Sunday, October 19, 2014

October: Respect Life Month

In honor of Respect Life Month, I've been offered the opportunity by Catholic Word  to give away a set of the Lily books, written by Sherry Boas.  These books tell the story of the effect a woman with Downs Syndrome had on her family.












Catholic Word, the group sponsoring this giveaway, describes itself as " a one-stop resource for leading programs and religious titles from over 35 top Catholic publishers. For over 15 years, Catholic Word has built a reputation based on quality, personal relationships and a devotion to excellence in service."  The mission they espouse is "to build up the Church one soul at a time through top quality Catholic materials and resources. Wherever a person is on their faith journey, we offer real help to taking the next step closer to God. Our motto is to do the right thing, in the right way, for the right reason."  They claim to be "100% faithful to the teachings of the Magisterium".

To enter this giveway, please go to Catholic Word's website, find a book that you would like to read that has not been previously mentioned in the comments, and leave a comment with the name of the book.  Good luck!  Winner will be drawn on the Feast of All Saints.  


Review: The Stolen Girl


The Stolen Girl

About the Book:
‘Your mother has been arrested. She stole you.’ 
For as long as thirteen-year-old Diya can remember, it’s always been just her and her mum, Vani. Despite never staying in one place long enough to call it home, with her mother by her side, Diya has never needed anything else. 

Then, in an instant, Diya’s fragile world is shattered. Her mother is arrested, accused of abducting Diya when she was a baby… 

Vani has spent a lifetime looking over her shoulder, determined to make the best possible life for her daughter. Now she must fight for her child, re-opening the door to her own childhood in India and the woman who was once as close to her as a sister. 

Told through the eyes of Diya, Vani and Aarti, this is a heart-breaking story of friendship and betrayal, love and motherhood, which asks the question; how far would you go to protect your only child? 

My Comments:
The story opens with Diya and Vani in England.  Diya is a 13 year old schoolgirl; Vani works in Indian restaurants.  I say restaurants because she never stays long in one place.  One day when told to get ready to move again, Diya storms out; she had just made her first friend ever and she doesn't want to leave this place.  When she comes back, she sees the authorities arresting her mother for stealing her from her real mother. Her real mother, she is told, is waiting for her at a hotel.  She can either go there or to foster care.  Diya chooses foster care and is furious at the woman who tried to separate her from her mum.  The story is a combination of the events of the present day, told mostly by Diya, and the events of the past, told through the recollections of Vani and Aarti.  We meet a girl who had nothing--but at least knew she had been loved and another girl who had everything but love.  We see how power and influence can be used for good and for bad.  We see love prevail.  

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  B.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival


Hello, and welcome to Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. We are a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other. To participate, go to your blog and create a post titled Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. In it, discuss and link to your posts for the week--whether they deal with theology, Catholic living or cute Catholic kids. I'm mostly a book blogger so my posts are generally book reviews, some Catholic, some not. Make sure that post links back here. Once you publish it, come back here and leave a link below.

We also have a yahoogroup; signing up for it will get you one weekly reminder to post. Click here to sign up.

Question of the Week:Have you ever tried the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office)? Why or why not, and, if so, is it something you pray regularly? 

My Answer:  Yes, I've tried it.  I even have the app on my Kindle Fire.  Do I say it regularly?  No.  Is it on my list of things to do more often?  Yes.

Only one post this week--a book review of a book that wasn't all that good.  The Mason Jar.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Litfuse Book Tour: The Mason Jar



About the Book:
What if your old college roommate called, raving about a book someone sent her, calling it the most beautiful book she's ever read? "But," she said, "it's about you." The author is your college ex.

In The Mason Jar, Clayton Fincannon is a Tennessee farm boy raised at the feet of his grandfather. He and his grandfather leave letters for each other in a Mason jar on his grandfather's desk; letters of counsel and affirmation. When Clayton attends college in Southern California, he meets and falls in love with a dark haired debutante from Colorado. However, when an unmentioned past resurrects in her life and she leaves, Clayton is left with unanswered questions.

Clayton goes on to serve as a missionary in Africa, while he and his grandfather continue their tradition of writing letters. When Clayton returns home five years later to bury his grandfather, he searches for answers pertaining to the loss of the young woman he once loved. Little does Clayton know, the answers await him in the broken Mason jar.

A story about a girl who vanished, a former love who wrote a book about her, and a reunion they never imagined.

Written for the bruised and broken, The Mason Jar is an inspirational epic, romance, tragedy which brings hope to people who have experienced disappointment in life due to separation from loved ones. With a redemptive ending and written in the fresh, romantic tones of Nicholas Sparks, The Mason Jar interweaves the imagery of Thoreau with the adventures and climatic family struggles common to Dances with Wolves, A River Runs Through It, and Legends of the Fall.

