The Woodlands Blog Tour - Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Hi everyone! I have a stop on The Woodlands blog tour today. There is a review of the book, an excerpt and a giveaway for you all.

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+

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.

My Review
This book is different than others I have read.  It's set in a dystopian time where there is only one place left to live the woodlands of Russia. Everyone has to go by the rules or they will be punished or killed. Sixteen year old Rosa goes as far as she can to break the laws without actually breaking them and getting punished. She has had her fair share of punishment but not enough to get her killed. The people are told they can only have one child and when her mother comes up pregnant that means she has to go. She goes with the knowledge she has a friend with her. Joseph is a boy who is different and causes her to care for him. Something she doesn't like to do. Joseph soon pushes her away and she is alone again. She thinks her life is going good after a while she has found a drive in her life not knowing it to will be soon took away. She soon finds the Superiors are out to breed everyone into a new race and she is one of their subjects. She now has to make a run for it will a new friend, some people she doesn't trust and the man who will do anything to help her.

Like I said this book is different to me in the fact that for most of the book I don't like the main character Rosa. Usually that is a bad thing but in this case it held my attention as I read about all she goes through. At first she seems like a trouble maker even if she has good reason for doing it. She is closed off and doesn't seem to want any friends until she deems she needs them. Then she actually becomes a happy person and open and joking when she funds her passion in life and really finally set a goal. I liked her best during this time. You also get to see the side of her that is scared and how tough she can be. Can she be loving at anytime and the answer to that is yes you get to see a soft side as well. Towards the end I really didn't like her again and I hated the book ended. I wanted to see if my feelings would change again. To top it off is to say she is a very complex character with many problems but she is like an addiction you have to know what she will do next.

If you enjoy dystopian books you must try this one. So much goes on you can't put the book down. Never really knowing what will happen next will keep you on your toes. There is several big shocks that happen that some of them will break your heart. After reading this I feel like I have been on a journey myself along side all the great characters. The author does a great job writing this book from walled, cities to underground labs, to the wilderness and ruined cities you get a little but of it all. I really can not wait to read the next book in this journey I want to see more of Rosa and the others and this phenomenal world the author has created.

5 out of 5 Stars


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.

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:

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.

Be sure to follow the rest of the tour.


  1. Thanks so much for participating in my blog tour Pam!

  2. Hi Pam,

    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


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