Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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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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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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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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The Girls

The Girls by Emma Cline was a nice diversion from the types of books I’ve been reading lately. The main character is a woman who is reflecting back on when she was a girl and the group she became involved with the summer before high school. A group that ended up doing a very horrible thing. It’s interesting and captivating. My only complaint is that there are not really any details about how this has affected her as an adult and that she seems completely fine and normal, which is possible, but not likely considering the memories she is living with and seemingly reliving on a regular basis. It’s also hard to believe that she was never, at all, brought into the aftermath of this horrible event.

The book was still a good read and was hard to put down at the end. Enjoy!

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The Nest

Goodreads is telling me I am 10 books behind schedule to win my 2017 reading challenge. I was maybe a little ambitious this year. But I’m not going to let it bother me. I’m also trying to intersperse some podcasts in between books, so I’m not going to feel bad when I don’t read 35 books this year.

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney was a quick read but was a great narrative on family relations and dealing with hardships. Although the Plumb family is not what I would call a typical representation of the American family, what they deal with is the same as what many families deal with. The difference, to me, is how they deal with it. Or at least try to deal with it at first by trying to solve every problem with money. But in the end they learn some lessons.

I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads – ‘really liked it’ – so grab it from your local bookstore or library and enjoy!

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Small Great Things

I’ve read many Jodi Picoult books and consider her to be a great writer of fictional, take-to-the-beach type books. So when I saw she had a new novel out, I didn’t even read the synopsis before grabbing a copy.

Small Great Things was probably the most personally challenging book I have ever read. Depending on who you are, it will make you uncomfortable, make you relate, and/or make you question yourself and the world around you. It is a detailed story of race and privilege. Even if you are not (or believe you are not) racist, there are inevitable prejudices we all have due to our society. This story broadcasts such prejudices, whether slight or extreme, into a spotlight.

My only complaint is the end still wraps everything up in a nice neat bow and I think it was a little unrealistic. Although most characters were based on people Picoult interviewed, so I guess it’s not completely out of the question. I also enjoyed reading, after the end of story, her thoughts about writing this story and the journey it took.

This is not a happy story but it is an important one that I appreciate her writing. Enjoy!

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Eligible

Don’t worry, the title of this post isn’t describing me. Still engaged 😉

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld may be my favorite book this year. A modern Pride & Prejudice, which I obviously love (original book, movies, you name it). But this is not just a similar story. The characters are the same and have the same issues and personalities, but with a 21st century twist. Liz is a writer for a major magazine, Jane is a yoga instructor, and all the younger sisters still live at home mooching off their parents. The best part is that one of two main men, Chip Bingley, is a reality show star (Eligible = The Bachelor).

This was such an entertaining read. I’m not sure if it’s because I love the original story so much, but if you do, you’ll love this. If you’re not familiar with it, I’m not sure it’s as entertaining but I still think it would be! Enjoy this great end of summer read!

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