1. I am looking for a book by Laurell K. Hamilton. I just read the third book in the Anita Blake series and I can’t figure out which one comes next!
The Lunatic Café is the fourth book in the series. I used Novelist to find this, I looked up the author and clicked on the ‘series’ tab and selected the Anita Blake series. The books are listed in order.
2. What have I read recently? Well, I just finished this great book by Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer. I really liked the way it was written, you know, the way she used language. I wouldn't mind something a bit faster paced though.
I would probably ask this person a few more questions about why she liked the book. Prodigal Summer is like a romance, but some of Kingsolver’s other books fall under historical fiction and other themes. The Poisonwood Bible by Kingsolver is a highly rated book on Good Reads and considered a better read than Prodigal Summer, but it is 546 pages, so that may not solve the pacing problem.
From personal experience, I would recommend some Virginia Woolf titles, such as To The Lighthouse. Woolf’s style has beautiful, lyrical writing, and has a faster pace. I’d also suggest Anthill by Edward O. Wilson and Daughters In Law by Joanna Trollope, which is somewhat of a family drama but has strong family themes with a rich writing style and see if some other titles that Novelist pulled up would interest this reader and go from there.
I spent a lot of time looking at books for this one since I can’t really ask more follow up questions here. I used a modge podge of Novelist and Good Reads to get my recommendations. I used Novelist to give me some similar authors and stories. I also tried the appeal mixer tool on Novelist which was extremely helpful. Then I used Good Reads to look up the books to get some good plot information and the general vibe from reviewers to check on the pacing. I would definitely use the appeal mixer tool with this patron to see if there’s anything that sticks out.
3. I like reading books set in different countries. I just read one set in China, could you help me find one set in Japan? No, not modern – historical. I like it when the author describes it so much it feels like I was there!
The Pillow book of the Flower Samurai by Barbara Lazar would be a recommendation, as a well rated historical fiction romance similar to Memoirs of a Geisha. However, not sure if the patron is looking for any romance, suspense, adventure. I found 71 results on Novelist that look like well rated adult historical fiction novels that take place in Japan. The majority of the results appear to be romance, but a variety of time periods from ancient Japan, WWII and more are well represented.
4. I read this great mystery by Elizabeth George called Well-Schooled in Murder and I loved it. Then my dentist said that if I liked mysteries I would probably like John Sandford, but boy was he creepy I couldn't finish it! Do you have any suggestions?
The Man with a Load of Mischief by Martha Grimes & Roseanna by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. These books form their descriptions sound like they’d be more light hearted (so not overly creepy) but still a well-rounded page turning mystery.
I used a combination of Novelist and Good Reads again. Good Reads sometimes has better descriptions of the books than Novelist does.
5. My husband has really gotten into zombies lately. He’s already read The Walking Dead and World War Z, is there anything else you can recommend?
I am Legend by Richard Matheson. A movie was made out of this book and it is a bestseller zombie book like The Walking Dead and World War Z. Another lesser known title would be Blackout, by Mira Grant, which is a similar dystopian thriller.
Novelist provided some results that I was satisfied with in this case. Hopefully this patron will feel the same way.
6. I love books that get turned into movies, especially literary ones. Can you recommend some? Nothing too old, maybe just those from the last 5 years or so.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is one I can think of off the top of my head. It’s a bestselling book with a movie that came out within the last year. However, it’s more or less fanfiction.
Literary is still pretty broad so I’d love to ask for some subgenres that may be preferred. One of the most recent books that have been made into a movie is Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly (2017 movie release). In March another movie is coming out for The Zoo Keeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman.
Other more recent books that are more “literary” may be The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, and Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. It would help if I knew if this patron had a preference with reading more literary classics that have been adapted into movies or literary books that have been published more recently.
I actually turned to google for this one since it’s easy to come up with a quick list of recent and upcoming book-into-movie adaptions. Buzzfeed has a useful article, as well as some other social news websites.
7. I love thrillers but I hate foul language and sex scenes. I want something clean and fast paced.
I just read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton and it’s fairly clean. Mild curse words but they are seldom and no sex, unless you count one particular dinosaur on dinosaur mating scene that gets a three sentence mention. This person sounds like a big fan so I’d want to ask more about which ones they’ve already read so that way I don’t give her a list of all the clean best sellers if this person has read a lot of them. Novelist has a selection of Christian thrillers, which are likely clean so I would ask of any of those sounds of interest. If not, the internet has very reliably recommended Mary Higgins Clark for clean thrillers. She’s very popular so if this patron has read a lot of Clark already then some read-a-likes Novelist recommends. The Good Reads discussion board was the place to go for looking for clean authors, as I was having a hard time with the authors that Novelist recommended. Sex is everywhere in thrillers. I did find Castle Cape by C. L. Withers which has glowing reviews on Good Reads and is from what I understand, very clean but fantastic thriller.
How I find Books!
I use Good Reads and book lists that I find online for the most part. I also watch a lot of reviews/book talks on youtube from various users. If you look up polandbananasbooks on youtube I watch a lot of her videos because she reads a lot of YA (which is my personal cup of tea). She may be a little too energetic for some viewers though…she’s loud! I do enjoy Novelist, although I don’t like that at least on my end I get timed out every once in a while and have to start over.