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Sherry Thomas

    Top 10 of 2015: Best Book Covers of 2015

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    Welcome to Day Two of the Top 10 of 2105

    A WEEK OF LOOKING BACK…

    …AND LOOKING FORWARD

    As I mentioned yesterday…

    This is my fifth year co-hosting this event with Jaime of Two Chicks on Books, my fourth year co-hosting with Mindy of Magical Urban Fantasy Reads, and my second year co-hosting with Nancy of Tales of a Ravenous Reader. Wow that’s a lot of years. But this event is so much fun, that I’m thrilled to be able to do it again in 2015.

    If you haven’t yet heard of the Top 10 of 2015 week-long event, in a nutshell it’s where we share our favorite bookish lists and invite you to share yours over the next five days by leaving your post links in the daily Linky Lists.

    Once again, we’re each hosting our own giveaways on four of the five days of this challenge – I’m hosting Day One’s giveaway, Two Chicks on Books is hosting today’s Day Two giveaway, Tales of a Ravenous Reading is hosting Day Three’s giveaway, and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads is hosting Day Four’s giveaway. So be sure to check in with each of our blogs this week.


    Best Book Covers of 2015

    Today’s topic is:

    Best Book Covers of 2015

    There were so many interesting and beautiful and eye-catching covers in 2015 I wish I could share them all. But I had to pick only ten of my favorites for purposes of this post. And while, for me, in the past it was often about the girls in gorgeous dresses, this year it is all about covers that are bold and graphic and different and stunning.

    #1

    IceLikeFireCover

    ICE LIKE FIRE by Sara Raasch – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS


    #2

    RedQueen HC C
    RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS


    #3

    SixofCrows

    SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS


    #4

    TheStarsNeverRise

    THE STARS NEVER RISE by Rachel Vincent – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS


    #5

    Ella Grey Cover Image

    A SONG FOR ELLA GREY by David Almond – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS


    #6

    GIRLMIDNIGHT_5_6

    THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT by Melissa Grey – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS


    #7

    Rook_hires_cover

    ROOK by Sharon Cameron – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS


    #8

    BlackWidowCover

    BLACK WIDOW: FOREVER RED by Margaret Stohl – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS


    #9

    Firewalker_cover

    FIREWALKER by Josephine Angelini – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS


    #10

    DeathMarked

    DEATH MARKED by Leah Cypess – AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS


    Honorable Mentions

    For my honorable mentions I’ve opted to choose a few of my favorite covers for books I either haven’t yet read or haven’t yet reviewed.

    So those are my favorites. What are yours?


    Leave a link to your Best Book Covers of 2015 posts in the Linky List below…



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    THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS Blog Tour: ‘Most Favorite Heartbreaking Moments’ Guest Post + Giveaway

    ImmortalHeightsBanner-3

    I am so excited to be today’s stop on THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS Blog Tour. I have an amazing, amazing, AMAZING guest post by Sherry Thomas on her three most favorite heartbreaking moments from her Elemental trilogy.

    A post I, of course, just had to read. Which is just a bit spoiler-y for the first books in the series (if you haven’t read them be warned). And is a total tease for what’s to come in THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS.

    As you may already know this is the final book in the series. And as you may also know, I am terrible about reading final books in series because I never want my favorite series to end. Well, while my Kindle copy of THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS downloaded this week, I hadn’t necessarily planned on rushing to read it because I’m not ready to say goodbye to Titus and Iolanthe. That was before I read this post.

    Because now I have to know!

    So, if you’re like me, and you are in any way hesitating before diving in to this series-ending book, just read this post. I guarantee it will make you move THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS to the top of your TBR pile.

    And if you’re new to the series, maybe just read the moment from THE BURNING SKY so that you don’t get spoiled about what’s ahead for Iolante and Titus.

    And… if you’d like the chance to win a set of the three books in the series, plus some other awesome prizes, scroll down to the Rafflecopter to enter for a chance to win.


    About THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS

    ImmortalHeights-Elemental3_jkt_des2.indd

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS (The Elemental Trilogy #3)
    Author: Sherry Thomas
    Release date: October 13, 2015
    Publisher: Balzer + Bray
    Pages: 448
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Description…

    In a pursuit that has spanned continents, Iolanthe, Titus, and their friends have always managed to remain one step ahead of the forces of Atlantis. But now the Bane, the monstrous tyrant who bestrides the entire mage world, has issued his ultimatum: Titus must hand over Iolanthe, or watch as his entire realm is destroyed in a deadly rampage. Running out of time and options, Iolanthe and Titus must act decisively to deliver a final blow to the Bane, ending his reign of terror for good.

    However, getting to the Bane means accomplishing the impossible—finding a way to infiltrate his crypt in the deepest recesses of the most ferociously guarded fortress in Atlantis. And everything is only made more difficult when new prophecies come to light, foretelling a doomed effort….

    Iolanthe and Titus will put their love and their lives on the line. But will it be enough?

    With The Immortal Heights, Sherry Thomas brings the acclaimed Elemental Trilogy to its breathtaking conclusion.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    The Guest Post

    My Three Most Favorite Heartbreaking Moments in The Elemental Trilogy

    by Sherry Thomas

    Aha!

    In one of the Wallace and Gromit animated films, A Close Shave I think, our protagonists happen to have a window-washing business. And when a customer calls, Wallace proudly tells her, “Windows are our specialty.”

