Review/Tour: There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane

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Stars

There Once Were Stars
By:
 Melanie McFarlane
Published by: Month9Books

Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult

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 the dome. Now Nat wants answers. Is there life outside the dome and if so, what has the Order been hiding from everyone?

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I really enjoyed There Once Were Stars! I’ve been on a dystopian kick lately, and this one did not disappoint. McFarlane takes her readers on this journey into a world that we can only imagine today. We take for granted all of the luxuries we currently have, like an apple or shoes that match our outfits, and don’t really think too far into the future. Well, many people dont; I’m one of those people who tend to dwell on that. There Once Were Stars  brought me into this crazy world, very much like The Hunger Games, where everything was being run by a higher party. Secrets, betrayal, growing up — TOWS has it all! 

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The Final Countdown

Characterization – 4/5 Stars
Dialogue– 4/5 Stars
Plot – 4/5 Stars
Visual Imagery – 5/5 Stars
Structure/Pacing/Editing – 4/5 Stars
Ending – 4/5 Stars

Total: 4.16 Stars

Links
Amazon Buy Link
B&N Buy Link
Kobo Buy Link
iBooks Buy Link
Goodreads Book Page

About the author:

Melanie

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.

Author links:

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e-book copy of There Once Were Stars
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The Ark by Laura Liddell Nolen – Blog Tour, Review, and Giveaway

The Ark
By: Laura Liddell Nolen
Publication Date: March 26, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

*I received a free ARC of The Ark from Xpresso Booktours in exchange of an honest review. 

Synopsis

There’s a meteor headed for Earth, and there is only one way to survive.

With her criminal record, sixteen-year-old Char is never going to get a place on an Ark, one of the five massive bioships designed to protect Earth’s survivors. The Arks are reserved for the real goody-goodies, like Char’s mom, dad, and brother, all of whom have long since turned their backs on her.

With Earth on the brink of destruction, Char must use all her tricks of the trade to swindle her way into outer space, where she hopes to reunite with her family, regardless of whether they want to see her or not.

Once she arrives on the North American Ark, Char discovers that the remnants of humanity haven’t achieved the egalitarian utopia they’d planned for. For starters, the “Officers of the Peace” are anything but peaceful, especially since stealing a spot on an Ark is a crime punishable by death….

Welcome to my stop on the The Ark Blog Tour! Click the link to read my review, see the rating, find out more about the author, and enter a giveaway for a copy of the book!

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Blog Tour and Giveaway – Deceived by L.A. Starkey

Deceived (Soul Keeper Series #1)
By: L.A. Starkey
Publication Date: August 28, 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Synopsis

They say a soul is the immaterial essence, the animating principle, the actuating cause of an individual life.

But what if you had to share yours with the one person you hated the most?

The soul mate principle states that for every one soul there is another that will recognize its match, hence creating the perfect union.

But what if you had two soul mates, which would you choose?

What if your choices had eternal ramification?

Deceived, the debut novel in the Soul Keeper Series, is a modern day love story about the implications of having more than one soul mate, and having to choose between the two of them. The decisions of the gods has left the next generation, their heirs, torn between fate and reality, and the balance of the future hangs in anticipation of what’s to come.

Excerpt

Julie finished picking up her room and quickly changed into her pajamas. She slid into bed, finding comfort in the darkness. Something was off, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on what it might be. She tossed and turned in her bed, sleep evading her, worry starting to consume her thoughts.

“Sister …”

Julie sat up, full of fright. She slid out of bed, tip-toed to the window and peered through the misty glass. A young man about her age, beautiful and enchanting, stood in the grass below, smiling up toward her as the night wind tousled his dark hair. She jumped back from the window with a soft yelp leaving her lips.

Brother. The thought came and went like a ghost in the night.

Brother? Who is he for real? Julie asked herself as she slipped on her slippers and rushed down the stairs, heading straight for the back door. Seriously? Am I seriously rushing out the back door toward some random person I think I know? And from where?  It was useless. Her feet were moving faster than her senses could keep up with, rushing to get to him before he disappeared.

