Posts Tagged ‘Veronica Mars


Actress, knitter, author. Is there anything she can’t do? CBR10 Review 9.

imagesI’m a big fan of Krysten Ritter. I love her as Jessica Jones. She was a fun addition to Veronica Mars. She killed it as the B in Apartment 23. And she broke my heart on Breaking Bad. And now, she’s written her first novel **, a mysterious thriller that proves she’s an author to look out for in the future.

Bonfire tells the story of Abby, a tough environmental lawyer at a big Chicago firm, who is sent to the small (AND TERRIBLE) town where she grew up in Indiana to work on a case. It seems that the enormous chemical plant that pretty much employs the entire town just might be poisoning the water supply, and Abby puts on her best Erin Brokovich hat to find out what — if anything — is going on.

Meanwhile, her visit home brings back lots of memories that she’s been repressing for years, including the mysterious disappearance of her former best friend, Kaycee. Back in high school, Kaycee and her friends pretended to be severely sick…could her disappearance have anything to do with the case Abby is working on today?

There was a lot to like in this mystery. I kept changing my mind about who was good and who was bad, and whether or not Abby was a reliable narrator (a la Rachel in The Girl on the Train) because of her personal issues and her EXCESSIVE drinking.

Did I like Abby? I have no idea. Sometimes I thought she was a genius, and sometimes I thought she was insane, and most of the time I worried about what Ritter was going to do with her in the end to potentially redeem her from some of the mistakes she made along the way.

No worries there. Ritter totally surprised me with a few things toward the end that explained Abby’s irrational behavior. I still didn’t really like her, but at least she started to make some sense to me.

I didn’t love this book, but it was extraordinarily readable. I brought it with me when I chaperoned a ski trip with one of my kids, and stayed up well into the night trying to figure out the mystery. Ritter has a lot of potential, and I look forward to reading anything she might write in the future…I just hope that maybe her next book is a little bit lighter and fun. This one was definitely dark and intense.

**It seems that Ritter had a bit of help writing this book, primarily from my YA nemesis, Lauren Oliver. I don’t know exactly how involved Oliver was here, but her voice does not overpower Ritter’s, which is a good thing. There are some plot lines involving kids at the local high school that are probably more Oliver than Ritter, and that stuff was some of my least favorite in the book.




David Tennant makes everything better. CBR8 Reviews 16 & 17.

Unknown-2Here’s something strange: last week I picked up two books at the library without really knowing what they were about. I just knew I heard “about” them and figured they would be a good way to pass a cold, rainy April weekend. What’s weird is that were pretty much the same story…just that one was way, way better than the other.

Spoiler/trigger warning
Both of these books deal with the rape of a high school student and the repercussions that follow.

First lets get the bad out of the way. I really didn’t like the Luckiest Girl Alive. But there were some glimpses of good in it.

TifAni FaNelli is a freshman in high school in 2004 who transfers to an uber wealthy prep school after being kicked out of an all girls Catholic school for being a bad influence. Desperate to make new friends and fit in, TifAni quickly morphs herself into a girl that the cafeteria table of cool kids might like. But her transformation quickly backfires, and she is sexually assaulted at a party a few weeks later.

Of course, nobody believes her. The boy she could potentially bring charges against is super wealthy and popular, and she’s a nobody from the wrong side of the tracks. She was probably asking for it, right?

Meanwhile, in present day Manhattan, Ani FaNelli is a rising editor at a popular women’s magazine and is getting married to the perfect Luke Harrison. Ani has again reinvented herself, dropping the “Tif” and hoping that people don’t recognize her name or her face, always trying to put her past behind her.

I hated both TifAni and Ani. I hated everyone around her — the other students, her parents, the school administrators, the police, her bridesmaids, Luke’s family, everyone. Except the shark. I liked the shark.

I appreciated that Ani attempted to put her past behind her, and attempt to rise and succeed as someone new, but I disliked the person she created so much that it was difficult to care.

The book was absorbing as hell, however. I read it in two sittings and was impressed by how difficult it was to put down. And I read about the recent revelation that the author had been assaulted as a girl, and I feel terrible about that. I just wish I had liked this book.

Now on to something better.

UnknownExit, Pursued by a Bear was a much stronger version of the same story. Described as a cross between Veronica Mars and Shakespeare, Exit tells the story of rape victim Hermione.

Hermione and her best friend, Polly, are seniors. They are the co-captains of their extraordinarily successful school cheerleading squad (yeah, all of the cheerleading stuff went way over my head. I have no idea.), and are ready to leave their small town behind for college life in a few months.

And then at a party at cheerleading camp, Hermione is given a drink with a roofie in it and blacks out. She wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of the past 12 hours, and no idea how to react to the fact that something terrible happened to her, and that she doesn’t remember it.
What makes this book better is that Hermione is such a normal girl. She has self-doubts. She has problems with her parents and her friends. She argues with her boyfriend and worries about school. I really felt what she was going through and her struggles to deal with a trauma that she felt so disassociated from.

