Book Club Mom’s January 2021 Recap

We are in the midst of a winter storm and pretty much snowed in with more to come. I was just beginning to think we were going to have an uneventful winter.

January came and went! I only read three books this month, but I’m already on track to read more in February.

Here’s a quick recap of book reviews and other things:

The Searcher by Tana French

The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn

A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders

Blog views and other obsessions – two great tools for your blog – I’ve been spending a lot of time on Canva, which I talk about in this post. I have much to learn, though.

I featured two indie authors this month and have more lined up. Look for new Author Updates too!

Who’s That Indie Author? Kaitlyn Jain

Who’s That Indie Author? Bruce W. Bishop

Based on all the comments, I think we all had fun with this “How Well Read Are You” challenge. If you haven’t tried it, hop over and see!

How well read are you? Take this challenge and see!

Books on my list – based on the above challenge

What’s happening now? After finishing The Woman in the Window, I was in the mood for another psychological thriller and recently finished The Perfect Wife by Blake Pierce. Keep an eye out for my review. Right now I’m reading a new biography by Scott Eyman – Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise. It’s long, but I’m enjoying it very much and will probably review that before I get The Perfect Wife review out. I have two more books lined up. The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel and My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing.

Pretty soon, I’m going to get up from under this blanket and make some soup for dinner. Back to work tomorrow! What are you doing on this winter day?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Many thanks to my recent Top Commenters!

Image: Pixabay

The nicest thing about blogging is engaging with reader comments. Today I want to thank my recent Top Commenters who always visit and stop to chat. They are terrific supporters of the blogging community and I consider them great blogging friends.  I hope you will visit their blogs too!

Fiction Favorites with John Howell – Thriller author John Howell started his blog as a forum for the free exchange of information and ideas. John follows a daily schedule of entertaining themed posts. From views of his neighborhood, top things not to do, and posts about the family dogs to John’s own “Johnku,” personal thoughts and original fiction, there is always something interesting going on at Fiction Favorites.

Jill Weatherholt – Jill is the author of inspirational romance novels and has just finished her fourth, A Home for Her Daughter, in stores August 25. Jill is a great supporter of authors and bloggers and a great blogging and Twitter friend. One of my favorite things about Jill’s blog is her “Would You Rather” feature – great questions that make you think!

The Chatter Blog – Author Colleen Faherty Brown is also a talented artist and deep thinker. She posts original sketches with philosophical thoughts, sometimes light, sometimes heavy and always thought-provoking. I especially like when she adds her drawings to the photographs she takes.

Darlene Foster’s Blog – Darlene is the author of children’s stories, a retired employment counsellor, and ESL tutor, a wife, mother and grandmother. She created her blog for writers, readers, travelers, dreamers and friends, old and new. She believes everyone has a right to dream and everyone has the capability to make their dreams come true.

Retirement Reflections – Prior to retirement, Donna lived and worked in Beijing China for fourteen years. Leaving international life behind, she and her husband retired to Vancouver Island in June 2015. She started her blog to document both this transition and their new adventures. Her hiking photos and descriptions make me want to get outside and experience the same!

Robbie’s Inspiration – Robbie Cheadle is the author of children’s picture, middle grade and young adult books. She also writes adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie is an expert baker and fondant creator and she shares her artistry on her blog. These creations also appear in her Sir Chocolate children’s books. Robbie is a wonderful supporter of bloggers near and far.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Blog views and other obsessions – Free Photo Library on WordPress


Have you noticed something different about your WordPress Home Page? My Home popped up on my blog this week, with a reconfigured format. I haven’t tried everything, but what caught my eye is that now WordPress offers a Free Photo Library of 40,000 stock photos, provided by Pexels.

I’ve been using Pixabay for a few years to find good copyright free photos, but now there’s an option built right into WordPress.

Another good thing I noticed is that you can also upload photos right from Google Photos. I like that! I’m not sure if that’s new, but I’d never seen that before.

And here’s how to access the photo library.

  • Go to your My Home screen, open the Site options and select Media.
  • Click the down arrow on the top left banner dropdown to see WordPress Library, Google Photos library and Free Photo library. Select Free Photo.
  • Type suggestion in Search bar, select an appropriate photo and select Copy to media library.

Your image is ready for you to insert into your next blog post. Photo credits are included in the uploads.

Curious to see what kinds of free images are available, I did a few searches and here are some.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

They are generic like all the stock images out there but they are free and I can see myself using these for certain posts.

Photo by Aleksey Kuprikov on

How about you? Will you use this new feature?

Photo by Andrew Neel on

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Meet my top commenters!

Every blogger knows how great it feels when someone takes the time to leave a comment on a post. It’s the best part about blogging. So, thank you to these top commenters. I appreciate your loyal support!

I hope you will visit these terrific blogs, because they have some great things going on!

Jill Weatherholt – Jill is a talented author of three Harlequin Love Inspired stories about love, friendship and forgiveness: A Mother for His Twins, A Father for Bella, and Second Chance Romance. Jill is also a faithful blogging friend, making her daily rounds like clockwork, supporting many blogs and inviting bloggers to play her Would You Rather interview game.

