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Starter House

3.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,053 Ratings  ·  190 Reviews
In the vein of Heart-Shaped Box and The Thirteenth Tale, Starter House is a haunting and skillfully told debut novel about a newlywed couple and their first home -- a home that seems to be haunted by a very malicious ghost.

Lacey Miszlak grew up homeless; her crazy mother dragged her from one terrible living situation to the next. But now she thinks the pieces of her life h
Paperback, 384 pages
Published December 31st 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published October 1st 2013)
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I was talking to a friend the other day about stupid people in ghost stories- The smart ones tend to leave the house behind- which would make for a veeeeeeeery unsatisfying, very short story...The young newlywed walked into the house- fell down the stairs, saw a ghost, and quickly limped out the door never to return. The End...So what a reader is sometimes left with is A LOT of haunted house novels about people doing reaaaaaaally dumb things. THE STARTER HOUSE- in my opinion, is one of those
Jessica Woodbury
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fluff, kindle, arc, horror
This easily could've been a 3 or 4-star book and I have to give it some credit since I made it all the way through to the end. But while there was lots of potential, the main characters didn't end up making a real connection with each other or the reader. The addition of another main character part way through the book muddles things somewhat as well, although those parts have the strongest writing in the book.

The mystery was strong, but the characters of Lacey and her mother Ella Dane and her h
Jan 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
I think I am going to have to stop gambling on haunted house novels. This is yet another one that fails to deliver any genuine chills - I even helped it halfway by reading it in my own starter house, with my husband out of town, at night! This debut is initially engaging - a newlywed couple with their first child on the way have purchased their first home in South Carolina. But the middle lags and the final confrontation is too fragmented and it ends with an unsatisfying conclusion. In an effort ...more
Mar 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
I need to begin this review by admitting that I LOVE A GOOD GHOST STORY! Ghost stories are the oldest and best form of entertainment there is. Huddled around a campfire, hanging at a bar or ancient man in a cave; we told ghost stories. Right now, in the literary market, there are too few good ones to go around. What there are instead are far too many - teenage girl who is a sophomore in high school so she is so wise finds something odd in the old house and yes its a dead teenage boy and he's so ...more
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Loved it. Sonja Condit is soooo good at building a sense of dread. Although very much American, Starter House had a bit of a Little Stranger vibe with just a touch of The Haunting of Hill House thrown in. I really liked how Condit layered Lucy, Eric, Ella Dean, and even Lex, causing me to continually change my perception of each character. At times I was completely on one person's side and then circumstances shifted, I got a peek behind the curtain and suddenly I had to adjust my opinion. Again ...more
Tara Chevrestt
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014-release
Quick summary: Lacey and Eric are expecting a baby and when she is drawn to a particular house, he makes it happen.

They should have kept looking.

Seems bad things happen in this house. People fall down the stairs and die. Kids drown in the tub. Women lose their feet. Moms kill their babies. Husbands go insane. And there's this bratty little boy who appears to keep Lacey company while Eric works all day...but there's something really sinister about him. Is the house haunted? If so, what can she do
Cat Russell  (Addicted2Heroines)
If you want a scary story about a creepy little boy and a haunted house, read The Bird Eater by Ania Ahlborn. Not this.
Leslie Lindsay
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
For debut author Sonja Condit, STARTER HOUSE is a knock-out, hands down. What starts out as a ghost story, transforms into a mystery--yet, ghosts and mysteries are often inexplicably intertwined, no?

