Bunny the Bunny

stuffed animals

Today’s post is by Erin, Moderator Extraordinaire for The Masque of the Black Tulip:

Good Day, Pink Enthusiasts! So by now we have been introduced to Bunny the Bunny, which Miles gave to Henrietta when she was little. Reading about Bunny struck a unique cord with me because I too had a stuffed rabbit named Beatrice. Beatrice was given to me on my 7th birthday by my Godmother, Maggie. After that, Beatrice and I were inseparable at home. I didn’t take her to school because my Mom wouldn’t let me, but I did take her for show and tell once. Beatrice meant so much to me that she even started a collection for me. I started collecting Stuffed Rabbits. I don’t have them out anymore, but I had over twenty at one time. They are all packed away safely in the attic so I can pass them on to my children, when that happens.

I did want to tell you a story about me and Beatrice though. When I was 9, I decided to go to camp for Girl Scouts. Not a day camp, but an overnight camp for a week. I did not know anyone, and I realized I was too young to be away from my family for that long for the first time. I think if I had gone with someone else that I knew, it would’ve turned out differently. Suffice it to say, I was miserable and extremely homesick. It was a good thing I took Beatrice with me. She is the only thing that got me through that week. I took her everywhere with me except the lake – that wouldn’t have been good. But I cried myself to sleep most nights, and Beatrice still to this day has a stain on her neck from that week that never really washed out. I share this with you not for sympathy, but to show how much a stuffed animal can leave an imprint on a person. Beatrice continued to follow me around, even to college. Did you have a favorite stuffed animal or doll, or even a safety blanket that you took everywhere with you?

Happy Release Day, Tasha Alexander

counterfeit

Today is the book-birthday for Tasha Alexander’s new novel, The Counterfeit Heiress. This is the ninth novel in her Lady Emily mystery series, and I’m excited to get my hands on it. These Lady Emily mysteries are another great find that came from frequent recommendations on Lauren’s website.

Here is what Minotaur has to say about The Counterfeit Heiress:

In this thrilling new addition to the New York Times bestselling series, Lady Emily travels to Paris where she struggles to unmask a murderer amid a case of assumed identities and shadowy figures

After an odd encounter at a grand masquerade ball, Lady Emily becomes embroiled in the murder investigation of one of the guests, a sometime actress trying to pass herself off as the mysterious heiress and world traveler Estella Lamar. Each small discovery, however, leads to more questions. Was the intended victim Miss Lamar or the imposter? And who would want either of them dead?

As Emily and Colin try to make sense of all this, a larger puzzle begins to emerge: No one has actually seen Estella Lamar in years, since her only contact has been through letters and the occasional blurry news photograph. Is she even alive? Emily and Colin’s investigation of this double mystery takes them from London to Paris, where, along with their friend Cécile, they must scour the darkest corners of the city in search of the truth.

If you’ve never tried any of Tasha’s books, you should definitely give And Only to Deceive (the first in the Lady Emily series) a try. If you’re already a fan, rejoice with me over the fact that Cécile is back in our lives!

Calling the Pink II Giveaway Winner

I hope you had a great weekend!

I haven’t yet heard from the winner of last week’s Pink II giveaway! mkc28, if you’re out there, send me your contact information at ashley.pinkforallseasons@gmail.com so I can get your prize in the mail.

If I haven’t heard from our winner by Friday, I will go back to the original post and comments and pick another winner – stay tuned! Also, next Monday, there will be another guest author interview and giveaway, so make sure you come and check it out.

Did you see the big announcement on Lauren’s website last week? She has a release date and title for the third stand alone novel she’s been writing. The Other Daughter will be available for purchase on June 2, 2015. No cover art yet, but probably soon!

Pink II Week 1 in Review and a Winner

Happy Friday!  I will be handing this post off to Erin momentarily, but I’m jumping in to announce the winner of The Masque of the Black Tulip giveaway.  Congratulations to mkc28!  If you will email me at ashley.pinkforallseasons@gmail.com, I will get your book in the mail as soon as possible.  Thanks to all of you who entered the giveaway and shared it with others.  I wish I had a book to give each of you, but keep following along!  There are plenty more giveaways coming up in the next ten months as we work our way through the Pinks.

And now, I will leave you in Erin’s capable hands to chat about Pink II, chapters 1-11.  Enjoy!

Welcome to the first recap of The Masque of the Black Tulip. So how is everybody doing so far? Are we enjoying getting to know Henrietta and Miles again or for the first time? I know I am. I missed how funny and droll Henrietta is. It was mentioned in the first recaps from Pink I about the sense of humor in the books and I often find myself laughing out loud and snorting – yes, I snort and will admit it. What are some of your snorting moments? The first that really got me good was Eloise, on her way to Selwick Hall, contemplating to herself about her dissertation and what the department does to attenuated graduate students who don’t produce a pile of paper. “From what I understand, they’re quietly shuffled out of the Harvard history department by dead of night and fed to a relentless horde of academic-eating crocodiles.”

