#BookReview His Name Was Zach by Peter Martuneac

His Name Was Zach by Peter Martuneac is a thrilling and horrific zombie novel.

In the last year or so I’ve been reading more zombie books. It’s kind of amusing because I’m not the biggest zombie apocalypse fan, yet I just kept picking them up. People lent me zombie books, I accidentally stumbled upon them or I would randomly pick a book off my shelf and BAM zombies. Then in walks His Name Was Zach with more zombies to fill up my shelf.

This book is big and long, but totally worth it if you dig zombie apocalypse books. We follow Zach (shocker, I know – the title definitely doesn’t give that away), who is an ex-Marine surviving a couple years into the insane zombie apocalypse that took his wife away from him. He has a surrogate daughter Abby along for the ride with him. She lost her family during the craziness years ago, but when her and Zach found each other it was the family they both didn’t know they needed.

This duo has a cute Father-Daughter relationship that will make you smile. Of course, that’s when they’re not both kicking butt. Both of these characters are strong but have flaws that make them feel real. Abby isn’t just a damsel in distress – she’s smart and strong (and sometimes innocent, but she’s a young teenager). Zach has demons to face but is also capable of holding himself up. It’s a nice mix that I don’t see too often in books like this. Bonus points for Peter Martuneac. Also, the nickname Bug is pretty cute.

Some of the back story of this book is kept safe like a secret – hidden away until just the right moment. Slowly, some of these mysteries unfurl and we get to see some of the brutality of the past. At the beginning it frustrated me, but once I got going I really appreciated the slow build and slow burn of the lack of information. Luckily, this book isn’t slow on the action so you don’t think too much about that once you get going. Zombie fights, potential cannibals, abduction plots, murder and wilderness survival all come at you pretty fast. It’s kind of hard to believe the book was almost 500 pages!

If you like thrills and horror mashed together then this book is for you. I applaud Peter for making an engaging zombie book that is definitely R rated. There’s lots of triggers for death and an almost rape scene, so reader beware.

I didn’t like the ending, but that’s no surprise if you know me personally. It’s not a hit against the book, but it made me sad.

Overall, it’s a great zombie book and I highly recommend it!

Four out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Peter Martuneac, in exchange of an honest review.

Click on the links below to find this book:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Find out more about this series on:
https://hisnamewaszach.wordpress.com/

Are you looking for more horrific reads? Check out some of these other terrifying books on my blog:
#BookReview Dead Women Tell Tales by Rajeev Singh
#BookReview Two Mothers by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview NYV: Goth by K.D. McQuain

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#BookReview Bunnicula by James & Deborah Howe

Happy Spooky Month!
This is my favourite time of year, so it’s time to share some of my fave spooky reads! This particular book is a personal fave from my youth. Enjoy!

 

Back in the day, Bunnicula was THE book to read in elementary school. The class clambered to the front of the classroom to sit in our little circle and have story time. This book turned us all into little book loving zombies and we were desperate for more. Unfortunately, our school and teachers were only ever able to get the first book, but that didn’t deter us. We all had it memorized by the end of the day.

Fast forward to 2020. I see this book in a local used bookstore and I decide, “Hey, why not read it again and see if it holds up?” I can see this book for what it is – an absolute delightful middle grade novel that introduces fun horror to youthful eyes. As an adult, it didn’t hold up for me but I still have a special place in my heart for it. Who doesn’t love Bunnicula? Seriously.

Vampire Bunnies. It’s such a unique idea and I LOVE it. This book sits with Goosebumps on my happy, little, Halloween-loving shelf. This bunny goes and drains vegetables, because obviously it was owned by Dracula! It’s a fun concept and super silly! It’s definitely a book I would recommend for parents and educators. Get your little readers into a spooky, Halloween spirit with this little gem!

As an adult, it feels like a funny SNL skit. It’s not scary to us because we know it’s fiction but to little kids it’s a potential nightmare (in a good way, it’s not THAT scary). The anticipation as a child was not there as an adult, but I can still appreciate how wonderfully written this book is. It’s short and sweet but packed full of story!

Also, surprise ending! I forgot how this book ended so I was pleasantly surprised!

The only negative I had with this book was some of the adult references: classic books, taxes, etc. Kids might not understand these terms, but if they have a great adult reader helping them along, it might be a good educational opportunity, I guess.

Overall, this book is a childhood fave of mine that I would still highly recommend! It’s so nostalgic for me and I truly miss the whimsical nature of reading these books!

Four out of five stars.

