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text 2014-12-09 07:58
Welcome to the Dark House Review
Welcome to the Dark House - Laurie Faria Stolarz

I'm somewhere in the middle with this book. Let's discuss why, shall we?


The Bad: The characters are difficult to follow for the first, oh, 75 pages or so. Every POV is in first person, and each chapter is from a different character's perspective. Certain details that would help in keeping track of who's who aren't revealed until after page ninety. The easiest folks to separate are Parker (because of his script-writing style) and Natalie (because she's one odd duck). Yet Parker's script sections are a bit annoying. I felt there was no reason for the book to suddenly become a teleplay. It added nothing to the narrative, and seemed to be a cop out when the author got tired of describing things within the narrative. I read books because I like books. Leave the script writing for the big screen and teledramas, please. 


One final note concerning the Bad: Some of the pop-culture references seemed antiquated considering these character are all eighteen year olds. Julia Child and Pretty in Pink are mentioned, along with the movie adaptation of The Shawshank Redemption. It seemed all these teens were stuck in the eighties, or further back, yet they all had cell phones, so that places them in relatively modern times. I don't know, man... it took me out of the story here and there, because it felt like author intrusion. And I should know, because I'm guilty of it in my own writing. 


The Biased: I hate purple prose that interrupts tense situations, and there's a scene toward the end, between Parker and Ivy, that made me laugh so hard I teared up. Here these two teenagers are, lives in danger, one bleeding profusely, and suddenly Ivy is gushing about how complete Parker makes her feel and how she wishes he wouldn't stop looking at her. I put this complaint in the Biased section because some of you might like this. I, however, found it sappy as hell and goofy as fuck. I really could have done without it, and I don't think it fit the book at all.


The Good: Well, just about everything else. Imagine The House on Haunted Hill as directed by Tim Burton (Scissorhands-era burton; not Planet-of-the-Apes Burton). There are numerous fun and creepy scenes herein, and I had a blast throughout 95% of this book. It's an easy read (probably took me all of 5 hours total to get through), and I can't say that I was ever even close to being bored. Once I got to know the characters, I grew attached to them. I felt fear when they were in danger, and sorrow when they died. They are a little cliched, but not in an insulting-stereotype kind of way. My favorite characters ended up being Garth Vader (yup, you read that right; that's his name) and Natalie. In my opinion, they were the stars of the show.


In summation: This is only the third YA novel I've read, and my first in the YA horror department, and, surprisingly enough, I didn't hate it. I had fun, which is all I really look for when reading. I think most of my friends would enjoy this one. I will definitely be looking for more from Laurie Faria Stolarz (Tom Cruise wept, that's a mouthful of a name) in the near future.

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text 2014-12-08 05:51
Reading progress update: I've read 126 out of 320 pages.
Welcome to the Dark House - Laurie Faria Stolarz

My first jaunt into YA horror is pretty much impossible to put down. I just blew through 127 in one sitting, and I plan on going back for more. I might even finish it before daylight.


The characters are a little hard to keep track of at first (the chapters are each told from different perspective and all in first person) but once you get their differences down, it's all easy reading. 


It's not overly violent or gory yet, and some of the references are antiquated for a young adult novel (like a nod to Julia Child and the film adaptation of The Shawshank Redemption), but I'm really enjoying myself. Who woulda thunk it?



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review 2014-12-07 14:46
Welcome to the Dark House Review
Welcome to the Dark House - Laurie Faria Stolarz

Release Date: July 22nd, 2014 from Disney-Hyperion

Summary from cover:


"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-wold fears. Parker's sympathetic words and his perfect smile help keep Ivy's spirits up...at least for now. 


Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film 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."


I really did enjoy this book, and I'm very fond of Stolarz's work. This novel jumps around with narrative, allowing the reader to witness the book from different points of view. I actually enjoyed this aspect, because, unlike other books that I've read that have done this, the writing style and language changed between each character. One could tell which character was talking without even reading the heading under the chapter number. Each character had their own personality and there was a light character development that I rather found interesting instead of the usual drastic. 


I didn't expect this book to be that of "horror" or "thriller". This plot took more of a "mystery" turn than anything else. After reading this, I received what I longed for. This book was like a stereotypical cheesy horror film. (I loved this idea, but I think that I'm the only one?) I mean, there were parts where I had an idea about what was going to happen, but there were some creepy bits and pieces thrown in that really set the book apart from others. 


