Thursday, July 11, 2013

Handpicked Words Review and GIVEAWAY! (updated 7/22 with coupon code)

Summertime is an INSANE time here at my household.  Between the end of school, Vacation Bible School (running one and carpooling to several others), beach days, barbecues, and simply having both kids home; it's a non-stop rush here!

A couple weeks ago, I was contacted by the lovely Dani from Hand Picked Words.  Dani has started a NEW monthly subscription box, and she asked me to review it, and has sponsored a giveaway for one of my lucky Only Average readers!

Hand Picked Words is a different kind of subscription, a book-lovers box; it's a collection of e-books that arrive monthly via e-mail.  It contains FOUR books and TWO short pieces, all new and published by Hand Picked Words, which is also a small indie press.  While they currently only offer a "general" box, the company will be branching out with genre specific boxes in the near future- you can pre-order a Romance box, a Sci-Fi box, or a Foodie book box; and once they become available you will be on the list to receive the very first one!  The subscription is just $15 a month, and currently offers a free sample box called Slightly Spooky Stories (you don't even need to enter a credit card!).  In addition to their monthly story collection box, Hand Picked Words also offers a weekly mini-cookbook subscription, where you get a new mini-cookbook each week!  While cooking is SO not my thing, I do think that this is a great idea, and totally worth the $15 a month!

Hand Picked Words also offers a love-it guarantee- if you hate a collection so much that you just didn't enjoy any of it, all you need to do is e-mail them and they will refund your monthly charge.  You can also skip a month or cancel  at any time, just by sending their customer service department an e-mail.

I have always been an avid reader, and I think this sub is an awesome idea!  Instead of heading over to my local library, I can read these e-books on my tablet, ipod touch, Kindle, or laptop- anywhere I like.  I am always looking for something new to read; something different- and this sub provides exactly that.  I am SO grateful that Dani contacted me and turned me on to this awesome monthly subscription!

If you want to try this one on your own, Dani will be giving me a discount code for your first box- stay tuned for the code as I will post it here very soon.

Monthly Digital Book Box Subscription

Alright, enough gushing about Hand Picked Words- On to my review of the books (and I'll try really hard to keep it spoiler free!)!!

Photo is from my e-mail of the ebooks, from Hand Picked Words
The first book I chose to read is the one I thought I would enjoy the least: Butter Yourself Up by Danica Stone.  Before I began reading this, my thoughts were, "How can I read a cookbook?" I shouldn't have worried, though- this isn't a cookbook in it's own right- it's a book about meal planning, reducing your meal budget, and contained a ton of food facts that I (yes, non-cooking me!) found interesting and vital.  It's totally changed my outlook on food- especially the guide towards the end of the book that goes over what organic foods you SHOULD but, and what ones it's ok to pass on.  A surprising and interesting read.

Photo is from my e-mail of the ebooks, from Hand Picked Words
This is the longest book that I received, but still a manageable size: The Danny, by Brand Gamblin. I absolutely love Sci-Fi, and this book did not disappoint!  The story follows Danny, while he floats from world to world, trying to find his way to his home world.  During his search, he observes, first hand, different realities; including a zombie apocalypse, medieval times, aliens, and time travel, among others.  Each short story is filled with twists and turns, and is tied together as Danny tries to find his home.  I absolutely loved the combination of different Sci-Fi themes, and will look for this author again in the future.

Photo is from my e-mail of the ebooks, from Hand Picked Words

Ruben's Luck, by Avery Milleu, is an awesome short story, about how a person's perspective can change their luck.  I loved all of the twists and turns in this story, and was sad when it was over.  One thing is for sure- if I ever run across any warm nickels, I'm going to hang on to them with the hopes of a change in my luck!

Photo is from my e-mail of the ebooks, from Hand Picked Words

Three Bus Worthy, penned by Melissa Firman, is a beautiful tale about making sure the people you keep in your life are the ones that count.  The tale begins with her grandmother taking three buses each day to visit her husband in a rehabilitation home.  The impact of that level of dedication changed her outlook, and has definitely has changed mine.  The story is beautifully written and I absolutely loved it.

