Buddy Read: Shutter (Jonny Pongratz and Iseult Murphy)

Hello Again Blogging World!

Iseult: Heeeere’s Iseult! I’m back! Thought you could get rid of me, hey Jonny? Haha!

You can check out my books on Amazon here.

Jonny : This is Jonny, your almost 33 year old YA Horror author whose feet still hurt from moving. Give him no pity!

You can check out my creepy YA Horror story here.


This week we did a buddy read of Shutter by Courtney Alameda (young adult/horror).



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. 


Alright, so let’s get right into things! We’ve prepared some questions that we’ll both answer, and we hope you enjoy these as much as we did!


1. Many have labeled this book as young adult. Do you agree with that based on the horrific nature and content of this novel? 


Iseult: I definitely consider this book young adult. The tone is light, despite the subject matter. Micheline has experienced hardship, but it’s repercussions aren’t examined in any depth, and she’s back leading a team of hunters only 18 months after suffering crippling PTSD (got to love those Helsing doctors). There is lots of joking between the characters, and the prerequisite forbidden romance.

Jonny: I was actually conflicted on this one as I read through. Ultimately, I think this is young adult mainly due to the way it’s written, the age of the protagonists, as well as the other young adult themes that we see present (*cough cough* ROMANCE!).

But I also believe that the subject matter may be a bit much for the squeamish, and this book is definitely horror. So unless you live for creepy ambience and can handle a bit of gore, then this book is not for you.


2. How do you think Micheline has changed between the events of Trigger and Shutter?


Iseult: Micheline has suffered a great tragedy in the eighteen months separating the two stories, and I don’t think she’s coping well. She’s still as arrogant as she was, but losing her notion of security and approval has left her a bit of a loose cannon. Going forward, I hope she learns to be more thoughtful, to consider the potential consequences of her actions, and to try to understand that the motivations of others might not be as obvious as they appear on the surface. At the moment, loss has made her self centered. I hope that she will see the errors of her ways before she journeys much further down that path.

Jonny: Micheline is almost two separate people entirely from the events of Trigger to Shutter, and it’s understandable given the traumatizing events that have occurred. In Trigger, we got to see how dedicated she is to being a successful reaper and how the thrill of the hunt fulfills her existence in this dark world.

However, when we pick back up in Shutter, much has changed and we see a different side to her. Reaping is still important to her, but she’s lost her way in her grief and she’s gotten restless. The mistakes she makes due to this flaw draws others into her problems, and I think that she’ll think twice before going in gung ho next time. Shutter was about her coming to terms with the traumatic events that happened after Trigger.


3. Which type of Helsing would you like to be – a Reaper, hunting the undead; a tetrachtomat hunting ghosts; A Drake, with paranormal powers; or a Stoker, doing research and documentation?


Iseult: Oh, this is a tough choice! I’m drawn to the Stokers, because I love writing and researching things, but I would also like to be able to see the ghostlight and use mirrors (or cameras!) to capture ghosts.

Jonny: Definitely either a Drake or Reaper. I’ve always craved adventure, so the fighter in me would love to see just how I would fare against the dead given the standard training the Reapers get. *draws gun* Bring it on, undead!

On the other hand, the Drakes had interesting paranormal abilities that varied, and combined with the fact that they reap as well the perks alone are too tempting to pass up!


4. Ghosts, spirits, and evil dead are a core theme of this book. Have you ever experienced anything supernatural? 


Iseult: I’ve had several experiences of both the supernatural (and the preternatural!), but today I’m going to share two incidents after the death of my parents.

My father died at home after a five year illness. I sat beside his body until the undertakers took him away. All morning, while he was still in the house, his bedroom was filled with the most beautiful smell of roses. I attempted to find the source of the smell, but couldn’t. He died in October, there were no flowers in the room, and there were no perfumes or other products that could account for it.

My mother also died after a five year illness. While we nursed her at home, she breathed her last in hospital. My sister, who was with her, phoned me moments after her death. As I lay in bed crying, I got the overwhelming impression that my mother had walked into the room, sat down on the side of my bed and embraced me. I didn’t see anything, but the sensation was so strong that I held my arms up and hugged her back. I was filled with great peace, and was comforted by her presence. After several minutes she left.

Jonny: Before I answer, Iseult, I’m sorry for your loss. You are a very strong individual and thank you for sharing that special piece of yourself with us. Those experiences are fascinating.

Most of my supernatural experiences have been centered around shadow people.

Since I was about 15, I started seeing shadow people, and while they don’t necessarily show up as much anymore I don’t ever get too comfortable because I know that they are there.

In one particular instance, I was with a friend outside. I got the feeling that I was being watched and saw the shadow figure, but the thing that scared me the most was that my friend said “Oh my god, what is that?” Needless to say, we both went inside and I had a lot of explaining to do that night.

That’s A Wrap!

Thanks for joining us on our buddy read of Shutter! We had a lot of fun, and hope you did too! We will definitely be doing some more buddy reads in the future, so stay tuned!

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