Astrological Influences on the Occurrence of Mental Disorders: Astrology of Childhood and Karmic Programs by Sanja Milic – 4/5 Stars

This book was a fascinating insight into past and present astrology through the symbolism of the planets and how they relate to such things as karma, forgiveness, and valuing what we have instead of seeking it elsewhere. Not everything may relate to you, but it gives you a framework through which you can take your own journey towards healing, and I liked this.

My only criticism was that some of the terms were unfamiliar to me, not being acquainted with Indian astrology, or modern psychology, and so it felt like the author took some knowledge for granted from the reader. In a sense, although this book was useful for the beginner, more experienced readers with a cross-discipline interest may also benefit.

Nevertheless, I did feel I got what I wanted from the book, and more, and I’d be interested in reading more from this author.

The book on Goodreads

(Links to retailers are on Goodreads)


Goddess by David Wind – 4/5 Stars

Goddess by David Wind - Front Cover

Goddess by David Wind is a sci-fi mystery/thriller – not necessarily your usual first contact or military sci-fi fare. There is the Guild tasked with finding planets suitable for exploration, and when First-In Scout Roke finds one suitable, Anadi, in a vein that looks at first similar to the Alien film franchise, he thinks he’s onto a winner.

Yet, you’re not reading an Alien film adaptation and it soon becomes clear there is plenty of interesting stuff happening anyway: strange rocks that Roke touches that he relates to dreams, fantasies, he has about this creature that is sometimes in the guise of a beautiful woman, and imaginative creatures that can give you the chills. Both have Roke’s senses on alert.

If you’re familiar with some of the themes author David Wind writes about you’ll notice he’s included good powers enriched by ancient earth tradition, and bad powers in new and unsuspecting guises. He’s delivering a future Earth in a galaxy where the dangers are far away and yet curiously close to home.

The enemy was introduced to early on, and what helps keep it interesting is that it still feels like we don’t really know who she is and what she’s capable of, and how Roke is going to use his psi abilities and ancient teachings to block the powers that have rendered his DNA compatible with hers, thus forcing them both to engage in enjoyable, yet compulsive sex, for the purpose of procreation. It’s addictive to Roke who must discover how to break free, and how he’s going to protect the human race from the same when the Guild decides to investigate.

I must say Goddess was fast-paced with much to keep reader interest. There weren’t too many sex scenes; they showed Roke’s struggle for his own mind and his motivations. I was intrigued where the story was going and how the new race would unlock the secrets of the universe.

Purchase Goddess by David Wind


You Are Not Broken by Rachael Gilliver – 5/5 Stars

You Are Not Broken by Rachael Gilliver - Front Cover

You Are Not Broken (YANB) by author Rachael Gilliver is a statement to get you questioning the mistaken notion that circulates in your mind, for unexplained reasons, that you are broken. The author sets us off addressing the fact that we’re not meant to be the exact same as everyone else, whatever our mind tells us or whatever other people tell us.

YANB continues to be a relatable book, after its introductory chapters, about how people with mental health difficulties or diagnoses can confront and then rise above what holds them back, be this judgement, others’ expectations, or the past, using words to empower the reader into thinking about what’s possible. Sometimes exercises are given to challenge us to think differently, sometimes it’s that we just could be told that something else is possible, like YANB’s affirmation in prose, to feel better about ourselves.

I appreciated learning about the author’s own experience with mental health, which shows us she has been there and done that and has learnt lessons you, the reader, could be facing in your own life. The experience added richness and made it more relatable. I liked the ‘Not my monkeys, not my circus’ phrase the best!

You will finish reading feeling a few things: that you need to unburden yourself from more things, reassess who has a hold on you in life, go away feeling it’s confirmed you got life covered for now, or simply that the book just gave you a lift you needed at that time.

Purchase You Are Not Broken

As Good As It Gets by Romesh Ranganathan – 5/5 Stars

As Good As It Gets by Romesh Ranganathan - Front CoverAs Good As It Gets by comedian Romesh Ranganathan is a candid background to his life, perspectives, and upbringing in the modern world before and during the pandemic. The number one thing I’d assume readers would be hoping for is that the book is funny, and it is! It doesn’t try too hard, and the prose isn’t too artificial; it fits with Romesh’s style as self-deprecating and with a fear of incompetence that I’m half-ashamed to say that we fans find amusing.

Having not read Romesh’s first book, I found the chapters that delve into his past with his mum, and then how his life changed once he became a comedian, to be refreshing and enriching. The chapter about holidays I found especially humorous. There are indeed valuable life lessons here about expectations on becoming a parent, handling middle age, tackling the modern world, and keeping life balanced with one’s partner/wife.


