Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Art of Fully Living: 1 Man. 10 Years. 100 Life Goals Around the World by Tal Gur (Review)

"The Art of Fully Living: 1 Man. 10 Years. 100 Life Goals Around the World"

Master the art of fully living, one life goal at a time.

Do you want to experience your one life—your whole life—to its fullest measure?

In this stirring book, author, blogger and lifestyle entrepreneur, Tal Gur offers his own transformational journey as an inspiring example and practical guide to implementing the art of fully living. You’ll learn how to actualize your potential by forging all aspects of your life through the process built into your life goals.

The very structure of this book models Tal’s immersive approach to goal-driven living: each chapter of The Art of Fully Living is dedicated to a year of focus—socializing, fitness, freedom, contribution, love, adventure, wealth, relationship, spirituality, and creativity—and follows Tal’s endeavors as he works toward fulfilling 100 life goals in only 10 years.

This daunting ambition, springing from one late-night conversation among friends and a gnawing discontentment within the typical “success” story, becomes extremely relatable through Tal’s bold storytelling; what’s more, the deep lessons learned become immediately applicable for your own purposes as Tal thoughtfully extracts the actionable wisdom from his own experiences to articulate the principles and techniques of “the art of fully living.”

The Art of Fully Living takes you along the exhilarating ride of Tal’s journey while illuminating your own possible life-goal trajectory: as Tal relates how he socialized nonstop in vibrant Melbourne to master English and trained intensively to complete Ironman New Zealand and practice ancient Thai martial arts, you’ll learn how to apply immersion to achieve your own life goals; as Tal describes how he eliminated his crushing student debt in one year and attained financial and location independence, you’ll learn how to simplify your life, recognize your own present wealth, and turn your passions into a living; and as Tal animates his experiences learning to surf and salsa, to drum in a troupe and compose electronic music, and to write this very book, you’ll learn how to let your intuition be your guide, reveal your authentic core, and achieve flow—among the myriad other adventures and take-aways that fill this book.

Tal not only introduces the idea that the art of fully living is another skill to master but also guides you through honing this skill with chapter lessons and actionable key takeaways.

Once you discover “the art of fully living,” there is no going back; it will feel unacceptable to settle for less than your dreams—and what’s more, you’ll dream even more wildly, aspiring to action with greater clarity of purpose, broader horizons of possibility, and holistic vision across all areas of your life.

This book is especially for you if you find yourself frustrated often, feeling low, or if you’re struggling while asking yourself “What do I REALLY want?”

  • You will discover how to leverage your strengths to achieve your dreams.

  • You will know what it means to be truly free.

  • You will be fulfilled by the path you have chosen to take from this point on.

  • Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone discovered and did what made them feel FULLY alive?

    Your dreams are your dreams for a reason; they are rooted in your deepest understanding of who you want and can become. It’s up to you to follow though, to trust in your vision enough to persist until it becomes a reality, part of the world and part of who you are becoming. Your inspiration is meant to be, and you can make it so through the “art of fully living.” 


    My review:

    3.75 out of 5 stars

    The Art of Fully Living: 1 Man. 10 Years. 100 Life Goals Around the World by Tal Gur is a memoir that chronicles the author’s journey from a mind-numbing existence to a series of adventures that allow him to stretch his boundaries and experience new cultures and challenges.

    I had to take a break from reading this book as I wasn’t quite in a frame of mind to appreciate it due to personal issues. This is a memoir and naturally, centers on the author. Unfortunately, I wasn’t enamored by his propensity for shedding all encumbrances when he decides to change direction…including romantic relationships. I admire his zest for life and ability to assess his situation and whether it is truly fulfilling and I am impressed with his determination to conquer and excel at new endeavors. I think that I would have been more drawn in if I had a more in-depth view of those whose lives he touched, whether through his charitable activities or his business associates or his training partners and instructors. For me, it grew exhausting to read about the extremes that the author went to, even though it was fascinating to watch him move around the world. Those who like to read about people reinventing themselves and overcoming obstacles will be inspired by this book and enjoy meeting this powerful and determined individual.

    A copy of this title was provided for review

    Tuesday, August 28, 2018

    Inspired By Murder by Audrey J. Cole (spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

    by Audrey J. Cole


    GENRE:   Thriller



    To write the perfect story, he needs to commit the perfect crime.

    Disillusioned with his day job, psychiatrist Eric Leroy yearns to fulfill his true destiny of becoming a New York Times bestselling author. But there is one thing he lacks to create an enthralling murder mystery: real-life inspiration.

