Skip to content

Author: Rachel

Review – The Other Bennet Sister

Posted in Book Blogger

The Other Bennet Sister

by Janice Hadlow

Genres: Literary Fiction, Regency, Romance
Release Date: March 31, 2020
Pages: 481
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

What if Mary Bennet’s life took a different path from that laid out for her in Pride and Prejudice? What if the frustrated intellectual of the Bennet family, the marginalized middle daughter, the plain girl who takes refuge in her books, eventually found the fulfillment enjoyed by her prettier, more confident sisters? This is the plot of Janice Hadlow’s The Other Bennet Sister, a debut novel with exactly the affection and authority to satisfy Jane Austen fans.

Ultimately, Mary’s journey is like that taken by every Austen heroine. She learns that she can only expect joy when she has accepted who she really is. She must throw off the false expectations and wrong ideas that have combined to obscure her true nature and prevented her from what makes her happy. Only when she undergoes this evolution does she have a chance at finding fulfillment; only then does she have the clarity to recognize her partner when he presents himself—and only at that moment is she genuinely worthy of love.

Mary’s destiny diverges from that of her sisters. It does not involve broad acres or landed gentry. But it does include a man; and, as in all Austen novels, Mary must decide whether he is the truly the one for her. In The Other Bennet Sister, Mary is a fully rounded character—complex, conflicted, and often uncertain; but also vulnerable, supremely sympathetic, and ultimately the protagonist of an uncommonly satisfying debut novel.

25 Days of Dupes 2022 – Week 1

Posted in Fountain Pens

Hello, welcome to the first post of 25 Days of Dupes 2022. Below you’ll find the inks for days 1-4. If you have a suggestion for a possible dupe, let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it to the wrap up post.

Some reminders:

  • The first image for each ink shows the inkvent ink and what I feel is the best match, swatched on Tomoe River paper.
  • The second image for each ink shows the inkvent ink and the different inks I tried matching it to, swatched on Iroful paper.
  • I swatched ink with a small paintbrush, and wrote with a Zebra G dip nib in the first image.
  • I can’t guarantee that the color you see on your screen will be true to life. However, with all the dupes on the same page, you’ll see how the colors look in relation to each other, which is the main point of these posts.
  • I’m not attempting to dupe the special properties of the inks (sheen, shimmer, scent).

Enjoy, and happy inking!

Provocateur Images — Passionate Photography

Posted in Personal, and Reviews

A few years ago, I took advantage of a Groupon deal to try out a boudoir shoot. I wanted to improve my self-confidence and thought that seeing myself through someone else’s eyes might help. It was a nice experience, and it did what I’d hoped. We still have some of those photos on the wall in our bedroom.

That shoot led me to research boudoir photographers on Instagram, which is how I found Trevor of Provocateur Images. His posts caught my eye. They’re gorgeous! I especially liked seeing that he’s size-inclusive and LGBTQIA+ friendly. And, while it didn’t apply to me, he takes great couples shots.

But, he’s in Toronto. A bit far to travel for a photo shoot. Jim, though, came up with a fabulous idea to combine a trip for the photo shoot with a trip for Scriptus. Brilliant man.

So, we booked a trip for October 2020. And then the world exploded. Thankfully, Trevor allowed me to put my shoot on hold until things got back to normal.

It’s An ADHD Thing?!

Posted in Personal

At roughly a year since I first sought help for a resurgence of ADHD symptoms, I’ve learned a lot, especially from meme accounts on Instagram. One of the big things I’ve learned about fairly recently is that sharing a personal story to relate to something someone has said isn’t something everyone does! I legitimately never noticed that I could be somewhat unusual in that.

Twitter post: When people with ADHD bring personal anecdotes into conversations, we aren't trying to "make everything about us." We just listen to what you're saying and get excited by the instant connections we're making to things we've experienced
Just one example, of many, posts I’ve come across regarding ADHD’ers sharing personal anecdotes.

Slowing the Shopping

Posted in Fountain Pens, and Personal

If you read my ADHD post, you know I have troubles with purchasing things. As it seemed that at least some of you found that post helpful, I’d like to share one of my biggest weapons in managing my shopping impulses, especially with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and holiday shopping coming up.

For me, the most helpful thing has been what I call anti-shoping mantras. These short phrases and questions let me pause my thinking long enought to reconsider what I’m doing. This extra moment is often enough to allow me to stop myself.

Pen Porn: Benu Minima Feather in the Wind

Posted in Fountain Pens

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for pen envy or impulse purchases resulting from viewing this post.

Per usual, you can click on the images to view them larger. I do my best to provide you with the best pen porn. 😉

I’ve been trying hard to buy less pens, since I over purchased this year. For the most part, I’ve been doing a bit better. But, when I saw the Feather in the Wind, I couldn’t resist. Just look at the gorgeous photos Benu shared.

Indie Packaging Influence

Posted in Fountain Pens

I received an interesting question a few weeks ago: who does the best packaging for their pens, and do you think that factors into whether you go back to them as a pen seller?

The question was geared toward indie-made pens, so that’s what I’ll be focusing on today. However, I’m going to ignore the first part of the question as “best” is highly subjective.

