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:

“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, 2015.

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.

‘Demonspawn’ by Christina Engela is a sci-fi horror space story with psychological mystery and suspense throughout. The somewhat damned crew of the I.S.S. Mordrake; a ship seemingly stranded and damaged beyond repair in the furthest reaches of space then stumbles upon another ship, derelict and just floating there…

The 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. You can grab yourself a copy here.” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer in “Chilling Book Recommendations For Halloween part 1” Oct 11, 2019.

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 galvanized 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.

“Loderunner”

A fun tale about the perils of voyaging through space to earn an honest buck with a meaningful important message…

“In the already established ‘Quantum’ universe comes a tale of the unexpected and it might be the best of the series so far. Although initially set on the planet of Deanna we are introduced to P.I Timasket Skooch who happens to win the deeds of a ‘Loderunner’ ship during a card game.

From the early stages of this story Christina Engela makes great efforts to not only tell a story with wide appeal but also includes a powerful inclusive message about the subject of transphobia and embracing who you really are on the inside. In this book particular its a subject that runs as one of the main themes; our main character ‘Tim’ shares a relationship with ‘Dory’ – a woman for all we know but in pre-transition. This subject as a whole doesn’t particularly matter for ‘Tim’ who see’s ‘Dory’ as much more.

Leaving his significant other behind ‘Tim’ sets out into the depths of space with an assembled multi character crew on his newly acquired ship in search of earning a buck or two. I particularly enjoyed the depth of character quality in the crew and it made for another crucial element of this book. They agree to take a pair of passengers who appear to be more than what they appear and again the powerful gender message follows while being intertwined with mystery and deception (saying any more would involve spoilers).

What ensues is a story with a powerful meaning along with the usual fun moments Engela is known for, space stories really are her speciality and the setting makes the writing feel very much at home.

“Does age define the ability to suffer?” A question which best describes the theme in the book and it’s done in a way that doesn’t feel preachy or even like a protest but more so with deeper meaning. By the end of this book I found myself rooting for the characters who deserved the resolve they got. Overall a fun meaningful read.” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer, Oct 4, 2019.

“Prodigal Sun”

“Fun, quirky and most probably the strongest of the Quantum series!

Christina Engela has a unique way of telling a story that has lots going on without making it seem confusing or cluttered. Having read all of the previous books in her ‘Quantum’ series this one carves a unique but powerful path that faces many issues without any fear.

Characters who have established themselves in this colorful and fun universe are taken somewhat by surprise much like the reader as a political supremacist group looks to overthrow the current regime on Deanna. In fact everything about the ‘Deannan Service league’ reeks of revolt but some revolutions aren’t for the greater good – a strong and relevant political message that many can relate to today.

We see Danielle Grauffis; a student and transgender character who becomes directly caught up in the political overthrowing and subsequent storm. You cannot help but sympathize for her story which is one that is just of a person looking to be included and positive inclusion is a huge theme in this book much like all of Engela’s works they directly and sometimes indirectly set an example that champions everyone and anyone including the minorities.

As the story unfolded it became more and more gripping as events turn for the worse. Sheriff Peggy Ann-Muller may well be in over her head even if she does express exactly what is going on through a powerful quote ‘Anyone else want to be on the wrong side of history?’ Powerful is probably the one word which sums up the plot of ‘Prodigal Sun’ but as usual there is way much more happening. I have only just realized ‘Atro City’ is in fact meant to be pronounced as ‘Atrocity’ which is just one of the many fun quirks you’ll find in this great read! Left very much open and on a cliff hanger, I shall be diving right into the next story!

5 Stars – Great read, review left via Goodreads over the holidays but now I am back to review more indie books! You can expect a review of the next book in the Quantum series soon!

Happy new year readers!” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer, January 02, 2020.

“High Steaks”

An epic ensemble of characters fighting for the importance of inclusion… 

“The Quantum Series carries a consistent theme throughout all six of it’s stories; that being inclusion no matter how different one is or where they come from. Whether you are human, alien, plant or anything else in between. No matter your beliefs, non beliefs, orientation or anything else that may set you aside and make you different. Christina Engela’s stories in this series champion that and it’s an important modern cause to stand for in literature. She manages to do and say that without being preachy and while also and importantly telling fun, action packed, sometimes quirky but always enjoyable stories. It’s also what is being fought for in this book.

High Steaks picks up pretty much where the previous encounter ‘Prodigal Sun’ left off. The planet of Deanna has been over run and taken over by some quite nasty forces. Their stance is the exact opposite of what Engela’s stories and their heroes stand for. And for this one these heroes are out in full force, names whom readers will find familiar. Their goal to undo what injustice has been done not just for the different but for everyone and the greater good. It’s an echo towards our own history and more importantly a tribute to the fight against separatism and nationalist socialists who only see the world one way.

Everything that makes up the good parts of these stories has been painstakingly crafted into this one. It’s quick paced in moments with a sense of an ensemble cast all working together to fight for one another making it probably the most epic story in the series. Quite late on I realized this wasn’t going to be the final book of the series, at first I felt a little disappointed but then elated that what will follow if there is a 7th which will be one hell of a culmination and I am more than interested in reading.

Overall I have very much enjoyed reading the books in this series. They are fun, quirky, imaginative and their biggest quality is that the style and the way they read is very much accessible to pretty much anyone. I highly recommend the Quantum series to everyone!

5 Stars – Fun and powerful. Thank you to the author for providing me with all books in this series! Review left via Goodreads and Amazon UK.

