Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book tour, giveaway and review: The Woodlands by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Good morning book-lovers!
A dystopian story is about to distract you today. Read about the story, its author, take a taste of the Woodlands world in an excerpt and also...take part in the giveaway! Somewhere in between you will be able to read my review. Enjoy!

Title:  The Woodlands
Author: Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Published: August 30th, 2013 by Clean Teen Publishing
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.

Excerpt from The Woodlands by Lauren Nicolle Taylor # 1:


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.

Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
If US:

GRAND PRIZE: Print copy of The Woodlands, bookmark, surprise Clean Teen Publishing swag gift, and reader’s choice of two digital Clean Teen Publishing books.


GRAND PRIZE: $10 Electronic Amazon Gift Card, The Woodlands bookmark, surprise Clean Teen Publishing swag gift, and reader’s choice of two digital Clean Teen Publishing books.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book review

The Woodlands is dystopian story the fans of this genre will absolutely enjoy.
The author has successfully depicted what could be characterized as the futuristic Dark Ages – common context within most dystopian stories – enriched with generous doses of YA romance and then makes her story even more original by adding a little sci-fi: the use of human beings as guinea pigs in the process of medical research.

The heroine, Rosa, was a character I honestly found difficult to like. She wants to rebel against the manipulative and oppressive system the Woodlands is run by and, although this may sound promising, I found myself asking “why?” when I found her  challenge the system representatives over and over as that was just about all her resistance. Eventually I think she was broken and failed to become the kick-ass heroine I wanted her to be.

The story unravels within a variety of context and this makes it even more interesting. So do the many complicated characters that appear on the way. Complicated characters in a complicated world and with justified cause. The world of Woodlands is a nightmare. Love is the only remedy. The story is full of positive messages to the reader and the heroes’ morals and values stand as the only shield against the evils of such a nightmarish regime. Love finds a way to survive.  
The plot reaches the climax and that is when it will make you anxious to turn the pages but the author handles it in such a way that you will be looking forward to the sequel. I know I am!

My rating: 4,5/5


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by Lauren. It was my honor to read and review your amazing story :)

  2. Hi Urania,

    I wanted to offer you a free copy of The Wall to review. Please contact me if you would like to accept.


    Lauren Nicolle Taylor

  3. Hey Lauren
    I'll be honored to review The wall for you. You can send me a copy on (PDF works for me as well as mobi)


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