Review of Shutter by Courtney Alameda

By: Courtney Alameda
Release Date: February 3rd 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

My Thoughts:
That cover is SO CREEPY. I had to turn the book over as I read because that face staring at me was not working. I found Shutter to be a somewhat creepy read that I enjoyed though didn’t love. I had a bit of a disconnect with the characters though I did like them. I think I would have been more scared if I had been more emotionally attached. Regardless, the story’s pacing and action sequences did work for me. There was a countdown aspect to the story- only so much time to solve the case or DEATH- and this did add tension (obviously). I enjoyed watching the soulchain curse grow on the character’s bodies…I’ve noticed lately I really delight in the character’s pain. Not sure what this says about me?

The story was told from Micheline’s point of view. I enjoyed the character’s unique skills that allowed them to excel in ghost hunting and thought it was especially wonderful to include an analog SLR camera as a weapon against spiritual entities. I’m a photographer (for fun) and so I had an easy time connecting to this aspect of the story. Trapping ghosts on film and then developing said film? Awesome! I loved the visuals of watching the images show up while alone, in a dark room. Where my disconnect came was with the secondary characters as well as the romance.

There wasn’t anything wrong with the interactions between characters I just had trouble really feeling the chemistry between them. I think with additional books I’d come to love the characters more? I hope so.  The romance was well done but it didn’t sweep me away and honestly was a tad forgettable. That’s sort of my problem with the book–the characters didn’t stick with me. I will say that some of the ghost scenes did. A month or so after reading I still remember many of the ghost interactions and think they were done so incredibly well. For me, that was the highlight of the book.

Final Thoughts:
Shutter was well worth the read and brought some fun aspects to the horror genre (there needs to be more in YA). If a sequel is released I’d want to read it since I feel these characters have great potential. I connected very well to the horror and action aspects but never had the emotional draw to the characters that I’d have preferred. Regardless, this was an entertaining read that had great ghost imagery and action sequences.

My December To Be Read Pile

I can’t believe we are in the final month of 2014. Time has really gone quickly this year and really in the last few months. I don’t feel prepared at all for this year to end. Over Thanksgiving my family was given news that my grandfather was very ill. I headed off to see him and returned home Sunday after a 15 hour car ride. I don’t recommend traveling the Sunday after Thanksgiving. We have been so wrapped up and worried about my grandfather it didn’t feel like the holidays were even here. I feel rather disheveled and disconnected but I’m hoping to get my head back into everyday life. If you could say a prayer for my grandfather I’d be very grateful.

I’ve found some solace in books so I’ve been reading as much as possible. I’m almost finished with Shutter and have started Court of Fives (thank you Sajda from Across the Words) and Gathering Darkness. I think Court of Fives is going to live up to all my expectations. Many years ago I read Kate Elliott’s adult fantasy series so I’m so, so excited to see her go to young adult. I read Now That You’re Here by Amy K. Nichols on the road and found it to be an entertaining read.

Here’s what I’m hoping to read this month:


My dear friend Stacee from Adventures of a Book Junkie is sending me The Orphan Queen so I’ll be starting that ASAP. I can’t wait to read it since I’ve heard great things. I don’t know what I’d do without my wonderful bloggy friends.

How does your December look? Are you ready for 2014 to end? I’ll say I’m looking forward to the books 2015 has to offer because they look wonderful-so much science fiction and fantasy.

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is a weekly meme where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.

Can you believe Halloween is next week? Ah! Where did October go? I’m not ready for it to be ending yet. If you visit my blog regularly you’ll have noticed I’ve not posted but once this week. There was some craziness in the community last weekend concerning an author and a blogger friend that I’m pretty confident you’ve heard of. Well, this entire mess zapped away my enthusiasm and left me highly unmotivated. I had so many emotions concerning everything that happened I felt that taking a little bit of time would be beneficial.

I’m starting to feel the tiniest hint of motivation again so I’ve been attempting to write some reviews. Look for Made for You, The Lost, Every Breath and Black Ice to be up soon. As for reading I’ve been working on Mortal Heart which is amazingly well done as expected. After I finish I’ll go back to The Fall and I’m hoping to get in the mood to read some great middle grade books I have.

Also, if you didn’t see, I’m FINALLY on Instagram. If you’re interested you can follow me here.

Now to my latest book additions…

For Review- thank you HarperTeen, Quirk, Macmillan and Bloomsbury:

 1000pieces JaneAusten



Gifts- I have the very best bloggy friends. So many hugs to Krys and Jon


The only post I did this last week was a review for Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios. I do have a giveaway going for one of the below books. It’s a Twitter giveaway.


How was your week in books?

Discussion- When Book Covers Scare You

Right now I’m reading Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither and I’m honestly really freaked out by the cover. The first time I saw it I somehow missed the creepy shadowed face but oh, how it haunts me now. I find myself flipping it over so I don’t have to look at it. *shudders*

Falls the Shadow

Also, have you seen the cover for Shutter by Courtney Alameda? I thought about requesting it but I’m too creeped by the cover. I really think I’d prefer to read the e-book of that particular one because I’m not sure I want that face (?) around my house.


I wonder- do you have a problem buying a book if the cover scares you? Do you hide books or flip them over while you’re reading? And I’ve got to know, what cover has scared you the most?