Friday Finds ~ February 26th, 2010


This was my favorite meme to put together.  I like looking at the book covers and putting them all together.  It makes me want to go to the book store!  Friday Finds is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.  While browsing fabulous book blogs,, Washington,, various other places on the Internet, and getting recommendations from friends, these are the books that either made it to my wish list this week or I downloaded the samples on my Kindle from




Testimony: A Novel by Anita Shreve
The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher: A Novel by Rob Stennett
Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
Julia’s Chocolates by Cathy Lamb
Song Yet Sung by James McBride
The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi W. Durrow
The Room and the Chair by Lorraine Adams
Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour by Lynne Olson

Book Review ~ The Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

A Reliable WifeProduct Description from ~  

Rural Wisconsin, 1909. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement for “a reliable wife.” But when Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she’s not the “simple, honest woman” that Ralph is expecting. She is both complex and devious, haunted by a terrible past and motivated by greed. Her plan is simple: she will win this man’s devotion, and then, ever so slowly, she will poison him and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she has not counted on, though, is that Truitt — a passionate man with his own dark secrets —has plans of his own for his new wife. Isolated on a remote estate and imprisoned by relentless snow, the story of Ralph and Catherine unfolds in unimaginable ways.With echoes of Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, Robert Goolrick’s intoxicating debut novel delivers a classic tale of suspenseful seduction, set in a world that seems to have gone temporarily off its axis.  

Sounds like a great book right?  I wanted to love it as much as some out there who’s reviews were so glowing.  I just couldn’t.  I’m sorry Y’all!  I just called Hubby at work and told him I finally finished The Reliable Wife and his response was, “Good.”  Ha Ha!  He knew how much I was struggling with it.  I told him, “I don’t blame the characters for it being a bad book.  I blame the author.”  I think that I would have liked the book if I had been younger, not as experienced in the “ways of love” and was still reading young romance novels but I’m not that girl anymore. 

The characters weren’t likeable.  Not a one really.  They were all so flawed and destructive!  The author spent forever describing things that didn’t have to be soooo drawn out to tell the story.  I really don’t have much more to say about The Reliable Wife.  It was a quick read so I told myself I would finish it and I did about twenty minutes ago.  Whew!

{Rating ~ 1.5 out of 5}

Today’s Favorite Song

I haven’t listened to Pandora Radio in forever so I decided to log on and take a listen.  Well what I got was so unexpected and fabulous that I had to share it with you.  Kings of Leon is becoming a favorite band of mine primarily due to the tune “Sex On Fire” but I love when big songs are covered by artists in other genres.  I just heard Sugarland (one of my all time favs) perform this song on Pandora.  So, because I was so moved and thrilled to hear Jennifer Nettles HUGE and VIBRANT voice singing this vocally driven song, I want to share it with you.  Enjoy!

Book Review ~ The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Summary as seen on ~ “Alternating between an America still cocooned in its inability to grasp the danger at hand and a Europe being torn apart by war, The Postmistress gives us two women who find themselves unable to deliver the news, and a third woman desperately waiting for news yet afraid to hear it.
Sarah Blake’s The Postmistress shows how we bear the fact that war goes on around us while ordinary lives continue. Filled with stunning parallels to today, it is a remarkable novel.”

The Postmistress

Last night at midnight I finished reading my new all-time favorite book.  The Postmistress is the newest book from author Sarah Blake.  I have been trying to think of how to describe my thoughts throughout this book and because there are so many I’m only going to touch on a few and leave the rest to you to discover for yourself when you hopefully read it.

The book was simply fabulous.  That should be enough to get you to go buy the book this weekend and dive right in but if it isn’t than let me tell you a few things about The Postmistress.  The story is based on three women and the world that surrounds them in the months leading up to the United States’ involvement in WWII.  Frankie Bard is part of “Murrow’s Boy”, a group of brave and progressive reporters who broadcasted from all over Europe as Hitler and his Nazis drove out and did worse to the Jews as well as broadcast live from London throughout The Blitz.  I was curious about “Murrow’s Boy”, that’s Edward R. Murrow, who coined the phrase “Good Night and Good Luck” and “THIS…is London” and the reporters who worked for him to get the news to the U.S.  There was a female who was in that bunch.  Her name was Mary Marvin Breckinridge Patterson and as I discovered in the notes from the author at the end of The Postmistress, she is who Blake based Frankie Bard on.  Frankie is viewed as a very brave woman who is trying to bring the war front in London to her fellow Americans attention back home.  Her stories soar along the airwaves and enter the kitchens and offices of Americans who listen with bated breath to the sounds of bombs and heartbreaking stories of loss and death only an ocean away. 

