Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Remember Molly, Victor and Weston? How about Kamm, Leena and Tessa? They are hard to forget but if you need a little reminder of what happened in Fields of Elysium, then this extended summary is for you:
Deep inside a secluded cave at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, sixteen-year-old Molly Bennett discovers a secret light passage to an Earthlike planet: Arkana. With her dog Pandora, she ventures into the woods where she meets a group of teenagers. She spends her day with them, having fun at a waterfall. One of the guys, the mysterious and sullen Victor Sorren, intrigues her. If only the boy would show some interest in her…
The next day back on Earth, Molly finds it impossible to think of anything but what she had seen on Arkana and to continue with her normal life at Beverly Hills High. She sneaks back to Arkana to meet her new friends again and to see more of that strange yet wonderful world. But Weston, Victor’s best friend, finds out that Molly is from Earth. Driven by a deep-rooted hatred, Victor corners Molly, willing to kill her. If not for the artistic and lovable Annabella’s intervention, life might have ended for Molly right there on an alien planet.
Victor escorts her back to Earth with a warning: NEVER COME BACK.
Completely devastated Molly is back at school the next day where her social studies teacher teams her up with three of her classmates for a project. Camilla Baker is a popular girl at school, well aware of her beauty and social position. Alexa Miller is the ignored child of a wealthy Beverly Hills couple. And Chris Duncan is the school’s designated heartbreaker, an arrogant boy with too much of Daddy’s money.
For an entire week Molly battles her overprotective father, manages to pull off the project with the three oddest people at school, and tries to forget Victor and the Arkanians. By the end of the week, she is so far behind in her schoolwork that – despite Victor’s warning – she decides to cross over to Arkana and snuggle down by the passage, taking advantage of the time difference between Earth and Arkana to catch up on homework.
Things seem to return to normal, but after a silly accident Molly finds herself in the hospital with a head injury. Victor pays her a visit and brings her a miracle remedy. The flame restarts in Molly’s heart. Victor also bears good news. He followed her over the past week and found her trustworthy. With her silence, Molly has earned her right to return to Arkana. But the Elders must not know about her.
Once recovered, Molly decides to spend two days on Arkana. Her cover: a sleepover at Alexa’s. When Molly passes through the wormhole, she calls for Weston, using the AB - an advanced digital watch Victor gave her. The boys invite Molly to go on a hunt. Victor warns them of the danger Molly puts herself into in the jungle where she isn’t familiar with predatory animals and plants, but nobody listens to him. Not even Molly. She’s waited for this day too long to turn back now.
In the jungle a Konderra snatches Molly. Suddenly Victor appears at the herd’s den and shoots an arrow into the vicious, saber-toothed creature’s paw. Molly makes a run for her life. As Victor and Molly attempt to escape on his flying motorcycle, Molly falls into a field of poisonous mushrooms.
When she awakens, Molly finds herself in a wooden hut with Victor and Ulka de Tino, a peculiar, elderly lady. Once she’s nursed back to health, she sets out on a walk around Sesmar, marveling at the wonders of the village built high atop the crowns of tall trees. She meets Tulliat, a young Arkanian, who shares secrets about Victor’s past with her: Victor is an orphan. Invaders from Earth killed his mother and father when he was born. The sulky young boy has dedicated his life to becoming a Sentinel, a fighter against Terrakas (people from Earth), and avenging his parents’ death. Victor’s hostile behavior toward Molly now makes sense to her.
Molly also happens to cross paths with Kamm, a Sentinel Master. Victor’s reaction tells Molly that this meeting means trouble.
After Victor flies Molly back to Earth she shows up at Alexa’s house late for the sleepover, only to find out that Alexa has called her house and talked to her father. Tangled in more lies than ever in her life, Molly almost blows her cover at home.
