Monday, 2 October 2017

Mini-reviews: Top Ten and Without Merit

Top Ten by Katie Cotugno
Publisher: Balzer + Bray 
Publication Date: October 3rd 2017
My rating: 2 stars 

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?

I had such high hopes for Top Ten, seeing as I’d enjoyed Cotugno’s previous books, but sadly Top Ten was such a disappointing read for me. The beginning of the book I actually enjoyed, best friends Ryan and Gabby find themselves over their heads one night, I don’t want to say too much and give it away, but the way things ended, I wanted to know what would happen next, as both Ryan and Gabby would be headed off to college, and with them being friends for so long, would their friendship be able to survive. But instead of continuing off from where things left off, Cotugno decided to give us alternate chapters over the course of the book, and I found this really confusing, the chapters were titled with which year they were focusing on, but the constant back and forth over the years of their friendship I didn’t like at all, I just wanted to find out what was going to happen after that one night. Unfortunately, Ryan and Gabby weren’t characters who kept me wanting to read this book either, I liked Gabby slightly more than Ryan, but I prefer characters which leave lasting impressions and this wasn’t the case with Ryan or Gabby.

Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books 
Publication Date: October 3rd 2017
my rating: 2 stars

Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness. The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit. Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix. Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

Once again it seems like I’m the black sheep when it comes to Colleen Hoover’s books, ever since I loved November 9, I’ve been giving Hoover’s books a go, hoping there will be more of her books that I will end up loving, however once again this wasn’t the case for Without Merit. I know a lot of my friends liked this book, and I can understand their reasoning for it, Hoover does a good job of dealing and showing the many real life tough issues that people have to go through. Merit’s life wasn’t all fun and games and her family wasn’t your typical “everyone gets along” sort of family either. And of course, Merit’s family wasn’t the type to sit down and discuss their issues, Merit’s mother had secluded herself to their basement and never came out, Merit's dad's current wife and ex-wife were still living in the same house, there was the case of mistaken identity going on all the time with Merit and her twin Honor and on top of that there was all the stuff that some of the family members didn’t know about. So, you can say there was a lot of issues going on within this family and needed to be properly addressed, I guess you could say I found this a bit overwhelming at times. Like at the beginning, I enjoyed how the story kicked off, but as I got to know more of Merit’s family, the more I was put off from reading the story, which is a real shame, as this book in my eyes potentially could have been a brilliant read for me.


  1. Oh no! I was so looking forward to Top Ten because I love a good friends to more romance and I've enjoyed Cotugno's books in the past. This sounds really confusing and disappointing. I don't think I want to read it anymore. :/

    I broke up with CoHo's books after the last book I read from her came across as over the top and annoying to me. I just feel like lately all her books force themselves to be highly emotional reads, but she doesn't really know how to work with the material to make it seem authentic. It seems like Without Merit is similar, so I don't think I'm missing out on much.

    I'm sorry you've had so many duds lately, Jasprit! I hope your next few reads are better.

  2. So sorry both of these were a flop for you. Hope your next read is a better one.

  3. I've read both of these authors before and quickly realized they aren't for me. I always consider giving them another chance but I can see from you review that, at least with these two books, I won't for now.

    For What It's Worth

  4. I have yet to read Hoover so maybe I would be a black sheep too

  5. I actually loved Top Ten. The non-linear timeline worked for me. I felt like Cotugno put the events together in such a way, that I was left wondering, but then information from a different date would fill in that gap. The build left my heart aching and soaring. I would have like a little more at the end, but I did enjoy the journey. Sorry it didn't work for you.

  6. Aww that's a bummer about Top Ten, I've never read this author but her books have kinda caught my eye- probably those fun covers. They look like good contemps. Maybe I'll start with one of her other ones...

    Nice review, thanks!!

  7. I liked Without Merit but didn't love it. I am reading Top Ten now and only 30% of the way through but I am into it. I like the format but could change my mind so who knows. Sorry these didn't work for you!!

  8. I actually really enjoyed Top Ten in the end, though it did take me a little time to get into it - mainly because I didn't have whole heaps of time to read last week and so the beginning of the book was very stop-start for me. But once I got into it, I was INTO IT! :) I would love to know what happens next with these two...!

  9. Ahh, two star reads are the wooorst :( I'm sorry these two books were so awful sweetie. They would not be for me either :) Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts about them both Jasprit. <3 I hope you are reading much better books at the moment :D


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