Thanks to Blake, we as readers are privy to the people of Franklin, Connecticut who listen to Frankie Bard in their homes and offices.  A doctor and his wife are especially touched and haunted by the story of a boy and the loss of his mother during a night of heavy bombing during The Blitz in London.  Other Frankliners, Iris the postmaster and her friend Harry, who spends most of his time with a pair of binoculars looking all over the Atlantic Ocean for German U-Boats that he believes will surface and bring the war to Franklin’s front step, listen daily to Murrow and his reporters, including Frankie.  They discuss the war and what is happening but Iris tries to keep it all in the radio, not wanting to believe that Americans will be affected by what is happening across the pond. 

The dialogue between characters in numerous parts of The Postmistress are written so well I could picture the scenes easily before me.  The writing is smart and fast paced, keeping me gasping and on the edge of my seat, always wondering what the next page held for the characters I had grown so attached to.  The twists and turns of life are scattered with news and experiences of the war and it’s effects.

The Postmistress is historical fiction at it’s best in my opinion.  I loved it from beginning to end and felt that it never faltered or stalled.  Sarah Blake’s story of love, loss, war, life and what happens in between is written so very well.  I look forward to attending a reading/Q&A/signing of The Postmistress with Sarah Blake next Sunday afternoon at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.  I can’t wait to hear and see her in person and hopefully learn some extra back story about the book and where her ideas came from. 

Rating {5 out of 5}

Friday Finds ~ February 19th, 2010


This was my favorite meme to put together.  I like looking at the book covers and putting them all together.  It makes me want to go to the book store!  Friday Finds is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.  While browsing fabulous book blogs,, Washington,, various other places on the Internet, and getting recommendations from friends, these are the books that either made it to my wish list this week or I downloaded the samples on my Kindle from



Sayonara by James A. Michener
Horns by Joe Hill
Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger
Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts
What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
The March: A Novel by E.L. Doctorow
Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan

Expanding Horizons

Because I don’t read enough book blogs on a weekly basis (yeah right) I am interested in discovering some book blogs I may have overlooked.  Maybe your blog doesn’t come up in the usual Google search or you are new to the book blogging universe.  I would love for you to ‘introduce yourself’ here in the comment section for this post and link back to your own blog(s).  Planet Books averages 100 hits a day (which may not be much for some of you but I am happy to have them) so you could get some new traffic too from those people who don’t know about your blog either. 

I love reading your blogs and though I fell off the blogging and commenting wagon for a while there last summer and fall, I’m hungry for more and love to discover your recommendations for what to read.  Below are a few of the book blogs that I frequent.  On the right of the screen under “Friends of Planet Books” you can find more links too.

Year of the Bookworms 2010
Books on the Brain
Stephanie’s Written Word
The Literate Housewife Review
Life & Times of a “New” New Yorker aka NYC Book Girl
Thoughts of a Lusty Reader
Lit & Life
Book, Line, and Sinker
Nonsuch Book
The 3 R’s Blog/Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness
A Striped Armchair
Books in the City
Hey Lady!  Whatch Readin’?

Sunday Salon ~ Valentine’s Day 2010

Happy Valentine’s Day Sunday Saloners!  I Love Ya!!  This weekend has been great so far.  The snow isn’t falling and the roads are clearing by the minute, as long as the sun keeps shining, here in the DC area.  I’m reading a fabulous book (I’ll get to that in a sec) and today Hubby and I are celebrating nine years together.  We had our first date on Valentine’s Day 2001.  It was a Wednesday evening and it was the only free night we both had that whole week so unknowingly we booked our date for Valentine’s Day.  I wore blue and Hubby wore a sports jacket, which led everyone in his office to think he had an interview that day.  In a way, I guess he did!  We went to a bar and had appetizers and drinks and talked for two hours straight.  It was awesome and we fell into easy conversation.  Hubby had our second date set up before the first one concluded and laid a fabulous and memorable kiss on me because, as he told me later, I looked like I wanted to be kissed.  And they say, the rest is history.

This past week I read Dear John by Nicholas Sparks and reviewed it HERE.  It was a good story and appropriate to read in the week leading up to the annual day of love.  Now I am reading a book that just came out on Tuesday.  It’s The Postmistress by Sarah Blake and it is sooooo good!  It is historical fiction set in London and Massachusetts during WWII.  Three women are the focus of this book and the people that fill their days and their hearts.  The descriptions of the Blitz in London are horrific and greatly written as are the scenes between two new lovers in Massachusetts.

The Postmistress

I am thrilled that Sarah Blake is a Washingtonian and has numerous readings/signings scheduled in the area.  On the last Sunday of the month I am taking my dear friend and fellow book devourer Library Love to Ms. Blake’s event at Politics and Prose in DC for LL’s birthday.  Though I am reading The Postmistress on my Kindle right now I will buy a copy of the book to be signed.  I like the book that much so far!  I just couldn’t wait to read it so while the snow fell last weekend I pre-ordered the book to be downloaded on it’s release date. 

