Free or For Free???

I’ve been thinking a lot about which is correct: “free” or “for free.”  

Grammar Monster says “Strict grammarians will tell you that ‘for free’ is grammatically incorrect because ‘free’ is not a noun, and this means it cannot be preceded by ‘for’ (a preposition). In their view, something is ‘sold for nothing’ or is ‘sold free.’ However, through common usage, ‘for free’ has become acceptable.”

Collins Dictionary, My English Teacher, and StackExchange back this up. What do you think? Leave a comment!

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Happy National Punctuation Day!

Did you know that today is National Punctuation Day? Who knew there was whole day set aside to think about punctuation?

I could probably use a brush-up on these rules. One of my kids recently told me that he got major points off an essay I had checked because of a run-on sentence. I guess I didn’t catch a misused comma or semicolon! So much for bragging about being an English major in college…

To celebrate this big day, I grabbed these grammar and punctuation books at the library. I’m going to flip through them and try to nail down some of my comma weaknesses!

Here’s the full list, with links to Goodreads.

Gwynne’s Grammar: The Ultimate Introduction to Grammar and the Writing of Good English by N.M. Gwynne

The Associated Press Guide to Punctuation by Rene J. Cappon

Semicolon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark by Cecelia Watson

Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris

In case you were wondering, National Punctuation Day was founded in 2004 by a guy named Jeff Rubin ( You can learn more about Jeff here.

What are your biggest punctuation weaknesses?

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Grammar check – dos and don’ts or do’s and don’ts?

Image: Pixabay

How do you feel about adding that apostrophe to dos, even though it’s technically wrong and only there to make things look better?

I mean, if you add an apostrophe to do’s, to be consistent, you’d need to an extra apostrophe to don’ts so that it looks like:

do’s and don’t’s

That looks weird. And on this everyone seems to agree. But the grammar and style experts disagree about that extra apostrophe.

The AP Stylebook says do’s and don’ts. We happened to have a copy here, so I looked it up.

The Chicago Manual of Style recommends dos and don’ts (I don’t have a copy to check and you need an online subscription to access).

The rule across the board is whichever style you prefer, stick with it. If you need more info, here’s a post from about the dos and don’ts on do’s and don’ts.

Which do you prefer? I prefer dos and don’ts. It seems more pure to me. And by the way, is it correct to say more pure or purer? I’ll tackle that on a different day!

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Grammar check – lay low or lie low?

Image: Pixabay

I recently read a book in which many of the characters were advised to lay low because danger lurked and they didn’t want to be found out. This is a commonly used phrase and we all know what it means, but did you know that the correct advice would be to lie low?

I talked about the lowdown on lay and lie in a post a couple years ago, but not specifically about laying low or lying low.

Merriam-Webster says lay low is a transitive verb and that it means “to bring or strike to earth or to knock out of a fight or out of action.”

So the person on the other end of laying low is not exactly staying out of danger, maybe just the opposite!

LawProse offers more explanation and sites some examples from a documentary that got it wrong and a journalist who got it right.

Which way do you say it? If we all know what it means to lay low, should it matter? I like to follow the rules, so I vote for lie low. But maybe saying lay low is more authentic to a character in a book. I don’t know. Leave a comment and tell me what you think.

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Book Club Mom’s February recap

Hi Everyone! So the crocuses you see here made an early appearance this month. We got to enjoy them for a week or so until our bunnies had them for breakfast. Oh well, it happens every year. More flowers on the way!

In case you missed anything, here’s a quick rundown of February’s posts:

Book Reviews:

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak – an interesting novel about the last minutes of awareness of a prostitute who is murdered in Istanbul, based on the idea that the mind continues to work in the moments after death. Read my review here.

A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny – this is my second Louise Penny book in the Inspector Gamache series, set in Canada. You don’t have to read them in order. She’s a very good writer and I’m sure I will read more of her books. Check it out here.

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett – I loved this book about a nearly-adult brother and his sister whose stepmother casts them out of their home after their father dies. There’s so much more to the story than this, though. It came under heavy fire in my Facebook discussion group, but I’m holding firm that Ann Patchett has written another great book. See why here.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb – I’ve been wanting to read this book about psychotherapy for almost a year and I’m so glad I finally got to it. Gottlieb is a best-selling writer, psychotherapist and advice columnist and she writes about her own experiences as both therapist and patient. See my review here.

