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The Week in Review: 10.18.2019

October 18, 2019


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

HERE COMES SANTA PAWS by Laurien Berenson is the twenty-fourth in her Melanie Travis Canine Mystery series.  Melanie’s ex-husband’s current wife, Claire, calls Melanie for support after she stumbles upon the body of a client.  Melanie rushes to the scene  and is dismayed when Claire disappears as soon as she can.  When Claire needs help locating something she fears might be at the crime scene, she looks for Melanie’s help once again.  In her usual fashion, Melanie and her Aunt Peg get involved in the investigation.

I’m a fan of this fun cozy mystery series and this addition did not disappoint – I can’t imagine how hard it is to keep a series going this long and am glad Berenson manages to do it so well.  This mystery is solid and it’s not graphic so it can be enjoyed by young teens on up.  Dogs aren’t featured as much as usual but that didn’t bother me.  It’s not necessary to be familiar with this series to enjoy this light mystery set during the holidays but once you read it, you’ll want to read the rest of the series.  I look forward to more stories featuring Melanie and her family.  (Review copy provided by Kensington.)


Matthew’s not happy when his family moves to California and things don’t get any better when they get there.  How can it be Christmas without snow and with dry, prickly trees?  He thinks it will take a miracle to save Christmas and his sister, Lucy, is determined to find one.  In the end, he learns what Christmas is truly about.

THE WORST CHRISTMAS EVER by Kathleen Long Bostrom is a sweet picture book for the pre-school set.  Things don’t seem to be going well for Matthew in California but he’s not making as much of an effort as he could.  He thinks Christmas is all about the trimmings and isn’t very excited about it.  He does experience a miracle of sorts on Christmas Eve that makes him realize what is important to him.  I love the message of this book and the terrific illustrations by Guy Porfirio and think it’s a great book to start a wonderful discussion about thankfulness with little ones.  (Review copy provided by Flyaway Books.)


When I saw Deb of Readerbuzz mention SPEAKING AMERICAN: HOW Y’ALL, YOUSE, AND YOU GUYS TALK by Josh Katz, it reminded me I just barely missed getting it at my book club’s Dirty Santa book swap a few years ago.  I still wanted to read it and was happy to see that our local library had a copy.  In 2013, Katz used an online survey to gather data on how different regions of the US speak.  He received over 350,000 responses and used the data he collected to create some fascinating maps.

Not only does he cover different terms used in different parts of the country (pop vs soda vs coke), he address the way we pronounce certain words (like pecan).  He also has some fun pages that teach readers how to pretend like they’re from a particular state.   Since I’ve spent most of my life below the Mason – Dixon line and been teased about my pronounciations and phrases, I found this book fascinating.  I thought it was accurate for the most part but do admit that I did disagree with it a time or two.  Even with that, I enjoyed reading this book and had fun sharing parts of it with friends.

Currently reading:

On the Screen

I haven’t been keeping up with Dancing with the Stars this season but I did watch it Monday night.  I’m not familiar with a lot of the “stars” and don’t have a favorite but, overall, I thought they danced well.  I think Sean Spicer should be the next one voted off.

Off the blog

  • My book club met to discuss THE LAST LIGHT OVER CAROLINA by Mary Alice Monroe.  Everyone enjoyed the book but one person said she thought the ending was too predictable.  We found a lot to discuss, including love versus romance, why people stay with careers that don’t pay the bills, and being conscious of where our food comes from.
  • We finally got some fall weather plus some nights that felt like winter!
  • I walked at least three miles every morning and averaged just under 16,750 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

26 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2019 8:54 am

    Fall has arrived (for now) in our area too. Temps in the high 40’s this morning, but it will be in above 80 later today and into the 90’s over the weekend. And then another cold front.

    I was interested in the ‘Speaking American’ book. I’ve lived in Texas almost all my life, but I never say ‘y’all’ and never have. I say you or even you guys. Have no idea why. I do know the ‘correct’ pronunciation for ‘pecan’ or at least correct in my thinking. And all pop or soda is ‘Coke’. Ha!

  2. October 18, 2019 9:26 am

    Great looking books. I need to catch up on my Mary Alice Monroe.

    Enjoy your weekend.

  3. October 18, 2019 11:07 am

    I stopped watching DWTS long ago but I see its draw. It’s entertaining but like you said, some of the stars were not really stars in my book. I mean, Spicer? Please.

    This weekend we are taking it easy because next week will be very busy for my daughter. A Theatre showcase and a festival competition which I will be working on 10/26. Super fun though.

    I really want to hit the farmer’s market tomorrow. My husband likes to sleep in on Saturday but we’ve never been and I seriously want to go.

  4. Jeane permalink
    October 18, 2019 12:48 pm

    Twenty-four in that mystery series! Wow, that’s a lot to keep going and not start to loose quality over time. I admire authors who can do that. Have you read most of them? The Speaking American book sounds real interesting. My husband and I often “argue” over how to pronounce things- he grew up in the South but from an immigrant family (Dutch) very much sticklers for grammar. I’m from the west coast so I still say “freeway” which gets me odd looks around here, but at the same time I easily pick up language habits of those around me- I’ve been saying “y’all since I lived in Baltimore and I don’t even notice anymore! but now when I go back to visit my family that gets me odd looks!