    Well, heartbreaks are my specialty.

    But instead of building up a whole book toward a big, heartbreaking climax, I prefer to get in my big heart-stomping moment at about the one-third mark, just when characters—and readers—think, okay, I’ve got everything figured out—I know what’s going on.

    Wham! ☺

    And then they have to deal with the fallout for the rest of the book.

    There are some juicy heartbreaks in the Elemental trilogy. We’ll take one from each book.

    TheBurningSkyGr

    The Burning Sky doesn’t have quite the same walloping, eff-you-up moment as the sequels, since folks are barely getting acquainted and the story is freshly unfolding. What it’s got are more like revelatory glimpses into characters.

    Imagine you are a sixteen-year-old elemental mage—elemental mages are kind of uncommon, but not so rare that nobody has ever seen one before. You have troubles, but they aren’t related to your powers, but to your guardian, who’s totally checked out and left you to take care of everything. And you’ve agreed to make this really complicated elixir to save his ass at work, and then everything goes kaput with the elixir.

    You consult a reference book. In the margins, you see a handwritten line, There is no light elixir, however tainted, that cannot be revived with a thunderbolt. What the heck, you think. But if anyone’s gonna bring down a bolt of lightning it’s gotta be an elemental mage. And you are an elemental mage.

    You succeed. And all hell breaks loose. All of a sudden, agents of Atlantis are chasing after you. And a young, handsome prince shows up at your door to whisk you to safety in the nonmage realm of England, of all places. You are breathless with gratitude until you realize that in exchange for keeping you away from harm, he wants you to go on a kamikaze mission to bring down the Bane, the Lord High Commander of Atlantis, who bestrides the mage world, the most powerful, most feared tyrant of them all.

    Thanks but no thanks, you say. You’re no hero and you don’t want to die for anything. But this boy, who until this moment has appeared to be Everything, entraps you into committing. Hell has no fury like that of a girl tricked into a suicidal endeavor and the blood oath you’ve sworn is the only thing that keeps you from ripping out his intestines and using them to strange him.

    (Have we mentioned that you are a rather violent young lady when angry? It’s an elemental mage thing. Enraged baby elemental mages are taught to turn to physical violence rather than burn down everything in sight.)

    So you despise him and think of him as thoroughly calculating and ruthless.

    And then, right before the prince was about to face the Inquisitor, the Bane’s lieutenant who scares him shitless, and you are in the form of a canary, he makes this confession, because he believes you won’t remember:

    “I cannot think at all when the Inquisitor is going to question me tonight.”

    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. 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.

    I think this moment works because the prince is normally extremely close-lipped. But now that Iolanthe has this understanding of the stark fear he keeps under wraps, of all the pressures he has dealt with every day of his life, things are never again the same between them. They grow closer and closer and forge a terrific bond through trial and adversity.

    ThePerilousSeaGr

    Moving on to Book 2, The Perilous Sea. Everything is looking hunky-dory for our young lovers. Sure they’d had to spend the summer apart, and sure that suicidal mission is still breathing down their necks, but life back at school is glorious at the moment. And then, a total curveball out of left field.

    Titus has protected and trained Iolanthe because she is—or so he has reasons to believe—the Chosen One. And then he finds out that he’s wrong, that she isn’t the one prophesied at all. That the Chosen One is actually their friend Wintervale.

    (In the snippet below Titus refers to Iolanthe as Fairfax, the name she goes by at school, where she cross-dresses as a nonmage boy.)

    He had come hoping to vindicate Fairfax’s place in his life. Now all he wanted was for there to be no more details that would tilt the balance in Wintervale’s favor. As long as nothing forced him to conclude that it must be Wintervale, he would go on believing that his destiny lay with Fairfax.

    I wish so much of this vision was not from the back, for I love looking upon my son’s face in the moments before the elemental phenomenon shakes him. Yes, I know now that it will be an elemental phenomenon and I know now what a dreadful turning point it will be.

    Has already been.

    But until then, he smiles, my son, his face bright with joy and anticipation.

    It was all Titus could do not to scream.

    He had not smiled before Fairfax’s lightning had come down—had emerged from the Crucible aching and grim. But before Wintervale’s arrival, he had been dreaming of Fairfax.

    And fool that he was, he had grinned from ear to ear in utter happiness, when everything was about Wintervale. And had always been.

    He closed the diary and buried his face in his hands.

    So quiet, almost unnoticeable, the sound of dreams splintering.

    Yes. I do believe that’s Wham! Moment.

    TheImmortalHeightsGr

    And when they have somehow patched things together from that terrible falling-out, what should poor Titus find out in the third book, The Immortal Heights, but that Iolanthe has been prophesied to die on Atlantis.

    Here Titus is talking to their friend Kashkari, who has prophetic dreams. At first Titus is only regular unhappy, because he thinks Kashkari has dreamed of Titus’s death, which has long been prophesied.

    So cold—and growing colder by the second. “You dreamed of someone’s death, did you not?” Titus heard himself ask.

    Kashkari was taken aback. “How did you guess?”

    Instead of the fog, Titus saw the campus of the Conservatory of Magical Arts and Sciences. The students on University Avenue. The bell towers. The open expanse of the great lawn. He saw Fairfax sitting on a blanket under the starflower tree. The tree was in bloom, full of petals of the faintest pink. Whenever a breeze blew, tiny flowers would glide down onto her blanket, her shoulders, her hair.

