Wednesday, September 5, 2012

May We Suggest...James Patterson

In January, 2010, The New York Times Magazine featured James Patterson on its cover and hailed him as having "transformed book publishing." Time named him "The Man Who Can't Miss," and he is a two-time Children's Choice Book Award "Author of the Year" nominee, a designation decided on by more than 15,000 children and teen readers.

In the past three years, James Patterson has sold more books than any other author (according to Bookscan), and in total, James's books have sold an estimated 260 million copies worldwide. Since 2006, one out of every seventeen hardcover fiction books sold was a Patterson title. He is the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on The New York Times adult and children's bestsellers lists and is the only author to have five new hardcover novels debut at #1 on the list in one year—a record-breaking feat he's accomplished every year since 2005. To date, James Patterson has had nineteen consecutive #1 New York Times bestselling novels, and holds the New York Times record for most Hardcover Fiction bestselling titles by a single author (76 total), which is also a Guinness World Record.

Patterson is a lifelong champion of books and reading. His critically acclaimed Maximum Ride series debuted on the New York Times bestsellers list at #1 and remained there for twelve straight weeks. The series has so far made ninety-four cumulative appearances on The New York Times bestsellers lists, proving that kids of all ages love page turners. He captured the attention of boy readers with Daniel X series, and his third series for readers of all ages debuted in December 2009 with Witch & Wizard, which spent five consecutive weeks atop the New York Times bestsellers list.

Patterson is the creator of the top-selling new detective series of the past dozen years, featuring Alex Cross and including the Hollywood-adapted "Along Came a Spider" and "Kiss the Girls," starring Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman. He is also the creator of the #1 new detective series of the past five years, featuring Lindsay Boxer and the Women's Murder Club, from which the ABC television drama series was adapted. He has authored books behind six films on the Hollywood fast-track, including the upcoming Maximum Ride movie forthcoming from Avi Arad, the producer of X-Men and Spiderman.

He is the author of novels — from The Thomas Berryman Number (1976) to Honeymoon(2005) — that have won awards including the Edgar, the BCA Mystery Guild's Thriller of the Year, the International Thriller of the Year award, and the Reader's Digest Reader's Choice Award. And, he has won a Children's Choice Book Council's Children's Choice Awards "Author of the Year" award (2010). One of Forbes magazine's Celebrity 100, James made a guest appearance on the popular FOX TV show "The Simpsons" in March, 2007.

John Sandford - Fellow genre-crossing novelist, Sandford writes both single titles and series, which feature similarly hard-edged Suspense with strong language and graphically portrayed violence. Serial murder is the crime of choice, as for Patterson, and the stories are fast-paced and bleak, pervaded by a menacing atmosphere. Psychological details of the killer may also be important. Try Broken Prey, a complex and grisly crime story featuring series character Lucas Davenport, or Dark of the Moon, a gritty and intricately plotted case starring Davenport’s laid-back sidekick Flowers, to experience a similarly addictive adrenaline fix.

Lisa Gardner -For additional gritty novels of hard-edged suspense similar to the Women’s Murder Club, readers might turn to Gardner, especially her D. D. Warren series. The Neighbor includes multiple plot lines and alternating points of view that speed the pace in this disturbing story of a young mother and teacher who disappears, leaving her young daughter alone and her husband as prime suspect. A complex plot with a surprise final twist will remind readers of Patterson’s successful formula.

Nicholas Sparks - Readers who enjoy Patterson’s Romance titles might also appreciate novels by Sparks. Both focus on relationships; the stories, romantic but sometimes bittersweet, feature sympathetic characters in heart-tugging and heartwarming tales. Although these poignant stories do not move at the breathless pace of Suspense novels, the copious dialog and compelling story lines keep readers entranced. The Lucky One, an almost magical quest for an unknown woman who a soldier believes saved his life, makes a good match for Patterson’s fairy tale approach, especially like that in Sundays at Tiffany’s.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

May We Suggest...Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith has written more than 60 books. He is best known for his internationally acclaimed No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which rapidly rose to the top of the bestseller lists throughout the world. The series has now been translated into 45 languages and has sold over 20 million copies worldwide. McCall Smith's serial novel, 44 Scotland Street, was published in book form to great acclaim in 2005, followed by Espresso Tales and Love Over Scotland, and then by The World According to Bertie (Fall 2008) and also The Unbearable Lightness of Scones (Fall 2009). In late 2008, the serial novel, Corduroy Mansions, depicting the lives of the inhabitants of a large Pimlico house, began to be published with its hardcover release in 2009. Alexander McCall Smith published a solo novel, La's Orchestra Saves the World, in December 2009.

