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Rachel's Reflections Posts

Review – Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies

Posted in Book Blogger

Anne Boleyn: 500 Years of Lies

by Hayley Nolan

Book Cover: Anne Boleyn: 500 years of lies

Genres: Biography, Non Fiction, Tudor Period
Release Date: December 1, 2019
Pages: 333
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
My Rating: ★★★★★

A bold new analysis of one of history’s most misrepresented women.

History has lied.

Anne Boleyn has been sold to us as a dark figure, a scheming seductress who bewitched Henry VIII into divorcing his queen and his church in an unprecedented display of passion. Quite the tragic love story, right?

Wrong.

In this electrifying exposé Hayley Nolan explores for the first time the full, uncensored evidence of Anne Boleyn’s life and relationship with Henry VIII, revealing the shocking suppression of a powerful woman.

So leave all notions of outdated and romanticised folklore at the door and forget what you think you know about one of the Tudors’ most notorious queens. She may have been silenced for centuries, but this urgent book ensures Anne Boleyn’s voice is being heard now.

#TheTruthWillOut

Ink Battle: Wearingeul and Diamine

Posted in Ink

This ink battle is between Wearingeul Jane Eyre and Diamine Memory Lane. Both inks are in a pen fitted with a Jowo #6 M nib. The paper is Muji plain loose leaf paper.

We’re back to a traditional Ink Battle. I own a bottle of both Jane Eyre and Memory Lane. I noticed that they look rather similar and wanted to see how similar. For those unfamiliar with these inks, Memory Lane is a shimmer ink from the 2022 (Green) Inkvent calendar. However, Diamine shimmers settle complete, which I let happen for this battle so I can just compare the colors.

You can assume I have no problems with any ink that appears in an ink battle. The point of the battle is to choose a winner of the two colors. I use a pair of similar inks in pens with the same nib, then test them out to see which I like better. Generally, I’m trying to decide which ink to keep, but sometimes I’m trying to decide which to buy, or if I should buy one ink when I already have a similar one.

I may find out that, when used with the same nib, they’re sufficiently different to own them both. Depending on how these battles turn out, I may tag some of the posts as ink dupes as well. You can find all of the ink battles posts on the tag page.

Inkvent Inks I’ve Purchased

Posted in Ink

It’s a little odd writing about Inkvent in June, but with the 2023 inks releasing, it seemed a good time for this post. I’ve been meaning to write it for a while, but other posts have taken precedence.

To start, this needs a caveat. If I’d purchased the calendar each year, I probably wouldn’t have purchased any of the inks. My ink collection is massive (hence the need for ink battles), and it takes forever to go through even tiny bottles (or samples). Since I gave away my 2019 Inkvent — foolishly, in retrospect — and didn’t buy the 2021 or 2022 calendars, there were inks I wanted to — and did — buy.

A Fountain Pen Rainbow

Posted in Fountain Pens

Tomorrow starts Pride Month, and as a proud pen collector, I couldn’t let it go by without a pen rainbow. It was hard to narrow down a single pen for each color, and even harder to stick to pens that are primarily one color — I didn’t fully succeed there. Maybe I’ll do another one of these later in the month with the Bi flag. We’ll see.

Proud pen addict button/pin

There are plenty of pen pictures, so this one could count as a pen porn post, too. To include more pens, I cheated a bit and added brown, black, and white. I know they aren’t actually part of the rainbow, but I doubt anyone will complain.

If you want to have some extra fun, try to guess what pens are in the “rainbow.”

Pen rainbow photo blocked out by the colors.

Pen Porn: Sakura Nagare Comparison

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 high-quality pen porn. 😉

About a year ago, I bought myself the standard size Sailor Pro Gear Sakura Nagare. About a month ago, Jim bought us the King of Pen size Sakura Nagare. I don’t mean the new 1911 version that released last year(?) I mean the original, 2010 Pro Gear KOP.

Since we now have both original versions, I thought it would be interesting to compare them. Especially because, to my surprise, they are not identical in design.

