Featured

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

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (Book Review)

Project Hail Mary is the third sci-fi novel from bestselling author Andy Weir. Most readers are probably aware of his great debut The Martian, but if not you can read my review of that book here. Continue reading “Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (Book Review)”

The Mansion by Ezekiel Boone (Book Review)

Ezekiel Boone is the writer of The Hatching Trilogy, and if you’re interested you can read my reviews of these books via the following links:

Book 1 – The Hatching

Book 2 – Skitter

Book 3 – Zero Day

 

The Mansion is his stand-alone science-fiction horror techno-thriller, which merges artificial intelligence with an old-school haunted house story. With a creepy location reminiscent of the Overlook Hotel, and a sinister AI technology, this book comes across as a mix of Stephen King horror and a Michael Crichton thriller.

 

With his marriage on a precariously balanced tipping point, debts up his eye-balls and substance abuse issues, life has taken a turn for the worst for Billy Stafford. But when his old multi-billionaire pal Shawn Eagle calls him with an offer he can’t refuse, things brighten up for Billy and his wife, Emily.

Nellie, an AI program first developed by Billy and Shawn shortly after graduating University, had been shelved after the boys parted ways. But now, years later Shawn’s made giant leaps in the programming and technology world, and finally brought Nellie to life. However, she currently has some issues. So Shawn invites Billy and Emily to his renovated Mansion, so that Billy can test drive and fine tune Nellie’s programming.

 

The vast majority of this book has numerous similarities to The Shining by Stephen King, everything from the location, to the weather, to character personalities, and even the writing style and plot. It’s almost a re-write of that novel coupled with the typical stereotypes found in stories such as this: Alcoholic father, beats wife, beats kids, kids grow-up with issues and go on to become alcoholics who beat their kids etc. ad nauseam, but with some AI and sci-fi thrown in, and not forgetting the all-important love-triangle. Despite this, and probably because of it, I really enjoyed the beginning of The Mansion. However, I got a little bored through the middle when the story began to feel stretched out, with very little of importance happening.

I was hoping for more of a horror feel to The Mansion and while there are a few horror elements, unfortunately the story is primarily techno-thriller. I’ve never been the biggest fan of this genre, or indeed of the premise of self-driving cars, despite them now becoming a reality and not just a figment of sci-fi imagination, and I always found myself squirming in discomfort every time the characters got behind the wheel of such a vehicle.

At 2 out of 5 stars I’d say the overall concept is mediocre, the AI aspects intriguing, but with all the similarities to The Shining I thought there was a lack of uniqueness to the plot which lets this book down terribly. If you’re a fan of Stephen King’s The Shining as a novel, and also enjoy techno-thrillers then you might appreciate the base concept behind The Mansion. However, be forewarned that once you pass the initial set-up and scene setting, the plot becomes slow and laboured for a long time before finally reaching its conclusion. I really wanted to love this book, but it dragged on so long in never-ending ways, with large chunks of time where absolutely nothing happens.     

 

See also:

The Hatching

Skitter

Zero Day

Supernatural: Children of Anubis by Tim Waggoner (Book Review)

Children of Anubis is book seventeen in the series of TV Tie-in novels from the CW show Supernatural, and is the third to have been written by Tim Waggoner. It takes place during season twelve between episodes 5 (The One You’ve Been Waiting For) and 6 (Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox).

…major spoiler warning for this review, as well as for those not familiar and up-to-date with the TV series…

Continue reading “Supernatural: Children of Anubis by Tim Waggoner (Book Review)”

EIGHT 2: The Alpha Species by W.W. Mortensen (Book Review)

The Alpha Species is the follow-up to W.W. Mortensen’s debut novel EIGHT, and continues the story of Rebecca and Ed’s terrifying trip into the Amazon jungle from where the first book left off. Therefore, in order to fully understand this book, it’s recommended that readers are familiar with EIGHT before moving on to The Alpha Species.

You can read my review of EIGHT first by following this link.

Continue reading “EIGHT 2: The Alpha Species by W.W. Mortensen (Book Review)”

Barren Waters: The Complete Novel by Julia Shupe (Book Review)

Sorry everyone it’s been quite a while since I posted any new reviews, I got a bit distracted with other things recently. However, here is a re-post of a book review that I originally did back in 2017.

Barren Waters is a post-apocalyptic tale of survival in a dystopian future where the world’s oceans have become barren and stagnant due to mankind’s pollution of their environment. As the human race continues to pump toxic chemicals into rivers, streams and waterways across the world it is not difficult to imagine the possible effects that Julia Shupe presents in this novel, and the scary thought is that it could come true.

In the 22nd century the pollution has reached intolerable levels, and the efforts of mankind to clean up their act and attempt to preserve their home, is too little too late. Plankton in the deep oceans have died out, leaving a wide variety of aquatic animals without food. Starvation becomes rife and mass extinctions leave the oceans dead.  Shrinking levels of oxygen in the atmosphere, further restricts the survival of both plant and animal life, including those of human kind.