    The nation is shocked when a famous Seattle resident and his wife are found dead in their upscale Madison Park neighborhood. It looks like murder-suicide, but Detective Blake Stephenson isn’t convinced. Stephenson begins to suspect the doctor when more people connected to Dr. Leroy turn up dead.

    As Stephenson investigates Dr. Leroy, he uncovers a dark, twisted past filled with secrets. Meanwhile, the headlines are reeling with a killer on the loose in Seattle. As the death toll rises, Stephenson struggles to find enough evidence to arrest the doctor—before he kills again.



    No sooner had he started typing when he heard the familiar sound of his neighbor's drums pulsating through the wall. He tried to tune it out, but the beat grew louder, faster. He couldn't think straight.

    He needed total silence when he wrote. He found any noise, even classical music, a total distraction that blocked his creative pathways. While he would've loved to get lost in his favorite AC/DC album while he crafted his novel, that is exactly what his novel would be if he did: lost.

    In his book, On Writing, Stephen King tells how he cranks head-banging hard metal while he pens his manuscripts. Eric was in awe of this. For him, that would be utterly impossible. His genius was best unleashed in the quiet.

    His neighbor never drummed this late. At least, he never did until Eric asked him not to. The throb of the drums felt like it was coming from inside Eric’s head. He couldn't take it anymore. He jumped out of his chair and marched down the hall to his door. He banged twice. Then again. But the drums didn't stop. He banged again, but his neighbor probably couldn't hear it over his obnoxious drumming.

    Eric took a deep breath and tried to calm down. But his anger about Dwayne's arrest, his new dud of a secretary, and his neighbor's relentless drumming was an overwhelming force he could no longer contain.

    He had tried to be nice. If his neighbor had answered the door, he would've politely asked him to stop. But now he had forced his hand. There was only one thing left to do. Eric turned back for his apartment to retrieve his gloves, lock-picking kit, and something he could use to strangle the drummer.


    AUTHOR Bio and Links:

    Audrey J. Cole is a registered nurse and a writer of thrillers set in Seattle. After living in Australia for the last five years, Audrey now resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children.


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    My review:

    3.5 out of 5 stars

    “Inspired by Murder” by Audrey J. Cole is part of the ‘Emerald City Thriller’ series and is a suspense thriller set around a psychiatrist, Dr. Eric Leroy. An aspiring writer, Dr. Leroy decides to conduct in-depth research on his chosen genre…and gets carried away.

    This dark story starts slow and a bit ponderous but it builds in momentum with intriguing twists and surprising revelations. The doctor is not a personable guy, but he does provide an interesting slant on the premise of getting tired of one’s job and needing a change. I think the author did a good job of allowing the reader to see the slippery slope of becoming immersed in one’s research but some of the doctor’s actions strained my credulity a bit and his separation from reality was chilling, especially with the full-circle nature of his transgressions. Those who are squeamish should be advised that this is a somewhat violent story…but it is a thriller, after all.

    A copy of this story was provided to me for review

    Monday, August 27, 2018

    The Shattered Blades: Book Three of the Judges Cycle by Aidan Russell (VBT, guest post, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

    ELF: I have the pleasure of a guest post by author Aidan Russell (thank you for your service!), who muses on one of my favorite genres...

    AR:  While there are plenty of valid points to debate on the issue, I think it is safe to say that epic fantasy, as we know it today, began when Lieutenant John Ronald Reuel Tolkien found himself recovering in a hospital bed after the Battle of Somme during the First World War. After Tolkien, many would agree that Robert Jordan and his Wheel of Time series was the next seminal work in the genre. Just as Tolkien saw the world from the very unique perspective of the trenches of war-torn France, Jordan spent a portion of his younger life with a unique vantage point of the world: the crew compartment of a helicopter as it flew over the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam.

    Epic fantasy is one of the most widely read genres of the literary world. If someone hasn’t read a popular epic fantasy series, they’ve more than likely seen the movie or HBO adaptation. What is it that has drawn millions (if not billions!) to read stories of elves, hobbits, dragons, and Dragons-Reborn? Is it the imaginative creatures and the sword swinging action? Is it deciphering the puzzles of a dungeon or being wowed by the complexities of the author’s magic system? All of these are certainly true to some degree. Most of us, since our youth, grew up with the romantic notion of knights fighting ogres upon the back of a valiant steed with a glistening sword in hand. We were brought wide eyed by the spells wrought by wizards. The ability to escape from our own world for a few moments and go on a fantastic quest (without the very real threat of plagues or having to smell an actual medieval street) is a powerful draw. But I would argue, what has made epic fantasy—and in particular, what separates good epic fantasy from the rest—is that, through all the strange creatures and magic, there is something familiar.

