The Nocturnal Reader’s Box — Interview And Giveaway! | Haute Macabre

The Nocturnal Reader’s Box — Interview And Giveaway!

Nocturnal Readers 2

It is 2017 and friends, since I first learned of and became obsessed with their existence three years ago, I have tried a lot of subscription boxes. Candles, jewelry, clothing, food and wine, makeup, perfume, sleep or bath-related–if it exists, I have probably subscribed to it for at least a month before canceling in a snit, disappointed and frustrated.  (Except the wine, if I am being honest here.) I am looking for a certain subscription box experience, you see, and these purveyors of purported monthly gratification were not even coming close to satisfying the needs of my dark heart.

It was in the void of my despair I then encountered The Nocturnal Reader’s Box.

A Subscription Box for fans of Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy Books and Psychological Thrillers, The Nocturnal Reader’s Box is a monthly subscription service that specializes in bringing to their customers new and exciting books from authors, both well-established and lesser known. Each box includes one newly released book, one previously released book, custom artwork, one wearable, and various expertly curated fandom merchandise.. Having subscribed back in May, I have since received three boxes and not a one of them was a dud–which is no mean feat, considering that in the past, my experience has been that I will usually like one thing in a box and everything else is sort of “meh”. Or another criticism I have of “dark” or “horror” genre boxes like this is that the quality of the items is very poor, and most of it is cheap, crappy nonsense. Every item in every Nocturnal Reader’s Box I have received thus far–from bookmarks to coffee mugs, from tote bags to trucker caps, is something I took out of the box, exclaimed at how awesome it was, and actually use. Even the snap back trucker cap. It says Captain Trips on it! How can I not?

And of course, there are the books themselves–all of which I have devoured within days of receiving each box.

unboxing by spoopyhol

If it sounds like I am really hyping them up, that’s because I am. I can’t help it. As a lifelong lover of all things horror and haunted, I could not be more thrilled with the excellence of The Nocturnal Reader’s Box, and I only wish I had discovered them sooner.

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with founders Vincent and Jessica Guerrero about their dark offerings; see below for our Q&A and be sure to leave a comment to be eligible for a giveaway of their now sold out October Nocturnal Reader’s Anniversary Box!

unboxing by book.happy

Haute Macabre: You note yourselves “lovers of everything dark”–let’s drill a little further down into that, shall we? I’d love to hear of your various dark interests, however they developed and whatever they may be, but books in particular, of course!

Vincent Guererro: So I was exposed to horror at a very young age in the form of film and comics. My mother was a horror junkie back in the 80s (and still is today) and we would watch every horror movie that came out. I was about 4 the first time I actually asked my mom to read horror to me, and I was hooked.

I remember horror always being a part of my life growing up. My father used to work as a distributor in grocery stores and would bring home Tales from the Crypt comics that were extras from the month before. Its great to have a community like the one we are building that can get together online in our forum and discuss these types of things. Its amazing how many of our subscribers started adult speculative fiction at the same age as me.

Jessica Guerrero: Growing up I wasn’t exposed to horror as much as Vincent. The only horror that I got was through the films that my older cousin would make me watch. After we were married and our book collections were merged I was introduced to a whole new genre and I haven’t looked back. This was only about 8 years ago, but we read so much (especially now) that I’m pretty far down the literary horror wormhole.

I think what’s really exciting about reading horror is that you can genuinely be frightened, but having my husband next to me at night helps to calm that fear once the lights are out.

unboxing by its_just_jasmin

Why the subscription box route, and can you tie that into the genesis of the Nocturnal Reader’s Box? How do you feel you differ from other horror-themed subscription boxes?

J.G: When researching a box for ourselves, everything that came up was 90% young adult, and no one was dealing in horror fiction. So, we made a box to which we would subscribe, thus, The Nocturnal Reader’s Box.

V.G.: Like Jessica said, we never really set out to start a business. I was in school finishing my MBA, and we figured, what the hell, I don’t want to be stuck in an office forever haha. I used to be subscribed to other horror themed boxes, but those only dealt in film horror, and there was so much out there that wasn’t being represented. Stuff that hadn’t been adapted into film that needed exposure, so it just naturally fell together.

