Upcoming Book: Mars Colony Agatha: Nikki Red by Jack Chaucer

Release Date: November 01, 2019

BLURB:

Nicole Janicek already
has stared down a high school shooter, a cult of criminal
ex-Scientologists and six months of frigid darkness at South Pole
Station in her young life, but now she risks it all attempting to ride a
rocket to Mars in 2022. After the Red One mission quickly aborts in the
skies over the North Sea, Nikki gets a surprise phone call from Elon
Musk, CEO of SpaceX. What follows is a euphoric, historic, tragic and
heroic mission to establish Mars Colony A, dubbed by some in the media
as “Mars Colony Agatha” when misfortune strikes. While doubters predict
the perilous mission will morph into “And Then There Were None” by
Agatha Christie, Nikki and her crew are determined to write their own
story. Through it all, Nikki is surprised to learn how strong her
connection to those she loved on Earth remains despite the chasm of time
and space.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46779287-mars-colony-agatha?from_search=true
— EXCERPT —
CHAPTER 4
THE LINK

September 11, 2022 — Launch-Minus-11 Day
Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Cruising stealthily in a black Musk-designed Tesla sedan from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base toward nearby Kennedy Space Center, Nikki stared out the tinted window at the Atlantic Ocean and recalled her last disastrous visit to Florida in August 2019.

It began with her defying The Bridge leadership’s orders in Fort Lauderdale and nearly ended when she was struck by flying debris as Hurricane Felicia raged in Miami Beach.

But she lived.

And now she was back, and free, and here by her own choice.

She was ready to leave Earth on her own terms; saddened by her parents’ objections, but determined to blast her life so far past the ordinary.

Thirty-eight Raptor engines, quietly waiting on iconic Launch Pad 39A, would propel her beyond her imagination and into a cold, beautiful and deadly reality.

Dozens of Space Shuttle liftoffs had cleared that same pad; two missions had ended in explosions, deaths and parental heartbreaks.

But Nikki truly believed she would survive to see Mars up close.

Her extensive training in Antarctica had steeled her spirit for this all-in mission to deep space, and now Musk’s unexpected lifeline after the Red One splashdown only convinced her further that she was destined to actually land there in 2023 at age 26. Wow.

KSC headquarters rose about 10 stories in the foreground with massive American and NASA flags draped down one side. The boxy building was surrounded by sprawling parking lots dotted with palm trees, but Nikki’s eyes initially were drawn to the sleek, futuristic SpaceX sign on an adjacent rectangular building. The left leg of the X in the logo shot up diagonally and arced away, like the trail of rocket smoke.

Beyond all of that, at the edge of the ocean, the stainless steel Super Heavy Starship gleamed as it aimed toward the bright blue sky. From Nikki’s vantage point more than a mile away, it looked like a child’s toy, and in a way it was. Musk had been experimenting with rockets of all sizes since his aloof engineer father literally left Elon to his own devices during a rough South African childhood split from his mother and siblings. In reality, the full SHS stack stood 387 feet, 82 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.

This was beyond freedom.

Where this rocket would take her, there would be nothing but red dirt, ice and murderously thin air. No government. No police. No trees or animals. No streets, with or without names. Just a brand new, very old and very empty world, apathetic to the arrival of six human beings, one of whom remained an 11th-hour, L-minus-11 stranger to the other five.

Nikki scrolled through their names on her phone one more time:

1. Commander Xander Vermilyea. Really? Internal rhyme? Nikki still dabbled in poetry, but that name in the email Elon’s assistant sent her sounded more like a Muskian prank.

2. Pilot Jo Guigere. Not Joe. Not Josephine. But female, Nikki presumed. Awesome.

3. Engineer Ulysses Parker. She wondered if his middle name started with an S. like the old Civil War general and president who now graces $50 bills.

4. Dr. Susan Wilkes. Nikki tried to suppress her brain’s urge to stick with the 1800s theme, add “Booth” to her name and charge her as an accomplice in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

5. Specialist Edward Etergino. “E Squared” immediately came to her mind as a possible nickname.

And what would they think of Specialist Nicole Janicek, the late and unexpected wildcard crew member with the red streaks in her hair?

If I can find a way to get along with the person who shot me for six months at South Pole Station, I’ll find a way to get along with these people, Nikki vowed.

But first, she was scheduled to meet face to face with the visionary who designed the car she was riding in and the spaceship that would drive her to Mars.

***

Jane Rushmore, blonde and personable, ushered Nikki into an eighth-floor suite where Elon Musk, hipster-techno-casual in a black short-sleeved shirt and jeans, quickly looked up from his phone and grinned. The SHS pierced the blue horizon in the massive window behind him.

