Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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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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The Dressmaker’s Gift

I love historical fiction, especially when a story takes place during World War II. I don’t know why, it’s just fascinating to me. I cannot imagine living during those year, especially in Europe.

The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy takes place in Paris during WWII but also in the current time. Harriet gets an internship working in fashion in the same building that her grandmother lived and worked at during the war. But that’s all that Harriet knows of her grandmother, Claire. All she has is a photo of her and two other girls who lived with her. Harriet just happens to end up living with the granddaughter of one of the other women in the photo, who takes her on a journey learning about her own grandmother and her role during the war.

The war-time story line is fascinating. Claire and the other two seamstresses work with the resistance against the Germans. Two of them end up at a camp and fight to stay alive. The present day story line I honestly could have done without. I found Harriet a little annoying and whiny. I think the story would have been great without that aspect of her finding her past. But that’s just my opinion. I still really enjoyed the book and if you like historical fiction, you should definitely check it out!


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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.