Featured New Release Of The Week: The Good Stranger by Dete Meserve

This week we’re diving back into Dete Meserve’s world of strangers doing good deeds. This week, we’ve looking at The Good Stranger by Dete Meserve.

Meserve had the initial draft of this book written roughly a year ago, and she finished the last edits sometime in October 2019 (yes, I asked, due to what I’m about to point out). And in this book, she has a character point blank say that “the next pandemic is not a matter of if, but when”. Notice when I said she finished writing this book. 😉

With Meserve’s own efforts over the last couple of years, and with the focus of this book in particular, I want to use this space to talk about some real world “good strangers”.

The first one I want to highlight is the most personal to me. My parents, and in particular my mom, have been working in their community through their church’s bus ministry for 25 years now. They started when I was barely a teen, and in those early years I was also part of their work, both in reaching out to the community and, in my specific role on Sunday mornings, actually knocking on doors to let the people who had said they would be interested in coming to church with us know that we were there and helping them safely onto the bus. But my mom really is the workhorse here. For 25 years, she has worked among the poorest of our community there within the few mile area of her home. Some of the bigger trailer parks in our County were right there, and they weren’t exactly the most prosperous neighborhoods in town. With the Sole Commissioner’s declarations there over the last decade or so, things have really only gotten worse for many of these people. But my mom does what she can for them. She gives them some form of breakfast every Sunday morning, knowing that for at least some of them, it is the only meal they will have that day. When she sees a need of one of her families for food or clothing or even help paying the utility bills, she has corralled and cajoled the church to getting what those families need. She has damn near gone to war with many a pastor of that church over the years, including one man – whose vision created the bus ministry at that church – who would go on to become President of the Georgia Baptist Convention. The incident a few years ago where 17yo Christopher Roupe was gunned down by a police officer in his trailer as he answered the door when she knocked? I had met Christopher when he was a toddler. He had been one of our bus kids in those early years. But while my mom isn’t a “good stranger” of the sort this book centers on – the people she is helping know exactly who she is and what she represents- she is one of the very “behind the scenes” type heroes that Meserve makes it a point to highlight in this story. If you would like to help fund these efforts, you can go to this site, Click “Give”, then select “Designated” in the “To” drop down. Then, in the note / memo area (just below where you enter your credit card number), enter “bus ministry”.

The second is a friend of the last few years who lives down in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He runs a BBQ joint down there that is currently shut down due to COVID19 concerns, but in the midst of the shutdown and knowing how desperate people in his community are for food, he has helped organize a food bank, set up feeding stations for the area dogs, and delivered thousands of pounds of food directly to peoples’ homes – all in just the last few weeks. A while back he – a former US soldier – was involved in the rescue of a local young girl who had been kidnapped for sex trafficking. He is very much one of those people who is active in his community and doesn’t hesitate to solve any need he can, any where he can. Again, the very type of unsung hero Meserve highlights in this book. If you’d like to find out how to help him with the food bank in particular, you can click here for that information.

The third “good stranger” I want to highlight is an organization, rather than a person – though its creator’s story is awesome as well. There are a lot of people all over the world that talk about how bad the problem of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is. A few years ago now, Boyan Slat decided to actually do something about it. He created The Ocean Cleanup, and they’ve now deployed a test system to actually begin to clean up the trash from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But not only that, they recognized that one way to reduce the size of the Patch was to prevent garbage from getting there in the first place – they needed a way to capture the garbage before it left the rivers (the primary source of garbage making it to the Patch). So they solved that problem too, and have already been deploying Interceptor craft to rivers across Asia for several months now. These guys are more well known that my mom or my friend, but considering the work they are doing they are, to my mind, still not as famous as they should be.

These are just a few of the people doing good in the community, often in ways that go unreported or underreported. Feel free to reply here or in any thread this review appears with people and organizations you know about who are doing similar direct, unreported work. Let’s give these heroes some of the recognition they deserve.

And as always, the GoodReads/ Amazon review:
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Book CounterPoint: Perfectly Good Crime by Dete Meserve

Moments ago, I wrote the Featured New Release of the Week post for this week, which features Perfectly Good Crime by Dete Meserve. I spent a large part of this review speaking about something that was the thing about this book that primarily resonated with me and intrigued me about this book, yet I felt it was a spoiler to reveal it. Other reviews have since already spoiled this particular topic, but even now I feel the need to hide the rest of this commentary behind a Continue Reading tag, so if you are reading beyond this point,

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Featured New Release Of the Week: Perfectly Good Crime by Dete Meserve

This week we look at a book chat continues to build its world while using a legendary tale in a modern setting to ask questions about the modern world. This week, we’re looking at Perfectly Good Crime by Dete Meserve.