In addition, McCall Smith's delightful German professor series, Portuguese Irregular Verbs, The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs, and At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances were published in the US in January 2005. He is also the author of several children's books.  Pantheon has published Alexander McCall Smith's collection of African folktales, The Girl Who Married a Lion. McCall Smith is also the author of Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams, a contemporary reworking of a beloved Celtic myth and Heavenly Date and Other Flirtations, a collection of short stories examining the mysteries of dating and courtship.

McCall Smith was born in Zimbabwe.  He was educated there and in Scotland. He became a law professor in Scotland.  It 

was in this role that he first returned to Africa to work in Botswana, where he helped to set up a new law school at the University of Botswana. For many years he was Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh, and has been a visiting professor at a number of other universities elsewhere, including ones in Italy and the United States. He is now a Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Crime Writers' Association's Dagger in the Library Award, the United Kingdom's Author of The Year Award in 2004 and Sweden's Martin Beck Award. In 2007 he was made a CBE for his services to literature in the Queen's New Year's Honor List. He holds honorary doctorates from 10 universities, most recently from Southern Methodist University, Dallas.


Rita Mae Brown offers commentary on human nature that is perceptive without being ponderous. Though her works are sometimes spicier, her quirky, gently humorous characters will remind readers of McCall Smith’s books. She captures the cadences and rhythms of close-knit communities in the stand-alone novel Southern Discomfort, featuring a small community, richly drawn characters, and vivid personal politics

Clyde Edgerton is a master at creating the sort of close-knit communities that characterize McCall Smith's novels. Normal (if quirky) people with normal problems form the heart of Edgerton's books, which study human nature with humor and compassion. Edgerton, like McCall Smith, writes books that are gentle but not spineless, warm but not bland.. Edgerton shares McCall Smith's ear for dialect, though his books are set in the American South, rather than Europe or Africa. Try starting with Lunch at the Piccadilly.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

May We Suggest...Danielle Steel

From an education in New York and Europe to a professional background in public relations and advertising, and teaching, Ms. Danielle Steel moved on quickly to her literary career and has been hard at work writing ever since. She wrote her first book at nineteen. Often, she works on five books at a time — researching one storyline, writing another, and editing the third. Still, she often spends two to three years researching and developing a single project. In the heat of a first draft, it is not uncommon for her to spend eighteen to twenty hours a day glued to her 1946 Olympia manual typewriter.

There are more than 590 million copies of her books in print, and every one of her books is a bestseller. In short, Danielle Steel is the most popular author writing today. She is read by women, men, young people, old people in 47 countries and 28 languages. Ms. Steel’s 84th best-selling novel, Betrayal debuted in hardcover in March 2012. Other 

recent bestsellers include Hotel Vendome, Happy Birthday, 44 Charles Street, Legacy, Family Ties, Big Girl, Southern Lights, Matters of the Heart, One Day at a Time, A Good Woman, Rogue, Honor Thyself, Amazing Grace, Bungalow 2, Sisters, H.R.H., Coming Out, The House, Toxic Bachelors, Miracle, Impossible, Echoes, Second Chance, Ransom, Safe Harbour, Johnny Angel, Dating Game, and Answered Prayers, all of which have leapt to the top of the New York Times bestseller list, the Wall Street Journal list and comparable bestseller lists around the world.

Since 1981, Ms. Steel has been a permanent fixture on the New York Times hardcover and paperback bestseller lists. In 1989, she was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having at least one of her books on the Times bestseller list for 381 consecutive weeks. Twenty-one of Ms. Steel’s novels have been adapted for television. In addition, Ms. Steel is the author of the “Max and Martha” series of books for young readers. She has also written the “Freddie” books, four of them, about real-life situations in children’s lives, like a visit to the doctor and the first night away from home. Ms. Steel has also written nonfiction, His Bright Light, about the life and death of her son Nicholas Traina, released by Delacorte Press in September 1998, which immediately jumped to the New York Times Non-Fiction bestseller list.” She has also written a book of poetry entitled Love: Poems by Danielle Steel.