 

You can find out more about this childhood classic on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo
Kobo

 

Looking for more middle grade books? Here’s some recently featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Great Grain Elevator Incident by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Seizure by Kathy Reichs
#BookReview Loki’s Wolves by K.A. Armstrong and M.A. Marr

 

Check me out on:

Twitter: Briar’s Reviews – @ReviewAlholic #briarsreviews

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#BookReview Say Cheese and Die by R.L. Stine

Happy Spooky Month! Here’s another spooky filled book to brighten up (or darken) your shelf!

 

Who doesn’t love a good throwback? Especially one from the master, R.L. Stine.

I loved Goosebumps as a kid and I still love them now. They are the ultimate throwback and totally brightens my day. Sure, these books don’t scare as good as they used to but I still love the thrills along the way.

Greg and his buddies, Bird, Michael and Shari, find a magical camera. Except, this camera isn’t the good kind of magic – it’s the evil kind. When they take pictures with it, the developed pictures show evil, horrible, no good things. Crashed cars and scary scenes, and the worst part? They all become real. Suddenly Greg and his friends need to find a way to save the city and themselves from this potential disaster.

A while back I watched the first season of the television series and specifically watched this episode (Baby Ryan Gosling folks!) and it does not equate to this book. The book is way, way, way better and the show doesn’t do it justice. I’m glad I read this book after to see how great it actually was! Don’t judge the book by the television episode.

I don’t think this book will hold up as well, mostly because it involves a Polaroid camera. I think only the hipster kids will have any idea what it is. Either way, these middle grade novels are the best for introducing kids and readers to horror. It’s super fun and spooky, but not absolutely horrifying. Along the way I was chuckling at all of the thrills, knowing full well as a kid I would have been shaking in my boots.

The ending happened very quickly and suddenly, speeding up like a really fast car. I enjoyed it, but some readers may not.

This is definitely one of the better ones in the Goosebumps collection, so if you’re looking for fun horror or a good old fashioned throwback, grab this book! It’s a real delight!

Four out of five stars!

 

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo
Kobo

 

If you love middle grade reads, here’s some other books to top up your shelf:
#BookReview The Great Grain Elevator Incident by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Seizure by Kathy Reichs
#BookReview Monster Blood (Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine

 

Check me out on:
Twitter: Briar’s Reviews – @ReviewAlholic #briarsreviews

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#BookReview Blood Rain by Rajeev Singh

Blood Rain by Rajeev Singh is another dip into erotic horror that will steal the spotlight.

Erotic horror is one of those criss-cross genres. It’s creepy yet sexual (as the name implies) but hits in such a strange way. I don’t know whether to be scared, horrified or shocked.

A group of five get isolated on an island with sexually charged, exotic women, all being affected by a blood rain. Danger and horror await the crew as they try to traverse through the jungle and come out unscathed. Among the group, emotions are high and terror is higher.

There’s lots of women having sex with inanimate objects in this story. It’s very strange and is connected to horror, but the characters also find it oddly erotic. Add in blood rain, scary tales and an adventure, and you’ve got one wild ride (pun intended, thank you very much).

I will give Rajeev a virtual high five for his prose. His story telling ability and his word choice will make chocolate melt in your mouth. Seriously, he’s got a way with his words. The first chapter alone had me curious and interested in the story.

If you’re looking for something a little different, a little niche, totally R rated, and some truly insane erotic horror then you need to grab this book. Rajeev is such a talented writer and writes this niche market really well.

Four out of five stars.

Thank you to Rajeev Singh for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

If you’re looking for more by Rajeev Singh, click the links below:
Goodreads – Rajeev Singh
Briar’s Review’s #BookReview The Erotic Muse by Rajeev Singh
Goodreads – The Erotic Muse
Amazon.ca – The Erotic Muse
Amazon.com – The Erotic Muse
Books2Read : Books2Read – The Erotic Muse

 

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#BookReview Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

One of my life long reading goals is to pick up more classics, and since I am ALWAYS in a Halloween mood I figured Frankenstein would be right up my alleyway.

But let me set the record straight, Hollywood has done Mary Shelley some dirty. This book was NOTHING like what Hollywood told me, and I almost wish I would have picked it up in an audio book format to make it more enticing and scary for me.

First things first, Mary Shelley is a CHAMPION of writing. She is one of the best there is and this story is woven in such a beautiful way that it’s hard to say anything bad about it. The style, the prose, the word choice… It’s so intriguing and beautiful, despite being touted as a “horror” novel. Yes, there’s scary parts and a monster, but it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. The story is more dramatic, full of powerful scenes about life, death and family and it makes you question your feelings about the lead characters a LOT.