As we start chapter 2, we find Henrietta in her parlor with a letter from Jane. But it isn’t just any letter. It’s a letter from the Pink Carnation to her correspondent. After 7 long years, Hen finally gets to be part of a spy league. I thought the way that Jane came up with her Lexicon and coded her dispatches was genius. Because really, who wants to read about who attended what and what they wore?

I have really enjoyed the observations from both Hen and Miles, especially the points that cross over with previous opinions from Pink I from different characters. For example, Miles’ view on Almacks is very similar to Richards, which I can see since they are best friends. Also, Miles was to Richard what Henrietta is to Jane as their correspondents. Particular Genius, I think anyway.

Continuing on, so far the only one to start noticing the other in that particular way is Henrietta. It starts as jealousy over the Hussy: Theresa Ballinger, Marquise de Montval. It continues when Miles doesn’t show up on time the next day at Hen’s, and she comes to the conclusion that he was out late with the Marquise, since they both disappeared from Almacks at the same time. It gets even better when Hen finds out that he took the Marquise driving in the park. Hen’s quip in response to the Marquise’s suggestion that her opinions change because she is young but will settle when older is priceless. “Yes, I imagine that’s what happens when on can’t get about as much. Do you suffer from stiffness of the joints? My mother has an excellent remedy for it if you do.” Of course, Miles is understandably perplexed about why Hen is being so mean. Boys. They never get it.

As in the first Pink, Lauren has mentioned many more characters that we get to know so well in later books. We meet Penelope and Charlotte, along with Lord Vaughn and Mary and Letty Alsworthy. I can’t wait to continue the story and see who else we meet and see how the pull between Miles and Hen gets stronger. What were your observations this time around?

Pink II: An Alternate Version of Chapter 3

I’m handing this post off to Erin, who is leading us through Pink II.  Enjoy!

outtakes

Happy Wednesday!

So I hope everyone is enjoying reading The Masque of the Black Tulip. I have been so excited to re-read Pink II that I am having a hard time keeping myself in check and not blasting thorough it. I will be doing my first recap of the book on Friday of the first 11 chapters. But today, I thought I would give you all a little treat; there is a different chapter 3 to Pink II that was cut from the manuscript before publication.

In chapter 2, we learn that a French spy has been sent to England to discover who the Pink Carnation is. In both the bonus chapter 3 and the actual chapter 3 in the book, we learn that the nefarious French spy is none other than The Black Tulip – dum dum dummm. The difference in the chapters is who is telling us. Here is the link to Lauren’s site so you can read the different chapter 3…

What did you think? Should it have remained or do you like the published version better?

Pink II: Cover Madness

I know we’re just dipping our toes into the world of Pink II, but it’s interesting to me how many of you have already mentioned in your comments that The Masque of the Black Tulip is your favorite cover from the series. I also had a few requests last month when we talked about covers for Pink I that I continue the tradition of posting the covers for all the various editions together.

Et voilà, the Pink II covers:

Black Tulip Hardcover Russian
 US original edition  US hardback edition  Russian edition
Portuguese British Paperback Dutch
 Portuguese edition  British edition  Dutch edition
Spanish German Japanese
 Spanish edition  German edition  Japanese edition

 

Which one is your favorite? I’m going to go out a limb and guess that nobody picks the Spanish one.  I don’t think it would be possible to find a girl who looks less like my mental picture of Henrietta…

Pink II Giveaway

Black Tulip

 Happy Monday, one and all.

This week, I’m hosting a giveaway for a signed copy of The Masque of the Black Tulip. I’m sure the vast majority of you already own a copy, but wouldn’t it be nice to have one signed by Lauren? Or wouldn’t it be nice to give a signed copy to a friend, perhaps someone who is new to the Pink world?

In the interest of full disclosure, I will share that I bought this copy of Pink II from Amazon, and while it is brand new and in excellent condition, it must have been a “Bargain Book” at some point.  The bookseller drew a short black line across the bottom edge of the pages.  Amazon should really tell you these things in the product description, I feel. Anyway, I thought you might like to know before you enter the giveaway, but rest assured that this minor act of book vandalism will not negatively impact your reading experience.  Plus, there is a nice note from Lauren inside, which covers a lot of sins.

To enter yourself for this giveaway, just leave a comment below by midnight EST on October 9. I will announce the winner on Friday, October 10.

Want to earn extra entries for this giveaway? You can enter up to three times. Here’s how:

  1. Leave a comment below.
  2. Follow the blog! If you are already a follower, just mention that in your comment. There are links in the top right corner of this page to become a follower.
  3. Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter. Again, you can just let me know in your comment that you’ve done this. I trust you.

On Friday, I will use the Random Number Generator to pick a winner. Good luck! And be on the lookout for other giveaways coming soon.

Top Five Friday: Fairy Tale Retellings

I haven’t done a Top Five Friday post in a while – I’ve been too busy posting Pink recaps! But we just started Pink II on Wednesday, so Erin will be posting the first Pink II recap next Friday to give you time to read. In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about fairy tales.

