Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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What You Did

I got a new Kindle for my birthday (thanks babe!) and got 3 months of Kindle Unlimited. Free books! I didn’t have a whole lot of time to browse but downloaded a couple that popped up right away. I’m not sure what this was based on but they both seemed fairly accurate to my tastes: one thriller/mystery and one historical fiction.

What You Did by Claire McGowan left me with very torn feelings. It was definitely intense but I honestly wasn’t sure if I liked it or not. The main storyline is one that is an intense topic to cover – sexual assault – so I feel like I maybe just could’t really relate to any of the characters.

A reunion for 6 university friends quickly takes a turn for the worse when one of the women, Karen, was attacked by one of the men. I don’t want to get too graphic but by attack I mean in the most horrifying way without being killed. She accuses Mike, the husband of her best friend and the guy who she has been having an affair with for years. This eventually leads to Mike being stabbed by Karen’s son and Karen’s daughter trying to take her life.

This book covered every topic that you never want to deal with or even think about: sexual assault, attempted murder, affairs, attempted suicide, infertility, and lots and lots of lies. I think it was a little much for one storyline. It was a quick read so it at least didn’t drag on too much. Give it a read if you enjoy intense and uncomfortable topics and hopefully you enjoy!


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Magic Hour

My first Kristin Hannah book was The Great Alone, which I enjoyed but it wasn’t necessarily my favorite book ever. But her other books look interesting too so I tried another one. Magic Hour was much more intriguing to me and, I thought, a very unique story line. A girl appears in a small town in Washington state, seemingly out of the woods. She is terrified, does not speak, and generally acts like a wild animal.

The police chief’s sister, Julia, is a child psychologist who has taken a hit to her career recently, so she comes to help out. The police work to try and figure out where the girl came from and what happened to her, while protecting her, and Julia tried to get through to the girl. She makes progress but as soon as things seem to be settling down, a giant wrench is thrown into the mix when the girl’s father finally appears.

The story is beautiful and heart-wrenching at times. I definitely recommend it but be prepared for some intense moments. Enjoy!


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Bonfire

Another good mystery/thriller for October! Bonfire by Krysten Ritter was a great page-turner. I honestly didn’t put two and two together on who wrote the book until I got to the ‘about the author’ at the end of the book. I’m not good with names. But you probably know her (or know of her), but not as an author. She’s obviously a woman of many talents!

In the story, Abby Williams finds herself back in her hometown 10 years after escaping the cruelty of childhood and adolescence. She is on a mission to investigate the potential harmful actions of a local plastics company. She is quickly sucked back into the past and finds it hard to not blur lines between work and her past. But as she digs deeper into the environmental offenses of the company, she opens Pandora’s box of other illegal activities.

It’s a pretty quick read and you can get through it – I couldn’t sleep one night so I finished it in less than a week. Enjoy!


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The Witch Elm

Since it’s October, I thought I’d focus on some thriller/mystery-type books. The Witch Elm is the fourth book I’ve read by Tana French. The other three were in the Dublin Murder Squad series and the first two were good but the third was not my favorite. Side note – the first two were made into a tv series if you’ve read them or are just interested in those kind of shows.

The Witch Elm has a couple different story lines that seem to intertwine at times but doesn’t seem to at others. The main character, Toby, along with his family are rocked by his uncle’s brain tumor diagnosis and are preparing for the end of his life. Just before to the diagnosis, Toby is attacked in his home and barely makes it out alive, so decides to go live with his uncle for a while during his recovery. However, a giant wrench is thrown into everyone’s recovery and end of life plans (respectively) when human remains are found on his uncle’s property.

And investigation ensues and the detectives appear to try to set Toby and his cousins against one another by feeding various information and tips and asking specific questions about the remains that turn out to be an old classmate of Toby and his cousins. I won’t give away everything, but in the end they get a confession, though the whole situation has incredible repercussions on Toby.

Overall, I thought the story was a little predictable and very outlandish. Obviously it’s fiction, but I at least like for my whodunit stories to have a bit of believable content. I also thought it jumped around too much (which I guess may have been on purpose to mimic the main character’s brain injury) and had a lot of holes. If you’re wanting to read Tana French, I wouldn’t start with this one. So I’ve enjoyed 2 of 4 books by her. May take a break on hers for a little while but I’ll leave them on my list to maybe try again in the future.


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Transcription

This book marked the completion of my 2019 reading challenge! 34 books finished on October 2 (my book posts are only on Tuesdays so they are a little behind)! I really have the train to thank as it gives me ample time to read every day. Especially on those odd days when there are mechanical issues and it takes 2 hours to get home.

I have read 2 other books by Kate Atkinson – Life After Life and A God in Ruins. Neither was my favorite so I haven’t read another of hers. But my friend who has also read those told me that Transcription was much more likeable. She is my guru for books so I gave it a shot. And of course she was right.

Transcription is historical fiction that takes place during WWII. Juliet is recruited to work for MI5 (think CIA in Great Britain) and ends up taking on various roles. She begins by simply transcribing conversations between an MI5 agent and some German sympathizers, but is eventually looped into the espionage ring by taking on alternate identities and sent in to form relationships with suspects. And of course it wouldn’t be an Atkinson novel without some time jumping. In 1950 post-war Britain, Juliet thinks she has left that life behind but realizes how difficult it is to escape when ghosts from her past begin appearing again.

Nothing is as it seems and trust that no one is who they say they are. This was an entertaining and riveting read. Some of the characters are loosely based on real people and the ideas are loosely based on real events (apart from the actual war, of course). I definitely recommend it. Enjoy!


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Recursion

If you don’t like books that make you think, then you can expect Recursion by Blake Crouch will make your brain hurt. He writes great sci-fi, which isn’t always my jam, but both of Crouch’s books I’ve read have been fantastic.

Helena sets out to create a device that will help Alzheimer patients save their memories. And she succeeds. But the device does so much more than she intended and in the wrong hands, the device creates a world that is self-destructing due to memories being tampered with. Think sci-fi Groundhog Day meets the Matrix. Imagine reliving the same lifetime over and over only to get to the same day to have all the other lifetimes flood back into your memory. And then horrific things taking place as you try to stop them.

But don’t think too hard while you’re reading because you will lose your mind trying to figure out if what’s happening makes sense or is even slightly plausible. It’s not real but it is slightly terrifying. Enjoy (haha)!


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Where the Crawdads Sing

I waited for a while to get this book on Kindle loan from the library and it was worth every minute. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens was engaging, suspenseful, and heart-wrenching. The story is about Kya, who grew up in the marsh of North Carolina’s coast. She and her family were outcasts, not at all accepted by the town they lived near. And as young girl, she can’t even rely on her own family to support and protect her.

She raises herself and makes a couple friends along the way who help her get by, including helping her to educate herself. But when it comes to dealing with people and emotions, she is in unfamiliar territory. Understandably, she has a hard time trusting, since everyone in her life has abandoned her. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want a human connection and tries for it. But is taken advantage of. Things get nasty when she is charged with murder and any progress she has made socially is trampled. She distances herself from the friends she did have and appears to give up. But her attorney would not let that happen.

This is a story of survival, growing up, life lessons, and overcoming obstacles. And Kya does all of those things despite of people’s cruelty. This was a great read and I it was hard to put down, even when I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Definitely deserves all of the accolades it has received. Enjoy!