The standard and KOP versions side by side

Review – Undoing

Posted in Book Blogger

Undoing

by L.L. Diamond

Book Cover: Undoing

Genres: Historical British Fiction, Historical Regency Fiction, Historical Romance
Release Date: March 27, 2020
Pages: 439
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Bennet had always hoped to marry for love – that is until she surrenders to her mother’s demands and marries the handsome Duke of Leeds. Thrust into a society disinclined to accept a country nobody who somehow entrapped one of their most prominent members, Elizabeth holds her head high, ignoring their whispers and stares and a husband whose indifferent behaviour confuses her. Her marriage of convenience is nothing like what she expected.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is a man torn. After meeting the Duchess of Leeds at a ball, he is fascinated by her intelligence and humour, but how does one maintain a respectable friendship with a lady – particularly when that lady is the wife of his cousin and godfather? His father and his sister both love Elizabeth, and he quickly realises he loves her as well, though not as one loves a cousin or even a sister. His feelings must stay hidden from everyone, particularly Elizabeth, but how is he to keep himself under such strict regulation when he is constantly thrown into her company? How does one prevent their own undoing?

Contains scenes with adult content.

Ink Battle: Vinta and Vinta

Posted in Ink

This ink battle is between Vinta Inks Ibid (Sailfin Green) and Vinta Inks Sirena. Both inks are in a pen fitted with a #6 Jowo M nib. The paper is Muji plain loose leaf refill.

This is another battle of bottle versus sample. I didn’t realize that these two are so similar. For those unfamiliar with these inks, Ibid has shimmer, but I let it settle since Vinta shimmer settles almost completely.

You can assume I have no problems with any ink that appears in an ink battle. The point of the battle is to choose a winner of the two colors. I use a pair of similar inks in pens with the same nib, then test them out to see which I like better. Generally, I’m trying to decide which ink to keep, but sometimes I’m trying to decide which to buy, or if I should buy one ink when I already have a similar one.

I may find out that, when used with the same nib, they’re sufficiently different to own them both. Depending on how these battles turn out, I may tag some of the posts as ink dupes as well. You can find all of the ink battles posts on the tag page.

Review – Thaw

Posted in Book Blogger

Thaw

by Anniina Sjöblom

Book Cover: Thaw

Genres: Historical European Fiction, Historical Fiction Short Stories
Release Date: December 19, 2019
Pages: 138
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★☆☆

It is a truth universally acknowledged that one false step can involve a lady in endless ruin. On a rainy November day in 1811, Miss Elizabeth Bennet finds herself wondering why no one ever bothered to tell her about this.

A few blithe steps on a morning walk, taken after a succession of rain, lead to unexpected events that irrevocably change the course of Elizabeth’s life, placing her fate in the hands of the haughty and conceited Mr. Darcy – the last man in the world she had ever thought to marry.

As long winter days slowly pass, she writes letters to her loved ones, trying to come to terms with her new role as a wife and the Mistress of Pemberley. But can she ever learn to love her husband? Will he overcome his arrogant notions of rank and circumstance?

And most importantly – will the shades of Pemberley ever recover from being thus polluted?

This novella is based on the beloved characters of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Ink Battle: Troublemaker and Diamine

Posted in Ink

This ink battle is between Troublemaker Butterfly Dream and Diamine Classic Green. Both inks are in a pen fitted with a #6 Jowo EF nib. The paper is Muji plain loose leaf refill.

This is another battle where I own a bottle of one color (Butterfly Dream) and a sample of the other. I like Classic Green, but wasn’t sure it made sense to buy a bottle.

You can assume I have no problems with any ink that appears in an ink battle. The point of the battle is to choose a winner of the two colors. I use a pair of similar inks in pens with the same nib, then test them out to see which I like better. Generally, I’m trying to decide which ink to keep, but sometimes I’m trying to decide which to buy, or if I should buy one ink when I already have a similar one.