In 2002, Ms. Steel was decorated by the French government as an “Officier” of the distinguished Order of Arts and Letters, for her lifetime contribution to world culture. She was awarded the second highest rank of the Order.
Ms. Steel also has a passionate interest in emerging contemporary artists. She had an art gallery for several years, and guest curates now for an art gallery in San Francisco. In addition to her writing, Ms. Steel has varied philanthropic interests. She founded and runs two foundations, one named in honor of her late son, The Nick Traina Foundation, which funds organizations involved in mental illness and child abuse. The second was established to assist the homeless. She has won numerous awards for her personal work with mentally ill adolescents and children. Ms. Steel maintains a passionate interest in the welfare and well-being of children, particularly those in jeopardy.

She has raised nine children of her own. And they continue to keep her busy, as she juggles writing and family. Her family is her first priority, despite her many interests. Despite her varied interests and activities, Ms. Steel leads an extremely private family-centered life. She lives in San Francisco and Paris.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

May We Suggest...Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich is a second-generation American. She was born and raised in South River, New Jersey to a machinist and housewife.  Evanovich attended South River High School. She became the first in her family to attend college. When Evanovich had children, she chose to become a housewife like her mother. In her thirties, she began writing novels. For ten years, she attempted to write, finishing three manuscripts 
that she was unable to sell. It was suggested that she try writing romance novels. She wrote two romances and submitted them for publishing. Finally, she received an offer to buy her second romance manuscript for $2,000, which she considered an "astounding sum."

That novel, Hero at Large, was published in 1987 in the Second Chance Love category line under the pseudonym Steffie Hall. The following year she began writing for Bantam Loveswept and for the next five years, she continued to write category romances for L
oveswept. Evanovich also became known for the humor that filled her novels. She believes that "it's very important to take a comic approach. If we can laugh at something, we can face it."

After finishing her twelfth romance, however, Evanovich realized that she was more interested in writing the action sequences in her novels. Evanovich took the next eighteen months to formulate a plan for what she actually wanted to write. She quickly decided that she wanted to write romantic adventure novels. Her new type of writing should contain heroes and heroines, as well as "a sense of family and community." Evanovich decided that her heroine would be a bounty hunter. This occupation provided more freedom for Evanovich as a writer, and the profession is also "romanticised to some extent."

In 1994, her initial romantic adventure, One for the Money, was published to good reviews. This was the first of a light-hearted series of mysteries starring barely competent bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. One for the Money was named a New York Times notable book, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1994 and a USAToday Best Bet.

Evanovich continued to write romantic adventures starring Stephanie Plum. The sixth book in the series, Hot Six, was the first of her novels to reach Number 1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. Her subsequent Plum novels have each debuted at Number 1. The Plum novels have taken many attributes from Evanovich's own life. Evanovich shares many commonalities with her character Stephanie Plum. Both are from New Jersey, both devour Cheetos, both had owned a hamster, and both have shared "similar embarrassing experiences." The character Grandma Mazur is loosely based on Evanovich's "Grandma Fanny" and "Aunt Lena." Evanovich claims the spirited elderly lady is "who I want to be when I grow up."

Shortly before One for the Money was released, Evanovich sold the movie rights to Columbia Tristar for $1 million.. Lions Gate Entertainment released One for the Money on January 27, 2012.

Evanovich lives in New Hampshire and Florida with her husband, Pete, whom she married in 1964. Pete is of Serbian ancestry. Members of Evanovich's family are employed by her company, Evanovich Inc, including her husband, Pete, son Peter, daughter Alexandra and son-in-law P.J. Heller.


LISA LUTZ - Fans who appreciate the wacky characters and the close family ties in Evanovich’s Plum novels should certainly try Lisa Lutz’s series starring the dysfunctional Spellman family, all private investigators. Lutz’s focus is also more on the antics of her quirky characters than the actual mystery in this laugh-out-loud series starring Isabel, who desperately wants to escape her family and live a normal life. Start with The Spellman Files, which introduces the family — from Izzy’s perspective at least.

HARLEY JANE KOZAK - The Wollie Shelley Chick Lit Mysteries may not be as outrageous as Evanovich’s in characterizations or mayhem, but they share similarly smart, sassy, sexy heroines who somehow find themselves in dangerous situations with dead bodies to explain. The six-foot tall Wollie (as in Mary Wollstonecraft) designs greeting cards, and if she could just make a living at that, her life would be perfect. Instead, she makes ends meet as a serial dater and later a dating expert while clearing herself and friends of murder charges.Dating Dead Men is the first in this screwball comedy series, and it introduces a cast that should satisfy fans of Evanovich’s Mystery and Romantic Suspense novels.

