All posts filed under: Katharine S.

Commonwealth: a nation, state, or other political unit

“It’s like this enormous tree had just crashed through the house and I was picking up the leaves so no one would notice what had happened.” I read this book early last year, so details are a little fuzzy BUT, I do know that I LOVED it. I read it in one day, one sitting, becoming completely immersed in the lives of the Keating and Cousins family. Ann Patchett is one of my favorite writers (if you haven’t read This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, DO IT). She has a way of setting the scene that makes you feel as if you’re right there, which is exactly what she did in Commonwealth. From the first chapter, I could picture myself at Franny’s baptism, I could smell the gin, I could taste the oranges. And I was hooked. While I’m not always a fan of stories where nothing happens, the character development and the relationships between these complicated families — not to mention Patchett’s beautiful writing — had me flipping the pages, eager to …

Detective Easton vs. Memory

The Night Bird grabbed me from the first scene. A girl who’s perfectly fine one second, and then crawling out of her skin the next, and discovering she’s not the only one this is happening to? I was hooked. Psychological thrillers — heck, thrillers of any kind — can be hard for me to definitively rate. While they’re one of my favorite genres when I’m looking for a quick read, they either have me flying through the pages looking for answers, or they don’t. (Stephen King might be the exception, because man, he can WRITE. But I digress.) The two things this book has going for it are the plot and characterization. I immediately liked Frost Easton. His character seemed warm, kind, sympathetic, and just quirky enough. (Shack might have been my favorite character of them all!) He made me feel that if anyone could solve this case, it was him. Through numerous plot twists and some gruesome scenes (reader beware), I was never bored. In fact, I barely put it down, finishing it in …

picture of Salt to the Sea on a bench

Consider My Heartstrings Pulled

For years I’ve claimed to not like historical fiction. This book might be the one to change my mind. I’d heard it was wonderful, touching, a can’t miss, etc. etc., but for some reason I still put it off, fearful I’d have to force my way through. BUT, I am happy to report I was 100% wrong — I was hooked from the first few pages, and flew through the story in five days (which is fairly quickly for me). When I first started, I was worried I’d have trouble keeping track of the characters and their ever-changing perspectives. It turns out that was quite the opposite. The way Sepetys developed each character, slowly revealing their stories — and struggles — made me eager to keep reading, long past my bedtime. Each character was so compelling — yes, even, Alfred — I couldn’t help but cheer them on as they made their journey to what they hoped would be a better future. And can I just say, that last chapter (don’t worry, no spoilers!) KILLED me. …

Confession Time

I have to admit, like Katie C., I was hesitant going in to this novel. I have complicated feelings about Amy Schumer — I thinks she’s funny, but can only take so much of her. 300+ pages of her humor had me a little nervous. But here’s my biggest confession: I didn’t finish it. And not because I didn’t like it, but because I wasn’t in to it. I also have made a new promise to myself to stop reading books I’m not enjoying. With over 300 unread books on my shelf (I’m not exaggerating), it’s becoming increasingly clear that abandoning books needs to be something I’m okay with. Otherwise I’ll never come even close to making that unread number smaller. Maybe at another time when I didn’t have so many other,  heavier books (ahem, Fates & Furies) calling my name I would have been able to muddle through. I laughed out loud a couple times in the beginning, and read some lines out loud to my husband, but like I am with her humor, …

A [Thrilling] Ride Through the Rockies

Most of the time when I pick up a suspense novel I expect writing that’s okay, but nothing too notable–which never bothers me, as long as I’m entertained. So I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked Tim Johnston’s way with words. He does a phenomenal job of depicting each personality, describing the environment, drawing out the tensions–allowing you to really absorb yourself in the story , despite the fact that it’s not your typical edge-of-your-seat thriller. While the story starts in a dramatic fashion, the majority of the novel is a very slow burn, setting up the characters–and I consider the Rocky Mountains to be one of them–in a way that makes you in no hurry to get to the end. In fact, the way in which Johnston incorporates the book’s setting is something at which he’s particularly skilled. There are still some things I’m working through–Caitlin’s mother, recurring themes that I don’t know what to make of, Sean and his role in the family–all signs that this is a book I won’t …