Saturday, September 26, 2020

Library Loot Reviews: DNF Edition

Mexican Gothic Book Cover
Despite having a stupid amount of ARCs languishing on my Kindle, I can't seem to stop myself from checking out books from The Day Job.  Occupational hazard as it were.  Sometimes I read amazing books from work and sometimes - well, we get DNFs.  It's the joy of the library.  Trying books risk free y'all.  

First up is Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, which I've seen many raves about and that I had on my "get to it eventually" list.  But I decided to move it up the queue when I found an ARC on the bookshelf we have in our staff break room.  Set in 1950s Mexico, our heroine Noemi is pretty, popular (our girl likes to attend parties), without a steady boyfriend but with plenty of young men willing to escort her to said parties. She's interested in continuing her education in anthropology, but of course this being the 1950s, her father is thinking she needs to settle down. But first he's sending Noemi to visit her recently married cousin, who has sent a troubling letter.  As in, unhinged sounding she may need to be treated in a sanitarium.  So Noemi heads off to the country, a creepy old house, her cousin who is "ill" and her cousin's creepy AF in-laws.

I've had to accept that it's not ethical to clone Simone St. James - and in my hunt for more Gothics I've read some dismal ones in recent memory.  This book isn't dismal - but it wasn't holding my attention.  It's slow. Really slow.  I got to page 120, another library hold came in, so I picked that up - it did hold my attention - and then I moved on to another book and well...there Mexican Gothic sat on my dining room table for a month still with the bookmark stuck on page 120.  And Wendy with no desire to pick it back up again.

I think this might be a It's Not You, It's Me thing.  Also I suspect this might work better for me on audio - so I've put myself on the long waitlist for that edition from work.  We'll see how I feel when my turn comes up in the queue.  I can't easily go back to books I've DNF'ed at a later date because by then they have the DNF Stink on the them and....well, we'll see.

Bethlehem by Karen Kelly had a cover that caught my eye and I decided it was time for another audiobook and wow, this book was not for me.  It's a timeslip novel, with one part of the story taking place in the 1920s about the wealthy Parrish and Collier families, who are basically in each others' pocket. The second timeline is set in the early 1960s and Joanna Collier has moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with her husband and two small children.  They live in the giant family home with her mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law.  

I'll be honest, I was so not in the mood to read a book about snooty, privileged white people.  The 1920s storyline features characters with insipid nicknames like Sassy and Chap.  Then when the author starts to set up a love quadrangle between the two bothers of the Collier clan with the two sisters of the Parrish clan - well, I was done.  It's spoiled early on that Chap ends up dying young and I'm sure it's all terribly tragic and angsty but ugh - I don't care about Biff and Buffy or frankly what family secrets will come to light in the 1960s storyline.  

The other issue I had was that this is basically a wallpaper historical.  The only reason I know the early 1960s storyline takes place in the 1960s is because the author told me.  There's some mention of old-timey cars in the 1920s storyline and a passing mention of World War I - but other than that I got nothing.  The whole thing could have been taking place on the moon and read the same.

I got to the 40% mark and called it quits.  So long, farewell, bon voyage Biff and Buffy.


Jill said...

I also found Mexican Gothic kind of slow and then I felt like I hit a particular stumbling block and I was like "nope, done." I can't even remember what the stumbling block was, which I guess shows how it was really just an overall thing.
I definitely agree it could be a good audiobook.

Wendy said...

Jill: At the time I was trying to read Mexican Gothic I was just starting to get some mojo back - and the mojo was pointing in some place other than that book. I think if it was any other year than 2020 I might have powered through MG - but no, now is not the time LOL. The wait list for the audio is kind of stupid at work, but at this point that's probably a good thing. Hopefully the DNF smell will have lifted enough for me to try it in that format.