Blog Tour Part 2: Liz Maccie Talks about the Importance of Research

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 For Part 1 of the LINAMA Blog Tour Click Here.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, Today I bring you Ms. Maccie’s thoughts on the importance of research when writing a novel. Many of us know research is an important part of the writing process, but sometimes we forget how crucial it is we do it. Especially when it comes to young adult fiction. Many young adult writers have not been teenagers for several years (and sometimes more than a decade) and it is important we immerse ourselves in a teenager environment. Thank you Ms. Maccie for taking the time to write this for my blog. Without further ado, Ms. Maccie:

Ms. Liz Maccie:

Since I had been out of high school for many years once I started writing “Lesson I Never Learned…” it was important for me to do some hands on research.  I had the wonderful opportunity to go back to my old high school and spend an entire day talking to kids and simply observing a day in the life of a teenager.  It’s funny because many things were how I remembered them to be, but then there were other aspects that I didn’t clearly remember.  One of my favorite parts of my day of research was walking back out to the reservoir behind the school.  The way it looked and sounded and smelled was so specific.  I even found a poem posted to a tree stump that I wound up putting in the book.  It certainly isn’t necessary, but since I was essentially writing about my old high school, it was a wonderful thing to get to go back and allow for my memory and imagination tmarry one another.
 
Besides that day, I really spent time looking back into my own past.  There are fragments of my personal experience woven throughout the entire book and in every character’s story.  So I feel there was an element of “personal research.”  I wrote down an entire list of events that had happened to me and deciphered which I most wanted to talk about.  I would say it was pretty obvious to me the issues I wanted to try and tackle right from the very beginning.  When writing a novel, you really need to open your own life up to be examined.  I do think it’s true, we write what we know, but sometimes its beneficial to research what we know.  What I mean by this is that you really have to get honest with yourself.  You have to do some personal excavation in order to tell the truth about things and that isn’t always easy.  
 
I was also lucky enough, at the time I was writing this novel, to be volunteering at a couple of schools with an organization called “The Young Storytellers.”  This is a fabulous group who helps kids find their voice and then write their very own screenplay, which eventually gets acted out by professional actors.  So even though these kids were younger, I think just being around kids was a great way to do research.  Really, when it comes down to it, we all care very much about a lot of the same things.  We all want to matter.  We all want to love and to be loved.  Kids are so candid and real.  It was great research to just be around such youthful honest energy.   

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AUTHOR BIO

Liz Maccie was born and raised in New Jersey and attended Bucknell University.  After college, she moved out to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film and television writing.  She has had two movies produced, “The Thirst” and “Black and Blue.”  She went on to work at The Disney Channel until she found a home at the breakout ABC Family show, “Make it or Break it.”  She is currently adapting the wildly popular YA book, “The List” for MTV as a television show.  “Lessons” is Liz’s debut novel.

If you would like to know more about Liz Maccie or follow her on social media:

LINKS

Websitehttp://lizmaccie.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LizMaccieAuthor

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/Lmaccie

Purchase LINLAMA: http://diversionbooks.com/ebooks/lessons-i-never-learned-meadowbrook-academy

Blog Tour Part 1: Lessons I Never Learned at Meadowbrook Academy by Liz Maccie

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Disclaimer: Thank you Diversion Books and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this wonderful book in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this book for free does not sway my opinion.

Today is the fourth day of the Lesson I Never Learned at Meadowbrook Academy Blog Tour and I am happy to participate in the tour of this wonderful book. I’ve divided today’s festivities into two posts. Part 1 (which is this post) will focus on my thoughts of the book and such. Part 2 will consist of Ms. Liz Maccie’s guest post that she was so kind enough to write for my blog. Click Here to check out Part 2.

Lessons I Never Learned at Meadowbrook Academy (Small)

BOOK DESCRIPTION

“Liz Maccie’s debut novel is as tough, optimistic, and beautiful as her heroine, Roberta Romano. Roberta’s voice is heartfelt and funny. Her story is exceptionally moving and honest. I love this book and the hope it has for young women everywhere.” —Stephen Chbosky, New York Times bestselling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The most important lessons aren’t learned in the classroom.

