Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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The One That Got Away

My 2019 reading challenge is officially underway. My Goodreads challenge is to read 34 books (two more than I read in 2018) and book number one for the year was The One That Got Away by Leigh Himes. This is a sort of freaky Friday scenario, except instead of trading places with someone, main character Abbey Lahey finds herself living in a world where she did not turn down a date with Alex van Holt. A world where she is no longer working full time, shuttling kids around, and trying to make ends meet while her husband’s business declines. In this world she is the wife of a millionaire running for Congress.

The book was a pretty quick read and was entertaining. There were times when I began to dislike Abbey’s character but she always seemed to bounce back into good graces. Also as a reader, I just kept waiting and waiting for her to wake up. The freak accident that caused this alternate universe – falling off the escalator at Nordstrom – obviously put Abbey in a coma and she would wake up any moment. But the author keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting for this outcome.

Does Abbey wake up? Is she really still Abbey Lahey and not Abbey van Holt? How can one small decision change the entire trajectory of your life? You will have to read to find out. 5 stars from me!

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New Year – Renew Blog

I took a little break from my blog but I’ve been wanting to start again. And what better time to start than the first day of a new year?! 2018 was a fabulous one. I got married to the man of my dreams. We traveled. We cook and try new restaurants. And I read a lot of books. 32 to be exact. Which is where I’ll restart my blog for the year. My blog will still be mostly what it was – books, food, travels, and random thoughts.

2018 was a good year in books for me. I plowed though my Goodreads challenge of 25 books with a whopping 32 books. I love stats so thank you, Goodreads, for providing me some for my reading – my rankings of books, longest book read, etc.

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I had a decent mix of fiction and nonfiction. Though most of my nonfiction was Bachelor related – apparently I got on a kick and some of the fiction was based on true events. I also had a number of stories that took place during different wars. I still need to watch The Zookeeper’s Wife movie. And let’s not forget the marriage books – The Most Important Year, written by my previous boss and his wife, my husband and I read together (half the book is for women and the other half for men) and the other recently read with our first married couples small group through church.

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Fiction is still my favorite and I definitely have reading patterns. Jojo Moyes is still one of my favorite authors and I still have a lot of her books to read. My other favorite is mystery/thriller – especially in the vein of Criminal Minds/behavioral analysis.

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I do not absolutely love every book I read. Some are harder to get through than others. Arcadia was very slow and The Handmaid’s Tale was actually very disappointing after watching the tv show. That might be the second time I’ve ever said a show/movie was better than a book.

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I reread my favorite book of all time – Redeeming Love. I found a great new author – Tana French. Dark Matter was a surprisingly good science fiction novel.

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I’m excited for another great year in books. I’ve set my Goodreads Challenge to read 34 books so send all the recommendations. I’ll be writing actual reviews for individual books again but I thought this overview was a good way to kick off the new year. Happy reading and happy blogging again!


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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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Second Chance

I got on a Jane Green kick as they are good summer reads. My last one left a little to be desired writing-wise, so I didn’t have high hopes for Second Chance. But Green definitely brushed up on her writing skills in the 7 years between these two books. And unlike Jemima J., I had not read this book before.

Childhood friends are thrown together again after a tragic event. They reminisce, examine their own lives, and reconnect as they mourn a deep loss. It’s definitely not a happy-go-lucky read. The group are all in very different stages in life, each navigating their own issues. In truth, it’s kind of depressing. But there are redeeming scenes and the characters are captivating.

Another quick read – good for the plane or road trip. Enjoy!

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Jemima J.

I was looking for some more easy, entertaining summer reads and remembered reading a number of Jane Green’s books years ago. I still have 3 on my bookshelf. So I downloaded a couple. I started Jemima J. and quickly realized I had read it before, but it had been long enough that I didn’t remember the details. So on I read.

Although this story was somewhat entertaining, I have a lot of issues with both the story and the writing. Granted, it was published in 2001 and I think was one of Jane Green’s first books. Writing-wise, she inconsistently switches between first person and narrator and first-person narrator which was pretty confusing. I did not like the random first-person narrator talking directly to the characters and readers. That works for movies and tv but not so much in written form.

The entertaining part of the storyline is that the internet is new and the characters are discovering chat rooms – the first form of online dating. The part I take issue with is the fact that the main character is an overweight woman who is miserable with her life, decides to make a lifestyle change for a man (Green kind of tries to deflect that this is the reason but not very convincingly), and does so to an unhealthy degree. I don’t care about spoilers for this book because it’s been around so long, but she ends up reconnecting with an old love who obviously falls for her, and Green half-heartedly implies that he was interested in her before she lost the weight. But again, not convincingly.

Overall, if you don’t think about it too hard, the book is entertaining and it’s definitely an easy read. And written when it was, I sadly think this kind of storyline was more widely accepted. Unfortunately, there are real life stories of women losing a ton of weight and only then feeling good about themselves and getting attention from men, but this is definitely not the message I personally would want to send out to my readers.

I’ll definitely read more of Green’s books, especially some of her newer ones. I’ve already started another and the writing is, at least, much better. Yay for summer reads!