Lots of new reviews in for the Experiment in Terror Series in the last week or so, let’s take a look shall we? First up, Darkhouse reviews:
First of all, if you have any preconceived notions about self-published books being inferior you should put them aside and read Darkhouse. Karina Halle can flat-out write a good story.
So what did I love so much about Darkhouse? Well, it certainly played into my addiction to those ridiculous tv ghost hunting shows. Shameful and ridiculous, yes, they are. But I watch them anyway. All of them. Even the one hosted by the dudebro with the hair and the too-tight t-shirts carefully chosen to show off his tribal-tatted biceps. Don’t judge me.
Also, Halle’s writing is very vivid. She sets really detailed scenes. I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest but I could picture it clearly in my mind, from the waves breaking on the shore to the foggy water to the rickety old lighthouse. Many of these scenes she sets so well are CREEPY as hell. Total nightmare stuff, which I was reading alone in the dark and that turned out to be not such a good idea. I found myself getting genuinely wigged out, which is pretty rare. Overall the book flows so easily…I love, love, love books with short paragraphs (at least, the ebook had short paragraphs, not sure if the paperback is formatted differently). There is just something so pleasing about that format to me, it just makes for really easy reading.
I also loved that Perry is a flawed heroine. She’s not a beauty queen to begin with, and she’s carrying around a few extra lbs. on top of that. She dresses like she never quite got over the grunge era. She’s stuck in a dead end job that is sucking the life out of her, but she can’t afford to lose. There’s no mention of how gorgeous she is, how charming, or how everyone just loves her. People are wary of her, even her own family. She’s weird and she’s average and she’s a breath of fresh air when it seems like every book you pick up these days has an ethereally beautiful main character. Look, I don’t have anything against beautiful people – truly – but it’s nice that us average folk get a kickass heroine to relate to every now and again instead of being relegated to a sidekick or a frenemy. I was less in love with Dex, but I think that was intentional. The dude is just kind of difficult to like at this point in the series. I suspect his background/attitude will be explored more in the next book.
Wanna know something terrible and kind of gross? I actually snuck off to the bathroom at work a few times because I couldn’t stop reading this. I can’t remember the last time I did that. At this point my co-workers probably think I have either the world’s worst intestinal issues or a serious drug problem. To say that I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series would be putting it mildly. Seriously, I can’t believe the ebook is only $.99 on Amazon. Don’t even think twice about buying it.
Bonus points for the MST3K shout out!
There’s no hidden secret about me loving ghost stories and the whole ghost hunting business — I love it no matter what book it is. For Karina Halle’s book, DARKHOUSE, the first book in the Experiment in Terror series, despite it being a self-published book (which I only read on a casual basis), I thoroughly enjoyed it.
DARKHOUSE was a great introduction to a series, with a very interesting storyline and a variety of intriguing characters. Especially Perry, the main heroine. I absolutely loved Perry from her snarky humour all the way down to her insecurities of her life. She was a great character whom a lot of readers could sympathize with. But like in any common paranormal story there’s a love interest and in this case it’s Declan “Dex” Foray who is the gorgeous and sexy kind. There are many qualities to describe dear old Dex but I can definitely say he’s an enigma. He can be annoying at first but then he can immediately switch straight back to damn right lovable … but I just wanted Perry to hug and kiss him, and also attack him with a few punches. Well, he’s just that kind of guy that you get frustrated with but I still loved him for all he’s worth.
Now as for the storyline itself, it pretty much had everything you want in a story. You had a good fair share of horror written at its best, an enjoyable set of characters, an addictive plot where you wanted to know more and more about what’s going to happen next … like I said, you have everything you could possibly want. While I’m still left with many unanswered questions regarding why Perry can see things others can’t or even what exactly Perry is running from (from her past), that did not distract me away from the storyline and I’m definitely interested in what’s going to happen next in Perry’s adventures especially with Dex.
Overall for a self-published novel (which can be just as good as a published one), I thought Karina Halle did a fabulous job in entertaining her readers. It may not be ‘strictly-speaking’ your young adult novel as it’s focusing on a 22-year-old girl, but I think readers with a passion of horror will enjoy this book immensely!
From The Book Hook-Up:
My Review: Well, I need to get this off my chest immediately. I didn’t find Darkhouse particularly scary, even though the title warned me that I might. Although, I must admit that I’m not easily frightened. I did, however, find it a page turner…mostly because I liked the main character Perry Palomino (great name!) and wanted to make sure she was OK through all of her adventures. Now, don’t get me wrong, Ms. Halle did create a spooky setting and the things that went bump in the night were definitely creepy, but I don’t want you to be turned off by this book just because you think you’ll be too scared to read it! If you’re easily spooked, then just read it in the daylight and you should be just fine!
