Reviews


Reviews OF Christina Engela’s works:

The following are reviews of Christina’s books by book reviewers (professional and amateur). (For reader’s comments, refer to the “Fan Mail & Compliments” (or “Hate Mail & Negative Comments“) page. Reviews are arranged by series and title. (For reviews BY Christina Engela, please go to the bottom of this page.)

The Galaxii Series:

“Blachart”

“Demonspawn”

A real page turner

“This Sci-fi thriller brings everything to the table, murder, suspense, action, love. A real page turner by Christina Engela.” – Zenja Collins, Zen Entertainment, 2014.

She slowly builds the tension to a shocking and tense climax

“Christina Engela has a unique and brilliant voice that helps make this story her own as she slowly builds the tension to a shocking and tense climax.” – Mark Woods, author & reviewer.

An enjoyable read that will leave you wanting more.

“Demonspawn is a detailed well-imagined space story, which I found hard to put down, in fact I read the book in just 3 sittings.

Christina Engela has created a believable world of space travel, delivering it in way that seemed to me logical and explained without straying from the main plot.

From the very opening, there is a deliberate psychological vagueness as to what the ‘big bad’ could be. This heightens the mystery giving readers a real urgency and a want to find out, eventually you will.

With that tension steadily building the story follows the somewhat damned crew of the I.S.S. Mordrake; a ship seemingly stranded and damaged beyond repair in the furthest reaches of space. Their captain is found murdered and so it’s up to main character Joe Lofflin to investigate along with a cast full of convincing characters.

Then they discover a derelict ship just floating in space.

This story reminded me of films such as Alien and Event Horizon but Demonspawn could easily stand shoulder to shoulder with them. There were many concepts of the sci-fi genre in this book that were original and put together in a way not seen before anywhere else (this was especially so for the ‘Akx’.)

It’s an enjoyable read that will leave you wanting more.

5 Stars.” – by Lee Hall, UK writer and reviewer, October 3, 2018.

“Dead Beckoning”

The Quantum Series:

“Black Sunrise”

A fun and enjoyable quirky multi-character story that carries an important message…

“Black Sunrise is about a lot of different things and the author has done a great job of linking them all together by way of a story that is not only funny, it’s also strange in a good way and carries a positive message. The diverse array of characters range from a bounty hunter to a talking plant called ‘Fred’ who in some senses stole the show considering this ‘Arborian’ seemed to be more of a secondary character.

Set mostly on the planet of Deanna; this holiday destination see’s the arrival of an alien spaceship helmed by the ‘Ruminarii’ a race of hostile lizard type aliens looking to send a message. Along the way we see the story from many different points of view; including these aliens who (spoiler alert) fail in a sense to send said message.

Cindy Mei Winter; a former government agent is trying to put the past behind her and provides the important message this story carries.

What first appears as a suggested undertone comes center stage in the latter part of the story as Cindy is revealed to be transgender; something that is portrayed in a positive and modern way. In fact there are two transgender characters in this story. This message extends to many of the other characters who are all different in their own way questioning the concept of what an alien really is.

Overall I found this story enjoyable with a positive message that puts the ‘conscience over paycheck’ concept into practice.

There are some parts I found to be genuinely funny while in other moments it was thought provoking.

Seeing as this book is a part of the wider ‘Quantum’ series I will be sure to check out the others.

5 Stars” – by Lee Hall, UK writer and reviewer, May 7, 2019.

“The Time Saving Agency”

Christina Engela Builds Her Sci-fi Universe Fast And Well – 4 stars

“Agents from the Time Saving Agency (TSA) have to guard the ‘Anals’ of History from Time Terrorism. Brad Xyl, a Time Terrorist has escaped from the Limbo Practicale and now it is up to our Agent Scrooby to take him out or Xyl will blow up the universe…

Christina Engela builds her sci-fi universe fast and well. She doesn’t mess about with boring fluffy descriptions. To do this she utilizes a lot of creative acronyms, concepts and humor. Usually when an author introduces so much with such a lightning speed I would struggle to keep up but here it was definitely not the case. The story just speeds along merrily and I am constantly enjoying being introduced to a cast of new characters.

I really enjoyed Brad Xyl. He was by far my favorite character. As bad guys go he really kicked ass and somewhat came across as a fabulous rock star. The omnivorous Crabby-Grass was intruding and I liked that Christina incorporated a little dog Vluffy that was the cutest little thing ever.

This story includes Cindy-Mei Winter a trans-lady. It is a real pleasure to have such a character in this story. As a gay man, I have experienced how affirming it can be to read stories of other gay men falling in love and living their lives. So it is not that hard to imagine that trans-youth would experience the same reading a novella with a trans-character. An insightful quote from Cindy-Mei Winter in this book, “She judged the tendency to reject people for things which in no way affect them to be at worst some kind of borderline insanity…”

A Science Fiction story filled with wit, humor and sarcasm. This novella includes some very creative characters and concepts. Rating: 4 Stars out of 5.” – Mr. Green.

An Interesting New Look At The Time-Travel Genre

“The Time Saving Agency is an E-book that I downloaded recently and is something of a different read for sci-fi fans as it mixes a lot of interesting themes together to produce something that is actually not bad!

Written by what is commonly called an indie-author, The Time Saving Agency first caught my interest because it was described as having Transgender themes. Not normally my sort of thing but I was interested to see how this was worked into the story as there was no mention of any such thing in the synopsis! It turns out that the author themself is transgender which explains the presence of one female character in the novel who was formerly a man but has had futuristic gender reassignment to make her a woman! Though this character only plays a minor and supporting role, I nonetheless thought this was an interesting angle and actually fitted in quite well into Christina’s version of the future!

