Selling some books! Check out this list! (PH Only)
  • ARC Review: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
  • ARC Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
  • Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Review: Karmic Hearts by Jhing Bautista
  • Review: The Conspiration of the Universe by Kenneth Olanday

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

ARC Review: Say Her Name by James Dawson

You do not say her name. You do not call her out just for fun. If you do, then you have five days and then you disappear.


You know how good an author is when he can make you feel goosebumps running up and down your spine with a mere sentence. That's exactly how it went when I was reading Say Her Name.

Title: Say Her Name by James Dawson
Release Date: June 5th 2014
Published by: Hot Key Books
Source: Publisher
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


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...

I have to admit, my knowledge of the story of Bloody Mary isn't a lot, so I went into reading this novel very hungry to know more and curious as to what I can get out of the story. And you know what? I was thoroughly entertained, slightly frightened and hooked to the story. Come to think of it, the word I will use to describe this book isn't really that it was "scary", but "creepy". Sure there were moments that felt like it was straight out of a horror movie, but it was more of the kind where you just hold your breath and wait for things to happen and spook yourself a little in the process.

When I first read the first five pages of the book, I felt like I was transported inside a horror movie at once, and by then I knew I was going to love it. You feel that impending sense of doom right from the start, which set the tone of the novel quite easily. I never liked gore, and slasher flicks and horror stories are the enemy of my overly active imagination but I devoured Say Her Name in one sitting. Somehow the chill factor was bearable and my easily scared self enjoyed the experience instead of being scared out of my pants.

Say Her Name had an interesting mix of characters, and like when you are watching a horror movie, they were the type of characters you bring in, let them live the story out by doing foolish things you do not want them to do, watch and wait who gets to die first. Bobbie was smart, she loves to write and that made it easier for me to identify and somewhat connect with her. In a horror movie setting, she's the main female lead and her roommate Naya is the friend who'd probably get killed somewhere along the way, while Caine is the unexpected and awkward love interest that injects a little romance in the story, which is a set-up that worked perfectly.

I love how the story gradually upped the creepy, chilling factor as each day passes. When Day Five came, I'm at my own limit and I'm just there reading the story, bracing myself for any more surprises that might pop out and waiting for the puzzle pieces to make sense. Synchronized nosebleeds I can take, but once Mary started appearing on mirrors and began crawling out of puddles, I felt my eyes going wide as saucers and I am somehow hyperventilating. It's odd, but I find Mary's character to be a lot more interesting than Bobbie, Naya and Caine combined. Maybe it's because the three characters weren't scared enough, or worried enough, it felt like they were investigating something with a time limit that will ultimately lead to their disappearance. As for Mary, I was always switching between pitying her and getting scared of her and trying to deconstruct her character. A malevolent spirit who was misunderstood and mistreated when she was living, but were the things done to her really unwarranted? Doesn't she have that tendency to do "dark" things even when she was still alive? I was torn up to the end.

Say Her Name had this almost conversational style of storytelling that was funny and steady and smooth and it just made reading a horror story an enjoyable experience. I didn't think that was possible! It has a little bit of everything, a dash of romance, funny scenes injected in the right times, sassy characters with investigative tendencies, and an awkward, untimely romance all wrapped around an urban legend. One thing is for sure: I will not be looking into a mirror too closely anytime soon. And even though I had some minor issues with the book, this won't be the last James Dawson book I will read.

Content (plot, story flow, character):
First up: why tempt fate? I mean would you really do a dare like that? Most people will be scared to do it, no matter how much pressure friends put on them. Also, as mentioned, I felt like they weren't even that worried, considering that they will disappear eventually after five days. The ending, though it wrapped the story nicely, is something you'd expect the way a horror story will end. I was, admittedly, waiting for something big to happen in the end.

Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
Can you say creepy? What a perfect imagery for that moment when Bobbie and Caine visited Bridget!


  1. WOW. Oh wow. I love books like this! And seeing your review, I'd give it a try :)

    Aneca (The Daydreamer Reader) @ The Bookwhore Diaries

    1. Yay! Please read it, Aneca, and let me know what you think! It's creepily good! :)

    2. I read this pretty recently as I looked for reading buddies just to read this book. lol.
      It was nice. I was kind of wary on how horror would be depicted in a book since I really rely on visuals in order to be scared.

      Needless to say, this book did make my imagination...overreact :)

      Aneca (The Daydreamer Reader) @ The Bookwhore Diaries and The Rhapsodic Curiosities


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