The one complaint that I have about this is the fact that it was very predictable. While reading through the point of view from each character, it became fairly easy to think. "Hey, I know this is going to happen," and then realize that I was right about it. The only unpredictable thing about this book was the fact that there will be a sequel that goes along with it and it's called Return to the Dark House. There were no hints to the sequel, but I guess how the ending worked out that that was the hint? I don't know. I guess I just missed hints if there were any. 


All in all, I really did enjoy this read. Reading it took a few hours since this book only has 357 pages. The only downfall, again, was the predictable outcome of each character. On the other hand, did anyone else feel like the Nightmare Elf resembles Elf on the Shelf? I feel like I was more creeped out about that than the other aspects of the book. Overall, 4/5 stars for you, Laurie Faria Stolarz! I can't wait to read the sequel next year.

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review 2014-10-21 02:04
Welcome to the Dark House Book Review
Welcome to the Dark House - Laurie Faria Stolarz

Yea, this was not my thing. Welcome To The Dark House comes off as a scary, frightening young adult novel. But, unfortunately it comes off more as a silly, somewhat dumb storyline. Talk about a plot line of stupidity.


They all get the contest invite: write about your most scariest nightmare. If you win you get a free trip to the Dark House, a set of Justin Blake's scary movies. A trip of a life time. Seven contestants get to go but little do they know they might have to live those nightmares all over again.


This started off really well. Ivy was an interesting character with a dark background. But then came the seven other POV'S. I ended up getting confused with who was who because there were just too many. The only book I've enjoyed with multiple characters is The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman. And that book is actually creepy, folks.


What I was hoping would be a scary, thrilling young adult horror turned into cheesy, rather ridiculous story. Definitely disappointed.

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review 2014-10-12 17:34
Welcome to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz
Welcome to the Dark House - Laurie Faria Stolarz

Just the title of author Laurie Faria Stolarz’sWelcome to the Dark House was enough to get me interested in reading. I’ve been meaning to read Stolarz’s Blue is for Nightmares novels and getting the chance to read Welcome to the Dark House seemed like a good chance to see what her writing is like. After getting past the description I knew immediately that this was a novel that I would eat up in one sitting. My attention was caught, my curiosity was piqued and (thankfully) this is one of those reads that I don’t regret reading at all. It was a mash-up of all my favorite things horror and left me with chills.

Welcome to the Dark House is the story of six teenagers, all from various backgrounds, who are about to have the trip of their lives. After entering a contest for Justin Blake, a horror film director with a major cult following, and writing about their worst nightmares—six characters are brought together to face their ultimate fears. For Ivy Jensen, it’s an opportunity to educate herself. For the other characters it’s the chance to meet their idol Justin Blake himself. But what once looked like a simple vacation suddenly turns sinister when the teens are trapped in an amusement park where inability to face their fears means sudden death.

Welcome to the Dark House is a novel unlike any other that I’ve read. I’m all for novels that are potentially about killers or slashers. That adrenaline rush is the best thing ever. Welcome to the Dark House is a horror movie turned into writing. With Welcome to the Dark House you get a novel that is very SAW meets Final Destination meets reality TV. It is such a unique idea that will reel readers in and keep them interested until the very last page.

The novel has a strong opening that keeps you hooked. The writing for Welcome to the Dark House was very impressive. It takes a lot for a novel to keep me turning pages without getting bored or noticing that I’m going through it so quickly. I absolutely loved every second of reading Welcome to the Dark Houseand was more than satisfied with its ending.

Usually any novels that have more than three main characters leaves me iffy. Half the time the characters personalities all blend together and I forget who is who. Not the case in Welcome to the Dark House. The characters are all very different. The fact that their stories are all told in the first person could have potentially been a disaster but it wasn’t. I loved these characters to bits and watching how they handled entering the Dark House was very entertaining.

The plot for Welcome to the Dark House is straightforward at first. A group of teenagers sign up for a whole lot more than they bargained for and suddenly they’re in a fight for their lives. What Welcome to the Dark House lacks is some realism. I’ll admit that while reading I ignored a lot of the plot holes that showed up but afterward, I was left with a handful of unanswered questions and doubts toward the plot’s credibility.

For a novel that kept my heart-pounding from start to finish and left me saying “Oh my god,” every dozen pages, I have to say that Welcome to the Dark Housewas a read that surprised me with how awesome it was.

I would recommend Welcome to the Dark House to any readers who are looking for a novel that will keep them on the edge of their seat. Any readers who are big fans of horror or want a novel that is all about not-dying while also facing some scariness should definitely give this novel a look. Plus, with it being fall and Halloween coming up, this is the perfect novel to get you in the spirit.

Source: www.chapter-by-chapter.com/review-welcome-to-the-dark-house-by-laurie-faria-stolarz
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