Monday 31 October 2022

A Different Kind of Camouflage - Corinna Turner - unSPARKed Book 8

A Different Kind of Camouflage
unSPARKed Book 8
Corinna Turner
Unseen Books
ISBN 9781910806425
eISBN 9781910806296

The ending of book 7 was like a gut punch. Both my son and I were left reeling at the cliff hanger ending that left us so desperate for this volume. But this story turned the corner and brought it back, at least part way. As always it leaves you desperate for the next volume and the long teased prequel A Mom With Blue Feathers. This story was AWEsome it is a FANtastic story in an incredible series. I have read stories in this series over 30 times now. And my son has read all of them more than once as well. We just ordered the first couple for my nephew his cousin, and have given a complete set to the school library, that is how much we love these stories! 

I first read a story by Turner in 2015, and read the first in this series in 2017. Since then I have read book by her a total of 57 times, and unSPARKed stories 30 of them. When this book released I noticed the eBook was out on a Monday and I the paperback was released the next day and I ordered a copy for my son and for the school. Then I devoured this volume in a single day over a few sittings. I could just not put it down. I am not going to tell my son I read it without him, and just let him read me his copy when it arrives in two days. My son is a reluctant reader, but he has read all of the stories in this series more than once. He can’t wait to read these books once a new one releases. And he often goes over his 20 minutes reading time when these are the books in hand. Some he has read to me twice, and read them again a third time on his own. This is another great read. The whole series are excellent stories for teens, young adults and adults. The series keeps getting better and better! It has real staying power.

When I recommend this series, which happens frequently, I often describe it as a mashup of Mad Max, Lost World, and Jurassic Park, and I have recommended it to many, all who have enjoyed them. In many ways it is like 50 years after Jurassic World Dominion. We have even bought a full set for my son’s school library.

unSPARKed is a series set in a not-too-distant future. Dinosaurs once again roam the earth. Just because a scientist could do something, did not mean they should have done it. Most people live SPARKed, in cities with walls and electrified fences. There are two groups of people who live unSPARKed, farmers who have electric fences around their farms and live in community with their close neighbours. The other are Hunters who live most of the time out on the road or off road in HabVI’s Habitat Vehicles. 

The description of this volume is:


Farm kids Darryl and Harry have experienced the freedom—and dangers—of life as hunters for almost a year while traveling with Josh.

But the authorities have finally caught up with them. Taken to the city against their will, they must both swap wildlife and open skies for concrete and fumes.

In the face of inflexible bureaucrats and ever-watchful social workers, can they remain faithful to their identity and hold onto their hope that one day they will live free again—and be reunited with those they love?”

The story is told in a series of first person narrative chapters. And there is a wide range in chapter length. The chapters alternate between Harry and Darryl.

Our main characters are:

Darryl: 17 and a half years old. Raised on a farm. Does not enjoy the city. And Harry’s big sister. Devote Catholic. Deep faith. A brave strong young woman.

Harry: Darryl’s younger brother. Eager to learn, a farm boy at heart. A youngster of faith, and strong work ethic. 

Joshua: He was raised unSPARKed, lived his whole life from the day he was born in a Habitat Vehicle. He was raised by his father and uncle. Both deceased. Can’t stand being in city.

The story is told in first person narrative alternating between chapters from Harry and Darryl’s perspective. The story picks up right where the last left off. We do not know if Josh will survive his injuries. Almost immediately Darryl and Harry are separated. Harry is put in foster care, and Darryl is put in a secure group home, and because she is considered a flight risk, she has very few liberties and privileges. This story is that of both adapting to being in city. They have never lived in city and the only real benefit they find is weekly Mass. They are still in the season of Lent, and Harry commits to keeping the Hunter Lenten fasts for Joshua. No matter how hard they try they cannot seem to get any news of Josh’s condition. Is he even alive? They have visits from friends, both from farming and their year in the HabVi with Joshua, though with some deception involved. And things keep not going their way. Uncle Mau struggles with the court system. Fernanda Matthews believes she knows what is best and is putting the full power her beurocratic role can bear to keep the two in City, indefinitely! 