I may find out that, when used with the same nib, they’re sufficiently different to own them both. Depending on how these battles turn out, I may tag some of the posts as ink dupes as well. You can find all of the ink battles posts on the tag page.

Binder Paper Chase

Posted in Paper

As I mentioned a few posts back, in purchasing paper for my A5 binder, I found some surprising duds. Jim and I have both used Kokuyo notebooks without encountering any issues. Apparently, however, their loose leaf paper is not the same quality.

I don’t feel the need to babble on about each type of paper I’ve tested so far. Instead, I’ll let my ratings — I’ve included scales this time — and the papers themselves do the speaking for me.

Pen Porn: Cypress Eggshell E06

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 high-quality pen porn. 😉

I’ve wanted Cypress’ E06 pen model for quite a while now. Between the swirled design and combination of nacre and eggshell, I’ve been drawn to it since the first time I saw it.

But, it’s a pricey pen, and I never quite saved up the money for it. Other, limited edition or custom, pens kept getting in the way. And then, earlier this year, it went on sale, and my awesome husband bought it for me as a birthday/anniversary gift. So, this beauty is part of my collection and gets a pen porn post.

Cypress E06

Review – Her Grace

Posted in Book Blogger

Her Grace: A Pride & Prejudice Vagary

by Shana Granderson A Lady

Cover: Her Grace by Shana Granderson

Genres: Regency Historical Romance, Regency Romances
Release Date: December 26, 2023
Pages: 406 pages
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★☆

***Warning: There are parts of this book which allude to domestic abuse, although there is not any graphic depiction of said violence.***

This a full length novel of about 115,000 words.

This is not a P&P variation, rather is is a vagary which features the characters from that magnificent work by the one and only Jane Austen.

Rather than protect their daughter like any good parent should, first Fanny and then Thomas Bennet push their 16 year old daughter Elizabeth into a marriage with a much older man who happens to be a duke.

Fanny is seduced by the fact he is a duke, even if he is not interested in Jane, something she cannot believe at first, and his willingness to dower her remaining four daughters. For Bennet when the Duke offers to break the entail on Longbourn, after a certain condition is met, his half-hearted opposition to the match dissipates.

At first, Elizabeth refuses to marry the man, and is adamant even if dragged to the church she will never recite her vows. However, after a private meeting with the vile duke, she agrees. The question is why would she change her mind so drastically.

In that meeting, she demands certain clauses to be added to the marriage settlement. What are they and how do they change outcomes some had previously expected?

We explore why the Duke is looking for a wife outside of the Ton in little market towns instead. We quickly see just how depraved the man is and why he is reviled by all in polite society. Is he the only villain in the tale?

Both Lady Anne and Robert Darcy are alive in this novel. Even with them both being alive, their son manages to suffer from boot-in-mouth syndrome on more than one occasion, including when he meets Lizzy for the first time, who is still married to the Duke at that point. No it is not at an assembly and there is not that insult delivered.

Including the much loved Biggs and Johns, there are some of my non-canon characters featured in this story, as well as some new ones.

It is not an easy path for Lizzy to travel, but she is strong and intelligent, not to mention extremely protective of those she loves. We follow her to find out if she gets the HEA we all want for her. If she does, will it be with Fitzwilliam Darcy?
Join me to have these and many other questions answered.

Update on my Lume Review

Posted in Non-Stationery Reviews

Nearly five years ago, I published a review of Lume deoderant. And, to be honest, I’d mostly forgotten about it. But, for some reason, that review has seen a significant increase in views and comments in the last few weeks. So, I figure I should share an update that I can link to from the original.

The main change? I’ve stopped using Lume. I don’t remember exactly when I stopped, but my last order was in July of 2022, so I imagine it was sometime in early 2023.

Paper System Changes

Posted in Paper

Last year, I wrote about how I was changing how I manage my pen rotation and my notebook/paper system. While the former is going very well, the latter, well, it’s a work in progress. It’s been about five and a half months since I switch to binders from my previous notebook system. And, unfortunately, it’s been rather rocky.