Julie burst out the back door and ran across the yard, stopping a few feet from him. As she reached out, instead of touching him, her hand passed through his body, warmth teasing her fingers. Her widened eyes filled with tears. She knew this boy and loved him.

“Is it you, Brother? Am I asleep?” Julie’s voice was no more than a whisper.

“Yes, you’re asleep. I’ve missed you so much over the last few years. To see you here on Earth breaks my heart.” He ducked his head, but it was too late. She could see the tears rimming his deep jade gaze.

“I don’t understand. How am I breaking your heart?” Much to her discomfort, she took another step toward him. “Where have you been, I haven’t seen you in a lifetime. Why have you not visited me more often? What is this Earth you speak of?” Julie’s mind was overloaded, trying to catch up.

Where are these words coming from? This guy is my brother? As in, real brother? Because he is certainly not Brent.

What is Earth? Uh, how about Earth to Julie?

I’d better be dreaming. She shifted uncomfortably.

“The prophecy’s coming near. You being born to this plane tells me this much. My grief for you over the events to come is more than my soul can bear. I shouldn’t have come here …” He turned and began to pace, having a conversation half with himself and half with her.

“Why do I do this to myself?” He shook his head. “I wish I were here in the flesh so I could reach out and hug you. I’d implant in you the memory and strength of my love, but I can’t. It’s against the rules, Sister, and everything has to be fair. However, you know all of this as well as I do.”

He chuckled sarcastically. “These rules are supposedly ingrained in all of us at a cellular level. What a load of crap.” Nick paced back and forth with disgust drawn in the deep worry lines of his forehead.

“Fair, ha, as if,” he huffed. “Where is our even playing field? Where is fairness to us, you evil witches?” he loudly cursed the sky, as if daring someone in it to strike him dead where he stood.

Julie shivered in fear, overwhelmed by his tirade. Her brow wrinkled in confusion at who he was addressing.

“Why don’t you just end this battle of wills, this ridiculous prophecy, even before it begins?” he continued. “No, of course not. I’m not that lucky, am I, Sister?”

“Please, stop this madness,” Julie pleaded with him, reaching to take his hand into hers and finding nothing of tangible essence. “No matter what happens, I love you. Tell our brother I love him too. That his sister cries for his fate, as she cries for yours.” Julie shook her head, desperately trying to wake herself.

She was merely an onlooker, staring out of her own body, watching someone else pull the strings.

 *~*

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23109999-deceived
Purchase:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1500927872/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=httpwwwgoodco-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1500927872&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2

*~*

Author Bio:

Laurie Starkey is the author of the upcoming Soul Keeper Series, a supernatural young adult series, and The Liarus Detective Series, a supernatural middle grade series. She lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, Jacob and three beautiful kiddos.

She is a CPA by trade, a church planter and entrepreneur at heart; however, writing and reading are passions she just can’t help but indulge in. With more ideas than one person should be allowed, she is blessed to have a muse that doesn’t seem to take a vacation and more energy that one might consider healthy.
Author links:

https://lauriestarkey.wordpress.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8504368.L_A_Starkey

https://www.facebook.com/L.A.StarkeyAuthor

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Blog Tour | Review | #Hater by Cambria Hebert

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#Hater (The Hashtag Series #2)
By: Cambria Hebert
Publication Date: January 12, 2015
Genres: New Adult Contemporary, College Romance

*I received a free ARC of #Hater in exchange of an honest review.

Goodreads Link:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23561961-hater

Blurb

It started with unspoken animosity. The bitter bite of jealousy. And now its full blown hate.

It was during my first football game that I first felt the first chill of hate. I looked it right in the eyes and felt its sticky tentacles reach out for me. I’d never experienced something so cold and empty before.

The effect of that look lingered, like an unspoken promise, long after it was gone.

Becoming a couple – becoming the other half of a campus celebrity wasn’t easy. I let down walls guarding my heart and he looked past my glasses and accident prone tendencies. Romeo and I are an unlikely match, a #nerd and a jock. But we made it.

And we’re happy.

Zach doesn’t want us to be happy. He wants Romeo to pay for getting him kicked out of Omega and for the night he spent in jail. He’s going to use anything and everything he can to get his revenge. Including me.

