#LOHFReadathon YA/MG Book: Lie to Me by Kaitlin Ward

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children there were 421,394 NCIC entries for missing children in 2019. Many of these children are involved in familial kidnapping cases. Where it is someone in the family that kidnaps the child. As a child of the 80’s I grew up looking at the missing pictures on the side of milk cartons. Being told to come in before the street lights come on. We were really given carte blanche. Kids today don’t have it as free as we did back then. When you add the final girl trope with the idea that bad things can happen to children especially teenage girls. Lie to Me was an interesting take on the final girl trope add in a little sprinkling of serial killer. Thank you to Scholastic for sending me my review copy!!

Synopsis: After what ever one thinks in an accident, a teenage girl looks for clues as to what happened to her.

What I liked: Ward’s writing made the story easy to read and appropriate for ages 7 and up. The pacing of the story was perfect. The language that was used by Ward was age appropriate. The action scenes were not gorey and there was a little bit of romance. What I really appreciated was the the diversity in the story. The characters were representative of the type of friends that kids would have. Also, there was Bi representation in the story which is very important a many stories don’t have that kind of representation. The language between the teenagers was spot on and realistic. I appreciated the ending….if you read it you will know what I am talking about.

What I didn’t like: There wasn’t anything in particular that I didn’t like.

Star Ratings: 3.5 stars

My thoughts: I enjoyed the story and it kept me engrossed. The main issue I had with the story was the idea that the MC didn’t follow her instincts to begin with. That she was worried about hurting people’s feelings with the way she felt. I think we need to see more stories with girls speaking out when their gut is telling them something isn’t right. There is another trope that was in the book that I have an issue with…..the possessive boyfriend. I don’t personally think that it is a healthy trope. That a possessive boyfriend is one that loves you etc. It is a trope that I feel can be harmful to girls …..where they believe that is how a relationship should be. I love how Ward did turn this trope around and it fits the narrative of the story. This is a story that could actually start a very good discussion about relationships and listening to your gut.

#LOHFReadathon YA/MG Horror: Dead Voices by Katherine Arden

Anyone who has read my blog knows that I love Katherine Arden’s writing style. Her adult books and now her middle grade horror totally has my heart all locked up. I couldn’t wait to read the second spooky adventure for the Vermot trio. I am always a little afraid to read the second book in any series….especially after how much I loved Small Spaces. But this one sure didn’t disappoint. This is also my second choice for the LOHFReadathon after my first choice and I didn’t necessarily get along I was stoked that I saved this one for the readathon.

Synopsis: The trio of Ollie, Brian and Coco are back with a thrilling adventure to defeat a specific someone.

What I liked: What is there not to like about this story. I love the entire message that Arden has throughout this series. The friendship between the main characters is pivotal. They never leave anyone behind and always have each other’s backs. What I really enjoyed was that this book really focused on Coco whereas the first book was focused on Ollie. As Always Arden’s writing is amazing and the story moves with the perfect pacing. Arden writes with such fluidity and ease, that reading her books is super easy and very enjoyable. It is spooky enough that this can be a Halloween or Winter read for the middle grade set.

What I didn’t like: NOTHING

Star Rating: 5 Stars

My Thoughts: I am loving this series. It is really making me happy. The feeling through the entire story is Winter, fires and hot chocolate. The atmosphere in the story was cold, it is the perfect winter time book with a little spooky thrown in. So this winter bundle up in a blanket with some hot chocolate and read this lovely horror tale.

#LOHFReadathon When I Arrived At The Castle By Emily Carroll

I wasn’t a graphic novel fan, until I got Through The Woods by Emily Carroll. It was beautiful and the story really followed a horror fairytale format. The story was lush and the illustrations were beautiful. When the announcement came through, Carroll would be releasing another book this year. I waited very patiently for my library to purchase it. I was so happy that it came just in time for the #LOHFReadathon. I am using When I Arrived at the Castle as my LGBTQIA+ choice.

Synopsis: A cat girl arrives at a castle all set to kill the “woman” that lives there.

What I liked: As always the illustrations where STUNNING. Absolutely beautiful!! I really enjoy the color palette that Carrol uses. I enjoyed the premise of the story and the gothic leanings that were present. I appreciated the nod to Dracula. But what I really get here is Elizabeth B├íthory. There is a part in the story where the woman is talking to the girl and is discussing how many have come before her etc….which is really what firmly lodged that idea in my head. There was a tiny bit of Dracula thrown in there for good measure but the other comes through more prominently .

What I didn’t like: I feel like there is a bit of story that is missing. The beginning and the ending are fully formed but I feel like there is something missing in the middle. I wanted to know more.

Star Rating: 3 stars

My thoughts: So I feel pretty let down here as I really loved Through The Woods. The illustrations weren’t the issue it was more the story. The story just felt lacking. I wanted to love it. I really really wanted to. Alas, I didn’t. Illustrations alone can’t carry a story. There needs to be some meat to the story.