Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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I’m Glad About You

We are 5 months into the year and I am halfway through my 2019 reading challenge! 17 down, 17 to go. The book I just finished was a breath of fresh air. Theresa Rebeck was the creator of the tv show Smash, which apparently wasn’t a smash but I loved it. All 2 seasons of it. I’m Glad About You definitely had a feeling of Smash and I thought about the show as I read it, even though I didn’t Rebeck was the creator of both until I read her bio at the end of the book.

This was a quick and entertaining read, but fair warning – it’s not happy. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it there are very few happy moments in the book. But that makes it feel real. Not that life is full of unhappy moments, but it’s refreshing to sometimes read a book where not everything goes right and is wrapped up in a nice little bow at the end. It feels more real.

Alison and Kyle were “the” couple in high school. They were that on again, off again couple that everyone knew would end up together. Except they didn’t. Alison went off to pursue acting while Kyle became a doctor and returned to their hometown to practice medicine. But somehow their lives kept crossing paths. Neither is happy with their life and they both always wonder what could have been. But I give them props for not acting on it. Kyle, with a wife and 3 children by the end of the story, is a devout Catholic. So even when is marriage is crumbling, he doesn’t give up. Alison, who puts up with a lot of stuff as an actress just doesn’t have the heart for it anymore but continues to chug along anyway. On one hand, I give them props for not just throwing in the towel and giving up. But on the other hand, if you’re miserable, make a change!

This book evoked all sorts of emotions which is why I loved it. My only complaint is that the writing would change perspectives between paragraphs with no warning or pause or anything. So that was a little confusing at times. But other than that, great writing, great story, great book. Definitely recommend it. Enjoy!


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Nine Perfect Strangers

Most of you probably know Liane Moriarty, either because you’ve read her books or because you’ve watched or heard HBO’s series Big Little Lies. I’m pretty sure I was the only person I knew that didn’t like the show….even among friends who had also read the book. Similar to author Jodi Picoult, I read a number of Moriarty’s books at one time then took a break. But I recently picked up her newest.

Nine Perfect Strangers is, once again, set in Australia, where a group of nine people gather at a health resort for a ten day retreat. You are introduced to some of the characters before they all converge on Tranquillum House but the title is a little misleading. Not all nine of the characters are strangers to each other – there is a married couple as well as a family (the parents and daughter). But I guess that is just semantics.

These strangers come together and begin the retreat in silence, but as the days go on, everyone realizes the director has some very strange methods. Everything comes to a head when the guests discover [spoiler alert] that they have been drugged slowly throughout their stay but when they discover this they are all locked in the yoga/meditation room. Obviously this was completely unethical and illegal. The end of the story goes through their attempts to get out, the director’s whole plan and reasoning for her methods, and then how they get out. It is all wrapped up in a nice little bow at the end and you even get updates on the characters years later. So really every little thread is taken care of, which I can appreciate.

This was a quick and interesting read – definitely good for summer. There were a wide array of characters and personalities, which kept me engaged. Hope you enjoy it!


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No Exit

If you get scared easily or may lose sleep over something you read, No Exit by Taylor Adams is maybe not the best read for you. The gist is that Darby, a college girl driving home because her mother is sick, gets stranded at a rest stop in the mountains during a massive snow storm. She quickly discovers that someone she is stranded with has a child locked in their van and she sets out to be a hero. I sometimes give away some spoiler details in my reviews but I feel like this one is worth not sharing.

I will say the whole thing is very unrealistic and implausible but I still could not put it down. Darby has to first figure out whose van the child is in and from there decide what she’s going to do and who she’s going to trust. She makes a LOT of wrong decisions along the way and you may scream at her from time to time.

I liked this book because it was a quick read that didn’t drag on and it really kept my attention. I think I even liked the fact that it was so completely unbelievable. I may never look at rest areas the same – not that they were ever at the top of my list of favorite places…or even places I enjoy. It’s a newer book – released in January this year – but it is worth the hold list waiting period (if you do the library thing). Enjoy!


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The Spy with the Red Balloon

This is the second book in the Balloonmakers series by Katherine Locke. I don’t think I mentioned this in my Girl with the Red Balloon post but it ended with no resolution. But I didn’t mention it because I knew there was a second book. Well, just so you are prepared – The Spy with the Red Balloon is a completely different storyline. Ok, it’s not completely different. It obviously relates in the timeline of balloonmakers and magic. But it does not have the main characters from the first book.