Julia recounts the lives of two scientists with the foresight to prepare for the coming disaster, and the trials of their surviving family, a son and grand-daughter 50 years later, struggling with daily life in their harsh, unfortunate circumstances.

Favourite Quote:

“Jeremy had always believed luck was a double-edged sword. Good luck could easily turn bad. And fast.” – (p2)

The author, Julia Shupe kindly offered me a free copy of her novel, Barren Waters in exchange for an honest review.

The narrative jumps back and forth quite a lot between its descriptions of the unfolding apocalypse and of the resulting consequences, and the dates of the events don’t run consecutively, instead forming part of the story at the necessary time. It does not detract or confuse the story too much, but for those who attempt to follow the proper timeline from beginning to end will find this incredibly difficult and somewhat confusing. However, Julia has crafted a well thought-out and imaginative tale, which both intrigues and entertains the reader, while also provoking thoughtful scientific stimulation.

My only other niggle is the usual issue which pertains to most self-published books, the high number of annoying spelling mistakes within the Kindle copy. However, at 4 out of 5 stars, don’t let those errors put you off from enjoying this otherwise wonderful tale of human survival.

I may now be tempted to delve deeper into this author’s world, by reading her fantasy series The Sentinels of Kiln.

Kill or Cure Series: Book 2 – Bloodlust by Pixie Britton (Book Review)

We continue the story of Alyx and Tommy in the Kill or Cure series with book 2, Bloodlust.

…possible spoiler warning… Continue reading “Kill or Cure Series: Book 2 – Bloodlust by Pixie Britton (Book Review)”

Kill or Cure Series: Book 1 – Kill or Cure by Pixie Britton (Book Review)

Kill or Cure is the first book in Pixie Britton’s young adult dystopian series, about a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies. I was offered a complimentary copy of this book, directly from the author, and being a fan of post-apocalyptic and dystopian novels I decided to take a chance on this new writer. However, it’s aimed at younger teens and while some of these types of stories can also be enjoyed by adults, there can be a fine dividing-line between them depending on maturity of the language, and writing style.

…possible spoiler warning…

Continue reading “Kill or Cure Series: Book 1 – Kill or Cure by Pixie Britton (Book Review)”

Maze Runner Series: Book 4 – The Kill Order (Book Review)

The Kill Order is the original prequel to the Maze Runner trilogy, having been released many years before The Fever Code.

…spoiler warning… Continue reading “Maze Runner Series: Book 4 – The Kill Order (Book Review)”

Maze Runner Series: Book 0 – The Fever Code (Book Review)

The Fever Code is a prequel to the original Maze Runner trilogy, and I was led to believe that it would provide backstory and general information, which would complement the series as a whole.

I remember reading the original prequel, The Kill Order, years ago and really struggling with it. This was because it was centred on a completely different cast of characters, had a tedious story and didn’t really correspond to the other books. My hope was that The Fever Code, would provide the answers and insight that were missing, in regards to Thomas, Teresa, Newt and Minho.

As you would expect, all the regular and much loved characters from the trilogy play a part in The Fever Code, and it’s nice to have some of these familiar faces return. However the never-ceasing list of WICKED guards and employees that keep cropping up, eventually becomes too frustrating to try and keep track of.

The book has far too many inconsistencies with the main trilogy, often contradicting events and the memories that conveniently return to Thomas, just at the right key moments. Unfortunately, the story also doesn’t provide any further information than what we’ve already been told. The questions, such as why WICKED changed all the kids names, are still never answered. Instead just re-hashing the same old facts that we’re already familiar with.

Unlike the other novels, The Fever Code lacks the action and intrigue that makes readers want to keep turning the pages. It lacks oomph and mystery, which made it difficult for me to read. And I found the attitudes of the adults to be infuriatingly hostile, irritating, downright repetitive and infuriating.

At 2 out of 5 stars, I had high hopes for this book but it just didn’t match up with my expectations. It provides a very basic background story for those interested in learning more about Thomas and the origins of the maze, but don’t expect it to wow you with any answers to those burning questions you might have.

See also:

Maze Runner Trilogy: Book 1 – The Maze Runner

Maze Runner Trilogy: Book 2 – The Scorch Trials

Maze Runner Trilogy: Book 3 – The Death Cure

Maze Runner: Book 4 – The Kill Order

Maze Runner Trilogy: Book 3 – The Death Cure (Book Review)

The Death Cure completes the main Maze Runner trilogy, continuing on from the point where The Scorch Trials leaves off.

…Warning: this review contains spoilers, proceed with due caution…

Continue reading “Maze Runner Trilogy: Book 3 – The Death Cure (Book Review)”