Monday, August 30, 2021

To Be Enlightened Book Tour


Welcome to the tour for "cosmic love story", To Be Enlightened by Alan J. Steinberg. Read on for details and a chance to win a $100 Amazon e-gift card!

To Be Enlightened

Publication Date: February 27, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Literary Fiction/ Romance

To Be Enlightened is a cosmic love story that follows Professor of Philosophy Abe Levy as he grapples with what it means to love both his wife, Sarah, and the ocean of silence within. It is also an intellectual exploration of the most intimate of subjects: our consciousness.

Abe Levy’s long tenure as a philosophy professor has motivated thousands of students to ponder age-old questions in light of New Age ideas. Though Abe is passionate about his teaching, he is obsessed with a powerful childhood dream of heaven. To return to that heaven, he must reach enlightenment in his lifetime. Day after day, Abe settles into deep meditation, reaching the very cusp of his goal but unable to cross the threshold. Desperately, he commits to doing whatever it takes, even if it means abandoning his wife for a more ascetic life-a decision that sets off a cascade of consequences for Abe, Sarah, and those he loves the most.

Add to Goodreads


Vedic wisdom holds that during the forty-eight minutes prior to sunrise, which is called the Brahma Muhurta, a wave of purity and balance sweeps through the world, gently waking it up, along with the birds and other animals. I sip my coffee, enjoying the silence and morning calm. About fifteen minutes before sunrise, the birds start singing praises, enlivening and infusing the atmosphere with optimism for the approaching day. The transition rarely fails to uplift me.

A high-pitched fluttering followed by a distinctive buzzing draws my attention. I look up to see a large, shiny purple hummingbird hovering about a foot above the center of the table, looking at me as if wanting to speak. It flits its beak up, down, and sideways, and—zip! It’s gone. I don't remember ever seeing a hummingbird so close. I sit for a moment. I know that hummingbird! I’ve seen her many times before in my dream. But she was always a bee.

I do asanas and pranayama and then walk toward our bedroom for my morning meditation. The hummingbird gets me thinking about omens. If there really are omens, does it mean that God communicates with us only at specific, special times? Or is it that at certain times we become still enough to precipitate an omen? Maybe there are always omens and we aren’t aware enough to appreciate them? I bet it’s even more complex than that. I adjust my pillows for meditation. In a half lotus, my eyes close.

Mantra, mantra, maaaantra, mmmannntraaaa, maaa…mantra emerges from shimmering pool, drop of water in reverse. Mantra, mantra, mmmmaa…the place on surface of pool where mantra will emerge begins to move, vibrate…I am observing and hearing the mantra’s emergence from my consciousness. It is separate from the real Me, the observer…The school’s administrative board has asked me to head the search committee for a new chief of campus security. I don't know anything about security. I'm not going…I observe that thought, and this thought, arise in the same way the Mantra emerges.So interesting…Mantra, mantra, mantraaaaa, maaaantra…surface of pool, no ripples, no thoughts, no feelings coming from body or mind, endless…one side, silent awareness; other side, activity. Mantra, maantraa, mmmmm…mantra barely tickles my expansive surface…Bliss surges through body, mind. Bliss is caused by awareness of subtle disturbance at junction between…Mantra, mantra, mantraaaaa, mmmmmmaaaaaaa…flowing outward, all directions; I am a boundless, luminous mirror between my self and my Self… Mmmaaaa…mmmm…maaaaa…I am the surface of the ocean, impossibly still, deafeningly silent…needing to let go…ready to let go…fearing loss…Mmmmmmmm…decision made, must go forward, will go forward…surrendering all I thought I was for what I am…individuality dissolves: raindrop, ocean…

I am.

I am—the vast, unbounded ocean of consciousness. I am—unmoving wholeness. I was never that body or that mind. I have been observing Abe Levy since the moment he was born, and much, much longer than that. I am—at peace. I am—now awake. I was sleeping before. I can see the sun and the planets clearly. They are so dear to have nurtured Mother Earth, allowing her to birth humanity. I notice distantly that my body is glowing. Time is immaterial and has lost its grip on me…

* * *

Back in my body, I look over at my bedside alarm clock. More than an hour has gone by. I lie down to rest and a deep sleep envelops my body and mind, though I am awake, aware, and witnessing.

I get up and put on my robe. Something is very, very different. It’s as if I am still meditating even though my body and I are active in the world. I am in two places at the same time—the unbounded ocean of consciousness and the bounded world of activity and senses. I have never, ever, felt so good and so focused. I walk to the kitchen, but I don’t seem to be moving.

