An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey & Giveaway (US/Canada)

January 21st, 2015

Happy Wednesday everyone.  Gosh this week is just flying by.  I’ve got a great book to spotlight for you today called An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey.  I hope to delve into this one soon myself and isn’t it a pretty cover? I really like it.  Any book described as having anything to do with  food, obsession, and mystery is one that certainly piques my interest and even better it’s coming out in audio soon.  You all know how I love my audios now.  Please take a look at what the book is about and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post!



That’s how it is for us servants. No one pays you much heed; mostly you’re invisible as furniture. Yet you overhear a conversation here, and add a little gossip there. A writing desk lies open and you cannot help but read a paper. Then you find something, something you should not have found.

Irrepressible Biddy Leigh, under-cook at the forbidding Mawton Hall, can’t wait to settle down with her sweetheart and set up her own tavern. But when her elderly master marries the young, enigmatic Lady Carinna, Biddy is unwittingly swept up into a world of scheming, secrets, and lies.

Forced to accompany her new mistress to Italy, Biddy takes with her an old household book of recipes, The Cook’s Jewel, in which she records her observations. When she finds herself embroiled in a murderous conspiracy, Biddy realises that the secrets she holds could be the key to her survival – or her downfall . . .

AN APPETITE FOR VIOLETS is an utterly compelling story of food, obsession and mystery, introducing a brilliant new voice in historical fiction.

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Buy: Amazon, Amazon Canada, B&N


Praise for An Appetite for Violets

‘Martine Bailey writes with such easy, compelling grace, and in a fascinating new genre – best described as culinary gothic. I was hooked and enraptured.’ (Fay Weldon, author of LONG LIVE THE KING)

‘I adored this novel: a delicious addictive mix of confectionery, skulduggery and crime.’ (Maria McCann, bestselling author of AS MEAT LOVES SALT and THE WILDING)

‘An absolutely delicious novel; I savoured every page.’ (Imogen Robertson, author of INSTRUMENTS OF DARKNESS)

‘A compelling story of food, obsession and mystery.’

‘In all, a charming debut and a genuinely original and insightful novel.’

‘If you enjoyed Jo Baker’s Longbourn you’ll enjoy this. It’s another beautifully written 18th century servant story…An impressive debut.’

It’s not often that I read a book as voraciously as this. The last was THE GOLDFINCH by DonnaTartt, so Martine is in excellent company. I just had to know how this story of deception, intrigue and passion ended. (S D Sykes, author of PLAGUE LAND)

AN APPETITE FOR VIOLETS is a feast of unique characters, suspense, passion and delicious storytelling. Martine Bailey has served up a beautifully rendered, haunting tale told by an unforgettable heroine. A novel to devour yet savor. (Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of THE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS)


About the Author

martineInspired by eighteenth-century household books of recipes, An Appetite for Violets allowed Martine to indulge in her obsessions with food, history and travel. As an amateur cook, Martine won the Merchant Gourmet Recipe Challenge and was a former UK Dessert Champion, cooking at Le Meurice in Paris. In pursuit of authenticity she has studied with food historian Ivan Day and experienced Georgian food and fashion at firsthand with an historic re-enactment society.

Martine lives in Cheshire, England after recently returning from a 20-month stay in New Zealand. She is married with one son and is currently writing a second historical novel for Hodder & Stoughton.

Connect with Martine on her Website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest



1 Hardcover copy up for giveaway!

*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter

Draw Date February 7/15




Source: Description from Goodreads. All other information from Martine Bailey’s website including author photo.  Giveaway copy provided by St. Martin’s Press.

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HFVBT Presents Tessa Arlen’s Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman Blog Tour & Giveaway (US only)

January 20th, 2015

Please join Tessa Arlen as she tours with HF Virtual Book Tours for Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman, from January 5-February 6.



Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Minotaur Books
Formats: eBook, Hardcover

Genre: Historical Mystery


Lady Montfort has been planning her annual summer costume ball for months, and with scrupulous care. Pulling together the food, flowers and a thousand other details for one of the most significant social occasions of the year is her happily accepted responsibility. But when her husband’s degenerate nephew is found murdered, it’s more than the ball that is ruined. In fact, Lady Montfort fears that the official police enquiry, driven by petty snobbery and class prejudice, is pointing towards her son as a potential suspect.

Taking matters into her own hands, the rather over-imaginative countess enlists the help of her pragmatic housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, to investigate the case, track down the women that vanished the night of the murder, and clear her son’s name. As the two women search for a runaway housemaid and a headstrong young woman, they unearth the hidden lives of Lady Montfort’s close friends, servants and family and discover the identity of a murderer hiding in plain sight.

In this enchanting debut sure to appeal to fans of Downton Abbey, Tessa Arlen draws readers into a world exclusively enjoyed by the rich, privileged classes and suffered by the men and women who serve them. Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman is an elegant mystery filled with intriguing characters and fascinating descriptions of Edwardian life—a superb treat for those who love British novels.

A Party for Winston, the second book in the series to be released in January 2016.


