Review & Giveaway: Welcome to the Dark House

August 14, 2014 book review, giveaway 8 ★★★½

I received this book for free from Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review & Giveaway: Welcome to the Dark HouseWelcome to the Dark House by Laurie Stolarz
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: July 22, 2014
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Genres: Action & Adventure, General, Horror & Ghost Stories, Young Adult


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.


In WELCOME TO THE DARK HOUSE by Laurie Faria Stolarz, Ivy Jensen and six others are chosen in a contest to stay in a bed and breakfast and meet the director of some of the best horror films they have ever seen. Justin Blake’s most famous series of movies is the Nightmare Elf. Upon arriving at the b&b, they find out just how realistic the creators of the contest got in terms of decorating and setting up the entire weekend.

Because the Nightmare Elf series is fiction, I had no idea what happens in those movies. I’m happy to report that Stolarz does an excellent job creating a back story and explaining Justin Blake’s horror films. She didn’t do it in a way that was info dumping, but in a way where you felt like you’ve seen them yourselves. This was extremely helpful when it came time for the contestants to move into the bed and breakfast for the weekend. It also helped explain why some of the events took place, and just how true to the movies they were.

Based on the book’s synopsis, I was expecting some seriously deadly and twisted fun to happen to these seven contestants. At the beginning of the book, a lot of characters are introduced and the chapters were spread out over multiple seasons. The time frame was a little strange and hard to keep up with and I do admit that I was getting each character’s home life confused with the others. Once they move into the Dark House, the bed and breakfast they are staying in for the weekend, nothing too incredibly exciting happened. The scary events are more like pranks and nothing is taken too seriously. About halfway through the book, I was able to confidently tell you who was who and why each of them were there and what their worst nightmares are. But before then? Some were too alike to distinguish.

A couple of days into the trip, everyone is chauffeured to an abandoned theme park in the middle of nowhere with absolutely no cell service. This is when the book got good. You can immediately sense that something isn’t quite right. You know the creepy image on the cover? Yeah, this is what I have been waiting for for months. Seven people trapped in a beyond creepy theme park with only one way to make it out: conquering their individual fears. Holy nightmare, Stolarz knows how to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. I really enjoyed the second half of the book and literally could not set it down, despite it being way past my bedtime. I only wish it had been this page turning and spine tingling the whole way through.

Apparently this book has been turned into a series and I’m not really sure how I feel about that. It definitely ended in such a way that a sequel is inevitable, I guess I just didn’t realize that is what was going to happen. I was expecting a heart pounding stand alone. Will I read the next book? There’s a great chance that yes, I will. I want to know what happens! However, I’m a little skeptical that it’s going to be too much like this book in terms of the setting and events that take place, based off how it ended.

3.5 Thought Clouds
 I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Because the people over at Disney Hyperion are awesome and amazing, they have sent me multiple ARC copies of the book to giveaway to you guys! I should have two, so there will be two winners! (I just need to find that 2nd copy 😉

The Rules:

  • US only
  • No cheating, I check
  • Ends August 28 at midnight
  • Winners will receive an email and must respond within 48 hours.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


8 Responses to “Review & Giveaway: Welcome to the Dark House”

  1. Judy

    My worst fear has always been drowning, why I don’t know, I swim and really not scared of the pool.
    I don’t think I would enter a contest to get rid of that fear, that might be where the fear would happen!!!

  2. Cait

    Oh, dang, sucks that this wasn’t as awesome and scary as you wanted. I like creepy books, but it’s so annoying when the book presents as being creeptastic and then ends up being mediocre.

    AND HELLO! I’m glad you’re back to blogging. ^_^

  3. Kayla :)

    Hmm. This one has been on my radar but I’m not so sure that I’ll end up picking it up. I guess if I’d be able to get through the first half of it! I definitely wouldn’t enter a contest like that because I’d be too paranoid that something is definitely going to go wrong with it!

  4. Mad_In_Wonderland

    My worst fear is being completely and utterly alone. I’m talking there’s no other being (human or animal) on earth and it’s just me. I don’t think I would enter a contest to get rid of it though, that sounds like some genie rigged thing, who knows HOW they’ll get rid of your fear and what the process will do to you, or how you’ll be after it? What if your worst fear is part of what makes you who you are and once it’s taken away, you’ll never be you again? -shudder-

  5. Brittersweet

    My worst nightmare is something happening to my son and no cuss when you start messing with the kind I feel like that is not natural. And fear of something happening to my son is what makes me the mother I am I think too

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