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COVID-19 Update: April 2020

Hello there, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to check out or follow my blog, read my reviews, purchase a bookmark or like, comment or share my posts. Every interaction is appreciated and keeps me motivated to continue writing these reviews. So once again thank you very much for your help and encouragement.

However, I’m sure you’ve all heard of this coronavirus or COVID-19, and in truth probably sick of hearing about it and look forward to the day when the lockdown is over and you can return to whatever now passes for normal. So I’ll skip the pre-amble and just jump straight to the point.

Due to recent circumstances it is no longer viable for me to continue a sales based business in crafting hand-made bookmarks. As these are luxuries and not essential items, I have made the difficult decision to close my online stores on Etsy and Ebay. As a result I’ll be heading back to a bookkeeping or accounts based day job, or at least hopefully I’ll be able to once the current chaos calms down a little.

I’ll still be posting book reviews here on the Sci-Fi Kingdom blog, as well as on a number of other platforms including: ​Goodreads, Amazon and sometimes over at OnlineBookClub.org. However, these posts may be a bit sporadic, depending on other commitments.

Once again, thank you for all the support and encouragement.

Take care, stay safe and best wishes,

Sarah

The Race Through Space: Event Horizon – Book 2 by David Hawk (Book Review)

This second instalment in the Race Through Space, Event Horizon series continues the story of Neil Webb and Marie Arroway from where its predecessor Event Horizon book 1 left off.

 

If you haven’t already, you can check out my review of Event Horizon book 1 here, or begin with the review of books 1-3 of the original The Race Through Space Trilogy via this link.

 

…warning: series spoilers ahead…

Continue reading “The Race Through Space: Event Horizon – Book 2 by David Hawk (Book Review)”

Supernatural: Carved In Flesh by Tim Waggoner (Book Review)

Carved In Flesh is the twelfth book in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is written by Tim Waggoner. It takes place during season seven between episodes 12 (Time After Time) and 13 (The Slice Girls).

 

…spoiler warning for those not familiar and up-to-date with the TV series…

Continue reading “Supernatural: Carved In Flesh by Tim Waggoner (Book Review)”

Cell by Stephen King (Book Review)

October 1st begins like any other ordinary day in Boston. Clayton Riddell has turned a corner in his graphic art career, but his good mood is soon to be cut short. While waiting in line for the ice-cream truck at around 3pm, the people ahead of him suddenly go berserk, violently attacking each other.

All across Boston everyone with a cell phone turns violent and aggressive, harming both themselves and everyone else around them. At first Clay can only watch in horror as the spectacle unfolds before his eyes, however once he realises that the problem is due to some sort of subliminal message being carried by cell phone signals, his thoughts soon turn to his young son, Johnny.

Although Clay and his recently estranged wife Sharon don’t own a cell phone, their son Johnny however, does. When Clay is unable to contact his family via a landline telephone connection, he vows to brave the chaos and find a way home to Maine, before his son decides to use the little red cell phone in his possession.

Will Clay find his family before they transform?

 

Favourite Quote:

“It’s like the fucking Night of the Living Dead.” – Officer Ulrich Ashland. (p31)

 

Cell is a bizarre story from master of horror Stephen King, in which an electronic pulse is sent out via the cellular telephone network in America to all cell phone users turning them violently insane.

As if that basic concept wasn’t already creepy enough to have you destroying your phone, vowing never to touch the abhorrent device again, the story gets even spookier when those individuals that are unaffected all have the exact same nightmare. The crazy people seem to be able to communicate telepathically, both with each other and also with those still sane, influencing people while they sleep.

The crazies don’t remain dumb, blank-faced idjits but gradually develop psychic powers as they flock together, thinking as one mind.

Let’s not forget that King’s novel was released back in 2006 before the rise of the smartphone, so let’s just take a short moment to consider the myriad ways that phones can now be manipulated, and the ramifications of a real-life hacking event if anyone were to obtain control of smartphones worldwide. Doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?

At 4 out of 5 stars, Cell is an enjoyable, thought-provoking novel, although rather disturbing at the same time. The only fault is that it ends a little abruptly.

 

2016 sees the movie release starring John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson and Isabelle Fuhrman.

 

I was extremely excited to finally watch the story come to life however Cell is an absolutely atrocious film.

The director has taken a number of liberties when it comes to the details of the adaptation which distorts the story. It becomes a jumbled mess which doesn’t flow very well resulting in a movie that is difficult to understand.

With bad acting, poor dialogue and very short, clipped explanations Cell is a film that no-one can relate to and which doesn’t make much sense. With so many details from the book being changed and warped it almost comes across as an entirely different story altogether.

