~ Schedule ~
The Woodlands by Lauren Nicolle Taylor:
- Flora @ From the Bootheel Cotton Patch
- Sophie @ Book Suburbia
- Vicky @ Deal Sharing Aunt
- Tracey S. @ YA Book Addict
- Melanie @ Mel’s Shelves
- Ladies @ One More Chapter
- BJ @ Inside BJ’s Head
- Gabby @ What’s Beyond Forks?
- Susan @ Susan’s Wicked Writing
- Kristy @ Kristy Centeno
- Rania @ Urania’s Distractions
- Jessica @ Jess’s Book Blog
- Dalene @ Dalene’s Book Reviews
- Heather @ Down the Rabbit Hole
- Shari B. @ My Neurotic Book Affair
- Laurie @ Laurie’s Non-Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews
- Jaidis @ Juniper Grove
- Amber @ The Wonderings of One Person
~ About the Book ~
Title: The Woodlands
Author: Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Published: August 30th, 2013
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Word Count: approx. 92,000
Genre: YA Mature Dystopian Romance
Content Warning: Non-graphic Violence
Recommended 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.
~ About the Publisher ~
~ Excerpt One ~
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 Two ~
I don’t know how long I stayed there. I heard muffled voices—people moving around me, sharp rocks clunking dully together.
Strong arms tried to pull me up from where I squatted, head between my knees, clinging to the rail. A baby cried. Someone punched the wall. I stayed there still.
The light was touching my hands, bare-knuckle white. My body tensed. Someone was talking to me, but it was like I was underwater. His voice warbled and I couldn’t make sense of it.
I was teetering on the edge of a precipice, wind in my hair, staring down into blackness. With all my courage, all my energy, I made the choice. I let go and I let myself fall, endlessly falling, cold air pulling my hair up over my head.
One finger at a time, detached. Tick, tick, tick. Heavy cloth shrouded me.
He picked me up in a blanket and walked outside. Silent. It was bright. I closed my eyes and focused on his footfalls on the solid earth. Thump, thump, thump. I felt us descending. I opened my eyes and it was cooler, darker.
He lay me down gently, kissing me on the forehead. I felt numb with no senses, like there was a barrier between me and the outside world. He rolled my shirt up and pulled it over my head. The cotton stuck to my skin. Carefully, he used his hands to peel it away from my stomach and chest, push, pry, rip. A faint copper scent stung my nose. He stood me up, removed my boots and trousers, dunking everything in the shallow pond he had brought us to. I sat there. Blank. Cold. Watching the water change from clear to pink and then clear again as it washed away. Washed her away.
He soaked a cloth in water, and begun carefully wiping the rust-colored blood from my body. I didn’t care anymore. I let him touch me, lifting my arms, turning my head, pulling my hair back and cleaning my neck. He did it all slowly and deliberately. There was no charge in his touch. This was a kindness to one who was broken.
When he was done, he wrapped me in the blanket and propped me up against a tree trunk like a wooden puppet. I watched, disconnected, as he soaked my clothes and rinsed them until the water ran clear.
He gathered me up, in only my underclothes and a blanket, and slung my wet uniform over his shoulder, taking me back into the sunlight.
~ Giveaway ~
Stay You & Happy Reading,