Do you have an electronic reading device?  If you do do you still buy some books in regular old book form?  Do you buy the book for the shelf and if it’s a big one, like say Stephen King’s new 1000 page Under The Dome, read it on the e-reader anyway?  You have a collection going ya know.  I use my Kindle the same way I use my iPod.  I have all of Madonna’s and Dave Matthews Band’s albums on CD  but I burn them to my computer and than download the tunes to my iPod.  If  a book is just too cool to not have on my shelf, and the cover is too gorgeous to not look at and touch, I will buy the book and read it instead of buying it on my Kindle.  Those critics and companies are right!  The MP3 player and e-reader has changed the way I listen to music and read books and I LOVE it!

Friday Finds ~ February 12th, 2010


This was my favorite meme to put together.  I like looking at the book covers and putting them all together.  It makes me want to go to the book store!  Friday Finds is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.  While browsing fabulous book blogs,, Washington,, various other places on the Internet, and getting recommendations from friends, these are the books that either made it to my wish list this week or I downloaded the samples on my Kindle from


The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault 
Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Under The Dome by Stephen King
Moscow Rules by Daniel Silva

Book Review ~ Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

Dear JohnSummary ~ An angry rebel, John dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army, not knowing what else to do with his life–until he meets the girl of his dreams, Savannah. Their mutual attraction quickly grows into the kind of love that leaves Savannah waiting for John to finish his tour of duty, and John wanting to settle down with the woman who captured his heart. But 9/11 changes everything. John feels it is his duty to re-enlist. And sadly, the long separation finds Savannah falling in love with someone else. “Dear John,” the letter read…and with those two words, a heart was broken and two lives were changed forever. Returning home, John must come to grips with the fact that Savannah, now married, is still his true love–and face the hardest decision of his life.

Dear Nicholas Sparks,

You have written a good love story for our times.  Our times being a time of war.  Your story of love between a young soldier and a college student is a great idea and you get it right for the most part.  I thought the first half of Dear John was a bit slow and though you were developing the romance between John and the lovely and intelligent Savannah, I have a feeling it could have been done within fewer pages.  The second half of Dear John was great though.  I think it could even stand alone as a novella.  The relationship between John and his father who possibly has Aspergers, per Savannah’s rookie diagnosis, really develops and is touching and a joy to read.  Things do not have a fairy tale ending for John and Savannah though, as much as the reader would like it too but it’s a story that resonates truth to a point. 

I was happy to read the book, even though I could have gone to see it on the silver screen and gotten the story in a lot less time but I have a new rule.  If I am really interested in the story and the movie is based on a book than I’m going to try to read the book instead.  Mr. Sparks, what do you think about the movie version of your modern day love story?  After talking with a girlfriend of mine who saw it over the weekend, a lot of details and part of the story were changed.  How does that make you feel?  When I read The Lovely Bones and then saw the film version with a couple of my book club gals, we laughed through most of the movie because the stupidest changes were made to the story.  I’m glad I read your original story about John and his Savannah.  It was also perfect timing reading Dear John the week before Valentine’s Day.


Karen @ Planet Books

{Rating ~ 3.75 out of 5}

Sunday Salon ~ Superbowl Sunday 2010

Happy Superbowl Sunday Y’all!!  So, here in the D.C. Metro Area, we are starting to dig out from The Blizzard of 2010/Snowpocolipse/Snomaggedon and gearing up for a truly American holiday, The Superbowl.  Hubby is supposed to be driving down to South Carolina for a training class this week but he can’t even get get out of our neighborhood right now but will try again in an hour or so.  Thank goodness the sun is beating down through the below freezing temps today. 

Friday night, after the snow had been falling since the late morning hours and had been sticking since 4:00pm I started reading Dear John by Nicholas Sparks and have been reading it all weekend (when television isn’t distracting me like a moth to a flame).  It’s good so far but I have learned that I don’t really like reading a lot of inner monologue and scenery description and Dear John is FULL of John’s inner monologue.  But, the story is good so far, even if it is a bit predictable, and I am trying to stick to my new rule and if a movie I want to see is based on a novel, than I’m reading the novel instead. 

What are you doing this weekend?  Were you affected by Snowmaggedon or are you simply waiting for the Superbowl to begin later today?  What are you reading this weekend?  One quick note regarding who I want to win the Superbowl, I am indifferent.  Either way a great team is winning though it would be a great day for the city of New Orleans if their beloved Saints brough the Lombardi trophy home.