And the winners of the DRIFT gievaway are…

Drift_(Rachel_Maddow_book)_cover     … CAROLEE888 & LESLIE!!!

*Using’s True Random Number Generator, these  winners were selected by using the number order in which your comments were left.

Congratulations to carolee888 and Leslie!  I’ll be contacting you via e-mail for your mailing addresses and then getting your copies of DRIFT out to you.  Thank you EVERYONE for reading my review and leaving your comments!  I really appreciate it.

So what are you reading today?  Did the loss of an hour throw a wrench in your reading schedule?  I’m about 30% into Jodi Picoult’s new novel, The Storyteller, and I am really liking it.  I hope you are enjoying whatever you are doing today.  I have neglected my sewing projects for two days, so I’m heading into my studio for the day.  Happy Reading!


Review & Giveaway of DRIFT: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow

I am not very well versed in politics, government or military history, but I do enjoy listening to NPR, watching national news broadcasts every evening and the occasional talking head shows, including The Rachel Maddow Show. I had downloaded the audiobook version of her book DRIFT: The Unmooring of American Military Power last fall but hadn’t listened to it yet. Then, out of the blue, I received a nice email from Jessica over at Crown Publishing a few weeks ago. She offered me a copy of the new paperback version of DRIFT. I quickly accepted and after some pleasant email banter with Jessica, receiving my copy of the book and diving into the book, I am ready to share my thoughts on DRIFT: The Unmooring of American Military Power.

DRIFT paperback

What a history lesson! I did finally listen to a bit of the audio version while sewing, since you can’t “read” and “sew” at the same time, and that helped to set the pace for reading the book and not approaching it like a text-book. I am not a regular reader of nonfiction so I was a little nervous, but there was no need to be. Maddow’s conversational story telling style of writing made for an enjoyable read.

Going into detailed depth on topics that run the gambit from Thomas Jefferson and his thoughts on the young U.S. Military and how to manage reserves and active duty members, to Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign and then administration, to Vietnam and LBJ’s fear of stirring unrest within the country, (instead of calling up the military reserves who were trained and had chosen to be in the position of fighting for their country, he upped the numbers of a draft, sending fresh troops half way around the world to a living hell where hundreds of thousands made the ultimate sacrifice), to the United States role in today’s wars and developments in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last decade. It’s an incredible number of points in our nation’s history that is discussed here.

Dusted with her humor and wit, Maddow has written a book with great thought and in my opinion, balanced opinion without preaching. I loved one part in particular. At the end of the book she has made some suggestions, in bullet point format, to our leaders and to us, as American citizens, on how to get back to what is important and what could work to make us a more united country once again.

I think the most important quote of the book, and a great way to sum up the message Maddow is trying to get across to her readers, and really our government leaders, begins the epilogue. Maddow has selected a quote by Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2007-2011.

“If the military drifts away from its people in this country, that is a catastrophic outcome we as a country can’t tolerate.”

Having friends who are members of our great military forces, and knowing that a small percentage of my other friends have little knowledge of what sacrifices these people and their families make on a daily basis for our country, this book really hit home with me. If you would like an in-depth, understandable, yet conversational recap of our military, this country and the world they effect, and has been effected by, then pick up or download a copy of DRIFT: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow.

* I am hosting a giveaway here at Planet Books of two copies of the new paperback edition of DRIFT that comes out today, March 5th, 2013. Please leave a comment below sharing your favorite news show by midnight, Saturday March 9th PST, and you will be eligible to win one of my giveaway copies Jessica from Crown Publishing has provided. Thanks Jessica!

Sorry For The Delay! And The Winner Is…



Band of Angels: A Novel

Since I have four copies of Band Of Angels as well as the galley copy I read/reviewed and there were five entries in the giveaway, I decided that you all are winners!! 

Please send me an e-mail to with your snail-mail address and I’ll get your books out to you as soon as I can.  Thanks so much for visiting Planet Books and entering in this contest Ladies!!

Book Review & Giveaway ~ Band of Angles by Julia Gregson

Band of Angels: A Novel

Summary ~ Growing up in Wales, Catherine Carreg has been allowed to run wild, spending her childhood racing ponies along the beach with her friend Deio, the cattle-driver’s son. But Catherine is consumed by a longing to escape the monotony of village life and runs away to London with Deio’s help. Alone in the unfamiliar city, Catherine secures a position in Florence Nightingale’s home for sick governesses. As the nation is gripped by reports of war in the Crimea, Catherine volunteers as a nurse—and her life changes beyond all recognition. Arriving in Scutari, she is immediately thrown into a living nightmare. Amid the madness and chaos, Catherine is forced to grow up quickly, learning the hardest lessons of love and war.

