Thursday, 18 August 2016

There Once Were Stars [Review, Giveaway & Tour!]

Hello there!

Title: There Once Were Stars
Author: Melanie McFarlane
Publisher: Month9Books
Published Date: 26th April 2016
Rating: 3 stars

*Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for the review copy*


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Synopsis: 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 her dome. Now Nat wants answers. What else might her government be hiding from the good and loyal people of Dome 1618?

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Review: There Once Were Stars was a novel that intrigued me as soon as I read the title. I wanted to know more about the book, and coupled with the gorgeous cover it had, it was too hard to resist. On top of that, I was already familiar with the author because I follow Melanie McFarlane’s gorgeous Instagram account. As soon as I saw there was a review tour I rushed to sign up.

I turned out to really enjoy this book. It has a dystopian kind of sci-fi young adult feel but doesn’t really take over the story with the world building. For those readers who want to try some YA sci-fi but don’t want to get too lost in a world completely different from our own, this is the kind of book I would recommend to you. McFarlane did a good job of introducing just enough into the story to know it’s a different time, world and situation without it becoming overwhelming.

In this novel, the main character – Nat – is an orphan. Her parents are deceased and passed away before they could share an important message with her. Nat is turning 18, which is a tricky age for anyone as they suddenly feel thrust into the world. So naturally, she turns to trying to follow in her parent’s footsteps to learn a bit more about them. I think the author handled the theme of loss extremely well. I wouldn’t say that Nat is feeling grief anymore because the time for that has passed seeing as her parents died when she was nine. But she is curious, inquiring and feeling that gap of not having her parents there alongside her when she feels she needs them. I love how well those emotions were translated to me, as a reader.


But sometimes, Natalie seemed to be a bit of naïve main character. She would do a lot of things and make a lot of choices which would hurt those around her, without really thinking about the consequences. And when people got angry, which was only a natural response to the way she was treated, she would be completely surprised by their actions. That kind of felt a bit juvenile to me in some ways, coupled alongside with her habit to kind of throw herself between two boys. That aside, Natalie was a main character easy to like.

The secondary characters in this novel were done pretty well. They supported her, but also had their own role in the plot and managed to follow that through as well. We get to know some of their backstory and why the situation they are facing matters to themselves as well. I liked how we got to see each characters motives and I felt like they were each unique and part of the plot for their own reasons. I really liked that.


The writing style was okay. At times I wished the story was going a little slower and was a little longer. Occasionally, I felt like the sentences were a little choppy. But when it most mattered, the novel was a smooth read and well written.

The best part of the novel for me was the ending. A lot reached the climax it had been bubbling towards. The main characters had a plan that they wanted to follow through with, but it fell apart. And I don’t mean like when one part of the plan goes wrong, they fix it, and then everything’s fine again. It fell to absolute pieces. That hiked up the action and had me racing through :D


A very good read and I’m looking forward to seeing what this author brings to the mix next.

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Gif Summary: 

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Giveaway: Enter to win one of five ebook copies! Open internationally :3



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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

Links: Buy the book on Amazon, B&N, Kobo or iBooks! Or check it out on Goodreads :D
Or find Melanie on her website, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Wattpad and Instagram!


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New Video!




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Olivia’s Question: Have you ever been stargazing before?

Olivia-Savannah x

26 comments:

  1. The cover sure doesn't look like it's a Sci-Fi book, but it's what's inside that counts, yeah? I'm glad this book was good overall despite your minor problems, Olivia!

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    1. The cover is a little different from the genre, but I think it goes to show how gentle of a sci-fi it is. :)

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  2. Sounds like you enjoyed it! :) Maybe the heroine was naïve on account of living under a dome for most of her life with no parents? Gotta do something to your emotional development >.<

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    1. Yes, maybe those things did affect the way she made her choices. But it only bothered me a little :)

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  3. Great review, Olivia! This sounds like a fun read overall! Glad you liked it! :)

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    1. Thanks Giselle! It was a lot of fun to read ^.^

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  4. What a coincidence!!! I'm also part of this blog tour. Having just recently reviewed this book, we seem to be two peas in a pod with our thoughts (mostly). I agree; the ending is the best part. I also felt the romance was a bit lackluster. I'll tell you all about it next Tuesday, when my post is published. Great review and I'm glad you enjoyed it. I need an Instagram acct so I can check out Melanie McFarlane's page. =)

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    1. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts when your post goes live! We usually seem to share similar thoughts on books hehe :3

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  5. This is my kind of book of book to read. I love dystopian sci-fi.

    I love the book cover!

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    1. I'm glad you like the sound of this book! Happy reading and I can't wait to see what you think of it too x

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  6. This sounds really good, I do love my dystopian books. And the cover is very beautiful indeed! <3
    Nat sounds like a great main character, even with the flaws you mentioned :) although I'll admit I'm all about the world building in this kind of books, I love reading about new places that authors create in their minds.
    I'm glad you enjoyed this!

    Lipstick and Mocha

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    1. The cover has me swooning from time to time ;) Nat was great and I really liked her.

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  7. I think I would like to read this book based on your synopsis. Then again, I do enjoy sci-fi. Another one to add to my list. Thanks!

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    1. I hope you do enjoy it when you pick it up ^.^

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  8. A gentle sci-fi is still a good sci-fi in my book :) I kinda love that cover to be honest.

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    1. Yes, gentle sci-fi novels can still be really great! The cover <3

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  9. [ Smiles ] I wouldn't mind reading that book!

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  10. Ooooh this had me at dome, intriguing and I like the sound of this!

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    1. I think this is the kind of read you would love :D

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  11. I love the whole dome idea of the story! It sounds like it could be a pretty neat setting along with the fact that it's also very realistic yet sci-fi at the same time. I like it!

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    1. I love when sci-fi manages to be realistic and applicable to daily life as well. It's like the perfect merge.

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  12. Great review! I think I wanted to read this when I first saw it, but after reading some reviews, decided to wait. I do like the fact that the sci-fi isn't heavy, but I also want it to "feel" like I'm reading the genre.

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    1. It's always good to gather some opinions first sometimes. Read when you're ready!

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  13. This seems pretty interesting. It's reminding me of "Under the Never Sky" by Veronica Rossi. Have you read it? And if, are the two books similar? I think the naive MC might throw me off the book though, I'm usually very picky about my main characters.

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    1. I haven't read that book before, but it is on my TBR. I have read the synopsis and this book seems something like it.

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