Review: Say Her Name by James Dawson.

Saturday, August 13, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

 Roberta 'Bobbie' Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of Bloody Mary: say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear... But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it? 
Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror - five days - but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before... A truly spine-chilling yet witty horror from shortlisted 'Queen of Teen' author James Dawson. From: Goodreads.

Get this e-book from: Amazon, B&N, Kobo or The Book Depository.
Rating: 5/5! – Favorite.

The storyline:
It's actually pretty well explained in the book blurb, but I'll try and summarize the story without giving out any spoilers.

So, this is a story about Bloody Mary. However the take on it is amazing.

We're at a boarding school for girls in England, called Piper's Hall, our protagonists are Bobbie (the main character), her best friend Naya and Bobbie's crush Caine.
On Halloween night, Naya is dared by their classmate Sadie to call Bloody Mary and face her wrath. When Naya accepts and Caine decides to join in, Bobbie joins them in order to not leave them alone. They sneak back into Piper's Hall and go to one of the bathrooms and call Bloody Mary for five times, waiting for what to happen next, but nothing happens so they shrug it off and go to their dorms and Caine back to his school.
When the next day strange things start happening, Bobbie reconsiders the fact that they might actually be cursed. As she shares her fears with Naya, she thinks she's just getting punked by one of the girls or even by her friend. However, when Sadie disappears into thin air, and Caine starts experiencing those bizarre events as well, they realize that they've been indeed cursed and that they have exactly less than five days to live.
They start seeing Mary, having weird dreams and so they realize they have to find a way to not get killed, so they figure the only way is to uncover why Mary is so vengeful? What does she want? And why did she give them exactly five days before their time was up?

I'm not going to spoil it anymore ;). You'll have to read it to the last page to feel the chills in your bones.

What I loved:
  • The story of Bloody Mary is original and so vivid. As you read it you get the feeling you'll be hunted by her by just reading the book.
  • The writing style is amazing. I'm usually very skeptic about starting books by new authors (to me) because I'm not sure I'll love their writing style. From the moment I started reading this book until past half way through, I felt as I was inside a movie and the writing style just kept me inside. It's so smooth and immersive.
  • I love the characters. How every character in this book had a good part in it, even if they weren't the protagonist.
  • There's a mentioning of a character loving CSI: Miami and the Bloody Mary episode on Supernatural (my all-time favorite TV shows along with The Big Bang Theory and PLL), the last which got me thinking that maybe the episode is behind this book (although they have completely different story lines and yet certain similarities…no spoilers).
  • The ending!!! I kind of expected a certain twist but then I shrug it off telling myself not every book I read has to have a twist at the end. This one however… I wish there was a sequel and at the same time I'm glad there isn't, it leaves freedom to our imagination.

What I disliked:
  • After getting 50% into the story, the story got a little bit dull. But it could be just me since that was the part where Bobbie and Caine were starting to really get along. To me that wasn't the problem, the problem was that the story wasn't as strong and as it was before (scary and mysterious).
  • Bobbie: A simple and shy British girl, who thinks she's neither too smart nor too beautiful. She keeps to herself and writes in her spare time. She hates boys and never dated before. She doesn't trust anybody and she loves her mother and best friend Naya. Throughout the book we see her grow up and how strong and smart she is. She'd do anything for those important to her.
  • Naya: A crazy, strong, funny and outgoing girl from New York and Bobbie's best friend. She speaks what's on her mind and she doesn't mind standing up for herself and those important to her.
  • Caine: A nice boy whom they never met until their classmate and venomous class leader, Grace, brought him on Halloween's night. He's a confident, nice, straight to the point guy who is somewhat shy and yet knows what he wants and is not afraid to show when he's scared or beaten.
Other characters worth mentioning: Grace, the leader of The Elites at Piper's Haul, a vicious and immoral girl who thinks she should always get what she wants and no one dares to even speak to her. Sadie: A somewhat not very evil girl, she called upon Bloody Mary twice and she's the one who told them the Bloody Mary legend and dared them to say it in the first place. She goes missing short after that.

