Review: Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams

 

Title: Our Stop

Author: Laura Jane Williams

Published: August 8th 2019, Avon UK

Status: Read August 2019, courtesy Avon/Netgalley

++++++

 

My Thoughts:

Our Stop is a light hearted romantic comedy from UK columnist and Instagram influencer, Laura Jane Williams.

“To the devastatingly cute blonde girl on the Northern line with the black designer handbag and coffee stains on her dress–you get on at Angel, on the 7.30, always at the end nearest the escalator, and always in a hurry. I’m the guy who’s standing near the doors of your carriage, hoping today’s a day you haven’t overslept. Drink some time?”

Not quite sure how to introduce himself to the ‘devastatingly cute blonde girl’ who regularly shares his train carriage during his morning commute, Daniel Weissman opts to place a message in ‘Missed Connections’. Nadia Fielding is not entirely convinced the message is meant for her but she is willing to take a chance of finding true love, and replies. A flirtation ensues through the column, but when their first planned meeting goes awry it seems it will all come to nothing…unless fate steps in.

Generally the tone of the Our Stop is a light and witty romance with a very millennial vibe, though Williams touches on some serious issues such as emotional abuse, consent, depression, and UK politics.

The story unfolds from the alternating perspectives of Nadia and Daniel as their relationship is impeded by a series of missed opportunities. Nadia is likeable enough, a fairly typical heroine for the genre, except that her work has something to do with artificial intelligence, which does make a nice change from the usual professions (PR/PA) pursued by romcom heroines. Daniel is perhaps a little too perfect – embodying the ideal ‘millennial’ male, but appealing nonetheless, and I particularly liked the portrayal of his relationships with his friends, and parents.

It’s not easy to develop romantic tension over the length of a book between two people who never meet, nor given the need for a string of contrived near-misses, to sustain interest in the potential of the relationship, but I thought Williams did so reasonably well. While I did feel it was all dragged out a bit too long overall, I wanted to see how Williams would finally bring Nadia and Daniel together, and I was satisfied when they finally got their happy ever after.

Ultimately Our Stop was an okay read for me, not quite as engaging as I was hoping for, but not bad either.

++++++

Available from Avon UK

Or your preferred retailer via Booko I Indiebound

Review: The Accidentals by Minrose Gwin

 

Title: The Accidentals

Author: Minrose Gwin

Published: August 13th 2019, William Morrow

Status: Read August 2019 courtesy William Morrow/Edelweiss

++++++

My Thoughts:

It was the blurb of The Accidentals that caught my attention, promising a generational story focused primarily on two sisters, June and Grace McAlister, beginning in the 1950’s with the death of their mother, Olivia, from a botched backyard abortion.

I liked the first quarter of this novel, which concentrated on the sisters’ child and teen years after the loss of their mother, and feel that had Gwin kept this her focus, I would have been quite satisfied. Unfortunately I soon began to feel that the characters became passengers, rather than agents, of the story.

The author seemed determined to make reference to every topical social issue possible, including but not limited to, homosexuality, abortion, teen pregnancy, racism, ‘passing’, mental illness, gender inequality, Alzheimers, cancer, the rights of felons to vote, as well as touching on major cultural events such as WWII, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Challenger Disaster, and Obama’s Inaugural Presidential Run. As such, much like the birds – the ‘accidental’s’ that lose their way = so too does this story.

Which is a shame, because it’s clear that Gwin can write, and there was a lot of good here. It’s an emotionally charged novel, perhaps bleaker than I was expecting, but also often moving and sincere.

I didn’t dislike The Accidental’s, it just didn’t quite work for me, but it may well work for you.

Read a sample

++++++

Available from HarperCollins US

Or from your preferred retailer via Indiebound I Book Depository

Review: Snake Island by Ben Hobson

 

Title: Snake Island

Author: Ben Hobson

Published: August 5th 2019, Allen & Unwin

Status: Read August 2019, courtesy Allen & Unwin

++++++

 

My Thoughts:

Snake Island by Ben Hobson is powerful tale of patrimony, regret, vengeance, and tragedy.

For two years Vernon Moore, and his wife, have refused to acknowledge their son, Caleb, who is serving time in a nearby minimum security prison, firm in their belief that he should serve his sentence for a vicious domestic assault without clemency. Yet when Vernon learns that his son is being victimised by a local thug, Brendan Cahill, given free rein to regularly bash Caleb by a corrupt prison warden, he realises his error and is determined to put an end to the attacks. Vernon knows that appealing to the local police for help would be futile, the Cahills’s pay Sargeant Sharon Wornkin well to ignore their transgressions, which includes a large scale operation growing and selling marijuana, but he hopes that an appeal to Cahill patriarch Ernie, one father to another, will save his boy. Instead, Moore unwittingly ignites a feud that threatens to destroy them all.

