Review Roundup

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:

From Attack the Stacks:

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!

4.5/5 stars!

From Tales of the Inner Book Fanatic:

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!

4/5 stars

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.

5/5 stars

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!