Photo is from my e-mail of the ebooks, from Hand Picked Words

Another gem in the treasure chest I found in my email is And to Calm the Waves of Mismapping, an excerpt from the memoir of Jennifer Derilo; that she is still writing.  This beautiful piece details one woman's battle for her life against Cancer, paired with the story of a Philippine Scout in the 57th Infantry during World War II.  This short piece was touching, heartfelt, and left me wanting much more.

Photo is from my e-mail of the ebooks, from Hand Picked Words
The final story in my box is a poem, Until Mount Etna Speaks, written by David Rounds.  I've never been much for poetry, but I enjoyed the cadence of this poem, that surrounds the volcano that is Mount Etna, and David's visit there.  The story is beautifully written, and possibly changed my mind about poetry.  Okay, SOME poetry.

My box also included an extra, a 1000 Words feature.  This feature was a photo, with a short description of the image, written and photographed by Mike Harvey.  I don't want to spoil it for anyone who doesn't subscribe, but I will say that it was a wonderful word picture.

UPDATED: Entering code AVERAGEMOM at checkout, and you will receive $15 off your purchase, which will get you one month FREE!!!
I will say, if you are looking for some great, new reads, then this box is definitely one you should try out; especially since they have a free sample available to try out!  I was also offered the change to give away a THREE MONTH subscription, courtesy of Hand Picked Words- so one lucky ready will have the chance to try it out for three months, absolutely free!

Rules for this giveaway:
1. I run all giveaways through Rafflecopter.  It's fair; and very user friendly.  You must enter through Rafflecopter- I can't enter for you through any other means.
2.  I will notify the winner via e-mail and post their first name and last initial on my facebook page.  The winner has THREE business days to respond, or I will select another winner.  I'm sorry I have to say this, but I want to get prizes out to the winners as fast as possible.  
3.  This giveaway is open to anyone over the age of 18 and is internationally available.  
4.  I will be checking all entries to be sure that they are valid- if you enter and say you "follow on Twitter", I need to make sure that you actually DO follow, or I will have to delete the entry.  Sorry, y'all- rules are rules!
5.  The lucky winner will receive a three month subscription to Hand Picked Words, a collection of e-books.  Please be sure to have a way to read the e-books!
I THINK that's about it for the rules, hopefully I've covered everything, but if you do have a question, please let me know- I'd be happy to help you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until next time, my Only Average Friends...

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Disclaimer: I received this subscription box complimentary from Hand Picked Words for reviewing and testing purposes.  This has in NO way affected my thoughts and review of this subscription service- this is an honest review of the products listed.  No amount of freebies or compensation could EVER influence me to give a review that was NOT my true and honest opinion!


  1. I LOVE this box, and the contents in it. I think that it would be a great gift to win. I love or my favorite type of make-up would be eye liner or nail polish.
    I love this give-away. Something I would totally love to win!!


  2. I am reading a Lisa See book - go good!

  3. I'm currently reading the Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare and I am totally in love with them :)

  4. Currently reading the new Barbara Kingsolver book, Flight Behavior. Just picked it up.. don't have much to say about it yet, but I absolutely LOVE her writing!

  5. This seems like a wonderful box. Currently I am reading the Day Eight Series by Ray Mazza.

  6. The new Sabrina Jeffries book! :) Can't wait to get my first month! :)

  7. I am starting a book club this weekend. Very excited! I just finished reading 12th of Never by James Patterson

  8. Just seeing your kind words on my "Three Bus Worthy" piece. So very glad you enjoyed it! I was thrilled to have it included in the box. Thanks so much for mentioning it!

    1. I'm so happy you liked my quick review! That piece is absolutely lovely, and I really enjoyed reading it. Thank you for writing it :)


Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and visit! I read all the comments and try to reply to everyone. It's the least I could do- it's very...Average.