COUNTING DOWN THE STORM A Novella by D. Ryan Leask
For two days the storm has taken over the city, and two people's lives. A man convinces himself that his life is worthless when his lover leaves him for another man. Alone and depressed, he allows his life to sink into the bowels of civilization. When a wife and mother discovers that her husband is having an affair she abandons logic and gives in to the perilous abyss of jealousy and revenge.
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DRyan DReads (Indie Book Reviews)

This page is dedicated to the hardworking folks at Twitter's (in)famous #Pubwrite.  There are a huge number of Independant Authors and I would like to do my part in promoting them and letting them know what I think of their books.  I won't be doing any crazy one a day or likely even one a month posting, just whenever I finish a book that was recommended through #Pubwrite.

Another note is that I my Kobo so the version I am reviewing is for it.
Spoilers are under the white highlighted sections, hightlight them with your curser if you wish to read.  Example: Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's Father! Who Knew?
B.C. Young
Untold Stories
☼☼☼☼☼

 Kindle
 Nook
 Kobo Through Smashwords


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.


First Thoughts:
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!
Overall
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

Score:
5 + 4 + 10 = ☼☼☼☼☼
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Steve Umstead

Gabriel's Redemption

☼☼☼☼☼
Available for:
Kindle
Nook
 Kobo Through Smashwords

In a Nutshell:
A down and out former military heavy weight finds himself re-instated on a top secret mission to stop drug trafficking. 

First Thoughts:
It's all very cliched and unimaginative as far as plot line goes however Steve Umpstead uses this simple plot line and character to create a very imaginative and believable world around.  His detail and style make Gabriel's Redemption a quick study and suspension of disbelief is easy to achieve as he takes current 20th century technology and imagines it as it would evolve with the world from now until when this story takes place.  I am very impressed and although I can likely figure out how it will end that doesn't mean it's not worth finding out if I'm correct, and even if I am correct I won't be disappointed.

Thoughts Upon Completion:
An excellent first book and well written.  It's very easy to image Gabriel's universe as Mr. Umstead's descriptions paint a very vivid picture of how it is.  He is able to do this without making it seem contrived either.

Gabriel's Redemption does fall short in a couple of ways though.  It seemed odd to me that hard living hard fighting men (Both Bad and Good) didn't swear.  The use of the word Baggin' seemed like an odd choice and made the fact that the language in the book was very much 'G-rate' obvious.  The other criticism I have is that the ended seems a drawn out, I don't want to spoil it but somethings can be left unsaid, however after learning that there is indeed a sequel in the works it may work as part of the build up to that.

Overall
This is a Sci-Fi story and very comfortable as such.  Steve Umstead put a lot of thought behind his characters and settings making them jump off the page.  Gabriel is sure to become more relaxed as the stories go on as will Mr. Umstead and both will continue to entertain I'm sure.

Thanks for Reading
D. Ryan Leask

Score:
5 + 5 + 8 = ☼☼☼☼☼
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Steve Umstead
Gabriel's Return

☼☼☼☼☼
Available for:
 Kindle
 Nook
 Kobo Through Goodreads

In a Nutshell:
This is the second book of the Evan Gabriel Series.
After a short time attempting, and somewhat succeeding, to help out people in one of the lawless domes of Mars, Gabriel and his team are summoned to meet with the area's Governor.  She sends them on an unofficial assignment to stop terrorists who have kidnapped her son and several others on the planet of Eden, a place that Gabriel knows well, and has a sorted past with.

First Thoughts:
There are some tremendous visuals of both the landscape on Mars and Eden as well as a really cool sequence where people are "drinking" tea at zero gravity!  It's like the author did it and documented it all.  Super cool!  The story has grown a lot since the last one, and so has the writer!  Quick side note, for those of you that aren't familiar with military jargon, you may see the term materiĆ©l.  It's not a typo, it's the proper military term for materials.  See definition

Thoughts Upon Completion:
Wow!  I was impressed with the first story and was really looking forward to this one.  I was not disappointed.  The action was quickly paced and well written, I can't recall a single slow spot in the whole story and the tie-in of Gabriel's back story and the trouble he'd previously had on Eden was really well played out here.  I won't give away the ending, but let's say it was very obvious how it was going to end, but only in hindsight!  I have nothing negative to say about this sequel.  The writer held back a bit on the first with his language which made it a little bit odd, this time around the language was more befitting the military setting on which it's based.

Overall
As I mentioned on my review of Gabriel's Redemption, this is a no question's sci-fi story however it lends itself very well to both those who are avid readers of this genre and those that just want to read a great story! It's never goes over the top with techie jargon and all of the sciencey parts are cleverly explained and based on things that are currently in our popular culture.
This is part II of a trilogy and I think you won't sit idly by waiting for #3!

