DNF review: A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare

A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare
Rating: N/A (DNF)
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: March 27, 2012
Source: Borrowed

When a devilish lord and a bluestocking set off on the road to ruin… time is not on their side. 

Minerva Highwood, one of Spindle Cove’s confirmed spinsters, needs to be in Scotland. 

Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, a rake of the first order, needs to be… anywhere but Spindle Cove.

These unlikely partners have one week to

• fake an elopement
• convince family and friends they’re in “love”
• outrun armed robbers
• survive their worst nightmares
• travel four hundred miles without killing each other

All while sharing a very small carriage by day and an even smaller bed by night.

What they don’t have time for is their growing attraction. Much less wild passion. And heaven forbid they spend precious hours baring their hearts and souls.

Suddenly one week seems like exactly enough time to find a world of trouble. And maybe… just maybe… love.

There are some mild spoilers in this review, but nothing too serious since I didn’t even finish the book.

When the second mystery prompt for romanceopoly (read a historical romance where the heroine is either a wallflower or a courtesan) was released, I didn’t quite know what to do, so I turned to their list of recommendations. I found that A Week to Be Wicked was currently available at my library and had a pretty high Goodreads average (4.12 stars!), but though I spent several days trying to read it (and even got up to page 200), I found that this style of romance just isn’t for me.

The biggest problem I had was that I didn’t care for either Minerva or Colin. Colin is pretty much just a womanizer who decides to change his ways after meeting the right woman, and I might have liked that more if I hadn’t already read it ten thousand other times. I appreciated the idea of Minerva’s character, a smart woman who cares more for science than men and has no time for a womanizer who barely deigns to throw attention her way. However, in practice, Minerva basically stops caring about her research as soon as Colin tosses her the tiniest bit of attention. She’s concerned enough about her research to put her own life in danger… at least until she experiences her first orgasm, and then she really couldn’t care less about it.

There were parts of this book that made me smile, parts that made me laugh, and a whole ton of parts that made me cringe. I can see why this kind of lighthearted romance is a favorite for so many people, but it just wasn’t what I look for in a romance novel. I feel like, having read more than half of it, I gave it a decent enough shot that it can count toward the reading challenge. I’m not, however, going to waste any more of my time on it.

#romanceopoly: mystery #2


Have you read A Week to Be Wicked? Do you know of any good historical romances?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Mini DNF reviews: Why We Sleep & The Last Time I Lied

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
Rating: n/a
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Source: Borrowed

The first sleep book by a leading scientific expert—Professor Matthew Walker, Director of UC Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab—reveals his groundbreaking exploration of sleep, explaining how we can harness its transformative power to change our lives for the better.

Sleep is one of the most important but least understood aspects of our life, wellness, and longevity. Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why we suffer such devastating health consequences when we don’t sleep. Compared to the other basic drives in life—eating, drinking, and reproducing—the purpose of sleep remained elusive.

An explosion of scientific discoveries in the last twenty years has shed new light on this fundamental aspect of our lives. Now, preeminent neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker gives us a new understanding of the vital importance of sleep and dreaming. Within the brain, sleep enriches our ability to learn, memorize, and make logical decisions. It recalibrates our emotions, restocks our immune system, fine-tunes our metabolism, and regulates our appetite. Dreaming mollifies painful memories and creates a virtual reality space in which the brain melds past and present knowledge to inspire creativity.

Walker answers important questions about sleep: how do caffeine and alcohol affect sleep? What really happens during REM sleep? Why do our sleep patterns change across a lifetime? How do common sleep aids affect us and can they do long-term damage? Charting cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, and synthesizing decades of research and clinical practice, Walker explains how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood, and energy levels; regulate hormones; prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes; slow the effects of aging; increase longevity; enhance the education and lifespan of our children, and boost the efficiency, success, and productivity of our businesses. Clear-eyed, fascinating, and accessible, Why We Sleep is a crucial and illuminating book.

The synopsis of this book is going to be longer than my review because…

DNF @ 1%.

This is my first DNF in probably at least a year and I don’t even know if I got far enough into this book to really consider it a true DNF. I was listening to the audiobook and the narrator was spouting off all these statistics about how if you don’t sleep enough, you’re going to get cancer or die in a car accident or just generally shave years off your life… and it was too much for me. I have such trouble sleeping and it stressed me out so much that I had to stop. Five minutes in. Sorry but also not.


The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager
Rating: n/a
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: July 3, 2018
Source: Book of the Month

Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she–or anyone–saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings–massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price.

DNF @ page 75.

In case you didn’t know, I work in a dermatology office. The main thing we do is skin cancer removal, so we get a lot of cranky elderly people coming through the door. One day, a few weeks ago, I was covering the front desk because someone was out sick. I was checking out a very cranky woman who’d just finished a several-hour-long surgery to remove skin cancer from her ear. As I often do when someone is cranky, I tried to make polite conversation.