    If you’re a big fan of epic fantasy, you’ve likely read the popular opinion that Samwise Gamgee, not Frodo Baggins, is the true hero of Lord of the Rings. Without Sam, Frodo would have never made it to Mount Doom. It is Sam who returns to the Shire the most changed, going from humble gardener to orc-slayer. The BBC quoted Tolkien as saying, “My Sam Gamgee is indeed a reflection of the English soldier, of the privates and batmen I knew in the 1914 war, and regonised as so far superior to myself.” Samwise Gamgee, ring-bearer, eagle-rider, and fighter of goblins and ring-wraiths, was, first and foremost, a young Englishman sitting in a trench hundreds of miles from home.

    In 1991, Robert Jordan stated in an interview with Starlog, “…my time in Vietnam certainly has affected a certain moral vision… one of the central themes in 'The Wheel of Time' is the struggle between the forces of good and evil. How far can one go in fighting evil before becoming like evil itself? Or do you maintain your purity at the cost of evil's victory? I'm fond of saying that if the answer is too easy, you've probably asked the wrong question."

    Most readers have never faced off against the Kaiser’s soldiers in a dirty trench or dodged NVA anti-air fire over the choking vegetation of a Southeast Asian jungle. But many readers know what it is like to dream of a simple life, tending a garden in a simple, idyllic town such as Hobbiton. But the world never asked what we wanted. It spewed forth trollocs and ring-wraiths to upset our dreams and plunge us into chaos. Yet in the pages of a book about lands so distance they don’t even exist, we can still find heroes who know shares our goals and know our struggles.

    While the killing fields of France and Vietnam have long gone quiet, the world itself is far from the peace and tranquility of the Shire. Less than a year after graduating high school, I found myself in the back of an Amphibious Assault Vehicle, crossing the border from Kuwait into Iraq in order to topple the Ba’athist regime of Saddam Hussein. After five more deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the best quotes to explain what it’s like for a young man or woman to go off to war came from an exchange between a young hobbit and an old, gray wizard during the movie adaptation of their quest:

    Gandalf: You’ll have a tale or two to tell when you come back.

    Bilbo: You can promise that I will come back?

    Gandalf. No, and if you do, you will not be the same.

    None of us is coming back from this adventure known as life. Our tales may not involve dragons or evil sorcerers, but our tales will be just as exciting as those of hobbits, queens, and knights.


    by Aidan Russell


    GENRE: Fantasy (epic)



    The rivers turn to blood and the mournful cry for judgment.

    Reslo returns to his family in the forest of Miradep, but his quest is not finished, and he will not fail in his duty.

    Gratas and Jerah return to the idyllic town of Dunkhau, their bodies wounded and spirits scarred by battle. But if they thought war was tiring, they must now face the unknown horrors of peace.



    The captain turned in his desk chair toward the door. The Rovichian swordsman thrust the gladius into the Esivion captain’s throat and held it there. Red, arterial blood squirted across the blade and splattered the swordsman’s black tabard. The captain tried to curse, but no air could pass his lips. He made one jerk, trying to pull the blade from his throat, and died.

    The swordsman behind the Rovichian descended on the woman stretched out on the captain’s bed. She had only begun to stir before the gladius split her skull. The others swept into the room. No words were exchanged. The others rushed the captain’s desk and grabbed handfuls of papers and ledgers. They stuffed them into the backpack that one of the Nolterite knights wore. Anfor gave them one minute to grab up what documents they could and ordered them out of the quarters with a slap to Thrain’s shoulder.

    Sir Fashtin awaited them at the bottom of the quarter’s steps. The team fell into line behind Sir Fashtin and quickly made their way through the darkness. Fashtin’s sword came out and took a guard’s head off. He caught the body and lowered it to the ground. Then he continued to lead the column of soldiers down a ladderwell below deck.

    The ship’s creaking seemed amplified in the enclosed space of the crew quarters. Other than that, the only sounds were of snores and a group of sailors in one room doing what sailors do best: gambling and swilling the liquor. They were the first to die. Fashtin and one of the Nolterites rushed the room and cut the four men apart before they could raise an alarm. They checked the room quickly for any records or information Gwynnud or Maras could exploit, but found none.