Still star struck, Nikki hesitated for half a beat before crossing the surprisingly drab, outdated carpet to shake his hand in the large, rectangular room.

“Welcome, Nikki. How was your flight?” he asked, guiding her toward a pair of recliners. “Come relax. Can I get you anything?”

“Good, no, I’m fine,” she replied as they both sat down across from one another.

“Most people I know try to avoid flying on September 11th out of, you know, extremely warranted superstition, but we’re L-minus-11, so …”

“It was no problem,” Nikki said, struggling to form more than simple sentences in this surreal moment.

“How old were you in 2001?” he asked, still grinning.

“Four,” she said, finally allowing herself to exhale.

He nodded as if he already knew that. “Back then I was one year away from launching SpaceX in a California office about the size of this room and look how far we’ve come. I’m still renting space … this time from NASA.”

“But now you’ve got a rocket on that launch pad right there ready to take six people to Mars,” Nikki pointed out while gesturing toward the window.

“Can you believe you’re one of them?”

“No … this all seems like a dream.”

“I’m glad you said dream and not a nightmare.”

“Oh, I’m scared,” she admitted.

“So am I. Perfectly normal. This is gonna be big … truly the start of something monumental in human history. Deep space travel and establishing a human base on Mars.”

“What do you see as my role in this mission … other than trying not to die?” Nikki asked, smiling as she realized she just echoed Thomas’ parting words to her.

Elon fed off her smile and practically bounced in his chair as he talked, with his hands in constant motion.

“I really see you as the link, the communications link between Starship and Earth on the burn to Mars, and then between Colony A and Earth from Sol 1 on,” Musk said, referring in space jargon to the crew’s first day on the Red Planet. “You’re considerably younger, more charismatic and less of a technical person than the rest of the crew, so I really see you as the person to help tell the story of this mission, human to human.”

“Wow,” Nikki beamed.

“It’s an important role … getting on camera, wearing GoPros, shooting videos and sending video emails — v-mails — to interact with especially young people and children in classrooms on Earth,” he continued. “Think of yourself as the first travel guide on Mars, encouraging the next generation to want to help set up a city there some day. Because this mission will be far more effective and inspiring if we maintain that human connection with Earth every mile and every step of the way.”

“What can I say? I’m humbled and amazed to do that,” Nikki said.

“Fantastic. Now when I say interact, as you know, there’s about a 20-minute delay in communications between Mars and Earth, so the videos will be more like a one-way video letter, if you will, and then you’ll receive the reply from Earth.”

“Of course.”

“The less glamorous role for you would be to get extremely involved in keeping the common areas and cabins clean aboard ship and in the Martian hab environment …”

“Housekeeping?” Nikki asked with a smirk.

“Your word, not mine,” he replied with a laugh. “But essential either way.”

She nodded, biting her tongue and smiling. “Anything else?”

“Oh, there’ll be many other tasks, I’m sure, but one very real thing to keep in mind is you are the most expendable crew member. I know. I’m shamelessly blunt. But that’s a fact.”

Nikki picked up her jaw, tilted her head and understood.

“I know. I totally get that.”

“It just means that when there are dangerous situations or choices or truck runs to be made, you should be the first to raise your hand.”

Nikki’s eyes met Elon’s and didn’t blink.

“I will do that.”

“Good. Even if any of the other five tries to be the hero and insist, you remind them what I’ve told you here today. This mission is all about sacrifice. It has no chance of succeeding without it.”

“I’m so ready,” Nikki told herself and the leader of SpaceX. “You have no idea how awful it felt to come crashing down and lose that opportunity.”

“On the contrary, I know exactly how it feels. I’ve seen my share of exploding rockets. And that’s why I reached out to you … someone who would appreciate this second chance like no one else.”

Nikki took a deep breath and grinned. “I do appreciate it and I thank you for tracking me down. I’m truly blown away by all of this.”

“You’re welcome,” Elon said, standing up and offering her a hug. “And officially, welcome to the mission.”

Nikki accepted his embrace and smiled.

“Thank you. What’s next?” she asked.

“Dinner with your commander and crew. You better enjoy real Earth food while you can get it. And after that, I have a little surprise movie for all of you. It should be an inspirational and bonding experience.”

Book Review: Heartache and Hope by Jay McLean

BLURB:

Ava Diaz needs saving.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
Just like she doesn’t know a thing about the boy she sits next to on the first day of senior year.
He thinks she’s a brat.
She thinks he’s entitled.
Maybe first impressions don’t always last…
Because Connor Ledger’s about to save her.
He just doesn’t know why.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45457966-heartache-and-hope

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. No payments made between me and the publisher.

