Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

The first Helen Simonson book I read was a little hard to get through – it was a little dry and slow for a lot of the book. But her other book had good reviews so I thought I’d give it a shot and I’m so glad I did!

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand was maybe one the most endearing books I’ve read. The retired, widowed major lives a simple life but it all becomes a bit dramatic when his brother dies and he finds himself spending time with a local shop owner. He’s also dragged into the planning of the golf club’s annual dance, the cultural family drama of his new female friend, as well as his son’s romantic downfalls. For a simple story, it does cover a lot of issues – older adults, being a child of older adults, racism and discrimination, and making difficult decisions. I did think the drama was a little too much out of nowhere at the end, but it definitely threw in a curveball.

I loved this book and definitely recommend! 32 books for the year done and I’m going to need to pick it up a little to meet my goal by the end. Enjoy!


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The Center of Everything

My second Goodreads free book giveaway! We were able to get to the beach this week and are lucky to have family who lives on a beautiful, noncrowded beach within driving distance. One day we were literally the only people on the beach. But I had plenty of time to fly through this book on the beach and on the drive back.

The Center of Everything by Jamie Harrison is definitely a slower pace, which was different since I am used to reading thriller/suspense and historical fiction that have a lot of action. So although it’s good to switch it up something, it still felt slow and boring at times. Polly, the main character, had a recent head trauma in an accident and has a big week. It’s a holiday week in July during which she is also hosting a huge family party. Her head injury makes it difficult to focus but also brings about memories from childhood in much more vivid detail than usual. And those memories bring about a lot of questions leading up to the family party and seeing so many family members. There is also a bit of a mystery as a secondary story since in the same week, a local girl, who babysits for Polly, goes missing on the river.

Overall the story was fine, but definitely not my usual read. It rambled on at times and jumped from one thought to another, which was maybe on purpose to reflect the main character’s current state of mind. I think my giveaway copy was an early release, so check it out when it’s released! Also not sure how the title fits in – she mentions ‘the center of everything’ once in the book but I can’t remember what it was in reference to…maybe her mother? Her family? If I don’t know after reading the whole book, perhaps a different title would have been better.


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If You Tell

Another book from Kindle Unlimited did not do it for me. It’s definitely hit or miss. If You Tell: A True Story of Murder, Family Secrets, and the Unbreakable Bond of Sisterhood by Gregg Olsen was interesting, especially having a child development background and working in child maltreatment prevention, but could have been about half as long. I understand Olsen wanted to really drive the point home of how evil and messed up this mother was, but some exact information was repeated over and over. And the timeline was not always clear or in a logical order. It felt a little all over the place.

Three sisters survived a horrible and traumatic upbringing at the hands of their mother and father. It is incredible to me how she got away with everything she did to her children and others she “took in” to help. But at the same time it’s not that surprising. And this also shows the psychological effects of physical and mental abuse. One of the sisters still felt guilty for getting their mother in trouble and still helped her while she was in prison. It is baffling but impossible to understand unless you have experienced something like this.

It is an interesting read, especially if you are interested in psychology and child abuse prevention/intervention. But you can probably skim quickly through the book and still get the same out of it.