  5. October 18, 2019 1:14 pm

    I should look for that MA Monroe book. I enjoy her novels. The cozy looks good too! I haven’t watched DWTS this season. Haven’t watched much tv at all – except for our favorite sports teams. Too many good books to read, you know?
    Fall has arrived in my area. The trick will be to get it to stay a while before winter shows up!

  6. October 18, 2019 1:49 pm

    Aww bookclub, jealous 😀

  7. October 18, 2019 2:20 pm

    I love reading about regional differences in speech and pronunciation!

  8. October 18, 2019 2:37 pm

    “How can it be Christmas without snow” is a question I’ve been asking for over 35 years!

    I’m going to look for Speaking American! I love anything to do with the funniness of how people from different places talk!

  9. October 18, 2019 4:13 pm

    Speaking American sounds like a fun read! I’m going to see if my library has a copy… it would be perfect for Nonfiction November. No signs of fall yet here…

  10. October 18, 2019 10:56 pm

    I haven’t had a chance to watch DWTS this week yet. It’s waiting on my DVR. Hopefully Sunday I can watch. Cute that you had two Christmas books with adorable dogs on the cover. I need to figure out which Christmas books I’ll be reading.

  11. October 19, 2019 7:24 am

    With a Yankee mom and a Southern dad, people have always been confused about my accent. I found Speaking American pretty spot on (not an American phrase at all) for me. I was fascinated with the regional differences, especially the word used for freeway (I think my Houston area is the only part of the country that uses this word). Wouldn’t Speaking American be a good book for a Wondrous Words Wednesday post? I’d love to see a Speaking American, Book II.

    Christmas arrived before winter did at your house this week. (Well, almost.) There’s nothing like seasonal books to get me thinking about the holidays. But usually I like to wait until we get our first norther! Both of your Christmas book look like fun.

    I’m glad your book group discussion was so good. Sometimes I leave, thinking we have gotten so off track or worrying about the two people who never got a chance to contribute anything, but other times I feel very satified.

    I hope you have a great week!

  12. Mae Sander permalink
    October 19, 2019 7:44 am

    That regional language book got a lot of attention when it was published a few years ago. Their maps are both interesting and amusing. You make me think I should finally look into it.

    best… mae at

  13. October 19, 2019 7:01 pm

    Here Comes Santa Paws–cozy titles are the cutest! Kathy, I’m noticing more Christmas books on the blogs–the holidays are nearly here! Speaking “American” reveals our regional diversity. Thanks for including the interesting map. Have a terrific weekend!

  14. October 19, 2019 10:49 pm

    Getting to be winter here already, at least at night, in terms of temperatures. Low tonight is 28. But next week in 40s at night. Yay?

  15. October 20, 2019 10:08 am

    Here Comes Santa Paws sounds like a nice holiday mystery. The Josh Katz book sounds good, it is interesting about the different accents throughout the country. I don’t hear it, but I’m sure I have a New Jersey accent lol.
    Enjoy your week and the beautiful Fall weather.

  16. October 20, 2019 10:16 am

    I have major problems understanding my grandchildren on the phone with Australian accents. I think I’ll stick to deciphering that!!! Have a nice week.

  17. October 20, 2019 11:01 am

    I love any books with dogs on the cover, great.

  18. Helen Murdoch permalink
    October 20, 2019 8:15 pm

    I think it’s fun to compare how people across the US speak. I remember being shocked when college classmates talked about “pop.” I had no idea they meant soda. 🙂

  19. Sarah Sammis permalink
    October 21, 2019 12:21 am

    Speaking American is on my wishlist and has been since the book was first announced. My weekly update

  20. October 21, 2019 1:07 am

    I was 12 when I moved from the West Coast to the East Coast of Australia, I was surprised by some of the differences in language, and there are slight differences in accents though generally not as pronounced in the US

    Wishing you a great reading week

  21. Carol Evans permalink
    October 21, 2019 8:30 am

    It’s starting to be fall here too. I’m hoping the leaves in your neck of the woods will be pretty in a week or so.
    The Speaking American book sounds fun, but the map missed the “yinz” of the Pittsburgh area.

  22. Literary Feline permalink
    October 21, 2019 1:16 pm

    I read a Berenson mystery years ago and enjoyed it. I never kept up with the series though. I am glad you enjoyed Here Comes Santa Paws! My daughter and I started watching The Masked Singer on Hulu, and are enjoying the show more than I expected. Sounds like you had a great book club discussion! I hope you have a great week, Kathy!

  23. October 22, 2019 2:57 pm

    Speaking american sounds interesting and unique.

  24. October 22, 2019 11:15 pm

    I’ve seen some of those charts from the Katz book and think I’d like it. I know I speak Ohioan 🙂

  25. bookingmama permalink
    October 28, 2019 7:58 pm

    Look at you getting into the Christmas spirit! I’ve never heard of the canine series but it looks adorable!

  26. October 29, 2019 12:31 pm

    Fall lasted about two days here. It snowed last night – we’re going to have a white Halloween!

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