ARC Review ~ Shutter by Courtney Alameda

Series: N/A
Genre: YA Paranormal/Mystery
Page Length:  384 Pages
Publication Date: February 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: ARC via publisher (Thanks Macmillan!)
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.
"We are not defined by our lack of fear but rather by what we choose to do when facing the nightmare." 

I have the perfect pitch for this book: Young James Bond meets Ghostbusters! After seeing lots of rave reviews, I was so excited to read this. Although it's not exactly what I was hoping for or expecting, this book was definitely entertaining and creative.

Micheline and her band of ghost-hunting friends get exposed to a ghostly disease that threatens to consume them and make them ghosts. Micheline and her friends have 5 days to exorcise the ghost to save themselves. I love how fast-paced this story is, and Alameda couples it with a frantic, urgent tone.

I really enjoyed the characters. They have great chemistry and hilarious banter. Micheline is the tough, resilient leader of the group, the heir to the Van Helsing legacy and the Corps. Ryder has been Micheline's friend since they were young and they both keep edging beyond mere friendship even as Micheline's father plans to arrange her marriage to keep the Van Helsing bloodline strong. Jude is the honest and hilarious one. Oliver is the brains of the operation. They make a great team together, and I loved their friendship.

Alameda's writing was wonderful, I never would have thought she was a debuting author this year! Her ideas were so intricate and creative. I loved how she created this corporation of sorts that dealt with ghosts and things that won't stay dead. I loved how she described it all along with the gadgetry, the explanations of the departments, the history, etc. My one critique would be that there was a bit of info-dump in the beginning. I appreciated that she tried to explain some of the scientific stuff behind the gadgets and especially the camera, but it went over my head a bit and left me confused.

The romance was so adorable! It's kind of forbidden since Micheline's dad is planning an arranged marriage for her (yikes). It was so sweet, and the tension and chemistry and fireworks were all there. I swooned. Some very creepy and scary things happen in this book, things that nightmares are made of! I loved the action scenes, but I felt like the plot was dragging a bit in parts.

Overall, this was a fast-paced, fun read that I think you'll enjoy!


  1. This sounds so intriguing! I've been looking forward to reading this book but I don't have a copy yet. There are a lot of positive reviews for Shutter that it really makes me excited for this book. :)

  2. This sounds like such a unique premise!

  3. OH I love that cover and this review. I really want to read this. I don't think I've heard of a book much like this one, so you could say I am very intrigued. And the romance sounds like a lovely addition to the storyline. AND GHOSTBUSTERS? Yaas.

  4. Oh damn, that cover is creepy. O_O I must say I was expecting something a lot scarier than what I got from the blurb though, haha. But it sounds really good and interesting, and I'm glad that it managed to get four stars from you!

    Yay for platonic relationships between the different sexes! Seriously, we need more relationships like these because not everything is romance. And banter! Probably one of my favorite aspects in books. I love characters who can keep up sarcastic quips back and forth. And it sounds like even though Micheline is surrounded by guys, there isn't a love square at all? Really happy to hear that, haha (you know me, lol).

    Honestly, despite the info-dump, I'm really curious about this ghost camera. It sounds SO cool and even though I don't want to ever see a ghost/spirit in my life, I wouldn't mind owning it and snapping pictures everywhere I go. :D It's good to know that the author knew what she was writing about when she described the camera, though she ended up over-elaborating a little.

    I hadn't heard of this book before this review, but I'm definitely interested in reading it now, so thanks for the lovely review, Rachel! <3

  5. I've been hearing great things about this book lately. I love the sound of the friendships in the book and I think I would love the banter. The romance sounds great too. I have a copy of the book, but I have to read this in daylight because I live alone and it's going to freak me out if I do it at night!
    Lovely review, Rachel.

  6. I heard nothing but awesome things about this novel so I'm super-excited to finally get my hands on it. I love when a debut author doesn't seem like one, it always makes me eager to read more books from them. Forbidden romance is one of the best types, and from your review it sounds like it's greatly written. It's honestly the best thing when an author is able to mix together genres in just the right way.
    Amazing review, Rachel! :)

  7. Awesome review! This sounds like a great book. I haven't heard of it before. What a cover! Definitely fascinating. Thanks for sharing. :)

  8. Great review Rachel! So glad to hear you loved it too! And yep, the ship in this one was quite fantastic but I liked how it didn't overpower the rest of the plot!
    And I'm hoping we'll get a sequel!!

  9. Sounds like a fun read! I've been wanting to read this one since I heard about it, but man... that cover is so creepy! LOL

  10. I'm glad you mentioned the info dump confused you, because I've just started it and I'm on the verge of DNFing it. I just can't get into it but I keep seeing all these great reviews. It all seems overly complicated and confusing to me. Now that I've read your review I'm going to keep going and hopefully once I get past the info dump it will get better.

  11. I heard SO MUCH GOOD about this one. I'm all about a good thriller [because NO book's ever scared me which is a little disappointing]

    I heard AWESOME things on Micheline's kickassery which is everything I want in a MC.

    SO GLAD YOU LOVED! I'm excited for this book to reach my hands <3

  12. I've also seen some great reviews for this one and this only makes me want to read it even more-it sounds so unique! The characters sound like they have an excellent dynamic and I'm really liking the sound of the romance ;)

  13. I won a copy of this book, and am waiting for it to get here. To be honest, I was a little afraid that I wouldn't like it, but you had me at "Young James Bond meets Ghostbusters." I can't wait for it to get here. I want it now. lol

  14. The cover is so creepy! I think this is the first time that a book cover managed to spook me! I don't read much of book of this genre, mostly, due to the fact that it fails to scare me. This book however, managed to spook me just by looking at the cover! I just hope the story is as spooky! :)
    Azee @ UnderCover Critique

  15. Ghost hunting is my thing, so I should probably read this, huh? 007 isn't too shabby himself. Hehe. I don't think I have seen any bad reviews for this at all. Thanks for the review. :)

  16. The cover is so creepy looking .. yikes! The premise does sound intriguing enough, I'm glad you enjoyed it though! Thanks for sharing :)

    Benish | Feminist Reflections

  17. Wonderful review Rachel, I've seen this around the place so good to know what it's finally about. Ghost hunting and James bond mash up sounds pretty awesome!

  18. This sounds very intriguing! I'm hearing a lot of good things about this one. I'm glad you liked it! Great review (:

    - Love, Felicia
    ( )

  19. I just wrote my review for this last night! The cover is initially what drew me to this one, and the synopsis made me want to read it even more. And I am glad that I did. The characters made this one for me. They were an amazing bunch. My only issue is that I was hoping for some super scary, and only got some creepy. But it was still an amazing read, and I am looking forward to reading whatever comes next from Courtney Alameda!

  20. I need to read this book! I've heard great things about it and the characters and the story seem so well developed. Plus there's that amazing creepy cover.


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