Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Blitz and Giveaway: The Woodlands by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Urania's Distractions are hosting a YA Mature Dystopian Romance Book Blitz today. You get to read two excerpts and take part in the rafflecopter giveaway.  So, enjoy!

Title:  The Woodlands
Author: Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Published: Clean Teen Publishing, August 30th, 2013
Word Count:  approx. 92,000
Genre:  YA Mature Dystopian Romance
Content Warning:  Non-graphic Violence
Recommend Age:  14+
Synopsis: Rosa never thought she’d make it to sixteen...

When being unique puts you in danger and speaking your mind can be punishable by death,  you might find yourself fighting to survive. Sixteen-year-old Rosa lives in one of the eight enclosed cities of The Woodlands. Where the lone survivors of a devastating race war have settled in the Russian wilderness because it’s the only scrap of land left habitable on the planet. In these circular cities, everyone must abide by the law or face harsh punishment. Rosa's inability to conform and obey the rules brands her a leper and no one wants to be within two feet of her, until she meets Joseph. He's blonde, fair-skinned, green-eyed, and the laid-back complete opposite of Rosa. She's never met anyone quite like him, and she knows that spells danger.

But differences weren't always a bad thing. People used to think being unique was one of the most treasured of traits to have. Now, the Superiors, who ruthlessly control the concrete cities with an iron fist, are obsessed with creating a 'raceless' race. They are convinced this is the only way to avoid another war. Any anomalies must be destroyed.

The Superiors are unstoppable and can do anything they want. After all, they are considered superheroes by the general public. But not everyone sees them this way. When they continue to abuse their power by collecting young girls for use in their secret, high-tech breeding program, they have no idea that one of those girls has somehow managed to make friends even she didn't know she had. And one man will stop at nothing to save her.



About the Author:
Lauren Nicolle Taylor is a 33-year-old mother living in the tiny, lush town of Bridgewater on the other side of the world in Australia. She married her high school sweetheart and has three very boisterous and individual children. She earned a Bachelors degree in Health Sciences with Honours in Obstetrics and Gynecology and majored in Psychology while minoring in Contemporary Australian Writing.

After a disastrous attempt to build her dream house that left her family homeless, She found herself inexplicably drawn to the computer. She started writing, not really knowing where it may lead but ended up, eight weeks later, with the rough draft of The Woodlands.

In 2013, Lauren Nicolle Taylor accepted a publishing contract with Clean Teen Publishing. Her first published novel, The Woodlands, was released on August 30, 2013. Currently, Lauren has finished her manuscript for the second book in the series titled: The Wall, as well as partially completed the third book in the series which at this time is unnamed.


Clean Teen Publishing Links:

The Woodlands by Lauren Nicolle Taylor Excerpt #1:
LEAVING PAU

The helicopters were stationed at the rim of Ring One, just inside the low, sandy-colored wall that surrounded the center podium. They were waiting, crouching like black angels ready to lift us from this place, this hell, into an unknown world. A Guardian in black uniform with gold trim walked to the front of the choppers and signaled for us to come forward. Another one threw the bags in the cargo hold as he read from his list. Three girls and eight boys. Joseph’s name was not on the list. I felt a flood of relief that was washed away by panic. I was barely holding myself together as it was, seeing him was liable to make me fall to pieces. But he was supposed to be here.
Paulo’s hand was on my back, pushing me towards the helicopter like I was an uncooperative apple on the conveyor belt. I was trying so hard to muster up some courage. Today I was leaving the only home I had ever known. I would never see my mother again. I felt the anxiety rising, the crushing pain of the separation I was about to suffer. Suddenly the grey-washed town didn’t look so horrible. It was home after all, I guess. I told myself it was fear that was making me feel this way. It didn’t help.
My mother, who had been quietly following us around like a dazed puppy, pulled me to her in a tight embrace. She whispered, “Sorry,” in my ear before stepping back, fists clenched, showing the appropriate restraint. Some other mothers were crying and holding their children as the Guardian wrenched them away and led them onto the aircraft.
My mother’s face was my own, the way she moved mirrored my own movements and mannerisms, but that’s where the similarities ended. Although raised by this woman, I was nothing like her. For the first time, I saw things from her perspective. Getting into trouble all the time, never showing Paulo anything other than contempt. I must have been such a frustration to her.
They called my name. Paulo put his hands firmly on my shoulders, holding me in my place. His intense stare was impossible to look away from. “Don’t shame your family,” he spat at me. And with that, he made it easy to leave. I could feel the blades starting to move, my hair whipping around my face. I stripped away the fear and anxiety, leaving a girl that was fierce, empowered by his hatred.
“Don’t worry, Paulo, I’ll stir it up, make a little noise!” I shouted through the wind. The Guardian that let me sign up was watching me, probably regretting his decision. My mother was standing rigidly, her handmade skirt billowing as the air churned around her, her hand outstretched, pleading. I could see it in her eyes—please Rosa, don’t cause more trouble. She couldn’t stop me, no one ever could. Paulo was already walking away, his back to me. Behind my mother stood a man, one blue eye, one brown, smiling. He lifted his hand to wave. I raised my hand, confused. The chopper lurched awkwardly and I was knocked back into the cargo hold.
“Sit down!” the Guardian snapped at me. I quickly found a spot and strapped myself in. The others were staring at me, eyes wide. The Guardian tapped the pilot on the shoulder. “Wait, there’s one more.”
He bounded in, bag in hand, and casually threw it on the pile and scanned the seats. There was plenty of room on the other side but he squeezed his bulky form between me and the boy I was sitting next to.
Suddenly we were in the air. When the Guardian wasn’t looking, Joseph slipped his hand over mine. Warmth calmed the agitation I felt, like pouring gold over lead, glowing. We stayed that way the entire ride. Eyes forward. Impossibly trying to anticipate what may lie ahead.
 Excerpt # 2:
THE ESCAPE

