Review: Say Her Name by James Dawson.

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


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 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).
Characters:
  • 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.
Conclusion:
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!
5
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.
Randa

Zoho Vault: manage your passwords safely and easily.

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

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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.
Conclusion
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?

Get to know me: 30 facts about me

Saturday, July 09, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-


Hello!

It’s so nice to be back and writing again, it has been a long time, sorry for keeping you waiting this long and thank you for your undying patience and loyalty:), it’s an honor to have such a great family online❤.
So, to kick off the blogging season on my blog, I thought I’d start with something light and fun to read. This way you, my readers, will get to know me better other than the geeky Randa, and at the same time this is a way to re-open the blog:).

Let’s go!

    1. I had my first technology experience back when I was 8 years old. We had one of those big white desktop PCs that came with Windows NT (and the floppy disk to reinstall the OS in case of a problem) + a slow yet very satisfactory Internet connection via phone (dial-up). Good old times *^*.
    2. I cherish milk. Milk is the only drink/food I’d die without having every day at least twice.
    3. My favorite colors are: Black, crimson red, brown, purple, pastels and hot pink.
    4. I dislike chocolate except for dark chocolate. My favorite is ‘’Cote d’Or” ’s black chocolate, it’s by far the best one I’ve tasted.
    5. I can go a whole week without drinking water. I just don’t remember to drink it and I’m not thirsty very often.
    6. I am a picky eater but I don’t say a thing if something I don’t like is served to me, I just don’t eat it quietly.
    7. I’m fascinated with Asian culture especially Korean and Japanese.
    8. Speaking of which, I can fluently read Korean, can speak basic sentences and I’m still working on writing (self learning).
    9. I am obsessed with Korean music (BIGBANG, 2NE1, Jessica, Brown Eyed Girls, MAMAMOO, T-Ara, BEAST, 2PM…etc) and dramas (My Love From Another Star, She Was Pretty, Oh My Ghostess, Lucky Romance, Doctor Stranger…etc).
    10. For the last two years I’ve started getting into anime and manga, although I’m still a newbie at those.
    11. I could eat meat & pasta forever if I could.
    12. I hate eating fresh vegetables except for carrots and salads that have a strong taste of vinegar.
    13. Speaking of carrots, my favorite juice is made of carrots, lemons and oranges. It tastes so good.
    14. My favorite fruit is bananas. Hence the nickname: slim monkey.
    15. I used to love dentists and always wanted to be one, but then I had an awful experience with a bad dentist on my senior year of high school and now I have a serious dentist/dental phobia to the point that when I see someone with their tooth hurting them or a dentist in general, my whole mouth feels like it’s breaking apart.
    16. I adore horror movies to the point of obsession. My latest favorites are: The Conjuring (1 & 2 although I’m still waiting for the second one to come out on DVD/Blu-ray), The Boy and Unfriended. I definitely recommend checking them out.
    17. I watched Supernatural, its 10 seasons, in under a month last year. Because I wanted to refresh my memory of the earlier episodes and be ready for season 11, which was much better than 10😀❤ .
    18. I can’t study/work without music blaring through my ears. And I don’t mean instrumental music, but normal with lyrics music.
    19. I’m a Ubuntu (and a shell) freak. I love it. Although I can’t use it for now, I’m planning to find a way to integrate it better with all my requirements.
    20. For some reason, I can’t realize when someone is telling me in an indirect way that they like me. I kind of get it later on (maybe a year or two later if I get reminded or if it’s pointed out by one of my friends…) or I don’t get it at all. It’s probably because I like things straight forward, I don’t like going around what’s wanted to be said.
    21. Speaking of which, I’m brutally honest. Sometimes even too honest and I realize that this can be intimidating or even offensive for others but the thing is, I don’t mean harm by it at all. I just like things to be clear and simple so there’s no grey area left and we’re all on the same page. And as someone’s friend, I take it as my duty to keep my friend’s head clear and in the right direction, even if that means me telling them what they don’t want to hear.
    22. When I’m really bored or very stressed, I turn off the light, close my bedroom door and lay still in my bed looking at the ceiling. I can stay like that for hours until my mind is clear and I’m energized again.
    23. I’m not a candy person, but I can’t say no to: gummy bears, Maltesers and Smarties.
    24. My favorite smells (and sounds in some cases) are: the sea (especially at night), the rain when it hits the earth, certain types of flowers and the smell of clean things.
    25. I take what I do very seriously, whether it’s school work or just what I love to do. I don’t give up easily, especially if it’s something I’ve worked for so hard and people keep mocking me for it. I tend to overanalyze and think of every single possibility and consequence when faced with important decisions.
    26. Something which might not be obvious to most people even my friends, I’m quite an affectionate person for someone who hates romantic books, TV shows and movies. I just don’t show it openly and I don’t think I’ve ever shown it to anyone 100% except for my own family. I think showing affection has a right time and place along with the right person and in the right way. Not necessarily words. They say that the best showing of love and affection comes in actions and not in words, and I say it’s 100% true, so pay attention to those around you, they might not say much, but you might mean the world to them. In my whole life I’ve watched one romantic and heartbreaking movie that actually made me cry and I’ve never seen it again after (on purpose): A Walk to Remember.❤
    27. If you’ve come this far, you probably realize by now: I’m a philosopher. I really like philosophy, it’s vague and has many doors of questions to be opened and questioned. I think it keeps your mind open and its gears working. My favorite philosopher is: Descartes❤ . He did his best of work in two of my all time favorite domains: philosophy and mathematics.
    28. And yes, I adore mathematics, chemistry, biology and philosophy. A weird combination I know and yet somehow you could always find an interconnection between all of them.
    29. I am a bookworm. I think some of you already know that even if you’ve been following me for a little while. But for you who didn’t know, I’m obsessed with books, although I’ve been in a reading slump for a little over 2 years now😥 . Still working on fixing that.
    30. I’m the craziest and the wildest person you can ever meet and at the same time I’m the shiest most introvert person ever. One of the craziest combinations that even my friends can’t understand. Despite being 24/7 serious and I don’t talk a lot and I keep my distance and a very clear and thick line between me and others, if I feel confortable enough around someone and I feel I’m truly welcomed, I become the opposite, still always respectful, serious when needed but also funny, crazy and very talkative too.
    That’s it!! If you actually did read everything up to here, thank you. I salute you for your patience and for your commitment to read this even though I might have just wasted a very big portion of your time.

