Monday, October 5, 2015

{REVIEW} Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Title: Welcome to the Dark House
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Series: Dark House #1
Genre: Young Adult, Horror
Publication: July 22nd, 2014
Rating: ★★★★☆

What’s your worst nightmare?

For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams.

And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.

Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.

Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.

By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run.
How do I even begin? I read Welcome to the Dark House for my Horror Reading Challenge, hosted by Tracy @ Cornerfolds, and was surprised how quickly I finished it! I really do love horror, even though I sometimes get freaked out super easily. Although that depends on the scenery and general storyline, so when I saw this book on Goodreads, I just knew I have to read it! The title intrigued me, the cover looks freaking awesome too - an amusement park! That can either be super scary or total bullshit - and the synopsis sounded pretty cool as well.

What happens during their time at the Dark House is told from 6 different perspectives - Ivy, our main protagonist, Parker, Natalie, Shayla, Garth and Frankie. Now this might sound confusing but really, it isn't! Okay, maybe at first because you don't know who's who and I even had to double check who's POV I'm currently reading but once you're into it, it will be easier.

After submitting an essay about their worst nightmare, those 6 (actually 7) teens were invited to a behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake's newest project. The house they stayed in and everything else surrounding it had to do with his horror movies, after all it was a "trip to get scared". But suddenly things go wrong, their overseer - which looked like a serial killer from one of the movies - went missing, where's the seventh contestant winner and why is no one else around? Is it all part of the "show" or not?

I have to say that I really liked the characters - most of them - but Ivy was my favorite. I could connect with her easily and even think that I would've reacted the same way she has. She's not really into horror, gets scared a lot and hasn't even seen Justin Blake's movies - why would she sign up for this horror trip? To face her own fears that haunt her till she's six. And that she had to do.

Over the course of the book, every character had to face his darkest fear - the one they wrote about in their essays - and that was so interesting to read! The amusement part was one hell of a creepy thing and I know I wouldn't have moved one bit. I would've stayed at the same spot the entire time and would've done NOTHING. Seriously, WHY would you be excited to face your nightmares and be at an amusement part, in the middle of the woods, at NIGHT with no one else around? I totally get Ivy, I really do.

The Dark House itself wasn't that creepy and the first 50% of the book weren't really scary either. It was mostly to get to know the people and the surroundings, which was a bit sad because there could've happened so much more! What annoyed me were some of the other characters - they didn't even know each other for that long (like a few hours maybe?) but there was already drama about the girls, a romance and other stuff that's really not important. The romance between Parker and Ivy seemed a little too ... rushed? I mean, it didn't bother me too much but in my opinion it was unnecessary and too insta-love-ish.

Overall I enjoyed it a lot! I wouldn't have minded it to be a little more scarier (especially in the first half) but when they were at the amusement park things got better. The characters were all likeable (or not), the scenery was great and the ending made me SUPER excited for the second book! I'm serious, to end a book like this is just cruel. So unfair! I want to read the next one immediately because I need answers! GIVE IT TO ME NOW! I definitely recommend it! 



  1. Sounds like a fun horror read! I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this, Yvonne. I'm super curious what happens in the amusement park. It's also a relief to hear that despite the multiple POV (six is a lot!), it doesn't get very confusing. I'm wary of the rushed romance though as I usually like them slow-burn. Still, I'd definitely check this out given the chance!

    1. The romance is by far not the most important thing ... it's just a little added extra. I really don't know how to explain it, haha. But you should definitely check it out, yeah! Can't wait to read the second book! :D


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