Books That Shaped My 2023 - A Blend of Personal Development, Fiction, and Royal Revelations!

As I look back on all the books I've read this year, it's like watching the chapters of my own story unfold.

It's been a wild ride of healing, growing, and sometimes just escaping into another world. There's been a bit of everything – from diving deep into my own personal development journey to losing myself in some awesome fiction, and even sneaking a peek into the life of a royal.

Each book has been like a friend, walking with me through the ups and downs, teaching me a thing or two, or just giving me a break from the real world. From getting real about my own life to getting lost in someone else's, these books have been my sidekicks this year.

So here they are, in no particular order:

“Self Care Workbook for Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers" by Ella Lansvale

The title speaks for itself, and my lightbulb moments were abundant from the very first chapter where I kept hearing myself go ‘Yes. Yes. Yes, that’s exactly what it is like!’  This book is a valuable resource for women who grew up with narcissistic mothers. Lansvale offers exercises and activities designed to help you understand and heal from the unique challenges faced in this unhealthy relationship dynamic. It’s been invaluable in understanding and healing from this very toxic relationship.

"Trauma" by Dr. Paul Conti

Dr. Conti provides a comprehensive overview of trauma, its effects, and methods for healing. The book offers insights into the nature of trauma, its impact on mental health, and practical advice for both individuals suffering from trauma and those who support them.

"Whole Again" by Jackson Mackenzie

This book is a guide to emotional healing and personal growth, particularly following toxic relationships and emotional abuse. It offers insights into understanding the impacts of such relationships and provides practical steps for healing and moving forward towards a healthier, more fulfilling life. My copy of this book is literally glowing yellow with all the highlighted sections from cover to cover.

"Kindness" by Kath Koschel

Kath Koschel, a former female test cricketer for Australia whose career was cut short by injury.  She shares her personal journey of overcoming adversity through acts of kindness as well as stories of others, and research on the impact of kindness, encouraging readers to embrace and spread kindness in their everyday lives. It's an inspiring call to action to make the world a better place through simple, yet powerful, acts of kindness.

"The Seven Sisters" series by Lucinda Riley (all 8 books)

When I needed to escape, this sweeping series of eight books, beautifully written by Lucinda Riley, did the trick.  Each book in the series focuses on one of the adopted daughters of a mysterious billionaire known as Pa Salt, following their journey to discover their heritage after his death. The names and themes of the books are inspired by the mythology of the Seven Sisters star constellation (the Pleiades). Lucinda weaves a complex tapestry of family secrets, love, and loss, against the backdrop of significant historical moments.  I rarely read fiction but these books were thoroughly enjoyable.

"The Body Keeps The Score" by Bessel van der Kolk (Audible version)

This groundbreaking book delves into the complex effects of trauma on the mind and body. Van der Kolk, an expert in trauma research, explains how trauma reshapes the brain and body, potentially leading to challenges like anxiety, depression, and PTSD. The book also explores innovative treatments that offer new paths to recovery. 

Some big takeaways for me on this book was how important mindful meditation, breathing techniques and yoga is to when recovering from trauma – somethings that I am still working on.
I recommend the audible version of this book as the content can be very heavy-going at times and I found it much easier to listen to (aside from that the paperback version has small print jammed together making it tough to read).

"The Hidden Life of Trees" by Peter Wohlleben (Audible version)

This book is a fascinating exploration of the secret world of trees. Wohlleben, a forester, shares his deep knowledge and love for trees, revealing how they communicate, support each other, and form communities. It’s a blend of scientific understanding and a call to appreciate and protect these remarkable organisms.
I highly recommend listening to this book, the reader’s voice is so deep and resonant, I would regularly go to sleep listening to him and then have to backtrack several chapters to hear what I missed LOL.

"Take Control of Your Life" by Mel Robbins (Audible version)

Mel Robbins is well known for her ‘5 Second Rule’ and in this book offers a motivational guide to confronting and overcoming the fears that hold people back. I loved listening to this book as Mel actually ‘interview/coaches’ different people who have different fears that are holding them back from living their best life.  It’s packed with actionable advice to empower readers to take charge of their lives, break free from fear, and pursue their goals with confidence.
I had some major ah-ha moments listening to this and highly recommend the Audible version.

"Adding More -Ing to Your Life" by Gabrielle Bernstein (Audible version)

This book by motivational speaker and life coach Gabrielle Bernstein is about infusing life with more Intuition, Intention, and Inspiration. Bernstein encourages readers to connect with their inner selves and the universe to create positive changes in their lives.  It was an okay book but not one that I’d rush out and grab.

"Spare" by Prince Harry

In this memoir, Prince Harry shares his personal journey, including his experiences growing up in the royal family, the loss of his mother, and his eventual decision to step back from royal duties. The book offers an intimate look at his life, shedding light on his struggles, reflections, and the path to finding his own identity away from the public eye.  
My biggest takeaway was how grateful that my family issues are not played out on the headlines of news outlets around the world.  I could not comprehend how that would feel like.

"Flourish" by Antonia Case

This book is a thought-provoking exploration of personal growth and self-improvement. Antonia Case delves into the concept of flourishing, not just surviving in life, sharing her journey of seeking this concept, psychological research, and philosophical insights she finds along the way. It encourages readers to find joy and meaning in their daily lives and provides practical advice on how to cultivate a flourishing life.

"Your Head Is A Houseboat" by Campbell Walker (aka Struthless)

In this creatively and colourfully presented book, Campbell Walker, also known as Struthless, uses the metaphor of a houseboat to explore the complexities of the human mind. The book combines elements of psychology, philosophy, and offers a fresh perspective on understanding and navigating our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. Walker's approachable and often humorous style makes complex psychological concepts accessible, encouraging readers to think differently about their mental processes and how they perceive the world.
This book had been recommended to me by a number of people and I can definitely see why - a great read that is easy to digest and put into action.

"The Neuroscience of Self Love" by Alexis Fernandez-Preiksa

This book offers a unique blend of neuroscience and self-help, focusing on understanding how our brains contribute to our sense of self-love and well-being. Alexis Fernandez-Preiksa delves into the latest scientific research to explain the neural mechanisms behind self-esteem, happiness, and personal growth. The book is designed to help readers apply this knowledge in practical ways to enhance their self-love and overall mental health, providing strategies that are grounded in neuroscientific principles.

"Fast Like A Girl" by Dr. Mindy Pelz

Dr. Mindy Pelz's book is centred on the benefits of fasting, particularly for women. She provides insights into how fasting can be adapted to suit women's unique hormonal landscapes. The book covers various fasting techniques and explains how they can positively impact women's health, including weight loss, hormonal balance, and increased energy. Dr. Pelz combines scientific research with practical advice, aiming to empower women with the knowledge to use fasting as a tool for physical and mental well-being.

I first saw Dr Pelz being interviewed on The Diary Of A CEO and was an immediate fan-girl of her.  Check out the interview on YouTube.

In total I read 21 books this year (that I actually finished) and I started many more besides but not counting those until I finish them.  It’s been an intense year of understanding trauma, narcissism and recovery.  While this personal development and healing journey will continue, I can already see the books on my bedside table are more focused on business growth topics. 


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