NANCY MARTIN - Martin also writes mysteries with sassy heroines. In her current series, Roxy Abruzzo, an architectural salvage expert in Pittsburgh, runs with a group that will remind readers of Stephanie Plum’s eccentric crew. Start with her second mystery, Sticky Fingers, in which she does a little debt collection on the side for her jailed mob boss uncle and refuses a hit job on a former high school classmate — but finds herself accused of the murder anyway. Solving the mystery requires a lot of help from her amusing friends and relatives. Smart dialog, a single mother who wishes she were a better role model for her teenage daughter, and a crew of eccentric sidekicks make this series a good match for Evanovich’s Mysteries.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

May We Suggest ...Terry Pratchett

Sir Terence David John "Terry" Pratchett is an English novelist, known for his frequently comical work in the fantasy genre. Pratchett was born in 1948 in England, the only child of David and Eileen Pratchett. Pratchett described himself as a "non-descript student", and in his Who's Who entry, credits his education to the Beaconsfield Public Library.

His early interests included astronomy, owned a telescope and wanted to be an astronomer, but lacked the necessary mathematical skills.However, this led to an interest in reading British and American science fiction. His early reading included the works of H. G. Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle and "every book you really ought to read" which he now regards as "getting an education".

At age 13, Pratchett published his first short story "The Hades Business" in the school magazine. It was published commercially when he was 15. In 1965, he went to work for the Bucks Free Press where he wrote, amongst other things, several stories for the Children's Circle section under the name “Uncle Jim.” One of these episodic stories contains named characters from The Carpet People.

Pratchett had his first breakthrough in 1971, with the publication of The Carpet People including illustrations by Pratchett himself. The book received strong, if few reviews. The book was followed by the science fiction novels The Dark Side of the Sun, published in 1976, and Strata, published in 1981.

The first Discworld novel The Colour of Magic was published in 1983. After the success of books #1-3, Pratchett gave up working after finishing the fourth Discworld novel, Mort, to focus fully on and make his living through writing. His sales increased quickly and many of his books occupied top places on the best-seller list. Pratchett was the top-selling and highest earning UK author in 1996. His latest Discworld book (#34 in the series), Snuff is the third-fastest-selling novel since records began in the United Kingdom selling 55,000 copies in the first three days. As of August 2010 had sold over 65 million books worldwide in thirty-seven languages.

Pratchett married his wife Lyn in 1968.. Their daughter Rhianna Pratchett, who is also a writer, was born there in 1976. In 1993 the family moved to Salisbury, Wiltshire, where they currently live. He lists his recreations as "writing, walking, computers, life". He describes himself as a humanist and is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association and an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society. Pratchett is well known for his penchant for wearing large, black fedora hats, as seen on the inside back covers of most of his books. His style has been described as "more that of urban cowboy than city gent."

In December 2007, Pratchett publicly announced that he was suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease and, subsequently, made a substantial public donation to the Alzheimer's Research Trust, and filmed a programme chronicling his experiences with the disease for the BBC.

On 31 December 2008 it was announced that Pratchett was to be knighted (as a Knight Bachelor) in the Queen's 2009 New Year Honours. He formally received the accolade at Buckingham Palace on 18 February 2009. Afterwards he said, "You can't ask a fantasy writer not to want a knighthood. You know, for two pins I'd get myself a horse and a sword."


Douglas Adams - Fans who enjoy Pratchett's humor and social satire will probably also enjoy the Science Fiction of Douglas Adams. The Hitchhiker series follows the adventures and exploits of Arthur Dent as he travels through the universe with a variety of unusual companions, human and alien. Like Pratchett, Adams makes creative use of the English language, and his satire spares no sacred cows. Start with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979).

Jasper Fforde Pratchett readers who particularly enjoy the City Watch sub-series will be delighted to discover Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next titles. Beginning with The Eyre Affair (2002) Fforde's heroine Thursday Next works for the Literary Detective unit of Special Operations in an alternative England in the 1980s. The book is filled with word play and literary allusions, and Fforde's heroine would be at home in Sam Vimes' City Watch. Those who are fond of Pratchett's cultural critiques and barbs towards contemporary society will find much to enjoy in Fforde's novel.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

May We Suggest...Diana Gabaldon

Diana Gabaldon is the author of the award-winning, #1 NYT-bestselling OUTLANDER novels. The adventure began in 1991 with the classic OUTLANDER has continued through six more bestselling novels–DRAGONFLY IN AMBER, VOYAGER, DRUMS OF AUTUMN, THE FIERY CROSS, A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES, and AN ECHO IN THE BONE, with nineteen million copies in print worldwide.