Beautifully written, with care and detail to every word, every sentence, STARTER HOUSE is a story of a young, married couple--he's a newbie attorney and she's a 4th teacher on leave as she prepares for the birth of their first baby. Looking for a home in fictional Greeneburg, S.C. is no easy task. T
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lacey and her husband, Eric are house hunting. Lacey finds the perfect house. This house has a history, It is known as a murder house. It is evil. Everyone one that has lived here prior has moved. They all have one thing in common. All the women who lived in the house never gave birth to a child. The house feeds on them. Lacey soon realizes why when she meets Drew. Drew is a ghost in the house. He starts to get violent towards Lacey to the point that she fears for her unborn baby's life. She mus ...more
Jennifer Rayment
Dec 12, 2013 rated it liked it
The Good Stuff

Author fabulous at setting a mood. It felt dark and creepy
Fast paced, it kept me reading even thought I disliked most of the characters
Unique idea for a haunting
Good mystery kept me turning the pages just to find out what happened

The Not So Good Stuff

Disliked the main characters. Felt Eric was a self-righteous, self-involved jerk. Lacey was also just plain stupid. Sorta wished both characters had died and the baby would be born and immediately taken to a more worthwhile couple
Naomi Kelsey
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
As a writer myself, I am loathe to 'shred' someone elses' carefully created baby. But honestly...I am angry when I encounter books like this, that are so poorly written, yet they managed to be published. The idea is interesting, but there are so many issues it's hard to know where to start.

The dialogue is probably my biggest complaint. When the heroine's husband bangs down the door of the motel she's staying in and confronts her, she says "Whaaaaat? Why?" NO ONE I have ever met or seen talks li
Nov 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I cannot wait to read this book! I loved "The Thirteenth Tale" and just finished reading "Bellman & Black," the comparisons to these books make me even more excited to read this.
Hannah Fullmer
Okay, so, you know the feeling when you're reading a really, really intense book and you get incredibly annoyed when the people in your "real" life interrupt you with unimportant issues like dinner and laundry and sleep? And then, when you finally put the book down, you realize that your neck and back are sore because you have been sitting so tensely hunched up, holding your breath in suspense?
Well, that's the kind of book Starter House by Sonja Condit was for me. I loved this debut novel, which
Anastasia Riebs
Intelligently written throughout, Sonja Condit's Starter House is everything a psychological thriller should be; both tense and suspenseful while maintaining a natural believability that sucks you in despite yourself; makes you believe all is safe and well, while somewhere, deep in the dark recesses of your mind, your prefrontal cortex is frantically trying to puzzle through and dissect the horror that you know is lurking behind a corner. Starter House's storyline somehow manages to be forthrigh ...more
Naomi Blackburn
Jan 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
1.5/5 Stars

When I was in my early teens, I read a book Ghost House by Clare McNallythat scared the bejezzus out of me. In fact, I still have my copy in protective wrap and remember key parts of the book. For over 30 years, I have been looking for a ghost story to have that same effect on me. I had hoped that Starter House would be that book, but it wasn't.

There was absolutely nothing scary to this book. In fact, I found it downright humorous. The writing was superficial and overly dramatic. I wo
Flat characters that I felt no empathy for.
Nov 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Thank you to William Morrow & Company for providing me with an advanced reader's copy of this novel.

I saw this novel compared to The Thirteenth Tale and books by Joe Hill. That was setting the bar pretty high. The Thirteenth Tale is a gothic tour de force and in N0S4A2 Joe Hill took the most innocent and happy holiday of the year, Christmas, and made it so disturbing that I had nightmares. He has become quite the master of horror, a chip off the old block. This novel was neither gothic nor
Emily Crow
Sep 20, 2015 rated it liked it
There's a humorous "intervention" scene in the Showtime TV series The L Word, in which Bette and Tina, who are going to have a baby, are confronted by three of their friends about their inability to talk about anything else. Suddenly, every conversation with them has started to revolve around things like buying maternity granny panties or gross pregnancy details, and their friends are concerned they are becoming self-centered and boring. Of course, in the show, it's comedic, but if ever a book n ...more
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Starter House by Sonja Condit is William Morrow publication and is scheduled for release in December 2013.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Lacey and Eric are a married couple expecting their first child and looking for the perfect "Starter House".
When Lacey sees the house on Forrester Lane she thinks the house "speaks" to her. The real estate agent really tries to talk them out of buying this house and even pleads with the owner no
Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆
I wanted to like this more but it was a mess. I think the author forgot where she was going during the middle of the book. Having Lex's POVs were annoying too, and nothing was scary.