It was good though. It takes place during WWII, both in Europe and America. A brother and sister are, on their own, trying to make sense of their magical abilities when the Army recruits them to help with a mission related to bombs. The girl, Isle, stays in America, while her brother, Wolf, is sent to Europe. In Oak Ridge, TN, Isle meets other girls like her and they are given the task of figuring out how to move a heavy and deadly object across the world. Wolf is trained on a secret team and sent to infiltrate and destroy weapons factories in Germany.

They both develop their magic and things are going well until they discover someone else with magic at the Oak Ridge facility who is using it for evil. The book moves along and the character development is good. It also has nice closure at the end with an epilogue 2 years after the story ends.

I don’t mean to say that every book has to have a happy ending, necessarily, but at the end of the first book the reader has no idea what happens to any of the characters. It was just a little disappointing. I’m not sure if Locke is planning on writing more in this series but I would continue to read them if she does!


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The Weekenders

A friend recommended books by author Mary Kay Andrews as good, easy reads (what I call “beach reads”) all set in the south. As I searched through the library database I found that Andrews has MANY books. I picked The Weekenders first because it sounded good and it was available.

The story was good. Riley is kicking off the summer at the family’s vacation home on an island off the coast of South Carolina but not in a very happy way. She has been estranged from her husband and they had planned on telling their daughter of their plan to divorce. He doesn’t show up for the ferry but later is found dead at the island marina. As the investigation deepens, it becomes increasingly clear that Riley’s husband has created some shady business dealings with Riley’s family’s business, including forging Riley’s name on fake businesses and money dealings. She is homeless and money-less and in the dark as far as how her husband was killed or who did it. At the same time, Riley connects with a fling from college who she had not spoken to in years and she is dealing with a moody teenager who just lost her dad.

There is a lot going on in this book but it keeps it entertaining for sure. It was a little unbelievable how little the police seemed to be doing with all this information and really not believable that most of the important information was dug up by Riley herself then shared with the police. But I’m not sure the goal was complete reality for every little story line.

It was definitely a good “beach read” and I will be looking for some more of Andrews’ books for this summer!


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The Girl with the Red Balloon

Katherine Locke wrote an excellent fantasy book with some history sprinkled in. I wouldn’t exactly call it historical fiction – and that may be because I am not super familiar with East Germany in the late ’80s – but I feel like it’s more fiction that history. The Girl with the Red Balloon was a quick and engaging read, mainly since it was written for young adults/high schoolers, but I really enjoyed it.

The main character, Ellie, unknowingly travels back in time to 1988 East Berlin when she grabs a red balloon while on a school trip. The Berlin wall is up and she finds herself with a crowd of magicians and runners helping people escape. But they now have a new mission – to figure out how the magic made the balloon, and Ellie, travel across time. And this is made even more complicated when others are found dead after being pulled from another time by balloons. Ellie’s relationships in 1988 grow and she is torn between a desire to maintain these relationships but also return home to her present time. Everything culminates when she and her friends figure out who is responsible for tampering with the balloons and then try to make things right.

The book is an interesting mix of fantasy with some historical base in East Berlin when people could not leave and could not really live freely. I like books like this, although I do think there can be a fine line of making light of historical events by twisting fiction into them. I definitely recommend this book, especially if you enjoy magic and fantasy. There’s a bit of a love story as well and who doesn’t love that?! Enjoy!


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A Spark of Light

Many years ago I went on a Jodi Picoult reading binge. I didn’t dislike any of them I just needed a change of pace eventually. Her books would still always come up as recommended so I decided to give one her new a shot. I honestly had no idea what A Spark of Light was about when I started reading it. I don’t always read synopses of books, especially if I know friends have read it or it’s been on certain lists. That’s not to say I would not have read it, but everyone should be prepared for a heavy story line.

A group of women sit one morning at a women’s clinic in Mississippi when a man comes in and starts shooting. You find this out early so I’m really not spoiling anything. What’s also unique about this book is that the timeline goes backwards by the hour and during each hour you learn about what’s happening from each character’s perspective. There’s the doctor, a nurse, a girl and her aunt, the shooter, the hostage negotiator, the shooter’s daughter, a pro-life protester, and a patient who just had an abortion. There it is. The heavy topic of the book is abortion. The clinic is the only one in the state that does abortions – along with general women’s health.

I’m not going to get into a political debate or talk about my views but the book was very interesting. Each character has a very different opinion about abortion. Many see it as a black or white issue while others have varying degrees of agreement or opposition. Picoult obviously did her research and I think it took a lot of guts to write a story like this, especially with social media and public access to writers, celebrities, etc.

It’s a good read but don’t start it looking for a lighthearted beach read. You have been warned!