Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Shutter by Courtney Alameda (Review | Pinterest Inspiration Board | Giveaway)

Young Adult, Supernatural, Horror, Thriller
Publication.Date  February 3rd 2015
Published By:  Feiwel & Friends
AuthorCourtney Alameda

Shutter on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:,%201

Horror has a new name: introducing Courtney Alameda.

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.

"I swore I heard the empty click of a revolver barrel every time we touched. How many clicks did we get until we hit the live round, until life as we knew it lost and ended up blasted all over the wall?"
"I'm not much to put your faith in," I said.
"I don't have a lot of faith to work with in the first place." He stood and offered me a hand up. "Dust yourself off, Helsing. We're going hunting."
But I'd stopped believing in fairy tales and happy endings at five, when I killed my first reanimate with Dad's big hands wrapped around my tiny ones. Nothing monstrous was conquered with a kiss, nor by love. Evil went down by the trigger, overcome with bullets, shutters, blood, and courage.
He cut us loose with those kisses, and now we roamed in foreign territory with no map, no compass but our hearts... and mine couldn't find true north to begin with.
I thought your old man gave you bullets to use as pacifiers. 

     Before I try to put my thoughts into a somewhat coherent review, let me just say one thing: no matter what I write, I feel like I will never be able to do this book justice. In fact, I believe only an interpretive dance at the edge of a cliff on top of the highest mountain, wearing nothing but a crown of flowers, could come somewhat close to doing Shutter justice. And it would probably still fall short. So yeah. Good luck to me. 

"Saving people, hunting things... Family business" (Dean; Supernatural TV show)

     Boy oh boy, what a ride! Shutter is completely and utterly mind blowing. Fans of kick-ass supernatural thriller/horror stories will be delighted to discover this book. And if, like me, you happen to be a fan of Supernatural (the TV show) and classics such as Dracula, Helsing and Frankenstein, you will absolutely love all the references! 

"I have a duty to do, a duty to others, a duty to you, a duty to the dead, and by God, I shall do it."

     In short, this book is about fighting evil, exorcising ghosts and making sure no mundane humans get hurt in the process. Micheline is a Helsing, and one of the last ones in the lineage at that. Her hunting partners are: Jude, a boy who can predict your death if he touches you; Oliver, a computer genius and tech-whiz; and Ryder, the hottest Aussie on the planet who also happens to be completely out of limits for Micheline. The story line involves a ghost hunt that gets crazy out of control, a death-curse with a 7-day deadline, lots of eye-popping action and a mystery to solve - a mystery that will blow your socks off.

     Colt guns, Harley motorcycles, Quija boards, hunting ghosts with cameras, and loads of wicked bad-assery - Shutter is my new obsession. I love ghost stories - from possessions to evil poltergeists, demons, Bloody Marries - you name it - and if they come with witty dialogues, an awesome cast of characters, and really complex world building, I just can't resist. I'm sold. I am a fan. (I am a FAN!)

     There is not a single thing I could complain about here. Not a thing I didn't like. I loved every second of this book, every little nuance, every bit of reference, every joke, all the dialogues, all the blood-chillingly terrifying scenes, ALL THE THINGS, and FEELS, and TWISTS. To me, this book is perfection. I feel like I've been waiting for it my whole life. Now, I know not everyone will feel the same, some of you might not get it at all, I guess it's just a matter of taste, but if your taste is anything like mine (dark, creepy stuff, cool gadgets - guns, cars, motorcycles, cameras - references to classic horror icons, and characters that are so well written, they become your imaginary friends) then you will probably be just as stoked to read Shutter as I was. 

     OK, now let's talk about the scary. I am a total wuss when it comes to watching horror movies. I love them, but I can't watch them all by myself. And even if I watch them with someone else, you can bet your panties I will be screaming like a little girl, jumping up at all the right moments and hiding under a blanket at least half the time. BUT, here's the thing, while I love reading horror books, not many of them actually scare me. There is maybe a handful of books that really scared the living soul out of me and had me so terrified, I could not sleep. And Shutter is one of them. Courtney is disturbingly good at setting the mood and describing blood-chilling situations. She had me holding my breath and looking anxiously around the room. I could not look into the bathroom mirror at night without breaking out in cold sweat. Shutter is seriously creepy at times. It's cool and kind of nerdy, and really magnificently badass. Heck, it's even funny at times. And a helluva a lot sexy. But for the most part, it's really, truly, undeniably scary

"What do you want?" I shouted at the entity, pushing back to my feet.
"Vengeance," it rasped. "I'll rip the heart right out of Helsing, starting with you."

     Part mystery, part twisted ghost revenge story, Shutter is one helluva debut novel. It's so well written and so fantastically plotted, it's really kind of hard to comprehend how this could be someone's very first book. Alameda sure knows how to write. She bursts into the YA book scene with a phenomenal story and I really can't wait to see where she'll take us next. I am going to be obsessively stalking her carrier for sure, and I don't even care how creepy that sounds!

About the author:

Courtney Alameda's spent her entire career trying to con and cajole people into reading great books. A veteran of the big-box bookstore trenches, Courtney now works as a librarian for the prettiest library you've ever seen, where she spends her time ordering large stacks of YA books, doing readers' advisory, and dressing up as various mythical creatures for a variety of library events.
Courtney has an affinity for brightly colored lipstick, urban exploration, cosplay, video games, and Twitter. If she's listening to music, it's usually Florence + the Machine, Marina and the Diamonds, Rodrigo y Gabriela, or Jason Graves. Her addiction to Dr. Pepper is legendary.
Courtney holds a B.A. in English Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Brigham Young University. She is represented by the amazing and talented John M. Cusick of Greenhouse Literary. A Northern California native, she now resides in Utah with a legion of books and a tiny, five pound cat who possesses a giant personality.
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One lucky winner will get a beautiful hardcover copy of SHUTTER!
Open to US/Canada

Thank you MacKidsBooks and Ksenia!

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