The premise is a simple one. Situated outside of Time, The T.S.A controls the status quo and tracks down Time Terrorists determined to cause mayhem and realign the future. When a particularly nasty villain escapes from what they had always considered an inescapable gaol with the intention of causing mayhem, one Agent is sent out to recapture him or remove him from the Time-line permanently. But he soon finds he needs a little help when the villain turns up on a remote human colony on the outskirts of the universe!

Though the end was a bit of an anti-climax, the remainder of this book was certainly a good read! I would say it was slightly above-average in its style and content and the characters instantly believable! There is lots of humour present too and while this never makes the book laugh-out-loud funny, there were plenty of moments where I had a little chuckle!

If you like the sci-fi of Michael Marshall Smith, you may find a few similarities in the humour. The afore-mentioned transgender character is treated, as one might expect, with respect and, as a whole, the whole thing is lots of fun. I am not sure if I would pay for this but as a freebie it was pretty good.

So much so that I have downloaded more of her books in the series for future reading!

Summary: A not bad, very clever slice of free sci-fi.” – Mark Woods, writer & reviewer.

A highly enjoyable time travel caper…

“Only two months previous were the citizens of Deanna dealing with the threat of an alien attack, but now another threat of perhaps greater proportions emerges from the fabric of time, quite literally.

Christina Engela has created a story that follows not only a similar concept of the previous entry in the Quantum series, but one that fuses those ideas with something completely different and original. Written in a way that sometimes tributes Terry Pratchett, yet again readers will find this story quirky and clever with a style that confides in the reader.

Familiar faces Gary Beck the ‘badfeller’ and Cindy Mei Winter return as their story together continues and while that is happening the main story arc begins to unfold from an unexpected place; the fabric of time where there are Time Agents and Time Terrorists. What ensues is a cat and mouse time travel story seeing ‘Agent Scrooby’ trying to track down the evil genius and escaped terrorist known as Brad Xyl, who has dastardly universe destroying aspirations! Scrooby enlists the help of Bounty hunter Gary Beck and together they set out to to put Brad Xyl’s plans to a halt.

Although Cindy-Mei Winter takes more of a cameo role along with ‘Fred the Arborian’, in this story Cindy’s journey and life as a trans-woman is briefly touched upon giving an important and positive modern spotlight on the subject.

Overall ‘The Time Saving Agency’ is a fun read which sees the ‘Quantum Series’ taken on an unexpected journey of time travel while also continuing the journey of the characters seen in the previous book in the series (‘Black Sunrise’). The narrative is delivered with a sophisticated level of humor and sometimes sarcastic wit that never allows for a dull moment.

4 Stars” – by Lee Hall, UK writer and reviewer, July 5, 2019.

“Dead Man’s Hammer”

Suspense, drama and modern issues all of which are tackled in a fun but important way…

“As the Quantum series unfolds, it grows more and more impressive. Dead Man’s Hammer is proof that Christina Engela can build an established world and insert so many genres into it along with retaining a unique style of writing that not only tributes her influences but has a way of confiding in readers.

We are back on the quirky planet of ‘Deanna’, home of the rather ominous sounding ‘obsidian crows’ and more specifically ‘Atro City’ – a place this time around we get to know a bit better while referencing the previous stories of the ‘Quantum series’.

Someone is targeting my favourite characters; an assassin enigmatically named ‘Villainessa Tittel’ who is after one person in particular – series regular, Cindy-Mei Winter. ‘Villainessa’ proves to be quite a force in her field of work and does everything in her power to draw in ‘Mei’, wiith whom she shares an interesting history. It is in this history where readers will find the true message and meaning of the story. While ‘Mei’ has moved forward in life she must face what is essentially a demon of her past and a life before she became ‘Cindy’ and it’s trying to torment her! This is a massive nod to modern issues that many people face in the transgender community and in life as a whole, sometimes it isn’t about who you were, but what you are now and what you truly feel. This concept is galvanised by another character ‘Danielle Grauffis’ who is in a process of transition in her young life compared to ‘Mei’.

Of course other returning regulars such as ‘Beck the Badfeller’ – who we get a name origins story from and special branch ‘Fred’ the Arborian make appearances along with an extended appearance from ‘Sheriff Peggy-Ann Muller’ who makes quite a team with ‘Mei’ – and this is where a crime mystery element of the story truly shines.

Suspense, drama and even tragedy are ways that I would describe the journey this story represents, not to mention that crime-mystery theme along with some more important issues that these books are not afraid to tackle; as much as this sounds heavy, it’s a fun read! Throughout Engela’s writing style naturally flows and is fun to read.
Revenge is a dish best served cold, you could even say as cold as ‘Winter’ – but that’s only something ‘I heard through the grape vine…’

5 Stars” – by Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer, September 9, 2019.

Other:

“Other Kids Are Kids Almost Just Like You”

Other Kids Are Kids Almost Just Like You” by Christina Engela celebrates the concept of diversity and how precious every child is. This book is about intolerance, diversity, and bullying and encourages readers to accept everyone, irrespective of their differences based on gender, race, and color. The book also emphasizes being compassionate to everyone, regardless of their color, status, and gender. Bullying and intolerance are relevant topics in today’s times and this book is good for read-aloud sessions in classrooms to help children be more tolerant and compassionate towards others. The illustrations lend clarity to the concept and help readers connect with the author’s words. The author’s approach to the subject is unique and different, and she makes the book appealing to children with the help of colorful illustrations. It is a good book to teach children to be kind and compassionate.” – Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite, Oct 17, 2019

Reviews BY Christina Engela:

Although Christina doesn’t consider herself to be a literary reviewer, she did write the following reviews – mainly of books and movies, but also in one case, a car!

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