It happened. The thought comes that I should be jumping with joy, but I’m past that. A more pressing, evolving issue appears to be whether my body can contain my joy. I close my eyes and watch as thin, sparkling beams of Bliss increasingly poke their way through the shell that is my old body, shining out from my new one in a myriad of luminous, waving threads of various lengths and hues. The brightest and most numerous ones are congregated around my solar plexus and the top of my head. The weirdest part of all is that I’m not surprised or concerned by this in the least.

I make oatmeal with whole milk, dried cherries, roasted almond slivers, cinnamon, cardamom, and a hint of nutmeg. I notice something is gone. I am not, in general, an anxious or fearful man, but I now realize I had significant anxiety and fear all my life. I know this because, for the first time, I am completely without those constant companions. Along with my anxieties and fears, my worries about leaving Sarah to go to Fairfield have evaporated. I don’t have to go anywhere now. I am where I have always wanted to be. I’m Here. The weight of responsibility that I had shouldered in guiding Sarah around her triggers has lifted. I think that I can now lovingly support her without feeling bogged down or burdened.

I shower, shave, dress for class, and it all seems to happen automatically, as if I’m uninvolved in the process. I was somewhat intellectually prepared for this, but even after over fifty years of meditation, I’m not prepared experientially. This will take some getting used to.

Walking to my office, the world is delicious. The singing birds are part of me, thrilling me thoroughly from the inside with our perfect twittering. My heart sings with them. My body hums with a hymn as my feet beat the rhythm into the sidewalk.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Alan J. Steinberg, MD is board-certified in Internal Medicine and practices with the Cedars-Sinai Medical Group in Beverly Hills, California. He also serves as one of the attending physicians for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. He grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he learned Transcendental Meditation (TM) in 1975. Earning his undergraduate philosophy degree at Pomona and Pitzer Colleges in Claremont, California, he went on to attend the University of Nevada School of Medicine, receiving an MD degree in 1984. His first book was a non-fiction consumer’s guide, The Insider’s Guide to HMOs (Plume/Penguin), which garnered favorable reviews in the Los Angeles Times and other publications as well as appearances on The Today Show20/20 and C-Span. The book helped sway the direction that healthcare was heading in the late 1990s. His debut novel, To Be Enlightened (Adelaide Books, 2021), is a work of visionary fiction, inspired by some of his own experiences as a lifelong practitioner of TM. Dr. Steinberg lives with his wife of over thirty-five years in Los Angeles, California. They are the proud parents of three young adults.

Alan J. Steinberg | Twitter | Instagram 

Click the link below for a chance to win a $100 Amazon e-gift card! (Open to everyone)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Tour Organized By: 

R&R Book Tours

Friday, August 27, 2021

Of the Lilin Review

Of the Lilin by Paulette Hampton is the first book in her upcoming Sage Chronicles series and this is a book that you are really not going to want to miss. The minute I read the blurb for this book my interest was piqued. Anything to do with demons, archangels, myths, legends, romance, and dark family secrets...sign me up! LOL! I love a good paranormal book and this one really fits the bill. There is also a heavy dose of mystery that shrouds this book which further pushes you to dive deeper to learn the secrets that are hiding in the shadows.

Of the Lilin are an upper YA paranormal novel and the first book that I have read by Paulette Hampton. I practically devoured this book as the author so expertly lured me in from the beginning. We meet Sage at a funeral. It is the time that they are saying goodbye to her stepfather’s best friend, David. My curiosity is immediately piqued...what happened to David? Then the author drops a little tidbit surprise in readers' laps with the rose that Sage was holding...once vibrant, beautiful, and now dead and withered. Sage isn’t the only one who notices this strange change...and things devolve from there for her. After the incident that follows Sage goes to live with her Aunt Madeline. I was more than eager to dig deeper into this story to really understand what Sage is and what is going on with her.

I’m not going to lie...I got annoyed with Sage when she decides to hole up in her room and just basically “sulk” for a week. I understand that she has had quite a bit of loss in her life so quickly, but I felt that she needed to put her big girl pants on and move forward. Feeling sorry for herself wasn’t going to do anything. I didn’t necessarily like her attitude toward those who were simply trying to help her either. But little did I know that these same characters were hiding dark family secrets from her. That...that was absolutely shocking.