Recursion by Blake Crouch – 5/5 Stars

Recursion by Blake Crouch - Front Cover

I found Recursion at my library’s audiobook website. I thought the premise was interesting and that I’d give it a try. I listened to about half of it as an audiobook and I must say I loved Barry’s deep voice. Barry is a character in the book who lost his daughter, and separated from his wife. He works as an NYC cop, sometimes investigating ‘False Memory Syndrome’ (FMS). FMS started to be portrayed as something on the sidelines in the story but which Barry is soon forced to investigate head on. Helena is the other main character who came across as someone dedicated to scientific research, helping to build a chair (interesting …) to help her mum’s Alzheimers, yet she’s perhaps someone so buried in her work she doesn’t know what’s to come, and neither does the reader.

It was intriguing having both storylines side by side, and it was difficult deciding between them both. Sometimes I wanted Barry’s to continue and sometimes Helena’s, and so it was with minor criticism that the point of view switched too often.

I don’t want to say too much about what you can expect from Recursion since that will ruin it, but you’re looking at reading a story that is more than you first make it out to be – it’s more than something about to be investigated. As far as my 2022 reads go, it must be up there with my favourites for the impact it had on me and the way it gets your mind working in new ways.

Author Website




Explaining Humans by Dr Camilla Pang – 3/5 Stars

Explaining Humans by Dr Camilla Pang - Front Cover

Explaining Humans draws parallels between the author’s conditions/diagnoses, such as autism and ADHD, and the author’s interest in science, in order to devise coping strategies for the real world, including better thinking patterns where relationships are concerned at the micro and macro level. Sometimes it was like reading a sociology or philosophy book, though I found the content to be interesting, relevant, and individualistic, which I liked.

I’d often think ‘Oh, that’s interesting’, ‘just like me or someone I know’, or something similar. One of the best parts, I felt, was the author’s sense of humour hanging onto the end of sentences. Explaining Humans had been what I was looking for where autism was concerned, and I took great pleasure reading the author’s past experiences and then growth beyond these.

I struggled to understand many of the science-based strategies and how they could be made relevant. In this way, the book was less helpful than I had hoped. It was something that I had fun reading in the present, with curiosity, but it’s not something that will stick with me beyond that.

If you’re looking for an autism/ADHD book, or a ‘lighter’ read for science enthusiasts, you can’t go wrong giving Explaining Humans a try. It may inspire you in different ways.

Author Website

Early Riser by Jasper Fforde – 5/5 Stars



Note: spellings of characters and/or objects may be incorrect because audiobook was read.

Early Riser is a story that can trap your heart, especially if you listened to the audiobook as I did. It’s about new winter consul Charlie Worthing and his growing awareness of the political and survival realities of the winter, particularly Sector 12, in an alternative future Wales that read like a dystopian science fiction novel.

It’s not easy to pinpoint a single element that makes it so special. I loved the dialogue, accents, and narration that brought the personalities to life. Others’ judgemental view of Charlie Worthing was extremely humorous as he’s seen as a schoolboy in a grown-up job. What comes to my mind are his memories of him biting off someone’s ear who criticised his uneven face. The plot was fascinating, about dreams that drive people crazy in Sector 12 at a time when the ‘campaign for real sleep’ are seen, officially, as people whose dreaming has caused them to lose their mind in a world where the product Morphonox is used to suppress dreams to aid winter hibernation and stop ‘nightwalkers’.

There is a lot to take in, and the first several chapters may have your mind reeling with all the new terms and characters before you step into the story properly, which starts with the death of Logan who Charlie is blamed for because he was a novice and didn’t know what he was doing. The plot speaks for much of the science fiction terms. Campaign for real sleep is a political faction, dreamers are outcasts ‘hooked’ on the thought of dreaming to experience a better reality than the harsh winter, and nightwalkers have presumably lost their identities and roam about hoping to indulge in cannibalism. Hibertech is a suspicious corporation that redeploys these nightwalkers into employment, driving golf carts it seems.

When Charlie starts having his own dreams he knows he’s in trouble. Early Riser is one of my favourite science fiction stories of all time. It has streaks of originality in a fascinating and humorous plot where you can’t help but love the characters and the world. Extremely recommended!

Author Website

Early Riser on Goodreads



Sleepwalkers by Felix Fife – 4/5 Stars


Sleepwalkers by Felix Fife - Front Cover

Sleepwalkers by Felix Fife is a strongly relatable book, using masks to describe the way people in our world interact, motivated by deals, the latest technologies, and algorithms, while missing out on all the real right beside them, ignoring proper meals just to get ahead in the game without realising the world may be crumbling around them. Masks themselves were aptly used as an idea in Sleepwalkers: masking behaviour online to deny culpability in real life by engaging in virtual reality. People don’t need to act like their true selves because they can be anyone they want, giving them a façade, distorting perceptions of what’s real.


