Monday, August 15, 2016

Review & Giveaway: There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane

Book Blurb:

Peace. Love. Order. Dome. That’s the motto that the Order has given the residents of Dome 1618 to live by. Natalia Greyes is a resident of Dome 1618, a covered city protected from the deadly radiation that has poisoned the world outside for four generations. Nat never questioned the Order, until one day she sees a stranger on the outside of the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone?

Published by: Month9Books

Publication date: April 26th 2016

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My Review:

3 Out Of 5 Stars

Genre: Dystopian, Mystery, Romance, Zombies-

After the outbreak that infected humanity, where people turned into beasts and killed each other, bombs were used to eradicate the unwanted. Those that survived lived inside sealed dome communities, where everything seemed to be so perfect. Natalia is a citizen of one of these domes, but she does not feel like her life is perfect. She is 18 and considered an adult, yet she does not know what she wants from life, except to maybe one day be free. When she sees a person standing outside her dome, she realizes that things are not what she ever thought.

I was in love with the cover of this book long before I knew what the story was about. Yes, I judge books by their covers, but it was so pretty I knew I had to read it. When I found out that the story was a dystopian dealing with infected zombie like people, I could not contain my excitement. I think my hopes may have been too high (and potentially single minded) though, because I was a little let down by the story. I was hoping for some run-for-your-life action with some scary scenes and infected crazies, and that was not really this book at all. Sure there was a little bit of danger and action in the last few pages, but that was about it. This book was more of an emotional angsty read where Natalia had to come to terms with her life, her family and what she wanted (especially who she wanted- yes a dreaded love triangle!) The story also dealt with government corruption and secrets, but it was in more of a slow build/investigation way. I think if you go into this with no certain expectations than you would probably enjoy it.

The story is about Natalia and what she has gone through as well as what she still needs to face. I felt like she was fairly well developed and her emotions were tangible, even if she did not understand them at all. She really has no idea what she wants out of her life, and through no choice of her own, she is forced into the science expedition unit. I feel like most of her time there was not about work though, she would spend time in her room crying, getting ready for dates, hiding stolen maps, gossiping, and sleeping, with just an occasional bit of actual work thrown in (seriously, like a day total). And as mentioned, there is a love triangle (sigh). Her best friend has quietly loved her for years and she likes the closeness and security she feels with him, yet she is intrigued by the new guy who alternated between flirting with her and hating her. Oh the tangled web we weave. To be honest, I could have cared less who she picked, it was more a side note that didn’t matter than an actual issue I wanted to read about. My biggest complaint was how much of the story she sat around angsting about which guy she liked instead of doing something awesome like battling the infected (yet again though, this is personal preference).

The story ended with the words “the end” so I guess this is a standalone. Potentially, there could have been more (or another book) since there was plenty left open but on the other hand the big issues were resolved so I have no idea what I wanted here. I thought this book was an ok fast read, and I would be willing to read more from the author.

I received this title from the author in return for my honest review.

Author Bio:

Melanie McFarlane is a passionate writer of other-wordly adventures, a little excitable, and a little quirky. Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future, or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, she jumps in with both hands on her keyboard. Though she can be found obsessing over zombies and orcs from time to time, Melanie focuses her powers on writing young adult stories to keep the rest of the world up reading all night. She lives with her husband and two daughters in the Land of Living Skies.

You can find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Wattpad, Instagram and her website

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Tour provided by Xpresso Book Tours


  1. Thank you for your review! Book 2 comes out Spring 2017 :)

  2. Thank you for your review! Book 2 comes out Spring 2017 :)

  3. Thanks for hosting today, Katherine! This sounds like an interesting, emotional read!