The short version is that I still don’t have a definitive system figured out. The long version is significantly more complicated. I don’t want to bore anyone, but I do want to share the issues I’ve faced so that anyone trying this switch can plan ahead. I’m tackling this by issue.

You Can Only Keep One

Posted in Fountain Pens

I’ve seen this tag come and go in the makeup world multiple times. I have no idea, at this point, what the first video was that I saw for it, or who started it, but I thought I’d try it for fountain pens. I might try it for ink, too, but that will likely be even harder.

For this post, we travel to an alternate universe where, for some reason, I’m forced to give up all but one fountain pen per brand — “you can only keep one.” I’m giving myself leeway with my Stanford Pen Studios pens because there are from/by different artists, and that is the only company that does that. I could easily argue that individual artists are sub-brands under the Stanford Pen Studio umbrella. So, I’m letting myself keep one pen per artist for Stanford Pen Studios.

Let’s go through these in alphabetical order by brand.

UPDATE: A Gathering of Curiosities, Line Variation, Pen Addict, and Ana and Laura at The Well-Appointed Desk have all given this challenge a go, you should check them out. Please note, the Pen Addict post is exclusive to members.

Review – The Shortest History of Our Universe

Posted in Book Blogger

The Shortest History of Our Universe: The Unlikely Journey from the Big Bang to Us

by David Baker

Book Cover: The Shortest History of Our Universe

Series: Shortest History
Genres: History, Science, Space, Nonfiction
Release Date: May 2, 2023
Pages: 256
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
My Rating: ★★★★☆

A complete history of the universe, spanning 13.8 billion years in an ultra-accessible, uncommonly illuminating, exhilarating chronicle of key events

“Baker introduces us not only to the history of our species and our planet, but the history of our vast universe.”—from the foreword by John Green, author of The Anthropocene Reviewed and The Fault in Our Stars

In this thrilling history, David Baker captures the longest-possible time span—from the Big Bang to the present day—in an astonishingly concise retelling. His impressive timeline includes the “rise of complexity” in the cosmos and the creation of the first atoms; the origin of all galaxies, stars, and our solar system; and the evolution of life on Earth, from tiny single-celled organisms to human beings.

Weaving together insights across the sciences—including chemistry, physics, biology, archaeology, and anthropology—Baker answers the fundamental questions: How did time begin? Why does matter exist? What made life on Earth the way it is? He also argues that never before has life on Earth been forced to adjust to a changing climate so rapidly, nor has one species ever been responsible for such sudden change. Baker’s grand view offers the clearest picture of what may come next—and the role we can still play in our planet’s fate.

Ink Battle: Diamine and Colorverse

Posted in Ink

I’ve expanded ink battles to include inks that I’m considering buying, and this is what you’ll find this time.

You can assume I have no problems with any ink that appears in an ink battle. The point of the battle is to choose a winner of the two colors. I use a pair of similar inks in pens with the same nib, then test them out to see which I like better. Generally, I’m trying to decide which ink to keep, but sometimes I’m trying to decide which to buy, or if I should buy one ink when I already have a similar one.

I may find out that, when used with the same nib, they’re sufficiently different to own them both. Depending on how these battles turn out, I may tag some of the posts as ink dupes as well. You can find all of the ink battles posts on the tag page.

Pen Porn: Stanford Pen Studio Little Women

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 high-quality pen porn. 😉


Short Story Time

I had an incredibly difficult time putting this post together. I desperately wanted to do the pen, and the book, justice. If you’ve been following my blog for long enough, you may know how much Little Women means to me. But, if you haven’t, suffice to say that it was a favorite of both my mom and I, which has earned it a special place in my heart.

Part of why I requested this commission from Stanford Pen Studio was as a reminder of all the good times my mom and I had related to Little Women. I knew Hanna would do it justice since she did such an amazing job with my Pride and Prejudice pen.

Stanford Pen Studio x Hanna Farmer Little Women