    He would never sit there with her. They would never share a picnic basket from Mrs. Hinderstone’s. And he would never know what she would look like in ten, twenty, thirty years’ time.

    “That death has long been prophesied,” he said. “And the person in question has known it for years.”

    Kashkari looked both incredulous—and relieved. “Are you sure?”

    “I am.”

    “But—but I listened to Fairfax speak to her guardian just now, and it didn’t sound as if she had the slightest idea.”

    For the longest time, Kashkari’s words drifted between them, not making any sense at all. Then all at once Titus had his hands on Kashkari’s lapels, almost lifting the latter off the ground. “What did you say? What do you mean, Fairfax did not have the slightest idea? What does she have to do with prophetic dreams about death and dying?”

    Kashkari stared at him. “I thought you said she knew.”

    Titus stumbled back a step. Then another. “You saw Fairfax? Fairfax?

    Kashkari’s voice cracked. “I’m afraid so. I’m sorry.”

    “Where? Where was she?” Titus was shouting, but only so he could hear himself over the uproar in his head.

    “She was lying across a marble floor with inlays of the Atlantean whirlpool design.”

    “How do you know she was dead? She could just be unconscious.”

    “You were in my dream too. You were shaking your head, with tears in your eyes.”

    Titus could not breathe. In his mind he saw the Conservatory again. The students, the bell towers, the great lawn, the lovely starflower tree in bloom. But now the blanket under the tree was empty.

    Kashkari was still speaking—or at least his lips were moving. But Titus heard nothing.

    All he wanted was for her to come through unscathed—to have a wonderful life, surrounded by love and laughter. All he wanted was a single hope to light his way, when all ambition and courage had failed.

    He held up a hand. Kashkari’s lips stopped moving. He gazed at Titus, his eyes dark with sorrow.

    But he was only losing a friend. Titus was losing everything.

    Awful, isn’t it?

    But if you’re like me, you’ll totally want to know what is going to happen. Because while you reel, you still have hope. You still want to see whether they can make it against all odds.

    But my job here is only to lay out three heartbreaking moments. I’ll let you find out for yourself what happens afterwards. ☺


    About Sherry Thomas

    Sherry_Thomas_Author_Photo_72dpi

    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.

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

    WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS


    Other Books in the Series

    BurningSkyCover

    Add to Goodreads

    Title & Series: THE BURNING SKY (The Elemental Trilogy #1)
    Author: Sherry Thomas
    Release date: September 17, 2013
    Publisher: Balzer + Bray
    Pages: 480
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

    Description…

    It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning.

    Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s been 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 most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

    Guided by his mother’s visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he 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 tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.

    The Burning Sky—the first book in the Elemental Trilogy—is an electrifying and unforgettable novel of intrigue and adventure.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    The Trailer


    The Perilous Sea Cover

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    Title & Series: THE PERILOUS SEA (The Elemental Trilogy #2)
    Author: Sherry Thomas
    Release date: September 16, 2014
    Publisher: Balzer + Bray
    Pages: 432
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

    Description…

    After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

    Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother’s prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS


    The Giveaway

    There is a tour-wide giveaway for…

    • First Place – ONE (1) Winner will receive THE BURNING SKY, THE PERILOUS SEA, THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS + a handmade solid lotion bar, some homemade face scrubs, plus a Burning Sky bag – US ONLY
    • Runners Up – TWO (2) Winners will receive THE BURNING SKY, THE PERILOUS SEA, and THE IMMORTAL HEIGHTS – US ONLY

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    The Tour Schedule

    Week One

    Week Two

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    THE PERILOUS SEA Blog Tour: ‘A Day in the Life of Archer Fairfax’ Guest Post + Giveaway

    ThePeriolousSea

    I am so unbelievably excited to be today’s stop on THE PERILOUS SEA Blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. I am seriously in love with this series and its characters and I can’t wait until this next book in the series releases next week so that everyone will get the chance to find out what happens with Titus and Iolanthe.

    For those who have read it early, then you know how amazing and epic it is. And I bet you are already dying for book three. I know I am.

    But whether you have read it, THE BURNING SKY, or you’re a newcomer to the series, the post I have to share for my stop today is the perfect way to get to know a little bit more about Iolanthe by revealing just what a typical day is like for her, or rather, Archer Fairfax.

    In addition to the very awesome post, which teases about things to come, and shares a swoon-worthy quote, there is a fab giveaway you’ll definitely want to enter.

    And if you’d like to check out what a few bloggers are saying about THE PERILOUS SEA, or read a few posts by and interviews with the author, be sure to check out the other stops on tour. I’ll be updating the schedule with direct links to all the stops.

    Anyway… before I decide to reveal what I know about what takes place in this book, I’m going to step away from the blog post. And here, just in case you don’t already know, is some information about THE PERILOUS SEA….


    About The Perilous Sea

    The Perilous Sea Cover

    Add to Goodreads

    Series: The Elemental Trilogy #2
    Release date: September 16, 2014
    Publisher: Balzer + Bray
    Pages: 432
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Description…

    After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.
    Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother’s prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.

    Read an Excerpt


    The Guest Post

    A day in the life of Archer Fairfax

    Archer Fairfax, ostensibly, is a student at Eton College, a boys’ school, in the year 1883.  But of course Archer Fairfax isn’t a real name, and he isn’t even a boy, but a cross-dressing girl mage named Iolanthe Seabourne.