Thanks for Reading
D. Ryan Leask

Score:
4 + 5 + 10 = ☼☼☼☼☼
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Bobby Dennis Jr.
Bloodline of Kane
☼☼☼☼

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R.A. Evans
Asylum Lake
☼☼☼☼☼
Available for:
Kindle
Nook
 Kobo Through Smashwords

In a Nutshell:
A reporter Brady Tanner, returns to his families summer home to pick up the pieces after the tragic death of his wife and recent loss of his parents.  The Up North House, as it was called by his family, begins to reveal secrets about the abandoned Insane Asylum nearby and his family.  Brady must follow the history of his family and the Asylum before his own sanity is forever lost.

First Thoughts:


Just started this last night and I am expecting, from what I have heard about this book, a very straight forward classic horror story. So far it seems like it. It's quiet with great character building, a bit of a grabber at the start with the trial, which is exceptionally well written as is everything thus far. The introduction of the Scrabbleboard has so much promise of creepiness!

Can't wait to keep reading.

Thoughts Upon Completion:

Like warm chocolate chip cookies coming out of the oven, R.A. Evans has written a horror story using a classic recipe to thread a tale of ghosts and haunted places and game boards that never gets old.  It has possessed children and near death experiences and lots of creep factors.  There were no attempts to make a "new" vision of a horror story and that sat well with me.  I couldn't wait to see where the story was going and how it was going to get there and wasn't disappointed with either.  I also fell in love with all of the characters and genuinely cared what was going to happen to them.

There were a couple of things that could have been a little different, the relationship with his former father-in-law could have been explored and exploited a bit more.  His love interests fathers character could have possibly had more to give and there were lots of details left unexplored that were given too much attention.  I do believe however that there is a follow up coming so those will likely be addressed in that (although I personally am not crazy about horror sequels, but with Friday the 13th part 46 I'm one of the few I'm sure).

Overall:

R.A. Evans is the real deal, a truly gifted horror with a vision of what affectionados are looking for in this genre and with his debut novel, did not fail to provide.

Thanks for Reading
D. Ryan Leask

Score:
5 + 4 + 8 = ☼☼☼☼☼

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Carolyn Arnold
Ties That Bind
☼☼☼☼
Available for:
Kindle
 Kobo & Nook Through Smashwords
Hardcopy Available through Amazon and Create Space
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.

First Thoughts:

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.

Terry's conflict in the end turned out to be somewhat anti-climactic although I'm not sure if his character was supposed to be a possible "reader's suspect" in the crimes. As the ending approached I could tell that the author was trying to make it a big twist but I really began to see it coming. It wasn't quite clever enough and was a little far fetched. That said, Ms. Arnold did do a good job of providing a storyline to limit skeptisism as much as could be done. The epilogue was also 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.

Overall:

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.

Final Score:

4+4+6=☼☼☼☼

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Everett Powers
Canals
☼☼☼☼☼
Available for:
Kindle
 Kobo Through Smashwords
Nook

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.
First Thoughts:
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 sentance.

Overall:

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 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).

Final Score:

5+3+10=☼☼☼☼☼


Here is my very complex rating system

  1. First Impressions
    • 5 -I couldn't stop reading until I had to
    • 4 -Grabbed me off the start, looking forward to the rest
    • 3 -Has potential to improve as it goes along
    • 2 -Praying it gets better
    • 1 -Contemplating Skipping Ahead
    • 0 -Couldn't Bare reading any more, gave up
  2. Spelling/Grammar/Punctiation (No Bearing on Story)
    • 5 -Non Detected
    • 4 -Minor and easily ignorable
    • 3 -Couple of Stumbles but not much flow loss
    • 2 -Less Savvy Readers may not notice
    • 1 -Should consider editing and reloading
    • 0 -Fire Your Editor
  3. Story
    • 10 -Outstanding Could not put it down, Anxiously Awaiting Next Book
    • 8 -Fantastic Read
    • 6 -Average
    • 4 -Amatuerish
    • 2 - Waste of Time/Money (Even if Free)
    • 0 - Could not Force Myself to Finish
    • N/A - Did Not Finish (Not Writers Fault)*
*Will Give Detailed Reason
Scoring:
☼☼☼☼☼ -17 - 20
☼☼☼☼ -13 - 16
☼☼☼☼☼ -9 - 12
☼☼☼☼☼ -5 - 8
☼☼☼☼☼ -1 - 4
☼☼☼☼☼ -0

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for a nice, and respectful review.

    Very glad to hear you'd read another, as well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the honest review. I thought I'd found all the typos. That's why I need an editor. I hadn't planned on a "leader", it just came out that way. I thought it was good to follow the horror of the moster with something good.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'd like to thank you again for the coverage of my book, D. or is it Ryan? I'm unsure. Now, watch as I post this exact same comment on the interview page! (I might add a few typos into it, just to make it different than this one.)

    ReplyDelete