Unfolding primarily from the perspectives of Vernon, Sharon, and the youngest Cahill son, Sidney, I was riveted by this low key, gritty rural thriller as events spiralled out of control.

“A cornered rat used what teeth it had.”

The characters, and their relationships, are realistically crafted with a skilful complexity. Few are likeable, all are deeply flawed, but none (well almost) are entirely irredeemable. I had sympathy for Vernon and Sidney, despite the mistakes they made, but I had very little for Sharon, whose lack of integrity I found difficult to forgive.

“You keep giving up parts of yourself, you end up as far down the track as it’ll take you.”

Hobson explores several themes in Snake Island. I thought one of the most important was the notion of loyalty, to whom it may be owed, and where it’s limit may lie, and each of the characters wrestle with these questions. Another is the legacy of violence, whether from the experience of domestic abuse or war, and how it affects who someone becomes, as a father, as a son, as a wife, as a person. Also thoughtfully examined are themes of family, justice, forgiveness, and sacrifice.

“Vernon looked at his son. Understood deeply now what he had given up. Knew, too, he wasn’t willing to give up anymore.”

A vivid and thought provoking novel, I was gripped by Snake Island from the first line, to the last word.

++++++

Available from Allen & Unwin

Or your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

 

The It’s Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at BookDate

I’m also linking to The Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer

And the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

Life…

It’s been a week of petty frustrations.

The most infuriating – for the fourth time in 3 years the heating element in my oven died mid meal. This time at least I could use the grill to finish dinner off, though it took almost two hours to do it, but it will take a few days until I can get the oven repaired. It’s a pain because I’ve already partially prepped a couple of meals for this week that require the oven, and at least one won’t keep.

The rest of the issues were mostly resolved, but managed to put a crimp in my plans for the week.

 

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What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

Careful What You Wish For by Hallie Ephron

State of Fear by Tim Ayliffe

Snake Island by Ben Hobson

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New Posts

Review: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Review: Careful What You Wish For by Hallie Ephron

Review: State of Fear by Tim Ayliffe

Six Degrees of Separation– The Elegance of the Hedgehog to The Desert Midwife

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What I’m Reading This Week

In the fall of 1957, Olivia McAlister is living in Opelika, Mississippi, caring for her two girls, June and Grace, and her husband, Holly. She dreams of living a much larger life–seeing the world and returning to her wartime job at a landing boat factory in New Orleans. As she watches over the birds in her yard, Olivia feels like an “accidental”—a migratory bird blown off course.

When Olivia becomes pregnant again, she makes a fateful decision, compelling Grace, June, and Holly to cope in different ways. While their father digs up the backyard to build a bomb shelter, desperate to protect his family, Olivia’s spinster sister tries to take them all under her wing. But the impact of Olivia’s decision reverberates throughout Grace’s and June’s lives. Grace, caught up in an unconventional love affair, becomes one of the “girls who went away” to have a baby in secret. June, guilt-ridden for her part in exposing Grace’s pregnancy, eventually makes an unhappy marriage. Meanwhile Ed Mae Johnson, an African-American care worker in a New Orleans orphanage, is drastically impacted by Grace’s choices.

As the years go by, their lives intersect in ways that reflect the unpredictable nature of bird flight that lands in accidental locations—and the consolations of imperfect return.

++++++

 

Nadia gets the 7.30 train every morning without fail. Well, except if she oversleeps or wakes up at her friend Emma’s after too much wine.

Daniel really does get the 7.30 train every morning, which is easy because he hasn’t been able to sleep properly since his dad died.

One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper:

To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime?

So begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word.

++++++

 

Have you ever wanted to solve a murder? Gather the clues the police overlooked? Put together the pieces? Identify the suspect?

Journalist Billy Jensen spent fifteen years investigating unsolved murders, fighting for the families of victims. Every story he wrote had one thing in common―they didn’t have an ending. The killer was still out there.

But after the sudden death of a friend, crime writer and author of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Michelle McNamara, Billy became fed up. Following a dark night, he came up with a plan. A plan to investigate past the point when the cops had given up. A plan to solve the murders himself.

