Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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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!

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Give Me Your Hand

I love a good audio book when I’m on a road trip. It literally makes the drive fly by. I haven’t done a good audio book in a while because most of road trips now include my husband and then you have to try to find something that everyone will like and then what do you do if you don’t get to the end and you have to find time to finish it together and it’s just way to complicated.

But I recently took a solo trip to my brother’s for my nephew’s birthday, so I audio booked it up. If you are not familiar, your library probably does audio book loans and I play it through an app on my phone. Brilliant!

Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott was a mysterious thriller. It is the story of two girls who become close friends in high school but abruptly end the friendship when one girl shares a very personal secret. They end up reuniting many years later, after college, and dredge up all kinds of pent up feelings and memories and then add to the trouble to make the relationship even more complicated.

I jumps back and forth in time, which can sometimes be hard to follow in audio form, but the chapters were clearly labels ‘then’ and ‘now’ so it was super easy to follow! I definitely recommend it and it’s not very long. My round trip in the car was about 10 hours and I maybe had an hour left to finish, which was perfect for the train ride to/from work the next day!


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You and Me Forever

We are part of a married small group through Buckhead Church. We really enjoy being able to spend time with other married couples who are in a similar stage in life – and we all are because we’ve all been married less than a year – and have great leaders who are a little further along in their experience. We’ve done various studies and recently finished You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis and Lisa Chan.

If you’re not familiar with Francis Chan, he is a very “real” writer and speaker. He will tell you how it is and doesn’t sugarcoat things. The main premise of this book is that by making things right with God and striving for a life Jesus would be proud of, you will also have the benefit of a meaningful and fulfilling marriage. Now we all know no one can actually accomplish a life anywhere near to that of Jesus. But that is the goal. It was hard to read and think about the fact that in heaven, you won’t have a husband or wife. That we should be anxiously awaiting the day that Jesus returns and have no problem with that happening tomorrow regardless of what you still want to do or accomplish here on Earth. But that should be the ultimate desire of Christians.

There were videos to go with each chapter which I always like and each chapter had parts written by both Francis and Lisa. It did feel repetitive at times, which made it drag on a little bit. But it triggered some great discussion in our group as well as at home. And it’s good for newlyweds and for couples who have been married a while. It even has a chapter on parenting!


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Little Fires Everywhere

I have finished a few books recently so am behind on my reviews. I read Celeste Ng’s other book, Everything I Never Told You, a few years ago. After starting Little Fires Everywhere, I remembered more about that book, or really Ng’s writing style.

Little Fires Everywhere was an interesting book about suburban America, set in a real Ohio town where Ng grew up. It covers a lot of issues – adoption, parental rights, parenting, race, social class, family dynamics. Possibly too many issues. Overall I thought the book was slow, which is how her other book was for me as well. I also was not thrilled with the ending.

A single mother, Mia, and her daughter Pearl find their way to Shaker Heights, an suburb touted as the best in America. They never stay long in any place, but Pearl quickly makes friends with the children of a typical, wealthier Shaker Heights family, the Richardsons. Throughout the story, glimpses of Mia’s secretive past creep in but eventually, a local scandal pushes Mrs. Richardson, a local journalist, to dive deep into Mia’s past. The local scandal is a family attempting to adopt a Chinese baby who was left at a fire station, but the mother resurfaces and wants her daughter back. I cannot imagine how hard this would be from either side. The Richardson children end up with various relationships and debts to Mia which Mrs. Richardson will not accept.

Little Fires Everywhere is an interesting outsiders look at a Stepford-like town, both from the reader’s perspective and Mia’s outsider perspective. Again, it’s a little slow so I wouldn’t expect to fly through it. And it covers more serious topics, so don’t expect to laugh. But it was interesting and a great commentary on social relations in a small town.


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Time’s Convert

Time’s Convert is the fourth book I have read by Deborah Harkness. I read her All Souls Trilogy a couple of years ago and enjoyed them. You can find reviews of those on my reading list. This book involved the same characters – vampires, witches, daemons, warmbloods – but there is not as much action and I felt it was more character development than anything. So it was a little slow. I did enjoy reading about the pasts of some of the vampire characters and how they became vampires, but there was a LOT of detail. Harkness does weave in historical events and people, which was done really well, so that made it more enjoyable.

Overall, I thought it was a little long and boring. And if you do read it, I would definitely recommend reading the All Souls Trilogy first so you have some background on the characters and their relationships to each other.

Seven books complete for my 2019 challenge. Happy reading!

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Crazy Rich Asians

I held off seeing the movie Crazy Rich Asians because I wanted to read the book first and I am glad I did! The book was an entertaining and quick read. Kevin Kwan does a great job of providing enough details to create a great picture but not droning on with unnecessary details.

Nick decides to take his girlfriend, Rachel, home to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. But he does prepare her at all for what is in store. His extremely wealthy family and friends live life on a completely different level and no one believes that Rachel is with Nick for any reason but his money. Little do they know that Rachel knows nothing of the fortunes that Nick is entitled to as he lives a completely “normal” life as a professor in New York City. So what happens when Nick’s mother learns of Rachel for the first time and eventually that Nick wants to marry her? I’m not going to give away all of the surprises. And that’s just the main story line! You’ll have to read the book. Or watch the movie. I’m not sure how they line up since I haven’t watched the movie yet, but that will happen soon.

I’m adding book #2, China Rich Girlfriend, to the reading list as well! 6/34 books complete for 2019!

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Once Taken

So far I am blowing through my reading challenge for the year. I finished 4 books in January but that is not at all typical. A couple of the books were pretty short and I had a long weekend with 12 hour (round trip) road trip to give me lots of extra reading time.

Once Taken by Blake Pierce is the second book in a series with main character Riley Paige. If you like Criminal Minds, you will like this series. Riley Paige works at the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) of the FBI and goes around the country working to catch serial killers. She is also trying to keep her already broken family afloat while dealing with some very heavy and personal cases. I honestly didn’t always like her character – she makes some pretty stupid decisions – but I realized that it actually makes her more believable as a character. Real people make mistakes.

If you’re looking for a good psychological thriller this is a good series. I’m not sure if I’ll read all 14 books in the series (yes…14…) but I’ll at least try a couple more.

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