Cell is up there on the list of terrible Stephen King adaptations, but while the film is a waste of time, the original novel is a recommended read.

 

See also:

The Shining

The Shining: Book 2 – Doctor Sleep

Four Past Midnight Collection

Ringworld Series: Book 2 – The Ringworld Engineers (Book Review)

Ringworld Engineers, the sequel to Larry Niven’s classic science fiction novel, Ringworld continues the tale of Louis Wu, and the alien explorers. Twenty-three years after leaving the Ringworld behind them, Louis, Nessus’s ex-lover, Hindmost to the Pierson’s Puppeteer race and the catlike kzinti, travel back to the massive alien construction.

 

…beware of possible spoilers for those not familiar with book 1, Ringworld…

You can read my review of book one, Ringworld here via this link.

Continue reading “Ringworld Series: Book 2 – The Ringworld Engineers (Book Review)”

Olympian Challenger: Book 3 – Olympian Reckoning (Book Review)

Olympian Reckoning is the third book in the urban fantasy romance trilogy Olympian Challenger, by Astrid Arditi.

 

…warning: spoiler alert for those who haven’t read the first two books…

 Check out my review of book one, Olympian Challenger here.

As well as my review of book two, Olympian Heritage via this link.

Continue reading “Olympian Challenger: Book 3 – Olympian Reckoning (Book Review)”

Ringworld Series: Book 1 – Ringworld by Larry Niven (Book Review)

On his 200th birthday Louis Wu meets a Pierson’s Puppeteer, a strange sentient species of alien being thought to have vanished from known space. The Puppeteer, Nessus wishes to recruit him for an exploration into the far reaches of space. These unlikely allies are joined by two others to form an unusual group of four, and together they travel to what is known as Ringworld; a star orbited by a massive ring. These four intrepid explorers must now visit the Ringworld, tasked by those who lead the Pierson’s Puppeteer race, with learning more about the unusual world and its occupants.

 

Told from Louis’s Wu’s human perspective, we explore the Ringworld along with these characters, learning more about it as they do. The book is classic science fiction full of adventure and hard science. I love these types of stories, with their detailed descriptions of spaceships, planets, alien beings and the physical science which allows it all to co-exist. Trepidation and excitement at new discoveries keep the reader immersed in this fascinating world.

I found the book to be well-written and engaging, with a good balance of science and story. Though it begins to drag a little in the middle, with the seemingly endless and repetitive motion of the characters as they fly over desolate landscapes, rarely landing or interacting with the Ringworld natives. The ridiculous quarrels between the explorers also annoyed me slightly, dragging the story out. Towards the end I noticed a few errors cropping up, which is unusual in professionally published paperbacks such as this, but since I’ve read plenty of books with a lot more issues, it didn’t put me off reading.

As is usually predictable with science fiction books, there are numerous alien beings and strange species with difficult to pronounce names, such as Halrloprillalar Hotrufan and Zignamuclickclick. However, at 4 out of 5 stars Ringworld is an enjoyable classic for those who love their sci-fi filled with hard science and adventure.

I now look forward to checking out book two, The Ringworld Engineers.

 

See also:

Book 2: The Ringworld Engineers

Book 3: The Ringworld Throne

Book 4: Ringworld’s Children

Supernatural: Rite of Passage by John Passarella (Book Review)

Rite of Passage is actually book number ten – released before Fresh Meat, but chronologically takes place later – in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is the second to be written by John Passarella. It takes place during season seven between episodes 8 (Season Seven, Time for a Wedding!) and 9 (How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters).

 

…possible spoiler warning for those not familiar with the TV series…

Continue reading “Supernatural: Rite of Passage by John Passarella (Book Review)”

Book 3: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book Review)

The future looks grim for thirteen year old student wizard, Harry Potter when Lord Voldemort’s sidekick, Sirius Black escapes from Azkaban, the Wizard Prison.

Sirius Black is said to have murdered thirteen people with a single curse, twelve years previously, resulting in the Ministry of Magic locking him away in the fortress known as Azkaban. The prison is guarded by hooded creatures known as Dementors, which suck the joy out of everything around them and the island is supposed to be so secure that it is impossible to escape from. However, Sirius Black has somehow managed to do just that. The madman is now evading capture and seeks revenge on the one person who has lost him everything: Harry Potter.

With Sirius Black looking to commit another murder, Harry is on lockdown inside Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, unable even to visit the local village, Hogsmeade with the rest of his fellow 3rd year students.