We knew we didn’t want a storefront, and an online marketplace could be fun, but we also felt that we wanted to add something to the subscription industry that felt lacking.

unboxing by somethinonya

How do you choose the books and corresponding items that you include with each box? What have been some of your favorite boxes to curate for Nocturnal Readers thus far?

J.G:  We typically choose the books for each month first. Once those are set, then we can start brainstorming items that go with a central theme. Now that we’re no longer theming our boxes, I’d say the process is a little more natural and we can choose the items based on our subscribers preferences. As far as favorites its a hard choice, but I’d have to say the All Hail the King box, and The Feast.

V.G.:  The publishers that we have worked with have all been amazing. They send us titles and we get to spend most of our time reading and creating designs. We have been able to work with some great authors, including Stephen King.
With the All Hail the King box, we were able to literally talk to him and his agents about creating an exclusive cover for our subscribers. I have loved every box that we put out, minus our first one. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t live up to what I thought it would.

unboxing by bookish mommy

I myself have thought to curate quality niche boxes but found it a really daunting prospect. What have been some of the challenges you’ve run into, whether anticipated or thoroughly unexpected? Conversely, I’d as someone who desperately wants to see endeavors like this succeed, please share with me some of the more rewarding aspects of this undertaking.

J.G.– There have been months where we’ve had to completely throw out a theme and start from scratch because of one reason or another. Of course, we have a deadline to meet each month and the closer we get to that deadline, the more creative we have to be.

V.G.— For me personally I think my only issue is learning to work with customers. I absolutely love creating this box with my family each month. We honestly get more excited than the subscribers do waiting for them to receive their boxes. When something goes wrong, like with shipping, its not something we can control, but we get a dissatisfied customer, and that’s a bummer. So as far as negatives, that’s a big one.

J.G. & V.G.—The positives are too long to list, and though that seems like a cop-out, its very true. So I will just say that we get to stay home with our daughter, reading and creating every day. Our community is engaging and fun. We have made a bunch of real friends that we’ve been able to actually hang out and get drinks with.

The amazing community keeps us going, we are constantly trying to figure out new ways to connect and to give back, and we are having a blast!

The Nocturnal Reader’s Box has generously offered an October Box to one reader!

What horror novels have haunted you recently? What are your all-time beloved spooky reads? Tell us all about your frightful favorites in the comments, and be sure to follow both Haute Macabre and The Nocturnal Reader’s Box on instagram to be eligible for the giveaway. A winner will be chosen one week from today.

Find The Nocturnal Reader’s Box: website // instagram // facebook // twitter

Image credits: The Nocturnal Reader’ Box, spoopyhol, book.happyits_just_jasmin_, somethinonya, bookish-mommy

62 Comment

  1. I kove horror. The scariest book I’ve read must be The Ruins. I was afraid to stop reading it. It was that scary! I also love Edgar Allan Poe’s work. The Black Cat is so messed up. I have to admit that I also enjoyed Crimson Peak, which is a novel adaptation of Guillermo del Toro’s movie. And of course I really liked the Pet Semetary. Among my favourites is also the Phantom of the Opera.

  2. I really love the horror genre. Some of my favorites are Let The Right One In, The Shining, My Best Friend’s Exorcism (really fun read), World War Z, Rebecca, The Shining, The Other, and Carrie.

  3. For me, horror needs to have a good mystery at the core of it. I like all the dark, mess-with-your-head psychological stuff. HOLD BACK THE DARK is a good one (can’t wait for the movie!). I also recently read IN A DARK, DARK WOOD, INTO THE WATER, and THE RIVER AT NIGHT – all which were awesome because they used nature in such beautiful and foreboding ways. I can’t say enough about THE RIVER AT NIGHT. It defies all tropes.

  4. Horror is found in every genre of writing, as the unknown will inevitably scare us each in different ways. From the eloquent prose of Poe, “And so being young and dipped in folly I fell in love with melancholy,” to the existentialism of Camus writing of the indifference of man, “After awhile you could get used to anything,” to the chilling suspense of King, “Sometimes dead is better,” to Stoker’s love baked deep into death, “No man knows till he experiences it, what it is like to feel his own life-blood drawn away into the woman he loves.” Or perhaps Conrad said it best, when looking deep into the heart of man and seeing its darkness, “The horror, the horror.”

  5. I’ve always been a huge fan of Goosebumps. Some of those books were the very first ones I read, so they have a fond place in my heart. Plus, I still enjoy re-reading them.