As the weather on campus grows cold and the days become dark, revenge becomes the center of someone’s life and the happiness Romeo and I worked so hard for is threatened.

I can’t help but worry that our love is going to be overshadowed by hate.

*~*
Follow this link to see my review of book #1 in The Hashtag Series.

The Final Countdown
Characterization
– 3.5/5 Stars
As expressed in my review of the first book, the characters in #Hater are developed well and there is a bit more depth to them. Rimmel Hudson has grown quite a bit since the first book in the series and it’s nice to see her growing confidence in herself. She’s battling some demons and has some rough things going on, but she’s got a great sense of self that is fun to read. Roman “Romeo” Anderson is still his jock-self and I hate to admit because I know he has a huge following – but I just don’t like him. He’s just not the type of person I enjoy reading because his personality is such a stark contract to what I like in a guy. And then there’s Braeden – he’s pretty great. He’s a fantastic character and I can’t wait to read his spinoff.

Dialogue – 3.5/5 Stars
The dialogue fit the story well and was very straight forward.  I wish there were more Alpha Buzz alerts. They were really funny in the first book.

Plot – 3.5/5 Stars
The plot was constructed well, though there wasn’t anything unique about it. That’s not a problem, so don’t mistake it for one. The story is a fun read and I found myself laughing throughout it. The pace kept well and it was a fast read for me.

Visual Imagery – 3/5 Stars
There was enough description to push through the story, but the wordplay was what stands out the most. I enjoyed reading about the various outfits that Rim was dressed in throughout that were a bit further out of character for her. The moments when they were outside of Romeo’s home by the pool were also described well.

Ending 4/5 Stars
The ending for this book was really good. There was enough to keep you wondering what happens next, but it wasn’t one of those crazy cliffhanger endings that makes you angry. I really look forward to seeing what comes in the third book!

Total: 17.5/25 Stars

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Buy links: 

#Hater (Hashtag #2) Buy Links:

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/oeze38l
Amazon CA: http://tinyurl.com/mhgusab
Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/n9scdhx
Amazon AU: http://tinyurl.com/k5t7d2q
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/n4zwxg9
Kobo:  http://tinyurl.com/kk9u8c3

#Nerd (Hashtag, #1) buy links:

Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/orco23a
Amazon CA: http://tinyurl.com/njn3x8q
Amazon UK: http://tinyurl.com/opfgr6l
Amazon AU: http://tinyurl.com/ms2kx2s
Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/qch9b9z
Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/ou6lgod

Youtube Video for Chapter 1 Read from Cambria:

Direct Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzBqwJPk_Ms&feature=youtu.be

Author Bio:

Cambria HebertCambria Hebert is a bestselling novelist of more than twenty books. She went to college for a bachelor’s degree, couldn’t pick a major, and ended up with a degree in cosmetology. So rest assured her characters will always have good hair.

Besides writing, Cambria loves a caramel latte, staying up late, sleeping in, and watching movies. She considers math human torture and has an irrational fear of chickens (yes, chickens). You can often find her running on the treadmill (she’d rather be eating a donut), painting her toenails (because she bites her fingernails), or walking her chorkie (the real boss of the house).

Cambria has written within the young adult and new adult genres, penning many paranormal and contemporary titles. Her favorite genre to read and write is romantic suspense. A few of her most recognized titles are: Text, Torch, Tryst, Masquerade, and Recalled.

Cambria Hebert owns and operates Cambria Hebert Books, LLC.

 

Social media Links:

You can find out more about Cambria and her titles by visiting her website: http://www.cambriahebert.com.
Email: cambriahebert@rocketmail.com
Facebook: http://smarturl.co/CambriaHebertFanpage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cambriahebert
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/cambriahebert/pins/
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5298677.Cambria_Hebert
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Cambria-Hebert/e/B00CYQ2ROK/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1420126269&sr=8-1

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Review/Giveaway | Chandrea – The Return of the Avatar Queen by Marlene Wynn

Chandrea – The Return of the Avatar Queen
By: Marlene Wynn
Publication Date: December 22, 2014
Genres: New Adult, Fantasy

*I received free ARCs of Chandrea – The Return of the Avatar Queen from Xpresso Booktours in exchange of an honest review.

