Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


Leave a comment

Still Me

Jojo Moyes is a great go-to author. I don’t want to read all her books in a row, but they’re a nice break from the historical fiction and thriller/suspense that I usually gravitate toward.

It’s been over 3 years since I read Me Before You and After You, but I still had the third book of the series saved to my wish list through the library. And it was available when I finished my last book. Still Me continues the story of Louisa Clark as she takes a job in New York City and adjusts to life away from everything she’s ever known. I still loved every minute of this book, even though I hesitated to read it because I don’t always love series past two or three books. But Louisa Clark’s character still made me smile and feel for her. If you’ve read the first two, I definitely recommend this one, even if it’s been a while. I was a little spotty on some of the details from book two (like her boyfriend and how they came to be together) but it wasn’t essential to the current story. Enjoy!


Leave a comment

BeachBody

Last summer, I was looking for a way to get back into a fitness routine. In the past I’ve been a big runner, did a stint of sprint triathlon training, then did a year at Pure Barre (which I loved), but when we moved there wasn’t anything close to go to and I was having trouble getting back into running. One of my closest friends from college had gotten into BeachBody and was really enjoying it, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I’ve now done 3 different programs so I thought I’d give a little review of each for anyone trying to find a program or who might be interested. Check out my awesome coach, Meghan, if you want to give it a shot!

My favorite has been 21 Day Fix [Real Time] but that’s just me! People enjoy and are motivated by different types of workouts. What appeals to me may not appeal to you so this is just my opinion!

21 Day Fix [Real Time]

  • What I like: It is a true total body workout and you focus on something different each day. Each week builds on the last and makes it a little more difficult to really push yourself. There are modifications if you need it and the workouts are pretty basic moves. The 30 minutes includes warm up and stretching at the end. The group interacts a lot and has fun, which makes me have more fun! There are short breaks to catch your breath and get water.
  • Didn’t like so much: No music playing with the workout. Autumn talks a lot. And word vomits out a lot of cheesy cliches and motivational lines. It works for some people but I personally don’t need it. I wish there were a timer – either with the overall time and/or a minute timer for each move.

Morning Meltdown 100

  • Second program I did. 100 workouts, 30 minutes each. Ideally done in 100 days but doesn’t have to be.
  • What I liked: 30 minutes includes warm up and stretching at the end. Music playing during workout (there’s a DJ). High energy. Good total body workout that is challenging. There are short breaks to catch your breath and get water.
  • Didn’t like so much: There are definitely some nontraditional moves that are more challenging depending on your fitness level. I definitely felt like I couldn’t do some of the moves even by the end. The group is a little too serious which may just be the feeling after doing 21 Day Fix first that feels more laid back.

T25

  • I was looking for a new program to do in the new year and I know I can’t commit to anything longer than 30 minutes a day. 25 minutes (not including stretching).
  • What I liked: Challenging workouts – I sweat more during these workouts than any of the other programs. There is an overall countdown plus a progress bar for each move. It’s not supposed to be 7 days a week, but 6.
  • Didn’t like so much: This workout is very cardio heavy. I could just feel my arm strength waning. The way they want you to do it is confusing. You definitely have to print out the calendar and you’re doing the same 6 workouts in a different order each week – so after 2 weeks I was bored. There are no breaks at all, even short ones, to catch your breath or get water.


Leave a comment

Lilac Girls

Still loving the historical fiction books and this one may be up there as my favorite. Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly was based on real people and real events, which makes it even better.

Three women are followed during and after WWII in Poland, Germany, and America. Their lives cross paths in different ways and they are involved in and affected by the war in very different ways. Caroline is in America, trying to help those affected overseas, especially children and worrying about a man she loves who ends up back in France. Herta is a German doctor who ends up working at one of the concentration camps. Kasia is a Polish teenager who ends up, with her sister, mother, and friend, at one of the concentration camps.

I have read enough WWII fiction and nonfiction that none of the story was necessarily surprising, but it was a more detailed story line about this specific concentration camp and what happened to a group of young girls. And even if you are familiar with WWII events, it never ceases to be completely appalling. What I enjoyed most about this story was that it continued after the war. Even after the liberation of the camps, the pain and damage, both mentally and physically, was incredible and I cannot even begin to imagine that life. But there were people like Caroline, who worked, even many years after the war, to continue to help.

I absolutely loved this story of hardship, friendship, family, and recovery. I definitely recommend it, especially if you like historical fiction.