I was completely surprised by where in the story we encounter the title, and who figured it out. This is the second in sort a sub trilogy within the series. The next is A Different Kind of Freedom continues this story arc that started with FEAR. I have a feeling the next volume will focus on Joshua’s experience during this same time frame, but that is just speculation. Maybe we will even have insight into what transpired for Father Ben during this time frame. This story takes place over a few months. But it feels much more compressed based on all that happens. We can only hope the next volume A Different Kind of Freedom and the long awaited prequel A Mom With Blue Fathers drop sooner rather than later. The last story ended on a cliffhanger. This story ends with a plan starting to shape up. 

This is another excellent read in a MASTERfully written series. But be warned you will be desperate for the next volume. It is a great book by a gifted and talented author. One of our favourite contemporary YA and Catholic authors at that! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Corinna Turner:
I Am Margaret Series:
0.0 The Underappreciated Virtues of Rusty Old Bicycles (A prequel)

0.5 Brothers (Prequel)
1.0 I Am Margaret
1.5 How Snakey Got His Name (Short Story)
2.0 The Three Most Wanted
3.0 Liberation
4.0 Bane's Eyes

5.0 Margo's (Attempted) Diary & Notebook
5.5 An Unexpected Guest
6.0 The Siege of Reginald Hill
6.5 Buttons (Short Story)
7.0 A Saint in the Family
I Am Margaret The Play - Fiorella de Maria

Yesterday and Tomorrow Series:

Tomorrow's Dead

unSPARKed Series:

Mandy Lamb Series:
Mandy Lamb and the Full Moon

Contributed to:
Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories - Catholic Teen Books
Gifts Visible & Invisible 8 Christmas Stories for Teens
Treasures: Visible & Invisible 8 Stories for Teens

Sunday 30 October 2022

Lightbringer - Declan Finn - Saint Tommy NYPD Book 10

Saint Tommy, NYPD Book 10
Declan Finn
ISBN 9798821253064
eISBN 9798201777944

Again, I can state that this series just gets better and better! I have read 15 books by Declan Finn in the last few months, and 1 prior to that. I have loved what I have read to date. And I have plans to read all that I can lay my hands on. Both the Saint Tommy and the White Ops series are greatly entertaining, and I cannot wait for the Pius trilogy of 5 books to be back in print. This is another great story in an always entertaining series. These books took me completely by surprise, and I find that I am surprised again with each new novel. They are very well written. The description of this story is:

“When a director's daughter overdoses, that's one thing.

When she comes back as a zombie, that's a mission for NYPD Lt. Tommy Nolan and his new Joint Supernatural Taskforce.

But when he comes up against a conspiracy that goes back centuries, Tommy will need an army of light to fight off the darkness.”

Just as I was finishing up this book I saw an announcement for 3 published short stories in the series. I reached out to the author to find out where they would fit in the series:

They Burn Witches, Don't They 
      (between Lupus Dei and City of Shadows)
Principle Necromancy 
      (between Deus Vult and Coven)
      (after book 12, Blue Saint)

At that point I believe the series is completed at least for now. I have been packing myself with these books. I have been reading about 1 a week, interspersed with other fiction and nonfiction. It was only a massive amount of self-control. And having three new stories set in this world is like a surprise gift. 