    The following is a typical day for Archer Fairfax at the beginning of Michaelmas Half (fall semester)—or, if you will, at the beginning of The Perilous Sea, book 2 of the Elemental trilogy and sequel to The Burning Sky. It is a pretty good time for Fairfax. But as readers of fiction know, if things are going well at the beginning of a book, it can only mean one thing: @#%! is about to go down.

    But let’s not tell Fairfax that yet.

    6:00am Up and dressed. Once Titus has finished constructing the new entrance to his laboratory, I’ll be up at 4:50 every day, to start training in the Crucible at precisely 5am. But for now, an extra hour of sleep.

    6:15am In Titus’s room for tea. Well, tea sits on the desk and grows cold while we kiss.

    6:40am The corridor echoes with the noises of boys getting ready in the morning. I return to my own room, because this is about the time boys who had neglected to finish their homework the night before knock on my door in a panic.

    7:05am Wintervale, Cooper, Titus, and I leave our residence house, bidding good morning to Mrs. Dawlish, our dame, and Mrs. Hancock, Mrs. Dawlish’s second in command and an agent of Atlantis. Wintervale asks if they have any further news from Kashkari, our friend from the Subcontinent whose steamer was delayed by a storm in the Arabian Sea. No further news.

    7:30am Latin Prose.

    8:45am Breakfast back at Mrs. Dawlish’s, after early school.

    9:45am Mathematics.

    11:15am Construing.

    1pm Midday meal at Mrs. Dawlish’s.

    2:45pm More construing, which is translating a passage aloud, often word for word—these boys suffer from an atrocious education, if I must venture an opinion. They bear it manfully and forget what they learn as soon as class is dismissed.

    5pm Tea. There is nothing the boys love more than food, and tea is their fourth meal of the day. I take tea with Wintervale and Titus—Kashkari too, ordinarily, but he hasn’t arrived yet, which is a bit of a relief, as I keep feeling that boy sees right through my lies. Wintervale reminisces about the Old Country, which he’d had to leave as a child. Really, he should be a bit more discreet. Don’t think he should be talking about unicorns and pegasus-drawn chariots in front of me, who is supposed to be a nonmage from colonial Africa.

    7pm Cooper and I sit together over our homework. I have finished most of mine and some of Titus’s, as he is at the laboratory making that new entrance. Very, very labor intensive stuff.

    8:30pm Supper.

    9:30pm Finish the rest of my homework. Boys flit in and out with questions on Latin and Greek. Cooper comes with the offer of a bar of chocolate. Dear old Cooper. When I’m gone I shall miss him.

    10:15pm Titus shoos out Cooper and the other boys. With his body blocking the door, we sneak a kiss. He tells me he has missed me. I tell him to count himself lucky that he gets to see me every day now—it was such a long separation for us this summer. “Every day of the rest of my life will still not be enough time with you,” he says. And I am reminded that for him, the rest of his life is counted in months, perhaps weeks.  I hold him tight and tell him that I will keep him safe, always.

    10:45pm It is after lights-out. I am almost asleep, but I know Titus is back at his laboratory, working. Sigh, that boy. I love him so much it hurts.


    About Sherry Thomas

    sherryblue

    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 PERILOUS SEA, volume two of her young adult fantasy trilogy, will be available fall 2014.

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

    WEBSITE | BLOG | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS


    Other Books in the Series

    The Burning SkyTitle: THE BURNING SKY (The Elemental Trilogy #1)
    Author: Sherry Thomas
    Release date: September 17, 2013
    Publisher: Balzer + Bray
    Pages: 480
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Description…

    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.

    Read an Excerpt


    The Giveaway

    This tour includes a couple of seriously awesome giveaways…

    • First Place (US ONLY) 1 Winner will receive: The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea, and The Hidden Blade + a handmade solid lotion bar, some homemade face scrubs + a Burning Sky bag.
    • Runners Up (US ONLY) 2 Winners will receive: The Burning Sky, The Perilous Sea, and The Hidden Blade.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    The Tour Schedule

    Week One

    Sept. 8th – A Book and a Latte – Interview

    Sept. 9th – Such a Novel Idea – Review

    Sept. 10th – Fiktshun – Guest Post

    Sept. 11th – The Irish Banana Review – Review

    Sept. 12th – Bewitched Bookworms – Interview

    Week Two

    Sept. 15th – Two Chicks on Books – Guest Post

    Sept. 16th – A Backwards Story – Interview

    Sept. 17th – Carina’s Books – Guest Post

    Sept. 18th – Nerdophiles – Review

    Sept. 19th – Candace’s Book Blog – Review

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    Book Watch: Releasing This Week #185

    releasing_thisweek

    Below are the (mostly) YA books releasing this week that I am spotlighting for my “Book Watch: Releasing This Week” post.

    These are books for the week of July 15th-July 21st that I have pre-ordered.


    Breathe Annie Breathe

    Add to Goodreads

    BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE by Miranda Kenneally released in the U.S. today, July 15, 2014, in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in all formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Sourcebooks Fire, the print edition is 320 pages.

    BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE is the fifth book in Miranda Kenneally’s Hudnred Oaks series. The sixth book, BEST DAY EVER, is slated for release in July 2015.


    I have some catching up to do on this series but I’m totally planning on reading BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE out of sequence. This story sounds beautiful and heartbreaking and romantic and I am super excited that it’s now in my Kindle collection.