Then it started, very slowly. At first.
It began with restlessness—girls moving, shaking their heads, and touching their stomachs. Then we heard a girl shout out, then another, and then soon there was an immense chorus of wailing girls. I realized then that the purple smoke was some kind of quick working antidote to the fog. Some of them were screaming, “What have you done to me?” Some were crying, some were calling out for help. One thing was clear—these girls had woken up. The drugs were wearing off. The people in white were exchanging glances, nervously. What they had said before was true. There was only one of them to ten girls. One man was bracing himself, his fists clenched, his chest puffed out, as if ready for a charging stampede. I saw one, with a face as white as her coat, drop her gear and run for the trees. Action was necessary but they all stalled. Then the decision was made for them, as girls started to stand and run. Some pushed through, parting the bodies like they were swimming through a fleshy sea. Some just ran right over the top of the others. Most of them were trying pull themselves out of the fog still, and they were the first ones that received the needle to the arm.
It was pandemonium—girls dropping to the ground unconscious, girls fighting, girls screaming hysterically. One girl was louder than most, yelling, “It’s coming, it’s coming.” I stood up to help, but Clara was holding my arm, not allowing me to step forward. For someone so small, she seemed immensely strong, her iron grip making an imprint on my forearm.
Soon the needles were too time-consuming and the bigger men started walking through the crowd, knocking girls out with large, rubber batons. Swiping and chocking them in the temples like they were knocking posts into the ground. There was blood and pain all around me. I felt my nerves about to fray and spark into a thousand tiny threads, each one pulling at me, hurting me—burying hundreds of shocking, violent images in my memory.
A few girls who were not far along, their stomachs showing little or no bulge, turned on one of the men. He was hitting out at them desperately as they scrambled and scratched at his face, their eyes feral. They took him down and grabbed his satchel, needles falling to the sodden ground. One of the girls picked up a needle and plunged it into the man’s eye. Her reddish hair swung around her face as she whipped it from side to side quickly. She crouched over him like a deranged, wild creature protecting its prey. I have never heard a noise like that in all my life—a gurgling, strangled scream like a stuck animal. Just for good measure, the girl elbowed the man in the face, ceasing the screaming. She then sprung from her crouched position into a full sprint, her long legs carrying her gracefully to the edge of the woods and beyond.
Then I was dragged into the play. A man, badly bleeding from his leg, was limping towards me. At first, thinking he needed help, I moved towards him, not noticing the baton in his hand until it was too late. He raised it above his head, his eyes showing no mercy. He was as delirious as those girls, caught up in the craziness. I put my arm over my head and shut my eyes. Not even thinking to run or fight back, just sitting there, an easy target. I heard the deadening thwack of wood against flesh and opened my eyes to see him fall to the ground. Clara stood above me with a blood-stained branch in her hand.
“We have to go,” she said as she jerked me to my feet. Where she was pulling this strength from I’ll never know, but I followed her into the forest, leaving behind me a mess of panicked souls on both sides. To my left and right there were girls running, tripping, falling. Some were being chased. Someone must be chasing us, I thought.
Clara kept charging through, never letting go of my hand, never looking back. I, on the other hand, was fervently looking backwards, forwards, and sideways, wondering how long it would be before someone caught up with us. Anticipating rough arms grabbing my shoulders and pulling me down. Suddenly Clara stopped dead and listened, her head cocked sideways like a wolf.
“What are you doing?” I shivered as a breeze blew through my thin, cotton gown.
“Shh!” she said, pressing her tiny, dark finger to my lips.
I didn’t want to stop. I could barely hear the girls anymore. I didn’t want to think about why that was. I was hoping against hope that if we kept going, maybe we wouldn’t get caught, that we could escape this nightmare. I started tugging on Clara’s arm, figuring the horror had just hit her and she was temporarily incapacitated.
“Get down,” she hissed. But it was too late. I felt the sting, and then warmth coursing through me, before I dropped to the ground.


 Giveaway Details:
There is an international tour wide giveaway. Prize includes the following:
GRAND PRIZE: A digital copy of The Woodlands, a Woodlands bookmark, a surprise Clean Teen Publishing swag gift and a Clean Teen Publishing digital book of the reader’s choosing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keep being distracted by reading,
Urania

4 comments:

  1. This sounds like such a wonderful story to get lost in. I love the idea behind it. It's bold, different, and what an adventure!! I would love to read it!!

    (Amber M)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by Amber. Woodlands is in my reading list too!
      Good luck withthe giveaway!

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. It was my pleasure Lauren! Thanks for stopping by. I wish you the best of luck with Woodlands!

      Delete

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