I would highly recommend reading this book if you’re into classics or want to see the real Frankenstein’s monster. I hardly saw Victor as a villain, more of a sad character due to circumstance. Even Frankenstein’s monster wasn’t as scary as I anticipated, I felt so bad for him. He’s given life but no existence… It’s a truly marvelous read. He might be a monster due to creation, but he’s not as horrifying as the movies would lead you to believe.

I will absolutely be jumping back into this book and tearing apart the themes and prose one day. I think this is a uniquely written book that presents itself in a ridiculously cool fashion. That being said, it did take me a long time to read it. It’s old fashioned, the writing style is different and it’s not fast paced and as crazy as Hollywood’s renditions. I did enjoy it though! Before I was able to watch a few videos and translate some of the more confusing parts of this book, it sat at a solid two for me. It’s jumped to a three only because it’s not something I’d read again without the help of an English major. It’s really cool and I did really love it, it’s just not the star studded book I expected it to be.

A lot of this book is delivered in letters and about a trip, very little felt like the scary horror novel I was expecting. I am impressed how the Hollywood renditions has changed the story, but it did throw me off when half of this book was just letters between two individuals. Either way, it’s still really cool. I can’t imagine being nineteen years old and writing a book that causes so much drama and excitement for people two hundred years later. That’s a good well done for Mary Shelley!

Three out of five stars!

 

Do you love the classics? Horror? Despise them all? Comment below!

 

If you enjoyed this review, check out others you might enjoy too:
#BookReview The Murder of Leopold Beckenbauer by K. Kris Loomis
#BookReview NYV: Goth by K.D. McQuain
#BookReview The Stickman’s Legacy by Benjamin Appleby-Dean

Check me out on:

Twitter: Briar’s Reviews – @ReviewAlholic #briarsreviews

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#BookReview NYV: Goth by K.D. McQuain

NYV: Goth is a great addition to the New York Vampire series by K.D. McQuain.

I have been waiting anxiously for this sequel for quite a while, and I have to say it didn’t disappoint! This sequel is darker, more twisted and absolutely brutal!

Yet again, we follow Chris in his new vampire life – he’s a little older, a little wiser and still getting into trouble. This book packs on the drama, the sex, the blood and the gore. As he tries to find his place in this world, performing a job alongside Amym and Joyce, trouble ensues.

This book is one hundred percent an R rated novel – there’s lots of sex scenes and lots of blood and guts. This book is not for the light-hearted, but it’s still quite the treat! The mature tone makes this book an interesting read since we are following a teenager. At times, I forgot that Chris was a teenager despite his actions reflecting his age pretty well. I still love Amym in this book, and I wish we got more from his side of the story. His little novella (#1.5 in this series) was really awesome – if you haven’t read that book, pick it up! Seriously, it’s great!

I loved that Chris is growing as a character. He wasn’t my favourite in the first novel, but he’s grown on me quite a bit. He has realistic emotions and reactions in a book that’s fantastical. I hope K.D. McQuain continues with this series and continues growing and developing Chris. He’s becoming one truly interesting character.

My issues with the book were as followed: I always seem to have difficulty figuring out how to pronounce the names of the characters. Googling them rarely helps me, so it’s more of a personal ‘con’ of the book. I’d love to see how K.D. had pronounced them as he was writing – that’d help silly old me out. My other con is that I wanted a little more from the side stories. They were really interesting, but I just wanted… more. Maybe I’m just greedy because I like K.D.’s writing style.

Overall, this book was a dark yet fun ride! It’s another ‘Reader Beware’ book – it’s really dark, it has rape and murder and lots of R rated content that might not be suitable for all ages or personalities

I would recommend this book if you like R rated vampire books (no glitter here folks!), drama and horror mashed together, or want a new series to jump into. I would recommend reading the first book so you really get the whole picture of this series, but you could definitely follow along with this story without any prior knowledge.

Four out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

This book can be purchased on:
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

The first book in this series can be found on Goodreads: Goodreads – NYV: Punk (#1)

Check out AMYM:The Mamluk Who Defied Death (New York Vampire #1.5) on Goodreads: AMYM on Goodreads

Find this book, NYV: Goth on Goodreads: Goodreads – NYV: Goth

Or…check out this website for more information on KD’s Books! K.D. McQuain’s Books

Find K.D. McQuain on Twitter! @McQuain_kd

 

Here are my other reviews for K.D. McQuain’s books:
#BookReview AMYM:The Mamluk Who Defied Death (New York Vampire 1.5) by K.D. McQuain
Book Review: NYV: Punk by K.D. McQuain

 

 

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#BookReview The Fourth Closet by Scott Cawthon

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The Fourth Closet by Scott Cawthon tied up some of the FNAF literature universe, but opened up a whole ‘nother can of worms.

