Book Review: The Woodlands by Lauren Taylor & Giveaway!

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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.

Review

Dystopian novels are all the rage, and yes, I jump on that bandwagon, too. I’ve read most of the popular ones, and many by indies as well. It seems so rare these days to find one that has an original vein in it. The Woodlands succeeds. With a smart, snarky, and heroic main character and a swoon-worthy love interest, the book will draw in many readers of the YA/NA crowd. But then pepper in the dystopian part – the world our dynamic duo live in is cruel and unyielding. Completely and utterly unyielding. Surprisingly unyielding. Yes, I said unyielding three times – because it’s that ruthless.

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And as a reader, I’m left heartbroken for these characters…through the first half.

Then we get to the second half. And the hope and love takes a strange, confusing turn. The characters find themselves on an unexpected journey, that seems sort of aimless at first. And they are surrounded by a sketchy bunch of people that aren’t quite friends, but not really foes. I had a hard time getting into the journey part as I’m not much of one for an undirected, wanton journey. We know who they are escaping from, but I didn’t get where they were going. Then Rosa, the MC, makes some bad, selfish choices and became a little less likable for me. Of course, it just made me love Joseph even more.

Overall, the book is a solid 4.5-5 star read. The author’s use of color to represent the characters is poetic. Each character is dynamic, and they compliment one another like a well conducted orchestra. The read brings into focus many issues that plague young people today who have broken homes or find themselves with an unwanted teen pregnancy, but placed in a non-confrontational dystopian atmosphere that really works well.

P.S. I just saw the cover reveal for the second book in the series, The Wall, and can’t wait to read it, too!

Giveaway

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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.

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