Thursday, 16 June 2016

Blog Tour plus GIVEAWAY: There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane

There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane
Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC
Book Format: eBook
Rating: 3 stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks
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?
First Impressions:

... I was dazzled by the book cover. Anything with shiny stars I'll always get myself drawn to.

I was even more interested when I discovered that Natalia, the lead character in this story, lives in an city that is protected from radiation. What happened in the end? Where did the radiation come from? I'm sure one of the obvious answers is from nuclear power and such, but... that would only be the tip of the iceberg. Did they know this was going to happen so 'Dome 1618' was built around that time? And why is there an actual human still outside the walls? So many questions I wanted answered...

I hope that there's some quote that involves 'bottling stars'. That'll be cool.


I want to start off by saying that this book could easily benefit from having a sequel. No trilogy, but just one more book accompanying this one. There's so much backstory that's been missed that could add so much to what's already been built up. That thought really didn't click in my head until I saw my first impressions of this book. I never did find out how the radiation came to be, but I can't imagine a girl like Natalie would know anyways. Not when her grandparents are so secretive.

I want to know how and why the radiation poisoning began and I want to know how well in advance they knew they were going to have to start creating the domes. I think other readers might be interested in that as well. It doesn't even have to focus on Natalia but, perhaps, on a former character who knew first hand about this.

Anyways. This book centers around a young girl named Natalia and, when it starts off, it's almost her eighteenth birthday. This is huge - it means that she's now considered an adult and is encouraged to spend the next two years trying to find way to contribute to the dome by doing what she knows she'll love for a long time. She gets the chance to celebrate with her close friends, Jax and Xara, by visiting a theater and a museum. Just friends enjoying the last bits of youth together.

Things start to unravel, however, ever since Natalia found herself face to face with an outsider. Well, almost. There was only a thick wall of glass between them, but it was enough to wonder: how could he survive without being infected? Even after the Order catches him for trespassing, he still invades her thoughts.

Things go quickly from there. No longer does she work in sanitation. She has been promoted to the Science division. No reason why - especially since Natalia is more than willing to admit that she didn't study nor test herself for this position - but yet here she was. And, due to her parents being one of the most well known scientists when she was younger, she found herself carrying the weight of their memory even more.

I didn't like Jax. At all. I knew there was something that rubbed off on my wrong with him, especially since he admitted his love for her after the visit from the museum and the theater. That, alone, isn't such a big deal. It takes a lot of energy for anyone to admit that they love someone. But Jax went about it the wrong way. He started to not only see her as more as just a friend - but as someone he knew he would be with forever. He went so far to find himself jealous of her time spent with the outsider, Evan, and claimed she liked him more than she liked Jax (which, I guess wasn't a lie). Jax still wanted her. He wouldn't hesitate to claim her as his own - very toxic behavior. Evan called out on it but, because they've both been friends for so long, Natalia saw it as him only protecting her.


Toxic romance aside, I did find this book really interesting. It was really amusing to see scientists from the dome observing and finding different things - flowers, trees, different life forms - and just being dazzled over the fact that there was life outside the dome. It meant that there was a high possibility that they could live freely outside the dome. But, with the fear that has been placed in the community for generations, how do they bring such a radical idea forward?

The book has been set up pretty well. It could've been better with a little less romance though. I don't think Natalia never even got the chance to think about what exactly her parents were researching on. Actually, I don't think she had much time to think at all, considering how fast the whole plan against the dome was going. She even got snapped at for just wanting to process everything. I can't blame her for that.

Overall, it's an interesting read. I just wish that there would've been more of a history added to this book about the story behind what caused the world to be so toxic that there had to be domes created to save humans? It's not my favorite read but it's a good quick read.

Whether it’s uncovering the corruption of the future, or traveling to other worlds to save the universe, Melanie McFarlane 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.

I also got a giveaway for an eBook of THERE ONCE WERE STARS. You have five chances to win. Go go go!!



  1. Thank you. I appreciate your review 💜💜💜 Book 2 comes out within the year and I'm releasing prequels, chapter by chapter, via my newsletter subscribers starting this Fall, beginning with the domes being built! It's like I read your mind. 😄

    1. Oh my gosh! I didn't even realize! I'm like... all grinning with excitement and anticipation. Especially for the potential for loads of new awesome stuff and AHHHHHH. I can't waaaaait! *flails*