May 16, 2014

Review: Welcome to the Dark House

Welcome to the Dark House
Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


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.


Welcome to the Dark House is the first book by Laurie that I have had the pleasure of reading. The setting of getting various people together to pick them off is pretty common, but I loved the twist that it is young people who have won a contest by a supposedly well respected horror movie producer. What teen horror fan wouldn't want & trust that.

I liked that the story was spooky and that Ivy was dealing with more than a made up nightmare from the beginning. I did have a hard time figuring out which character was talking at first because it is told from the point of view of the various guests. That problem could be / should be easily solved in any upcoming books of this nature. The fact that some of the characters were a little "scary" or disturbed on their own, without any imaginary help added to the creep factor. I half expected one of the teens to be in on it because of some of their strange tastes, habits, and abilities.

Even though it was hard to figure out which of the many characters was talking at first, it was well worth the read. I do not always like horror, but I loved this. It was action packed and scary from the beginning. Many things were expected (has been done before), but the newer elements and story telling completely made it make sense and remain exciting and gripping til the end. I am not a huge fan of cliff hangers, but that seems to be the thing in most stories these days.

I was provided an advanced complementary copy for an honest review.

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