Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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The Center of Everything

My second Goodreads free book giveaway! We were able to get to the beach this week and are lucky to have family who lives on a beautiful, noncrowded beach within driving distance. One day we were literally the only people on the beach. But I had plenty of time to fly through this book on the beach and on the drive back.

The Center of Everything by Jamie Harrison is definitely a slower pace, which was different since I am used to reading thriller/suspense and historical fiction that have a lot of action. So although it’s good to switch it up something, it still felt slow and boring at times. Polly, the main character, had a recent head trauma in an accident and has a big week. It’s a holiday week in July during which she is also hosting a huge family party. Her head injury makes it difficult to focus but also brings about memories from childhood in much more vivid detail than usual. And those memories bring about a lot of questions leading up to the family party and seeing so many family members. There is also a bit of a mystery as a secondary story since in the same week, a local girl, who babysits for Polly, goes missing on the river.

Overall the story was fine, but definitely not my usual read. It rambled on at times and jumped from one thought to another, which was maybe on purpose to reflect the main character’s current state of mind. I think my giveaway copy was an early release, so check it out when it’s released! Also not sure how the title fits in – she mentions ‘the center of everything’ once in the book but I can’t remember what it was in reference to…maybe her mother? Her family? If I don’t know after reading the whole book, perhaps a different title would have been better.


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The Girl Who Lived

There are so many ways to read books these days, especially when those ways are free! I rent most of my Kindle books from the library (you can read through the Kindle app on any device – smartphone, tablet/iPad, or actual Kindle) but can also get them through Amazon. Prime Reading is a completely free way if you have a Prime membership and Kindle Unlimited is another way if you want to pay a little more. I had a free trial of Kindle Unlimited for a while, but found that I still mostly got books from the library, so I didn’t want to pay for it. But if you have the patience to browse through Prime Reading options you can find some good ones!

The Girl Who Lived by Christopher Greyson is on Prime Reading and was such a quick read. I did enjoy it, but I may have enjoyed it more because the book before was not very good. So the bar was a little low. But I still think it was good overall! If you like trying to figure out who did it, this is a book for you.

Faith’s sister was murdered in front of her after they walked into the scene of her father, best friend, and best friend’s mother having been murdered. Somehow she escaped. The murderer and his accomplice, who she saw, got away after the police decided her father had committed the murder-suicide. And Faith’s life spiraled into a struggle with drugs, alcohol, anger, and an obsession with finding the murderers. Most of the story takes place days before the 10 year anniversary of the murders, when Faith is released from a mental hospital.

Overall, the story is great and every few chapters you think someone else did it or is involved. It definitely keeps you guessing. My only complaint is that even for someone who experienced a very traumatic event, Faith’s actions are very stupid. It’s understandable that she has trouble trusting people, but some of the things she does, whether drunk or not, are just a little unbelievable. I think the author tries to justify this at the end by making it vague whether Faith actually suffers from mental illness or not. But overall, I wanted to keep reading and find out who done it! If you like psychological thrillers, I recommend. And it doesn’t drag out at all. Enjoy!


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What We Forgot To Bury

If you are a reader and aren’t on Goodreads, you should be! Not only is it a great, easy way to track what books you’ve read, but you can win FREE BOOKS! I’ve been on a bit of a winning streak lately: I won 2 free Kindle books from Goodreads and a whole free family meal from a local restaurant! I can no longer say I never win anything!

This was the first book I won. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little skeptical of free books (although it’s a little different when it’s a giveaway). I’ve tried some of the books available through Prime Reading and they can be hit or miss. What We Forgot To Bury by Marin Montgomery was definitely slow to start and it took longer to get into the story and know where it was going than I like, but it’s not a long book, so I kept trudging through. It got a little better towards the end since there were some twists, but I’d still put it down there pretty low ranking my books for this year.

The two main characters, Elle and Charlotte, are both living with dark and muddled pasts. Their lives become entwined, though not completely by chance, and so do their histories. The interesting thing about this story to me was that you don’t trust or really like any of the characters. There are times when you feel for them, but none of them are completely likeable. The father who may or may not be wrongfully imprisoned for manslaughter, the daughter who may or may not be trying to hurt her father’s ex, the ex who may or may not be lying about everything to everyone. I think that’s why the story was hard to get into – as a reader you don’t know the truth about anyone or anything. Usually there’s one perspective that is true or you know you can trust. These characters all just lie constantly or have personality traits that make them seem like they’re lying. And there are a LOT of holes in the story line.