I was a little too hooked to this book, but mainly because I am totally obsessed with the FNAF lore. The video games, the potential movie, the books! All of them are my guilty pleasure, which I will easily admit. But this book? It tops the other two. I found the first book to be intriguing, the second book to lag just a bit, and this book went flying off the handle to utter insanity! In a good way.

If you are going to take anything out of this book, it’s the strange way Scott is weaving and changing lore. The books don’t perfectly match up to the video games, but they will definitely spike your interest if you have played the games. There are easter eggs and references to so many different parts of the games that it’s almost hard to keep track of. Yet, it all works for perfectly well.

I found myself really hooked to this story and I didn’t want to put it down. It is fast paced and full of crazy twists and turns that you will need to read the first three books for. But, you could easily jump into this series if you haven’t played the games. Playing the games just makes the easter eggs in this book more fun!

If you don’t like sci-fi or thriller type books, this novel isn’t for you. The hype about the supernatural aspects of this book is unreal and goes beyond what I expected. The book is no longer just a silly YA novel, it’s full of technology and supernatural twists.

I found the ending… interesting. I’ll leave it at just that word, because the ending left me feeling like I had tons more questions coming out then going in. While I did get some answers and I thought the ending itself was a nice way to tie up the story, it really didn’t tie up the story that well. It made the story end, but it didn’t close the story as nicely as I wanted. So, maybe there will be another side series or another game or something that ties this storyline up. I hope, anyways.

Five out of five stars.

This was one of the few books I paid full price for. This whole series I was desperate to read, so lucky Scott Cawthon got my money on this one.

 

Check this book out on:

Goodreads

Kobo

Barnes & Nobles

Indigo/Chapters/Coles

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Check out another review by Briar’s Reviews that you might enjoy: #BookReview The Twisted Ones by Scott Cawthon

 

Give me a shout out on Twitter @ReviewAlholic or check me out on Facebook @BriarsReviews about what books you’d like to see featured on this blog!
And comment below – have you read any of the FNAF books? Do you play the games?

#BookReview The Stickman’s Legacy by Benjamin Appleby-Dean

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The Stickman’s Legacy is a fantastical, horror novel that will keep you hooked.

This book feels like something my friends and I would come up with when ad lib-ing stories together. It’s fantastical, it has some horror elements, and is packed full of mystery! It jumps right into the action (which makes me, a fan of action packed stories, very happy!) and very rarely moves at a slow pace. Sure, the book is mighty long, but every page is worth it. I will say though – it’s not a binge worthy book. This book requires a lot of mental effort to read (lots of terminology and story plots you need to follow) so I’d suggest reading this over many nights. If you spend your time with it instead of rushing, you’ll find this book way more enjoyable.

Mary Martin/Spindle is the lead character of this story. We follow her journey on solving the mystery of her father – Jeremy Spindle – The Stickman of this story’s legacy. We find out lots of interesting story elements along the way – he left her his house in London, her childhood flashbacks involving Uncle Hob, a past car accident, and strangers leaving her cryptic messages along the way. Uncle Hob and Mary’s various family members all give us explanations to help push this story along and fill in any blanks we are missing as readers.

I found this book to be quite unique – it didn’t fully feel like a pure fantasy, pure horror or pure mystery novel. Benjamin Appleby-Dean does a great job of weaving this story together and slowly introducing us to all the major plot points. Mary (being a slightly unreliable narrator) was also very interesting. Each chapter gave up a little bit more about her back story to make the reader more engaged with the story. Throw in some secret societies that are reminiscent of Scientology (if you want the info, you better join…) and some magical elements, and you’ve got yourself one wacky ride! Add a dash of swords, falling bookshelves and a name like Nimbleknock and you’ve got yourself an epic, fantasy, adventure too!

The worst part of the novel was one specific plot point – Mary is asking questions from some special characters within the story… AND THEY DON’T GIVE HER DIRECT ANSWERS. For a plot point, this is awesome! It opens up the story a little more to keep pushing Mary forward. But for me, as an impatient reader… I would never survive in this story. My impatience would lead me to a little temper tantrum if I would have been her. I wanted to throw the papers across my desk in animated frustration because it would have driven me insane as a person.

Overall, I think this book is really cool! It’s a unique story that has many different perspectives that could draw in a wide variety of readers. To me, it felt like a New Adult novel instead of a teen (Mary was a teenager, but this book didn’t feel like strictly YA) but it would be loved regardless. As long as you’ve got a mature audience who can focus on the bigger picture of the novel, you’re set!