I think she was going for The Shining type of horror novel. I mean, the ghost in the house possessed one of the family and used them to kill the others? Yeah, that's The Shining.

Another huge area of discontent (for me) was the fat phobia. It was quite distressing, to be honest. The only reason that was given, in rega
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Not quite a 4-star book, but more deserving than 3 stars.

I enjoyed this story about a married couple purchasing their first (haunted!) house. The writing was loose but carefully crafted, like a loom weaving that hasn't yet been combed and tightened. Some of the imagery was really beautiful, but some of it was clumsy and my eyes tripped over it as I read. There were a couple of laugh-out-loud passages that I really enjoyed, like the exchange between Uncle Floyd and Lex Hall, about Lex's estranged
Cheryl Ann Roberts
Oct 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Back in February I attended Bookmarks Moveable Book Feast. I purchased Starter House after reading the back of the book. I was accidentally fortunate enough to meet the author. She was interesting and really got me excited to read her book. Because it's a ghost story, I decided to save it and read it this month. Nothing like a good ghost story for October, right?

It's Sonja's first book, so my expectations were a little low. But I must tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. Or rather pleasantly sc
Aug 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Another reviewer mentioned that ghost stories would be very short if the protagonist did what most intelligent people would do if they realized that their house was haunted by a ghost that was out to kill them and just get the h*ll out, but in this case it kind of made sense that she stayed. First of all, said ghost would apparently just follow her wherever she went (even across the country, as one former victim experienced). Secondly, having grown up practically homeless, she had a strong convi ...more
✰☽✰  Unsolved Mystery ✰☾✰
Aug 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Haunted house lovers
Recommended to ✰☽✰ Unsolved Mystery ✰☾✰ by: Won in a giveaway

- My Description -
Lacey Miszlak thought she had found the perfect house for her growing family.
The most perfect house on the block.

Lacey and Eric are super excited for the upcoming arrival of their first baby.

Everything is perfect.

Things are not always what they seem.

A ghost boy dwells in this "perfect" house.
People have died here...babies have died here.

Will this "perfect" house claim more victims?

- My Review -
I love haunted house stories, so I was thrilled to begin reading this book.

Apr 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014
Another reviewer, Delee, wrote something like, "the scariest thing about this book was that this couple ever got married in the first place." That about sums it up. I could not get over how much I hated the characters in this book.

Specific to the audio version: the narrator drove me nuts. Every sentence that ended with a word that had a consonant she had to draw out, then over articulate the end - weeeeeee-K and iiiiiiii-T and huuuuuuurrr-T-S.
Nov 25, 2014 rated it liked it
For the first few chapters of this novel, I thought the plot had been ripped off from the first season of "American Horror Story." Then it took a turn of its own. High-brow it's not, but the story of a pregnant woman who finds herself in the grips of a house's dark secrets kept me reading. If you enjoy the slightly paranormal in a creepy half-contemporary/half-gothic setting, with well-developed characters who could be your next-door neighbors, you'll enjoy "Starter House."
May 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Maybe I should have given this book more than 3 stars. I liked it. Towards the end I couldn't seem to put it down. I loved the haunted house story. But I just couldn't go over 3. I mean how much can a pregnant woman go through? Some unrealistic situations, not so much with the ghost but with other aspects of this couples life. Read it, see what you think.
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, fiction, own-it
If you're a fan of ghost/haunted house stories like I am, this is a must read.
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this a lot! It was the kind of horror that suits me perfectly, interesting, but not too outlandish. Listened to audio with the Cassandra Campbell
Feb 10, 2014 rated it liked it
The ending was a bit of a disappointment. I thought the story was creative and eerie. Not your typical haunted house, though.
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“These houses were thirty, forty years old. People must have died, had babies, gotten engaged, married, divorced, hurt each other in a thousand ways, reconciled and forgiven, passionately hated and desperately loved; if you abandoned a house whenever something significant happened, people would live in tents. This house had known life.” 0 likes
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