Synopsis

Chandrea Averill thinks she’s just like any other normal young woman. But, on the day of her 23rd birthday, her life changes forever.

Surrounded by magical creatures, dangerous sorcery, and insidious political intrigue, Chandrea desperately wants to return to Earth and the only life she’s ever known. But, the longer she stays, the more she realizes that she may be the only one with the power – both magical and political – to save the people of Lyrunia. Will she find the courage to remain and fight for her home world?

Welcome to my stop on the Chandrea-The Return of the Avatar Queen Blog Tour! Below is my review AND a pretty awesome giveaway! Click on the image at the bottom of the screen for the rafflecopter! I have also included my Facebook page for this blog – go follow me there. 🙂
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The Final Countdown
Characterization
– 4/5 Stars
Each of these characters has their own personality, and I love that. Chandrea is a strong female character who has just been thrown for a crazy life twist. I think she handles it pretty well, all things considered. I found myself enjoying taking part in Chandrea’s story and watching how she handled different challenges. Denae is another female character I really loved reading about; she’s independent, but very caring and loyal. My favorite male character of the bunch is definitely Shawn; he’s valiant and has some great tricks up his sleeves. The other characters in this story were very well-constructed, though I would have loved to know more about Ian and Adelaide. The baddies in this book are definitely pretty bad. They had my toes curling a time or two.

Dialogue – 4/5 Stars
There were so many moments in this story that made me laugh out loud, particularly when Shawn is taking part. For me, most of the dialogue was realistic, all things considered (with it being a Fantasy novel and all.) I enjoyed the scenes that had dialogue the most, as they strengthened the story and kept it moving along. The more sinister characters were clearly identified through their words and speech patterns, which helped enhance their creep-factor.

Plot – 4/5 Stars
I love me a good fantasy storyline.. and, by George, this definitely had it. There were so many twists and turns and fun adventures. At first I was a little thrown by the quick changing of character focus in each character, but as I got the swing of things I found that I couldn’t wait to see what character would be the focus next. As things got more climactic, I had a few audible sighs at the cliffhanger chapters. Luckily, the story always picked up where it left off and gave a bit of closure.

Visual Imagery – 4/5 Stars
I don’t know why, but I always find myself setting the standard for visual imagery in a fantasy novel quite high. Maybe I do that because of the mystical creatures that take part in them or just simply because that’s how most of the best fantasy novels are written. This one was not a disappointment. I loved that everything is described well, but not too much detail. One of my favorite scenes is when Chandrea is in the La Shura Gardens; everything is described to vibrantly that I could almost picture myself there with her.

Ending 4/5 Stars
To say as little as possible, I was not disappointed. 🙂 Without giving anything away, there was a lot going on in this book, which leaves some things left to be seen. I truly can’t wait to read the next book in this series. I don’t read a whole lot of fantasy novels, but this one was a breath of fresh air.

Total: 17/25 Stars

Goodreads: Follow This Link
Purchase:
–Amazon: Follow This Link
*~*
AUTHOR BIO

Marlene Wynn is a Utah native – fondly referred to as “Utonian” by a friend.  She transplanted herself in 1992 from the majestic Rocky Mountains to the beachy shores of sunny Virginia Beach, Virginia and has been there ever since.  Though she has worked in the Benefits field for several years, she finally worked up the courage to chase her dream as an author.

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Author links:
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Giveaway:
Tour-wide giveaway (US and Canada) – Image Below
A print copy of Chandrea – The Return of the Avatar Queen
A handmade fairy
A set of character trading cards
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#BookBlogWriMo Day 15/16 – My Favorite and Least Favorite Things about Blogging [and Thanks]

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#BookBlogWriMo Day 15 and 16!!

So, I was out of pocket all day yesterday, thus you have a two-in-one post!!