You’ll ride shotgun as Billy identifies the Halloween Mask Murderer, finds a missing girl in the California Redwoods, and investigates the only other murder in New York City on 9/11. You’ll hear intimate details of the hunts for two of the most terrifying serial killers in history: his friend Michelle McNamara’s pursuit of the Golden State Killer and his own quest to find the murderer of the Allenstown Four. And Billy gives you the tools―and the rules―to help solve murders yourself.

Gripping, complex, unforgettable, Chase Darkness with Me is an examination of the evil forces that walk among us, illustrating a novel way to catch those killers, and a true-crime narrative unlike any you’ve read before.

++++++

 

A scandalous secret. A deadly bushfire. An agonizing choice.

Australia 1948. As a young woman single-handedly running Amiens, a sizeable sheep station in New South Wales, Kate Dowd is expected to fail. In fact the local graziers are doing their best to ensure she does.

However Kate cannot risk losing Amiens, or give in to her estranged husband Jack’s demands to sell. Because the farm is the only protection she can offer her half-sister Pearl, as the Aborigines Welfare Board calls for her forced adoption.

Ostracised by the local community for even acknowledging Pearl, Kate cannot risk another scandal. Which means turning her back on her wartime lover, Luca Canali . . .

Then Jack drops a bombshell. He wants a divorce. He’ll protect what’s left of Kate’s reputation, and keep Luca out of it – but at an extortionate price. Soon Kate is putting out fires on all fronts to save her farm, keep her family together and protect the man she loves. Until a catastrophic real fire threatens everything . .

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Thanks for stopping by!

Six Degrees of Separation: The Elegance of the Hedgehog to The Desert Midwife

 

Hosted by Kate at Books Are My favourite and Best, the Six Degrees of Separation asks you to start at the same place as other readers, add six books, and see where you end up!

My last post for Six Degrees of Separation ended with The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbers, translated from the French by Alison Anderson, so that’s the book that I start my chain with this month.

When it comes to translated fiction, most of what I read tends to be Scandi or Nordic crime. This includes Arnaldur Indriðason’s series featuring Inspector Erlendur, the first of which is Reykjavik Nights, translated from Icelandic by Victoria Cribb.

Iceland is the country Tory Bilski returns to every summer for a decade in her memoir, Wild Horses under the Summer Sun. Tory developed a yearning in middle age to ride Icelandic horses in their native setting and this engaging nonfiction book details her experiences.

I haven’t read White Horses by Rachel Treasure yet, it’s on my reading list for later this month, but the link is there in the title. Set in Western Australia, it’s about a motherless young woman, named Drift, raised by her father, an itinerant cattle drover. The blurb mentions that Drift was also cared for by a woman who was a travelling librarian, which immediately bought to mind…

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. This historical fiction novel features the women of The Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky, a depression era federal program which delivered books to schoolhouses and homes in remote areas.

Also taking place in Appalachia during roughly the same period, is The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman. I really enjoyed this heartwarming novel about midwife struggling against poverty and prejudice set against a time of significant social angst.

My final link in the chain shares a protagonist with the same profession, though The Desert Midwife by Fiona McArthur is set almost a century later in outback Australia.

It’s been fun as always, I look forward to seeing what connections you have made.

Review: State of Fear by Tim Ayliffe

 

 

Title: State of Fear

Author: Tim Ayliffe

Published: August 1st 2019, Simon & Schuster

Status: Read July 2019 courtesy Simon & Schuster

++++++

My Thoughts:

State of Fear is an entertaining contemporary thriller from Tim Ayliffe, his second novel featuring journalist, John Bailey.

Moments after Australian the veteran war correspondent concludes his speech for an audience in London’s Chatham House about his experience at the hands of a Islamic terrorist organisation, Bailey witnesses a radicalised jihadi youth slit the throat of an innocent woman in St James Square. Less than 48 hours later, back home in Sydney, Bailey learns that the spectacle was orchestrated in part for his benefit by Mustafa al-Baghdadi, the leader of ‘Islamic Nation’, and the man responsible for Bailey’s kidnap and torture a decade ago in Fallujah. Mustafa, has an axe to grind with John, and he is promising more bloodshed to come.

Capitalising on the current threat the Islamic radicalisation of youth poses to Western society, State of Fear has a frighteningly credible plot. Determined to make Bailey pay for a perceived betrayal, Mustafa has planned attacks that will not only spread terror among the population, but will also affect John personally. He begins by radicalising the Australian born child of Bailey’s former Iraqi driver/fixer to get his attention, and then has his believers target Bailey, and those closest to him.

