ARC Review: Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

TitleTop Ten

Author: Katie Cotugno

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Date of Publication: October 3, 2017

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Description: Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship:

10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?

Top Ten

I had high hopes for this book. Top Ten had everything going for it. The cover and the synopsis were both captivating and made me wait in a line for over an hour to receive the book. However, the book, though still good, did not live p to my expectations.

top tenn

The cover for Top Ten

Top Ten revolves around the relationship between Gabby and Ryan, two friends best friend. The protagonists both believe a romantic relationship will never come from their friendship. However, after an event that occurs one night, they begin to reconsider this fact while recounting their top ten moments of high school.

Cotugno uses their top ten moments to enlighten readers of the relationship between Gabby and Ryan. This list includes pivotal moments between the protagonists that reveals the history of their friendship. Through the top ten list, we meet character and experience events that have shaped their relationship.

The premise of using the list to portray the characters and their relationships was a clever idea. However, I do not believe it was executed properly. Cotugno incorporated important events into the list to show the history of their friendship. Even though it made sense to add these events to the story, there is no way they would logically be one of their top ten moments. Every single moment that was mentioned ended in a major conflict. One of the characters’ favorite moments resulted in Gabby and Ryan not speaking for five months.

In the beginning of the story, the friendship between Gabby and Ryan appears to be unbreakable. They are referenced to not ever being apart. Also, Gabby constantly states how she does not know if she will be able to survive without Ryan.  However, throughout the story, there are multiple events where Gabby and Ryan are not close or have stopped being friends. Reading through the moments where Ryan and Gabby are not friends makes the statement illogical. Gabby has been without Ryan many times, why would this time be different?

Another flaw is their damaged relationship. The protagonists rarely converse in public which results in Gabby constantly questioning their friendship. In every top ten moments, the friends fight about their difference in lifestyles. Whenever one of the friends doesn’t understand the other’s choices, they get in a massive argument instead of trying to understand the other person. When the characters fight, they choose to say the words that will hurt the other person to an extreme extent. That is not a healthy relationship.

Besides the minor flaws, the novel was written well. The writing style was my favorite aspect of the book. Cotugno has an easy writing style that makes the book a quick read. Overall, I believe that the book could excel without these issues.



True Born by L.E. Sterling


TitleTrue Born

Author: L.E. Sterling

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopia

Date of Publication:May 3rd , 2016

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Pages:Hardcover, 304 pages

SummaryWelcome to Dominion City.

After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…and their genetics damaged beyond repair.

The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…

And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are.

When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic Nolan Storm and the beautiful but deadly Jared Price. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters?

As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood.

Purchase Here:

In every book bloggers career, there comes a time where she/he is asked to review a starter of a series, This is my third time and it is torture! I need the rest of the series now!

As I state every time I read a fantasy or science fiction novel, I am not a huge fan of those genres. It’s not that I dislike those genres, I just prefer contemporary reads over them. However, when Entangled Teen sent me a box with True Born and an adorable mug, I could not help but be excited about this book.

True Born is about Lucy and her twin sister, Margot, who were attached at birth. In Dominion City, there is a plague that occurred and damaged the genes of all citizens. Splicers and Lasters have no hope of their genes not self-destructing. However, True Borns are evolved to not be affected by the plague.

On a person’s eighteenth birthday, the young adult has a party to reveal whether they are True Born, Splicer, or Laster. If they are True Born they are shunned and disowned from their family. The twins are a part of the Upper Circle, the high society of Dominion City. That being said, being True Born would disgrace their family. Just their luck, their test to decide what group they are a part of are inconclusive. The pair has to face problems of people after them, possible romance with potentially dangerous men, and a battle of themselves as they try to find where they belong.

The first part of the story is primarily the world and character building. Readers get a glimpse of what it means to be labeled into each group. The main reason for the first half of the book was to shed light onto Lucy and Margot’s character.

Lucy is someone who would do anything to protect her sister even if it meant she had to face the consequences. The author stresses how Lucy feels she is not as important as Margot is, “And when Margo walks into a room, she commands all eyes while I, the sparrow, sit unnoticed and observe. Margot is fire: bright and ready to burn out of control. I am the less exciting twin, the responsible twin” (Sterling, 2). The author emphasizes the bond between the twins throughout the story. She often states the connection and bond they share as well as how much she references Lucy’s big toe, where Margot and her were connected. Lucy is a very sympathetic character. Readers will want to reach into the book and yell at her for not living life for herself. Lucy developed immensely throughout the story and you begin to realize how badass she is.

Margot is a character that is harder to enjoy. Despite her love for her sister, Margot was careless throughout the story. The author constantly mentions her carelessness. Many times, her ability to not look out for herself affected many people. She develops slightly in the story.

Jared is a hot and cold character. As Lucy’s potential love interest, he shows up and she is automatically charmed by his looks. Like many stories, Jared is shown to be a jerk who then becomes likable. In the end, readers will ship the two together. Being True Born, he faces a lot of problems that make him irritable. However, his protectiveness over Lucy is what makes his character admiral. Jared often confronts Lucy about her focus on keeping her sister safe. In fact, he helps Lucy understand that she is allowed a life outside of keeping her sister safe. I cannot wait to see how he evolves in the rest of the series.

A slight problem I had with the book was the writing style. I believe the author has a beautiful and poetic style but it sometimes felt sloppy. Parts of the story felt rushed or overshadowed. I know that the major concepts of the story were the plague and the groups. I felt that it jumped back and forth when focusing on each and it felt awkward.