It’s the first day of sophomore year for Roberta Romano, but instead of the comfort of her local high school, she’s been thrust into the elitist embrace of the affluent Meadowbrook Academy.

Surrounded by wealth, Roberta battles her own insecurities to prove her worth and maybe land the boy of her dreams. With the help of two unlikely allies—and an inflatable toy raft—Roberta embarks upon a journey of dark secrets and self-discovery to learn the true meaning of friendship and acceptance.

“Roberta will charm and delight you with a voice that’s candid, hilarious, and hopeful, as she narrates her first day at a new high school, reminding us of the epic nature of each hour in our adolescent lives. Lessons I Never Learned at Meadowbrook Academy will make you laugh, cringe, cry, and cheer for the power of friendships that can change us in a single day.” —Ava Dellaira, author of Love Letters to the Dead

“You wish your first day of prep school was this epic! Every single page of Lessons I Never Learned sparkles with heart and humor. Like a teenage Bridget Jones, Roberta Romano will make you laugh, cry, and cringe as she tries to navigate her first day at Meadowbrook Academy. She finds friends and enemies, earns detentions and serious respect, and makes memories that will last her a lifetime.” —Siobhan Vivian, author of The List

Review:

Our narrator is none other than Roberta Romano. She is a spunky Italian teenager that will leave you laughing or cringing (in a good way) every step of the way. Roberta is a sort of oxymoron because she is just like your average teenager and at the same time, she is not. She has characteristics that a teenager and even someone much older can relate to because we have all thought the same things and acted similarly when we were that age.

What I really loved about LINLAMA is that it talks about issues that should be talked about. Ms. Maccie does a wonderful job at not only making a relatable character, but also showing her grow and learn some very important lessons along the way.

There are a few sections in the book that captured my attention and that truly spoke to me and made me pause and reflect on what I had just read and realize how true those statements were. Here are a couple of those statements:

“Next time I was told by someone they had experienced the most amazing food ever, I would remember to ask who they were with and what they were doing before I asked what they were eating.”

“In my life, I have cried a lot. And I have felt really bad about many things. To be honest, I’ve always thought that no one else in the world could possibly understand just how much things hurt sometimes. But sitting there, watching Annie, thinking about everything the three of us had shared day, I realized that there is a lot of pain in the world. And I’m not the only one who feels it.”

It is very important for YA authors to write these type of realizations into characters. Teenagers today need to hear they are not alone when it comes to suffering and pain. That the meal they eat isn’t so much about the food being eaten, but the company that they are sharing it with. I would have loved to had read this book 10 years ago when I was a freshman in high school myself and I could have understood sooner that in this life YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It may feel like you are at times, but you are not, correction, We are not alone.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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AUTHOR BIO

Liz Maccie was born and raised in New Jersey and attended Bucknell University.  After college, she moved out to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film and television writing.  She has had two movies produced, “The Thirst” and “Black and Blue.”  She went on to work at The Disney Channel until she found a home at the breakout ABC Family show, “Make it or Break it.”  She is currently adapting the wildly popular YA book, “The List” for MTV as a television show.  “Lessons” is Liz’s debut novel.

If you would like to know more about Liz Maccie or follow her on social media:

LINKS

Website: http://lizmaccie.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LizMaccieAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lmaccie

Purchase LINLAMA: http://diversionbooks.com/ebooks/lessons-i-never-learned-meadowbrook-academy

Mini Reviews #2: Control by Lydia Kang and The Archived by Victoria Schwab

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Goodreads Summary:

When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn’t even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

Review:

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O. M. G. Those three letters sum up this book in its entirety. I LOVED it. Absolutely, Freaking, Loved it. This book makes my science fiction inner nerd happy. All the science and the abnormal qualities most of the characters had made me love it even more. At times I felt like I was in the future X-men world. I don’t want to give anything away about this book (which is why I’m writing this tiny review on it), but I will tell you to read it. I devoured this book in a few hours and it has stayed with me. That reminds me, I should go see when the sequel is coming out…

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

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Goodreads Summary:

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what she once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

Review:

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I want to hug this book. Ugh. I can’t even. This book is haunting. It is exhilarating. It makes you see the world in a whole other way. Like it makes me like turn into the Southern California girl I have buried deep inside me and horrible grammar and words that add nothing to the sentence (ex: like) spew out of me. But my Dear Lord, I don’t even know what to really say about this book except, please read it. I can’t explain it. I won’t. Just read it. PLEASE.