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free from the author Benjamin Appleby-Dean in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Goodreads

Check out Benjamin Appleby-Dean on:

Twitter

Goodreads

 

And give me a shout out on Twitter if you read this review! #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

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**Photo courtesy of the author.

#BookReview The Shining by Stephen King

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To say Stephen King is a genius and a legend in the horror world is an understatement.

I had been meaning to read The Shining for a very long time – I became determined to read the book before the movie, and I’ve been dying to watch the movie for the past two years! While I have heard the comments over and over that the book and the movie aren’t the same, I’ll stil wanted to stick to my word and read the book well before I found the movie again.

This book didn’t strike me as hard as It and Carrie did, but I still found it incredibly fascinating. The work is legendary and sits on many top shelves of readers I know and look up too. So, of course, I had to dive right in and tear this book apart.

This book was slow starting, but Stephen King’s descriptions and writing style kept me hooked. I didn’t enjoy the slow pace, but it did pick up about halfway through the novel. Then I was hooked and needed to finish this book, and yearned to know what would happen to these characters.

I read someone, a long time ago, that this book was based on cabin fever. It definitely seems possible, but there were lots of ghosts or mystical beings mashed up within this book as well. After watching Ready Player One and seeing references I didn’t understand, reading this book and seeing those figures helped me grasped a better understanding of what was happening in that movie. The creepy descriptions of the lady in the bathtub and all of the other weird creatures really made me feel like I was in this story. At times, I totally understood how this book got turned into a movie (and how has there not been twenty remakes by now? The story is so cool!). If you’re looking for a frightful read with descriptions that will blow your mind, Stephen King is absolutely for you!

While I don’t find myself to be a crazy horror fan (since I don’t get scared from these books, but I am always in awe), I have to say I really like this book. I like how Stephen King writes and I like that it’s such a different story. Just comparing this book to It and Carrie (the only two Stephen King books I have read), these books are always well thought out, absolutely insane and full of scenes you’d never imagine! It’s A+ horror and one of the best thrillers.

To me, this book wasn’t scary – I don’t find books scary because of the lack of noise and background sounds, but it was an epic thriller with scary scenes. I could see readers easily finding this scary, and I would not recommend reading this to children. It’s R rated, but a really great R rated ride! Jack, Wendy and Danny are also really interesting characters that develop in crazy ways. Slowly you can see their minds unwinding and going into dark terroritories. Although, I’m really curious as to how Stephen King got into the mind of Danny. Is that how little six year olds think? Or is he mature because of the Shine?

The shine seems to pop up in many books from this point on, which makes me excited to throw myself into Mr. King’s collection and have these books intertwine with each other like a horror-filled Pixar theory.

I might never read this book again, mainly because I need to catch up with all of Stephen’s other books. Is it worth a second read? Heck yes. I’m sure there are lots of scenes and easter eggs I missed throughout! Would I recommend this book? Oh my gosh, yes! It’s a great book, and if you’re only going to pick one horror book it might as well be by the King of Horror.

Five out of five stars!

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BookReview The Erotic Muse by Rajeev Singh

Comment below – what is your favourite horror novel?

If you read this review, give me a shout out on Twitter using the hashtag #briarsreviews @ReviewAlholic

#BookReview The Vampire’s Assistant by Darren Shan

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The Vampire’s Assistant was an excellent young adult novel that is full of thrills and chills!

I watched the movie adaption of this series YEARS ago, and I had been dying to pick up this series. Unfortunately for me, the bookstore is big and full of millions of books so I’d forget what I was looking for the minute I walked in. Luckily for me, I walked into a bargain bookstore and found an old, extremely damaged version of this book for clearance – so of course I bought it! A little water never hurt anybody!

I hadn’t read the first book in this series, but jumping right in was super easy! This book was fun, full of silly frights and awesome character development, and made me remember why I loved vampire novels in my youth!

This book is quick – it moves fast and keeps you interested at every turn. There’s some really creepy bad guys, Evra (the snake boy), a wolf man, and some awesome parental-yet-not-so-parental adults hanging around. It’s definitely the type of horror book I would read as a kid (but it doesn’t scare me at all now – adult me has worse things to be afraid of…like politics and bills…ick).

I highly recommend this book to anyone considering introducing their children to YA books with horror or vampires in it. It’s fun and creepy in all good ways! It’ll keep the adults interested too!

Four out of five stars!

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out another you might enjoy! #BooKReview Hercufleas by Sam Gayton

Comment below – what is your favourite young adult novel?

Give me a shout-out on Twitter using the hashtag #briarsreviews if you read this review! Briar’s Reviews on Twitter – @ReviewAlholic

And check out Darren Shan:

http://www.darrenshan.com/

@DarrenShan

 

Photo from Goodreads.