Returning to her comic-book roots, she has also written a graphic novel titled THE EXILE. Gabaldon is presently working on a contemporary mystery series, set in Phoenix, and has written Highly Scholarly Introductions (with masses of footnotes) to recent Modern Library editions of Sir Walter Scott’s IVANHOE and Thomas Paine’s COMMON SENSE.

Dr. Gabaldon holds three degrees in science: Zoology, Marine Biology, and Quantitative Behavioral Ecology, plus an honorary degree as Doctor of Humane Letters. She spent a dozen years as a university professor with an expertise in scientific computation before beginning to write fiction. She has written scientific articles and textbooks, worked as a contributing editor on the MacMillan ENCYCLOPEDIA OF COMPUTERS, founded the scientific-computation journal SCIENCE SOFTWARE QUARTERLY, and has written numerous comic-book scripts for Walt Disney.

She and her husband, Douglas Watkins, have three adult children and live mostly in Scottsdale, Arizona.


Jeffery Archer - If you enjoy 'The Scottish prisoner,' you may also enjoy 'Sons of Fortune.' Both are fast-paced and compelling Historical fiction about United States.

Barbara Taylor Bradford - 'The Scottish prisoner' and 'The Ravenscar dynasty' are character-driven and descriptive Historical fiction about Conspiracies.

Anya Seton - Seton wrote several books with similarities to the Outlander novels -- though no one book has everything. Seton has written at least two time-travel novels and several Historical Romances. Each involves stories woven through with historic detail and attention to character in a story-telling style.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

May We Suggest...P.D. James

Phyllis Dorothy James, (born 3 August 1920), commonly known as P. D. James, is an English crime writer and Conservative life peer in the House of Lords, most famous for a series of detective novels starring policeman and poet Adam Dalgliesh.

James was born in Oxford and educated at the British School in Ludlow and Cambridge High School for Girls. James had to leave school at age sixteen to work. James worked in a tax office for three years, and later found a job as an assistant stage manager for a theater group. In 1941, she married Ernest Connor Bantry White, an army doctor, and had two daughters, Claire and Jane. When White returned from World War II, he suffered from illness and James was forced to provide for the whole family until her husband's death in 1964.

James began writing in the mid-1950s. Her first novel, Cover Her Face, featuring the investigator and poet Adam Dalgliesh of New Scotland Yard, named after a teacher at Cambridge High School, was published in 1962. Many of James's mystery novels take place against the backdrop of the UK's bureaucracies, such as the criminal justice system and the health services arenas, in which James had worked for decades.

She is an Anglican and a Lay Patron of the Prayer Book Society. Her 2001 work, Death in Holy Orders, displays her familiarity with the inner workings of church hierarchy. Her later novels are often set in a community closed in some way, such as a publishing house or barristers' chambers, a theological college, an island or a private clinic. The Adam Dalgliesh novel, The Private Patient, was published in August 2008 and Talking About Detective Fiction was published in 2009. She revealed in 2011 that The Private Patient was the final Dalgliesh novel.

James is the author of more than twenty books, most of which have been filmed and broadcast on television in the United States and other countries. She spent thirty years in various departments of the British Civil Service and she has served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC. In 2011 she celebrated her 91st birthday and has published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest. The recipient of many prizes and honors, she was created Baroness James of Holland Park in 1991 and was inducted into the International Crime Writing Hall of Fame in 2008. She lives in London and Oxford.

The Works of P.D. James -

Adam Dalgliesh mysteries
  1. Cover Her Face (1962)
  2. A Mind to Murder (1963)
  3. Unnatural Causes (1967)
  4. Shroud for a Nightingale (1971)
  5. The Black Tower (1975)
  6. Death of an Expert Witness (1977)
  7. A Taste for Death (1986)
  8. Devices and Desires (1989)
  9. Original Sin (1994)
  10. A Certain Justice (1997)
  11. Death in Holy Orders (2001)
  12. The Murder Room (2003)
  13. The Lighthouse (2005)
  14. The Private Patient (2008)
Cordelia Gray mysteriesMiscellaneous novels
  • Innocent Blood (1980)