Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Review: Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Welcome to the Dark HouseTitle: Welcome to the Dark House 
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publishing Date:  July 22nd 2014
Pages: 368
Genre:  YA Horror
Series:  Dark House #1
Source:  Hardcover 


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.

This was a very anticipated read for me. I am a huge classic horror movie kind of girl. The 90's type of horrors... Scream, I know what You did Last Summer, and so on. I was so hoping this would be that kind of book, I was looking forward to the nostalgia of horror movies from my youth and in many ways this book pulled it off for me. There were some things that I thought could have been done a better but in the end I was very pleased. I enjoyed the book from first page to last page. The end did leave me wanting more but that is why there is going to be a book two ( I Hope). I can asy that I got what I was looking for.

Ivy Jensen had a very traumatic event in her past, leaving her alone and full of nightmares. Ivy has moved on in many ways. She has a loving family, a pretty decent life, but still her nights are full of nightmares from that dreadful night she lost everything. She finds a contest in her email, a contest that could help her face her fears and the evil of her nightmares. She signs up, she wins, she leaves her home, she arrives with others just in time for a very scary weekend. A weekend that will be filled with her worst fears.

So first off, this book has a very classic horror film feel. It did have a bit missing in the suspense department but I think that is something very hard to feel in a book. As a book there is a need for more of a story than just creepy scary jump scenes... unlike in a horror movie, very little story and a bunch of jumping and screaming. Even though it didn't have the same thrills it did have the same feel. I felt like I was reading a horror movie in the making and I loved it.

The story was very interesting and I knew from the beginning... don't go there, its a trap... of course as spectators we all know this. What I found interesting and entertaining was the nightmares. Each contestant had a different type and level of intesity when it came their own nightmares. I felt that Ivy's for sure was the worst nightmare out of the bunch but to each of the characters, their nightmares were very real and very scary. I found thrilling to learn about their nightmares, their personalities, and their way of coping along with the way the psycho behind the scenes put it all together. Now of course as a spectator I knew that there was a crazy killer behind everything.. the main issue I had with the story, I never did find out who that crazy killer was. I am guessing that will be revealed in another book. I hope that there is for sure another book. The ending was good except for the fact there was no conclusion to the who or why of the entire setup. That is my main complaint.

The characters weren't badly written but they weren't well developed either. I felt this kind of comes with the type of story. I knew the characters well enough to see who was the jerk, who was crazy, who was trouble and who was the hero. I could tell them apart, they each had their own voice enough to know whose head I was in, the name at the beginning of the chapters did help with that though. I didn't feel close to any of them, I didn't connect with any of them, but I am glad that was the case. As in any good horror, the characters are slowly killed off so I am glad I didn't find them irresistable or well loved.

There wasn't a big a romance going on but there was a tiny bit of it. Between Ivy and one of the guys. It was just enough to wet my whistle and give the story a little bit more oomph. I think the romance could also play more into future books. It wasn't anything to swoon over but it fit well enough into the story and was nice. 

The book really was fast paced and I couldn't put the book down once I started reading it. For this alone the book hit a bulls-eye on my target. This was what I was looking for. A total grabber and that it was.

There isn't much more to say about this book. The main thing, it was a horror. People got killed, there were some thrills, there was mystery, there was havoc. I enjoyed it. It was fun. It was a nice break from swoony romances, realistic issues, and thought provoking dystopians.

I loved it and I would recommend it to all my horror loving friends and even a few who aren't.

Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston.

Laurie Faria Stolarz is an American author of young adult fiction novels, best known for her Blue is for Nightmares series. Her works, which feature teenage protagonists, blend elements found in mystery and romance novels.

Stolarz found sales success with her first novel, Blue is for Nightmares, and followed it up with three more titles in the series, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets, and Red is for Remembrance. The four novels in the "BIFN" series have sold over 500,000 copies collectively.Stolarz has also announced a graphic novel entry into the series titled Black is for Beginnings, which she published in summer 2009


  1. OOh nice review! I LOVED Laurie's Blue is for Nightmares series! So incredible, while not horror, still pretty suspenseful and had excellent mysteries!! Highly recommend that series if you liked this author's style! But still highly recommended either way! It's her earlier work, so I guess keep that in mind too!

    This sounds like an exciting read! One I almost got from Netgalley but it was said that the Kindle file wasn't working, and that's how I read my ebooks! Eep! So yeah, definitely need to pick this one up for myself too! The facing the nightmares part reminds me a bit of L.J. Smith's Forbidden Game, book 1--so can't remember the title since I had an omnibus copy, but not only did the heroine and her friends get sucked into the game, they all had to face their nightmares, on a much more scarier level it seems, but still...the concept is there! That's another recommended read too! LOVED that series! Read that one before Vampire Diaries--and I read all these too before that show existed, so I did enjoy those books a LOT!

    Again, great review! Definitely adding this one to my wish/birthday/xmas list, so I should at least get them before the year is out! Whether I get to read them then is another matter! ;)

  2. I have read the first book in Blue is for Nightmares years ago and never got to finish the series. It came to the point where I need to read the first book again. I absolutely loved her Touch series. If you haven't read that one, I recommend it. Its a pretty good suspense/thriller.

  3. Really enjoyed this one as well! It was definitely a page turner. I have a guess as to who the mastermind behind the whole thing is and I'm sad that we didn't get to find out at the end but I'm also kind of glad because it means there will be another book :)


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