Other tour stops with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours


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Praise for Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman

“Tessa Arlen has a worthy debut with Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman. With a deliciously gruesome murder and an unlikely pair of sleuths, this is a treat for fans of Downton Abbey who will want to devour it with a nice steaming pot of Earl Grey.” —New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn

“In her debut novel, Tessa Arlen weaves an evocative tale of the passions, loyalties and ambitions that divide and unite two classes, upstairs and downstairs, in a stately home. She instantly transports the reader to Edwardian England.”—Christine Trent, author of Stolen Remains

“A dash of noblesse oblige sparkles between the upstairs/downstairs world of Lady Montfort and her housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, as they work together to unmask the identity of a killer at large on the Montfort’s country estate. As sharp as a Nancy Mitford novel, Tessa Arlen’s sophisticated Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman deserves its place among the Great and the Good of classic mystery.”—Lyndsy Spence, founder of The Mitford Society and author of The Mitford Girls’ Guide to Life.

“Thoroughly enchanting. Arlen’s debut will appeal to fans of Downton Abbey, with its vivid descriptions, firm grip on the intricacies of the time period, and skilled portrayal of the often complicated relationship between upstairs and downstairs.” —Anna Lee Huber, author of the Lady Darby mystery series


Buy the Book

Amazon (Kindle)
Amazon (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
Barnes & Noble (Paperback)
Book Depository


About the Author

02_Tessa-ArlenTESSA ARLEN, the daughter of a British diplomat, had lived in or visited her parents in Singapore, Cairo, Berlin, the Persian Gulf, Beijing, Delhi and Warsaw by the time she was sixteen. She came to the U.S. in 1980 and worked as an H.R. recruiter for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games, where she interviewed her future husband for a job. DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN is Tessa’s first novel. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

For more information please visit Tessa Arlen’s website. Read Tessa Arlen’s blog at Redoubtable Edwardians. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Subscribe to Tessa Arlen’s Newsletter.



1 paperback copy up for grabs!

*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter

Draw Date February 4/15




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Source: All post info and giveaway provided by the tour company.  No compensation received.

Rise and Shine by Rodica Licsari

January 17th, 2015

shineRise and Shine by Rodica Licsari is a wonderful children’s book with the sweetest illustrations!  Just looking at this adorable cover will give you an idea of the illustrations inside.  Although this book is for children aged 5-12, as an adult I found it very informative and interesting.  It’s all about bees and boy did I learn a few things.  For instance did you know bees have five eyes?  I didn’t but I do now and it was little facts like this that made this such an enjoyable reading experience.

To share this book with a child would be a treat!  I can imagine their wonder and excitement over the busy bee’s lives, not to mention their curiosity over all the busy doings of the bees.  So many of the things in this book made me smile like when the mother bee is trying to get Tiny Bee out of bed and all she does is turn over and cover her eyes with one of her wings.  Too cute!

The illustrations are so bright and vivid – they truly are beautiful and so very cute.  There are pictures of the Nanny Bee with the little bees, Tiny Bee still in bed or sweeping up the floor in her apron, and this is just a few of them.  To say the least I was taken with the story and the pictures completely.

Highly recommended for little readers and their parents!  A really delightful little story!


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Buy: Amazon, Amazon Canada, B&N


kid-konnection-newI’m going to link my review up to Booking Mama‘s Kid Konnection which is featured every Saturday. If you have a post relating to a children’s book, middle grade or young adult from the last week head on over and you can participate too!




Source: Digital copy received from the author for an honest review.  No compensation was received.

Island Fog by John Vanderslice & Giveaway (US/Canada)

January 16th, 2015

fogIsland Fog by John Vanderslice is an intriguing and dark collection of eleven short stories and since I enjoy the darker side of things I enjoyed it. The stories of Island Fog are linked together by the setting of Nantucket Island and the theme of the stories themselves and they range from 1795 to 2005 so the historical aspect of this collection is especially interesting. Island Fog is a novel to savor slowly – pick it up, read a story, and then reflect on it before indulging in the next one. The dark tone has made many of these stories hard to forget.

The first five stories are historical in nature. They deal with the Quakers, Native Americans, racism and more. The following six stories focus more on the island and its inhabitants. I really enjoyed these stories and the disturbing quality to some of them. Of course I liked some of the stories more than others but a few personal favorites were On Cherry Street which is about a woman who decides she may not be as distressed about being a widow as she should be. Another was Taste which is a very twisted story and that’s all I can say about it without giving away something important about it. Needless to say it is still foremost in my mind. The last I’ll share as a favorite was called Island Fog. This one combines magical realism and illusion with what one perceives as their true desires and just what they’ll give up to achieve them. Yet another story that has stayed in my thoughts.

John Vanderslice definitely has an exquisite way with words, thoughts, and feelings. Even in a short story he manages to draw you fully into the story and the characters portrayed in it. As much as these stories are centered on Nantucket Island they are also about people and the things that drive us in our lives.

Recommended for those who enjoy short story collections and literary fiction. I very much enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from the author.


Other tour stops with TLC Book Tours
Add to your Goodreads List
Buy: Amazon, Amazon Canada, B&N



1 copy of Island Fog up for giveaway

*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter

Draw Date January 31/15




Source: Digital review copy received from the author for an honest review.  No compensation was received. 

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