I became attached to the characters in Sleepwalkers and the rhythm of life in what-isn’t-exactly-an-everyday-bar in a quasi-futuristic setting where visitors come in with masks all the time, only talking about masks, and Kyro the bartender and chef isn’t interested, fighting a one-man cause against the world. Slowly, the worldbuilding, environment, and bigger picture unravels without being overwhelming – an error many debut science fiction novelists make.

I was interested where the author was taking Sleepwalkers. It went in revolutions, from the centre, building greater description and complexity with each new chapter, as if the author was unearthing the story. There was something subtle at play. I knew I wanted something drastic to happen to Kyro’s life, for the sake of reader enjoyment, and I wanted to know, when it did happen, whether this was going to be subtle or terrible.


I was confused about the terraces at first but, eventually, I was able to picture them; more description may have helped. Life’s rhythm is nice in the bar, however, sometimes it was repetitive, with Kyro fending off peer pressure about the masks, cooking a meal with Ayla’s help, experiencing the wolf maskers. I’d have preferred more POV action or a bumpier or faster pace in more scenes.

The dialogue was stiff, monotone. It worked for Kyro who was just doing his job and didn’t care any more about what others thought, but maybe didn’t work as well for his dialogue with everyone else. In long scenes, I was almost praying for a scene break.


Sleepwalkers had an intriguing premise, and was more than just an action-oriented page turner. From the blurb and the beginning more than just a sci-fi is promised. Did it deliver? Situations escalated. There were setbacks, and character growth. Worldbuilding expanded during the story’s course. The beginning captures reader interest, and it improves from there. What Sleepwalkers did deliver was a low-profile environment, a world in miniature, a bar that was a window into the world and its circumstances and struggles. And it delivered a rigid character, Kyro, who had to learn loosen up. It didn’t build momentum, and there wasn’t great synergy between the characters’ dialogue or sub characters. There was an innocent love interest going on between Kyro and his new chef Ayla, and this was interesting because it involved maskless Kyro and tested courage that we’d have expected him to already possess.

Sleepwalkers had a careful writing style, which was relatable and gave grounds for building the story and characters. But … read the last chapter and you’ll see immediately that author Felix Fife can do even better!

Sleepwalkers on Amazon US


Star Wars Vol.3 The Last Command by Timothy Zahn – 5/5 Stars

Star Wars Vol.3 The Last Command by Timothy Zahn - Front Cover

This is the series following the original three Star Wars movies, memorable as the series in it with turned-to-the-dark-side jedi master Joruus C’baoth, a jedi master described in the series as ‘insane’. C’baoth has his own plans for Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa Solo, and Mara Jade. The latter is still being spoken to by the deceased Emperor’s voice.

Meanwhile, some characters are still dealing with the aftermath of the Empire’s fall: spies, and the allegiance of the smugglers who could be vital in turning the war to New Republic (NR) or Grand Admiral Thrawn victory.


One of the most interesting parts of The Last Command (TLC) was the journey to discovering the spy in the New Republic who’s leaking information to the imperials, which prompts the reader to ask themselves who it is, or was, and how exactly it or they is/are relaying important information from the palace. The culmination to this arc is based in the midst of a siege on Coruscant that really brought home the stakes of battle with the NR in action. If it lost, it stood to lose what it had worked towards since defeating the Empire, power; and the civilians of Coruscant are threatened with the attack.

The theme of betrayal among the smugglers present in the last book was expanded on, acting as a side story with Talon Karrde, taking the reins of Han Solo (now that he’s a family man). Niles Ferrier from the previous book has returned, and the characters were well drawn out.

The final battle was brought together well, with schemes and counter-schemes. Some events can take you by surprise.


C’baoth: as a villain we see a lot of during the book series, by the end of it I was hoping for more depth to his character. He has a confidence and skill in his abilities that isn’t explained well in the series when compared to the Emperor or Luke Skywalker. He’s a weak character next to the Grand Admiral who, despite not having the force, can dupe C’baoth into most things by playing on his pride and vanity. The Grand Admiral does use force-blocking Ysalamiri creatures, however, the likelihood that they wouldn’t bump into each other when the Grand Admiral just couldn’t use them, when walking on the starships, was farfetched.


TLC is a great end to a great book series that stays true to our expectations of the original trilogy, and you can’t ask for much more than that. It’s exactly what many people feel the films didn’t do.

Author’s page on goodreads
Link to review of previous book