It’s been a while since I read a Jay McLean book. Her works are one of my automatic pick. I loved the way she writes and I love how her works excites me. When I heard about Heartache and Hope, I automatically tried my luck to be one of the reviewers. I’m so happy when I received an email regarding this book! I honestly stopped the other books I’m reading and started with this right away. The first few chapters got me hooked already! This book was really hard to let go, I just keep reading and reading and my curiosity just got bigger and bigger. What will happen next? that’s the only question in my head.
I love the characters as well, Connor Ledger and Ava Diaz, both have dark pasts and both are carrying weights on their memories but, both of them also wants to save each other using their own way. Connor is a high-school varsity player who lives with his dad. Their only goal is to reach the “end-game”, for Connor’s future. He’s a sweet, cool guy who focuses on whatever his dad tells him to do. Ava, people thinks pitiful of her with all the things that happened to her mom. She’s an amazing lady who try her best to live each day even if every day is a big battle. Ava’s a loving person, sweet and a strong willed woman. Connor and Ava love team is beautiful and inspirational. On their young age they become each other’s support system which some people doesn’t even know how to give. Despite the studies, basketball and Ava’s situation they still are managing to be the person they wanted to be even if it’s a borrowed time. But, things shifted so fast between them. Their relationship becomes something that’s uncontrollable, with all the pressure and the promised goals, will they survive? that’s usually my question and that’s the readers must find out. 
Heartache and Hope is beautiful, buoyant and beguiling. I could say this is one of the best books I’ve read in the past six months. I’m looking forward to Heartache Duet book two (2), more Connor and Ava romance. One more thing, I love the book cover! I do love basketball and knowing Connor is into it, I was like, “I’ll definitely read that!” I love everything about this book one!!! If possible I’ll give it 10/5 rating! 
“Love should make people stay. Love should make you want to keep the people who hold that love near.” 

” … sometimes, love isn’t enough.”
My Ratings

Jay McLean is an international
best-selling author and full-time reader, writer of New Adult and Young
Adult romance, and skilled procrastinator. When she’s not doing any of
those things, she can be found running after her three little boys,
investing way too much time on True Crime Documentaries and
binge-watching reality TV.
She writes what she loves to read, which are books that can make her laugh, make her hurt and make her feel.

Jay lives in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, in her dream home where music is loud and laughter is louder.


Source: Goodreads




Blog Tour: Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon by Mary Fan

BLURB:

When a powerful viceroy
arrives with a fleet of mechanical dragons and stops an attack on
Anlei’s village, the villagers see him as a godsend. They agree to give
him their sacred, enchanted River Pearl in exchange for permanent
protection—if he’ll marry one of the village girls to solidify the
alliance. Anlei is appalled when the viceroy selects her as a bride, but
with the fate of her people at stake, she sees no choice but to
consent. Anlei’s noble plans are sent into a tailspin, however, when a
young thief steals the River Pearl for himself.

Knowing the
viceroy won’t protect her village without the jewel, she takes matters
into her own hands. But once she catches the thief, she discovers he
needs the pearl just as much as she does. The two embark on an epic
quest across the land and into the Courts of Hell, taking Anlei on a
journey that reveals more is at stake than she could have ever imagined.

With incredibly vivid world building and fast-paced storytelling, Stronger Than a Bronze Dragon is great for readers who are looking for something fresh in epic fantasy.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41150325-stronger-than-a-bronze-dragon

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. No payments made between me and the publisher.

Stronger Than A Bronze Dragon, is one of the challenging books I’ve read. I enjoyed the story and the characters, but at some point I had a hard time finishing it. I think it’s because I get distracted a lot when reading it. I really liked the book cover too! It’s catchy and I do love dragon related covers and books. I need to find this in our local bookstore soonest. 
I guess, this book is something new to me that it got a hard time catching my attention. I think this is the first book I’ve read for this year with a Chinese plot as well. I just love the idea of it being modern with a mix of old era. The book itself is enjoyable to read on it’s own way. I was curious on Anlei’s journey, I knew deep in my mind that she has more potential in her, she’s more into strength and her father was a soldier, I wonder what would it take for her to protect her family and her place. Then, a switch in her life happened when the viceroy comes into the picture and that’s what makes the whole book more exciting as well because real adventure happened. I liked the twists and turn of the story and I didn’t expect the ending until after Anlei & Tai’s journey. The book was full of surprises. Anlei and Tai’s team was actually fun. I liked their chemistry and I liked how they annoy each other. Well I think, there’s so many friendships or relationships that starts from there but still, I think it’s cute. Aside from that, I liked the small hints on the book both characters are in denial but fate speaks in a different way.  
Anyway, despite the challenges on reading the book, I actually enjoyed it. Although the ending is not a cliffhanger, I am thinking if there will be more story about Anlei and Tai. I really liked both of them and their partnership. 
“Many choices come down to love or hate. Choose love, every time.”
My Ratings

Mary Fan is a hopeless dreamer, whose
mind insists on spinning tales of “what if.” As a music major in
college, she told those stories through compositions. Now, she tells
them through books—a habit she began as soon as she could pick up a
pencil.

