Hey everyone! Welcome to Monday Book Reviews! Today I’ll be reviewing A Journey Through the Valley by Koywan Keyes.






RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥




A Journey through the Valley is an Inspirational story that will take you through the valley of many hardships, and give you the power to go through your own valley. If you are tired of going through the same situations in your life that don’t lead you to your promise from God, then A journey Through the Valley will help you open your eyes in your own life and allow you to connect with God, and make it through your Valley. Do not be fooled to think that you are the only one who is going through some problems in your life. You are not, and you will see through this book that God will give you strength to make it through your Valley, if you let Him. It tells the story of my personal Journey where I faced financial hardships, lost friends, lost job and lack of resources. Furthermore, it deals the feelings and emotions that are connected through going through rough situations in life. In addition, it includes my sister’s journey through brain surgery, capturing her fears, her challenges and ability to connect with God to overcome. If you do not believe in the power of God; you will discover it in, “A Journey through the Valley.” God will allow your dreams to come true, keep the faith, and learn how to journey through your valley.


This book was great in the sense that it takes us through Mr. Keyes own personal journey while pursuing a life long dream. Unexpected hardships cause him and his family to struggle through rough times, but they never give up their faith. He writes about repeated financial hardships, nearly losing his home, and the range of emotions he experienced going ‘through the valley’. Various Bible verses are quoted throughout the book, which Mr. Keyes uses to remind readers that the valley is temporary and anyone can overcome hardship.

The reason this book struck a chord so deeply with me is because of his sister. Like me, she suffered a bleed in her brain, causing a stroke. Mr. Keyes put aside his own needs to be there for her. He writes about his sister’s struggles to overcome her own life altering event and getting through the madness. It was inspiring to read and I’m thankful that Mr. Keyes included it.

I love reading about experiences that are similar to mine and that I can relate to. It makes my journey feel less complicated and that much easier to achieve. Make sense?

I wanted to give this book 5 hearts. Truly. It has the stories that inspire me. Why couldn’t I? For a couple of reasons.

As a reader, I can overlook a few spelling and grammatical errors, but Journey has too many for me to overlook and not mention. For future editions, Mr. Keyes may want to consider an editor.

There was a section in the book where Mr. Keyes mentioned the media making a big deal out of people donating to churches and feels that members of congregations should continue to give money to their churches. I have to disagree.

Firstly, any mention of media & church donations doesn’t belong in an uplifting book like this to begin with.

Secondly, there are many evangelists (particularly of the TV variety) that take advantage of loyal followers with limited incomes. (ie: Each follower donating $300 towards a multi-million dollar jet – evangelist name withheld). The media are performing a public service by exposing the money hungry, not-so-Christian evangelists and ‘churches’.

Thirdly, donations (tithes, offerings) are personal choices. I gladly donate money if I know it’s being put to good use. If it’s going to be used to line another man’s pocket, I’ll give it directly to the person who needs it.

Aside from the issues I listed above, I genuinely enjoyed this book. I’d recommend it to anyone who feels a heavy burden and wants to know that things will get better.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥







Welcome to Monday Book Reviews! Today I’ll be reviewing Revival – How a Tenor Lost His Voice But Found His Calling by Donald Braswell with Mark Koopmans.






RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥




Five years removed from his 1990 Juilliard graduation, Donald Braswell is set to be “the next Pavarotti.” Braswell’s successful career ends, however, not with a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall, but alone, lying in a dirty ditch.

Following the hit-and-run accident that steals his voice and future, the “Texas Tenor” struggles with depression and despair—until the night his daughter, Aria, is born. Understanding this new and immediate life change, Braswell fights to relearn how to speak and sing—and how to share this gift of second chances with others. When he auditions for America’s Got Talent, his family, his faith, and his entire future hangs in the balance.


I will be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for come-back stories. Unless you’re in a position of recovery yourself, it’s difficult for a lot of people to fathom the hardships, struggles, depression, and desperation that Mr. Braswell had gone through over the years.

