Tag Archives: self-discovery

Appreciation and Meaning Journal by Andrew Eltes Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author Andrew Eltes takes readers on an emotional and mental journey to find appreciation and meaning in their life in the book “Appreciation and Meaning Journal”.


The Synopsis

Is there something missing in your life? Are you seeking to live a more appreciative and meaningful life? In Appreciation and Meaning Journal, author Andrew Eltes guides you to feeling gratitude while focusing on what matters most every single day. Through a series of ten empowering questions, this journal is designed to help you: ? deliberately feel positive; ? focus on and feel gratitude for what is going well in your life; ? concentrate on how you can better yourself while growing and giving to others; ? be centered and prioritize what matters most each day while feeling the core reasons for these actions; and ? connect to the essence and enjoy the feeling of accomplishing a goal before it is physically completed. The Appreciation and Meaning Journal helps you ask yourself empowering questions, feel the benefit of empowering and meaningful answers, and have the best start to the day possible while also being centered and focused on what matters most that day. It should be a day that feels and looks how you want it to.

The Review

What a profoundly simple yet moving and impactful read. The author expertly brings readers into the message of this book right away, leaning into the self-help genre enough to educate readers while remaining personable and relatable enough to feel like the author is speaking to you and not “at” you. 10 Simple questions drive this message home, asking the reader to examine not what we don’t have in our lives but what we do have and the gratitude and content that brings us. 

What really makes this book unique however is the fact that it serves as both an educational tool for self-improvement and as a tool in general, with the majority of the book’s pages filled with journal entry pages for the reader to fill in themselves. With a memorable quote to draw the reader into each new day, the author encourages readers to practice the lessons they taught at the beginning of the book and utilizes these 10 questions each day to help the reader track and improve on their daily quest for meaning in their lives. It’s the kind of self-help book that so many others lack because it actually leaves room for readers to do the work after being encouraged by the author as the book draws onward. 

The Verdict

A fantastic, expertly crafted, and highly educational and thoughtful read, author Andrew Eltes’s “Appreciation and Meaning Journal” is a must-read and must-use tool for self-improvement in our daily lives. A soul-searching and thought-provoking read, the balance of reading and working the author puts into the structure and tone of the book is felt throughout its entirety. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Over the years I have learned coaching strategies and techniques from Professional Life coaches. I am a graduate from Robbins-Madanes training. A course taught by teachers including Tony Robbins, Cloe Madanes, Mark and Magali Peisha.





The Sojourners by T.L. Hughes Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

One young man’s adventure seeking to fulfill lifelong dreams turns into a journey of self discovery in author T.L. Hughes novel The Sojourners. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

When Chasing a Dream Leads Deeper Within……

Picking up where Searching for Paradise left off, Mike Hogan, Decky Brady, and Luke Coppens start off in London, still chasing and believing their Hollywood dreams of working in the music video business. But after only a few days into the trip, the friends quickly abandon their efforts and put new plans into place. 

On his own developing journey and through encounters with other travelers and new friends, Mike Hogan experiences the love of finding oneself again. With vivid imagery, poetry and references to great songs throughout, The Sojourners stands on its own as a complete work, with colorful characters and simple people who resonate with the beauty of life. This inspiring, reflective novel shows the importance of ultimate belief in ourselves, and the realization that despite our differences, deep down inside, we all share a common good.

What others are saying:

“Throughout it all, Hughes maintains a tension that transforms this meandering tale into one of complex depictions of human compassion. A charming, soulful entry into a popular (and often disappointing) genre.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Hughes gives us beautiful sentences and finely crafted imagery throughout, with a comforting cadence in his prose, rolling along like a train journey. The story offers carefree country-hopping for the armchair traveler, and each new location – bar, disco, train car, or sidewalk – serves up a vicarious thrill. The Sojourners is a beautifully written work of travel writing, which will be especially appealing to those who have yet to travel, or those who may want to rekindle the expanded horizons of traveling abroad.” Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★ 

The Review

This was an incredibly deep, emotional and thoughtful read. Filled with flowing storytelling and memorable characters throughout, the novel featured incredibly beautiful imagery used by the protagonist, describing his journey through Europe and through the inner workings of his own mind. 

The themes of dealing with loss, finding one’s purpose and discovering the meaning of your own life through travel and adventure really stuck out to me. Unlike other stories of self-discovery, this story stood out for delving into the Cold War era 1980’s, and with each new character introduced in the journey the author saw the real life struggle of topics like racism, politics and religion play out in a completely natural way.

The Verdict

Overall this was a phenomenal read. A detailed, thorough yet pleasant read, the story held the readers attention throughout and painted an image of the protagonist’s journey with such ease that it felt as if you’d lived the journey yourself. Full of humor, wit and charm, the story felt relatable and like something current day readers could draw their real life struggles from. If you haven’t yet, grab this emotionally driven novel The Sojourners by T.L. Hughes today.

