Review: There Once Were Stars by Melanie McFarlane


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?

Find There One Were Stars online:

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N






My Review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

When I read the description of There Once Were Stars, I knew I needed this book in my life. There Once Were Stars tells the story of Natalia, who lives in a domed city that the government set up after war ravaged the planet and left the air too toxic to breathe. Life inside the dome was very interesting to me, and I like seeing how the community was seemingly perfect, at least to the average citizens.

When Natalia spots a guy on the other side of the dome’s glass wall, everything quickly goes to crap. If people can survive outside of the dome, then what else is their government keeping from them? Natalia is hired to work a research job like her mother did before she died, and here she meets new friends, some enemies, and she learns more about her mother’s past and explorations outside the dome. You’re never sure who is working with Natalia and who is working against her.

This book has romance, intrigue, and best friends turned enemies. Natalia works to unravel the secrets of the past, the present and her future all while trying to figure out who to trust. While the book worked well as a standalone, I’m really hoping there’s a second book in the works because this was a dystopian I couldn’t put down and the characters really grew on me.
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Review of In the After by Elisa Dane

In the AfterIn the After by Elisa Dane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I went into this book expecting something powerful, and that’s exactly what I got. This is something I think everyone should read, especially high school students who deal with this kind of stuff every day. Sadie not only suffers from the trauma of witnessing her mother’s murder, she’s now stuck in the popular group at her high school-the AEs. The author does a wonderful job of pushing Sadie into a corner that many teens feel every day in school. The popular group sucks to be in, but it’s even worse to be outside of it. So Sadie must truck on day to day, watching the AEs torment people they’ve deemed “lesser”, dorks, losers, etc.

The heartbreaking aspects of this story are made worse when you realize this kind of stuff happens every day in real life. To make things worse, Sadie soon meets Hayden, and they could have something special if he wasn’t part of the outsider group that she’s not allowed to associate with. I absolutely LOVED the part where Sadie meets Hayden. I love how he stuck to his morals and didn’t fall for her immediately. Honestly, that’s how you know he’s a good guy. So the love interest was spot on for me, and I felt like it grew organically and realistically. Plus, Hayden is super hot, so bonus. I loved the romance scenes-definitely swoon worthy.

This book also deals with a school shooting, which I knew going into it, but DAMN if I wasn’t completely blown away by how powerful, tragic, horrifying, that scene was. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire last part of the book, feeling like I was watching a movie instead of reading. This author has a beautiful writing style that really pulls you in.

This was a powerful, heart-wrenching story, but sometimes that’s exactly what we need to read to remind us that life is precious, we are all humans, and we should treat each other well.

View all my reviews

Review of The Thirteenth World by A.N. Willis

Time is running out for Stel Alaster. The Corridor, the only portal between First and Second Earth, is failing and the barriers between all twelve worlds are thinning. Using her unique ability to travel through the multiverse, Stel sets out to save the Corridor . . . and ends up discovering a mysterious new world.

In the sequel to The Corridor, will the thirteenth world hold the key to the Corridor’s secrets? Or will the portal implode and take every last universe down with it?

Find The Thirteenth World on Amazon & Goodreads

*Check out my guest post by A.N. Willis where she talks about her inspiration for writing this series!*

Okay I don’t think I’ve ever said this about a book, but I think The Thirteenth World was actually better than book one. And I LOVED book one!!!

After learning more secrets of the corridor in book one, (which is a portal that links First Earth and Second Earth) and discovering there are twelve other Earths out there, Stel Alaster’s life might literally fall apart. Because the Corridor isn’t stable and at any second it could unleash a pulse and kill every person on earth. Her beloved father is dead (why oh why, this killed me!), she might never see her hunky other Earth boyfriend again, her brother has turned traitor… and Oh, yeah, and let’s not forget that she’s the only person in the world who can conjure up her own portal with her hands. And the people who run the Corridor are keeping her prisoner for it.

This book started out with a bang and I loved every second of it. No boring sluggish scenes while the author sets the story for us–nope, it just took off and had me desperately turning pages, dying to know what would happen. My heart ached for Stel, longed for Cohl, was happy about Justin, and wanted to hug Steven Alaster.