At school Camilla gets Molly in trouble and they both have to spend time in detention where the girls share secrets: Camilla and Chris hooked up a few months ago. Molly admits to Camilla that she writes songs and plays the guitar. Seems like an innocent enough confession.The next day her English teacher confronts Molly again and accuses her of not trying to express herself. Camilla suggests Molly sing a song for the entire class. With trembling knees Molly drags herself to the front of the class and sings Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game. But her classmates aren’t the only ones who get to hear her sing. Victor is at the window, hovering on his motorcycle wrapped in an invisibility field.
That night Victor shows up at Molly’s balcony, inviting her to the Ecmentur Games on Weston’s orders. At the meadow on Arkana, Victor hands Molly over to Weston with a heavy heart. He’s having feelings for her but he’s too scared to admit it to himself.
The magnificent games take place in an oval arena on a tropical island. People from all over Arkana bustle around, landing their ellipsoid aircraft called Araneavi in a beehive-like parking tower, beaching their boats on sandy shores. It’s so much to see yet Molly has eyes only for Victor. In his leather armor and helmet, he’s breathtaking. There is no doubt; Molly is in love with him.
The last game of the day starts when Victor and Weston compete against each other, riding on the back of flying horses called Dyporaxes and shooting at targets with their bows. Weston has always been the winner. His wealthy inventor father demands it. But this time Victor takes the trophy for Molly.
Weston gets into a fight with Victor over his triumph and over Molly.
Back at the Sesmar village the confused girl seeks out Ulka de Tino for advice. She is baffled by Victor’s mood swings and would do anything for an answer. But it is not Ulka who answers her questions. Victor takes Molly to his secret lair where they spend a romantic evening, gazing at the glowing Vandesils, flying through red petals in the gorge, and sharing a romantic dinner by a fire. Victor finally admits how he feels about her. But there is no happy ending to their story. Victor is a Sentinel, and as such, is required to lead a celibate life. They spend the night in the hut, like friends destined never to be together.
In the morning Molly gets to fly on Neep, Victor’s four-eyed, winged horse. All these exhilarating experiences don’t help to lessen Molly’s love for Victor.
Everything seems to be perfect on Arkana, even Victor’s English. Then, at a most awkward moment, Victor starts to speak gibberish, a combination of many languages. The translator chip buried deep in his brain has become faulty. Victor needs to go to the Valley of Lost Souls to get a new one. It’s a dangerous place to be but Molly gives Victor no option but to bring her along.
The Valley of Lost Souls is a deep, cavernous pit, dug by Arkanians around a gigantic crystal formation that provides free, clean energy. Some people who lost their will to live end up in this cave where they live off the power of the crystals. Their body turns golden and hairless while bronze flames flicker in their eyes. The locals call them Lighteaters. Nobody comes here unless it is absolutely unavoidable.
Molly’s curiosity endangers them both and the light of the crystal almost strikes her. Victor realizes that Molly’s life would be much safer if she stayed on Earth and never came back. When against her will he flies Molly back to the wormhole, his Ducati collides with an invisibility field and they crash onto the Prophet’s estate.
While Kevin, the Prophet’s butler, repairs Victor’s aircraft, Victor and Molly become stranded in the eerie castle. The Prophet, a man from Earth, the leader of the Arkanians and the Sentinels, recognizes Molly’s accent. He orders her to return to her home planet. She stands her ground, confessing her feelings for Victor to the Prophet. But the Prophet also has secrets. He is the grandfather of Victor. His son Abraham is not dead. He’s the Lighteater who helped out Victor in the valley. Victor’s world collapses when he accidentally finds out the truth. All he believed in his entire life was based on a lie. He isn’t even pureblooded Arkanian. He is a Motley, a Terraka and Arkanian mix.
Victor needs time to think. Molly fears she will never see him again.
Christmas is around the corner but Molly is sadder than ever. Her former boyfriend, the troubled Adam Gates, keeps calling, begging for her forgiveness. Alexa is having a huge Christmas party where everybody has to dress up like a princess. The last thing Molly is in the mood for. There is also a confrontation between Camilla and Molly. After school Molly gets Camilla’s address from the office and takes the blouse she left at school to her. Camilla’s life is a fake. She lives in a small house with the school’s janitor as her stepfather and they are definitely not rich. To say that Camilla doesn’t appreciate Molly’s dropping by is an understatement. As for Molly, this is just another secret to keep.