Pen Porn: Stars on Sapphire Lakes

Posted in Fountain Pens

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for pen envy or impulse purchases resulting from viewing this post.

Per usual, you can click on the images to view them larger. I do my best to provide you with the best pen porn. 😉

If you’ve been here a while, you know I’m not a fan of the Franklin-Christoph models that have threads at the nib end of the section — like this Model 46. But, look at how pretty the Stars on Sapphire Lakes is! It’s well worth it, in my opinion, to try to get used to a different grip to be able to use this pen comfortably. Plus, it’s great supporting my pen friend, Azizah, of Gourmet Pens.

Stars on Sapphire Lakes

Side note, they’re sold out right now, but more will be coming in the future. Keep an eye on Gourmet Pens Shop.

Fountain Pen Myths

Posted in Fountain Pens

I came across a post a while back where someone was concerned that their nib didn’t have a breather hole. I didn’t bother to comment that a breather hole isn’t necessary for your pen to function because multiple people already had. But, it got me thinking, what other fountain pen myths are there? These are the ones I could think of, with some help from Azizah of Gourmet Pens.

Pen Porn: The Right Royal Pen

Posted in Fountain Pens

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for pen envy or impulse purchases resulting from viewing this post.

Per usual, you can click on the images to view them larger. I do my best to provide you with the best pen porn. 😉


I hardly know where to start with this treasure. I suppose it makes sense to begin at the beginning.

360 degree view of The Right Royal Pen
I pieced together a 360 degree view of my fantastic new pen.

2022 Scriptus Pen and Writing Show

Posted in Fountain Pens

For those who aren’t familiar with the show, Scriptus is held in the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, on the second floor of the Toronto Reference Library, from 10am to 4pm. This year, it was on Sunday, October 30.

When we arrived at the library about five to 10, there was a line wrapped along the Asquith Ave wall of the library, and it was clear that a large number of people had already been allowed in. The line moved quickly, and, once we made it inside, I was amazed at both how fabulous the library is and the length of the line ahead of us.

Kencko, Too Good to be True?

Posted in Reviews

For transparency, this review is completely unsponsored and unaffiliated with Kencko. But, if they wanted to sponsor me, this is one brand I’d happily partner with. That said, every Kencko member gets a referral link. If you use mine, you get $20 off your first box, and I get $20 off my next order. Neat, right?

A few months ago, I got inundated with Kencko ads that made me curious. After all, I don’t eat enough fruits and veggies. But it seemed too good to be true — easy, tasty fruits and veggies. After getting hounded with enough ads — that seem to have completely disappeared now — I decided to give Kencko a try.

Cypress Dandelion Construction

Posted in Fountain Pens

No, this isn’t a duplicate post. I find the construction of the Dandelion pen so unique and interesting that I want to give it its own post.

Previous pens I’ve purchased from Cypress (formerly Mr. Cypress) have had a standard cartridge-converter construction (cap, section, and barrel). This Dandelion pen, however, is very different.

Cypress Eggshell Series Dandelion

Pen Porn: Cypress Eggshell Series Dandelion

Posted in Fountain Pens

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for pen envy or impulse purchases resulting from viewing this post.

Per usual, you can click on the images to view them larger. I do my best to provide you with the best pen porn. 😉

As I mentioned in my unboxing reel on Instagram, I’ve wanted this pen since I saw the concept art on April 24. I did my best to wait patiently, but I checked in with Cypress — formerly Mr. Cypress — a couple of times to get status updates.

It only took me a couple of minutes to place my order when I saw the post announcing it on Monday (10/2). And it showed up early on Thursday!

Now, enough story, I know you’re here for the photos.

Cypress Eggshell Series Dandelion

Pen Porn: Platinum Izumo Kurikara-Ken

Posted in Fountain Pens

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for pen envy or impulse purchases resulting from viewing this post.

Per usual, you can click on the images to view them larger. I do my best to provide you with the best pen porn. 😉

I haven’t created a pen porn post on a non-new pen in quite a while. So, today I present to you my glorious Platinum Izumo Kurikara-ken. It depicts a scene of the epic battle between Fudo Myo-o — whose name means the immovable or unshakable one — one of the Five Great Wisdom Kings of Japanese Buddhism, and a threatening dark demon. As the struggle progresses, Fudo Myo-o transforms himself into Kurikara, his own sword, in order to do battle with the demon. When the demon also transforms into a sword, Fudo Myo-o then transforms into a dragon to swallow and destroy him. It is this conclusion that the pen shows.

The platinum izumo kurikara ken

The True Value of Indie Pens

Posted in Fountain Pens

Jim and I have given a seminar we call “The True Value of Indie Pens” at our last two pen shows — Baltimore and DC. Both sessions were well received, and we’ve been asked if the information was available anywhere for reference. At the DC show, I promised I’d create a blog post, so that’s what I’m doing — perhaps a bit late. If you’re interested int eh actual presentation, I’ve made it available on Google Drive. Be aware, I removed the examples, as I didn’t ask permission to make that information available in such a way.

Background

So, where did the class originate? Jim and I heard one to many conversations along the lines of, “For that price I can get [insert mainstream brand name here],” or “I don’t think it’s worth it,” with regards to indie pens. We want to help spread awareness of how special indie-made pens are, just how much you’re actually getting for the price.