The Burning Sky Blog Tour: ‘Top Five Scenes’ Guest Post + Giveaway


I may have begged a little to be a part of the tour for THE BURNING SKY. I’d seen the book’s cover and thought it was stunningly beautiful and when I read the description I just knew this would be a must read book for me. So when I was able to be a part of the tour for this amazing book I was over the moon thrilled.

This book was every bit as gorgeous as its cover. Even more so in my opinion. It was epic. It was magical. And the moment I finished reading it all I could think was, “I want more!”

It was a super quick read – I can’t believe it was nearly five hundred pages. Iolanthe’s storyline was intriguing – I can’t wait to find out more in subsequent books in the series. Titus was totally swoon-worthy – he was driven and determined but one hundred percent a hero. And the world was absolutely fascinating – a historical setting, a world within a world and a fairytale world within that world.

THE BURNING SKY has layers. It has characters that are lovable and relatable. It has secrets – only a few of which are revealed. And it builds to an ending that is totally satisfying but yet still leaves much left to be discovered.


TODAY is its release date!

And I am so excited that I get to be the host for THE BURNING SKY on its book birthday. I’m even more excited that the author has shared five ahhh-mazing passages for her stop on the tour today. While I happen to be partial to the passage with the angst, I think my favorite of the five is the last one.

No, I’m not going to reveal why. Though I think if you scroll down just a bit to read it you’ll know exactly why.

But if you’d like to take a peek at the book’s description it follows immediately below. The book’s trailer appears just below that. And if you’d like to learn a little bit more about the author, that information follows below her Top Five Scenes Guest Post.

There are also some awesome giveaway prizes being offered up as part of the tour. So be sure to check them out and enter for a chance to win.

And if you do check out all five passages, I’d love to hear which of the five is your favorite and why. And if you leave your answer in the comments I’ll run your name through Random and choose one winner for a copy of the book after the tour ends this Friday.

About the Book

The Burning Sky


About THE BURNING SKY (The Elemental Trilogy #1)

Publication date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 480
Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death.

Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he’s also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal.

But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.



The Trailer


The Guest Post

Author Sherry Thomas’ Top Five Favorite Passages from THE BURNING SKY

Sherry Thomas

Listing my favorite passages from The Burning Sky?  Rachel, you don’t have to ask twice. 🙂


The first instance Iolanthe, the girl protagonist, presents herself disguised as a boy.


At the sight of so many boys, her smile disintegrated. She did not say anything, but looked from face to face, her hand tightening upon the handle of the valise. Titus could not breathe. For eight years he had lived in a state of slow-simmering panic. But he had never known real terror until this moment. He had always depended on himself; now everything depended on her.

Come on, Fairfax, he implored under his breath. But he knew it. It was too much. She was going to drop the valise and bolt. All hell would break loose, eight years of work would circle the drain, and his mother would have died for nothing.

She cleared her throat and beamed, a smug, lopsided grin. “It’s good to see all your ugly faces again.”

Her voice. Lurching from one emergency to another, he had paid no mind. Now he truly heard it for the first time: rich, low-pitched, and slightly gravelly.

But it was her grin, rather than her voice, that steadied his heartbeat. There was no mistaking the cockiness of that grin, absolutely the expression of a sixteen-year-old boy who had never known the taste of defeat.

Wintervale bounced down the rest of the steps and shook her hand. “You haven’t changed a bit, Fairfax, as charming as His Highness here. No wonder you two were always thick as thieves.”

“Do not encourage him, Wintervale,” said Titus. “Fairfax is insufferable enough as it is.”

She looked askance at him. “Takes one to know one.”

Wintervale whistled and slapped her on the arm. “How’s the leg, Fairfax?”

One of Wintervale’s thwacks could snap a young tree. She managed not to topple over. “Good as new.”

“And is your Latin still as terrible as your bowling?”

The boys snickered good-naturedly.

“My Latin is fine. It’s my Greek that’s as ghastly as your lovemaking,” she retorted. The boys howled, including Titus, who laughed out of sheer shock—and relief.

She was good.

Brilliant, in fact.


This is, of course, a pivotal scene—had Iolanthe failed, Titus’s plan would have gone haywire. But I also enjoy it because it shows a rather different side of Iolanthe’s personality.  She is quite cautious and a bit cynical, but this passage lets readers know that she can also be a lot of fun, naughty even.


Now things are not going so well between Titus and Iolanthe.  She doesn’t want the great, but suicidal destiny he has outlined, and he is trying to convince her not to leave.


“If you aim to convince me that every place out there is dangerous for me,” she retorted, “you have not succeeded.”

But he was coming awfully close.

“Every place out there is dangerous for you. Have you not realized this yet?”

She wished he wouldn’t speak so quietly and reasonably. “More dangerous than here? You will lead me to my death.”

“I will lay down my life for you. Do you know anyone else who will do that?”

I will lay down my life for you. The words had a strange effect on her, a pain almost like a wasp sting to the heart. She shut the valise. “Can you promise me I will live? No? I thought not.”

He was quiet. Saddened. She had not perceived it earlier, but now she saw that there was always a trace of melancholy to him, a heavyheartedness that came of being entrusted with too great a burden.

“I’m sorry,” she said, unable to help herself.


As for why I like it, what can I say, I enjoy a fictional relationship that is marked by both antagonism and angst.


This is Titus’s thought process as he deploys morally questionable methods to keep  Iolanthe from leaving.


He was a bastard. Of course he was: he lied, cheated, and manipulated.

She would not like him very much when she realized what he had done.

It did not matter, Titus told himself. He did not walk this path for flowers and hugs. The only thing that mattered was that she should come back. The hollow feeling in his chest he ignored entirely.

