For the shortest month of the year, February turned out to be a great reading month!
I managed to get through eight books in total, although none were five-star reads for me.
The below list features gifted books and affiliate links; read more about this in my disclaimer.
For March, I’m only planning to read books by women authors and books about/empowering women as International Women’s Day is coming up.
As always, keep up with my reading daily at @ocbookshelf.
Liberation by Emma Eker (Gifted)
Framed by an incredibly rousing story about entering rehab at the age of 28, Emma Eker’s Liberation is a story of breakdown to breakthrough and everything in between.
This solution-based memoir, with its easily digestible teachings and guidance, will help the reader to forge a deeper connection with them Selves, allowing them to move through challenges and suffering. Liberation demonstrates that with a change of thinking, we can relinquish all mental barriers and truly thrive.
My rating: ★★★★
Emma Eker combines a memoir with spiritual guidance and advice in her debut book, Liberation. After suffering from many different demons throughout her life, addictions, disorders, and breakdowns, Emma realized that the only person that was going to make her better was herself. However, Emma also teaches that from everything that she went through, she was always learning more about herself and why things were happening to her. Liberation teaches that life is to be lived, and to do so, we must always show up as our highest self. This is definitely a book for fans of The Secret, A New Earth and The Power of Now.
Thin Air by Michelle Paver
The Himalayas, 1935. Kangchenjunga. Third-highest peak on earth. Greatest killer of them all. Five Englishmen set off from Darjeeling, determined to conquer the sacred summit. But courage can only take them so far – and the mountain is not their only foe. As the wind dies, the dread grows. Mountain sickness. The horrors of extreme altitude. A past that will not stay buried. And sometimes, the truth does not set you free.
My rating: ★★★
An easy-going read of a ghost story set in the early 1900s. It didn’t grip my attention like I thought it would and I think it may be suited for a more younger audience as the fear and suspense wasn’t quite there for me. It still made for a nice Sunday read and is also based on some true characters and expeditions in the Himalayas.
Love Is An Ex-Country by Randa Jarrar (Gifted)
Queer. Muslim. Arab American. A proudly Fat woman. Randa Jarrar is all these things. In this provocative memoir of a cross-country road trip, she explores how to claim joy in an unravelling and hostile world.
My rating: ★★★
A very raw and emotive book, Jarrar writes so openly about her experiences with her religion, identity and relationships with her family and partners. I did feel a little confused as to where the ‘road-trip across America’ came into the book, as it was a little jumbled for my liking. The book didn’t seem to have much direction but I did enjoy how honest and bluntly Jarrar writes.
Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuk
In this lively, practical, and inspiring book, Gary dissects every current major social media platform so that anyone, from a plumber to a professional ice skater, will know exactly how to amplify his or her personal brand on each. He offers both theoretical and tactical advice on how to become the biggest thing on old standbys like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat; podcast platforms like Spotify, Soundcloud, iHeartRadio, and iTunes; and other emerging platforms such as Musical.ly. For those with more experience, Crushing It! illuminates some little-known nuances and provides innovative tips and clever tweaks proven to enhance more common tried-and-true strategies. Crushing It! is a state-of-the-art guide to building your own path to professional and financial success, but it’s not about getting rich. It’s a blueprint to living life on your own terms.
My rating: ★★★★
I really enjoyed Gary’s book that focuses on different social media platforms and how to crush it on each. The books gives examples from real-life people that have used Gary’s advice to make it big on social media and how they’ve elevated their businesses, quit their day-jobs and become online influencers through digital marketing and putting themselves out there on different social platforms. This was my first read of Gary Vee’s and I think I might have needed to read Gary’s first book Crush It in order to get the most out of this one.
Almost Mortal by Christopher Leibig (Gifted)
Emerging criminal defense attorney Sam Young has always known he had a gift. Or a curse. He thinks of them as minor psychic abilities. When Sam is hired by an attractive young nun named Camille Paradisi, he agrees to help discover the identity of a serial killer in order to prevent Camille’s pastor from being exposed for not reporting the man after a confession – thereby allowing another murder to occur. While Sam’s psychic abilities increase as he investigates the case and gets closer to Camille, he realizes that the enigmatic nun is not revealing the complete truth.
My rating: ★★★★
I love watching courtroom dramas, serial killer investigations and criminal investigation-type series on TV – think The Fall, The Night Stalker or Suits (not criminal law, but a lot of law-type drama). Almost Mortal was all of this combined, which made for a very engaging read. There was a lot going on throughout the book with many characters which took a few seconds each time to try and register who was who. I will say that the ending took me by surprise, but it did fit in with the title and overall premise of the book. I can’t wait to read the second instalment, Almost Damned!
The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh
Bill Walsh is a towering figure in the history of the NFL. His advanced leadership transformed the San Francisco 49ers from the worst franchise in sports to a legendary dynasty. In the process, he changed the way football is played. Prior to his death, Walsh granted a series of exclusive interviews to bestselling author Steve Jamison. These became his ultimate lectures on leadership. Additional insights and perspective are provided by Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana and others. Bill Walsh taught that the requirements of successful leadership are the same whether you run an NFL franchise, a fortune 500 company, or a hardware store with 12 employees. These final words of ‘wisdom by Walsh’ will inspire, inform, and enlighten leaders in all professions.
My rating: ★★★
A great book on leadership and how Bill Walsh took the worst team in the NFL to win the Super Bowl three times under his reign. I loved how the book showed Bill’s more vulnerable side as a leader; when he broke down and almost quit, to bad relationships within the management and when it finally came for him to retire from the game. The book is told in short lectures as Bill passed away before the book was released. I would have loved a book completely written from Bill himself, but the lectures put together by his son and Steve Jamison were insightful and relatable to business and sport.
NICK by Michael Farris Smith (Gifted)
Before Nick Carraway moved to West Egg and into Gatsby’s world, he was at the centre of a very different story – one taking place along the trenches and deep within the tunnels of World War I. An epic portrait of a truly singular era and a sweeping, romantic story of self-discovery, this rich and imaginative novel breathes new life into a character that many know only from the periphery. Charged with enough alcohol, heartbreak, and profound yearning to transfix even the heartiest of golden age scribes, Nick reveals the man behind the narrator who has captivated readers for decades.
My rating: ★★★
I was very excited to read this book as I’ve probably read Gatsby five or more times. I love F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing and read Tender is the Night towards the end of 2020. However, this book didn’t quite live up to expectations. NICK tells the story of Nick Carraway before he met Gatsby and what shaped his character beforehand. Through the war, being in France, traveling back to America and a stay in New Orleans. I enjoyed the writing of the book, but was often confused by the characters and where the story was going. I think I may have expected too much from the book, but it was a pleasant read all the same.
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
Rich Dad Poor Dad is Robert’s story of growing up with two dads — his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad — and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.
My rating: ★★★★
Rich Dad Poor Dad has been sitting on my bookshelf since 2019, when I first saw it recommended on Siobhan O’Hagan’s Instagram story. It has sat collecting dust for two years and I was never really in the right frame of mind to read it. I actually think it’s lucky that I didn’t pick the book up back then as I probably wouldn’t have gotten anything out of it. I really do think that we often pick up books at the right exact time, just when we needed to read it – like when I read #GirlBoss and Atomic Habits. Everything written in this book makes perfect sense. Instead of working for money, make money work for you. The book shows what real assets and liabilities are, as you might think you have more assets than you really do. I don’t imagine myself to be in the real-estate game any time soon, but maybe that’s me thinking with a closed, ‘I don’t know about it so I’m not going to venture into it’ mindset. After all, no one knows anything until they learn about it, do they?