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: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥






More Devastation and Loss. Enough is Enough!

Whenever I come back to blogging and writing after dealing with medical issues, events, and personal losses, I get hit with more devastation.  Angel-Saint

Within the past two weeks, I have lost two people very dear to me in different ways, from the same killer – the hemorrhagic stroke. First, I am now in Puerto Rico, where we put my ex-girlfriend’s brother Petie, to rest yesterday afternoon. When he didn’t show up for work the night of the 11th, co-workers kept calling him because it was unlike him to miss a shift. They called til his mailbox was full. His sister did the same when morning came.

It was two brothers and one sister, always looking out for each other long distance. She called consistently on the 12th, until someone answered his phone. The person on the other end was an NYPD lieutenant who broke the news to her. An autopsy was required because of his age (46), and on the 14th, the ME determined the cause as a brain hemorrhage.

Being there for me during my darkest hour, I felt that the only right thing to do as a friend, was be there for her. I loved Petie in a special way. We understood each other when it came to his sister. There was a wake in NJ for family, friends and co-workers on the 15th; we flew with his flight to Puerto Rico the 16th, had an all day wake the 17th til 10pm, and finally last viewing, church and burial, yesterday. What a week it’s been.

Two days after losing Petie, I lost a former co-worker who also suffered a hemorrhagic while sleeping. I remember working many shifts with him on over- nights. Between all the sick and injured calls we took, we always made time for some humor. One thing I knew about him was his history: hypertension. When I heard, the first question I asked was if he had still been taking care of himself. The answer was a resounding ‘Yes’. I hadn’t seen him much since my illness and the last I’d heard, he’d just recently (within the past 2-3 months) moved to Florida with his partner to start a new life. Though he passed in Florida, most of his family, friends and former co-workers still live in NJ, so he was being flown back for viewing, mass and burial. Unfortunately, I can’t pay my last respects to my friend and co-worker because I won’t be back from PR until next week. Thinking back over the past three years, out of four people who’ve had hemorrhagic strokes that I’ve known well, myself included, I’m the sole survivor. It’s hard to swallow, especially knowing that hemorrhagic strokes are the least common, with the highest mortality rate, of the two types. It makes me question why I was spared. Do I have a life mission? I know I’ve touched on this briefly in a earlier post or two, but it is really hitting me hard now.

hemorrhagic-stroke-photoI love writing. I say it all the time and I try focusing on it every chance I get. I ask myself sometimes too, if that’s one of the reasons death escaped me; so I could write about the killer that is a stroke: both ischemic and hemorrhagic. Am I supposed to be an advocate for those who can no longer speak for themselves? For those who left this world before their time? Or for those who think it can never happen to them and don’t take care of themselves the way they should? I don’t know. But I know that I am going to start something or somewhere along those lines. Everyone that has died was younger than 50. Younger than me. Enough is enough. There is too much loss going on and it’s got to stop. I’ve had my blog for over a year and I love it. I write it under a pen name; always have. Dont know if I will much longer. I used it because I wasn’t really comfortable sharing my story or being myself, bearing my naked soul for the world to see. I wasn’t ready. Now, I don’t care anymore.

Heck, for my fiction, I might just keep the pen name since I have authors to help when their new books come out, reviews that I’ve promised to make and writing that I need to complete. Everyone already knows me as Lilica/Lily or some variation of the two. Works for me…plus, I like it.  🙂

I’m lucky to be alive. Period. Maybe next post I’ll formally introduce myself. I don’t know anyone who’d write a memoir under a pen name. That being said,

I have no more free time to give devastation and loss that has infiltrated my life and tried to suck me dry. Get the hell out of my way; I’ve got shit to do.      LE Blake

That’s all for today, my dear friends. I’m here. I’m strong. I’m determined. Most of all, I’m just pissed.


http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/brain_spinal_cord_and_nerve_disorders/stroke_cva/hemorrhagic_stroke.html http://www.strokeassociation.org/STROKEORG/AboutStroke/TypesofStroke/Types-of-Stroke_UCM_308531_SubHomePage.jsp http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/symptoms-of-a-hemorrhagic-stroke http://jomurphey.blogspot.com/

Daily Prompt: Mirror, Mirror

When I look in the mirror, I see

a woman, though still weak physically,

but resilient in spirit and determination,

on a journey from a deep, dark abyss,

finding a way to the promise of

healing, red flowers and Prince Charming.

©L E Blake