Band of Angels by Julia Gregson is an epic novel of family, love, adventure and war.  Set against the backdrop of Wales, London and then in the midst of the Crimean War, heroine, Catherine Carreg grows before the reader’s eyes.  The first glimpse of Catherine is as a young girl, already with a mind of her own and an unbreakable will.  After a friendship is snuffed out by her strict, farming father and the sudden death of her beloved mother in a childbirth that left Catherine helpless as she watched her mother’s life drain from her body, Catherine vows to leave her home and find adventure by learning the art of nursing in London. 

Love is always a few steps behind her in the form of her childhood friend, Deio, but Catherine’s focus and determination to make something of herself under the guidance of the famed Florence Nightingale, “The Lady of the Lamp,” keeps her from her heart’s deepest desires.  Effects of the Crimean War (known in Britain as “The Russian War”) began reaching the ears of Londoners and the like.  Florence Nightingale is asked to put together a team of nurses to take with her to the British camp in Scutari in Turkey to assist and hopefully resolve the terrible hospital conditions that Britain’s soldiers are dying in.  

One of my favorite books growing up was an autobiography of Florence Nightingale.  I didn’t realize until reading Band of Angels and doing a little research on Florence Nightingale and the Crimean War that she was British and the soldiers she helped were injured in a war in Russia and the camp she worked at was in Turkey.  I guess I thought, since I was little, that it was the American Civil War and that she was American.  Sometimes when you are a child, your world doesn’t reach beyond your shores.   

If you are looking for more “meat” than the typical “beach read” usually has to offer this summer then be sure to pick up Band of Angels.  Some parts of the book are a gory read but the writing is great, the character development is substantial and you’ll learn a little history along the way.  If you are a fan of historical fiction, it’s a no brainer to read.  Thanks go to Stacy at Touchstone/Fireside for seeking me out and inviting me to participate in Julia Gregson’s U.S. release of her first novel, Band of Angels.  You can check out Julia Gregson’s web site HERE to learn more about her other book, East of the Sun.

If you would like a chance to win one of four copies of Band of Angels (thanks Stacy for sending me so many copies for a giveaway!!) then be sure to leave a comment on this post.  To make it fun (though winners will be selected randomly using please include the historical figure you enjoyed reading about the most as a kid along with your e-mail address.  This drawing’s deadline is Friday, May 21st at midnight EST.

{Rating 4 out of 5}

Book Giveaway ~ Garth Stein’s Raven Stole The Moon

I am soooo excited to have the opportunity to host this giveaway!!  Thanks go to Sarah Daily at Terra Communications for offering up a copy of Garth Stein’s reissue, Raven Stole The Moon.  Sarah does ask that the contest be limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada.  I sure hope the person who wins this book loves it as much as I did!  The story is really great and unexpected. 

I want to make this contest a little challenging so when you leave your e-mail address in the comment section of this post also let me know what your favorite myth or folk lore legend is.  Raven Stole The Moon is centered around a Tlingit Tribe spirit, the Kushtaka myth.  One of my favorite stories from American folklore is the Legend of Sleepy Hallow and the Headless Horseman.  So, share with us your favorite story and leave your e-mail address with it in the comment section of this post by Friday, March 19th at Midnight EST to win Raven Stole The Moon.  Good Luck, Happy Reading & Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

And The Winners Are…



Congratulations ladies!  You have each won a copy of Philippa Gregory’s new novel, The White Queen.  Please e-mail me your mailing addresses and I will forward your info to Kelly, Ms. Gregory’s publicist, so she can send your books to you.

To the rest of you lovely people who stopped by Planet Books and took time to enter in this giveaway, THANK YOU.  Keep checking back here because there are more book giveaways to come.  (I used the list randomizer function on

Book Review/Giveaway ~ The White Queen by Philippa Gregory


Summary ~ The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Brother turns on brother to win the ultimate prize, the throne of England, in this dazzling account of the wars of the Plantagenets. They are the claimants and kings who ruled England before the Tudors, and now Philippa Gregory brings them to life through the dramatic and intimate stories of the secret players: the indomitable women, starting with Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen.

The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills. – This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


The White Queen by Philippa Gregory kicks off a new series by the best selling and beloved author.  This time the focus is on the famed “War of the Roses” or “The Cousins’ War.”  The Houses of York and Lancastor battled for the throne of England between 1455 and 1487.  At the time “The White Queen” takes place, King Edward IV of York’s reign.  He privately married our heroine, Elizabeth Woodville, after a short courtship. 