My Favorite Book Blogging Things

  • Getting to read – Well, I’d hope this was one of my favorite things about this process, otherwise doing it would be silly!!
  • Meeting new people – I’ve met so many great authors and bloggers through this process. Having the chance to become an editor for one of those authors was even greater and that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have this blog. They’re something great about being a part of this community; we all understand the addiction.
  • Discovering new favorite authors and books – Oh my. My Kindle has SO many great books on it. I’m always finding new great books on BookHub and through book tours and recommendations.
  • Free books – Ah, does this really need explanation? This is a wonderful perk.
  • The opportunity to do what I love – I went to school for English and Journalism, so I’m happy to be able to put that to good use. I enjoy doing this. It’s fun, productive, and educational.
  • Having the chance to read books before release – Another great perk! It’s what I’d imagine going to a movie premier would be like – just without the celebrities and photo ops!

My Least Favorite Book Blogging Things

  • It can get expensive – Oh yes. Once you get hooked on an author or book series, stopping the chain of purchase is very difficult.
  • Over booking – This is so easy when there are so many great opportunities to review so many great books. I’ve recently taken a look at my methods and cut back a bit so I can get my ducks in a row.
  • Not having enough time to read everything – The plight of all major book worms.

30 Days of Thanks – Day 15 and 16

I am thankful for great friends. It’s always wonderful to look forward to fun get togethers with friends [and family.] Friends are the family we get to choose for ourselves.

I am thankful for public transportation. Sure, driving is great – but public transit allows for decompression time!

#BookBlogWriMo Day 11 – My Top Ten Posts and Thanks

#BookBlogWriMo Day 11 – #TopTuesday – My Most Popular Posts of All Time

I have actually never used this feature on my blog before, so it was really interesting to see what posts have accumulated a following and what ones aren’t as popular. Here are my top ten posts so far. My blog has only recently begun gaining more traffic as I’ve been posting more, but I’m excited to see what has been doing well.

#10 C: The Four C’s to a Great Book and a Successful Review From Me – 4/4/2014 – 22 views – This is actually one of my favorite posts on this blog. It pretty much spells it all out – what I review and what it takes to get a good rating from me. I have received some great feedback for this post and it’s a great reference for authors and other bloggers who are looking for ideas on a reviewing system.

#9 Blog Tour: Book Review + Giveaway – Inevitable Detour by S.R. Grey – 10/10/2014 – 22 views – Blog tours are always great traffic drivers.

#8 Book Boyfriends and Lady Loves – Updated 2/6/2014 – 23 views – Ah, another one of my favorite posts on this blog. I haven’t updated this in a while, so I’m due for another few lovely fellers and ladies.

#7 #BookBlogWriMo Day 1 – The History of My Blog and Thanks – 11/1/2014 – 26 views – Self explanatory. From just a few days ago!

#6 Book Review: From the Wreckage by Michele G. Miller – 7/9/2014 – 29 views – For those who don’t know, I am Michele’s editor. This is awesome. Beyond awesome, really. I met Michele through my blogging, joined her street team, then the rest is history. I started editing for her on the third book in this series – All That Remains. This series is awesome and Michele is a phenomenal author.

#5 A Little Bit About Me and My Love For Books – 3/7/2014 – 32 views – This post has a whole lot of information about me in interview-ish form. Worth checking out if you’re interested in learning more.

#4 Book Review: The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger – 2/27/2014 – 37 views – My first ever book review! Not really a huge fan of the book, though. Ha!

#3 My First Rafflecopter Giveaway – 10/24/2014 – 50 views – Another milestone! Hoping to do a huge giveaway in January when my blog hits one year!

#2 Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway – #Nerd by Cambria Hebert – 11/3/2014 – 51 views – Part of a blog tour, #Nerd was a fun read and I’m excited that the next book will be coming out soon. 🙂 If there’s a tour for that one, I will definitely be participating.

#1 Blog Tour – Review – Unlit Star by Lindy Zart – 10/10/2014 – 95 views! – This is one of the most incredible books I have read. When I go into the search stats for my blog (aka, how people found my blog and posts) many of them have been searches for “Unlit Star” and the various characters and plot points within. I’m always on board for Lindy Zart’s book tours, as she’s one of my favorite authors.

30 Days of Thanks – Day 11

I am thankful for all of those military men and women – past and present – who put their lives on the line each day.