Review: Shadow Eyes — by Dusty Crabtree


Cover image and summary from

Title: Shadow Eyes


Author: Dusty Crabtree

Rating:  ★★★★☆ (4 of 5)

Genre/Pages: Urban Fantasy / 328

Summary: “Iris thought she could ignore the shadows…until they came after everyone she loved.

Seventeen-year- old Iris Kohl has been able to see both dark and light figures ever since a tragic incident three years ago. The problem is, no one else seems to see them, and even worse…the dark figures terrorize humans, but Iris is powerless to stop them.

Although she’s learned to deal with watching shadows harass everyone around her, Iris is soon forced to question everything she thinks she knows about her world and herself. Her sanity, strength, and will power are tested to the limits by not only the shadows, but also a handsome new teacher whose presence scares away shadows, a new friend with an awe-inspiriting aura, and a mysterious, alluring new student whom Iris has a hard time resisting despite already having a boyfriend. As the shadows invade and terrorize her own life and family, Iris must ultimately accept the guidance of an angel to revisit the most horrific event of her life and become the hero she was meant to be.”

Cover Review: Not a fan of this cover. The font is pretty, and the colors are nice (and important to the plot), but it’s not a very aesthetically pleasing cover, or one that would make me want to pick up / buy the book. It could definitely use a complete revamp. 

My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. First of all, Dusty Crabtree’s writing and imagery are absolutely captivating. She has a way with words that makes everything come to life beautifully. The world and premise are really creative — it’s an epic modern battle between angels and demons, it’s a story that embodies Dumbledore’s quote: 

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Characters: Honestly, the protagonist infuriated me at times, but that’s exactly what made her such a good character. She was so receptive and good at seeing what was wrong with everyone else, except for herself and her immediate circumstances. Then again, I suppose that is exactly what made her so relatable and realistic, because human beings tend to be pretty blind when it comes to themselves and their friends. That’s what enables Iris’ story to teach so many good and important life lessons. Each character exists to teach the reader different things (but not in a preachy way at all), and each character is in a different stage of their personal battle between good and evil. 

Plot: I loved the plot. It told the very real story of a teenage girl in a scary world overcoming her own personal evil. It was heartfelt, it was poignant, and it was meaningful. This is the kind of story that actually stands for something. It’s more than just a fun book to read, it’s genuinely good book, and an important story to tell. It was a fantastic read!

Content Advisory: Wow, this book deals with some really heavy topics. Alcoholism, date rape, drug use, teenage pregnancies, self-harm, suicide, blackmail, manipulation, miscarriages, cheating spouses, and car crashes, if memory serves. These things are always portrayed in a negative light, and is a story contrasting the battle between the light and the dark in the world. When I asked the author about it, she said: “There are some PG-13 things, but nothing major – it’s really more just descriptions of stuff leading up to something bad that never actually happens.  But everything (guy/girl stuff) is shown in a negative light – not condoned.  In fact, I have yet to get negative feedback on that from a Christian or person sensitive to that stuff.”

To Sum It Up: A beautifully written contemporary tale of the eternal battle between good and evil, this book is nearly impossible to put down. It’s engaging, gripping, and realistic. I highly recommend this book to readers 15 and up. 

Review: Monster Hunter International – by Larry Correia

Cover image and summary from Image links to goodreads book page.
Cover image and summary from Image links to goodreads book page.

Title: Monster Hunter International (Monster Hunter International, #1)

Author: Larry Correia

Goodreads. Audible. Amazon. Barnes & Noble.

Summary: Monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Officially secret, some of them are evil, some are just hungry. On the other side are the people who kill monsters for a living. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company and now Owen Pitt is their newest recruit.