It is difficult to speak about this book without spoilers, particularly since the biggest thing that resonated with me was the biggest spoiler of the entire book. But I’m not going to do that. I try to avoid spoilers as much as possible on this site, and I’m not going to start spoiling books now. So all I’ll say about what I really want to talk about is that there is a singular book I’ve read more than twice in my eReader exclusive era of the past 7 yrs or so. I love this particular book and what it stands for so much that I literally have a version of the heading of one of the parts of this book tattooed on my left wrist. And this particular book’s take on the spoiler subject of Perfectly Good Crime is pretty well diametrically opposed to the presentation Ms. Meserve gives the topic. Which is not to say that her presentation isn’t stellar, it is. And if you subscribe to the dominant beliefs of our era, Ms. Meserve actually presents this topic in a very balanced fashion and brings out some very interesting points about it in the process. But my own feelings there are simply… atypical may be a gentle way of putting it. 😉

All of that said, this is a great crime/ reporter mystery that continues with solid world building and tells an excellent tale of a reporter struggling to find just what she wants for herself. The personal aspects of Kate Bradshaw’s life are interwoven with the professional in a very satisfying manner and continue to show local journalists even in large markets such as LA as the true professionals yet also “normal people” they are. Truly an excellent work, and I look forward to more from this author and this series.

As always, we end with the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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A Month of Reading: July 2018: Starting A Blog and Reading An Entire Series

July 2018. The month I finally gave up politics completely and embraced something I’ve loved for far longer – reading.

It was the month I started this very blog just a few short weeks ago, and the month I finally read a series that I’ve had at least one book from for nearly 5 years, and whose author I’ve known for 6 years – we share a small book club on Facebook where he is one of about 70 or so author members and I run the monthly Group Read subgroup. And those two things pretty well dominated my month in reading.

Overall, I read 14 books in July 2018, per my Goodreads list (which I’ve become devout regarding updating when I finish a book). This pushed me into unknown territory at 81 books on the year – a new personal record. Of the 14 in July, 7 were from Brett Battles’ PROJECT EDEN series. Of the remaining books, 5 were Advance Review Copies (and 3 of those were from Lake Union Publishing) while the other two were new releases from friends – including Jeremy Robinson, who I will be meeting for the first time in just 16 days.

There 14 books accounted for over 3700 pages of (Kindle) text at an average length of over 260 pages each.

I only read one series on the month, so best series of the month goes to PROJECT EDEN by Brett Battles.

Most interesting book of the month I will give to The Same Blood by M. Azmitia, for the simple reason that it was good, yet very far out of the norm for me in virtually everything about it – particularly with it being a long form narrative poem.

I only read one book that was remotely humorous in tone, so funniest book of the month goes to #SecondCivilWar – Letters: Letters from America’s Second Civil War by U. Ray Moran (a pen name of a friend for this effort, though I’ll not reveal who it is). If you’re already sick of politics and political news and 2018 Election coverage, this book is for you.

Overall best book of the month, I think I’m going to have to give to The Space Between by Dete Meserve. It was simply a very wild ride, and I loved the fact that a female NASA scientist got to play a lead role, even if her job wasn’t the main plot of the book.

Below the break, the entire list, in date completed order – with links to my Goodreads reviews of each.
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Featured New Release of the Week: The Space Between by Dete Meserve

This week we’re going to another new-to-me Lake Union author, Dete Meserve and looking at her book, The Space Between.

This book was intriguing from the outset. We first meet Sarah Mayfield when she is in DC presenting the findings of her NASA team – an earth shattering discovery of an asteroid in Earth’s orbit hidden by the sun. This particular BookAHolic lives just a couple hours or so north of Cape Canaveral and absolutely loves going down there, as well as almost anything to do with space generally – I’ve read the memoirs of two separate former International Space Station Commanders this year alone, in addition to the memoirs of a legendary NASA Flight Director. So I was excited about this book nearly instantly, from the first time I even heard about it – much less once I started reading it!

And then Ms. Meserve goes in and spins a form of a Gone Girl type of tale around Ms. Mayfield as soon as Ms. Mayfield gets back home to her family. Her husband is missing, there is a brand new gun in their nightstand, and his last words to his son were to make sure the doors were locked. What follows is the type of tale fans of Gone Girl will love, but also fans of NASA and tech generally – Ms. Meserve has done her research, because Ms. Mayfield is very geeky indeed!

My *only* complaint about this book is that despite being someone who virtually never figures out a mystery before the central character does, in this book I figured out who the person ultimately responsible was about 60% or so of the way in, and I was right on the high points if not the particulars by the end of the book. Still, one of those books I truly did not want to put down, and very highly recommended.

As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
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