Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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The Testaments

Book #2 down for the year already! I did something I usually don’t do. I watched the tv show of The Handmaid’s Tale before I read the book. I liked the show so much I decided to go back and read the book. And something that NEVER happens happened. I liked the tv show WAY more than the book. Now it may have been the other way around had I read the book first, but I really don’t think so. The book was fine it was just a little boring, with a lot fewer characters and detail than the show had.

So when I saw that Margaret Atwood had written a second book, after 3 seasons of the show had already aired (season 1 covered the first book) and 21 years after the first book was published, I was a little skeptical and really had no idea how it would relate to the show. So I ended being very pleasantly surprised by The Testaments.

It has some of the same characters but some new ones as well and takes place about 15 years after season 3 of the show. It focuses mainly on characters who were children in the first 3 seasons of the show – Hannah/Agnes and Baby Nicole who are half sisters (June is their mother). Aunt Lydia is also still around (which would make her pretty old). The format it is written in is interesting though. They are accounts from Aunt Lydia while in Gilead as well as testimonies from the two girls who are no longer in Gilead. So it jumps back and forth in time a little bit but is easy to follow.

There is background about the girls, the story of how they got in and/or out of Gilead, and Aunt Lydia’s role in all of it. I really enjoyed it, especially after how season 3 of the show ended. It will be very interesting to see if season 4 of the show picks up with this book or if they will try to fill in some of the time in between. I can’t wait!!


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The Storyteller

New year, new reading challenge! I exceeded my 2019 reading goal, so I set my bar high this year with 50 books. You can follow my progress and books on Goodreads!

My first book of the year was a good one. I’ve read numerous Jodi Picoult books over the years. They are usually pretty heavy topics so I never read more than one of hers in a row. And this one was right up my alley for historical fiction and WWII. The Storyteller is fiction, history, mystery, and deception – all used to tell the stories of numerous people who are related in different ways.

Sage is a baker whose past scars haunts her daily. She attends a grief support group where she befriends an elderly man, Josef who is beloved in their community. Josef confides a huge secret that could have legal and moral implications for him, but also emotional implications for Sage. As she navigates what to do with the information he gives her, she connects deeper with her grandmother and meets someone new who sees past her scars to her true person. I don’t want to give too much away, but the information Josef confesses has to do with the Holocaust and the story goes back to that time for a good bit of the book, with lots of details. So if you are easily affected by tough facts from that time, this may not be the best book for you. But it is truly fascinating and appalling all at the same time.

I feel like I picked a good one to start the year, so here’s to another year of good books!


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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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After I Do

I have now read 3 books (one was a short story) by Taylor Jenkins Reid and I love her. They have all been different but have some similarities. They have all been about relationships in some way, shape, or form.

After I Do was obviously about a married couple who met young and got married after college. It was a little boring to me and probably my least favorite of the 3 I’ve read by Reid, but it was interesting to read being a [semi] newlywed. A year and a half isn’t truly still newlywed, right?

Lauren and Ryan hit a big rut in their marriage and are not communicating, not interacting, and resenting each other. So they decide to take a year off. He moves out, she stays in the house and keeps the dog. It is understandably tortuous, but they hold out. Life continues. Lauren’s life – which the book focuses on – has it’s own challenges apart from her marriage problems. Now, I don’t how realistic or common this is – to take a year off with no communication and no counseling. It seems a little far-fetched to me but it also takes place in Los Angles, so maybe it’s a thing there. I can’t imagine doing something like this, even if things are rocky in your marriage.

I won’t give away the end because that’s the whole story – do they get back together and work things out?! But overall the story has a great message about the importance of communication in a relationship and the importance of working for your marriage. It was also a very quick read and was free through Kindle unlimited (thanks 3 month trial)!


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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!