I adored the Sci-Fi in this book. Unlike another popular YA parallel universe book, this one hits the mark for me in many ways that one didn’t. Stel’s portal and ability are beautifully described, making you feel like you’re there. The story has swoon-worthy romance but it’s so much more than that. (oh and PS, You’ll want to re-read the Cohl shirtless scenes.) Stel is strong and determined to right the wrongs that her bio father set in place long before she became a part of it. She’s willing to die to save the twelve worlds and you genuinely believe it while reading this book.

Speaking of Stel’s bio father— THAT ENDING. I can’t say anything without spoiling it, but the thirteenth world is unlike anything I could have imagined. It tugged at my heart strings and what’s revealed here pulls the entire story back together, into a perfect sci-fi tale.

5 Stars!

Guest Post & Release Day ~ The Thirteenth World by A.N. Willis

YOU GUYS. I recently read a debut novel by A.N. Willis called The Corridor. (Read my 5 Star review here) I then immediately and ridiculously fell in love with the story and was desperate for the sequel to come out. And guess what?

Today is RELEASE DAY of Book #2, The Thirteenth World

To celebrate, I’ve asked A.N. Willis to write a guest post giving us more insight on her inspirations for the book. Read her post below and then stick around for my review!

Thank you so much Cheyanne for inviting me to write a guest post! I’m very excited to celebrate the release of THE THIRTEENTH WORLD, the sequel to THE CORRIDOR and the completion of Stel Alaster’s story.
In this YA science fiction series, Stel has the power to travel between twelve parallel universes. She also has a mysterious tie to the Corridor, a portal that threatens to destroy Stel’s multiverse. There are lots of big reveals in THE THIRTEENTH WORLD about Stel’s origins and her connection to the Corridor. In that vein, I thought I’d reveal some behind-the-scenes secrets  about where I got the idea for this series in the first place!
I love that, as a writer, ideas can come from anywhere or anything. Sometimes it’s inspiration from a favorite book or TV series that you enjoyed growing up. For THE CORRIDOR, some of my big influences were Stephen King’s DARK TOWER series and his book THE TALISMAN, all of which deal with parallel universes (and are incredible reads!) Other sources of inspiration were the 1990s TV shows Sliders, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Love my Star Trek.
The real spark for the Corridor series, though, was a dream that I had. In my dream, a girl uses her secret ability to travel between universes to escape from her everyday life. But one day she’s caught—gasp!—by a woman running from the police who forces the girl to help her get away. When I woke up, I immediately came up with the characters of Stel and Ana, and the idea for a portal called the Corridor that links two Earths. But I had no idea how it would all fit together. I spent that entire day fleshing out a rough outline with all my ideas, but didn’t come back to it for about six months (while I worked on some other writing projects). When I finally started the first draft, the story kept evolving. It took lots of revisions (over years!) both with writer friends’ help and with Alloy Entertainment’s fantastic editors, to bring the whole story to where it is now.
There are some other awesome YA parallel universe stories out there (PARALLEL and THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU are a couple of my faves), so I have to think I’m not alone with my multiverse pop-culture obsession!

It’s hard to believe that Stel’s story is now finished and out in the world for you to read. I hope you enjoy it!

About the Author
A.N. Willis writes YA–sometimes sci-fi, sometimes supernatural, always with heavy doses of action and romance. Her first novel, THE CORRIDOR, was inspired by her love of sci-fi TV shows growing up. She spent too many late nights in high school watching reruns, resulting in a possibly unhealthy obsession with yellow-eyed androids, renegade FBI agents, and wormholes to distant galaxies. When she’s not writing, she’s reading the latest from Stephen King, John Green, Donna Tartt–or anything YA. She feels at home wherever she can see the mountains.

Follow her on Twitter @anwilliswrites

About the Books

Stel Alaster has never known life without the Corridor. It appeared suddenly seventeen years ago, the only portal to a parallel version of our world—Second Earth. Everyone on First Earth fears Mods, the genetically modified Second Earthers who built the Corridor. They are too smart, too strong, and have powers that can’t be controlled. Any Mod found on First Earth is branded, then detained in the Corridor’s research labs.

Only Stel has a dangerous secret. She has a power, too: She can open a portal to Second Earth . . . and several other parallel universes she’s discovered. If anyone ever finds out, she’ll be imprisoned, no better than a Mod or common lab rat.