Leave a comment

If You Tell

Another book from Kindle Unlimited did not do it for me. It’s definitely hit or miss. If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood by Gregg Olsen was interesting, especially having a child development background and working in child maltreatment prevention, but could have been about half as long. I understand Olsen wanted to really drive the point home of how evil and messed up this mother was, but some exact information was repeated over and over. And the timeline was not always clear or in a logical order. It felt a little all over the place.

Three sisters survived a horrible and traumatic upbringing at the hands of their mother and father. It is incredible to me how she got away with everything she did to her children and others she “took in” to help. But at the same time it’s not that surprising. And this also shows the psychological effects of physical and mental abuse. One of the sisters still felt guilty for getting their mother in trouble and still helped her while she was in prison. It is baffling but impossible to understand unless you have experienced something like this.

It is an interesting read, especially if you are interested in psychology and child abuse prevention/intervention. But you can probably skim quickly through the book and still get the same out of it.


Leave a comment

Play Dirty

I got a free Kindle Unlimited trial with my new Kindle and have mostly enjoyed the free book selection. It takes a little more weeding through and there aren’t current New York Times bestsellers, but it lets me find new authors, new genres, and new books!

Play Dirty by Sandra Brown was more on the not enjoyed side. If you don’t like football, you won’t like this book. I could power through because I do like football but there were multiple times I considered not finishing this book. Griff Burkett is a former NFL player released from prison after serving time for betting on NFL games, including his own, and affecting the outcomes of those games. Upon his release, he immediately is approached by a local business celebrity who has a very strange proposal for him to help he and his wife get pregnant. At the same time, he is being followed by a crooked cop. And from there it’s just one thing after another.

I realize that most of what I read is fiction and is not true, but this storyline just seemed SO outlandish. And it seemed to be written in a way that it could happen. It was not really my cup of tea but I did finish it. It has 4.5 stars on Amazon, so someone likes it! Maybe you will.


Leave a comment

The Testaments

Book #2 down for the year already! I did something I usually don’t do. I watched the tv show of The Handmaid’s Tale before I read the book. I liked the show so much I decided to go back and read the book. And something that NEVER happens happened. I liked the tv show WAY more than the book. Now it may have been the other way around had I read the book first, but I really don’t think so. The book was fine it was just a little boring, with a lot fewer characters and detail than the show had.

So when I saw that Margaret Atwood had written a second book, after 3 seasons of the show had already aired (season 1 covered the first book) and 21 years after the first book was published, I was a little skeptical and really had no idea how it would relate to the show. So I ended being very pleasantly surprised by The Testaments.

It has some of the same characters but some new ones as well and takes place about 15 years after season 3 of the show. It focuses mainly on characters who were children in the first 3 seasons of the show – Hannah/Agnes and Baby Nicole who are half sisters (June is their mother). Aunt Lydia is also still around (which would make her pretty old). The format it is written in is interesting though. They are accounts from Aunt Lydia while in Gilead as well as testimonies from the two girls who are no longer in Gilead. So it jumps back and forth in time a little bit but is easy to follow.

There is background about the girls, the story of how they got in and/or out of Gilead, and Aunt Lydia’s role in all of it. I really enjoyed it, especially after how season 3 of the show ended. It will be very interesting to see if season 4 of the show picks up with this book or if they will try to fill in some of the time in between. I can’t wait!!


Leave a comment

The Storyteller

New year, new reading challenge! I exceeded my 2019 reading goal, so I set my bar high this year with 50 books. You can follow my progress and books on Goodreads!

My first book of the year was a good one. I’ve read numerous Jodi Picoult books over the years. They are usually pretty heavy topics so I never read more than one of hers in a row. And this one was right up my alley for historical fiction and WWII. The Storyteller is fiction, history, mystery, and deception – all used to tell the stories of numerous people who are related in different ways.

Sage is a baker whose past scars haunts her daily. She attends a grief support group where she befriends an elderly man, Josef who is beloved in their community. Josef confides a huge secret that could have legal and moral implications for him, but also emotional implications for Sage. As she navigates what to do with the information he gives her, she connects deeper with her grandmother and meets someone new who sees past her scars to her true person. I don’t want to give too much away, but the information Josef confesses has to do with the Holocaust and the story goes back to that time for a good bit of the book, with lots of details. So if you are easily affected by tough facts from that time, this may not be the best book for you. But it is truly fascinating and appalling all at the same time.

I feel like I picked a good one to start the year, so here’s to another year of good books!