    Thank you~<3

    Coming soon on the blog: my all time favorite five apps on Android!

    Review: I.D. by Emma Rios.

    Tuesday, June 28, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

    ID1
    A dystopian tale that analyzes the conflict between perception and identity through the struggle of three people who consider a 'body transplant' as a solution to their lives.
    Get this book/ebook from: Amazon, B&N, Kobo or The Book depository.

    Rating: 3/5.



    The cover:
    The cover is very simple and yet very intriguing too. What drew me first to this graphic novel is the cover.

    The story:
    This graphic novel is a sci-fi story set in a dystopian world where there is chaos and struggle. The story follows three people and their struggle with their identities and how they want to overcome their issues and problems by undergoing a “body transplant”, changing their bodies by extracting their brains from their current body and planting it in the newest one.

    What I loved:
    • The story itself has a good base and it had a great potential.
    • The art is really great and expressive.
    • The scientific aspect to the story is very intriguing and very well exploited.
    What I disliked:
    • The story scratched only the surface of what could’ve been a more intriguing storyline.
    • The end wasn’t really an end. It left me with other questions and wondering about one of the characters.
    • The whole graphic novel is in red (writing and drawing) which can be a bit difficult to get used to and might be hard on the eyes a bit since I strain them more to get the details.
    • We don’t know how the characters know each other to begin with and how they met.
    • It felt like the book is more about the transformation method than about the story itself and the characters.

    The characters:
    The main characters in this story are: Mike, Noa and Charlotte. They each have a different reason for wanting to undergo this change (although Mike doesn’t really want to undergo it as much as study it). The characters get along very well and that makes the story go on very easily. Each with their own personality and yet they’re all friendly and care about each other. At the end of the graphic novel, I couldn’t to not wonder about each character and feel connected to them.