But when the Corridor starts to fail, emitting erratic bursts of energy that could destroy First Earth, Stel must risk everything to save the people and world she loves. With the help of an escaped Mod and an infuriatingly arrogant boy from a third universe, Stel sets out to unravel the mysteries of the Corridor and stabilize it before it’s too late. The fate of every world lies in the balance. . . .

Time is running out for Stel Alaster. The Corridor, the only portal between First and Second Earth, is failing and the barriers between all twelve worlds are thinning. Using her unique ability to travel through the multiverse, Stel sets out to save the Corridor . . . and ends up discovering a mysterious new world.

In the sequel to The Corridor, will the thirteenth world hold the key to the Corridor’s secrets? Or will the portal implode and take every last universe down with it?

Find on Amazon | Goodreads

Review of SUGAR by Deirdre Riordan Hall

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book for review and I am so excited to share it with you today!

I loved this book like crazy. First of all, Sugar is fat. As in, actually fat. Not just whiny teenager who doesn’t really have problems and is actually quite beautiful fat, but really, truly, years-of-eating-junk fat. It was so refreshing to see a character, especially a teenage character, portrayed with such realism. Sugar didn’t get the way she is on accident and she was well aware of it.

Her mama is a bed-ridden, abusive narcissist and her big brother is a grade A asshole. Kids at school are bullies, much like they are in real life. To cope with being in poverty and being surrounded by people who only want to bring her down, Sugar has turned to food all of her life. (Sadly, this is all so real in everyday people that it hurts.)

Insert: Super Cute Boy with some family issues himself.

The romance between Sugar and Even was so well done, I felt like I was in the middle of it as some mystical third party falling in love with both of them at once. Even saw Sugar as the person she was under all of the fat, under the shield she concocted to protect herself from the world. He complimented her smile, he held her hand at the right moments. He let her be herself. He brought her out of her shell and, although the story is told from Sugar’s perspective, I feel like Sugar brought him out of his shell as well.

Together, she was able to find a meaning in her life, a goal to strive for. No, she didn’t suddenly get skinny and become hot and have everyone in love with her. NO, she didn’t turn into some sappy girl who couldn’t live without her precious Even. She stayed true to herself and he was merely a stepping stone in her transformation. I CAN NOT STRESS ENOUGH how amazing and refreshing it was to read a story with this kind of romance.

I also will not comment on the part that kept me up all night in tears. You’ll get to it when you read it, and you’ll feel the same way. Trust me, this book has ALL THE FEELS in the best way possible.

There are a ton of swoon-worthy passages in this book, but my favorite one, the one that hit me like a pile of bricks and made me grateful for my life was this one:

“I’m brightly aware that this is what normal sounds like.” -pg 75

What I loved about SUGAR was how real it all felt. It reminded me of people I know who deal with the same struggles in much the same way. It gave me hope that relationships can form in ways that help transform you into the person you should be, not the person you want to be to impress some cute guy for no good reason.

This book gives hope as much as it is entertaining. It was beautifully written, which makes it hard to put down. If you liked Eleanor & Park, you’re going to love Sugar.


SUGAR releases on 6/1/2015, but you can pre-order it here on Amazon.
Add SUGAR on Goodreads.

September Book Sorta-Review – SAND Omnibus by Hugh Howey

I just finished my second book of the month & updated my cute little Kindle app screen shot. Because seriously, what’s the point in having a phone that lets you add stickers to it and draw all over the picture if I don’t use those features for something?

Just Finished: Sand Omnibus by Hugh Howey
4 Stars

I absolutely loved Wool and was excited for this new series. Sand is about a life in the future, where the world we know it is covered in nothing but sand. Sand divers don special suits and dive into the sand, pulling up relics and artifacts from the old world below. Life is hard and rough and awful. My favorite part of the entire book was when Palmer dove down to a skyscraper of an old city and got to walk around inside. I really wish the rest of the story dealt with them exploring the old world, but alas, Hugh Howey had another plan.

The story sucked me in from the start and the beautiful writing alone makes it a story worth reading. But I must warn you that just with Wool, Sand leaves you wanting more. You’ll want to know what happened next, what happens after that, and what happens after that. It’s a blessing and a curse when an author writes worlds and characters that you won’t want to let go.