    I am keeping my fingers crossed for Annie and Jeremiah. I hope that she can overcome the guilt she feels. I hope that she let’s herself love this boy. And I hope that she does what’s right for her and not just what was right for Kyle.

    As I still have a few review books on the pile, it will be another couple of weeks before I can add this one to the top. But I can’t wait to read it the very first moment I get the chance to, which I hope will be some time during the first week of August.

    Description…

    Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

    But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

    “Breathe, Annie, Breathe is an emotional, heartfelt, and beautiful story about finding yourself after loss and learning to love. It gave me so many feels. Her best book yet.” — Jennifer Armentrout, New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You


    Pieces of Olivia

    Add to Goodreads

    PIECES OF OLIVIA by Melissa West released in the U.S. today, July 15, 2014, in eBook format. It is currently available to order online at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Intermix, the print edition is 235 pages.

    PIECES OF OLIVIA is the first book in Author Melissa West’s Charleston Haven series. The second book in the series, MILES FROM KARA, is slated for release on December 16, 2014.


    I’ve been keeping my eye on a number of New Adult series on the horizon and after having read the description for PIECES OF OLIVIA, I added this to my list of Kindle pre-orders. It sounds like it is just the right amounts of romantic and sexy and heartbreaking. And I can’t wait to get the chance to read it.

    I love stories where the main character has to overcome obstacles from their past and learn to trust and love. I love stories with hot, “off-limits” guys. And I love it when the characters have instant chemistry.

    I have yet to read a book by this author, so I’m very curious to discover her writing. But I plan on checking in with a few people who have read her YA sci-fi after I’ve read this to compare. And I hope to be able to do so in early August.

    Description…

    Olivia Warren used to be a normal girl with a bright future.
    But on one fated night, everything changed.

    Hiding the scars of her past up her sleeves, Olivia transfers her enrollment from Columbia University to The College of Charleston, determined to pursue her own dreams for the first time in her life.

    She intends to allow herself a bit of alone time to heal… that is, until she meets Preston.

    Preston is best friends with her roommate, completely hot, and off-limits. But the chemistry between them is instantaneous—and as the pair begins to spend more time with one another, their feelings for each other build into something undeniable, something powerful enough to heal Olivia’s deepest scars.

    Olivia tries to put her own past behind her and trust Preston, but she discovers that his past might be more present than she ever bargained for…


    Other Books of Note

    Homeroom DiariesHOMEROOM DIARIES by James Patterson and Lisa Papademetriou

    Pub. Date: July 21, 2014

    Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    James Patterson introduces the best selling “illustrated fiction” format to teens! It’s “Middle School” for high schoolers!

    In James Patterson’s first highly illustrated “diary fiction” story for teens, the mega-bestselling author’s most endearing and original teen heroine ever proves that everyone can use a helping hand once in a while.

    Margaret “Cuckoo” Clarke recently had a brief stay in a mental institution following an emotional breakdown, but she’s turning over a new leaf with her “Operation Happiness”. She’s determined to beat down the bad vibes of the Haters, the Terror Teachers, and all of the trials and tribulations of high school by writing and drawing in her diary. And when life gets really tough, she works through her own moments of uncertainty through imaginary conversations with her favorite literary characters.

    Cuckoo’s also got a nearly impossible mission: she, along with her misfit band of self-deprecating friends (who call themselves “the Freakshow”) decide to bridge the gap between warring cliques and “bring the Nations together”. Not everyone is so willing to join hands and get along, but Cuckoo never stops smiling… until one of her closest friends, pushed to desperation by a Hater prank, decides that enough is enough.


    IllusiveILLUSIVE by Emily Lloyd-Jones

    Pub. Date: July 15, 2014

    Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    The X-Men meets Ocean’s Eleven in this edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure about a band of “super” criminals.

    When the MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She’s what’s known as an illusionist…She’s also a thief.

    After a robbery goes awry, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow super-powered criminals on another job that most would consider too reckless. The formula for the vaccine that gave them their abilities was supposedly destroyed years ago. But what if it wasn’t?

    The lines between good and bad, us and them, and freedom and entrapment are blurred as Ciere and the rest of her crew become embroiled in a deadly race against the government that could cost them their lives.


    The RainTHE RAIN by Virginia Bergin

    Pub. Date: July 17, 2014

    Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    One minute sixteen-year-old Ruby Morris is having her first proper snog with Caspar McCloud in a hot tub, and the next she’s being bundled inside the house, dripping wet, cold and in her underwear. Not cool. As she and Caspar shiver in the kitchen, it starts to rain. They turn on the radio to hear panicked voices – ‘It’s in the rain . . . it’s in the rain . . . ‘

    That was two weeks ago, and now Ruby is totally alone. People weren’t prepared for the rain, got caught out in it, didn’t realize that you couldn’t drink water from the taps either. Even a drip of rain would infect your blood, and eat you from the inside out. Ruby knows she has to get to London to find her dad, but she just doesn’t know where to start . . . After rescuing all the neighbourhood dogs, Ruby sets off on a journey that will take her the length of the country – surviving in the only way she knows how.


    Dirty WingsDIRTY WINGS (All Our Pretty Songs #2) by Sarah McCarry

    Pub. Date: July 15, 2014

    Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    A gorgeous retelling of the Persephone myth, Sarah McCarry brings us the story of Cass and Maia–the mothers from All Our Pretty Songs–and how their fates became intertwined.