The last quarter of the book definitely had me more on the edge of my seat because there was a little more action. If you like thrillers and have the patience to wade through the weeds at the beginning, you might end up enjoying it. Though I am still confused about the title of the book…no idea where it came from or how it relates to the story. Book #19 done!


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Writers & Lovers

This was a pretty quick read but took me a bit to really get into it. My initial thought about Writers & Lovers by Lily King was that is was slow and kind of boring. But after the last 1/3 of the book and thinking about why I wasn’t into the first 2/3, I loved it!

Casey is just a normal young adult (young-ish….early 30s) dealing with normal adult issues. She struggles with her mental health after her mother’s sudden death. Her father is somewhat estranged, her brother lives on the other side of the country, and she is dealing with a recent heartbreak. She dreams of being a writer and has been working on a novel but cannot seem to get it done. And she’s hiding from collections agencies trying to collect her overdue debt of college loans. And these are just the issues she’s dealing with at the beginning of the story.

Throughout the entire story, she beats herself up for not being able to cope with all of this. And she doesn’t have anyone she is comfortable being fully honest with about any of it. She finally sees a therapist who really snaps her back to reality. She has tried to play off the things she’s dealing with as small and insignificant issues. And I feel like a lot of us do that, especially right now. If something is troubling you or stressing you out, it is significant in your life, even if you think it’s silly or would be a minor speed bump for someone else. It doesn’t do anyone any good to compare tragedies.

I didn’t end up liking this book because it does have a happy ending. I ended up liking it because it is real. The character is real, her issues are real, and the way she deals with those issues, both initially and ultimately, is real. No one can do it alone. Definitely check it out and enjoy!


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American Royals

This was a great, lighthearted read, which was much needed. American Royals by Katharine McGee is a creative fictional story about a royal family and succession to the throne. But it is not exactly what you would expect. This royal family is not British, but American. When the US won their independence from England, they set up the country as a monarchy, like England. And the Washingtons became the royal family.

The story follows the King, Beatrice, the eldest daughter and heir to the throne (the first female to hold that position), Samantha and Jefferson, the twin children of the King, and their crazy life of friends, guards, parties, papparazzi, and expectations. There are definitely elements of the real life British royal family woven into the storyline, which I thought was interesting albeit slightly confusing. If you’ve watched The Crown you’ll see what I mean. If you haven’t watched it, this book will make you want to watch it.

The story was very entertaining but really leaves you hanging at the end. I guess that’s a good thing for McGee since the next book is supposed to be released later this year. If you like all things royal or just need a light, easy read, check it out! And enjoy!


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And Then You Were Gone

I’ve finally broken out of my historical fiction trend to my other favorite – suspense/mystery. Of course I liked And Then You Were Gone by R.J. Jacobs because it’s set in Nashville and a lot at my alma mater (VU!). And Jacobs lives in Nashville, so bonus points right off the bat.

I will say for a suspense, there were some holes in the storyline. Or maybe I just watch and read too many crime dramas. There were definitely some things that I feel like the cops would have done but I am no police investigation expert. The book starts with Emily and her boyfriend, Paolo, on an overnight trip and she wakes up to him gone. Completely gone. The story continues with more murders and many stupid decisions by Emily trying to figure out what is happening. And although her bipolar diagnosis explains a lot of her actions, it didn’t really make me like her any more. But it’s always fun to know exactly where things are taking place, to be able to picture them.

So not my favorite main character, but the storyline was still great. There’s murder, suspense, virus and epidemic research. So also very appropriate at the moment. Enjoy!


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The Alice Network

Another fantastic historical fiction! I definitely need a break now, though from war stories. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn follows three unlikely friends, all dealing with their own ghosts from their pasts. Eve was a spy in WWI and is still haunted by people and actions from her time in France. Finn, a little more minor character, was a soldier in WWII. Charlie (short for Cahrlotte) is in search of her cousin who hasn’t been seen since the end of WWII.

This crew finds each other and their lives begin to interlace in ways unimanginable. They cross countries in search of leads and answers. And along the way, we read of Eve’s adventures and tasks as a spy. This book was fascinating to me, especially after learning that some of the characters were based on real people. Not the 3 main characters, but the others in the spy network Eve worked in – The Alice Network – were. I think I will always be fascinated by WWI and WWII historical fiction because, again, there is so much information and so many stories. And the stories about women’s roles in those times is so interesting.

Check it out and let me know what you think!