• Shannon Aardsma

Great Books I've Read Recently

This will be a rather short list as I don't really read a lot, but here goes!

"Eve" by Paul Young

I was skeptical about this book at first, but it turned out to have some really interesting insights into Creation in it! It made me think about Creation in ways I haven't before. I would definitely recommend this book, but with some cautionary notes: I don't agree with everything Paul Young writes in this book, though it is very interesting. And I definitely wouldn't recommend this book to someone who isn't already strong in their understanding of the Bible and its teachings regarding God and the Creation story. It also mentions some very heavy topics, so it's not a book for children.

The "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" trilogy by Laini Taylor

Again, I was skeptical when I started reading the first book. One thing that made me almost put it down was the names: it's a fantasy book, and all of the names seemed to be either made up or variations of regular names. I don't know why this turned me off (I love unusual names), but I think I just expected it to be cliche in every area. It turned out that the names weren't all unusual, and the names that were had reasons behind them. I ended up loving the series! Not only did it keep me hooked and interested, but it also had things that I could learn from it! Such as how to write good suspense, and that you don't have to "follow the rules" to have a good book that sells. Suspense is such a great way to keep readers reading, but I never do it well. I may end a chapter in suspense, but the answer can generally be found in the next chapter. Not so with Laini Taylor's books. She would keep the reader guessing for chapters and chapters! It was so annoying, but also a great technique and well done! And as for not following the rules, I'm thinking of one example in particular. The series was written in third-person past...except for one chapter. With no warning, Laini switched to first-person present for one single chapter and then switched back to third-person past. This "wrong" way of writing made that one very important chapter stand out. It drew the reader in even more and made the suspense that much more...suspenseful. It was a brave and effective tactic! Another thing she wrote effectively was character deaths. Every death served a purpose (and made me cry).

I don't think I can express just how much I loved this series. It had me laughing, it had me in tears, it had me itching to read the next chapter. As I only own the first book, the wait between finishing a book and getting the next one at the library was torture! I would definitely recommend it if you like adventure fantasy.

And those are the best books I've read recently! As I said, I don't read much, and I've been reading even less for the past few months as I focus on my own book; but maybe come the new year I'll do one of these posts every month (unless I don't read enough, which is possible). In any case, this is the first of the "writer-help" posts. What did you think?

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