D. Ryan Leask
D. Ryan Leask is an avid reader and writer. "Counting Down the Storm" is his freshman effort with many more to come. He grew up in small town Alberta but after studying in the Maritimes and briefly living in Ottawa, now calls the bustling and booming city of Calgary, Alberta Home. He lives there with his wife, Antonia, two beautiful children and his faithful dog Nemo.
I have temporarily un-published Counting Down the Storm as I am in the midst of editing and re-vamping for a re-launch! Stay tuned!
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Smashwords book reviews by D. Ryan Leask
Ties That Bind
on June 20, 2011
In a Nutshell:
Dedicated Detective Madison Knight and her partner Terry Grant find themselves in the middle of a bizarre crime scene with a rare and expensive tie as the apparent murder weapon. The usual suspects are eliminated and another body appears with the same M.O. The race is on to try to stop a murderer before he becomes a serial killler.
It starts with a great introduction of characters and you immediately get a feel for how they will interact. I think a bit of a grab right off the start would have been helpful as the start is a little bit slow but thankfully well written so it's easy to go through.
I'm looking forward to seeing how Ms. Arnold gets the story really rolling and how her main characters past gets tied into the current events. Excellent writing Carolyn!
Thoughts Upon Completion:
There was a lot left unsaid that perhaps needed more explanation such as the case preceeding this one that was the cause of some of the underlying conflict. It felt a little too much like a second or third book in a series as opposed to a first. Procedurally what little I know of police work (which is little) was believable and interesting and the story kept moving at a nice pace which kept me wanting to read. I liked the character of Madison Knight although her relationship with Terry seemed a little bit forced at times and not as close as I would expect.
The epilogue was unnecessarily detailed and as I am assuming there are more books to come with this character didn't do much to get me excited for another Madison Knight Novel, luckily the rest of the book did make me willing to explore more of this character.
It's not an edge of your seat thriller and it is flawed in a few ways (I'm sorry but the loss of a Grandparent does not compare to the death of someone you love who is close to your own age —sorry pet peeve—) however it is paced well and interesting enough that I certainly didn't feel I wasted my time in reading it. I would give another Carolyn Arnold/Madison Knight Novel a read.
First Impressions: 4+ Editing: 4+ Story: 3=☼☼☼☼
on June 20, 2011
B.C. Young manages to paint a wonderful post apocolytic picture in this wonderfully well written short story I don't want you to waste any more time reading this review when you could be reading his story! It's free and short, what more could you want?
on June 24, 2011
In a Nutshell:
Daniel Lawless is a bachelor detective who prefers shoes over people. What he once thought of as a gift to help him escape the constant torment of school bullies becomes a nightmare when he starts seeing visions of dead bodies, and the visions are real. Along with a local cop, the beautiful and young Sandra Jensen, they set out to try to stop the unstoppable monster from eating it's way through the population of Modesto, California.
Everett Powers, you have written a masterpeice of thrilling horror! I immediately fell in love with Daniel Lawless (although a detective named Lawless made me roll my eyes but am used to it now). I knew I was going to love this book because of the last line in the second chapter:
"Modesto needed a Dirty Harry, a man of action who carried a big gun he wasn't afraid to use, but what they got instead was Daniel Lawless, a man who carried a small gun he preferred not to use, a man who liked shoes."
Now only thing that detracts from the story, I am afraid to say, is that it has a number of simple typos that really need editing.
Everything about this story has made me very excited to continue on and I spent most of the weekend sneaking a few pages in whenever possible. Wow, just wow. Blown away.
Thoughts Upon Completion:
On one hand I am sad that I've finished one of the best books I have read for a while, on the other hand if there had been much more action I may have had a heart-attack! Somewhere I read that writers should avoid having too intense of action for too long, Everett pushed the envelope on this one but it did seem that too much was happening, day break hit and all slowed down again (Daylight is the monster's only weakness).
I found myself at times questioning what the author was doing with the story and why he was taking it that way, at one point I thought he was "Spielberg"-ing it (To Spielberg is to introduce aliens into a plotline for no apparent reason or because you don't know where to take the story, in other words, if all else fails, add aliens, for example, A.I. and Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull). I was wrong, the direction was necessary and made perfect sense. the story was always able to overcome this with proof of need and history to back it up.
I loved this story, I loved the characters, I loved the monster, I loved the storyline and how Lawless could see through the eyes of victims before they were going to be killed. He was indiscriminate with the victims too! there is one scene where a young girl is about to get gang rapped by a group of boys. Of course you root for the boys to get killed and the girl to escape, nope, they all die!
The only issue I have is the concept of "The Leader", it brought a level of 'preachiness' that I didn't think was necessary and could have been toned down or eliminated, not all stories need a moral, cause the moral to this story is, don't walk so close to the canals or you're gonna get yourself eaten!