Have you read the Quantum Series? You should!” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer, January 06, 2020.

Panic! Horror In Space:

“Static”

Page turning space sci-fi full of chills and fun from beginning to end…

“Christina Engela delivers a fun but chilling book that contains many of the familiar horror story tropes only now they are in space and on distant planets of the haunted/abandoned persuasion.

For what reads and feels like an anthology of shorter stories they are all linked by their events and of course ‘Captain Stuart Flane’ who by the end of it all has probably seen it all. From space ‘zoms’ to possessed dolls and ‘toys’ all the way to an abandoned formerly colonized planet that’s now inundated with ghost types playing havoc with furniture; our hero ‘Flane’ can only explain this stuff to the higher ups in the least absurd ways possible.

Those who are fans of classic and recent horror stories will find this to be a read in somewhat familiar territory while much of the events come unexpectedly and on the fringes of laugh out loud comedy. There’s mystery, suspense, a lot of fun and of course that element of the unexpected which will keep readers turning the pages. Many of the sub genres of horror are represented with hauntings, zombies, possessions and urban exploration all of which are set in the science fiction universe of the ‘Panic! Horror in Space series’.

4 Stars – Thank you to the author for providing an e copy. Reviews left via Goodreads and Amazon.” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer, February 13, 2020.

“Life Signs”

A trio of enjoyable sci-fi tales filled with mystery, fun and revelations…

“The second entry of Christina Engela’s Panic! Horror in Space series takes the reader on a ride of mystery through three tales of the ghostly, vampiric and even cursed objects; all of which are hazards that come with deep space travel.

Captain Stuart Flane returns to face these perilous situations and has developed a rap for finding trouble of such persuasions. He’s used to dealing with the macabre and that’s what all three of these stories have in common. All of them begin in one place and through the vessel of immersive and readable story telling they end up somewhere completely unexpected.

From poignant to quirky and fun, these stories pretty much cover everything that Engela is known for with a writing style and depth that will draw you in. I particularly enjoyed ‘Lange’s Legacy’ which carried a certain detective vibe while also being full of twists and revelations.

5 stars – A fun read that will appeal to most readers. A thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for a review left on Goodreads and Amazon.” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer, March 18, 2020.

Christina Engela has done it again with her immersive brand of space sci-fi

“Next up is a regular name who appears in the reviews here because Christina Engela has done it again with her immersive brand of space sci-fi.

The Panic! Horror in Space series presents ‘Life Signs’ and my recent review headline reads ‘A trio of enjoyable sci-fi tales filled with mystery, fun and revelations…’

This is the second entry of Engela’s series which I am gradually working my way through. In these distracting times, stories like this are easy to read and are light on the mind while also being enough to whisk you away for a while. I urge you to check out these books along with her many other books which I have reviewed here in the past year (the Quantum series comes to mind…)” – Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer, April 06, 2020.

“Dust”

Dust! The final frontier, for one unfortunate crew anyway…

“Captain Stuart Flane is back and is called in again to investigate yet more strangeness in what is becoming a fun and mysterious version of X-Files in Space. And by X-Files, I don’t mean government secrets and the truth being ‘out there’, as much as these stories are ‘out there’! Like most of Engela’s works, this book, like the others in the series, represents the better episodes of the X-Files or even the Twilight Zone in places. And by that I mean the good stand alone episodes that make you think and keep you interested until the end!

While Captain Flane has seen it all in terms of the strange and macabre – he’s even been chased by superiors with golf implements and lived to tell the tale – this latest mission will leave you guessing all the way until the final stages. An unmanned ship arrives with zero trace of a crew apart from an abundance of dust being left in their absence. It’s well written, fun and all around a good read to take one away from the mundane of life if only for a while.

4 Stars – another fun read from Christina Engela whom I must thank for the copy in exchange for a review.” – review by Lee Hall, UK writer & reviewer, May 04, 2020.

Space Sucks:

Space Sucks!

“The rise of science fiction as we know it stemmed from short stories published in feature magazines by authors like Asimov, del Rey, and van Vogt. Short stories are an ideal medium to convey snapshots of imaginary worlds while limiting exacting details that would detract from the main focus of the story. Christina Engela’s Space Sucks! is a collection of various science fiction scenarios that, though common enough to be familiar to readers, still offer a unique perspective tinged with the author’s sense of humor.

From first encounters to interstellar emergencies, Space Sucks! by Christina Engela manages to pique the reader’s imagination with concise prose and descriptive language. The dialogue may be a bit awkward at some points, especially in the first story, but it does not sufficiently detract from the reader’s enjoyment of these stories. The stories themselves just get better as they go, with A Really Bad Day In The Life Of Lance Corporal Thomas O’Blivion, I. Mac, and Beyond all being exceptional reads. Beyond in particular stands out as the epitome of what science fiction has always aimed to be: a literary mirror that highlights human circumstances in fictional situations and puts current themes and norms into perspective. A Really Bad Day In The Life of Lance Corporal Thomas O’Blivion also deserves mention as being a concise but highly action-packed and enjoyable read.

Space Sucks! is a little collection that packs a big punch, enough to leave readers in an imaginative stupor after reading each of the stories it contains. 4 stars.” – Eduardo Aduna for Readers’ Favorite, May 09, 2020.

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


Reader reviews? Oh, that would be nice… you don’t have to rush out to Amazon and buy one of my books to leave a review… you could go to Goodreads… or wherever you got your copy – every little bit would help!
Come on, it’s free. 😉

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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