    Two by two, the men moved quickly and silently into each room and slit the throats of each sleeping crewman, wizened petty officers, and slave-boys pressed into service aboard the ship.


    AUTHOR Bio and Links:

    Aidan Russell is a Marine Corps veteran living in Las Vegas. He spent his youth following the adventures of wizards and space demons and decided one day to write his own tales. His short fiction is available in the Never Fear and Uncharted Worlds anthologies. When not writing, he enjoys skiing and heavy metal.



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    Thursday, August 23, 2018

    Beautiful Skin: A People of Color Anthology (Release Blitz) ADULT titles


    Love is complex.
    Love is beautiful.
    Love is diverse.
    Love is for all.

    Beautiful Skin is an anthology of short stories from a diverse group of authors who believe love, in all its many colors, shapes, and forms, is simply stunning. This collection features tales from genres such as contemporary, erotica, paranormal, interracial, M/M, F/M, M/F/M, and M/M/M romance.
    Allow us to take you on a journey that will enthrall your mind and leave you desiring more from these authors.

    Fifty percent of the proceeds from this anthology will go to a charity with a great initiative: aiding in the fight against sickle cell.

    Please be advised that all stories are intended for a mature audience of readers who are 18+ years.

    Featuring stories from:

    Angela Roe, Remmy Duchene, Isabel Raven, T.B. Bond, Nichelle Gregory, BLMorticia, Theresa Hodge, ML Preston, BA Tortuga, Eloreen Moon, Kait Gamble, Sara York, Kiarra M. Taylor, Sade Rena, Katy Swann, Hadley Raydeen, Kendra Mei Chailyn, Kharma Kelley, AM Cosgrove

    Snag your copy here

    Wednesday, August 22, 2018

    Cross Drop by Elizabeth Hartey (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

    by Elizabeth Hartey


    GENRE: New Adult Contemporary Romance




    I’m not a saint. Never claimed to be. I’ve played the game and scored my fair share—both on and off the field. This is why I should have known better than to fall for a hockey player. But I did. I fell fast and hard.

    Now I’m left with the painful consequences, reminded every day of how reckless I had been by giving him my heart so easily—so willingly. Dalt broke me in the cruelest of ways, and because of him I’ll never be able to love again.


    Nikki changed me. She made me want to be a better man. My days playing off the field were over because she owned every little piece of my heart…until she left, leaving behind a gnawing ache where my heart used to be.

    Now she’s back, and it’s painfully clear she hates me, ignoring me, pretending like I’m nobody to her. But that’s just too damn bad. I want answers. I want a goddamn explanation.

    And most of all…I want her.



    “Hey.” The intelligent greeting the only thing I could think of to say.
    When she looked up and hit me with those baby blues I had to remind myself to breathe.

    “Hey.” One word. That was it and she started walking off the field toward the field house. I stood baffled for a moment. I’d never had a problem talking to a girl before and they usually didn’t walk away from me when I did. I ran to catch up to her.

    “Great game. You were amazing out there.”

    “Yeah, thanks.” She just kept walking, even picked up the pace like she was trying to get away from me.

    “I’m…I’m Dalt by the way.” Like an idiot I stuck my hand out to shake hers. She stopped and stared at my outstretched hand but didn’t make a move because her hands were full with her bag and some of the equipment.

    “I know who you are, hockey boy.” The words ‘hockey boy’ came out like they tasted sour on her tongue. And she started walking away from me again. I couldn’t believe it. When I caught up to her, she stopped and turned to me.

    “What do you want, hockey boy?” She threw me off my game so bad, I think I stuttered.

    “I…um…your name would be nice for starters.”

    “For starters?” She quirked a brow.

    “Then I thought you might like to get a beer or a burger or something at the Thirsty Whale.” She scanned my body from head to toe and back up. Then the damnedest thing happened.

    “No thanks. I don’t do dates. Not looking for a boyfriend. I just like to, you know, keep my options open.” Say what, now! Had she just turned me down for a date?