There was only one thing that reminded me that this fantastically well written story wasn't written by someone backed with a slew of editors and publishing clout behind them, simple mistakes, nothing plot breaking but more the run of the mill type:
(these aren't actual quotes from the book)
-Frank had a good look at he. (should have been her)
-All of the pretty horses had beautiful golden manes of gold. (beautiful manes of gold or beautiful golden manes)
-I did see numbers spelled numbkers once as well
There was enough of these that it caused me to stumble and re-read a few sentances.
I stand by my saying that this is a "masterpeice of thrilling horror". I have no idea why I keep wanting to compare it to Stephen King's It but I do (I hate using Stephen King as the touchstone of horror writing). I also would have to say that this would make one hell of a 3D horror movie that would scare the crap out of millions of viewers and I don't think it would take much imagination to make a screen adaptation (except for what needed to be cut to fit it into 120mins of action).
5(1st Impressions)+3 (Editing)+10 (Overall Story)=18/20 (☼☼☼☼☼ )
on Sep. 15, 2011
In a Nutshell:
A group of five borderline Science Fiction tales:
Copy Bird: A man in a post-apocalyptic world befriends a talking bird that leads him to an unexpected discovery
Going Home: A man on leave from the military re-visits his family and makes a promise that he must keep
Josie Dorri And The Coffee Ban: What if the government banned coffee? Bad decisions will be made and riots will ensue, all together the makings of a bad day!
The Present: A good friend offers a gift that will last a lifetime.
Running To Keep Her: In order to stay close to his deceased wife a man begrudgingly lives his life the way she wanted him to but a chance encounter helps him see that there should be more to it.
I received a free copy of Free Bird a while ago and thoroughly enjoyed the story! I was expecting more great writing from B.C. Young in the collection and as of yet am not disappointed. Going Home is a great story with a very heartfelt message then it is followed up by Josie Dorri And The Coffee Ban which is a lighthearted and fun look at how dependent we are on that hot black beverage. I can't wait to read The Present and Running To Keep Her.
Thoughts Upon Completion:
After reading all five stories I firmly believe that B.C. Young is a tremendous story teller and can always wind a good tale and really make you think. All of the stories in Unspoken Words, although very different, bring messages of hope and understanding to our world and the way we think about it. I am now a fan!
According to the introduction and the inclusion of the post he made about writing slowly for quality and then the reply about how that has no bearing on how well you write, B.C. Young wrote many of these stories in a short time frame. You can't tell. Each story is well thought out and well executed. The only technical error I found was the phrasing of "Once in a while" which the author kept writing "Once and a while" but that just may be a dialect thing, not sure, just the only little stumble I found, I sure didn't stumble through the stories as a matter of fact I read the entire group in two sitting and wanted more!
Thanks for Reading
D. Ryan Leask
5 + 4 + 10 = ☼☼☼☼☼
Death of a Matador
on Sep. 19, 2013
My first experience with Mr. Powers was the fanastic novel Canals where he established himself to me as a fantastic writer, this solidified that.
A great story set in the very real, but not well known, world of Portuguese American culture. His descriptive voice and well thought story lines make this a great read and hard to put down!
I hope to read many more Grant Starr novels or anything from this fantastic author!
The Mighty T
on Sep. 28, 2013
I was enthralled from the start. I love his characters, their interactions and just the way he describes places situations and history, very matter of fact but yet enjoyable to read. I read the review by Jay Krow and completely agree with what he said. Keep an eye on this author, hens going places!
on Dec. 08, 2013
On ne hand I'm sad this trilogy is through but on the other it ended so well!. The author builds such amazing characters and landscapes that are so easily visualized and believed that you get lost in this world and for a moment you believe that you could hop on a shuttle and be off to Mars.
I really look forward to the next adventures to come from this wonderful storyteller!
on Jan. 13, 2014
a great and eclectic collection of sci-fi/horror that are fun and unique. Mr. Umpstead can tell a tale in a few pages just as well as he can over a three book series! Can't wait to see what he'll write next!
The King of Round Valley
on Feb. 09, 2016
I would have to say that when you first meet Grant Starr he seems like any other cop, part John McClane, part Thomas Magnum, but as you get to know him he is like no other. Despite being wealthy and driving his signature Blue, 1970 Ferrari Daytona, he is a down to earth every man that you can really relate to, though I think I'd be hard pressed to be as willing to go into danger!
The King of Round Valley paints a beautiful picture of the California coast but also allows a glimpse of what people don't see as they are travelling from vinyard to vinyard and, as the author says in his notes in the back, the real Round Valley, like the one in the book is a troubled place with a dark cloud hanging over it.
Everett Powers loves to spin a tale and his stories are addicting, the characters are lovable and the scenery pulls you in. I can't wait to go on a new adventure with Grant Starr,I just wish it was in the passenger seat of his beautiful car, then again it's likely a lot safer where I am.
Jesus Christ and the Broken Microwave Oven
on March 02, 2016
You're going to hell for writing this and I'm going for reading it. Can't wait to see you there and giving you a high five for writing such an entertaining book!