Me: “Oh, you’re reading The Last Time I Lied! I got that book a couple months ago but haven’t read it yet. How is it?”
Cranky Patient: “IT’S TERRIBLE!!!”
Me: “I’m so sorry to hear that! What don’t you like about it?”
Cranky Patient: “It’s TERRIBLE! It’s slow and repetitive and TERRIBLE!!!”
Me: “Hmm, wow. Okay.”

So, needless to say, I was a little nervous to start reading this. I wanted to love it because first of all, it sounds good, and second of all, the author is from my town! And my town really isn’t that big, so I could see him every week at the grocery store and not even know it. He could be the mysterious neighbor that I’ve never seen even though I’ve lived in this house for a year and a half. Who even knows.

But you know what? That cranky patient… she was kind of right. The book is slow and repetitive and, honestly, kind of terrible. It took me five days to get to page 75 and absolutely killed my love of reading. I might pick it back up at some point, but for now… I’m done.


Have you read either of these books? Should I give them another try?
Let’s talk in the comments!


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DNF review: Next August by Kelly Moore

Goodreads ⭐ Amazon ⭐

A summary of the first 20% because I care about you and I don’t want you to go through the torture I just did:

August: I’m going to take my ambiguously disabled friend Sam hiking!  With a full team of professionals!  Oh no, Sam is fine but I’ve sliced my whole hand open!
Nashville: You don’t know me, but I’m a breathtakingly gorgeous trauma nurse!  OH DEAR!  You need stitches!  Please come to the hospital!
August: Nope.
Sam: Please go to the hospital.
August: Nope.
Sam’s mom: Please go to the hospital.
August: Nope.
August’s housekeeper: Please go to the hospital.
August: Nope.
August in the shower: Shit. There’s blood running into my eyes as I’m washing my hair. I guess I have to go to the hospital.
August in the ER: Hi. I’m here to see Nashville.
Receptionist: There’s a line.
August: Too bad.  NASHVILLE!!!
Nashville: Come on in!
Receptionist: You can’t just take this random guy in because he’s hot. There’s paperwork and a line.
Nashville: Hahaha, it’s okay.  I diagnosed him myself atop a mountain. He needs a CT scan.

August: Nope.
Nashville: Yep.
August: I’m afraid of hospitals.
Nashville: I’ll hold your hand and prioritize you over all the people who are having heart attacks and who might actually die, mainly just because you’re so hot.
August leaving the ER: It’s the middle of the night but I’m going to call my security guy and tell him to do a full background check on – shit, I don’t even know her name – that cute nurse.
Security guy: Here’s your extensive background check, complete with this girl’s entire financial history.
August: Oh, she’s poor!
August calling Nashville: Hi, please come to my house.
Nashville: Um. How’d you get my number?
August: Haha, I’m rich.
Nashville: But seriously.
August: No really.  I get what I want because I’m rich.  Please come over.
Nashville: Okay.
Nashville arriving at August’s mansion: This is… excessive.
August: Please work for me.
Nashville: ???
August: I know your parents need money.
Nashville: But how?
August: Like I said, I’m rich.
Nashville: But you’re, like, literally stalking me.
August: Haha, yeah. I like to know about my employees.
Nashville: But I don’t work for you.
August: Yet.
Nashville: Excuse me?
August: I’ll double your current salary.  I know what it is since I stalked you.
Nashville: What do you even need a nurse for?  And why the fuck are you so creepy?
August: My dad’s live-in nurse conveniently retired on the same day that I met you. And please don’t swear even though I swear all the time.
Nashville: Oh, okay.  Yeah, sure, let me put in my notice.  When can I start?

*…and Sara DNFs*

August is only a romantic hero because he’s hot and he’s rich.  If a gross old man did this, it would be stalking.  Police would be called.  Nashville would have never gone to his house and she certainly wouldn’t have agreed to work for him.  In real life, someone who acts like this would be murdering Nashville within minutes of her arriving at his house.

This is disgusting behavior and I am not here for it.  I can’t believe I had to read this with my own two eyes in 2017.

In addition to that, the writing is choppy and awkward.  It’s very much “This happened. This happened. I saw this.  Here are some adjectives.  And some more adjectives.  This is something else I saw.”  I’m not even kidding:

My eye catches the only piece of furniture that doesn’t fit in. It is an old piano that sits in one of the corners of the room. It doesn’t look like it has been used in years. There are a few pictures scattered on top of it. The room is decorated in blues and browns. The couch consumes half of the room. It is all-white and L-shaped with large cushions. On the wall hangs a gigantic television set. I suddenly feel completely out of place here. I start to fidget.

I can’t do this anymore.  I can handle a bad plot.  I can handle poor writing.  I can even handle a douchey hero.  But this book has all three, and I can’t do it.

No stars.