Mary lives in New Jersey and has a B.A. from Princeton University.
When she’s not scheming to create new worlds, she enjoys kickboxing,
opera singing, and blogging about everything having to do with books.

Book Review: Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner

A contemporary novel
about two best friends who must make tough decisions about their
futures–and the TV show they host–in their senior year of high school.

Every
Friday night, best friends Delia and Josie become Rayne Ravenscroft and
Delilah Darkwood, hosts of the campy creature feature show Midnite Matinee on the local cable station TV Six.

But
with the end of senior year quickly approaching, the girls face tough
decisions about their futures. Josie has been dreading graduation, as
she tries to decide whether to leave for a big university and chase her
dream career in mainstream TV. And Lawson, one of the show’s guest
performers, a talented MMA fighter with weaknesses for pancakes, fantasy
novels, and Josie, is making her tough decision even harder.

Scary movies are the last connection Delia has to her dad, who abandoned the family years ago. If Midnite Matinee
becomes a hit, maybe he’ll see it and want to be a part of her life
again. And maybe Josie will stay with the show instead of leaving her
behind, too.

As the tug-of-war between growing up and growing
apart tests the bonds of their friendship, Josie and Delia start to
realize that an uncertain future can be both monstrous…and momentous.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40645629-rayne-delilah-s-midnite-matinee

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. No payments made between me and the publisher.

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee is the second book I’ve read from Jeff Zentner, the first was Goodbye Days both of the books never failed me. One moment you are reading happy scenarios and all, the next you are be crying and wiping tears from your eyes. Reading the first few pages of the book from my kindle confused me. I honestly didn’t get the story at first, I almost stop reading it but I got curious and that’s enough to push myself to read more. I glad I continue reading, as the story deepens, I understand more about the characters and why they do what they do (“the filming”). Then, I realized, after reading this book, people really hold on to something that would make us feel satisfied until, that only thing breaks right in front of you and you’ll just crash. All you need are the people that truly cares for you, right? Hard to believe but that’s the real life. 
Delia and Josie are best friends, really close to the point where you will think of them as sisters. The host Midnite Matinee together where they discuss or play some scary movies on TV six. Both of them enjoyed what they’re doing but as they grow old, they do realize what they really wanted to do in their life, to do the show until they get old? or something else? 
I love the character of Delia and Josie a.k.a. Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood. I like how they step up for each other like their connected by blood. These two in my head were like twins (just being honest here). Reading this book was super chill. This is such an easy read and entertaining. I never dreamed of being in front of the camera but these two? hosting their own show… it was pretty amazing. I feel like Delia knows more scary movies than me no matter how fiction this book is (LOL). This girl (Delia), wants to see her dad someday and ask him what happened, why he left. She’s broken and looking for a fatherly love. Josie is the kind of friend who’s super supportive, hands down. She’ll do everything for her friend. She maybe rich, and all but I think she’s very humble on it. Another character from this book who I loved was Lawson, Josie’s man. He wins the boyfriend of the year. He’s super supportive to Josie and Delia. He was really cool on the friendship and he even joins the girls sometimes (does that exist in real life? I can hear people asking that right now. LOL). Anyway, the love story aside from the friendship was lovely. It was charming and impressive. Also, not only Josie can pull of the “I’ll do anything for someone” move. 
Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee is a must read.

“I bet life is easier when you don’t have to worry about emotional attachments.”

My Ratings

Jeff Zentner lives in
Nashville, Tennessee. He came to writing through music, starting his
creative life as a guitarist and eventually becoming a songwriter. He’s
released five albums and appeared on recordings with Iggy Pop, Nick
Cave, Warren Ellis, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, and
Lydia Lunch, among others.

Now he writes novels for young adults.
He became interested in writing for young adults after volunteering at
the Tennessee Teen Rock Camp and Southern Girls Rock Camp. As a kid, his
parents would take him to the library and drop him off, where he would
read until closing time. He worked at various bookstores through high
school and college.

He speaks fluent Portuguese, having lived in the Amazon region of Brazil for two years.

Source: Goodreads