Ritu Bathal from But I Smile Anyway – Ritu is an author and “a working mum of 2, loving wife, daughter, sister, friend to many.” She’s just published her second book, Marriage Unarranged, described as ‘Chickpea Curry’ Lit — Chick Lit with an Indian twist! Her first book, Poetic RITUals, was published in 2016. Ritu’s posts are creative, funny and down to earth, making you feel like you know her well. She always offers an encouraging word.

Robbie’s Inspiration – Robbie is creative in everything she does, from baking and designing fondant figures and scenes, to publishing the Sir Chocolate series of children’s books and writing adult supernatural and horror stories over on Roberta Writes. She’s always up for a writing or photo prompt and is an active supporter on WordPress and Twitter.

Jennifer Kelland Perry – Jennifer is a successful author of two Young Adult books, Calmer Girls and Calmer Secrets. She loves to post pictures of her life in Newfoundland, including her cats who prefer the indoors during the cold Canadian winters. Jennifer is also known for surprising bloggers with her Blogger’s Bouquets.

Annika Perry – Annika is “a versatile writer whose books span across various genres.” Her collection of short fiction, The Storyteller Speaks is all about love and relationships. Annika recently published a children’s book, Oskar’s Quest, a story of adventure and courage. And I’m totally jealous of her new custom bookcase, which she shared on a recent post!

Fiction Favorites – John W. Howell – John is an award-winning author of thriller fiction novels and short stories, including The Contract, My GRL, and Circumstances of Childhood, and is a highly organized humor blogger, sharing top ten lists, views from his neighborhood, personal reflections, haikus and responses to writing prompts. His dogs, Twiggy and Lucy are regular contributors to the fun.

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!



Blogging with the new WordPress Editor – are you using the blocks?

Have you made the switch to the new WordPress Editor? I’ve seen and ignored the prompt for a long time. I’d heard it was hard to use and that once you switched you couldn’t go back to the Classic Editor.  But after my blogging friend Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies told me that her new star ratings graphic was an option with the WordPress Editor, I think I’m going to make the switch.

The Learn More link provides a lot of good information about the new block editing feature.

Here are a few facts:

  • Each section of your post is a separate block, for headings, text, quotes, images and more. It lets you move things around more easily. And you can customize the format of each block.
  • If you switch, your existing content will not change. Your previous posts will all be put in what they call a Classic Block.
  • If you use the Business Plan version, you will have more customizing options with plugins than with the free version.
  • You can switch back to the Classic Editor if you don’t like the block editing. This wording makes me think that eventually all sites will need to use the new WordPress Editor, though, so don’t count on this always being an option: “At this time, as we’re introducing the WordPress Editor you’ll be able to switch between the WordPress Editor and the Classic Editor for posts and pages…”
  • The new WordPress Editor works with all themes, but only some may support certain layout features.

Now that I know more about it, and since I’m planning a blog overhaul in 2020, I think I’ll make the switch. Also, it sounds a lot like Constant Contact, a website/program I use at work to create our email newsletter. So I don’t think it will be a big adjustment.

Do you use the new WordPress Editor? Leave a comment and tell me what you think of it!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Book Club Mom’s August recap – books, movies, authors and a mish-mash!

I’m not an organized blogger. Therefore I never know how a blog month is going to go. That’s how I like it. This month, I read Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray. At over 800 pages, it took a lot of time and concentration to read and I had very few blogging ideas during that time. So I focused on the book and stayed away from the blog. Once I finished, I felt refreshed and then came the ideas!

I read three books in August:

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

Notes from a Public Typewriter – edited by Michael Gustafson and Obooksliver Uberti

I shared some football books:

Books for football fans, and anyone who likes a good story

What’s That Book? Football for a Buck by Jeff Pearlman

And I watched two movies! That’s unusual for me, but I’ve been in that mode lately. I’m also working my way through The Office and have finally reached the episodes I’d never seen.

What’s That Movie? Free Solo –
a film by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin

The movie Charly and Flowers for Algernon

Indie Authors Wendy Koenig & Biff Mitchell

Have you met these indie authors yet? Be sure to check out their profiles!

Who’s That Indie Author? Wendy L. Koenig

Who’s That Indie Author? Biff Mitchell

If you are a self-published or indie author and would like to be featured, email me at for more information.

And while you’re at it, get up to date with romance writer Jill Weatherholt because she has a new book out – A Mother for His Twins!

BC Mom’s Author Update: new Harlequin Love Inspired novel
by Jill Weatherholt

Random and spontaneous book posts are lots of fun – that’s one reason I like blogging so much. It’s great to have full control over what I do. Sometimes I’ll get an idea while I’m brushing my teeth, taking a walk or talking to someone at my library job. Then it’s just a matter of typing it out:

 Book Talk – The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore

Grammar check – three word mistakes – let’s admit we aren’t perfect!

Creative book cover posts – have you noticed this trend?