Favorite quotes:
Caine nodded and rubbed a porthole for himself in the steamed-up window. 'Some people just shine a bit brighter than others and it's got nothing to do with what they look like.' --- Chapter 15: Grave Matters
Bobbie wondered if that's how long you truly live for - until the last person who remembers you, until the final bouquet on your grave. --- Chapter 15: Grave Matters.
Bobbie took his hands. She didn't know why, but she voiced one of her greatest fears. 'You don't think I'm weird, do you?'
This time he did look at her. 'Only in a good way.'
Another tear threatened to make appearance. She held it back. This was a good thing. If she was taken by restless spirits she could at least say she'd died having met someone who got her. That was pretty cool. --- Chapter 22: Phantom Pregnancy.
This is a great read if you're in a reading slump (like me) and/or love horror stories with ghosts and bloody scenes. It's somewhat short and is very well written.
Totally recommended!
About the book:
Title: Say Her Name.
Series: /.
Author: James Dawson: website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads.
Release date: June 5th, 2014.
Publisher: Hot Key Books.
Source: Bought.

Zoho Vault: manage your passwords safely and easily.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

With everyone having so many accounts online and having to deal with remembering the password of each account and keeping it safe, having a password manager has been fundamental. But to choose a password manager is to choose a safe and trusted place to save your passwords. Where you can access them securely and from anywhere. So today I present you with Zoho Vault.
Zoho Vault is available on Android, iOS, and for desktop via Chrome and Firefox extensions. You need to sign up for an account at first either via your email, Google or Facebook account, after that you'll need a separate passphrase that protects your passwords aka your Vault. This passphrase will not be stored anywhere and it cannot be recovered, so you need to make sure you remember this or write it down somewhere safe.
  • On PC:
Once you're signed up and logged in into the vault, you'll need to install the browser extensions on your PC in order to enable auto fill; for example, if you open Twitter's website, where you have saved the password already, Zoho Vault will automatically enter your username and password.
From the business and sharing perspective, Zoho Vault lets you share passwords with team members. You can create multiple vaults, dubbed Chambers, and just give team members access to certain vaults. This lets you easily separate work-related accounts from your personal credentials, and you can simply let team members access the "Work" chamber to let them login to the company accounts.
From the simplicity perspective, adding passwords to the Vault is quite simple. You can either add them via the browser extension, or just log in to the website and it will offer to save your password on its own.
One thing I find missing with the extensions is the ability to import already saved passwords in the browser instead of writing every password of every account we have manually. Since most of us, if not all, save their login passwords in their browser in order to remember it next time and to be able to login faster, this feature would really help a lot.
  • On Android:
The experience was actually pretty good. The app itself is designed well and is simple to use. Whenever you open a login page, the auto fill pop-up will help you instantly key in your credentials easily and smoothly. However, sometimes I noticed a certain lag or the popup window freezing This happened few times but it wasn't a big issue and I could easily go back and redo the process and it worked fine. Hopefully these small issues will be dealt with in future updates.
I've tried many password managers and I stopped using them soon after because the app was either complicated to use, sometimes it didn't work or it wasn't free.
So when I was contacted by the really nice Zoho Vault marketing guy, Chandramouli Dorai, telling me that Zoho had a password manager, I was really intrigued for many reasons (I have been playing around with Zoho Notebook which is really interesting and I'm still waiting a bit to write a review on it. Also I've used Zoho Docs for so long back in middle school, so I'm familiar with Zoho very well).
I am actually pleased with the way Zoho Vault works. It has all the essential features for personal and corporate use. Yes, it stores your passwords online, but the second time you use it, it asks you to enable two-factor authentication which will add in a second code required to sign in and which will be sent via SMS, an app or a phone call. Storing passwords online means that they're stored with Zoho, which may concern some with all the privacy concerns talk on the internet. However, Zoho encrypts the passwords, which makes them virtually impossible to access for anyone who doesn't have access to your Chambers. Not to mention that the passphrase which is required to access your account is not stored anywhere on Zoho's servers therefore the access to your account is impossible. The Zoho company itself has been around since 1996 and has a history of making online collaboration tools and other enterprise apps like I mentioned before. That plus the multiple layers of security in Zoho Vault should chase away any concerns people might have.
With all of this being said, I'll keep using it and see how it goes and I'll keep this post updated :).
I should also thank the Zoho Vault team for letting me know about this service and for being patient with me while I wrote this review. I should note that this is an honest and truthful review, I'm not sponsored in anyway.
Let me know in the comments below or via Twitter what password manager you use? Or if you've tried Zoho Vault, what did you think of it?