Sweetness! Today’s post features a giveaway, an excerpt, a playlist, a guest post, and tons of gorgeous image quotes. Check it all out!
North to Nara
(Crimson Sash, #1)
Published by: Inkspell Publishing
Publication date: March 20th 2019
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult
Neve Hall has always admired the good works of the civil servants who brought prosperity back to the Nation. She especially respects the Sufferers—empaths who, with the help of technology, anonymously bear others’ troubles for them. But when her assigned empath is abruptly retired, she uncovers certain secrets. Like the identity of her new Sufferer, Micah Ward… and the fact that behind his kind smile is a life filled with loneliness and pain.
The closer Neve grows to Micah, the more desperate she becomes to protect him from a cruel and gruesome fate. But in a world where only a few are allowed the luxury of love, saving Micah comes with a price: Neve must choose between her loyalty to the Nation or her heart—a decision that will take them both on a race for their freedom, and their lives.
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Excerpt from North to Nara:
“It’s you,” he murmurs, studying my face. “I thought it was you—on the trolley, when you looked at me.”
A wave of panic begins to drown me. He must think I’m stalking him—that I’m strange, maybe even dangerous. I bite my lip and struggle for words. Then, I decide to claim innocence. It’s my only defense at this point.
“I don’t understand,” I say. “What do you mean?”
He says my name, and I can only gape in disbelief. It’s not just me knowing his identity after all—somehow, Micah Ward also knows mine. He grasps my arm, gently but firmly, and he pulls me aside, out of the view of passersby and into a quiet corner behind a founder’s statue. I follow him willingly, without question—I’d follow him just about anywhere, I find myself thinking.
“You know who I am, don’t you?” he asks. “And I recognize you from your pain. I saw you—just in an abstract—but I saw you when you transferred your sadness about what happened to Levi at the Center.”
I squirm uncomfortably. He knows everything. He knows how I feel about him—that I admire him and am attracted to him. I’ve heard before that abstract images sometimes transfer, along with the feelings, while Suffering. They’re said to be like reflections of our self-image, buried in our thoughts. But I never expected the scenes to be clear enough that my Sufferer might recognize me.
“Yes, it’s me—I’m one of your Sieves,” I admit. “You don’t have to worry about the anonymity laws, though—I’m on my way to tell Isla that I broke the rules and need to be reassigned again.”
But Micah’s eyes flash with sudden urgency and desperation. “No, please don’t tell Isla—not yet, at least.”
5 Things I Love About North to Nara
(And Hope You Will, Too!)
Guest piece by Amanda Marin
- The romance is swoon-worthy! If you’re anything like me, you have an extensive list of “book boyfriends.” Get ready to add one more! Micah, the leading guy, is sweet, caring… and, of course, totally cute. <3
- It delivers a punch of action. The narrator, Neve, may be quiet and studious, but when the chips are down, she’s a fighter—and willing to put everything on the line to save Micah’s life. Will she succeed? You’ll have to read to find out!
- The technologies are fun, but familiar. The future won’t feel as far away as it sometimes seems in sci-fi. The self-driving cars and holographic screens in the book are based on real things, providing a futuristic but believable vibe. For the most part, anyway.
- It’s a beautiful world. It’s hard to picture Bristol, the fictional city where the book is set, as dystopian. There are pretty people, lush gardens, and elaborate monuments… but could it all be a front for something darker? *cue dramatic music*
- There’s going to be a sequel! Yup, that’s right. I won’t spoil the ending—you’ll have to get a copy to see how it all turns out—but let’s just say that binge-readers won’t be disappointed.
NORTH TO NARA PLAYLIST
Here are some actual songs I was listening to when writing and revising North to Nara. Can you guess which songs inspired which scenes or passages? Happy listening!
- Nara | alt-J | Nara is a real place in Japan; both this beautiful city and this haunting song helped inspire my version of Nara, the place Neve and Micah long to go.
- Move | Saint Motel | Micah knows he shouldn’t break his contract with the Nation.. but Neve might just be worth the risk!
- Geyser | Mitski | We’re all passionate about something; Neve is passionate about Micah.
- &Run | Sir Sly | Neve and Micah have a similar choice to make: will they run to or away from love?
- The Idea of You | Billie Holiday | Old-school slow dancing, anyone? Yes, please!
- Love is to Die | Warpaint | Oh, the complex emotions of falling in love…
- Go! | M83 and Mai Lan | A perfect song for secret romantic meetups!
- Some Kind of Love | The Killers | Micah admires the power of Neve’s love in much the same way. *sigh*
About the Author:
When Amanda was a child, her father traveled frequently for business, always bringing her back a book as a present. Whether she was getting lost in the pages of a tale about far-away knights, girls with supernatural powers, or kindly giants, she was quickly hooked on stories.
Over the years, Amanda has followed her own yellow brick road of reading and writing, and although her adventures haven’t involved sword fights or saving the planet from certain annihilation, they have involved jobs in scholarly publishing and marketing, a modest amount of travel, and a lifelong love of novels.
Amanda holds degrees in English from Salve Regina University and Boston College. She lives in southern New Hampshire with her family and pet poodle, Snickers. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and several of its subchapters.