Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Unlocked by Margo Kelly


by Margo Kelly

Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller

Release Date: October 1st 2016

Merit Press


A provocative thriller involving hypnosis, mystery, love, and friendship!

Someone has been moving the stuffed pink elephant in Hannah's room. She thinks. And ants crawl over her hands, across the steering wheel, all the time. Don't they? They're what made her crash the car on the way home from the fair, and she wouldn't have freaked out, wouldn't have caused her friend's death, for no reason. But she doesn't know if a person is messing with her, if the paranormal is messing with her--or if she's just going psychotic like her dad before her.

When her friends bail, Hannah is left floundering. Not even her boyfriend Manny believes her, and new girl Chelsea is practically replacing her at school. Only artsy outsider and self-proclaimed occult expert, Plug, agrees to help Hannah find out the truth about hypnosis and demons, and even he can't help Hannah reclaim her mind from whatever's taking over. She'll have to do that herself if she wants to save her friends, her mom and herself.


August 23

Crimson lights flashed beneath the darkening Idaho sky, and swarms of people screamed as they plummeted on roller coaster rails. My friends and I passed unshaven men who blew whistles and offered the world, if you’d only play their game—toss their rings, shoot their balls, throw their darts—for a small price, of course. The tempting aroma of fried foods made my empty stomach tighten. Funnel cakes. Corn dogs. Fried Twinkies.
     “Hannah, there it is!” Lily motioned toward a massive white tent. A throng of people near the opening pointed and laughed at the show inside. Lily snatched my wrist and yanked me forward, but Manny tugged me back.
     “Food first.” He patted his stomach.
     “No. Hypnotist first,” Lily said. “He’s the whole reason we came tonight.” She pulled, and her tan shoulders hunched. But Manny held on, and together, the three of us blocked the crowd trying to move down the fairway. A tall blonde lady grunted and hedged around us. Then Lily’s long-time love, Jordan, laughed at our spectacle, which was the last thing I wanted. I wrenched free from my friends and took a step away.
     “Let’s work this out,” I said.
     “Oh, Hannah . . .” Lily adjusted her golden tank top. “You’re crazy if you think Manny and I will ever agree on anything.”
     “Then we’ll flip a coin,” I said.
     Jordan plucked a quarter from his pocket. “Who wants to call it?”
     Lily clapped. “Heads!”
     Jordan tossed the quarter high into the evening sky. We craned our necks, and the evening breeze blew my hair across my face. I smoothed it back into place as the coin crested and began to fall. Jordan reached for it, but a burly man—too busy laughing to watch where he was walking—bumped into Jordan before he caught the coin.
     “Dude! Watch out!” Manny yelled at the stranger. I wrapped my fingers around Manny’s arm, and he relaxed. The offending guy held his hands up in apology and wandered away.
     Manny raked his fingers through his thick chestnut hair. “Let’s get the hypnotist over with so we can enjoy the rest of the night.”
     Lily beamed, and her hazel eyes sparkled. “We need to hurry and get our seats. The next show starts in ten minutes.” She grabbed Jordan’s hand, and they darted toward the white tent, but the crowd from the previous performance flooded out and blocked their path.
     “Thanks,” I said to Manny. “I just want everyone to get along and have fun tonight.”
     Manny laced his fingers through mine, and my heart fluttered. Would tonight be the night we finally kissed? We’d been friends for years, but we just officially started dating last week. He was the best thing in my life, and I wanted to be with him forever. He squeezed my hand, and we meandered over to the tent to wait with Jordan and Lily.
     Jordan fiddled with the gold hoop dangling from Lily’s ear, and she fussed over the spikes in his sun-bleached hair. They were the poster children for cute couples. Lily had even bought Jordan a plaid shirt with golden lines through it to coordinate with her tank top, and they both wore faded denim shorts and Converse sneakers.
     The crowd of people cleared, and we ducked inside the mammoth structure. Spotlights illuminated the entire space and rock music blasted from corner speakers. Stands of bleachers spanned two-thirds of the perimeter, and a stage filled the remainder. Men, like a colony of worker ants, moved around sweeping and rearranging chairs for the next show.
     Lily claimed a spot near the middle front of the bleachers, and I perched next to her. A shiver ran up my spine when the cold metal touched the backs of my thighs. I wedged my fingers beneath my legs, and my silver bracelets clanked against the steel.