Moving between the inner suburbs of Sydney and London, the fast pace ensures that tension and interest remain high as Bailey joins in the search for the martyrs, attempts to stop further attacks, and locate Mustafa.

John Bailey is an engaging hero, though he certainly has his flaws, struggling daily with his sobriety and suffering PTSD from the months he spent at the mercy of ‘Islamic Nation’. I really liked the strength of his friendship with his editor, Gerald Summers, and CIA agent, Ronnie Johnson (though the latter says ‘Bubba’ way too much). His romantic relationship with Sharon Dexter is complicated, not the least by her new job as the head of the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team.

State of Fear also includes some interesting social commentary from Bailey’s perspective about the state of modern journalism, the failure of the government to address the alienation of the Australian Islamic community, and the indiscriminate filming and social media sharing of tragedy.

I really enjoyed State of Fear, and I’d happily recommend it to fans of authors such as Michael Robotham and Greg Barron.

++++++

Available from Simon & Schuster

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

Review: Careful What You Wish For by Hallie Ephron

 

Title: Careful What You Wish For

Author: Hallie Ephron

Published: August 6th 2019, William Morrow

Status: Read July 2019 courtesy William Morrow/Edelweiss

++++++

My Thoughts:

 

Emily Harlow is a professional organiser whose new business, Freeze-Frame Clutter Kickers, has just taken on two new clients. One is an elderly widow, Mrs. Murphy, who feels incapable of clearing away her late husband’s things, the second is a young woman, Quinn Newell, looking to purge her pre-marital belongings. At first glance, neither job seems complicated…until the body of Quinn’s husband is discovered in the storage locker that once belonged to Mr. Murphy, and Emily’s tidy life begins to unravel.

The irony inherent in Emily being a professional organiser, as her husband, Frank, hoards piles of useless ‘treasures’ in their basement works well as a hook into this well paced, entertaining tale of suspense.

It’s evident from Emily’s first meeting with Quinn which direction the story will take (there really isn’t anything at all subtle about their interaction), however the plot isn’t entirely predictable. Emily finds herself the victim of more than one deception, placing her at the center of a complicated web of greed and betrayal. I thought the plot worked well overall, and it provided enough moments of tension and surprise to keep me interested.

I found the character development to be somewhat lacking though. As the heroine, Emily is rather bland, and the motive for her husband’s behaviour is weak. Additionally, Quinn lacks subtlety as the villainess, and at least one minor character proves to be entirely superfluous.

Careful What You Wish For is a *neat domestic thriller from Hallie Ephron.

*see what I did there 😉

 

Read a Sample

++++++

Available from William Morrow

Or your preferred retailer Indiebound I Book Depository

Review: Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

 

Title: Sorcery of Thorns

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Published: June 4th 2019, Margaret K. Elderly Books

Status: Read July 2019

++++++

My Thoughts:

“Ink and parchment flowed through her veins. The magic of the Great Libraries lived in her very bones. They were a part of her, and she a part of them.”

Raised in the Great Library of Summershall, foundling Elisabeth Scrivener has grown up with no other desire than to become a Warden in service to the Collegium, to wield an iron sword, and protect the kingdom from the powerful grimoires that line the shelves of the six Great Library’s of Austemeer.

“For these were not ordinary books the libraries kept. They were knowledge, given life. Wisdom, given voice. They sang when starlight streamed through the library’s windows. They felt pain and suffered heartbreak. Sometimes they were sinister, grotesque—but so was the world outside. And that made the world no less worth fighting for, because wherever there was darkness, there was also so much light.”

But Elisabeth’s dream is shattered when she is accused of a deadly act of sabotage that results in the death of her mentor, the Summershall Director. Ordered to stand trial in the Capital, she is escorted by Nathaniel Thorn, a young Magister with a fearsome reputation, and his demon servant, Silas. Raised to believe the worst of sorcery, and those who wield it, Elisabeth doesn’t expect to even survive the journey, but she will face a far greater danger at her destination, where the real saboteur waits.

“She saw no way out of the trap he had built for her. Escape wasn’t an option. If she attempted to run, he would know that she suspected him, and the game would come to an end. She would lose any chance she had left to expose him, however small.”

Sorcery of Thorns is an enchanting young adult fantasy novel offering adventure, suspense, humour, and romance.

I thought Rogerson did a great job of character development.

Elisabeth quickly sheds the innocence of her sheltered background, but not her idealism. She proves to be intelligent, resourceful and courageous, and is determined to end the threat to Austemeer, no matter the cost to herself.

