Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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2019 Reading Challenge

Every year I set a goal of how many books I want to read and my 2019 goal was 34 books. I ride the train to work almost every day so I have a lot of time to read. Add in a number of trips taken this year, both driving and flying, and it was a good year for reading!

I ended up reading 46 books! 6 nonfiction and 40 fiction, which was a good mix for me. I prefer fiction but I make a point to throw in some nonfiction throughout the year. I read some great books this year and love the stats that Goodreads gives you for your year of reading (extra nerd? yep). Here are some of my favorite books from this year and the lovely stats. Now to just set my goal to start a new decade!


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The Library Book

I should start reading the synopsis of books from popular lists that have been on my ‘to read’ list before I start reading them. Or just check my friend Kate’s reviews. What’s on the popular list is not always for everyone.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean was not the worst book I’ve ever read but it was a little dry. Central Library in Los Angles, CA suffered from a massive fire in 1986. This is what most of the synopsis talks about but definitely not what most of the book was about. It gives a long history about libraries and the LA library system and covers the in and outs of libraries in general. It was interesting at times – I learned more about libraries than I ever thought I would know. But it dragged on. And on. And on. The case and investigation about the fire were interspersed throughout but even that story line alone was a little disappointing.

If you’re really into libraries or the LA library in particular, you’ll probably enjoy this book. Otherwise, I’m not really sure you’ll enjoy it. Happy holidays and look for my year of books review coming soon!


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The Last House Guest

This is my second read by Megan Miranda and there are definitely similarities between them. Similar threads of suspense, revisiting past events, friends looking for answers while also being suspected.

The Last House Guest was a great thriller. Avery and Sadie are good, albeit unlikely friends. Or so it appears. But after Sadie’s death, everything Avery thought was true is no longer so clear. Working for Sadie’s family, hanging out with Sadie and her friends, Avery’s family history – it all begins to unravel when she begins to look more closely at Sadie’s supposed suicide. There are essentially two mysteries in the story and I was proud to say I did figure out one of them. But the other I was not sure about until it was revealed. This was a quick read that will definitely keep you reading to see what happens next. Enjoy!


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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The goal was to use this book to resurrect book club with some friends. But alas, nobody’s schedules match up. I’m still hoping to discuss with someone though, especially since there are book club questions at the end of the book!

This was my second by author Taylor Jenkins Reid. The first, Evidence of the Affair, was a short story so it’s difficult to compare, but I really enjoyed both. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was captivating and raw. Evelyn Hugo began her iconic movie career in the 1950s but remains more private in the present day. She selects, seemingly randomly, Monique to write her biography but is sketchy on the details. Why now? Why Monique?

She gets bits and pieces along the way but also gains a lot in the process. Negotiating a new job. All proceeds and fame from the book she will write, which will lead to more jobs and opportunities. I like to judge stories like this on how quickly I can figure out the resolution or surprise, or whether I can figure them out at all. I may have figured it out just before it was revealed but for the most part, couldn’t put my finger on exactly what the catch was. I won’t spoil it here because that’s main point of the novel. But I definitely recommend it. It was a very interesting point of view from a group in the film industry in a time that was not very accepting of anything or anyone different. Enjoy!


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The Turn of the Key

I definitely should have read this book in October because it was possibly the most suspenseful book I have ever read. If you are easily scared or easily lose sleep from books, you may want to skip this one.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware is her best I have read. There are so many layers to the story that even if you figure out some pieces of it there will still be a surprise along the way. There also will be some spoilers in this review – it’s impossible not to. You have been warned.

Rowan takes a job as a live-in nanny in a remote home in Scotland for a family with four girls. The home/estate had been renovated but also had a history, including numerous deaths. Right off the bat, on Rowan’s first night, strange things start happening and of course the parents are off for work for the first week. There is a mysterious locked door in her room, the security system of speakers and video cameras appears to have a mind of its own, the other staff (a housekeeper and a grounds keeper) randomly appear, and the girls show her the poison garden, which was kept by the previous owner who was a scientist studying the most poisonous plants known to man. And the girls are a handful. It’s enough to send anyone running, as the previous nannies had. And then one of the girls is dead (this is not a spoiler – you find this out at the beginning).

A little more than halfway through the book, things start falling into place a little. It becomes more and more obvious that the girls are somehow creating things to make it seem like ghosts in the house (though the main culprit, I think, is a little young to have pulled off everything she did). But then there’s the wrench of Rowan and why she even took the job to begin with. And then there’s the poison garden, which you would think would play a role in the death since that’s how a little girl previously died in the home.

This book will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat but if you’re a little creeped out, maybe read it on a road trip or on a plane and not at night. You can get through it pretty quick. Enjoy!


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Love and Respect

We love our small group through Buckhead Church and believe in the importance of community. It’s especially great to have other newly married couples in our lives as well as leaders who have been in our shoes. In the year and a half that we’ve been together, we’ve done various studies and books and we just finished Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

Most of group had heard of this book and some had it already but hadn’t read it. My husband and I had never heard of it (though I was corrected by my sister-in-law that she told me about it 5 years ago – but I wasn’t married 5 years ago so that apparently went in one ear and out the other).

Overall, we enjoyed the book. The gist is that women crave love, while men crave respect. Obviously it’s never as black and white as it seems, but overall we agree with the book. Dr. Eggerichs goes through the ways that how, as husbands and wives, we do not show love or respect for our spouse, as well as ways to show love and respect to your spouse. I know when I put it this simply it seems very easy. But the book brought up ideas that I had never thought about before and it brought out some great conversation both within our group as well as between my husband and I.

I will say that there were times when the suggestions or topics felt a little out-dated. But again, overall the message was one that was good, that applied to our relationship within our marriage, and that we learned from.


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Vanishing Girls

I usually like thrillers but this one was not my favorite ever. Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver, to me, was a little too predictable. It didn’t take me long to figure out the wrench that’s thrown in at the end. Don’t worry – I won’t spoil it for you. There were also two kind of disjointed story lines and the title of the book doesn’t exactly fit. I mean, there is a little girl who is missing, but ‘vanishing’ feels like a very different verb to me.

Nick and Dara are sisters who grow apart and Nick is trying to fix things. The second story line is about a little girl who goes missing from a neighboring town. The two are kind of related but not in a way that I thought was intriguing enough. It felt kind of forced. I did finish the book – it wasn’t that bad – but it was just ok. I wouldn’t put it at the top of your reading list unless you just really like psychological thrillers. It is also a pretty quick read. I’m interested in hearing what other people thought so if you read it please comment!