     “Why do you want to sit so close?” I raised my voice over the blaring song.
     “To get picked for the show.” Lily bugged out her eyes, as if it should’ve been obvious.
     My throat tightened at the idea of making a fool of myself in front of everyone. I wished we could move further back, but all around us, the stands were filling fast.
     Over the noise, a familiar hee-haw laugh split the arena: Chelsea. She and her date, Mark, bounded toward us, her long tan legs accentuated by her short shorts. Her single blonde braid swished back and forth as she moved. She was a starting center for volleyball and towered five inches over Mark who was a second-string tight end for the football team. He had to move twice as fast to keep up with her, but he had pursued her ever since she moved here last fall.
     “You didn’t save us seats?” Chelsea asked.
     “It flooded with people too fast,” Lily said. We hopped up and exchanged hugs with her.
     Jordan stepped in front of Chelsea and fingered the collar of my white blouse. “You’d be hilarious hypnotized,” he said.
     “No, I wouldn’t.” I swatted his hand away and straightened my collar. “Besides, it’s only entertainment. A gimmick.”
     “Jordan’s right,” Chelsea said. “You would be funny on stage, but you’re way too uptight to be submissive to anyone.” My jaw dropped, and Chelsea laughed.
     “I’m not uptight,” I said, but my words faded into the deafening music. I just never wanted to be disorderly like my dad. He embarrassed Mom so many times in public. She would flush beet red as she worked to quiet his outbursts. One evening back in New Jersey, when I was eleven, Dad refused to get into the car. Mom started the engine and threatened to leave him in that crowded mall parking lot. I loved him too much to abandon him there. I pleaded with him, and when I reached for his arm, he backhanded me. My head flung to the side, and the pain seared through my cheek. Less than twenty feet away, a trio of girls from the popular clique gawked at my family’s debacle. Their ringleader cocked an eyebrow. Then the girls snickered and scurried away. I fought back my tears and turned toward Dad. I opened his door and waited—keeping my hands to myself. Several minutes passed before he relented and sank into the passenger seat. He never touched me again. He died three months later.
     The music in the arena suddenly changed from blaring rock to a peppier pop song at half the volume.
     Chelsea edged around me and took my seat. “Well if you’re too chicken to be in the show, Lily and I can volunteer.”
     “Go ahead,” I said.
     “No!” Lily said. “She’s just teasing.”
     Chelsea shrugged and surrendered my seat. “Fine, just make sure you entertain us.” She grabbed Mark’s hand, and they ran off to claim spots at the top of the bleachers.
     “Don’t let them badger you into doing it, if it’s something you don’t want to do,” Manny said. His towering six-foot frame shaded me from the arena’s spotlights.
     “Trust me,” I said. “I’ll choose for myself.”
     His brown eyes widened, and he caressed my cheek with his smooth fingertips.
     “Oh gag.” Jordan pretended to barf. “It’s a good thing we haven’t eaten yet; otherwise I’d be blowing chunks all over you two.”
     Manny whacked Jordan’s chest.
     “Dude!” Jordan lifted his hands.
     “Stop.” Lily pulled him toward her, and he sat to her right. I sat to her left, and when Manny took the spot next to me, he wrapped his arm around my waist.  
     He whispered in my ear, “You’re amazing.” His breath made my skin quiver.  
     A guy on the stage thumped the microphone.  
     “Ladies and gentlemen,” the announcer said, and the song changed to an anthem of drums and guitars, building the excitement. “Tonight, I have the honor of introducing the mystical Master Gira.” The guy swept his arm to the side of the stage, the drums beat at a maddening level, and the crowd applauded as a man stepped onto the stage. He wore powder blue sneakers, worn-out jeans, and a white button-up collared shirt beneath a black blazer. His face, too tan. His hair, too white. He clapped his huge hands together, and his bleached teeth glowed under the glare of the spotlights.
     Lily whacked my knee. “Volunteer with me.” She twisted several strands of her long brown locks around her finger. “Take a risk with me. Life is meant to be lived. Please?”
     I glanced up at the stage and back at Lily. “I’ll do it, but only because we’re friends.”

About the Author

Margo Kelly is a native of the Northwest and currently resides in Idaho. A veteran public speaker, Margo is now actively pursuing her love of writing. Her critically acclaimed debut, Who R U Really?, was published by Merit Press (an imprint of F+W Media) in 2014. Her second novel, Unlocked, will be published by Merit Press in October 2016. Margo welcomes opportunities to speak to youth groups, library groups, and book clubs.