The twists in this book...oh my the twists! I loved them! I honestly didn't know what to expect from whom. I knew from the blurb that there were going to be demons, but when they make appearances...I was like...wait...what?! So, of course, I dove deeper into this story most eagerly. Now, this book is recommended for ages 14 and up, but, personally, I’d only suggest 16 and up. This book has some content that I feel is inappropriate for those under the age of 16. There are a couple of scenes that are a bit shocking and might be disturbing to some readers. There isn’t anything graphic or overly violent in this book, but the upper YA classification should really be considered for readers choosing to read this book.

All in all, I couldn’t put this book down. I eagerly devoured it and I’m honestly looking forward to the next book in this series. I’m rating this book 5 out of 5 stars. 16 and up, highly recommend, below that age...I encourage a bit of caution when reading particular scenes. If you enjoy paranormal novels that give you demons, secrets, myths, and hints of romance (since this is a slow-burn novel) then this is definitely a book to pick up and check out.  

Be sure to check out the author's giveaway as well! 

Giveaway: Signed 5x7 art print and digital copy of the book 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


A huge thank you to R&R Book Tours for allowing me to read and review this book! 

R&R Book Tours

Empire City Review

Empire City: No Woman’s Land is the first book in George Valvis’ Empire City series. The author asks readers to picture a world where women have been banished for reasons outside of their control and now men are fully in control. They have replaced women with synthetics for companionship and to be their servants. Jason has just graduated from the Academy and is about to go on his Criss. His objective? Learn, survive, and come back after 100 days. Jason just wants to get by so that he can come back and continue his love of racing. His father wants him to prove himself and not embarrass him. When a freak accident takes place Jason will find that what he has been told and taught all his a lie.

Empire City is the first book that I have read by George Valvis, but I can guarantee you won’t be the last. The blurb for this book really piqued my interest when I read it. I wondered...what could a world/city look like without women? Why were they banished? What exactly happened to the world to bring it to its knees like it is in this science fiction novel. Some of my questions are answered, but others are still there waiting for answers. The author gives readers a brief prologue and then pushes forward into the story. Apparently, the world has been rocked and rocked roughly by a number of wars if not bombs galore. The author gives readers an idea of these devastating weapons in the prologue as well.

When I started reading this book I was expecting things to take a certain path. While things don’t go necessarily as expected this book does a good job at engaging me. I will admit that the first few chapters were a bit of a struggle for me. For me, it felt like the author was struggling a bit to find their stride, but once the main character, Jason gets out of the city, the story truly begins to come to life at high speeds. Truly when Jason meets Benedetta the story blooms. The author shows how Jason’s training and teachings in life have shaped him when he is dealing with the women he encounters. I was taken a bit aback by his attitude, but I’m thankful that the author doesn’t have him pushing the envelope. It’s nice to see that Jason knows when and where to toe the line.

I will admit that I was a bit disappointed that Jason doesn’t get a more difficult track. I thought that he’d have to into the more dangerous areas, but that doesn’t happen. I say that because I thought that he’d encounter a group of women who had banded together and believed in the “danger of men.” While the story doesn’t take that path, it’s still an enjoyable novel. My disappointments are short-lived overall in that respect, as I’m engaged by the storyline. I will say that I felt that some aspects were a bit rushed, but those are later on in the story so I won’t spoil those elements for readers. But I will say’s naive for any of the characters to think that they can bring a 180 change to a society that has become set in their ways over three generations.

All in all, I really did enjoy this book and I’m honestly eager for the next book in this series. I want to learn what happens next and how these characters will forge ahead with the challenges that face them. I enjoy a good science-fiction novel, and this book definitely fits. So, I am rating this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. This book loses half a star because I felt some elements are rushed, but the author did a fantastic job making this book a page-turner after a rough start. If you enjoy science-fiction futuristic novels then I encourage you to read this book. I’m hopeful that maybe the author will consider writing a prequel so we can learn how exactly things fell apart. I know I’d read it. LOL!  

A huge thank you to R&R Book Tours and the author: George Valvis for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this book. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Empire City Blog Tour!!

Welcome to the book tour for George Valvis's novel, Empire City: No Woman's Land! Read on for more details and a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Empire City (The Empire City Trilogy)

Publication Date: February 2021

Genre: Dystopian

 What Would Life Be Like If Women Were Banished From the World?

It is the year 2206.

All that remains of the world are the Americas. Empire city has banished all women for three generations now and men have absolute control, using female synthetics as companions/servants.