Genre/Pages: Adult Urban Fantasy / 457

Rating: ★★★★ (5.5 of 5)

My Review:  This is not a YA novel. It’s modern adult. The first one I’ve actually ever read. (I say modern, because the Anne Mccaffrey non-YA books of the past are quite different than the adult books of the present). My brother, J.A. Dalley, a YA Mil-Sci-Fi author, and soon to be Urban Fantasy author (his first UF book will be published within a year), continually told me that I HAD to read this book. That it was super amazing and basically the best book ever. I have a long TBR list. I said I’d get to it eventually. Finally, he took my iPod, and downloaded the audiobook onto it himself. So, I gave in. I pressed play.

Hero/Heroine: I am absolutely overjoyed to be able to talk about a MALE protagonist for the first time in a LONG time. I’ve gotten really sick of being stuck in the head of teenage girls every time I read a book, so the fact that Owen Pitt was the hero of this series made me super excited. The only problem I had character-wise was that, and maybe this was because I was listening to it, not reading, but I could not for the life of me, keep all the character’s straight. I dearly loved all of them, the character development was great, how we gradually learned more about them was wonderful, the diversity was refreshing, but for the grand majority of the book, if you’d asked me whether Milo or Trip was the preacher-turned-monster-hunter, I wouldn’t have the slightest clue how to answer.

Owen: I loved Owen. Actually, the characters were all really great. But I really loved Owen. Larry Correia is an absolute master of story telling. That fact was most prevalent when it came to how Owen’s character, backstory, and destiny slowly unfolded. Not so slowly that I was bored out of my mind, but not so fast that I felt like I already knew everything. Information was never dumped. I got to know Owen at a normal pace, like I would get to know a friend. So he became a friend. I began to understand him, as he began to understand himself. I was never given useless information to throw me off a trail. And let me tell you, he is an EPIC character. Accountant by day, expert marksman by night. I knew the second he pulled out a gun for the first time, that I was gonna love him. And love him I did. Because he’s just so dang loveable!

Julie: Okay, remember what I said about being so glad to get out of a girl’s POV in books? Well, there were definitely no shortage of freakin’ INCREDIBLE women in this book. Julie, of course, being the most prevalent (though stripper-turned-monster-hunter Holly is pretty freaking amazing, as well).  But I loved Julie. I loved that she wasn’t a “strong female character” she was a “strong character who is also a female” (but the difference is a rant for another time), she wasn’t just written as amazing as she is to be “politically correct” (a problem I often see in literature), she’s just that amazing. A deadly fighter with a mysterious family, Julie is one character you can’t help but admire (and love!).

Plot: Did I mention that Larry Correia is a freaking master of storytelling and suspense? I did? Well, I’ll say it again! This plot was PERFECTLY paced. I didn’t even know that that was possible. The fight scenes were intense, emotional, and engaging. I would be walking in the hallway at school, earbuds in, and I’d just have to stop dead and sit down, give my full concentration to the mass of action going on. Beware Chapter 22. You’ll need some tissues, and private room. The mysterious and cryptic dreams, the humorous and engaging character dialogue, the edge-of-your-seat fight scenes, the horrifying monsters, the romance, the realism and the excruciating pain — this book is to die for. Not literally, though, cuz then you wouldn’t be able to read the second book! Also, I loved that MHI wasn’t just a bunch of heroes — They’re also mercs. They’re bounty hunters. New twist! Lovin’ it.

Content Advisory: A fair amount of cussing. Not like you hear in the hallways at high school, but a lot of S- words, D- words, H- words, and B- words, and maybe 10 o so F-bombs. One scene of sexual nature (went to second base, non graphic.), One implied scene of sexual nature (off screen), a few sexual inneundos. A lot of violence. Not terribly graphic, but PG-13. Blood, gore, and death (both of monsters and humans) abound.  

To Sum it Up: I’d never read Adult, let alone Urban Fantasy. I was skeptical. It felt like Percy Jackson all grown up. Even if the action, the guns, and pure enjoyment didn’t make me desperate to read the next book in the series, the motley band of characters, and the freaking amazing monster lore have sealed the deal. Like monsters? Like characters? Like enjoyment? READ. THIS. BOOK. That is all. Recommended for ages 17+.

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it?