    Maia is a teenage piano prodigy and dutiful daughter, imprisoned in the oppressive silence of her adoptive parents’ house like a princess in an ivory tower. Cass is a street rat, witch, and runaway, scraping by with her wits and her knack for a five-fingered discount. When a chance encounter brings the two girls together, an unlikely friendship blossoms that will soon change the course of both their lives. Cass springs Maia from the jail of the only world she’s ever known, and Maia’s only too happy to make a break for it. But Cass didn’t reckon on Jason, the hypnotic blue-eyed rocker who’d capture Maia’s heart as soon as Cass set her free–and Cass isn’t the only one who’s noticed Maia’s extraordinary gifts. Is Cass strong enough to battle the ancient evil she’s unwittingly awakened–or has she walked into a trap that will destroy everything she cares about? In this time, like in any time, love is a dangerous game.


    The Burning Sky Special EdTHE BURNING SKY Special Edition by Sherry Thomas

    Pub. Date: July 15, 2014

    Publisher: Balzer + Bray

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    This special ebook edition of Sherry Thomas’s extraordinary romantic fantasy debut, The Burning Sky—the first in the Elemental Trilogy—features a repackaged cover for her legions of romance fans and an excerpt from the sequel, The Perilous Sea.

    Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s been 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 most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

    Guided by his mother’s visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he 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 tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.


    Through the WoodsTHROUGH THE WOODS by Emily Carroll

    Pub. Date: July 15, 2014

    Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    A fantastically dark and timeless graphic debut, for fans of Grimm Tales, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and the works of Neil Gaiman.

    ‘It came from the woods. Most strange things do.’

    Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.

    These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

    Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there…


    ***Missed Last Week***

    RevolutionaryREVOLUTIONARY (Anomaly #3) by Krista McGee

    Pub. Date: July 8, 2014

    Publisher: Thomas Nelson

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    All her life Thalli thought she was an anomaly. Now she must use her gifts to fulfill the role she was called to play: Revolutionary.

    Back in the underground State against her will, Thalli is no longer the anomaly she was before. She has proven herself to be a powerful leader aboveground and returns with information that Dr. Loudin needs to complete his plan of uniting the world under one leader: himself. But he, too, has information. A secret he has kept from Thalli her entire life. A secret that, once revealed, changes everything about the person Thalli thought she was.

    Hoping to help Thalli rise up against the Scientists, both Berk and Alex join her underground, but their presence only brings more trouble for her. Now Dr. Loudin knows just the leverage to use on his captive, and she is forced to choose between the two of them. Is her first love her true love? Or does Alex ultimately claim her heart?

    Unsure of everything around her, including her own identity, Thalli doesn’t know where to turn. She knows she needs the Designer, but he seems further away than ever. What she does know, though, is that if she doesn’t do something to stop Loudin, the fragile world aboveground will be lost once and for all.


    Parting words…

    It’s a super quiet week for releases this week, which makes me very, very happy. I blew my entire budget for the summer on blog design so I’m trying very hard to keep the book purchases to a minimum for a little while anyway.

    While I only had two books pre-ordered this week, after having read the description for THE RAIN it’s a book I will definitely be adding to my collection when it releases on Thursday. The idea sounds a little bit familiar but totally awesome. I will also likely be purchasing DIRTY WINGS as I have the first book in my eBook collection.

    And I’m debating as to whether it makes sense to purchase James Patterson’s book in eBook format or if it will be better in print. As it doesn’t release until Monday, and is currently unavailable for the Kindle, I’m going to wait until I can head over to my local bookstore and see it in print before I make my decision.

    Anyway… I hope you’ve found a book or two worth adding to your collection this week. If I’ve missed something that should be on my radar, let me know.

    As ever, happy book birthdays to all the lovely books releasing this week and happy reading to you!

    Divider

    As always, I would love to hear what you’re hoping to add to your collection this week!

    And if you have any great suggestions of “must read” books to buy that are releasing this week, please let me know!

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    Top 10 Book Covers of 2013

    Top 10 of 2013 Banner

    Today is the second of five days of Top 10 of 2013.

    A week of Looking Back…

    …and Looking Forward.

    And I am thrilled to be able to co-host this event for the third year in a row with Jaime from Two Chicks on Books and for a second year with Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.

    If you haven’t yet heard of this week-long event, it’s where we share our favorite bookish lists and invite you to share yours each day for the next five days by leaving your post links in the daily Linky Lists.

    This year’s event giveaway is shared via a common Rafflecopter on all three of our blogs. Leaving a comment each day on each host’s blog will give you extra entries, so be sure to check out each of our Top 10 lists for more chances to win.

    It’s not too late to sign up for this event. Just check out the Sign-up Post for all the details – HERE.

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    Today’s topic is…

    Best Book Covers of 2013

    Last year’s picks were all about the beautiful ladies. I’m happy to say that this year’s picks are a little more varied and interesting in addition to being visually stunning. And while I named quite a few 2013 covers in my post last year, not all of them ended up being on my top ten list due to the fact that I am really trying so very hard to keep it at just the ten.

    I am not even going to begin to name 2014 covers that I think are gorgeous. I will leave that for next year. But I did have to share just a few peeks in gallery form of other amazing 2013 book covers that I loved.

    Now, without any further ado, here are those…

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    Covers I Love 2013

    1.

    Splintered

    SPLINTERED by A.G. Howard

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    2.

    The Burning Sky

    THE BURNING SKY by Sherry Thomas

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    3.

    MILA 2 Cover

    MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    4.