The story is written in the first person so we live it through Perry’s thoughts and visions of the world. She is a character that has had some rough patches in her life. As a teenager, feeling “different” from others she had a few misadventures. But now, she’s trying to get her life back on track. And, even though she doesn’t really like her job and feels like she’s constantly competing with her teenage sister who can do no wrong, she’s grown stronger and wants to move on from the person she was. Overall, she’s fairly easy to relate to. Perry spends an awful lot of time “in her own head” thinking things through and imagining all manner of situations…and one of the topics that’s foremost in her mind is Dex. Declan “Dex” Foray is older, more worldly than Perry. He’s sexy and confident…and most likely, bipolar. That makes him unpredictable, irritating and totally mesmerizing. Just like Perry, I found myself intrigued by this man who only reveals what he has to…no more, no less. There were moments where I simultaneously wanted her to kiss him…and punch his lights out. This makes for a very complex relationship.
They’re thrown together by coincidence when they meet at her uncle’s abandoned lighthouse and from that point on their lives are intertwined and their adventure begins. Dex proposes they work together to create a new ghost hunting show and they return to the lighthouse where the real mystery and “spookiness” begins. This book focuses more on the characters than the supernatural and sets up what I know will be a very interesting series. The pace was a bit slow in the beginning but that changed after the first few chapters. As with many self-published books, you will find a few grammatical issues and some incorrect word choices but it is minimal and does not distract from the story. Overall Ms. Halle creates a solid foundation for the remainder of the series with characters that are unique and situations that provide enough unanswered questions to keep you wanting more.
And next up, LYING SEASON, From Seeing Night Reviews:
Okay so my first reaction to finishing this book was a long pause and then screaming “OH MY GOD!” Yep that was my initial reaction then I calmly put the book down and took a long breath, this was such a killer good fourth book in the Experiment in Terror Series. Karina Halle really knows how to make me want to pull my hair out and frighten me at the same time with her ghost story.
Perry and Dex are back! But this time around Perry is getting herself into a different situation. The duo’s next haunted expedition is taking place in Seattle where Dex lives and his so called “perfect” girlfriend wants Perry to stay with them while she works with Dex on the show. But not only does Perry have to deal with their cutesy and argumentative relationship, she also has to deal with her own relationship with Dex and it’s complicated. Then of course there’s the ghost and this one is a scary one and she’s from Dex’s past and popping up everywhere. What really doesn’t help the situation is that they’re a shooting the next show in a mental institute, where everything seems to go wrong.
Pretty much each time Dex and Perry go to shoot a new episode it gets more insane, scarier and dangerous. I really feel bad for Perry most of the time because of course she gets the worst of it. The mental institute is probably in my mind one of the scariest place that anyone would go to and hunt for ghost. What they find there is everything and more of what they were looking for and it’s going to put them in major danger. Along with a competition ghost hunting show it really made for one awesome horror ride.
Perry I have to say is one hell of a girl, she deals with the ups and downs of everyone around her. Her parents are probably the worst parents ever, I don’t like them at all but her sister is great and really supporting her the most. Then she has to deal with Jenn, the annoyingly perfect girlfriend of Dex, who is really not perfect. I felt for Perry, she held it together pretty well and really stuck up for herself and opened up a lot more this time around. Dex doesn’t really make it easy for her to keep her emotions in when he really cares for her too.
The ghost are freaking scary, I swear as a fan of the television show ghost hunters I love this kind of stuff. But actually being there and hearing or even seeing ghost and the ones as creepy as in Lying Season I would be crying a lot. Lets just stay make sure your reading this one with the light on.
Overall I can’t get enough of this series, Lying Season hands down was fantastic. Yes, there are some grammar errors but they really didn’t bother me because I love this series. The relationship with Dex and Perry just threw my heart around; I really love these two guys. They are both struggling in their own past lives but I’m pulling for them. The ending in this was insane and I was not prepared, so get prepared! I highly recommend this book!
This is a mature young adult / adult story with very scary situations and fantastic mystery. I highly recommend this to fans of horror and paranormal enthusiast.
There’s also been a heap of reviews on GoodReads as well from readers like you — no matter the rating, I’m always appreciative of people who not only take the time (and money) to read my books, but who go beyond and leave a review. Each one is helpful in their own way and it’s a great way for new readers to gain objective insight into the novels. So thank you to everyone who has reviewed the series in one way or another!