Margo Kelly loves to be scared … when she’s reading a good book, watching a good movie, or suffering from the hiccups. She loves writing thrillers for young adults and hopes her stories give you the goose bumps or the itchies or the desire to rethink everyday things. Margo is represented by the not-so-scary, but totally awesome, Brianne Johnson of Writers House.

Author Links:

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Book Blitz Organized by:

Cover and Trailer Reveal: Brainwalker by Robyn Mundell & Stephan Lacast

by Robyn Mundell & Stephan Lacast

Genre: YA Scifi/Fantasy
Release Date: October 1st 2016
Dualmind Publishing

Summary from Goodreads:

Fourteen year-old Bernard is full of out of the box ideas—ideas that nobody appreciates. Not his ultra-rational father, not his classmates, and definitely not his teacher, who’s fed up waiting for Bernard’s overdue science project. You’d think with a hotshot quantum physicist for a dad, the assignment would be easy as “pi”, but with his relationship with his father on rocky ground, Bernard is under more pressure than a helium atom.
And Bernard’s impulse control flies out the window when he’s stressed. So instead of turning in his project, he moons the class and gets suspended. Now his dad’s got no choice but to bring him to his work. At the Atom Smasher. It’s the chance of a lifetime for Bernard, who knows smashing atoms at the speed of light can—theoretically—make wormholes. How about that for the most mind-bending science project ever? But when he sneaks into the particle accelerator and someone hits the power button, Bernard ends up in the last place he’d ever want to be.

Inside his father’s brain.

And it’s nothing like the spongy grey mass Bernard studied at school. It’s a galaxy, infinite and alive. Like, people live there. A mysterious civilization on the brink of extinction, as unaware of their host as he is of them. But there’s zero time to process this. Bernard’s about to be caught up in an epic war between the two sides of his dad’s brain over their most precious resource:

Mental Energy.

With his father’s life at stake, Bernard must go up against the tyrannical left side of his father’s brain to save the dying, creative right side. But how the heck is he supposed to do that when he’s just a hopelessly right-brained kid himself?

Advance Praise:

“This story is full of high-stakes adventure, and it often excels in its imaginative and allegorical exploration
of real-world issues” — Kirkus Reviews

“The characters and the setting of this book are truly unique and very diverse, the plot is filled with fiction mixed with real brain concepts and puts everything into perspective from both fiction and reality” — Gabrielle Messier

“Definitely an approach to teenage urban fantasy that I’ve never seen before. I found myself quite enamored with Bernard and all his geeky questions and theories… Underneath all the neurology, it’s really a story about connection and love and fighting for what’s important.” — Kristen Canady

“‘Brainwalker’ is a great scientific fiction and that offers the readers a fantastic experience of the scientific adventure with the beautifully written words, the well laid out plots, and lifelike characters in the story.” — Yichen Tu

“Story starts and ends with the MOON! All will have to take a read to find out what I am talking about. This is a great Teen read revolving around young minds faced with the challenges of life.” — Linda Babbs

Book Trailer:


About the Authors

Robyn Mundell is an award winning playwright. A graduate of New York University, she performed in dozens of plays in New York and was part of David Mamet’s Atlantic Theater Company. She studied with such theater legends as Uta Hagen, Lee Strasberg, and Stella Adler.

Robyn wrote and performed in several of her own plays including Pieces of O and Traveling Bowls of Soup, produced by Pulitzer-prize winner Beth Henley. Traveling Bowls of Soup opened at the Met theater to rave reviews and received several Drama-Logue awards. Robyn has since been selling original screenplays and TV pilots to major film companies and networks. She is the daughter of Canadian Nobel laureate Robert A. Mundell, and is married to actor-playwright Raymond J. Barry. Together, they have four children.

French-Born Stephan Lacast likes to think of himself as a geek, which depending on your dictionary means either “knowledgeable about computers”, or “boring social misfit.” At the age of twelve his idea of fun was building computers and programming, and by fifteen he was a contributor to a computer magazine. A graduate of Paris-Dauphine University, he holds a Bachelor in Economics, a Master in Business Administration, and a Master of Advanced Studies in Information Systems.

After teaching at Dauphine University, Stephan went on to work as a consultant and engineer for one of the top ten Information Technology services companies in Europe, before deciding to leave Paris and move to the United States.

Cover & Trailer Reveal Organized by: