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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Darkhouse by Karina Halle



TITLE: Darkhouse                  SERIES: Experiment in Terror #1
AUTHOR: Kaina Halle           PUB DATE: 5/1/11
PUB: Metal Blonde Books     FORMAT: paperback, 232 pgs
SOURCE: from author in exchange for my honest review


There’s always been something a bit off about Perry Palomino. Though she’s been dealing with a quarter-life crisis and post-college syndrome like any other twenty-something, she’s still not what you would call “ordinary.” For one thing, there’s her past which she likes to pretend never happened, and then there’s the fact that she sees ghosts. Luckily for her, that all comes in handy when she stumbles across Dex Foray, an eccentric producer for an upcoming webcast on ghost hunters. Even though the show’s budget is non-existent and Dex himself is a maddening enigma, Perry is instantly drawn into a world that both threatens her life and seduces her with a sense of importance. Her uncle’s haunted lighthouse provides the perfect catalyst and backdrop for a mystery that unravels the threads of Perry’s fragile sanity and causes her to fall for a man, who, like the most dangerous of ghosts, may not be all that he seems.


THREE WORDS: Fun, Mysterious, Humorous

MY REVIEW: A fun and entertaining book, Darkhouse by Karina Halle offers less thrills than I was hoping for, but does provide readers with an intriguing and often chuckle inducing story.

          MY BRIEF SUMMARY
Twenty-two year old Perry Palomino, a college grad still living at home and working as a receptionist (a job she hates), is haunted by nightmares and plagued with a bad case of “I Have No Idea Where My Life Is Headed”. On a weekend trip to her uncle’s beachside home she stumbles upon a mystery in a boarded up lighthouse and literally stumbles into Dex, a man with mysteries of his own. After their shared spooky experience in the haunted lighthouse, the two pair up once again to film a pilot episode of a ghost hunter like web show, with Dex as the cameraman and Perry as the host. Perry soon finds herself in the middle of her nightmares and must confront her less than ordinary past, all while trying desperately not to fall for Dex who is ten years her senior and has a beautiful babe of a girlfriend.

          STORY
I’m a huge fan of all things spooky and supernatural, so I jumped at the chance to review Darkhouse, and although it’s more mysterious than truly scary, I found it to be an enjoyable read. The overall plot in this book- a haunted location investigated by novice ghost hunters, both of whom have their own connection to the supernatural- is, of course, nothing new, but Halle infuses this idea with her own sarcastic brand of humor and an addicting “will they, won’t they” flirtation.

Overall, the story paces nicely, although there are a few places where it moves a bit too slow for its genre. The writing is solid; the dialogue is especially well written and sounds natural, although Halle does have a habit of using choppy sentences. The first person narration, with Perry as the narrator, works really well and places readers right in the middle of all the action, creating an exciting and absorbing sense of immediacy.

I enjoyed the mysterious quality surrounding both Perry and Dex’s pasts and their connection with one another, but I found myself disappointed in the actual supernatural story and elements. Simply put, I went into this book hoping to be scared silly and be kept up at night with the lights on…but that just didn’t really happen. There are a few genuinely spooky parts, but overall the scary factor isn’t very high. There also just isn’t enough of the actual ghost hunting/filming stuff. The climatic ghost spelunking encounter in the lighthouse is exciting and spine-tingling; I just wish it was longer.

One of the things I really like in this book is the humor. The humor is less silly and more sarcastic and acerbic, which fits the characters perfectly. One of the things I’m conflicted about is the heavy amount of pop cultural references throughout the book. On the one hand, these references, to things such as Facebook or specific musicians and movies, make the book feel current and relatable. Yet, on the other hand, these types of references will only be current for so long, and not all readers will “get” them. One of things that I definitely do not like is the overuse of a certain word and this is, of course, very much a personal issue. Now, I always try to remember that when a character uses an offensive word it’s because it’s a part of that character’s personality, but in this case several of the characters use the word “tard” or “retardedly” in a negative, insulting way, which, honestly, just bugged me…again, this is just a personal thing.

The ending nicely sets up future books in the series, while giving this first installment a satisfying conclusion.

          CHARACTERS
The main character, Perry Palomino, is a compelling and relatable character. She’s witty, believable, and a little weird, but endearingly so. I think her reactions to the situations she’s put in are realistic, yet amusing. I do think, however, that Perry’s non-conformist, alternative, hipster-ish persona is a little in your face at times.

Dex is a complicated character to like, simply because for every thing we learn about him, a new secret is added. He’s got the whole sexy, mysterious enigma thing going for him…but at times his creepy level is a little high.

Ada, Perry’s fifteen year old sister is a lot of fun with her teenage dramatics and snark. All in all, Halle offers an eclectic assortment of well-developed characters.

          ROMANCE
The romance is more of a flirtation in this first book, and less of a full blown romance. But the flirtation is super fun and captivating. Halle creates a definite spark between Dex and Perry that feels both hot and dangerous, an awesomely enticing combination. I am super excited to see where this flirtation will go.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Karina Halle’s Darkhouse is an entertaining read that may not blow your mind but will have you easily caught up in its mysteries and alluring flirtation. I look forward to continuing with the Experiment in Terror Series.

MY RATING
3/5 Cupcakes

From the day she was born in Van­cou­ver, BC, Karina Halle always stood out from the crowd. Born with club feet, she spent the first six years of her life in casts on both legs. Though her dis­abil­ity pre­vented her from becom­ing a prima bal­le­rina, it did allow her imag­i­na­tion to flow freely as she cre­ated her own lit­tle worlds where noth­ing was impos­si­ble (unfor­tu­nately, those worlds tended to be on the macabre side – some things don’t change). Fast for­ward to age 18 when she decided to forgo the usual route by back­pack­ing by her­self around Aus­tralia and New Zealand and she really learned the value of being fear­less. That same ambi­tion piloted her through numer­ous trav­els, a bachelor’s degree in jour­nal­ism, var­i­ous cer­tifi­cates in film and writ­ing, a suc­cess­ful blog, her cur­rent work as a rock music jour­nal­ist and, of course, her devo­tion to the Exper­i­ment in Ter­ror series. Karina cur­rently resides in Vancouver’s West End and can often be found with a bot­tle of wine, lis­ten­ing to her music a bit too loudly.

Karina Halle has generously offered an ebook set of all 4 books in her Experiment in Terror Series to give away!
One winner will win all four of the following ebooks:


Giveaway will run from 2/2 -2/10 at 11:59pm ET
There will be one winner
Open Internationally
Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter
  • Must be 13+ to enter
  • One main entry per person
  • Winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours







a Rafflecopter giveaway

14 comments:

Rebecca A. said...

I've been wanting to check out this series for a while. Looks good!

attackthestacks said...

I just recently read/reviewed Darkhouse and loved it. Definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

Veronica MostlyReviews said...

I love ghost hunter shows. Especially when I find them in books. The series seem really great.
Thanks for the giveaway. :)

mamabunny13 said...

I don't enter to many giveaways for ebooks because I have to borrow my daughter's kindle but Darkhouse sounds so good I couldn't pass up the chance to try and win it and 3 more! I love stories about ghosts. Thanks for the awesome giveaway.

Amy said...

This sounds like a really good series. I think I would really like it.

Megan said...

It sounds like a very fun read!

AmelArmeliana said...

Whoa...this is awesome. I love stories about ghosts, horror and suspense thriller. I think I'm going to love these books. I'd love to read it.

Thank u for this giveaway :)

Maya Floria Yasmin said...

awesome! Thanks for this GA, btw

Nina C said...

Looks like a good read, fun and not too heavy. Would love to win!!

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

Wow! New book for me. Thanks for the review, excuse me while I dash off to add to my wishlist.

Sarah Kalaitzidis said...

Thanks for the great giveaway!!!

Susan @ The Book Bag said...

I love spooky too! You make this series sound great! I am excited to read the books ~ what an amazing giveaway!!

Hushed Paradox said...

Thanks for this giveaway! I've never heard of this series but it looks interesting.

Anne said...

I hadn't hear of this author or series before. Sounds good.