My first exposure to fairy tales was Disney movies. I remember feeling very surprised when I learned that Cinderella wasn’t a creation of Walt Disney, and there were many versions of her story that came before the cartoon I loved (and who didn’t – those mice were adorable). My first fairy tale retelling was Ella Enchanted, and I’ve had a soft spot for them ever since.

So here is today’s Top Five Friday – my favorite novels based on fairy tales.

 goose girl The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. I actually had never heard the story of the goose girl before this book. Ani is a princess who is sent by her mother to marry a prince from a kingdom far away. On the journey to her new home, her lady-in-waiting Selia stages a mutiny so that she can be presented as the princess when the group reaches their destination. Ani escapes and considers starting a new life somewhere else, but she feels responsible for the few servants and her beloved horse that she knows will be mistreated at Selia’s hands. Ani gets herself a job as a goose girl for the king and starts planning a rescue for her friends. This was a great story! Now I just need to get around to reading some of Shannon’s other books – there are three sequels to Goose Girl, and she has a Rapunzel series as well.
 bitter greens Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. This is a retelling of the Rapunzel story, and it’s narrated through the eyes of three women. There is Charlotte-Rose de la Force, the first women to ever tell the story of Rapunzel. Then there is Margherita, who is kidnapped by a witch as repayment because her father stole a handful of parsley from the witch’s garden. And finally, there is the witch herself – Selena Leonelli, the infamous muse of the artist Tiziano who fears nothing in the world except the passage of time. I’ll admit, the first few chapters were slow going, but in the end, Kate weaves these stories together beautifully. If you like books where the villain gets to tell her version of events, I found this one particularly interesting.  Evidently, Kate is currently studying at a university in Sydney for a doctoral degree in fairy tale retelling, and this novel is part of her doctorate work. She’s currently writing a theoretical examination of Rapunzel. I need to go back to school, clearly. My major was not this cool.
cinder Cinder by Marissa Meyer. This is by far the weirdest fairy tale retelling I’ve come across, but it was incredibly compelling in a bizarre way. The story is Cinderella, but nothing like the way you’ve seen it before – our heroine, Cinder, is a cyborg. You read that correctly. In a futuristic world, Earth is in trouble. There is a new strain of plague that has no cure, there are conflicts between humans and cyborgs, and the Lunars (who live on the moon, led by their evil queen Levana) are just waiting for their moment to stage a hostile takeover of Earth. Cinder has her own problems to deal with, but she’s swept onto the big stage of events when she catches the eye of both Prince Kai and Queen Levana. And no one, not Cinder’s horrid stepmother or even Cinder herself, knows who Cinder really is. Again, weird and fascinating. I’ve read the sequel Scarlet (based on Red Riding Hood), but I haven’t had a chance to pick up the third in the series. I will get there eventually.
ella enchanted Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Please, please don’t judge this book by its movie adaptation. This is another Cinderella retelling, although it’s for a much younger audience. When she is born, Ella is given the “gift” of obedience by a meddlesome fairy, but her gift turns out to be be a curse – she cannot ever refuse a direct command. As she grows up, Ella learns creative ways to prevent her stepmother from using her curse against her, but she eventually decides to track down the fairy to have the curse removed. There’s a glass slipper and a Prince Charmont, and I thought it was a fun retelling.
 beauty Beauty by Robin McKinley. Okay, I’m actually cheating on this one. I haven’t read it yet, but I have a copy and have been meaning to for at least two years. It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast (clearly), and Robin’s writing comes highly recommended by several of my favorite authors (including Lauren).

 

What are your favorite fairy tale stories?

The Masque of the Black Tulip

Black Tulip

Today is kickoff day for Pink II!  I’m thrilled to introduce you all to Erin, a fellow Pink Enthusiast who will be leading us through the month of October with her thoughts on The Masque of the Black Tulip.  Just like last month, there will be giveaways, weekly recaps, and a few non-Pink posts thrown in.  Since we’re beginning Erin’s month of moderating, I will go ahead and turn this post over to her!

Hello, my name is Erin.  I am a Pink Addict, and I will be your guest blogger for Pink II. So today is October 1, and we start The Masque of the Black Tulip.   I am super excited to host this book because I love Henrietta and Miles. Their relationship has always existed for them, but it is fun to watch it evolve and have them discover each other in that way. We get a preview of them in Pink I, especially when everybody’s over in France to “help” Richard. Here is Lauren’s recap of Pink II:

Who: Henrietta Selwick and Miles Dorrington

Where: England

When: Summer, 1803

What: That vicious French spy, the Black Tulip, is on the trail of the Pink Carnation—but the Tulip never reckoned with Lady Henrietta Selwick.

Historical Cameos: William Wickham, the Patronesses of Almacks

So without further ado, let’s get back to the story and to Eloise, as she and Colin drive in uncomfortable silence out to Selwick Hall… “I bit my lip on an ‘Are we there yet?'”