  6. Hard to pick a favorite, but Kelly Link has some really wonderful spookful short stories! There’s one about a summer camp that especially comes to mind.
    I <3 books & horror!

  7. I was always into scary stories when I was young and probably started reading with Goosebumps and Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to tell in the dark. I loved those and was so intrigued and creeped out by the art work. It sticks with me to this day. I love Poe and Irving still, and of course, Stephen King. Im always looking for new horror to read!

  8. I’m reading Anatomy of Evil right now. My favorite horror books were a series about Zombies by Kim Paffenroth. It made the zombies more human than monsters.

  9. i loved reading r.l. stine’s “goosebumps” series and alvin schwartz’s “scary stories to tell in the dark” as a kid. even if i don’t win this subscription box, i’ll still consider myself a winner since i’ll be combing these comments for more good reads. muahaha

  10. Recent read would Murakami’s 1Q84; spooky in the sense that Murakami’s surrealism can tether on disturbing at times. Highly recommend it! My all time favorite is Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The original illustrations are masterpieces that haunt me as much as it did when I was 9! Looking forward to this subscription box!

  11. I am reading Classic Ghost Stories , right now. Its a mix of Poe, Irving and Stoker. Classics never go out of style. Right on right on.

    Oh yeah pick me pick me.

  12. Oh, this subscription box would be perfect for me! I’m actually looking to read as many spooky books this October as I can. So I’d love any new ideas and recommendations of books! My absolute favorite book also happens to be a creepy one – The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. I highly recommend it to everyone!

  13. I think nothing can top the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series, with its original illustrations by Stephen Gammell. The stories themselves were creepy/silly to read as a child, but those illustrations were nightmare fodder. We like to pretend our children are all sweetness and light but they are much darker and stronger beings than we acknowledge.

    1. I lucked out and found a copy of children’s book that Gammell wrote and illustrated, “Twigboy!” It is super awesome!!!

  14. This subscription box sounds absolutely perfect! I’m always in need of new books.
    I spent the summer reading It in anticipation of the movie, and since finishing it have been on a Stephen King kick, reading Carrie, Danse Macabre, and The Running Man.
    As for favorites: Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle; Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series; and my favorites from childhood, R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps and Fear Street series, and, of course, Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

  15. I’m sad I didn’t know about this box sooner! It sounds amazing. I finished Bird Box by Joseph Malerman recently, and that story had me on the edge of my seat. I highly recommended it. Also, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Not exactly horror, more gothic, but a great read. My all time beloved spooky reads tend to be short stories by Poe, Lovecraft, and Bierce. I also always get The Best Horror of the Year Collection. There are always great stories in there.

  16. What a bloody brilliant interview! I have been so curious about what goes on behind the scenes of The Nocturnal Reader’s box, and my curiosity has been satisfied! The last really scary novel I read was Dark Matter by Michelle Paver. It’ll never leave me. I’m currently reading The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams by Stephen King and loving every page.

  17. I love the idea of this box! I’ve tried so many and always end up canceling them after a few months.

    My most recent read was Into The Water by Paula Hawkins. I made a quick run to pick up my medicine and I grabbed a book to read while being stuck at home with an awful cold! It was interesting, not my favorite, but I was drawn in as far as it being a horror and psychological suspense book.

    One of my all time favorites is The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman! I love it so much and I have read it time and time again just to remind me of one of the first Gaiman books I picked up. Between my s/o and I, we now have a hefty Gaiman collection and multiples of certain Stephen King books!

    Another favorite is a large copy of HP Lovecraft stories. I have never chosen to read it all at once because I want it to last!

    And finally, I have been holding on to a copy of Mister B. Gone by Clive Barker for awhile and have yet to read it, so that is my next book read during my much needed vacation.

    Thanks for the opportunity to be able to be in a giveaway for the sold out box! Definitely subscribing as soon as the opportunity arises.

  18. I love all things Stephen King and a short story I love re-reading every once in a while is Rappaccini’s Daughter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I just found out about this box so of course I missed the October one ( 🙁 ) but after seeing in the comments section that the November box will have a Shirley Jackson item I am incredibly stoked about subscribing!

