Everything I read in December was great. Honestly, I loved all of the books that I read. This doesn’t always happen, obviously. I’m currently listening to a book on Audible that is not my cup of tea. I have an hour and a half left and it’s paining me. BTW, the only reason I am finishing it is because the book received a ton of positive reviews so I need to finish it before I can give my full review.
The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis
I picked up this book based solely on the cover. Yes, I know you’re never supposed to judge a book by its cover, but does anybody not do that? Please let me know if that’s you!
Anyway, The Lions of Fifth Avenue takes place in the New York Public Library between 1913 and 1993. Beginning with Laura Lyons and her family living in the superintendent’s apartment inside of the library in 1913. (Laura’s husband was the NYPL superintendent.) Then flashing forward 80 years later to Laura’s granddaughter, Sadie Donovan, who works at the NYPL.
In 1913, Laura was accepted into the Columbia Journalism School. This accomplishment was quite rare at the time, and it ends up introducing Laura to a whole new world of feminism, culture and a different way of thinking.
During this time a rare book went missing from the library, which is a scandal on its own, but then more went missing. Eighty years later, the same thing keeps happening. Which leaves you to wonder: Is this a coincidence, or is the Lyons/Donovan family behind these thefts?
This book is very well written and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. It’s a powerful story of two women who were rare for their times. Not to mention all of the historical facts about the NYPL that has me wanting to visit ASAP.
I highly recommend this book if you love historical fiction, romance and adventure. I plan to check out more books written by Fiona Davis.
One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London
I picked up this book after hearing multiple people on instagram say how good it is. And it did not disappoint!
Bea Shumacher’s life is transformed after a semester abroad in Paris. (Honestly, how could it not be!?) She now has a lucrative career as a plus size lifestyle blogger. Then one night after one too many glasses of wine with a friend, she writes a blog post that will transform her life yet again.
Bea begrudgingly accepts to be the first plus size woman on a Bachelorette-esque reality show. She is in a fragile state of mind to begin with after her “one true love” toys with her emotions and then ghosts her. (Relatable!) One to Watch highlights every type of man that you come into contact with in real life. And Bea dates them all for all of America to watch.
I was hooked on this book from the first page. The second you think you know which man Bea will choose, something happens that you didn’t see coming. Even if you’re not into reality dating shows, I highly recommend this book for its humor, romance and real life story-telling of how women see themselves portrayed in the media.
Blowing My Way to the Top by Jen Atkin
I’ve been following Jen Atkin on instagram for years, so it was a no brainer for me to buy her book the second it came out! I actually listened to it on Audible which is how I like to consume a lot of my non-fiction books.
Jen is a celebrity hair stylist and creator of one of my favorite brands, Ouai. (I love their shampoo & conditioner, and hair vitamins.) She always had a love for hair and gradually built her way to the top through hard work, kindness and knowing that it was all about the client, not her. She built an empire with her company Mane Addicts by teaching the latest hair tips and tricks before sharing that information for free was common.
This book is for everyone out there who is looking to do their next great thing, but is feeling a little lost. It’s the perfect mix of lessons learned the hard way and motivation. Knowing that Jen once racked up $17,000 worth of credit card debt and eventually paid it all off, all while living in Los Angeles, is inspiring.
Even though Jen has built herself an empire, she has made mistakes along the way. And she shares them all with us in this book.
12 Months to $1 Million by Ryan Daniel Moran
Audible was having a $5/book sale a few weeks ago and this was one of the books that I chose. The reviews were pretty good and I love a “business/how to make more money” book.
Before we get into my thoughts on this book, I highly suggest buying the physical book because Ryan gives so many great tips that you’ll want to highlight some stuff to come back to later on.
12 Months to $1 Million takes you on Ryan’s journey to creating & selling a multi-million dollar company. He’s actually started a few multi-million dollar companies and now teaches the average person, like you and me, how to do it too.
I have a background in sales and selling online, so a lot of this information made sense to me. If you’re not familiar with that arena, don’t worry. Ryan breaks it all down and gives the step by step process that he has used, and seen others use, to go from $0 to $1 million in one year.
Personally, I am trying to get out of selling physical products, but a lot of the information he talks about I have started implementing in turning Culley Avenue into a successful blog.
This book isn’t for everyone, but if you’re an entrepreneur I highly recommend it!
How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell
If you’ve been following me on social media, or caught the episode of my podcast where I discuss this book, then you know I was enthralled while reading this. I had actually bought this book a few years ago after hearing Lauryn from The Skinny Confidential rave about it. I don’t know why I didn’t read it before, or why I decided now was the right time, but I couldn’t put it down.
How to Murder Your Life takes you through Cat Marnell’s life as an Adderall addicted teenager at boarding school to a drug addicted young adult working for Conde Nast. The stories are so insane that there is no way that they can be true, accept that they are.
For me, I love the fashion and the editorial world so it was interesting to read about people that I have followed on Instagram for years and how their lives intertwined with Cat’s. For example, one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram is Eva Chen. I obviously don’t know her but she is the nicest, most genuine soul and I can only imagine that we would have been best friends in another life. So to read about her interactions with the shitshow that is Cat Marnell seems like something that would happen on another planet.
The entire time while reading this, I wanted to scream at Cat to get her shit together. Then I remembered that she has accomplished way more than I have and she did while high! (lol!) It’s not a glamorous story, but it’s a true story with the illusion of glamour. Honestly, it leaves you wanting to see Cat succeed because she is so honest and there’s just something about that that you have to admire.
If you love a drug fueled, real life story about the fashion industry and the NYC party scene, then I highly recommend this book.
Currently Reading for January 2021
At any given time, I am reading/listening to 2-3 books at a time. This is how I break it down:
Morning – Read 1 chapter of a business/inspirational book.
During the day – Listen to a book on Audible while working.
Evening – Read one chapter for pure pleasure before bed.
Next Up for January
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? I love chatting about books so comment below so we can compare notes!