Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Blog Tour -- Junction of Sunshine and Lucky

The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky
by Holly Schindler

“Beasts of the Southern Wild” meets Because of Winn Dixie in this inspiring story of hope.

August “Auggie” Jones lives with her Grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town. So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.” Auggie is determined to prove that she is not as run-down as the outside of her house might suggest. Using the kind of items Gus usually hauls to the scrap heap, a broken toaster becomes a flower; church windows turn into a rainbow walkway; and an old car gets new life as spinning whirligigs. What starts out as a home renovation project becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time. Auggie’s talent for creating found art will remind readers that one girl’s trash really is another girl’s treasure.

I've been caught in the fantasy genre for such a long time, I think I forgot what it was like to read a story with such real and familiar elements. The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky is a wonderful story--the middle grade voice of Holly Schindler, equally as powerful and beautifully written as her YA novels. I loved it so much that when I finished, I gave it to my daughter to read. She loved it too, which is a big deal since she primarily reads animal and dragon stories right now and needed to be convinced to give this book a chance. Once I told her about Auggie and her grandpa, though, she was all in. Truthfully, I can't remember the last time she read a book that had people as the main characters!

I loved Auggie. She is spunky and brilliant and creative and full of all things delightful. The relationships between Auggie and her grandpa and the neighbors and the "Beautification Committee" are powerful and full of subtle lessons about what's truly important in life and what "true beauty" is all about. I highly recommend this book for fans of all genres and readers of all ages, because Auggie should be met and loved by everyone!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Blog Tour + Guest Post + GIVEAWAY -- Porcelain Keys

Porcelain Keys Blog Tour and 
Guest Post with Sarah Beard

Aria's life is full of secrets--secrets about her mother's death, her father's cruelty, and her dream to go to Juilliard. When Aria meets Thomas, he draws out her secrets, captures her heart, and gives her the courage to defy her father. But when tragedy strikes and Thomas disappears, Aria is left alone to transform her broken heart's melody into something beautiful. Porcelain Keys is a captivating love story that will resonate long after the last page is turned.

Guest Post -- Music:

            Do you remember the song you first slow-danced to? I do. It was “Forever Young” by Alphaville. What about that song you listened to over and over after your first breakup? Mine was “A Thousand Hours” by The Cure. Ask me about any event in my life, and I can tell you the music I was listening to. I can tell you when there was no music because it caused too much pain, or when music was constantly playing because it drowned out heartache. I can tell you when I danced in celebration to it, or kissed to it, or ran a half-marathon to it.
            Music is a thread that runs through all our lives. It is a part of being human, the need for rhythm and melody. It’s no secret that music is a universal language that connects people all over the world. It has the power to express the inexpressible, inspire and comfort, and amplify emotion. As Plato so eloquently put it centuries ago, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
            On my sixteenth birthday, my parents bought me an electric piano. I’d always been drawn to the neighbor’s piano, but we’d never been able to afford a real piano or lessons. So I eagerly set up that electric piano in my bedroom and played to my heart’s content into the wee hours of morning. It was the greatest gift I’d received up to that point in my life. Like a new voice that had the ability to say the things I didn’t know how to say. I was going through a lot of difficult things at the time, and when it all seemed too much to bear, I would sit down at that keyboard and let it all out. Somehow my incompetent fingers would find the chords that resonated with my feelings, and each one would open a little door in my soul and set something free.
            In my novel, Porcelain Keys, my main character is a seventeen-year-old pianist named Aria. Music is everything to her. It’s how she makes sense of her world and how she identifies herself. And it is the one thing that connects her to her musician mother, who died five years before the story begins. So when her dad forbids her to play the piano, it’s very difficult for her because music is such an integral part of her self-identity. She feels trapped and hampered in her situation, and she’s biding her time until she has the opportunity to set herself free. It’s not until she meets a boy named Thomas that she realizes that sometimes we have to make our own opportunities instead of waiting for them to fall into our laps.
            Although the theme of music runs through the story, Porcelain Keys mostly centers around the romance between Aria and Thomas. But I would hope that the musical lens through which the story is told enhances and intensifies their love story. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Photo Credit: Heather Clark Photography
 Author Bio:
SARAH BEARD is the author of Porcelain Keys, a YA contemporary romance. She has
a degree in communications from the University of Utah and splits her time between
writing and raising three energetic boys. She is a cancer survivor and a hopeless
romantic. She enjoys reading and composing music, and lives with her husband and
children in Salt Lake City, Utah.

You can follow Sarah: 

* Links for purchase:

"Emotionally rich, elegant description, beloved characters--Sarah Beard delivers a fresh,
new novel that will go on my list of classics." --Stephanie Fowers, author of With a

"Aria is a heroine worth rooting for, and the plot is an emotional melody that weaves a
spell so potent, it can only be broken by reaching the end. And even then, I couldn’t stop
thinking about Aria and her story." --Heather Frost, author of The Seers Trilogy

"Emotionally gripping, this beautifully crafted young adult romance will pull at readers’
heartstrings from tragic beginning to happy ending. A must-read for fans of
contemporary romance, both young and seasoned. " --Julie Ford, author of Replacing

"Porcelain Keys is a fresh, heart-wrenching take on boy-meets-girl. Using fantastic and
musical imagery to tell the poignant love story of Aria and Thomas, the author leads the
reader to a swelling crescendo as if we're part of the song—and what a beautiful song it
is." --Cindy C. Bennett, author or Geek Girl and Rapunzel Untangled

"A lyrical love story that will leave your heart singing. Porcelain Keys is a masterpiece
with emotional depth, young love, and family angst. Beard takes us on a journey of selfdiscovery,
second chances, and ultimately, sweet resolution." --Heather Ostler, author
or The Siren's Secret  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Cover Reveal -- Feral by Holly Schindler

Awesome Cover Reveal

by Holly Schindler


It’s too late for you. You’re dead.
Those words float through Claire Cain’s head as she lies broken and barely alive after a brutal beating. And the words continue to haunt her months later, in the relentless, terrifying nightmares that plague her sleep. So when her father is offered a teaching sabbatical in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out of Chicago, away from the things that remind her of what she went through, will offer a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire quickly realizes something is wrong—the town is brimming with hidden dangers and overrun by feral cats. And her fears are confirmed when a popular high school girl, Serena Sims, is suddenly found dead in the icy woods behind the school. While everyone is quick to say Serena died in an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it—for she was the one who found Serena, battered and most certainly dead, surrounded by the town’s feral cats.

Now Claire vows to learn the truth about what happened, but the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to discovering a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley. . . .

With an eerie setting and heart-stopping twists and turns, Holly Schindler weaves a gripping story that will make you question everything you think you know.


FERAL will be released by HarperCollins on August 26, 2014.  


  • You can pre-order FERAL HERE
  • You can add FERAL to your Goodreads shelf HERE
  • Check out Holly's website HERE

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