Nathaniel is a bit of a tortured hero, with a tragic backstory. I particularly enjoyed his sense of humour.

The romance between Elisabeth and Nathaniel is not too rushed, and I found it sweet.

Silas, with his impeccable manners and yellow eyes, almost steals the show.

I loved the world building, the settings are easily imagined, from the home of Nathaniel to the halls, and secret passages, of the Great Library. And what reader can resist the idea of a library where books grumble, and sigh, and sing, and whisper? A book provoked, becomes a Malefict, a terrifying monster that has the potential to maim and kill. Iron and salt are weapons that keep them bound.

“Knowledge always has the potential to be dangerous. It is a more powerful weapon than any sword or spell.”

I was enthralled by the Sorcery of Thorns, though near 500 pages long, I found it a quick read. Charming, exciting and entertaining, the novel is written as a stand alone, but I’d love to return to this world.

Read an Excerpt

++++++

Available from Simon & Schuster AU

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

 

The It’s Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at BookDate

I’m also linking to The Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer

And the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

Life…

It’s been a rough week health wise, so I accomplished very little.

I have done a little blog housekeeping, you might have noticed I changed the default font, and tidied up the sidebar (I was sad to realise how many blogs listed on my blog roll have been abandoned). I still need to do a bit more work on my pages. I’d been considering a more drastic change, but this is who I have been for the last nine years.

It’s the last Monday of the month, so time to check in with my Challenge progress

Australian Women Writer’s Challenge: 34/20

2019 Aussie Author Challenge: 8/12

 

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What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

 

Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson

The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

 

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New Posts

 

Review: The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle by Sophie Green ★★★★

Review: Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson ★★★★1/2

Review: The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein ★★★1/2

Stuff on Sunday: BookCollectorz for Book Collectors

 

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What I’m Reading This Week

The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan– which won last weeks poll by a fraction

++++++

Emily Harlow is a professional organizer who helps people declutter their lives; she’s married to man who can’t drive past a yard sale without stopping. He’s filled their basement, attic, and garage with his finds.
Like other professionals who make a living decluttering peoples’ lives, Emily has devised a set of ironclad rules. When working with couples, she makes clear that the client is only allowed to declutter his or her own stuff. That stipulation has kept Emily’s own marriage together these past few years. She’d love nothing better than to toss out all her husband’s crap. He says he’s a collector. Emily knows better—he’s a hoarder. The larger his “collection” becomes, the deeper the distance grows between Emily and the man she married.
Luckily, Emily’s got two new clients to distract herself: an elderly widow whose husband left behind a storage unit she didn’t know existed, and a young wife whose husband won’t allow her stuff into their house. Emily’s initial meeting with the young wife takes a detour when, after too much wine, the women end up fantasizing about how much more pleasant life would be without their collecting spouses.
But the next day Emily finds herself in a mess that might be too big for her to clean up. Careful what you wish for, the old adage says . . . now Emily might lose her freedom, her marriage . . . and possibly her life.

++++++

 

John Bailey has a history of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The veteran war reporter has been kidnapped and tortured – twice. Finally he’s living something that resembles a normal life. But all that changes when a terrorist murders a woman in front of Bailey in London. The mastermind behind the attack is Mustafa al-Baghdadi – No.1 on the FBI’s most wanted list – and the man who tortured Bailey in Fallujah a decade ago.Mustafa has a deadly axe to grind with Bailey. He taunts Bailey with threats of more attacks in other cities, closer to home.
Back in Sydney the teenage son of Bailey’s old driver from Iraq is missing, and the people who matter most to Bailey have become targets. Bailey enlists the help of the only man he knows he can trust – ruthless CIA veteran Ronnie Johnson, supposedly retired – in a race against time to take down the world’s most deadly terrorist, once and for all.

++++++

 

Vernon and Penelope Moore never want to see their son Caleb again. Not after he hit his wife and ended up in gaol. A lifetime of careful parental love wiped out in a moment.
But when retired teacher Vernon hears that Caleb is being regularly visited and savagely bashed by a local criminal as the police stand by, he knows he has to act. What has his life been as a father if he turns his back on his son in his hour of desperate need? He realises with shame that he has failed Caleb. But no longer.
The father of the man bashing Caleb is head of a violent crime family. The town lives in fear of him but Vernon is determined to fix things in a civilised way, father to father. If he shows respect, he reasons, it will be reciprocated. But how wrong he is. And what hell has he brought down on his family?
Reading like a morality tale Western but in a starkly beautiful Australian setting, Snake Island is a propulsive literary thriller written with great clarity and power. It will take you to the edge and keep you there long after the final page is turned.