I hope you had a good August! Did you read anything good? What was the best part of your month?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Blog views and other obsessions – when the slump sneaks up on you!


It’s common knowledge that most blogs don’t make it a year before they go silent. But what happens when a blog that’s been going on for nearly six years suddenly stops?

I’ve been thinking about that a lot because last week, I didn’t blog and I didn’t even go on WordPress. What was happening? Nothing, really. I was busy with work and life and trying to exercise more and get the house in order. Spring has a way of making me want to clean things up a bit. And I took a mini trip.

Time is finite. I couldn’t do all those things and also spend the usual time on my blog. It worried me. Was I tired of reading books and talking about them? Was I burning out? As the days passed and I continued to find other real world things to do, those questions nagged me.

I think I just needed a break. Now I’m refreshed and ready to jump back in. I have 107 unread blog posts waiting for me, a bunch of comments to reply to and the regular feed, so it could take a while!

How have you been? Have you ever found yourself in a blogging slump?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon! 

Welcome Book Blogger Book Club Mom

I’m so excited to be featured on Jill Weatherholt’s blog today, where I share my book blogging experiences. I hope you will visit and join the conversation! I’ll be over later today to reply. 🙂

Jill Weatherholt

Today I’m excited to welcome a fellow blogger whom many of you know. I can’t recall if we met through Word Press or Twitter, but she is definitely one of my favorite people. I’ve invited her to talk about her journey as a book blogger. Please welcome Barbara Vitelli, whom many of you know as Book Club Mom!

Book Club Mom – one book blogger’s evolution

My WordPress blog turns 6 years old this summer, but I started writing book reviews much earlier than that. I’ve been in a book club for 18 years and, after a few rounds of books, I wanted to find a way to keep track of not just those books, but everything I read. I was a lot younger then and had a better memory, but I was also raising little boys and I knew I’d never remember if I didn’t write something down. I…

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Book Club Mom’s February recap – a month of blog posts

February was both cold and icy in my world! Image: Pixabay

Phew! February was a short and busy month, both here and out in the world. I’m sure it’s the same for all of you. I try to visit as many blogs as possible, but sometimes I run out of time. Some of the bloggers I follow post weekly or monthly summaries and I’ve always found that helpful because I don’t like to miss out!

So here’s an “ICYMI” summary of what went down in February at Book Club Mom. Click on the links to visit each post.

Book Reviews – I don’t always power through books, but I do try to read one book a week. That’s about all I can handle. Here’s what I read this month:

Feb 2: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Feb 11: The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi
Feb 19: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
Feb 25: Leaving the Beach by Mary Rowen

I enjoy meeting indie authors and learning about their books and lives. I aim for one feature a week. Keep those requests for profiles coming!

From left to right, HL Carpenter, Pamela S. Wight, Kathleen Jowitt

Feb 7: HL Carpenter
Feb 15: Pamela S. Wight
Feb 24: Kathleen Jowitt

General Interest – I have a lot of fun thinking about book trends and book related ideas. And because I work in a library, I’m surrounded by books and often get the scoop on what’s new from my work friends.

Feb 4: Litsy – have you heard about this social media app for book lovers?
Feb: 12: When “silent” characters find their voices
Feb 18: The characters you love to hate: the role of the villain in stories
Feb 19: New York Books – the list is growing!
Feb 20: Book Talk – Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer
Feb 26: Books with double titles – am I seeing things?

On YouTube – I’m still experimenting with ideas and settings. I’m working on a “field trip” video for next month, but I’m waiting for the weather to improve. So these two posts are from my couch:

Feb 16:  Books my kids loved – I can’t let go of them!
Feb 27:  Love of reading can come at any age!

It was a good month here and out in my other world. I hope you had a good one too!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

A shout out to blog commenters

Image: Pixabay

Happy New Year!

In the world of blogging, reader comments are gold. I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth repeating. When someone takes the time to leave a thoughtful comment on our blogs, it’s an affirmation of our efforts.

So I thank everyone who has left a comment on Book Club Mom. I’ve made many friends this way. And if you don’t already know some of these great bloggers, visit their links below and say hi!

746 Books
A Little Blog of Books
A Ruined Chapel by Moonlight
Annika Perry’s Writing Blog
Bette A. Stevens
Bookshelf Fantasies
But I Smile Anyway
Calabria The Other Italy
Carrie Rubin
Chatter Master
Echoes of the Past
Explore Newness
From the Laundry Room
Garden of Eden Blog
I Write. I Read. I Review
Jacquie Biggar
Jan M Flynn
Jennifer Kelland Perry
Jill Weatherholt
Jill’s Scene
JP McLean
Muddling Through My Middle Age
Norah Colvin
Robbie’s inspiration
Sarah Brentyn
Sayling Away
Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Stuff Jeff Reads
Tammie Painter
The Off Key of Life
The Showers of Blessings
The Stub Collection
Tuesdays with Laurie

Image: Pixabay

I’m looking forward to making some new blogging friends in the new year. Here’s to a great 2019!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!