Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Review: Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Welcome to the Dark House (Dark House, #1)Title: Welcome to the Dark House
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publishing Date: July 22nd, 2014
Pages: 357
Audio Length: N/A
Genre: YA Horror 
TW: Murder
Series: Welcome to the Dark House #1
Source: Book

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.
What made me pick this book up: 
Jenn had read it and told me about it. Technically I didn't pick it up.

What did I like about the cover: 
The cover is beautiful. I kind of wish it was more creepy, because I don't get a horror vibe from it. But it matches the book enough, because it's a carousel like at an amusement park.

What made me read this book: 
When Jenn told me about it I absolutely HAD to read it. It sounded like it was right up my alley. Murder? Creepy horror amusement park? Mystery? Check, check, and check.

What did I like the most: 
Let's start with the story. This book has 7 main characters. They each wrote an essay about what scares them the most. What gives them nightmares. Each and every one of them are pretty screwed up in their own way. 

Anyway, the essay is for a contest to meet the creator of a horror movie. While they are there they have really scary things happen, but they think it's all because it's part of the contest.

Well they end up at an abandoned amusement park where each ride is designed based on one of the seven character's fears. 

That's when the crazy stuff really starts. This is one of those books that completely minds f*cks you. You have no idea what's going to happen next. 

Welcome to the Dark House is really unique in a way that I've never read a story about people winning a contest and.. well... being murdered at an abandoned amusement park.

The idea of a horror amusement park sounds AMAZING though. I would absolutely go to one. Like a giant haunted house. But with rides. Yes please.

I feel like Laurie wrote this really well, with all the details of the world. With the emotions and the horror of what happens. I loved reading about the different rides and everything happening.

The characters are mixed for me. Some I liked, some I didn't. I liked Ivy. Parker was decent as well, except he was typical pretty boy. But he was sweet. I really wanted to like Garth and Frankie. They were okay for the most part. 

And at the end of the book you get to read all of the character's bad dream essays. It's awesome.

What didn't I like: 
I feel like this one started just a bit slow, but it picked up pretty quickly. I suppose with this one there had to be a build up, instead of it just BAM MURDERS. But I feel like it took about 3/4 of the way before anything of interest starts to happen. 

The rest of the characters were annoying, or jerks. I said I wanted to like Garth and Frankie. But they were jerks who were full of themselves too. And then Shayla. Ugh, she was so self centered. She's one of those typical stuck up pretty girls.

AND THAT ENDING! Ugh. I really wish they would have stopped with just this book. I think it being a standalone slasher book would have been perfect. But I understand she wanted to have a bigger story and really give a resolution with Ivy's parents murderer. BUT THE ENDING SUCKS.

Would I read the rest of the series/more from this author?
I've read many by her and I love most of them. 

This was my second time reading this book and I loved it both times.

“Six years and my parents are still dead, and I still feel like I'm rotting away in purgatory, waiting for a killer to determine my fate.” 
― Laurie Faria Stolarz, Welcome to the Dark House

Tabula Rasa (Tabula Rasa, #1)FeralThere's Someone Inside Your HouseTen

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, as well as a companion graphic novel, Black is for Beginnings. Stolarz is also the author of the Touch series (Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, and Deadly Little Lessons), as well as Bleed and Project 17. With more than two million books sold worldwide, Stolarz's titles have been named on various awards list.


  1. OH NO! I can't believe this is part of a larger series--you're right, it sounds perfect for a standalone slasher type novel. Oh well. It sounds amazing, and I definitely need to pick this up at some point. Great review!

    1. I've read about half of the second one, and it's pretty good so far, but I still think she should have just stopped on the first one.

  2. This sounds like it would make a great horror movie.

    1. I would most definitely watch this movie!


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