Note: In September 2014, a new version of The Mason Jar (distinguishable by the blue title box on the front cover) was released with a redemptive ending. Used versions sold may be the old edition.

Follow James Russell at jamesrussell.org

James Russell Lingerfelt's debut novel, The Mason Jar, is hot-off-the-press and causing quite the buzz. It's even been optioned for a feature film and is in pre-production.

My Comments:
I thought the writing was top-notch as far as the use of language went but really thought that Clayton pined far too long and far too much over a short relationship with a woman who was obviously holding something back from him at the time.  Frankly, even if I was the woman he with whom he was enamored, I'd run in the opposite direction.
The copy above says this is a new version, which may explain a few things in the book that I found confusing.  
I'd like to thank the folks at Litfuse for providing a complimentary review copy.  
Giveaway:

Catch the spark by entering James' Kindle Fire giveaway!



masonjar-400-click

 
One grand prize winner will receive:

A Kindle Fire

The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. Winner will be announced October 20th at James Russell's blog, Love Story from the Male Perspective.


masonjar-enterbanner

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival


Hello, and welcome to Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. We are a group of Catholic bloggers who gather weekly to share our best posts with each other. To participate, go to your blog and create a post titled Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival. In it, discuss and link to your posts for the week--whether they deal with theology, Catholic living or cute Catholic kids. I'm mostly a book blogger so my posts are generally book reviews, some Catholic, some not. Make sure that post links back here. Once you publish it, come back here and leave a link below.

We also have a yahoogroup; signing up for it will get you one weekly reminder to post. Click here to sign up.

Question of the Week:Share a family sacramental memory--the cute thing the kid said, the cake at the party, your in your wedding dress, the family gathered around the baby--anything is fair game as long as it at least sort of involved a sacrament.

Since our parish is celebrating milestone anniversaries tomorrow and since we'll be there renewing our vows, 25 years after making them in that church, I'll share a wedding picture

This week I continued my series on Lending Club.  I reviewed two romances:  Mr. Miracle and Christmas Bouquet  Finally, at the request of a reader, I wrote about my son's job hunt.  


Friday, October 10, 2014

Three Months Later with Lending Club: I've Broken Even!


This was the screen that greeted me when I logged onto my Lending Club account tonight.  If you have been following this series of posts, you'll notice that Lending Club has changed its front screen and the way it reports earnings.  What you see there is what they call my "Combined Return", the return I'm earning when you look at both the notes I bought new and the notes I bought on the resale market.  As a reminder, I started this account on July 10, 2014 with $1,000, and a month later I added $1550, for a total investment of $2550.00.  8.18% of that would be  $17.38 per month.  As of a month ago I had $22.09, and if you add those together you get $39.47.  Obviously, but looking at the chart above, I've earned more than that. It just goes to show how hard it is to track/calculate your returns with this investment.  However, the bottom line is that I invested $2550 and my account value hasn't quite reached that point yet--but on the other hand, this is doing far better than the stock market has lately.

So, what's happened in the last month?  Well, one note I bought new was late paying (but still within the grace period).  Since this was the second payment and since the collection notes said they were unable to contact the borrower, I got nervous.  Most of my $25.00 was at risk and I didn't want to lose everything.  I decided to mark the loan down and sell it.  I probably marked it down too much, but I got $12.50 for it and now it is someone else's problem.  Of course it went current shortly after I sold it.  Such is life.  I also had a $2.77 note that was 15-30 days late.  The payment record on that loan had been bad for some time (lots of grace period payments or skipped payments) and honestly I don't remember why I ever bought it.  I managed to get $1.00 for it so I consider myself lucky.

I had several loans pay off early, and in two cases the amount of money I received was less than the amount I had invested in the loan.  In one case I bought a note for $23.70 and only got back $23.15.  The note was about a year old when I bought it and it had four years of payments left.  The interest rate was 25.83%.  I paid a premium for the note, but since the yield to maturity was over 20% I didn't worry about that.  I purchased another note at $9.30 which also had about four years to go, at 19.47%.  I only got 9.22 for it.  Besides any premium paid, the other thing that hurts lenders on an early payoff is Lending Club's 1% fee on payments received.  If the value of the loan when I bought it was $9.30 and the borrower paid it off the next month, Lending club would charge me 9.3 cents, which really hurts in that case.

Since I do not plan to invest any new money, unless I get another deadbeat (and the reality is that they are to be expected and are the main risk with this investment) I should pull ahead in the next month.  So far I haven't had any defaults on my high interest loans or on the small dollar ones I'm churning through the account to see how it stacks up against a savings account for at least some of my needs.

I'll let you know next month if I've made it into the black.

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