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text 2017-11-27 15:55
Summer travel plans
Bonfire - Krysten Ritter

I want to go to Israel, possibly to study, and I want to go to the California Disney to visit Rocket in the Guardians of the Galaxy ride.  I'm figuring I'll pop over to Universal, do the TF ride again - sooooo good - and pick up a new/extra jacket.   I love mine so much!   Since I'm going to be in the neighborhood, and would love to go on the ride again, I can replace my jacket if I don't find it.  


In the meanwhile, I've decided on crying it out.   Not just yet because class, but I'm going to cry it out tonight.  I'm under enough stress that holding it in and letting the anxiety fester will be bad for me.   I'm going to rip apart my room and try to find this fucker, and then cry if I can't...


Oh, yeah, also snagged this book signed.   Jessica Jones wrote a book!

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review 2017-11-09 21:44
Bonfire - Krysten Ritter

Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Excellent read. A woman working for an environmental watchdog company as a lawyer, Abby Williams, goes back to her hometown. A hometown she hasn’t visited in a decade. She left 3 days after her high school graduation. She was “friends” with Kaycee, a girl who could be very mean spirited and who hung out with the popular girls. Kaycee left town shortly before Abby. Abby was not popular and was actually picked on, a lot, by the popular girls. In her venture to find out what Optimal, the corporation her company is investigating, she is drawn back to her high school days. Trying to make sense of it all, she finds a hidden darkness that has been secret for the pas decade. Not only that, it’s a secret that is still going on. 

An absolutely mesmerizing thriller that I could not put down, well let’s say I didn’t want to, but sometimes there are distractions you can’t help. Ha! 

Gripping, haunting and pulse racing I thoroughly enjoyed the heck out of this book. I ended it with a huge fist pump and a loud “yes” when all the discoveries were brought to light.

I was very intrigued when I saw that Krysten Ritter had written a book. I first noticed her in the TV show about the “B” in Apartment 23 (still unsure why that show was cancelled) and was very excited that I received this galley.

Huge thanks to Crown Publishing and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-Galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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review 2017-10-14 04:34
A solid first mystery/suspense novel
Bonfire - Krysten Ritter

When you grow up in a place called Barrens, you want to get out -- especially if it's an area with limited job options, a struggling agricultural industry, and nothing else to commend it. Although, the name alone would probably justify wanting to get out even if the economy and culture were richer. But as is the case with too many small towns like this, few manage to get out. Abby Williams headed for Chicago two days after she graduated from high school, went to college and law school, becoming an associate at an environmental firm -- and only sometime after that did she return.


She returns with her friend (a gay black man, who tends to stick out in the small, rural Illinois town), a first-year associate and a couple of students to investigate some claims about the water in the local reservoir. The town's only major employer is called Optimal Plastics, which has been dogged by rumors of shoddy environmental practices and health problems for years -- including before they came to Illinois -- and the team is going to see if they can make these rumors and concerns stick this time.


As they dig into records, tests, regulatory reports and whatnot, Abby notices something. Optimal Plastics is clean. Absolutely clean -- on paper, there's never been a company so clean and responsible. Which just seems impossible, no one is this perfect. Abby smells blood in the water and goes on the attack.


At the same time, in a small town, you can't help but run into people you don't want to see again -- which is pretty much everyone from High School. The girls who used to torment her, the guy she had a large crush on, the people she wasn't so sure about. It takes mere moments for her to get embroiled (or re-embroiled) in the same relationships, problems, gossip that she'd escaped from. From "the old crowd" (that was never Abby's crowd), she gets her insight into Optimal Plastics -- all the good they've done for the town, the numbers of people they employ, the money they pour into the schools, and so on. So much good that no one wants to take a good look into them, the price is potentially too high.


This reminds her (not that she needed the reminder) of some problems potentially tied to the company back when she was in high school -- girls that seemed inexplicably sick. What else could it be from? She's told time and time again by her friend that what happened over a decade ago doesn't matter,what matters is what the company is doing now. Abby's not convinced, and keeps digging at this -- even if she agrees with him, the ghosts that haunt her will not allow her to let it go. Abby becomes more and more focused on this aspect of the investigation -- flirting with and maybe crossing the lines into obsession.


Oh, and did I mention her father? As you may have picked up from the fact I mentioned earlier that she hadn't returned to Barrens since high school that she's not that close to anyone there -- including her father. The exploration of and changes to their relationship is one of the more emotionally satisfying storylines in the book.