  19. As an avid biblophile I would love to win this!! I’ve always loved all the macabre spooky and weird stories. Currently Reading the “Halloween; Magic, Mystery and the Macabre” collection edited by Paula Guran. On of my all time favoritessince I was little is I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. The ending still gets me even though I’ve probably ready it a dozen times! You know it’s a good one when it still leaves you affected days later!

  20. I’ve loved Stephen King for as long as I have been able to read novels. I remember seeing the movie Pet Semetary when I was around four or five with my dad even though mom hadn’t wanted me to watch it and I was absolutely hooked. Half of my bookshelf is filled with Stephen King books. And his son, Joe’s books are just as amazing. I read “The Fireman” by Joe Hill earlier this year and it was sooo good. “The Stand” is my all time favorite of King’s books. And I am about to start “Sleeping Beauties” to see what I think of his other kid, Owen.

  21. Every time I’ve tried to order the NRB, they’re already sold out. Winning one would be awesome. ? Current horror read is Earthbound by Matheson. Favorite of all time is probably The Shining. And The Lottery really left me shaken when I was a kid, still read it every year and it’s still unsettling every time.

  22. Oh dear, the box would be perfect – i love the box subscriptions and horror! All time favorite being ANNE Rice’s cry to heaven and most recently this finnish book of adult fairytales – Classic fairytales with a horror twist.

  23. I was a very weird child. who am I kidding, I’m weird now too. I have always love horror books and movies. While other girls favorite toys were teddy bears and kitties, I had a stuffed owl and a broom Hilda doll. In my weirdness, I also did not sleep. After an arduous battle with my parents, they gave up and “bedtime” meant I was confined to room. I was allowed to read, color, watch TV, listen to the radio and basically anything else I could do quietly in my bedroom. I remember pawing through my Father’s books that were kept on bookcases in my room, and discovering an assortment of strange books. Everything from Aleister Crowley’s biography to collections of short stories that seemed to be my Father’s favorites.
    A Curious Dream By Mark Twain was one of my earlier reads. I remember being enthralled by the tale of skeletons leaving their graveyard home dragging their caskets behind them. I was also a early Edgar Allan Poe fan, and still am.
    As far as more modern books, all the good ones get made into movies. I like the movies, but the books are always better! Most recent reads include Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough, The Fireman by Joe Hill and Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. I am currently reading Thirteen Views of the Suicide Woods by Bracken MacLeod.
    Thank you S. Elizabeth for as always opening my eyes to all the wonderful things that exist out there. I love the idea of a horror box and will definitely be checking out The Nocturnal Reader’s Box monthly subscription service.

  24. I’ve gotten Nocturnal Reader’s Box before and loved it. I couldn’t continue my subscription for monetary reasons but I hope to be able to subscribe again someday. It’s a great product.

  25. Finally a subscription box I would actually be into!!

    Not too long ago I finished two: THE KING IN YELLOW and ANNINILATION from the Southern Reach Trilogy. (I tried continuing the trilogy with AUTHORITY, but honestly, it wasn’t grabbing me at all and I had to put it down). My god though, KING IN YELLOW was incredible. I also have a deep love for Junji Ito and his horror mangas- UZUMAKI still terrifies me. It’s also his illustrated version of FRANKENSTEIN that finally got me to read Shelley’s original!

  26. Anything by Cherie Priest gets a read from me – for years I thought I didn’t like horror until I met Cherie on Livejournal and she convinced me to give the genre a fair shot.

  27. IT is one of my all time favorite horror novels. I’m just getting back in to reading f horror. For October I have The Troop, The Devil Within, and NOS4A2 set aside.

  28. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark will fover hold a special palce in my heart, but I’ve been trrying to get into House of Leaves lately.

    my handle is @nnvrmndd in case you need that info

  29. This was such a nice interview, and review! Im also excited for the giveaway because i blankes and missed the subscribtion so who knows maybe i can win one here 🙂 I recently read “dagon” by H.P.Lovecraft and while not super ‘scary’ it played on this interesting fear i have of the unknown in the ocean. It really resonated with me because i didnt realise i felt that way until i read it and i was like wow thats why i dont like murky water, because im a water body and love the sea but sometimes the unnerving feeling of something unknown being in there with me is a little scary haha and all time favorite of mine is night shift or misery by stephen king, those are some good thrills haha tha ks for this chance to enter my instagram is @jess.reads.them.all

  30. The last horror book I read was Mile 8 by Steven King and it was really good. I recently purchased Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt and it’s on my October TBR and I’m so so excited to start reading it!