    Buy links

    Barnes and Noble  

    Cross Stroke (book 1)

    Barnes and Noble

    AUTHOR Bio and Links:

    As a lover of the northeast US, Elizabeth moved with her husband to the Poconos several years ago to open a Chiropractic Clinic. Four children and a menagerie of animals later, she has finally found time to fulfill her lifelong dream of writing novels. The wild ride of writing books is one of the most difficult things she’s ever done in her life. But the opportunity to get her stories out of her head and down on paper and send them out into the world is also one of the most wonderful things she’s ever done. A dreamer at heart, romance is the genre she spends most of her time writing and reading into the wee hours of the morning. And having readers fall in love with her characters as much as she does is almost as exciting as giving birth (just not as painful!) When not juggling work responsibilities and writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking the beautiful hills and woods around her home, swimming, knitting, watching old classic movies and travelling.



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    My review:

    4 out of 5 stars

    Cross Drop by Elizabeth Hartey is a new adult contemporary sports romance that features two college athletes who should be on top of the world. Dalt is a top hockey player and his girl, Nikki, is a soccer star, and they’re inseparable…until they’re not. Their incandescent attraction doesn’t die, but the obstacles that separate them may be too much to overcome unless they learn to truly communicate.

    This is the second book in the ‘On the Edge’ series and centers around a charismatic couple who are remarkably compatible in their passions, both on the sports field and in private. I was reminded how intense everything is when you are that age even as I was glad that those times are (far) behind me. Occasionally I wanted to shake some sense into them, especially as Nikki keeps putting off her important revelation, which is a tribute to the author’s ability to create vivid characters.

    There are plenty of intense and lusty scenes that evoke the joie de vivre that can characterize college life, as does the angst and mistakes that have to be lived through. I enjoyed getting to know these folks and watching them work their way through their issues, although I admit that I’m much more sympathetic to Dalt. The secondary characters are personable and there are cameos by the couple featured in the first book, and enough of their story is revealed that I would like to learn more. This is a fun and entertaining tale that will appeal to both new adult romance and college sports fans.

    A copy of this title was provided to me for review

    Monday, August 20, 2018

    Ghost of a Chance by McKenna Dean (Spotlight, excerpt, and GIVEAWAY) RBC ADULT title

    Redclaw Security Book 2

    McKenna Dean
    ADULT title 

    At sixteen, Sarah Atwell walked away from her love of horses and a promising career as a competitive rider after discovering she’d inherited the family curse. Years later, her grandmother stunned everyone by leaving Sarah her horse farm—worth millions—but with conditions Sarah might not be able to meet. A former Redclaw agent, Casey Barnes retired when a security assignment went bad, killing his partner and leaving him as a partial amputee. His inner wolf is in hiding. He’s been living quietly as a horse trainer, but June Atwell’s death now pits him against her granddaughter for rights to the stable. With both of them snowed in at the farm, a series of increasingly serious accidents draws Sarah and Casey closer together, but they both harbor secrets that might tear them apart. Ghost of a Chance is a paranormal romance story.


    For some reason, he glanced back at Sarah where she waited by the door. The backlight of falling snow through the glass in the shadowed hallway created the suggestion of a black-and-white photograph. The only spot of color was the bright red scarf at the collar of her coat and the wine-dark lipstick she wore. She leaned against the wall with her eyes closed. Something inside him clicked, as though recognizing a scene from a movie. His heart stopped a beat, flipped over, and thudded again with increased intensity.

    No. It couldn’t be. Not her.

    He hurried away, head still reeling at his reaction.

    When he returned with an armload of clothing, she was nowhere to be seen. Her laptop sat by her shoes, one pretty little pump turned over on its side. As expected, he discovered her in the living room, staring at the pictures on the wall. “There you are.”

    She jumped at the sound of his voice.

    “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.” He adjusted the heap of clothing piled over one arm and held out a pair of snow boots.

    “She had so many photographs of me.” Sarah took the boots almost automatically, and indicated the walls covered with pictures, ones Casey had seen many times.

    That had to be it. Why she felt so familiar. Why she seemed to be the one. Relief washed over him. Obviously he’d spent too much time alone if he thought Sarah Atwell was his destined mate.
     Amazon Buy Link 


     The Panther’s Lost Princess  
    Redclaw Security Book 1  

    Amazon Buy Link 

    About McKenna Dean: McKenna Dean has been an actress, a vet tech, a singer, a teacher, a biologist, and a dog trainer. She’s worked in a genetics lab, at the stockyard, behind the scenes as a props manager, and at a pizza parlor slinging dough. Finally she realized all these jobs were just a preparation for what she really wanted to be: a writer. She lives on a small farm in North Carolina with her family, as well as the assorted dogs, cats, and various livestock. She likes putting her characters in hot water to see how strong they are. Like tea bags, only sexier.  

    McKenna Dean's Social Media Links:  



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