On the day of the party, Adam Gates shows up at school, blowing the minds of Molly’s friends with his handsome face and charm, but irritating the life out of Molly. He’s moved in with his uncle and will be attending Beverly Hills High from now on. When Molly doesn’t rave about this new development, Adam becomes aggressive, as he was back in Hopewell, NJ. He tosses Molly around until Victor shows up in his jaw-dropping Bugatti Veyron and knocks Adam out. The couple drives off together, leaving the students in awe.
Back in Sesmar village Kamm’s Motley sisters Leena and Tessa help Molly get ready for Alexa’s party. Victor insists that Molly not miss anything from her life just because she has an alien for a boyfriend. When Molly steps out from the tree elevator in her deep purple dress, Victor’s heart almost stops beating. She is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.
Weston catches up with the lovebirds at the entrance of the cave by the waterfall and apologizes for his behavior. Annabella is there, too. The friends make peace. The night couldn’t be any better.
But there is no good without bad, happiness without sadness. As soon as Molly and Victor exit the wormhole, Adam Gates greets them inside the cave, holding Molly’s diary. He knows everything and isn’t willing to keep it to himself. He wants gold and diamonds. He wants to cross over to this rich alien planet, too. After a short but bloody fight Victor takes him down. In order to keep Arkana safe Adam needs to be eliminated.
Victor has always possessed supernatural powers, the ability to move objects with his mind, or rummage through someone’s head. He didn’t understand his unusual abilities until he learned about his mixed blood. With his special power, Victor chooses to erase Adam’s memory instead of killing him. Then he returns his limp body to the city where he would wake with a headache and no memory of the light passage or Molly’s diary at all.
Molly, still upset and disturbed, makes it to the party. The weight of her crazy life begins to overwhelm her, yet it seems she has matured enough to handle the stress.
At Alexa’s, Molly finds Camilla, lying in a pool of blood on the bathroom floor. She’d gotten into a fight with Chris, and he pushed her against the bathroom sink. Camilla has lost her baby. Molly tries to call for help but Camilla makes her swear she won’t tell anybody. Molly asks Victor to bring over his father, the Lighteater, who possesses healing powers bestowed upon him by the crystal’s energy.
Camilla is saved and Victor is about to erase her memories when Molly’s father drops in on them. Mr. Sorren seizes him with a light bolt, and Victor knocks him out, then erases his memory as well. The threads that Molly held together for so long seem to be slipping through her fingers.
Physically drained, Victor returns to Arkana with his father, while Molly spends the night next to her father, waiting for him to awaken. She tells him how much she loves him, how she will try to be a better daughter and better student. After all that happened that night, her secret is still safe.
On the last night of the year, Victor holds Molly in his arms on her balcony, where they’re watching fireworks together. Against all the odds there may be a chance for their love. But whatever the future might bring, at least now they are together and deeply in love. Everything is all right.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Who R U Really? by Margo Kelly
Thea's overprotective parents are driving her insane. They invade her privacy, ask too many questions, and restrict her online time so severely that Thea feels she has no life at all. When she discovers a new role-playing game online, Thea breaks the rules by staying up late to play. She's living a double life: on one hand, the obedient daughter; on the other, a girl slipping deeper into darkness. In the world of the game, Thea falls under the spell of Kit, an older boy whose smarts and savvy can't defeat his loneliness and near-suicidal despair. As Kit draws soft-hearted Thea into his drama, she creates a full plate of cover stories for her parents and then even her friends.
Soon, Thea is all alone in the dark world with Kit, who worries her more and more, but also seems to be the only person who really "gets" her. Is he frightening, the way he seems sometimes, or only terribly sad? Should Thea fear Kit, or pity him? And now, Kit wants to come out of the screen and bring Thea into his real-life world. As much as she suspects that this is wrong, Thea is powerless to resist Kit's allure, and hurtles toward the same dark fate her parents feared most. Ripped from a true-life story of Internet stalking, Who R U Really? will excite you and scare you, as Thea's life spins out of control.