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

T.L. Hughes was born in Salem, Massachusetts, and at a young age moved to Lowell, Massachusetts where he grew up, attending the local public schools through high school. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts in 1980, he headed west to California. Today, he lives in Orange County with his wife and family.

Near Death in the Gila National Forest by Don Lubov Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

This honest and thrilling memoir takes readers across the United States in the early 1970’s, when drugs, rock and roll and free love was still moving a new generation, in author Don Lubov’s Near Death in the Gila National Forest. Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

When his teaching contract is not renewed, a drug-taking, aimless, university art instructor heads out on a solo backpacking trip across the U.S. Two slick, wealthy drug dealers alter his trip. It’s 1971 and this novice hiker begins a painful series of learning experiences. From a rock concert in the woods, to an invitation to a lynching, to hitching, he plods on, one day at a time, to a purposeless future. Learning to live in the wild and taking a colorful variety of hitches, he detours to Acapulco, Mexico and a “Big” drug deal. Events beyond his control force him to beat a hasty retreat back to the U.S. In the midst of wilderness survival in fierce, desert heat and some brief, welcome female companionship, he has a spiritual awakening. Following this event, he gets hopelessly lost in the wild and prepares to die. Saved from death, he arrives in California, a fitting end to his cross-country trek. His California years include communes, a stabbing, teaching at Stanford and some letdowns. His life lacks direction and meaning. Finally, 41/2 years after leaving the east coast, he senses his purposeful future is in New York. He leaves California, not sadder, but a bit wiser, and heads East to meet his soulmate and a new beginning. 

The Review

This was a fascinating story of self-discovery. Each chapter brought a new and interesting story that the author experienced on his cross country journey, (with a brief detour into Mexico). The author did a fabulous job bringing the early 70’s to life in a somewhat familiar yet refreshing way. While some moments in the author’s life seem to reflect the experience of so many others in this era, we also get to see the various social, political and cultural divides that made up the world at that point in history.

From former friends who turned out to be racists, to an elderly gentlemen living alone in the wilderness and a town overrun by a rock festival full of drugs, free love and rock and roll, this book had a story in every chapter that kept the reader hooked. A memoir is only as good as the stories the author has to tell, and Don Lubrov does a marvelous job painting a picture of the experiences he had in his journey.

The Verdict

This is a fantastic book everyone needs to read. The personal tale of one man seeking to find his place in the world and the adventures he goes on to discover who he is is something everyone can relate to. The imagery used to paint a picture of the various locations and adventures that the author went on made the story incredibly engaging and fascinating to read, and anyone who is a fan of memoirs or journeys of self-discovery will fall in love with this book. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Near Death in the Gila National Forest by Don Lubrov today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author


Don has been happily married since 1976.

He was an artist for 34 years and exhibited his artwork at 3 New York City Art Galleries and the Heckscher Art Museum.

He spent 8 years teaching Art & Design at East Carolina University, McNeese State University, Suffolk County Community College.

He was a guest lecturer at Stony Brook University on “Hyperspace—A Visual Introduction to the 4thDimension”.

In 1985, he received a grant from The Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation for his work combining art & mathematics, with his “Quantum Pictures”.

He has written about spirituality and stress relief since 1971. He is the author of 9 books. 10 years successfully teaching his “Six-Step Path” at College of Central Florida Sr. Center, MTP College, and The Lifelong Learning College in The Villages, FL. He has taught his unique brand of meditation to over 2,000 people, who subsequently achieved a level of inner peace.

Don has written for Yahoo Voices, Beliefnet.com, and Kinja.com. His writings have been published in various magazines and books.

He has written the following 6 books —

     An End to Stress – spirituality and self-help

     The Plague – sci-fi cautionary tale

     Near Death in the Gila National Forest – a memoir

     The Side Job – a novel of a female assassin

     The Writers Bloc Club – an anthology of prose & poetry

     Frosty the Soulman – an illustrated children’s book

He has 3 YouTube videos —

      “The Grassroots Manifesto”,

      “Creativity Manifesto”

      “Spirituality Manifesto”

He created and developed “Pyramoids” – an energy-efficient building system, and taught this system at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA.  One of his “Pyramoid” designs was accepted and juried in The World Trade Center Memorial Competition.

Memberships: The Writers Bloc Club, Del Webb, Summerfield, FL, 2006 – present

                         The Florida Writers Association, 2006-2013

                         The Metaphysical Group, Del Webb, Summerfield, FL, 2007-present

Classes taught: Spirituality (Life’s Purpose, I & II)