I'm from a small town, I get the feeling of never actually escaping from it -- returning to the same place you left. But I'm willing to bet that even readers from larger towns/cities can relate to this. You can take the girl out of High School, but you can never take High School out of the girl, I guess. Ritter deals with the emotional realities and hazards like a pro -- there's not a beat that seems false or forced. The manner in which Abby makes connections, interweaves her look into what happened years ago with what's going on right now is great (for the reader). The secrets she uncovers are chilling and unthinkable -- yet entirely believable.


Would I have liked to have seen more with her colleagues reacting to Barrens, helping her follow the leads she's interested in, or just interacting with her at all? Absolutely -- but I'm not sure how Ritter could've done that without more effort than it's probably worth. Could she have done more with her Chicago-friend sticking out in Barrens? Yup, but it might have distracted from the overall plot (but if she's going to remark on it as often as she does, she should do something on it -- it comes across as urban snobbery). I think that's almost something I could say about everything in the book. I don't know that I needed a lot more of everything, but I think every bit of the story, the characters, the mystery, etc. could use a little bit more development, a little more space. Not much, just a little bit.


I liked Abby almost immediately -- from the fairly disturbing Prologue, on through to her struggles in town and questionable choices, you root for her and hope that she finds an element of peace. Her coworkers are great. It's hard to decide what you think about some of her old high school friends right away, and probably best no to decide too much about anyone in town until The Reveal at the end.


The writing is crisp and compelling -- Ritter has some really nice turns of phrase as well. There's a couple of times that Abby is drunk and/or the influence of alcohol plus other things that were just excellent. Abby's inability to keep her perceptions in line, to have a coherent recollection about everything she experiences through this time -- that's just excellently executed.


I won't say that it's one of the best books I've read this year -- if there's a plot point here that you haven't seen, I'll be surprised. If there's a character, character arc, or anything like that you haven't seen before, I'll eat my hat. Does it matter? Nope. The way that Ritter tells the story, how she treats the characters and shows them to the reader -- how she executes things, that's the key. It all worked really well, I was thoroughly entertained, even held in suspense. Even if in retrospect I decided that I'd seen it all before, I didn't see a lot of it coming -- or I'd seen story elements X and Y a few dozen times, I hadn't seen them combined the way Ritter did. This is a solid first novel, and I hope there's at least a second on the way.


Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Crown Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for this post -- thanks to both for this.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/10/13/bonfire-by-krysten-ritter
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review 2017-09-28 00:00
Bonfire - Krysten Ritter I read about 3/4 of this book in one night and if that doesn't tell you something about how engrossed I was in the book I don't know what does (I did have a cold and was in bed, but that was just a great excuse to lie there).
To start with I thought I was just going to get a 'mean girls' novel, and then there were echoes of 'Erin Brockovich' and the Flint, MI water crisis playing out. But then came the layers of the main main character's insecurities, neuroses, the relationship with her dying father, and her memories of a town she wants to leave in the dust. Abby Williams becomes obsessed with getting to the bottom of the disappearance of her old 'frenemy' Kaycee Mitchell, and amid a wash of alcohol, and a haze of a past she wants to forget, she starts to forget that she actually came back to Barrens to look into the corruption that has overtaken the town care of the company Optimal.
But somehow it all comes together for Abby and the reader, all in one fell swoop. I actually didn't find myself trying to guess what was coming next in the story, but I was taken seamlessly through Abby's moods, her painful flaws, her moments of madness and sadness, and through to the conclusion, without skipping a beat. The only thing I could have done without was the occasional confusing 'semi-intimate' moments with guys who wouldn't have given Abby the time of day back in high school, but I suppose she actually really was the one who was confused. 'Luckily' these transgressions end up serving her well, to some degree.
Small-town America looks as depressing to me as most novels would have it, and I was left with the wretched smell of bonfire smoke in my nostrils after reading this, BUT an entirely satisfied feeling of having read Krysten's debut novel. Krysten is a natural-born writer and I will hurriedly reach for her next one. I enjoyed the book thoroughly. Bravo!
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quote 2017-01-04 12:10
“Maybe it’s enough that the world thinks I’m a hero. Maybe if I work long and hard, maybe I can fool myself.”
Marvel's Jessica Jones Season 1 Episode 13 (Finale) AKA Smile
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