    Conclusion:
    Overall, I.D. is a unique story and has a unique art and coloring, this is a first for me to read a graphic novel like this.
    The story is really good but too bad the author didn’t go any deeper with it. We’re left with assumptions and so many unanswered questions about the story, the relationship between the characters and what happened to them later on (especially charlotte).
    It would be great if we had a sequel that could explain a lot.
    Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read and review I.D.
    3
    Info about this read:
    Title: I.D.
    Author: Emma Rios: website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads.
    Series: /
    Release date: June 28th, 2016.
    Publisher: Image Comics.
    Read it on: June 27th, 2016.
    From: NetGalley.
    Randa

    Book blitz: Remember Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram & giveaway.

    Thursday, June 16, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-



     Title: Remember Jamie Baker.
     Author: Kelly Oram: Website, blog, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.
     Series: Jamie Baker.
     Publisher: Bluefields.
     Publication date: June 10th, 2016.
     Get the ebook/book/audiobook from: Amazon, Audible, B&N, The Book Depository or Kobo.

    Remember Jamie Baker is the explosive and long awaited conclusion to the Jamie Baker trilogy. 
    Plagued by memory loss, Jamie Baker searches high and low for the answers to who she is, where she comes from, and why she’s able to do things other humans can’t. A not-so-simple task when she’s hiding from the people responsible for her amnesia—an evil scientific research company that wants to capture her at any cost. 
    When Jamie’s quest for the truth reveals a devastating betrayal from the one person she thought she could trust, she’s forced to team up with a secret military organization in order to ensure her safety and stop Visticorp’s horrific human experimenting once and for all.

    From: Goodreads.
    Excerpts from the book:


    “I call it my Me notebook. It’s everything I’ve learned about myself since my memory restarted.”
    “Sarcastic, volatile, not a morning person, emotional, impatient…” Ryan laughed and held out his hand to me. “Give me your pen.”
    “Why? What are you going to write?”
    “I could add a million things to this list, but for now I’d settle even one positive personality trait. You’re always so pessimistic.”
    I snorted. “Pessimistic is not a positive trait.”
    “Just give me your pen before I have to add stubborn.”
    I smirked as I held out the pen. “That one’s already on there.”
    “It’s worth repeating.”


    He shook his head, chuckling and relaxing as his confidence grew. “You defend yourself when you have to, but you won’t torture me. You’re a hero type. A do-gooder. You’re always so worried about hurting people with your powers.”
    I thought about his words and then grabbed his hands. Startled, he tried to pull back and glared when he couldn’t escape my iron grip. “What do you think you’re doing?”
    I gave him my own evil smirk. “Guess you don’t know me as well as you thought you did.”
    His eyes narrowed on mine, then snapped wide open. He glanced at my hands on his again. “You won’t,” he hissed, but his voice wasn’t so confident anymore.
    “You’re right that I’m a do-gooder type. But I’m not as angelic as you think. I’m really more concerned with not hurting innocent people. You…eh…” I shrugged. “As long as you live, I’m okay with a little pain since it will get me what I need.”



    I gasped, shocked, and my eyes fell to his arm and the round scar I’d seen their earlier. A bullet wound. I looked at Ryan, and he surprised me even more by grinning. “That’s right, I took a bullet for you, babe.”
    “You…” My voice trailed off as I tried to get a grip on the sudden swell of emotions raging inside me. Guilt, gratitude, horror…take your pick. I felt them all.
    Ryan squeezed my hand. “That’s a good reason to promote a guy to boyfriend status, don’t you think?”
    He was joking about this? He was shot, and he wanted to joke about our relationship? Was he for real?
    “Don’t fall for it, Angel,” Johnny G teased. “It was barely a flesh wound. It didn’t even hit anything vital. I’ve been shot twice myself. It’s really not that bad.”

    About the the Jamie Baker trilogy:

    Most superhero stories start with a meteor shower or a nasty insect bite, but mine actually starts with a kiss." The Jamie Baker series is an electrifying superhero origin story about a girl with extraordinary powers and the irresistible guy who helps her learn to control them.

    About the Author:



    Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen—a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy.

    Don't miss the latest news from Kelly Oram! Sign up for her newsletter to receive e-mail notifications for all of her new releases, events, sales, & giveaways. This is a monthly newsletter often with exclusive giveaways and freebies from some of her favorite authors.

    And now for the giveaway! :D
     a Rafflecopter giveaway