Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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The Nanny

I’m well into books for 2020 and this one may be my favorite so far. The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan kept me on my toes the entire time. Jocelyn Holt’s nanny, Hannah, up and disappears when she is 7 and 30 years later, she still seems devastated and holds this against her mother. This seems a little ridiculous and Jocelyn wasn’t my favorite character, but that was really the only downside to the book.

She and her daughter are forced now to return and live with her mother and while there, her entire world turns upside down. Her relationships with both her mother and daughter are challenged and she discovers secrets about her and her family’s past that are hard to come to grips with. Every time I thought I had it figured out there would be another surprise. I definitely recommend this one. Enjoy!


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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 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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Vanishing Girls

I usually like thrillers but this one was not my favorite ever. Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver, to me, was a little too predictable. It didn’t take me long to figure out the wrench that’s thrown in at the end. Don’t worry – I won’t spoil it for you. There were also two kind of disjointed story lines and the title of the book doesn’t exactly fit. I mean, there is a little girl who is missing, but ‘vanishing’ feels like a very different verb to me.

Nick and Dara are sisters who grow apart and Nick is trying to fix things. The second story line is about a little girl who goes missing from a neighboring town. The two are kind of related but not in a way that I thought was intriguing enough. It felt kind of forced. I did finish the book – it wasn’t that bad – but it was just ok. I wouldn’t put it at the top of your reading list unless you just really like psychological thrillers. It is also a pretty quick read. I’m interested in hearing what other people thought so if you read it please comment!


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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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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.