 

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Thanks for stopping by!

Stuff on Sunday: BookCollectorz for Book Collectors

 

I probably tried close to, if not more than, a dozen book catalogue software/app options in my first few years as a book blogger. At the time, I was specifically in need of a catalogue which I could access offline via an app (because mobile internet access was prohibitively expensive and public wifi wasn’t a thing) and that could also handle a large database. It was a tedious process, none of the PC software I trialed was particularly useful, (though they would allow me to print a txt document which at one time I did on a dozen or more pages, and keep in my bag), and all of the apps eventually crashed after the database reached a listing of about 1500, sometimes far less. I gave up eventually.

 

 

Then I finally stumbled upon BookCollectorz, one of a suite of cataloguing apps developed in The Netherlands. They had just released a companion app for their desktop software and I decided it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. They offered a free trial, and because I could populate the database with a CVS file, I could import a file from my Goodreads account, and immediately test the limits of the app database. I was thrilled to find it worked, and within days I’d bought it all (At the time, the desktop software was required to populate the app database, though that’s no longer the case). I’ll admit that It took a few months to build and customise the catalogue. Initially I’d opted to add not only all the books & ebooks I owned, but also those I had read, and wanted to read. Eventually however I decided to use it just to track ownership of my my own collection, and my wishlist. Books I have read (that I don’t own) are recorded on Goodreads.

 

These days I actually use the app (CLZ Books) almost exclusively on my iPad, though I have Book Collector (the software) installed on my desktop, which offers several additional features that aren’t available via the app. I regularly sync the catalogue across my various devices, which includes my iPhone, so I always have access to it, online or off. If you don’t have the room on your device to install the catalogue, Collectorz also offers a cloud based only option, Book Connect. I have all three because I purchased BookCollectorz when it was a single product, and as such was ‘grandfathered’ in to the newer individual subscription model. At the moment this means I only need to pay for the annual Book Collector service plan.

 

 

Adding a new book to the catalogue is generally a fairly simple process.

You can opt to ‘Add by Searching Online’ which allows you to search the database by a manually entered ISBN, or by using your devices camera (or a handheld scanner peripheral for a desktop) to scan and capture the ISBN via the barcode, or by Author/Title. You then select the book, and add it either to your collection, or your wishlist.

If the book is not found in the database, you can ‘Add Manually’, entering the details to a blank form to create an entry. I run across this occasionally, particularly with very early ARC’s, however the good news is that the information is submitted to the central database, so if any user of the software has created an entry, it will automatically be found for the next user.

 

 

Once you’ve added a book to your catalogue, you can then edit it. Many of the book details will already be filled in, provided by the online database, but you can modify every field, to change, or to complete the information. However, the main reason to edit your book entries, is to add information that is specific, or important to you.

My setup is pretty simple, along with the basic information (page count, series, blurb, genre etc) I record the physical location of the book (eg. Shelf, Kindle, iPad etc), and the source I obtained it from (eg. Netgalley, publisher, gift, Book Depository etc). However there are plenty of other generated fields you can populate, and you have the option to create your own.

 

 

Your catalogue is searchable by author or title. You can also sort by any field, including, but not limited to series, genre, publisher, format and location.

Once my catalogue was established, I found it to be a simple thing to keep it updated. I try to add books as soon as I get them, or at least try not to let them stack up. I have a routine where I add books (in whatever format) to my goodreads shelf, then Collectorz, and then for ARC’s to the review schedule I list on my blog, and then to my calendar.

I really like Book Collectorz (and just to be clear this not a sponsored post), and when I asked I don’t hesitate to recommend it. It’s main benefit for me (as an admitted book hoarder) is to keep track of my book collection (which numbers around 7000), I can pull up the details and know if I have a print or ebook version, and where to find it. Being able to access the catalogue offline on my iPhone also means I avoid accidentally buying duplicates when out shopping. My parents and kids also have access to my Book Connect account, and use it as a reference…there is no point in them buying a book I already own which they can borrow, and vice versa, and I can even easily make a note that the book is on loan, and who to, when I eagerly press great reads on friends. Essentially I am my own happy librarian.

If you are interested in Book Collectorz, it’s available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. I strongly suggest you browse the website to learn more, and take advantage of the free trial, though if you have a question, I’m happy to try and answer if for you.

Do you use Book Collectorz or another cataloguing software or method? Feel free to recommend your favourite system in the comments.

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