The overall plot was awesome. After the world building, we got into all the action! Also, the slow building of sexual tension between Lucy and Jared was perfect. I kept wanting more scenes between them. Readers will be faced with a few crazy plot twists. The story held me until it was over. I finished the book in five hours and still have a massive book hangover. I. NEED. THE. NEXT. TWO. BOOKS!!

Overall, I loved this book! One of the best books that I have ever promoted. I need the rest of the series now. Entangled Teen is killing me with these series starters! They are so incredible. I highly recommend.

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

This book was phenomenal!

Initially, I was having trouble reading this book. I just finished another incredible book and was still hung up on that story. I did not want to read this book while facing book-hangover so I put it down for a while.

The first half of the story was fairly slow. The plot did not captivate me to the extent where I could not put the book down. Don’t get me wrong, the first half was a great introductory for the story but the second half is what made me love this book.

The characters in the story are well developed. You get to know all of the characters immensely. The character development that happens to Paige throughout the story is incredible. I love that she got her shit together and started to live her life. She is one of my favorite young adult characters. I love Max enormously. He is my idea of a perfect boyfriend. Max is adorable, nerdy, and funny!

All of the relationships that form in the story are fun to read about. The great thing about the story is that the relationships don’t feel rushed. Emery Lord knows how to form the bonds between the characters at a fantastic pace. The romance did not feel sloppy or pushed. Not to mention, the incredible girl friendship between Paige, Morgan, Tessa, and Kaitlyn. It was nice to read about a tightly bonded girl group that has not too much drama. Overall, the relationships were perfect!

The second half of the book was extremely captivating. I read the second part of the book during my history class, and I was freaking out the whole time. The plot appears to tie together tremendously and turned out glorious. I was close to tears as I finished the book. There were too many emotions to comprehend.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. The Start of Me and You will not only be enjoyable but will make you feel something. The theme of living your life to the fullest and not letting fear get in your way is incredible. I will definitely read more from Emery Lord.

I Was Here by Gayle Forman


My overall opinion of this book was disappointed. If you gave me I Was Here without telling me who the author was then I would have no idea that it was Gayle Forman. In fact, I would never guess it was her book in a million years because this was not the Gayle Forman that I have grown to know and enjoy. This book lacked Gayle Forman’s passion and talent. I Was Here did not obtain the ability to make you feel the emotions that the characters are undergoing. In the end, I was not impacted by this book whatsoever.

I loved If I Stay and Where She Went. In fact, those books were what got in to enjoying young adult books. However, I Was Here was not the same. I Was Here was a book touching base on the topic of suicide. Throughout the story, Meg’s best friend, Cody is desperate to find out why Meg killed herself. Cody goes to dangerously extreme extents to find answers. As we follow Cody’s search, we meet many people who knew Meg that may have answers. With many road trips, plot twists, interesting facts about suicide, and intriguing characters, what’s not to love? Well, I will tell you.

First, the plot. The story moves at an extremely slow pace, especially in the beginning. We spend a few chapters just on Meg’s funeral and vigils. However, the pace quickens a little throughout the middle and end.

The story begins after Meg killed herself so you have no feelings towards Meg. The problem with killing an important character prior to the start of the book is that we had no idea what she was like. Unfortunately, flashbacks do not shed enough light on her character for me to feel real sympathy. So, Meg’s character remained flat throughout the whole story.

The romance in the story felt unnecessary. I understand why Gayle Forman did it. It made Ben kind of like the ‘bad guy turns good and ends up with the girl’ character. However, I felt no connection between Cody and Ben. Overall, the romance lost me.

The characters were all great besides Cody. Oh, Cody. How much I despised her character. Cody was the know-it-all character who judged every other character. Not only was she judgmental, she was also a horrible person in general. She told her best friend’s parents that she would not write a eulogy for their dead daughter as if she was the only person in pain. Not only that, she made everything about her and her problems. Finally, she was psycho. *SPOILER* She pretended to be suicidal so she could stalk the person she claimed killed Meg (even though no one could kill Meg, it was her own decision) and confront him. How crazy can you be that you would go to a strangers house, walk inside their house, and freak out at them? HE COULD BE A CRIMINAL!! *SPOILER OVER*

Overall, this book was a flop. I hope Gayle Forman’s next book is better because I really do love her writing style.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins


Anna and the French Kiss was the perfect book to kick off 2016! I cannot believe I have postponed reading this book for so long! I finished it in one day and am now on my way to Barnes and Noble to pick up the companion novels, Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After. Stephanie Perkins is definitely one of my new favorite authors!

Initially, I was hesitant to read her book. Looking at her original cover and her book’s title, ‘Anna and the French Kiss’, I felt that it would resemble a cheesy romantic comedy. However, I was completely blown away by the story. Yes, it was romantic and funny, but it was a fun story that kept you interested and was not too cheesy.

The characters were amazing. I loved all of them, especially Etienne! All of the characters had unique traits and flaws that gave life to the story. Reading from Anna’s point of view was exceptionally fun. Anna felt like a normal girl in the situation she was in. It was nice to read about Anna’s conflicting feelings for the characters. However, I felt that at various parts of the story, Anna was hypocritical. Eventually, Anna moved away from being hypocritical and I began to like her character again.

The plot was very interesting. I loved to read about Etienne and Anna’s relationship. They were adorable together even though most of the story features only their friendship. Stephanie Perkins makes me want to go to boarding school in Paris in hopes that I will find my own Etienne!

Overall, the book is adorable! If you are in the mood to read something that is filled with incredible characters, a fascinating plot, and a cute romance, this is your book. Please do not diss this book because of the title! I assure you that the book is a must-read.