' 'Where the yella wife wit' the medicine?' My stomach quieted down. He had not betrayed our connection. Elsie placed the laundered shirts on the table and then headed out of the shed. Instead of carrying my whole medicine bag to Essex, I thought it best to hide a few things in my pockets. The brown jarl a blam I'd made with black elder, peppermint, and ginger for when the girls came down with fever; sliced onion; and some bread."
    - a dark jar filled with Miss Pheby's Peppermint Lavender Salt Rub.