Year 17, Book 27

27. Radical Love: Learning to Accept Yourself and Others by Zachary Levi

Radical Love is Zachary Levi’s memoir about his traumatic childhood and the mental health issues that have plagued him from a young age. He talks about reaching his lowest point and working to regain his mental health, thinking he’d conquered it before realizing that it is going to be a lifelong journey. It was an interesting read with some helpful advice for people though he obviously had access to resources that a lot of people will never have access to. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Year 17, Book 26

26. House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

This book is apparently based off of some fairy tale that I had never heard of, which I did not realize. It’s centered on Annaleigh, one of twelve sisters who seem to have been cursed as they keep dying. Now to escape their never ending mourning the sisters are sneaking out in the middle of the night to attend balls where they dance the night away and Annaleigh meets a mysterious stranger who may or may not be dangerous. I did get a little confused by exactly how everything went down at the end of the book, but parts of it did generally surprise me even though I partially figured out who the villain was. Overall I thought it was an enjoyable read. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Year 17, Book 25

25. In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

This review is going to spoilery, so if you don’t want to know stop reading now. I do not understand this book. Like what was I supposed to be rooting for? Clearly the author doesn’t think Dannie should be with her current boyfriend, but I was I supposed to be rooting for her to get together with her dying best friend’s boyfriend? Because that’s what the book sets out before you for 90% of the book. Yanking it away at the last second and saying just kidding that’s not what this was at all doesn’t change that. And to then be like and here’s the start of a happy ending tacked on just so you don’t feel like you didn’t get a happy ending. At least the author could have done the obvious thing and jumped forward another five years in the final chapter to show how she was happy with the doctor. I was so mad when I finished this book. I give it a 4 out of 10.

Year 17, Book 24

24. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Malibu Rising is the story of the Riva family. Nick Riva is a famous singer who left his wife and four young children. You get their backstory leading up to the present day of the story in 1983 when the siblings, who have now become famous in their own right as surfers, are throwing their annual party. There were some interesting parts of this book, but it too often veered off into things I did not care about and really had no relevance to the book overall like a paragraph or two long sort of short story about each of the party guests. I feel like the author must have worked in Hollywood and wanted to provide commentary on the types of people she interacted with during that time. I give it a 5 out of 10.

Year 17, Book 23

23. Her Country: How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They Were Never Supposed to Be by Marissa R. Ross

This book looks at the country music industry and how except for a brief period in the 90s women have essentially been shut out, especially if they don’t want to play by the rules that the men in charge have made for them. It mostly focuses on Kacey Musgraves, Mickey Guyton, and Maren Morris and how they have created careers for themselves by not playing by the rules. For Musgraves and Guyton that has mostly meant living on the outside of the traditional country music machine while Morris has managed to be one of the few women to break in despite trying to do her own thing. I don’t know that I learned a whole lot from the book other than stuff about their early lives, but it was a really well written and engaging book that shines yet another spotlight on how messed up the country music industry is. As someone who grew up and fell in love with country music during the hey day of women’s country, I sincerely hope things can get back there one day. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Year 17, Book 22

22. A Tip for the Hangman by Allison Epstein

A historically influenced mystery in which Christopher Marlowe is a spy for the queen. I didn’t know much about Christopher Marlowe before reading this book, so I appreciated the author’s notes at the end of the book that explained what was historically accurate or influenced in the story she created. I do feel like I would have gotten more out of the way the book ended if I was at all familiar with his play Doctor Faustus. I give it a 5 out of 10.