Praise for the book
"Kelly's first novel is a suspenseful page-turner with multiple suspects, a little bit of romance, and a strong but not overbearing message." --Kirkus Reviews
"Suspenseful novel that's guaranteed to give readers goosebumps--particularly as events heat up toward the end. A good choice for families to read together." --School Library Journal
"Who R U Really? is a fantastically creepy book that is surprisingly realistic and totally engrossing.... Once I opened it, I couldn't close it. Who R U Really is a satisfyingly unique YA thriller that left me guessing up until almost the very last page.... This book is very realistic and I really enjoyed the writing style." --Tempest Books
"Based on actual events, the story should be required reading for all teens." --VOYA Magazine
An Interview with Margo Kelly
1) What was the craziest thing you have ever done?
When I was around seventeen, I took a college entrance exam for a coworker so that she could test-out of a math class she didn’t want to take.
2) What inspired you to write Who R U really?
Years ago, my daughter was nearly abducted by an online predator. After a counseling session one day, my daughter and I played the “what if” game. What if “this” had happened instead of that? What if “this” decision had been made instead of this one? And a novel was born. There are many true scenes in the book along with many fictional ones.
3) What are your thoughts on social networking and friendships?
I love social networks, and I love friendships. However, we need to be aware and alert. People online are not always who they say they are. I recently partnered with a campaign called STOP. THINK. CONNECT., and I’ve learned some interesting statistics through them. 75% of kids will share personal information in exchange for goods and services. That means, even if you tell your kids constantly to not share personal information online … when they receive an email or a message stating that they can get a free iPod (or whatever product), they’ll quickly type in their personal information to claim the merchandise. That message could be from a malicious person. It is our shared responsibility to help educate ourselves, our friends, and our family regarding online safety.
4) What is the most unusual or interesting research you have done for your books?
I’ve read a lot of Psychology Today articles about our emotions and why we make the choices we do … but I suppose that’s pretty boring research. For this book, the most interesting research I did was watch a lot of YouTube videos on self-defense so that I could make the scenes realistic in the story.
5) How would you describe your protagonist?
Thea is a naïve teenage girl who hungers to be loved by a boy. When things go wrong with the boy she likes at school, she falls for Kit, a guy she meets in an online role-playing game. She ends up lying to her parents and her friends, because she’s convinced she’s in love with Kit, and she’ll do anything for him. Her world falls apart when she learns that Kit is not who she thought he was. Thea has to figure out who she can trust in order to save herself in the end.
6) What other creative things do you do?
I love to quilt.
7) How do deal with writer’s block?
The hardest part of writer’s block is pushing through it. That means first, I have to sit down and start. Sometimes I’ll set the timer for fifteen minutes and force myself to just write – even if it’s terrible and even if I just delete it later – because sometimes just the physical action of typing will get the creative energy flowing again. And that’s how I push through the writer’s block.
8) Do you believe in love at first sight?
Yes. I fell in love with my husband at first sight. I went back to my college dorm that night and told all of my friends that I was going to marry him. They thought I was nuts, but they laughed when I announced our engagement about five months later.
9) If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I’ve travelled a lot. I’ve been to places like Bermuda, Grand Cayman, Cancun, Panama, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington D.C., Williamsburg, Puerto Rico, and many other great places. But one place I’ve not yet been, which I would LOVE to visit, is the Mediterranean.
10) Can readers expect more books from you in the future?
Absolutely! My next manuscript is in the hands of my agent now, and hopefully it will enter the wheels of the mighty publishing machine soon.
Author Margo Kelly
Margo Kelly is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, she is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Who R U Really? is her first novel. Margo welcomes the opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.
Blog Tour Giveaway
1 print copy of Who R U Really?
Open to US only