Review: Cinders & Sparrows by Sefan Bachmann

Zita is an ordinary girl of 13, raised in an orphanage and employed as a maid.  Seemingly out of the blue, she receives a letter summoning her to Blackbird Castle to claim her inheritance.  Intrigued by the idea, Zita drops everything and travels to meet a peculiar cast of characters in an old mansion!

Cinders & Sparrows is a brilliant new novel from Stefan Bachmann.  Though the premise sounds overused, ‘orphan finds out they are the heir to a long lost kingdom/fortune/mansion/etc’, Bachmann updates this premise and brings a new approach to this story.  Zita is so relatable, frustrated with her initial treatment, but she eventually understands the situation and comes to appreciate what she has.  Of course, characters from humble beginnings usually stay humble!

This is a standalone novel that delivers a beautiful take on magic and blends a number of magical literary elements into a fascinating puzzle, fitting together with every chapter.  I would tag this as a magic, gothic adventure to read under the stars!  Arriving just in time for Halloween, I will be purchasing a copy and recommending it to my public library.  I absolutely enjoyed it that much!

The promotional material for this title describes it as a perfect read for fans of Kate Milford, Victoria Schwab, and Diana Wynne Jones.  Three fantastic authors that I admire deeply!  This is a standalone title filled with magic, mystery, mayhem, and providing readers with lessons about love, loss, family, friendship, and ultimately, belonging!  Fans of the Magisterium Series or the Ember in the Ashes Series would also love this book!

Cinders & Sparrows hits shelves October 13, 2020!  Get your pre-order in now from your favorite retailer! 

Check out Cinders & Sparrows on goodreads and visit author Stefan Bachmann’s website!

Thank to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for a galley copy of this book in return for an honest review.


Review: The Music the Stars Sang

The Music the Stars Sang is the story of Adi and Rupe, two brilliant characters that find each other by chance when Adi is placed with a foster family while her grandmother gets medical care.  The author uses music-oriented imagery to describe the beauty and the dangers of the world throughout the narrative.  After Adi’s grandmother passes away, she is thrown into a bout of grief that is gut wrenching and something that middle grade readers may have similarly experienced.  Readers are introduced to a ‘getaway’ world called The Sidereal Kingdom when Adi and Rupe venture out. 

This world is filled with memorable characters, beautiful descriptions of sounds, smells, and sights.  This is a surreal world designed to be an escape and what a wonderful escape this is!  I loved the characters and worldbuilding, along with the wonderful tendrils of music threaded through the story.

Books in and of themselves are used as an escape from reality, which is a coping mechanism that is used by many people.  Personally, I use books to escape periodically into a new world or a world that is familiar and safe.  Weaving the musical elements through the narrative is also a beautiful note that lends itself to this coping mechanism.  Particularly when I was around 10-13, I listened to music in order to cope with various things.  I love this idea for middle grade readers and reading about Adi’s story of working through her grief is particularly relevant and timely for readers.

I would absolutely recommend this book to any middle grade reader or parent interested in books such as this.  Adi will hold a special place in my heart from now on.  I will be purchasing a copy of this book for my son to read when he is a little bit more skilled at reading.  I am going to look into other works by T. L. Cervantes, who has a beautiful and engaging writing style!  I am so glad that I was approved for this book, it has been a joy to read and review!

The Music the Stars Sang is available now and I would encourage you to purchase from your favorite retailer! 

You can find The Music the Stars Sang on goodreads and T. L. Cervantes’ website can be found here!

Thank you to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for providing a galley copy of this book in return for an honest review.