What’s That Book?


The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper – blogging friend Tammie Painter shared her review of this charming part slice-of-life, part humor, part adventure, and part mystery novel. See what she says here.


Who’s That Indie Author?

Meet Berthold Gambrel, science fiction, horror and fantasy writer and author of The Directorate, The House of Teufelvelt, 1NG4, Vespasian Moon’s Fabulous Autumn Carnival. He’s a combination pantser/planner and the proud owner of a flip-phone. Now that’s something we should all consider! Read his profile here.

Say hello to Deanna King. She writes fictional crime, fantasy romance and children’s stories and is the author of Gracie’s Stories, Twist of Fate – A Jack West Novel  and has a new Jack West novel in the works. Deanna thinks print books will always be around and could go the whole day without checking her phone. Meet Deanna here.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Digital Shelf Shocker! – I have an embarrassing number of TBRs on my Kindle.
10 commonly misused phrases – always fun to see what we get wrong!
Fiction or nonfiction? Twitter reading poll results – which do you prefer?
Meet my top commenters! – a big part of blogging
The happy coincidence of my blog and my job – it’s a great combo

Hope you had a great month. March on to March!

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Book Club Mom’s November recap

Well Thanksgiving week threw me for a blogging loop and, while I did read a book during that time, I didn’t get on my blog much!

But I had a good November, so here’s a rundown in case you missed anything:

Just three books this month, but sometimes that’s how it goes.

Back of Beyond by C. J. Box – we read this for my mystery book club at the library where I work. Our whole group gave it high ratings. C. J. Box writes a lot of books and he knows what he’s doing!

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben – I like Harlan Coben’s books, but this one was a little disappointing. Still, I’m sure I’ll read more by him.

Less by Andrew Sean Greer – By far one of the best books I’ve read all year. Less won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2017. I highly recommend it.

BC Mom’s Author Update:
Author Roberta Eaton Cheadle announces
publication of Through the Nethergate

BC Mom’s Author Update is open to all authors who have news to share.
Email me at for more information.

I introduced two indie authors this month, Cage Dunn and Chloe Helton. Be sure to visit these posts and say hello:

Who’s That Indie Author? Cage Dunn
Who’s That Indie Author? Chloe Helton

If you are a self-published or indie author and would like to be profiled on Book Club Mom,
email me at and I’ll send you a template.

I love thinking about book trends and here’s one I discovered:

Books with commanding titles – a new trend?

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. Here are the top 20 on my list:

Book Club Mom’s top 20 historical fiction books


I’m always thinking about blogging and the news that Instagram has been considering permanently doing away with “likes” got me talking. I’m not an Instagrammer, and I don’t care much about Facebook, but I think WordPress bloggers want to see the likes.

Blog views and other obsessions – followers, views, likes and comments

Images: Pixabay

We all make grammar mistakes, so it’s good to review some of the rules:

Grammar check – past tenses of dream, learn, dive,
loan and lend – what are they?

Just a sentimental memory as we gear up for the holidays:

Thanksgiving Memories When You’re Small

And this post got a lot of discussion. Most of you think the classic editor is the way to go. Someday we will all have to move to the new WordPress block editor. Despite the negative comments, I’m still considering the switch.

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

That was my month – how was yours?

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Grammar check – past tenses of dream, learn, dive, loan and lend – what are they?

Images: Pixabay

Ever use the past tense of one of these words and wonder, “Did I get that right?” And have you wondered if there’s a difference between loan and lend?

The answer is technically no, with a couple explanations. Here’s a rundown of the past tenses of these words, plus a quick explanation of loan and lend.

Dreamed and dreamt – they’re both right, but dreamed is more common in both American and British English. It’s okay to use dreamt, though, especially if you’re a poet or songwriter and need something to rhyme with exempt. Check out the full explanation on

Learned and learnt – also both right, but most Americans and Canadians use learned and, according to Grammarly, the rest of the world uses learnt.

Dived and dove – both are correct. Dived is more traditional choice and dove is the more modern usage (from the 1800s though). This, all according to

Loan and loaned vs lend and lent – guess what? Loan and lend mean the same thing when they refer to supplying someone with something. Loaned is the past tense of loan and lent is the past tense of lend. So either word, in present or past is fine in this context. But the word lend has a lot of other definitions. Check out the explanation on

Me? I say dreamed, learned, dove and loaned. What do you say? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Book Club Mom’s September recap – summer’s over!