    Everbound

    EVERBOUND by Brodi Ashton

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    5.

    Clockwork Princess

    CLOCKWORK PRINCESS by Cassandra Clare

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    6.

    Pulse

    PULSE by Patrick Carman

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    7.

    Soul Screamers Volume Three

    SOUL SCREAMERS VOLUME THREE by Rachel Vincent

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    8.

    Tidal

    TIDAL by Amanda Hocking

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    9.

    Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

    BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA by April Genevieve Tucholke

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    10.

    Altered

    ALTERED by Jennifer Rush

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

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    Other Covers I Love, Love, Loved

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    What is there to love?

    SPLINTERED is gorgeous and vibrant and interesting and magical and beautiful. And the typography is amazing.

    THE BURNING SKY is rich and dark and eye-catching and fantastical and stunning.

    MILA 2.0 is clean and modern and different and wicked awesome.

    EVERBOUND is simply beautiful and elegant.

    CLOCKWORK PRINCESS is beautifully detailed and magical and different and captivating.

    PULSE is interesting and thought provoking.

    SOUL SCREAMERS VOLUME THREE is bright and beautiful and simply perfect.

    TIDAL is dark and stunning and gorgeous and sexy.

    BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA has amazing typography and a dark and striking background image.

    ALTERED is wicked cool and sexy and is amazing in black and white.

    But that’s what I think… what about you? What are your 2013 cover picks?

    The Giveaways

    We have decided to combine the giveaways into one Rafflecopter form that is shared on all three host blogs and will be posted in each of the Top 10 posts this week.

    There is a box of 2014 ARCs, a box of books, two books of your choice, and a book from one of the host’s top ten lists up for grabs. Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Link Up


    Share

    Top 10 Books I’ve Read in 2013

    Top 10 of 2013 Banner

    Today is the first of five days of Top 10 of 2013.

    A week of Looking Back…

    …and Looking Forward.

    And I am thrilled to be able to co-host this event for the third year in a row with Jaime from Two Chicks on Books and for a second year with Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.

    If you haven’t yet heard of this week-long event, it’s where we share our favorite bookish lists and invite you to share yours each day for the next five days by leaving your post links in the daily Linky Lists.

    This year’s event giveaway is shared via a common Rafflecopter on all three of our blogs. Leaving a comment each day on each host’s blog will give you extra entries, so be sure to check out each of our Top 10 lists for more chances to win.

    It’s not too late to sign up for this event. Just check out the Sign-up Post for all the details – HERE.

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    Today’s topic is…

    Best Books I’ve Read in 2013

    I read a ton of awesome books this year. Many from the same series by the same author. But as I was trying so very hard to keep my list to just ten, I decided to choose only one book from each series, even if I read multiple books in a particular series that I thought were amazing.

    And I couldn’t list all my favorite reads this year since one or two of them were a secret. Nor could I list all the 2013 releases I love, love, loved since I read some of them in 2012. But I’m not too sad about that, because reading them last year made creating this list just a little bit easier.

    There were also a few books I loved in 2013 that were not YA. But in keeping with my typical YA only “best” list, I didn’t include them in this post. Though I plan on posting my non-YA favorites on The Annex. Yes, I’m cheating just a little… as usual. But I just can’t seem to help myself.

    Anyway…

    It took me ages to narrow my list down from my original picks and to keep my “honorable mentions” to only four titles, just like last year. But after much hair pulling and nail-biting I was able to get it done.

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    The Best I’ve Read in 2013

    1.

    With All My Soul

    WITH ALL MY SOUL by Rachel Vincent

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    As sad as I was to see this series end, I still couldn’t help falling madly in love with this last installment. It was heartbreaking and nerve-wracking and exciting and heartwarming and I loved every single minute of the read.

    I especially loved the fact that I was able to become intrigued by a brand new character, that the story wasn’t rushed and that the ending didn’t leave me feeling like something was missing. It was the perfect ending to an amazing series and I couldn’t have loved it any more than I did.

    2.

    Endless Knight

    ENDLESS KNIGHT by Kresley Cole

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles are completely and totally amazing. They are so my kind of books. From beginning to end in both books in this series I was utterly riveted.

    And while I didn’t think it was possible, this second book in the series was even more exciting than the first. It was darker, it was hotter, it was all sorts of sexy. The lore was fascinating. And it made me fall head-over-heels in love with Death just like I hoped it would.

    To say that I am dying for the next installment in this series would be a major understatement.

    3.

    Through the Zombie Glass

    THROUGH THE ZOMBIE GLASS by Gena Showalter

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I read both books in this series in 2013 and absolutely loved both of them. They were unputdownable reads and I couldn’t have been more surprised by the fact that I fell so completely in love with zombie books that gave a nod to Alice in Wonderland.

    Gena Showalter was incredibly creative with her stories. She did not skimp on the action. It was edge-of-your-seat exciting. And the love story was angst-filled and twisty-turny to the max.

    And as I opted to choose just one of the two books in this series as a favorite, I had to select the one that absolutely killed me in the best possible way.

    4.

    The Eternity Cure

    THE ETERNITY CURE by Julie Kagawa

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I did not expect to love the Blood of Eden series more than I loved the author’s faerie books. But oh my gosh I couldn’t help myself. Dystopia and vampires are an unexpected combination but one that the author made work so amazingly well.

    The characters, the epic journey, the killer cliffhanger all worked together to make this one of my favorite books and not simply a 2013 favorite. I’m talking all-time favorite.

