Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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Second Chance

I got on a Jane Green kick as they are good summer reads. My last one left a little to be desired writing-wise, so I didn’t have high hopes for Second Chance. But Green definitely brushed up on her writing skills in the 7 years between these two books. And unlike Jemima J., I had not read this book before.

Childhood friends are thrown together again after a tragic event. They reminisce, examine their own lives, and reconnect as they mourn a deep loss. It’s definitely not a happy-go-lucky read. The group are all in very different stages in life, each navigating their own issues. In truth, it’s kind of depressing. But there are redeeming scenes and the characters are captivating.

Another quick read – good for the plane or road trip. Enjoy!

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Jemima J.

I was looking for some more easy, entertaining summer reads and remembered reading a number of Jane Green’s books years ago. I still have 3 on my bookshelf. So I downloaded a couple. I started Jemima J. and quickly realized I had read it before, but it had been long enough that I didn’t remember the details. So on I read.

Although this story was somewhat entertaining, I have a lot of issues with both the story and the writing. Granted, it was published in 2001 and I think was one of Jane Green’s first books. Writing-wise, she inconsistently switches between first person and narrator and first-person narrator which was pretty confusing. I did not like the random first-person narrator talking directly to the characters and readers. That works for movies and tv but not so much in written form.

The entertaining part of the storyline is that the internet is new and the characters are discovering chat rooms – the first form of online dating. The part I take issue with is the fact that the main character is an overweight woman who is miserable with her life, decides to make a lifestyle change for a man (Green kind of tries to deflect that this is the reason but not very convincingly), and does so to an unhealthy degree. I don’t care about spoilers for this book because it’s been around so long, but she ends up reconnecting with an old love who obviously falls for her, and Green half-heartedly implies that he was interested in her before she lost the weight. But again, not convincingly.

Overall, if you don’t think about it too hard, the book is entertaining and it’s definitely an easy read. And written when it was, I sadly think this kind of storyline was more widely accepted. Unfortunately, there are real life stories of women losing a ton of weight and only then feeling good about themselves and getting attention from men, but this is definitely not the message I personally would want to send out to my readers.

I’ll definitely read more of Green’s books, especially some of her newer ones. I’ve already started another and the writing is, at least, much better. Yay for summer reads!


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The Book of Life

The third and final book in the All Souls Trilogy series (Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night being the first two). It’s been a while since I’ve read a full series like this and I forgot how invested you become in the characters and their “lives”. I was actually sad when I finished the book! It’s also been a few weeks since I finished it, I just kept forgetting to add it to my list and posts.

The Book of Life may have been my favorite book in the series. And it’s rarely the case that the last book in a series is the favorite. Everything comes to a head in this book – witches, vampires, demons, humans. Some friends, some enemies. Some action, some stealth,  and some quick thinking. I don’t want to give anything away, obviously. My only complaint about this whole series is that even though the protagonist is a strong and willful woman, it took a man for her to discover her full talent and potential. There were plenty of women helping along the way, but it was he who initiated the entire discovery. Not completely a damsel in distress situation, but I could have used a little more self-discovery and self-confidence on her part.

Overall, an entertaining and easy read, great for summer, the beach, the lake, traveling, whatever! Now, I need some more quick reads to make up for being way behind schedule to meet my reading challenge for the year. Any suggestions? Or maybe I just need to take vacation and do nothing but read by the pool. Hm….


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Shadow of Night

I needed some easy, entertaining summer reads. A Discovery of Witches was not my favorite book ever – it was pretty slow at the beginning – it ended well enough that it caught my attention for the series. The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness seemed to be pretty popular. So I jumped right into Shadow of Night. This was much better paced without all the character development, though you do still meet new characters, and the storyline was still a little slow sometimes. If you know you’re not into vampires, witches, and demons this is not the book for you. But it’s a fascinating world where creatures live with humans and have their own governing body to answer to. And when different creatures come together – as they are not supposed to do – things get interesting.

Great summer/beach read – and I’m already well into the third book! Enjoy!


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The Wonder

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue was a truly unique story. A girl claims to be living on no food or water and a committee sets out to determine if this is truly a miracle or a deeply planned scheme. It was a quick read that kept my attention the entire time – at least after getting over the strange topic. The characters are complex and have to face decisions and struggles that most of us cannot imagine facing. I’m really not sure what else to say about it without giving anything away other than you should definitely read this!


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Truly Madly Guilty

I love Liane Moriarty’s books and Truly Madly Guilty is her newest. I waiting a while on the waitlist to get it and it did not disappoint. I did think it was a little slower to get going than her other books I’ve read. The whole books revolves around one night and something that happened, but it takes most of the book to learn what that something was. And that something had a profound effect on numerous families, relationships, and life plans. I’ll leave you hanging at that. But the characters were pretty complex each with their own issues and unique relationships between each other. It’s a great summer/pool/beach read for anyone starting their travels soon. But be prepared to buy it or wait for a while!

According to my Goodreads dashboard, I’m 5 books behind towards meeting my goal for the year. Guess that means an extra effort to get to the pool all summer!!


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Daring Greatly

I love Brené Brown and have read a number of her books, which you can find on my book listDaring Greatly is supposed to be one of her best books and it’s been on my list for a while. Her research is around shame and vulnerability and how they invade every area of our lives – work, family, social life. The greatest thing she does is use this research to make concepts and ideas applicable to anyone’s life. And she doesn’t pretend to be perfect or to have all the answers.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.”

I can tell you, from personal experience, that being vulnerable is one of the hardest things to do but can have the greatest rewards. Obviously you are not going to be completely open and vulnerable with every single person in your life, but when I am completely vulnerable with those closest to me, the relationship flourishes. I went through college with only a couple friends knowing that I went for infusions at the hospital every 1-2 weeks to treat a chronic blood disorder. To me, this difference was a negative thing and one that would make me weird. But years later, when I opened up about that aspect of my life publicly, the response was overwhelmingly positive. And thinking back, I was silly to think it would be otherwise.

I definitely recommend this book to everyone. It’s a quick read. I will say that Brown can be a little repetitive, and the section on parenting doesn’t apply to my, but I still skimmed through it. Great read for anyone who is in relationships with others – friends, family, romantic, whatever!

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