I’ve been on a reading streak this year, and I’d love to share some of my favorites with you. Since I’m a woman who writes sci-fi, I thought it’d be cool to read more science fiction written by women. Here’s my top book reviews so far:

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain (5 stars): I really enjoyed this time travel family drama. The twist at the end of part one was unexpected and took the story in an emotionally interesting direction. As a mother myself, I found the main character and her struggles extremely relatable. I felt for her and wondered what I would do in her unique situation. There was another little twist that helped wrapped the story up, and the ending brought it all full circle. It was well-planned, emotional, and used the time travel in a way that felt authentic. I’d consider this “sci-fi light” and more on the drama side, so suitable for a wide audience.

The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon (3 stars): The Speed of Dark is an interesting character study of a man who has autism in the near future when the technology exists to rid the next generation of the disorder. While the pace of the story is a little slow at first, I really enjoyed getting to know Lou and how he thinks. I really cared for Lou, and wanted to see him get the girl and rise above his jerk boss. Spoilers: When Lou decides to take the experimental treatment at the end, I was gripped with anxiety. Would it work? I was near tears when his friend Tom came to see him in an infantile state of mind. Did Lou lose his genius? The actual ending was disappointing for me, not because it was bad, but because I wanted more. Moon built the story so methodically, and then quickly recapped what happened to Lou in one paragraph! I wanted to see him meet Marjory again after the surgery to know intimately how he felt about her now, as I did with other non-events in their relationship. Only then would I know how to feel about the outcome of the treatment. As is, I’m not sure if Lou is better having done it. This book could be 5 stars with a new edition that adds a chapter or two at the end to sit in those important moments with Lou-after.

Time Traders/Galactic Derelict by Andre Norton (3 stars): This time travel story has some really interesting elements. This version reads like two books in one; the first half takes us to the Bronze age and the second half takes us into worlds unknown… I preferred the POV of the first protagonist, but I also enjoyed the twist that bridged the two together.

Next up on my “Women of Sci-fi” list is A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers…

In the general sci-fi category, I went on a John Wyndham kick:

The Crysalids (5 stars): I really enjoyed this one, a grounded sci-fi with some interesting twists about mental telepathy. I was surprised at the end by the actual time/era the story took place in. It reminded me of the Netflix series “Sense 8” except this was written way before that.

The Day of the Triffids (3 stars): Way better than the old movie!

The Secret People (3 stars): An interesting adventure underground that went to places I wasn’t expecting.

Metoer and Other Stories (4 stars): I personally love short science fiction stories. There are some fun set ups in this collection, but they don’t all have well-crafted endings. I love a surprise twist! Still, a quick fun read.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig recently (4 stars): A multi-verse story where the main character attempts suicide and ends up in a library of books, each representing a different version of her life based on different decisions. This was an easy read that made me reflect on my own life, which is something I appreciate. It’s interesting the various butterfly effects that emanate from different decisions, so not every version turns out the way you’d think. The book did a good job of keeping the stakes of the “root plot” going while exploring other realities. Mid-way through, I called how it would end – a little game I like to play while reading. Even though I guessed the ending correctly, I enjoyed the journey to get there.

I also love reading non-fiction because I feel like it makes me a better person. Here are the latest non-fiction books I’ve read:

The Values Factor by John F. Demartini (5 stars): This book is very powerful. I’ve read it multiple times, and will keep coming back to it. In addition to breaking down in simple terms how your life is made up of voids and values, it includes hands-on exercises for determining what you do value, and therefore, what to focus on to create long-lasting happiness. With very simple shifts in perspective, life circumstances can change in profound ways, and this book helps get you there. I would like to re-read this book once per year to help re-evaluate what I value and where I’m at with my goals and dreams since our values are constantly changing. Highly recommended!

Beyond Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness and the Ilusion of Death by Robert Lanza and Bob Berman (5 stars): Wow, this book made me dream of new possibilities as I continue to question and examine the nature of reality. A must read for anyone who wonders what time/space/consciousness really is.

The Simulation Hypothesis by Rizwan Virk (4 stars): Fascinating read the explores the idea that we’re living in a video game simulation. It quickly breaks down the evolution of video games and how they work, and then quickly draws the parallels to life itself. An interesting idea to ponder, opening the door to some spiritual lessons along the way.

Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier… by Peter O. Gray (5 stars): This book is a must read for all curious parents who want to learn the history behind our current school system as well as the history of play, dating back to hunting/gathering days, and its vital role in childhood learning. It explores forms of play and how each teaches children in different ways, as well as alternatives to traditional schooling. I aim to be a trustful parent after this quick, but very informative read.

What should I read next? What’s on your list for 2022? Follow me on Goodreads and/or TikTok for ongoing book reviews.

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