Tommy is still officially on staff with the NYPD, but he is working mostly independent of them, with a new task force. They are sort of part of the FBI, the team is the Joint Supernatural Taskforce, the official designation with the FBI was JSTF, but we called it JST or “Just.” The day to day team is Tommy, his son Jeremy, Jeremy’s wife Lena, and his retired partner Alex Packard. They also have some floater desks for FBI agents when they are working with the team. And dedicated desks for Father Richard Freeman, Medical Examiner, Doctor Sinead Holland and ADA William Carlton of Manhattan.
Tommy states:

“In the years that JST had been active, the FBI had allowed us all sorts of access—to their databases, AFIS (for fingerprints), PERT (physical evidence recovery team), the FBI labs—but they had yet to send us a single FBI agent to work with us on a long-term basis. We had access to resources, and were were occasionally sent either a rookie or someone who was on-the-job retired.”

Lena and Jeremy are both officially agents for the CIA but work mostly without supervision. I highlighted 2 passages because they made me laugh so much, they are:

“Alex looked up from his paperback omnibus edition of The Pius Trilogy (which was, for some reason, five books. I didn’t ask).”

“Rivera shrugged. “I’m in a business where the expectation is that every film based on a comic book has to make a billion dollars or it’s a flop. Heck, for a while, slap the Marvel label on something and it automatically made a billion dollars.””

This story does have a lot of action, in fact it opens in the sewers with a battle against spiders including one that could give Shelob a run for sizing. But this story has a lot more police work, uncovering the trail in the old gum shoe fashion. JUST reaches out to their contacts at H.E.R.O. and Human Exploitation Rescue Operative Child-Rescue Corps, and others. They slowly put together a history going back decades to the beginning of Hollywood. And an adversary that goes back much further. Their investigations into Golden Chalice Studios and Luminary Productions the facts just do not add up. The companies seem to be making decisions that are bad business, they only thing they see to focus on is corruption for corruptions sake. Until a piece falls into place for Tommy. And soon they are pulling in all the resources they can in what might became the biggest case to ever hit the New York Court system. But to get there Tommy must face his strongest foe yet! 

This story is has a lot of action, some crime procedural and detective work. All happening while Tommy’s wife is diagnosed with a brain tumor. It is like Die Hard film with the whole family, and a close knit group of friends and allies in on the action. Finn does an excellent job of weaving current events into this Catholic Action Horror novel. The characters are wonderfully written. Wondering what will happen to them next leaves you hanging big time! And with book 12 planned as the last novel, how it will end overall.

I have now read books from three different series by Finn and can say I enjoyed them all. The books in this series should be read in order as they are a continuous story. I can easily recommend this book and these stories to mature readers. Finn does a masterful job of blending faith and fiction and thereby crafting excellent stories! It is an intense story. An excellent installment in a great series!   

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by Declan Finn:
Love At First Bite Series:

Other books:

Anthologies contributed to:
Luna: Planetary Anhtology Series Book 2
Supernatural Streets
Starflight: Tales From The Starport Lounge
Mercury: Planetary Anthology Series Book 4
Venus: Planetary Anthology Series Book 5
Mars: Planetary Anthology Series Book 7
Places Beyond the Wild: A Z-Day Anthology
Shoot the Devil: Ten Tales of Humans Defeating the Demonic
Fantastic Schools, Volume 6

Saturday 29 October 2022

Come Hell or High Water - J.D. Kirk - DCI Logan Book 13

Come Hell or High Water
DCI Logan Book 13
ISBN 9781912767595

An excellent read in a great series! This is the seventeenth volume from J.D. Kirk that I have read in the last few months. I have enjoyed all that I have now read to date, the first 13 in the DCI Logan series and also the first 3 in the Robert Hoon series, as well as stand alone VIP exclusive short story. I picked the first for a few reasons, but mainly because authors Alex Smith and JE Mayhew have both recommended the author and series. I am a big fan of Smith’s DCI Kett novels and Mayhew’s DCI Will Blake Series. I had no idea how addictive Kirk’s books would be or that like Mayhew and Smith, Kirk publishes under various names. Kirk publishes children books as Barry Hutchison, and other adult fiction as Barry J. Hutchison. He is coming up on 175 books across the three pen names. If I had known that or I might not have picked up this first one. Friends call me a ‘completionist’ in that when I find an author I like, I try to read everything they have published. Fortunately I only have 2 left to be caught up to those published under this pen name. For now I will try and read the remaining books published as Kirk.