Donald Braswell was an up and coming shining star in the opera world. He graduated from Julliard and was a fantastic tenor until he lost his voice secondary to trauma caused by a freak car accident that occurred while he was bicycling. His doctor’s had informed that he’d probably never be able to sing again.

He went through what many of us who have suffered through life altering medical events, like I mentioned above, but with his faith in God and the love and support of his family and friends, he persevered. Though he believed his singing career was over, he knew he had to help support his family. He and his wife had three beautiful daughters after his accident.

Donald went from singing opera to working as a painter, a carpenter, and a car salesman. One car sale opened the door to his recording of a music CD. An application sent without his knowledge by his wife to America’s Got Talent would change his life and his perspective on it.

I’m so inspired by Mr. Braswell’s journey and it makes me acutely aware of just how powerful FAITH and hard work can be. It reminds me that I CAN recover, that I CAN defy the odds, and I CAN find my place in the world.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys memoirs.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥



DBraswellDonald Braswell II is an American actor, classical crossover tenor and composer. Braswell was on a fast track to become an internationally acclaimed opera singer when he suffered a car accident in 1995 that made him unable to speak for almost two years. After that, he lived a quiet life outside of the spotlight until his appearance on the 2008 season of America’s Got Talent where he was a Top 5 finalist, which gave him another chance at a career in entertainment. Since then, he has entertained audiences both internationally as well as shore to shore in the United States in concerts, television appearances, inspirational speaking and radio. He boasts an international fan club with fans from over 25 countries.

KoopMark Koopmans is originally from Ireland. After working in Holland, Spain, France and England, he won his U.S. “Green Card” in 1994, and is an American by choice since 2003. Koopmans began his writing career with a feature for a regional magazine in California. Since then, he’s worked as a staff writer for newspapers in Florida and Texas. Koopmans is also a proficient blogger and is working on his next book, a novel. Koopmans lives in Virginia and is a married, stay-at-home dad to three active boys under the age of nine. He writes at night. Check out his blog: Vignettes from VA (and DC, too!).





Expressing Gratitude for the Butterfly Light Award Nomination

Happy Sunday, fellow bloggers. Going through my comments, I find that I have been nominated for the Butterfly Light Award by my friend Deanie Humphrys-Dunne, author of award-winning children’s book Tails of Sweetbriar.Butterfly Light Award

Conditions For Accepting The Award
Here are the conditions for accepting the award :
1. You must write an acceptance post, making sure you link back to the blogger who awarded you and thank them. You MAY NOT lump this award in with a batch of other awards.
2. You must individually name and re-award to a minimum of 1 blogger. You must let them know either personally with a comment on their blog OR a pingback.
4. You must write a short paragraph entitled either “How I’m Spreading Light” OR “How I’m A Positive Influence”
5. Display Belinda’s lovely “Butterfly Light Award” badge on your blog.
Thanks so much, Deanie for thinking of me for this Award! It is a special one and I will treat it as such. 🙂 I’m so blessed to be able to call you my friend.
How I’m a Positive Influence
I am a positive influence by offering the best advice I can to the younger generation. Back when I was still working as an EMT, I had countless ‘kids’ who were either EMTs or paramedics half my age that came to me for advice, both personal and job related. It took me over a year of therapies after my bleed to be able to slowly start my blogging and writing adventure. I look at my WordPress site and still don’t know what half the doohickeys do, but I’ll learn. After a handful of recent heart-wrenching losses, I’m researching sites and resources, so I can make them available to others. I’ve picked up many other things along the way and share what I’ve learned freely. I believe in paying it forward; I promote other writers and artists works, so others can do the same.
I consider this to be a very special Award, and because of that, I am only nominating one blogger for it:
Jo Murphey-THE MURPHEY SAGA has inspired, motivated and, at times invisibly knocked sense back into my head whenever I would have a ‘woe is me’ day. Her Sunday stroke posts are especially helpful. I subscribe to her blog by email and read it always. I know how busy she is and don’t expect her to be able to follow the rules and guidelines required for accepting this Award. I wouldn’t be surprised if she did, though; at the end of her posts, she always ends with: “Nothing is impossible with determination.” Her faith, determination, and motivation helps fuel mine. I love her! 😀

Please be sure to check out this link:

Until next post, hugs!