Plus, this book had lots of witty banter and even some Star Wars jokes.

After Hermione’s nerves cause her to throw up in the bathroom, her dad runs upstairs to check on her and we get this scene, with her dad talking to her and Polly through the bathroom door:

“Will you be okay for dinner?” he asks.
“Oh yeah,” Polly says. “I’m fine now. We’re all fine. How are you?”

I’m a sucker for a good Han Solo reference.


I’ll keep my eye out for more from Johnston, I really liked her style.

And for anyone curious about the title of the book (taken from Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale), here’s the yummy David Tennant attempting to explain it:



Vinnie Van Lowe, where art thou? CBR7 Review 17.

Unknown-2I am a marshmallow and I’m not afraid to admit it. I own all three seasons of Veronica Mars on DVD. I gave money to the Kickstarter and have my t-shirt and movie script. I watched the Dick Casablancas web series. And I love this new book series by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham. I love having some of my all-time favorite characters back in book format, bringing me quips and feels galore.

Veronica and the gang are back, just a few months after the events of The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. This time around, Veronica is hired once again by the Neptune Grand. There was a brutal attack on a young woman, last seen at the hotel, and the hotel wants to clear its name for insurance purposes.

And of course, it turns out that Veronica knows there victim. And that there is way more to this case than meets the eye.

Along with Mac, Wallace, and Leo, Veronica works to clear the name of the victim and put the vicious attacker behind bars. I loved seeing the gang get back together, and reading about how their relationships both have and haven’t changed over the past 10 years.

We also get many glimpses into the current activities of Keith, Weevil, and Cliff (yay, Cliff!), who are currently involved in a law suit agains Sheriff Lamb and the entire police department. There’s no better pop culture father/daughter relationship out there than what we get with Keith and Veronica.

And lastly, we get to see whats going on between Veronica and Logan in a bit more detail. Logan is home on extended leave, but anxious to get back to action with the Navy. Veronica struggles to understand just why Logan needs the Navy in his life, even when he knows there’s a good chance that every time he leaves might be the last time. This subplot was the only one that didn’t work 100% for me. I didn’t really love the way that Veronica handled (or didn’t handle) their disagreements, choosing to ignore them instead of deal with them, even though I realize that her actions were actually quite realistic. I get  why Logan NEEDS the Navy, I just wish he could get Veronica to understand.

I want Rob and Jennifer to keep writing these books forever. I could be 85 years old, and would still go out and buy the new Veronica Mars book. I just hope the next one has Vinnie Van Lowe in it. I need to know what he’s doing, who he’s married to, and if his mom still works for him.


Scootsa1000’s #CBR6 Review 29: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

UnknownIn the summer of 2004, I found myself at home on maternity leave with a newborn baby and a lot of sleepless nights. After I went through my entire Tivo’d cache of The Issac Mizrahi Show (seriously, the best talk show ever. I mourn it every day.), I was dying for new TV to watch. And I was rescued by my friend Amy, a tv critic, who had a pile of DVD screeners for the upcoming fall TV season that she was finished with. I can’t remember most of them, but I definitely remember my two favorites: House MD and Veronica Mars.

I was a huge fan of Hugh Laurie, so it was no surprise that House would become a favorite. But Veronica Mars? I had no idea and wasn’t all that excited about it. It was on UPN, for god’s sake. Wasn’t that the annoying girl who had been on Deadwood for a minute? And her dad was the guy from Just Shoot Me? Eh, no thanks. I kept putting the DVD at the bottom of the pile.

And then one day I watched the whole thing. And then I watched it again. And that was that.

Yes, I own all three seasons on DVD. And yes, I gave money to the Kickstart campaign. I have my T shirt, and my movie script. I watched the movie on iTunes as soon as it came out. And while I thought it was a bit Logan-heavy and a bit Keith-light, I still loved it.

So really, was there any doubt that I would be reading and loving this book?

Do I even need to write up a complete review?

I do? OK. Well.

The book picks up a few weeks after the ending of the movie. Veronica is back in Neptune, running her dad’s office while he recuperates from the big car crash in the movie. It’s spring break in Neptune, and all hell breaks loose when a young girl goes missing. Veronica is hired to investigate by the Neptune Chamber of Commerce, and gets her friends Mac and Wallace to help her out. So far, so good.

And then things get interesting. Another girl goes missing, and this one has a connection to Veronica that she didn’t expect. I won’t spoil it for you, but it creates the necessary conflict, and it moves the story along nicely.

The book completely worked for me: it has plenty of Veronica’s trademark wit, lots of cameos from our favorite Neptune residents, and builds on the loving relationship between Veronica and Keith that I adore. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series, and hope this one comes with a lot more Vinnie Van Lowe than we’ve been given. You really can’t have too much.



Vinnie Van Lowe

I’ve been trying to keep up with all of the SOPA hullaballoo the past few days.  Very detailed and a bit over my head.  But if we are going to lose access to unlicensed clips on youtube, I figured I’d post one of my favorites before its gone.  Ladies and gentlemen, the great Ken Marino.



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