  31. I’m just getting into thrillers and horrors so I’m really excited to join the Nocturnal box! I was really hoping for the October box so maybe I’ll win! If not I’m definitely signing up soon! I’m currently reading Call of Cthulhu and recently finished my first Stephen King book – Salem’s Lot. Can’t wait for more! (IG @catrunsandeats )

  32. Im currently re-reading IT and just ordered Horrorstor. I missed the October box but am stalking the site so I dont miss the November box!! Pick me!!!!

  33. This is a awesome giveaway!!!!
    The exorcist has been CREEPING me out recently because I read it before bed ?
    The Amityville horror is my favorite spooky story and the possession(what inspired the exorcist )

  34. I read Horrorstor recently and it was pretty wonderful. Also, I second Hanna! I absolutely love Shirley Jackson’s works.

  35. I’m a fan of all things Shirley Jackson. We Have Always Lived in the Castle, The Lottery, The Haunting of Hill House. All hail the Queen.

  36. Haven’t read a good horror book in a while. Gotta say “let the right one in” is one of my all time faves. Missed my stop many a time on the subway with that one!

  37. Susan Hill’s “The Woman in Black” is my favourite ghost story and one that I feel constantly compelled to reread when ever I reach a lull in my pile of books. Daphne Du Maurier’s “Rebecca” also haunted me long after I’d finished reading it. King’s “Pet Semetary”, the first horror novel that I ever read, still terrifies me to this and definitely the scariest of his bibliography.

  38. Thank you for the chance on the giveaway, followed on both! Love Noc Box and this interview is pretty insightful. I’m excited for the theme-less boxes and wish I could’ve caught the October box (it sold out so fast! x_x)

    The most recent horror novel I read was Audition by Ryu Murakami, I picked it up because I’m a fan of the movie and I was pleased to find that the book and movie are two entirely different beasts. I’m planning on marathoning horror books in October (including catching up on my July & August Nocturnal Box books) with The Troop by Nick Cutter, The Silence of Ghosts by Jonathan Aycliffe, Chosen by RS Broadhead, and Ultimate Sacrifice by S.E. Green.

    For favorites, I mean it’s hard to go wrong with Stephen King, I really enjoy his short story collections. Also not literature per say, but one of my all-time favorite piece of horror fiction is Uzumaki by Junji Ito, he is a king of horror and his artwork is amazing, very Lovecraftian.

  39. Oh my goodness…this subscription sounds like it is right up my alley!!! I am the classic Stephen King fan, so he would be at the top of my list. Honestly, I will read anything with a creepy theme to it, and most horror as well. I can not wait to get on this list next time around! 🙂 If I HAD to pick a favorite horror writer, though…it would be good ol’ EAP. I’ve been reading Poe since I was about 7 or 8. My first poetry report was done on Annabel Lee when I was in the third grade. My teacher called my parents :-/ I have several different copies of his complete works laying around my house…because you never know when you might need a little POE! 😉

  40. I just finished reading Grady Hendrix’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism. It was great! A quick read too. My all time favorite…hmm, too many to list but the one that springs forth is Salem’s Lot by Stephen King.
    This looks like a great subscription box! I’m excited about it. Thanks.

  41. Oh I hope this is opened to Canadians too because I’ve had The Nocturnal Reader on my Wanted list for months now! I am currently reading The Meddling Kids, a fantastic mashup of Cthulhu mythology and teen detective fiction. All-time favorites include King’s Pet Sematary and Revival, Phantom of the Opera and The Turn of the Screw. More recently, I have fallen in love with Grady Hendrix’s My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Nick Cutter in general and Paul Kane’s Sherlock Holmes and the Servants of Hell. Phew!

  42. I’ve been subscribed since the All Hail the King box and I can attest that this is a really wonderful subscription box that is worth the money and the wait each month. Jessica & Vincent do an excellent job and you can really tell that they love what they do with all the thought and care that goes into each box.

  43. Johnny Got Your Gun. While not specifically horror, the ending definitely delivers a haunting sucker punch you’ll never forget. I am so excited for this giveaway. I’ve been really in the mood for spooky books.

  44. Not a novel exactly, but I’m halfway through volume 17 of Hellblazer and there are few things in this world that I love more!