Image: Pixabay

September is often the month for fresh starts and getting back on track after the lazy days of summer. The truth is, for me, summer can be busier than fall! It’s much quieter here now, with kids out of the house, going to school or working. I like the hustle bustle of a full house, but there are always books, right?

I read some good ones this month and was surprised that I had chosen three nonfiction books! I have always preferred fiction, but I’m noticing more and more interesting narrative nonfiction books that I want to read.

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
My Friend Anna – The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The Library Book by Susan Orlean

In case you missed these author profiles:

Who’s That Author? Truman Capote
Who’s That Author? Linda Holmes
Who’s That Indie Author? Amy Tasukada
Are you a self-published or indie author? Email
if you would like to be featured on Who’s That Indie Author.

And I wrote these random and spontaneous posts:

Library book strategies – managing (or not managing)
holds on the new and popular books
Grammar talk: misspelled words and other confessions
Social media book groups – are you in one?
Here comes fall – books to match the season!

I know it can be hard to say goodbye to summer, but I think September is a good transition month. Hope you are ready to ease into fall with a good book! What’s in your reading pile?

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Grammar check – is relatable a real word?

Yes, it is, but the meaning has changed. The word relatable used to mean that something could be told or that it was connected to something else. Now, it usually describes a situation in which someone has a personal connection to something.

Merriam-Webster defines relatable as:

  1. able to be shown or established to have a causal or logical connection to something
  2. able to be related to : possible to understand, like, or have sympathy for because of similarities to oneself or one’s own experiences

Relatable is all over the media. Every show, book, movie, news story, tweet or post is relatable to someone. And this isn’t anything new, just something I’ve been thinking about lately.

Professors and high school teachers have bemoaned its overuse and some say that students need to pay attention to things that are not relatable so they can understand them better.

For more information, read Ben Zimmer’s 2010 New York Times article in which he explains the origins of the word, and Rebecca Onion’s 2014 article in Slate, where she says the word’s overuse bothers her. Me? I’m not bothered by it. It may be a lazy way of saying you get something, without explaining why, but it’s an otherwise nice word—and that’s relatable!

What’s your opinion on relatable?

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Book Club Mom’s April recap – showers and flowers

Image: Pixabay

True to form, April came in with showers and today, on the last day of the month, there are plenty of flowers.

I was busy this month with more than just reading and blogging, and I took an unexpected week off from WordPress and all social media. I returned with energy and new ideas, some of which you will see in May!

Here’s a recap of my posts, with a bit of commentary, just in case you missed something.

I reviewed three books this month – all very good reads!

The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger

The Glass Room by Ann Cleeves

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

I posted about my blogging slump which led to a great discussion. Check out the comments and see how other bloggers feel about taking breaks from their blogs.

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

I made one YouTube video and I am still learning about what works on YouTube and will be making improvements in the coming months. Are you a YouTuber? What has your experience been like?

Thanks to my kids for giving me some good advice and exciting ideas for the future!

On YouTube today – catching up with Book Club Mom

Images: Pixabay

My Grammar Check post about whether you should correct someone’s grammar generated a lot of comments.

The general consensus was to keep mum unless you’re a proofreader.

Grammar check – speech is silver, silence is golden!

I introduced one indie author – H. W. Bryce and wrote a post about how to submit a profile to Who’s That Indie Author. I’ve lined up some new authors for May, so get ready to meet some new writers! In the meantime, check out Bryce’s book of poetry for some thoughtful insights.

Who’s That Indie Author? H. W. Bryce

And if you’re interested in being featured, learn how to Introduce yourself and make connections on Who’s That Indie Author!

Image: Pixabay

As anyone who likes to read knows, the “To Be Read” pile grows and grows. But making lists is part of the fun. Wondering where to get some good book recommendations? Visit your library – where browsing is always fun and books are free!

How to make a good book list – visit your library!

I’m working on some new ideas for May and I’m thinking about restructuring my blog posts this summer. I think it’s good to shake things up from time to time. Next month is looking good to me – here are those flowers I told you about!

Image: Pixabay

How was your month? I hope you had a good one!

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