Sunday, March 17, 2024

Book Reviews: Book, Beast and Crow + Under This Red Rock


  Check out my thoughts on these 2 young adult books below!

*eARCs provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.  I am an Amazon and affiliate so I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you make a purchase through one of my links

Book, Beast, and Crow
Pub Date: March 12, 2024 (Quill Tree Books)
Genre: YA Fantasy

🔗Book Links:

✍️Also by this author: The Grave Keepers

Anna Kellogg has always felt different. Growing up in Hartwood, New Jersey—where frequent disappearances are attributed to an urban-legend-like beast who dwells in the walled-in swamp at the center of town—can have that effect on people. But for Anna, it’s more than that. Since she was a child, she’s been plagued by “episodes” where she sees things others can’t see. Feeling different is one thing, but actually being different is another. If it weren’t for her best friend, Olivia, Anna’s not sure where she’d fit in.

But any hopes of having a normal senior year come to a halt when Olivia is attacked in the woods, bitten, and left for dead by a whirling cyclone of claws, fur, and teeth. Though Olivia survives, a sinister entity makes it clear that the mark had been set on Anna…and the miss has set in motion a catastrophic shift that will change Anna and her friends’ lives forever.

With dashes of mythology, fantasy, and suspense, this genre-bending novel from Elizabeth Byrne will leave readers breathless.

My Thoughts:

This book took me forever to read. I found it interesting as I was reading it, but it took me forever to get through. I thought the story was fine, but nothing spectacular.

I would say this is definitely more of a fantasy than a horror story. I didn’t think any part of the book was scary. There’s an alternate world/reality, banshees, talking animals, and beasts. The alternate world had a Narnia-like feel to it.

I liked the friend group in this story, and I especially liked the strong friendship between Anna and Olivia. I enjoy stories that feature female friendships.

I felt the ending was a nice and satisfying conclusion. Overall, this was a decent read that I would recommend to fans of YA fantasy.



Under This Red Rock
Pub Date: March 19, 2024 (Katherine Tegen Books)
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller

⚠️Check out content warnings here

🔗Book Links:

✍️Also by this author: A Long Stretch of Bad Days, The Initial Insult 

Neely’s monsters don’t always follow her rules, so when the little girl under her bed, the man in her closet, and the disembodied voice that shadows her every move become louder, she knows she’s in trouble.

With a history of mental illness in her family, and the suicide of her older brother heavy on her mind, Neely takes a job as a tour guide in the one place her monsters can’t follow—the caverns. There she can find peace. There she can pretend to be normal. There . . . she meets Mila.

Mila is everything Neely isn’t—beautiful, strong, and confident. As the two become closer, Neely’s innocent crush grows into something more. When a midnight staff party exposes Neely to drugs, she follows Mila’s lead . . . only to have her hallucinations escalate.

When Mila is found brutally murdered in the caverns, Neely has to admit that her memories of that night are vague at best. With her monsters now out in the open, and her grip on reality slipping, Neely must figure out who killed Mila . . . and face the possibility that it might have been her.

My Thoughts:

The two words I would use to describe this book are dark and disturbing. In “Under This Red Rock”, McGinnis tackles mental illness, SA, suicide, trauma, death, grief, murder, and the darker side of human nature. I love McGinnis’s writing and I’m always excited when she releases a new book. Her writing is so unique and immersive, and her characters are raw and complex.

This was a dark and bleak read that left me feeling sad. There are so many heavy topics explored and it was hard to read certain parts. I thought Neely was an interesting main character, the ultimate unreliable narrator. She has an undiagnosed mental illness where she has auditory and visual hallucinations. She often has a distorted sense of reality. Could she have been responsible for her new friend’s death? The murder mystery in this book kept me guessing until the end.

This wasn’t my all time favorite book by McGinnis, but I would still recommend it to YA mystery lovers. If you liked McGinnis’s other books, you’ll most likely enjoy this one.



Thanks For Reading!

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