For The Family of Someone Like a Brother…Any Help Appreciated.

Petie 003Hello to all my beloved blogger friends. I hope everything is going well for you all today. Things have picked up for me as well. As I mentioned in my last blog post, I received the Dragon Loyalty Award which I humbly accepted, but I have some other positive news I will share a little later.

This post is not about me though. Remember how I mentioned losing my close friend Petie to a brain hemorrhage and flying out to Puerto Rico for his burial with his sister after the wake in NJ? Those expenses were nearly $10,000.00, if not more, and we have come to find that Pete did not have any life insurance or real savings. While the family was able to raise some of the money, they fell short. Fortunately, the funeral services involved on both ends are willing to work with the family so they can pay off the debt.

You all know that I’ve lost several people since I started this blog, but Pete was like a brother to me. I can’t even express to anyone how much I already miss him. The thought of how much more burden his family has to bear with the added financial expenses makes me insane. I’ve never reached out for anyone else the way I’m reaching out now. That’s how much I love him and his family.

I’ve started a fundraising effort at GoFundMe to try raising some of the money still needed to completely payoff the debt. I did so after consulting with his sister, who is, by nature, a very private person. I assured her that the writing and blogging community was a family in and of itself and I would do so with the utmost respect. I donated at the wake, and was the first to give at GoFundMe. Any donation would be appreciated, if only a dollar. I know times are hard for us all, trust me. If you are unable to give to the fund, I have faith that my great friends here will still help by sharing this with other bloggers and writers.

I have included the link here .

Thank you all so very much for always being there. Please Re-blog and Re-tweet, if you can. Love you guys.

Dragon Award Nomination! More Motivation!

Good evening to all my blogger friends. Just wanted to let you all know that I got back home from Puerto Rico safe after saying goodbye to my Petie. I did miss my colleague’s wake and funeral while I was away, but I heard it was beautiful and I would have been proud. That being said, I caught up on my messages and emails and lo and behold, a couple of good things happened too. They’re both worthy of their own posts, but I am doing this one tonight.

dragons-loyalty-awardMy friend Krystol at A Writer With Something To Say has honored me with The Dragon’s Loyalty Award .

Thank you so much Krystol, you have made my day! 😀


In order to accept the Dragon’s Loyalty Award, the following rules apply:

1. Display the Award on your Blog.
2. Announce your win with a post and thank the Blogger who awarded you.
3. Present 4 deserving Bloggers with the Award
4. Link your awardees in the post and let them know of their being awarded.
5. Write seven interesting things about you

I’ve chosen the four blogger below for this award because they’ve some have stood by me from the beginning and others have been invaluable to me since my return:

1. Marilyn Parel at On Becoming a Writer
2. Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh at Alex J. Cavanaugh
3. Karen Soutar at Karen Soutar and
4. Melissa Janda at Melissa Janda – A Time to Write
Seven Interesting Facts about me:

  1. Although I use the name Lilica or Lily in all my writing, blogging and reviewing, my real name is Eva! OMG!  😀  Who’da thunk it…
  2. I am taking an online fiction writing class with Gotham Writing Workshops and loving it.
  3. I seriously considering dedicating a separate page to stroke awareness and resources in memory of those close to me that I’ve lost recently (under my real name)
  4. I am currently planning a trip (if doctors give me the OK) to visit Hungary some time late this year or early next. Never been and would love to see where my parents were born.
  5. I love House of Cards and Kevin Spacey.
  6. I will have something published this year!
  7. I know I’m behind the times, but I treated myself to the newest Keurig model and am so loving it. Even I deserve to be spoiled once in a while.

So that’s it for this post friends. More good news to be coming soon. I have faith that more good things will be coming my way soon. Hugs to you all until next post.