The description of this novel is:

“Something's wild out west...

When a badly burned body is found near the remote Ardnamurchan Lighthouse on the west coast of Scotland, it feels like just another day on the job for DCI Jack Logan and his team.

But the victim’s list of enemies―including a diminutive loan shark and a powerful local politician―is far longer than Jack was prepared for.

And don’t even get him started on the magic psychic sex cult.

With political scandal brewing, conspiracy theories running wild, and a team member stuck inside a giant road safety squirrel costume, DCI Logan’s latest case might just be his most bizarre to date.

Come Hell or High Water is the thirteenth book in the multi-million selling DCI Logan Scottish Crime Fiction series. Packed with action, pathos, and dark humour, the series is perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Stuart MacBride.”

In these stories often the murders are often gruesome. The humour is dark. And the Scottish temperament comes out from several different characters. This time the body is found burned in a tent. At first the assumption is it is a local crackpot that has had run in’s with numerous people. But things are not always as they appear. Including how well Shona and Sinead are still struggling with their abductions on the last case. DCI Logan has surprising insight and care for the two. And we keep getting news reports about an abduction down south. To find out how it ties in you will need to read this tale.

It is another great read in an excellent series. The two series written under the pen name J.D. Kirk are definitely Scottish Mysteries, and I can see the comparisons with Smith’s and Mayhew’s works, as well as several other more mainstream names. Each time I finish a book by Kirk it takes willpower not to just pick up the next one and keep going. I will be reading all the books published buy this author under this name, and I am looking forward to that new series. Once I read the remaining 2 DCI Logan books to get caught up, I will be branching out into his other works. I love that the stories are set in Scotland! This book and series would be great reads for fans of Jack Reacher, Jack Ryan, or Temperance Brennan. I state it again it is a great read in an excellent series!  

Books by J.D. Kirk:

DCI Logan Series:

Robert Hoon Thrillers:

DI Heather Filson Series:

Contributed to:
Everyday Kindness: A Collection of Uplifting Tales to Brighten Your Day

Books as Barry J. Hutchison:
Dan Deadman Space Detective Series:

Space Team Series:
The Search for Splurt 
Song of the Space Siren 
The Guns of Nana Joan 
Return of the Dead Guy 
Planet of the Japes 
The Time Titan of Tomorrow 
The King of Space Must Die 
Sting of the Mustard Mines 
Sentienced to Death
The Hunt for Reduk Topa
A Lot of Weird Space Shizz: Collected Short Stories

Sidekicks Initiative Series:

The Bug Books Series:
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Complete Season One

Other Books:

Children’s books as Barry Hutchison:
Invisible Fiends Series:
The Crowmaster 
Doc Mortis 
The Beast 
The Darkest Corners 

The Missing Remote of the Apocalypse
The Book of Doom 

Benjamin Blank Series:

Beaky Malone Series:

Generator Rex Series:

Living Ted Series:
Revenge of the Living Ted
Invasion of the Living Ted

Spectre Collectors Series:
Too Ghoul for School
A New York Nightmare!

Other works:

Friday 28 October 2022

Who is St Joseph? - Herbert Cardinal Vaughan - CTS Onefifties

Who is St Joseph? 
Herbert Cardinal Vaughan
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784695514
eISBN 9781784695231
CTS Booklet CL25

Over the last several years I have read over 300 volumes from the Catholic Truth Society. But this book is very different from the other two. In 2016 during the 150 Anniversary of the CTS they released special editions of 150 of their most popular and influential booklets. I have been slowly working my way through them. We are told about the series that:

“CTS Publisher Fergal Martin said, “1868 to 2018 we feel is something to celebrate. We have delved into our archives of thousands of titles and uncovered countless gems that celebrate the huge range and diversity of CTS publishing across a century and a half. The CTS archive represents a unique and valuable resource chronicling the changing concerns of the Catholic population of the British Isles and beyond over the last 150 years. There is something original and special here for everybody. Our hope is that readers can dip into the past – and find the present.””

