geek love the mask

Two DNF Reviews: The Mask and Geek Love

Before I get too far into this post, let me clarify that DNF means did not finish. Lately I’ve been in a mood with books, and if it isn’t working for me, I won’t (read: CAN’T) go further with it. I don’t want to devote a whole post to why I didn’t finish a book (it just feels mean?), so I decided to make this one a double DNF review. Let’s start with Geek Love.

Two DNF Reviews: The Mask and Geek LoveGeek Love by Katherine Dunn
Published by Random House Vintage on June 11th 2002
Genres: Fiction
Length: 15 hrs and 27 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Blogging for Books

Geek Love is the story of the Binewskis, a carny family whose mater- and paterfamilias set out–with the help of amphetamine, arsenic, and radioisotopes–to breed their own exhibit of human oddities. There’s Arturo the Aquaboy, who has flippers for limbs and a megalomaniac ambition worthy of Genghis Khan . . . Iphy and Elly, the lissome Siamese twins . . . albino hunchback Oly, and the outwardly normal Chick, whose mysterious gifts make him the family’s most precious–and dangerous–asset.
As the Binewskis take their act across the backwaters of the U.S., inspiring fanatical devotion and murderous revulsion; as its members conduct their own Machiavellian version of sibling rivalry, Geek Love throws its sulfurous light on our notions of the freakish and the normal, the beautiful and the ugly, the holy and the obscene. Family values will never be the same.

The reasons I couldn’t finish this book: 

  1. To be honest, it was just a little bit too weird for me. I mean, I picked the book up because I knew it’d be weird. But I guess it was a too real kind of weird? I didn’t like that. I wanted it to be bizarre and revolve more around the “freak show” aspect of the story, not their day-to-day lives outside of show biz.
  2. The narrator of this audiobook didn’t help with the weird factor for me. I didn’t like her voice with this text, and it just made it that much more uncomfortable for me. I did not enjoy listening to it.
  3. I didn’t find the story compelling, so it just bored me. Now, that’s not to say it wasn’t going to get more interesting. Who knows? I think I DNF’d it about a third of the way through. There was potentially a lot more that could have happened.
You should read this book if the plot appeals to you and/or you like weird stuff. I would not recommend this as an audiobook. I would also not recommend that you read this book if you’re interested in the “freak show” aspect of it, because that’s a minor part of the story (at least in the first third). 
Two DNF Reviews: The Mask and Geek LoveThe Mask by Taylor Stevens
Published by Crown on June 30th 2015
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Blogging for Books

Vanessa Michael Munroe, chameleon and information hunter, has a reputation for getting things done: dangerous and not quite legal things that have taken her undercover into some of the world’s deadliest places. Still healing from a Somali hijacking gone wrong and a brutal attack that left her near death, Munroe joins her lover, Miles Bradford, in Japan where he’s working as a security consultant protecting high-value technology from industrial espionage. In the domesticity of their routine she finds long sought-after peace—until Bradford is arrested for murder, and the same interests who targeted him come after her, too.     Searching for answers and fighting to stay alive, Munroe will soon discover how far she’ll go to save Bradford from spending the next twenty years in locked-up isolation; how many laws she’ll break when the truth seems worse than his lies; and who to trust and who she must kill. Because she’s a strategist and hunter with a predator’s instincts, and the man she loves has just stabbed her in the back.  

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Why The Mask wasn’t for me: 
  1. This book, unfortunately, really suffered by the fact that I had to read it. It was sent to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for a review. When I chose this book, I thought, “Ali, why are you choosing a thriller? You don’t like thrillers.” But then I countered with, “It’s good to go out of your comfort zone!” So then The Mask showed up on my doorstep and some 8 months later I finally picked it up only to realize I didn’t want to read it.
  2. I don’t like (most) thrillers. Period. I just don’t. The plots don’t ever seem to appeal to me much, and The Mask was no different. It doesn’t help the main characters are sort of spy/secret agent people. YAWN. I hate secret service/spy/detective stuff. When I hear those words in a synopsis, I usually steer clear.
This book was well-written, and it had great scene setting and character development. If the synopsis appeals to you, and you enjoy thrillers/crime novels, you should absolutely consider reading this. Don’t be deterred by the fact that it’s the “fifth” in the series, this book can definitely stand alone. 

Have you ever read a book and just couldn’t deal with it anymore? Or, to my fellow bloggers, have you requested books only to realize some time later that you’ve completely lost interest in reading it? What have you done in that situation?

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  1. I really appreciate when people are honest about DNFing books. I really struggle to DNF because I’m always like what if it gets better though? But it’s something that I need to start doing, it pains me to read a rubbish book when I know I have so many amazing one’s on my TBR list that I could be reading instead. Great post!

    1. I had the same issue with DNF-ing books, but recently I’ve been so close to catching up with my TBR that I decided I don’t have time to waste on mediocre books. It’s SO LIBERATING to be able to stop a book and say, You know what? That one wasn’t for me. YAY! You should definitely try it. 😀

    1. Thanks friend, and I’m so glad to hear I’m not the only one who isn’t a huge fan of thrillers (I was starting to wonder WTH was wrong with me haha)

  2. Omg I relate so much….except I CAN’T DNF?!? Like I try and it’d save my sanity if I did…but mostly I just keep reading and torture myself completely.🙈🙊 #mybad I totally don’t blame you for DNFing though. And I actually have an ARC that’s been on my tbr for like 7 months now because I requested it and then literally all my friends gave it 1star and I know I’m going to have the same issues. I’ll still read it but aghhhhh. Dreading.😂

    1. Lol. It’s time you learned to DNF. That was part of my goal for myself this year, and it’s so refreshing. Why waste time on a book you hate?!

  3. If I finished Anna Karenina I can finish anything…. I gave up on that book countless times, but I couldn’t live with the DNF and kept picking it back up… Took me 2 years to finish, though.

    That being said, I have a couple non-fiction books I never finished reading. When there’s not plot it’s easier to just stop and not pick it up again (it is usually because life interrupts and then I have moved on to other non fiction interests 😉 )

    1. Hahaha, I love that. I used to feel that way (especially since I finished Moby Dick – yuck!), but now that I blog I have got to just give it up if it isn’t working for me! Too many books, too little time!