He turned on the light in Fairfax’s room and waited. A quarter hour passed. And there she was, her face pale, her eyes wild.

“If you are looking for your hat, it is on the hook over there,” he said as casually as he could manage. “Pay me no mind; I am just here to forge a good-bye note from you.”

She dropped her valise, pulled out the chair at her desk, and sank into it, her face buried in her hands.

In the last few weeks of his mother’s life, she too had often sat like this, her face in her hands. Impatient with her anguish, he used to yank at her sleeve and demand that she play with him.

After her death, for months he could think of nothing but whether she would have still decided on the same course of action had he been different, had he patted her on the back and stroked her hair and brought her cups of tea.

He moved forward slowly, cautiously, as if the girl before him were a sleeping dragon.

Against his better judgment, he laid a hand on her shoulder.

She shook, as if caught in a nightmare.

He had always considered himself cold-blooded. Sangfroid was a trait highly prized by the House of Elberon. His grandfather had especially insisted on it: one was permitted to lose one’s life, but never one’s detachment.

Now, however, his detachment cracked. Somewhere inside him, he shook too, with the force of her fear, her confusion, and her vulnerability—an empathy that shocked him with its depth and enormity.

He yanked back his hand.

I do not need my characters to be perfect, but I need them, especially the flawed ones, to be self-aware.  And perhaps to think even worse of themselves than they actually are.


She’d never before heard fear in his voice. So he did experience it. Good. It was a sign of madness to not be afraid when one ought to be.

“The first time I met her face-to-face, I was eight.” He spoke quietly; she had to strain to hear. “My grandfather had died two months before, and my coronation was the next day.

“When you are born to the House of Elberon, you are trained to act serene and superior no matter what you feel. But the Inquisitor was—she has frightening eyes. I tried, and I could not make myself look at her. So as she spoke, I looked down at my cat.”

“Minos was actually my mother’s cat, as gentle and sweet as she. After she died, he went everywhere with me and slept in my bed at night.

“That day he was on my lap. I scratched his head and he purred. At some point he stopped purring. But it was not until the end of the audience, when the Inquisitor rose to take her leave, that I noticed he was—he was dead.”

The catch in his voice shot her through with a violent emotion she could not name.

“I wanted to cry. But because she was watching, I tossed Minos aside and said, the way my grandfather would, ‘One would think a cat of the House of Elberon would have more breeding than to die before an esteemed guest. My apologies.’

“I have only kept birds ever since—birds and reptiles are immune to a mind mage’s powers.17 And I have been terrified of the Inquisitor ever since.”

He fell silent.

She turned around and stared at the tapestry, willing herself to feel no sympathy for him.

And not succeeding.


My agent really likes this scene. 🙂


At one point, before the design of the book jacket had been finalized, I had wanted the back of the book to be Twilight-esque.  What made me open my wallet and buy Twilight was the “About three things I am absolute certain” passage from the book, printed on the back.  I wanted to put a passage like that on the back of The Burning Sky, a passage that illustrates both the emotional intensity and the larger stakes of the story.  In the end we didn’t do it, but this is the passage I would have chosen for the task.


But his expression, after an initial shock, turned grim. He pushed the sheet aside and struggled to get up. “Why did you not tell me sooner?”

She gripped his arm to steady him. “I thought you were drawing your last breath.”

He swayed, but his scowl was fierce. “Understand this: you will never again care whether I live or die, not when your own safety is in danger. My purpose is to guide and protect you for as long as I can, but in the end, only one of us matters, and it is not me.”

He was so close, his heat seemed to soak into her. There was a small patch of dried blood he had not yet managed to wash off, an irregular-shaped smear at the base of his neck. And where he’d loosened his sleeves, she could see a puncture mark on the inside of each wrist, where the extractors had pierced his skin.

A bright pain burned in her heart. She might yet save herself from falling in love, but she would never again be able to truly despise him.


I just like it when Titus says things like that.  🙂


About the Author

Author photo by the lovely and talented Jennifer Sparks Harriman at Sparks Studio.

About Sherry Thomas

Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed romance authors working today. Her books regularly receive starred reviews from trade publications and are frequently found on best-of-the-year lists. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award.

English is Sherry’s second language—she has come a long way from the days when she made her laborious way through Rosemary Roger’s Sweet Savage Love with an English-Chinese dictionary. She enjoys digging down to the emotional core of stories. And when she is not writing, she thinks about the zen and zaniness of her profession, plays computer games with her sons, and reads as many fabulous books as she can find.

Sherry’s next book, THE BURNING SKY, volume one of her young adult fantasy trilogy, is now available.



The Giveaways


There are some awesome giveaway prizes being offered by the author for this tour.

GRAND PRIZE – 1 Hardcover copy of THE BURNING SKY, a tote bag, handmade balm, scrub and bath tea – ONE Winner

FIRST PRIZE – 1 Hardcover copy of THE BURNING SKY + tote bag – THREE Winners

RUNNERS UP – 1 Swag pack – stickers, bookmarks, signed bookplates – THREE Winners

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Tour Schedule

Week One

Sept. 9th – Bewitched Bookworms – Guest Post

Sept. 10th – Jenna Does Books – Interview

Sept. 11th – Fiction Fare – Interview

Sept. 12th – Readers in Wonderland – Interview

Sept. 13th – Working for the Mandroid – Interview

Week Two

Sept. 16th – Two Chicks on Books – Guest Post

Sept. 17th – Fiktshun – Guest Post

Sept. 18th – Seeing Night Reviews – Review

Sept. 19th – Supernatural Snark – Interview

Sept. 20th – Michelle & Leslie’s Book Picks – Review

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