The description of this new combined edition is:

“Whenever Cardinal Vaughan met problems or worries, he turned first to St Joseph. Here he tells us why, and how to do the same.

Herbert Vaughan had a profound and long-standing devotion to St Joseph. When he was Bishop of Salford (1872-1892), he compiled this booklet from the prayers and meditations he found most helpful. He placed all his most important projects under St Joseph’s patronage: the missionary congregation he founded, the Mill Hill missionaries, are officially St Joseph’s Missionary Society, whilst their American offshoot (the Society of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart) are universally known as the Josephites. St Joseph’s intercession was instrumental in securing their original headquarters, St Joseph’s College in Mill Hill.

Herbert Vaughan was convinced of the power of St Joseph’s patronage, and the constant testimony of the Church supports him. St Joseph is the especial patron of the dying, and of those looking for somewhere to live; he is also patron of work, and of Christian husbands and fathers. He who was a loving father to Jesus will not ignore those who turn to him now.”

The chapters in this volume are:

Who is Saint Joseph?
Act of Consecration to Saint Joseph
Thoughts and Examples for Every Day in the Month
The Seven Sorrows and Seven Joys
The Seven Sundays of Saint Joseph
The Praises of Saint Joseph
Triduum for the Gaining of Some Special Grace
Saint Joseph’s Memorare
Saint Bernardine’s Prayer to Saint Joseph
The Priest’s Prayer
Invocations of the Holy Family
Petition for Holy Purity
Month of March
Thirty Days’ Prayer
Litany of Saint Joseph
CTS Onefifties

We are informed about this volume that:

“This little book, which was compiled and issued by Cardinal Vaughan when Bishop of Salford as one of his “Religious Books for the People,” is now reprinted by the Catholic Truth Society in response to numerous requests. The Litany of St Joseph and St Bernardine’s Prayer (p. 54), approved by Pius X in 1909, have been added to this edition, which in all other respects conforms to the original.”

The background of this volume states:

“Herbert Vaughan was convinced of the power of St Joseph’s patronage, and the constant testimony of the Church supports him. St Joseph is the especial patron of the dying, and of those looking for somewhere to live; he is also patron of work, and of Christian husbands and fathers. He who was a loving father to Jesus will not ignore those who turn to him now.”

Over the last several years I have read many volumes on Saint Joseph. I had an interest in him prior to the Year of Saint Joseph. And That year I had a greater focus on volumes about him. As a husband and a father I find I can always grow in my knowledge and experience of his intercession. This is an excellent little volume, written from a place of personal faith and devotion. It is a booklet I can easily return to again and again.

I have only read a few of the CTS Onefifties but have benefited from each of them, and look forward to reading many more. This is an excellent read and one I benefited from. It would be a great read for any Catholic. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For all reviews of books in the CTS Onefifties Series click here.

Other reviews and articles about Saint Joseph:
Consecration to St. Joseph - Fr. Donald Calloway
Favorite Prayers to St. Joseph Compiled from Traditional Sources- TAN Books
Prayer to Saint Joseph Prayer of the Day
Joseph of Nazareth - Federico Suarez
Devotion to St. Joseph - F. Declaux
Go to St. Joseph: Do Whatever He Tells You - Brian Kiczek
Saint Joseph: Help for Life's Emergencies - Kathryn J. Hermes
Feast of Saint Joseph 2018 Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary Principal Patron of Canada
Companion to Saint Joseph - J.B. Midgley - CTS Companions Series
Saints of the Roman Canon - Julien Chilcott-Monk - CTS Living the Liturgy Series
Seven Saints for Seven Virtues - Jean M. Heimann