The historical fiction that Gregory produces is wonderful.  It’s rich with storytelling and fact that has been blended perfectly together.  I have never read any of Gregory’s novels before but I can say that she has struck a positive chord with this new book as she introduces her readers to a new reign in England’s history.

From the beginning, I thoroughly enjoyed Elizabeth.  Her thoughts are strong and well written and her adventures from widow and mother to Queen of England and beyond held my attention.  Kind Edward was five years Elizabeth’s junior and because he married for love (or lust, because Elizabeth wouldn’t go to bed with him until he married her) and not for an alliance between countries, this caused weakness in his personal and professional relationships that make for good drama.  Of course there is heartbreak, romance and all the great aspects that are expected in a Philippa Gregory novel (I’ve read the reviews and seen the film adaptation of “The Other Boleyn Girl”).  However, I did feel that the flow felt a bit like a non-fiction work at times but for the most part The White Queen was a good read.

Thank you so much to Philippa Gregory’s publicist Kelly at Touchstone-Fireside Books for inviting me to read and review The White Queen and for sending me my beautiful copy of the book.  The cover art is exquisite!  Kelly has also offered to giveaway two copies of The White Queen to two lucky winners/readers here at Planet Books.  Please leave your name, e-mail address and the name of your favorite Philippa Gregory book so far for a chance to win.  This contest will conclude on Friday, August 21st at Midnight, EST.  Good luck!!  You can check out Philippa Gregory’s website HERE.

{Rating ~ 4 out of 5}

And The Winner of MISTRESS OF THE SUN Is…


Congratulations and thank you so much for entering in this giveaway!!  To all of the other entrants, thank you so much as well for joining me here at Planet Books and entering as well.  I’m sorry you didn’t win but please keep checking back as I will be hosting giveaways throughout the summer. 

(I used’s List Randomizer option to get the winner.)

Mistress of the Sun

Guest Post & Giveaway ~ Best Intentions by Emily Listfield

I would love to welcome Emily Listfield to Planet Books and congratulate her on the release of her brand new novel, Best Intentions, available in stores Tuesday, May 5th.  Emily has written a guest post for Planet Books’ readers and shares some insight into what is happening in Best Intentions.  She also asks a pretty interesting question so read on to find out and enter to win a copy of Best Intentions


What would you do if you if these clues began to pile up?

Emily ListfieldIn Best Intentions, the narrator, Lisa, has been married to Sam for fifteen years. They  met in a college and now, both 39, they have two daughters they love dearly.  But their marriage is going through a down period. “Sam has seemed restive for reasons I can’t quite place,” Lisa says.  “It has grown  contagious, a malaise that has metastasized between us into a desultory low-level dissatisfaction, nothing I can touch, nothing worthy of accusation or argument, and yet.”  Slowly she begins so suspect he is having affair.  Here are the clues:
1.  Sam tells Lisa he will be working late but she when she listens to a message on his cell phone, she hears a woman’s voice, soft and intimate, saying, “I’m going to be a little late tonight.  Can we make it six-thirty? Same place.”
2.  Later that same night, she hears him whispering into the phone:  “I just couldn’t do it.  Not tonight.”
3. Sam, a business journalist, tells Lisa he is going to Chicago to interview a source for a story.  But when Lisa calls his office, she finds out the story was killed weeks ago.
4.  When Lisa confronts Sam and asks if he is having an affair, he denies it.  In fact, he has a perfectly reasonable explanation for everything. 
5.  But then Lisa discovers photographs of Sam with another woman (you’ll have to read the book to find out who) and suddenly it seems like a game change.

So here’s the question:  Lisa loves Sam and they have two young children she wants to protect. She’s known him most of her life – and he’s never lied to her before.   She doesn’t have absolute proof and she’s worried that if she confronts him she will lose everything. And yet….   What would you do?  Weigh in.  But while you’re thinking up your answer, ask yourself this, too:  How well do you really know the people you love?


Emily Listfield and her publisher, Atria, is providing a copy of Best Intentions for a giveaway here at Planet Books.  To enter to win, weigh in on Emily’s question, “Lisa loves Sam and they have two young children she wants to protect. She’s known him most of her life – and he’s never lied to her before.   She doesn’t have absolute proof and she’s worried that if she confronts him she will lose everything. And yet….   What would you do?  Weigh in.  But while you’re thinking up your answer, ask yourself this, too:  How well do you really know the people you love?”  The giveaway will commence on Sunday, May 10th at Midnight EST.