Would Sirius Black dare to break in to Hogwarts with Professor Dumbledore in charge and the Dementors on guard outside the school gates? Is he planning to bring Lord Voldemort back into power and if so, will he be successful?

 

The Prisoner of Azkaban is the third novel in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and at 5 out of 5 stars is a very difficult book to put down, once you begin to read it you’ll soon find that you can’t stop until you’ve reached the end.

J.K. Rowling’s writing matures and becomes more and more complex with each subsequent book and the Prisoner of Azkaban is no exception, as we learn that not all is as it first seems when Harry’s Godfather, Sirius Black comes looking for revenge.

The third instalment also plays host to a variety of intriguing magical creatures including: Animagi, werewolves and Hippogriffs, while Harry has an extremely amusing ride on the ‘Knight Bus’, the transport for stranded Wizards and Witches.

The film for the Prisoner of Azkaban however, has a number of problems and doesn’t quite match up to the quality of its predecessors.

 

See also:

Book 1 – The Philosopher’s Stone

Book 2 – The Chamber of Secrets

Book 4 – The Goblet of Fire

Book 5 – The Order of the Phoenix

Book 6 – The Half-Blood Prince

Book 7 – The Deathly Hallows

 

*Note: more reviews coming soon

Book 2: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book Review)

It is summertime and Harry Potter is back living with the Dursley’s for the holidays, but when he has an unexpected guest in the form of House-Elf Dobby, he ends up in a whole heap of trouble. Dobby has come to warn Harry that he will be in danger if he returns to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but when Harry refuses to believe him, Dobby uses magic in the house almost getting Harry expelled from school.

Angry at Harry for messing up his important dinner with potential business clients, Vernon Dursley locks him in his bedroom with the promise that he will not be allowed to return to Hogwarts ever again. Fortunately, worried about his friend, Ron borrows his Dad’s flying car to check up on Harry and when the Weasley’s discover Harry’s unfortunate predicament they take him off to ‘The Burrow’ to live with them until the new school term begins.

As Harry, Ron, Hermoine Granger and the rest of the students settle back into their classes at Hogwarts, strange things begin to happen: Harry hears odd whispering voices, Mrs Norris, Mr Filch’s cat turns up almost dead after a petrification curse and a rogue bludger persistently attempts to knock Harry off his broomstick during the first Quidditch match.

It seems that Dobby’s prediction may be coming true and Harry’s life is in danger, now that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened. But just who exactly is the mysterious Heir of Slytherin and why open the Chamber now?

Can Harry and his friends figure out the puzzle and prevent the monster, let loose from the Chamber of Secrets, from killing Hogwarts students?

 

 

Favourite Quote:

“There is a plot, Harry Potter. A plot to make most terrible things happen at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year.” – Dobby the House-Elf. p16

 

At 4 out of 5 stars the second novel in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series doesn’t quite manage to captivate the reader in the same way as its predecessor. However, with serpents, spiders and a strange creature known as Dobby, The Chamber of Secrets is still a pretty fun novel as it tells of the young wizard Harry Potter and the adventures during his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

 

See Also:

Book 1 – The Philosopher’s Stone

Book 3 – The Prisoner of Azkaban

Book 4 – The Goblet of Fire

Book 5 – The Order of the Phoenix

Book 6 – The Half-Blood Prince

Book 7 – The Deathly Hallows

 

** More reviews coming soon

My Corona: A Novella by Andrew Mackay (Book Review)

My Corona is a rush release to capitalise on the current crisis. This is badly written, full of spelling and grammar errors, and is very Americanised despite the writer being in the UK. The character’s dialects got on my nerves and made the book difficult to read. While the content may be relevant, shows similarities to current events and provides an insight into future possibilities, I just couldn’t get on-board with it.

It does make the reader think, and I originally began to feel bad about planning to give this a 1 star rating, until I reached the end and the writer’s diatribe. He accuses those likely to give his book 1 star as being ignorant of the situation, placing blame on those that don’t warrant it and siding with those they shouldn’t. Despite beginning his note discussing censorship and right to free speech, he tells us to reserve our blame for those who really deserve it, and give authors like him 5 star ratings just for writing a book voicing their own opinion. Also that those who give 1 star ratings basically deserve what’s coming to them, due to their own arrogance.

Well sorry, but this honest 1 star review has less to do with coronavirus and the novellas content, and more about this writer’s awful attitude, and a story that is badly written, badly formatted and a headache to read. If this book hadn’t been so rushed, hard to follow in the beginning, and placed in front of the sharp, roving eyes of a proofreader, maybe it could have been enjoyable. I’m glad this only cost me 99p.