    5.

    Crash Into You

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I fell under Katie McGarry’s spell in 2013. She is a fan-freaking-tastic writer and her Pushing the Limits series is one of my very most favorite contemporary YA series.

    I read all three books in this series, plus the novella, in 2013, which made it very hard to choose only one of the books for my top ten list. But I had to choose Isaiah and Rachel’s story, even though I adored Noah and Echo’s story so, so much.

    Perhaps it was getting to know and love Isaiah before reading his story that made me love it that much more. Or perhaps it’s simply just that Isaiah is amazing. But whatever the reason, it is my favorite of the series and it’s definitely one of my favorite reads from 2013.

    6.

    Afterglow

    AFTERGLOW by Karsten Knight

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I was devastated to see this series end. The world that Karsten Knight created was so unique and fascinating and exciting. The characters were lovable and detestable and completely and totally kick-a**. And this final installment in the series was just as phenomenal as its predecessors.

    And that ending. Oh. My. Gosh. That ending. While I can’t talk about that ending, I will just say that it gives me hope. For a certain character. Oh the possibilities.

    7.

    Star Cursed Cover

    STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I was so glad that I got the chance to read both books in The Cahill Witch Chronicles this year. I was completely surprised by how much I loved each of the books. They are not stories in my typical go-to genre and yet both books are among my most favorites.

    I couldn’t help but fall in love with the story, the setting, the characters. It’s a totally addictive read and one that’s definitely re-read worthy. Though even after a re-read, it’s no easier to have to wait for the next installment in the series. This I know all too well.

    8.

    The Beautiful and the Cursed

    THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE CURSED by Page Morgan

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    Yet another unexpected favorite on my list is Page Morgan’s THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE CURSED. If someone told me that I could fall in love with a gargoyle I would have totally rolled my eyes at them. I might have even told them that they were crazy. I would have definitely thought it.

    Well, this author made me not only fall in love with a gargoyle, but her story about them. The sequel is one of my most anticipated reads for 2014. And the wait is killing me.

    9.

    While You're Away

    WHILE YOU’RE AWAY by Jessa Holbrook

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I read this book in its serialized format, with just a few chapters available to read in one sitting. It was exquisite torture. This story was tantalizing and nerve-wracking and beautiful and nerve-wracking – yes I said it twice, but it needed to be said two times… if not more.

    I was made to root for a love story that I never would have thought I’d cheer for. I was made to wish and hope for a happily ever after for two characters who, at first, I didn’t think deserved one. I was anxious, I was fearful, I was tentatively hopeful and at times I was even sad. But I was keeping my fingers crossed the entire time for the slim chance that things would work out.

    10.

    A Touch Menacing

    A TOUCH MENACING by Leah Clifford

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    Leah Clifford’s Touch Trilogy is one of my favorite series of all time. It’s so very different from anything I’ve ever read. It’s very dark. It is full of surprises. Shocking surprises. Devastating surprises. But it is wicked, wicked awesome.

    The end of this final installment in the series left me in tears. And, no, I won’t say whether they’re happy or sad tears. But if you have read this book or you’ve read any of the books in this series by this author I think you will know exactly what kind of tears there were.

    This last book was non-stop action, with more than a few punches to the face. I couldn’t devour it fast enough. It was that epic. And if I didn’t think it could get any better, the unpublished epilogue made this book that much more off-the-charts amazing for me. Holy-freaking-wow.

    Other Books I Love, Love, Loved

    SweetPeril

    SWEET PERIL by Wendy Higgins

    Exciting. Sexy as heck. Captivating from start to finish. Delicious. An absolute must.

    The Testing

    THE TESTING by Joelle Charbonneau

    Gripping. Surprising. Totally addictive. A total stand-out.

    The Burning Sky

    THE BURNING SKY by Sherry Thomas

    Magical. Enchanting. Captivating. Epic. Fan-freaking-tastically good.

    Pivot Point

    PIVOT POINT by Kasie West

    Intriguing. Nerve-wracking. Unputdownable. Amazing.

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    I tried to keep my rambling to a minimum when it came to my top ten picks for 2013. But I may have gone on just a little longer than I’d planned. Oh well…

    But I just couldn’t help myself. They are my favorite reads this year… well, most of them. There are a few others…

    I will try to be a lot less wordy in the rest of the posts this week, but when it comes to favorite reads I always feel the need to go on… and on… and on.

    But now that I’m done I can’t wait to check out what your favorite reads are, so be sure to leave a link to your posts or Goodreads shelf in the Linky List that follows just below the giveaways.

    The Giveaways

    We have decided to combine the giveaways into one Rafflecopter form that is shared on all three host blogs and will be posted in each of the Top 10 posts this week.

    There is a box of 2014 ARCs, a box of books, two books of your choice, and a book from one of the host’s top ten lists up for grabs. Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Link Up


    Share

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

    burning-sky

    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.

    And….

    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.
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    About the Book

    The Burning Sky

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    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.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | GOODREADS

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    The Trailer

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    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. 🙂

    #1

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

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    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.

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    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.

    #2

    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.

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    “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.

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

    #3

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

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    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.

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    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.

    #4

    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.

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    My agent really likes this scene. 🙂

    #5

    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.

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    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.

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

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    About the Author

    sherryblue
    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.

    TWITTER | FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | BLOGGOODREADS

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    The Giveaways

    Giveaway

    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

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    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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