After graduating from the Academy of Justice, Jason Brown, a charismatic hover jet bike racer and the future leader of the city, has to complete his Crii, a mandatory trip of self-awareness in the wildlands beyond the walls of the city for 100 days.

The unexpected events that take place on this trip alter his perception of the world and he is now faced with an impossible dilemma.

Add to Goodreads

Available on Amazon

About the Author

George Valvis is an adventurer/entrepreneur/sports enthusiast, turned writer in order to give the world this epic trilogy and much more.

Growing up on a farm by the river Nile, he learned from a young age to live without fear and to respect nature. After completing his International Business & Management Master’s degree in England, he joined the army, jumped off planes, dived to the depths of the ocean, raced stand up Jet skis, traveled the world for business purposes and started a family. His passion for technology, adventure and the future is evident in his books. Having a deep knowledge of ancient mythology, literature and history, combined with his adventurous nature and personal life experiences, enabled him to write these uniquely original stories


Giveaway: $25 Amazon e-gift card!


Be sure to check out the other blogs on this book tour and be sure to come back to check out my review later this week! 

August 23rd

R&R Book Tours (Kick-off Post)

Reads & Reels (Spotlight)

Didi Oviatt (Spotlight)

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight)

@booktreasuresau (Spotlight)

August 24th

B is for Book Review (Interview)

Invisible Moth (Review)

August 25th

Read & Rated (Spotlight)

Misty’s Book Space (Spotlight)

PoptheButterfly (Spotlight)

Jessica Belmont (Review)

August 26th

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Spotlight)

The Faerie Review (Review)

August 27th

Bunny’s Reviews (Review)

@greeneyedgirl0704 (Review)

Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Book Tours

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Draw and Order

 Draw and Order is the second book in Cheryl Hollon’s Paint and Shine mystery series. I devoured book one in this series, so when I heard there was a book two, I was eager to get my hands on it. Getting back to the little country town that Miranda is now calling home, and getting to know more of the characters was something I was looking forward to.

Miranda’s business is growing, and she’s taking steps to fulfill the requirements for her to keep the property. Things are looking up for her, but it seems that she’s about to be hit with a few potholes along the way. It all starts with a group of rock climbers who call themselves the Risky Business Adventurers. What is supposed to be a simple excursion and meal turns into something more when one of the group literally stumbles across the remains of one of their own. The location of the remains leads Miranda to believe that it’s her long-missing cousin, Howard Cable...and former group member of the Risky Business Adventurers. Due to budget (aka political issues) the sheriff wants to chalk it up to an accident, but there are clues that point otherwise.

Draw and Order, for me, fails to be as good as the first book in this series. While the author gives readers quite a few new characters to be engaged by, the actual mystery falls flat. Cozy mysteries aren’t always chock full of drama and thrills, but I feel that this book needed something to give an energy boost. There are some problems that Miranda deals with that had me really thinking that it was sabotage of some sort to distract her from her investigation. Apparently, they were just...regular problems that she had to deal with? It seemed a bit convenient, these problems, but instead of adding to the mystery/drama...they are just red herrings. It’s a bit disappointing, but not everything needs to be related to the mystery of her cousin, right?

I feel that there was more day-to-day life in this book in comparison to the first. I will say that I like that Miranda and Doris Ann Norriss, the receptionist, has smoothed out their issues and are friendlier now. The relationship between Miranda and Austin is growing, but slowly. Honestly, it’s hard to really tell what’s going on with them (whether they are in a relationship or not). I’m not saying that they should be hot and heavy (lol) I just want something a bit more established that indicates that they are indeed together. Most of the time it comes off more as that they are getting together to eat meals or work the case.

My biggest disappointments with this story come from how flat the storyline is. You get a few blips of excitement, but they are just that...blips. The reveal, similar to book one, is once again disappointing. The lead-up to the reveal, leaves you second-guessing that person is truly the bad guy. The ending is honestly disappointing and leaves me feeling dissatisfied. While this book is overall a page-turner for me, it’s mostly to get back to the mystery and see where it all leads. The whodunit question that demands to be answered.

While we don’t get as much scenery or amusing anecdotes concerning the characters, this book still manages to be an enjoyable novel. I’m hopeful that the next book will be able to recapture that nice balance that book one had so that it becomes truly engaging again. I’m choosing to rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. While it falls more than a little flat on the main mystery, there are several smaller ones that kept me digging deeper. If you enjoyed the first book in this series and are eager to continue the series, I encourage you to do so. I look forward to what the author’s next book.