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Rating: 5 out of freaking 5

Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

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Goodreads Summary:

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

My Initial Thoughts:

I really can’t write anything here this time… Why? because it’s been so long, I have no clue what I had initially thought.

Review:

(WARNING: TONS OF SPOILERS BELOW!)

One year. That’s how long it took me to read this book. Why? Not because it was bad, but because of the FEELS.

Metias was my favorite character until Ms. Lu killed him off. I read a few more pages after that and stopped. I was furious. It took several months of convincing on behalf of Kayla, and me [sort of] getting over Metias’ death to the point that I was able to continue to read Legend.

Oh my gosh, the action… it was so good! I was at the edge of my seat the entire time. And when June decided to help Day escape, OMG, I was biting my nails because of how anxious and stressed I was. I almost couldn’t take it. (This is where I questioned my sanity and told myself I was crazy for putting this book down in the first place all those months ago.)

What really surprised me was Metias leaving a blog behind for June to find. Metias seemed like such a goody-good that in no way did I think of his death as fishy at first or that he would do such a thing. And. Oh My Word, I couldn’t believe that Thomas killed Metias… he killed his own best friend! Now that was a twist I did not even see coming. Apparently, I didn’t see a lot of things coming.

I had all this stuff I wanted to talk about, making this review more analytic and well thought-out, but this review has now boiled down to me just fangirling and I shall be okay with that. :)

Legend is a great first book, and darnet, I cannot wait to read the rest of the trilogy.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Friday Reads

Hello fellow readers! Veronica here emerging from the black hole of being computer-less for the last couple of weeks. I hope every single one of you is having a wonderful Friday. (If this post is formatted funky, I do apologize. I’m writing and editing this post on my iPhone.)

I’ve seen booktubers do #FridayReads and I’ve heard it started out on Twitter, don’t know which is true, but here I am today sharing with you what I am currently reading at the moment.

In Time (Darkest Minds #1.5) by Alexandra Bracken

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Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu

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I’ve had to gather tons of courage to read these two books. I’m still wary because of the feels I will start feeling soon.

What are you planning on reading this fine Friday? Any feel inducing books like I am?

ARC Book Review: The Edge of You by Theresa DaLayne

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First of all I want to thank Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books/Bloomsbury Spark for providing me with an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. You guys are the best!

Goodreads Summary:

He left home to escape. She made a new life out of guilt. Neither one expected to find love—but not even the Arctic can cool this steamy romance.

Maya knows she’s doing the right thing by moving to Alaska with her parents, but that doesn’t mean she has to be happy about it. Forced to give up a scholarship to a prestigious art school, she relocates to a Podunk town with one college the size of her high school cafeteria, all to help hold her family together after the death of her little sister. But a fresh start can only do so much.

Jake doesn’t like handouts and he certainly doesn’t need any distractions. Working on a salmon boat in Kodiak, Alaska is the only way to pay for his mother’s surgery back in the lower forty-eight. Juggling college courses and constant worry about his mother’s health, Jake couldn’t imagine anything else fitting into his life. That is, until he meets Maya, the sexy Californian artist who tints his world in technicolor.

But when Maya’s family starts to crumble and Jake’s mom takes a turn for the worse, will they drag each other down, or can they find what they were missing all along?

In this new adult romance, Theresa DaLayne paints a swoon-worthy story about life under the midnight sun, following your heart, and learning to live on the edge.

Review:

As I’m sitting here thinking how to start this review there are only two words that come to mind… chocolate cakeThe Edge of You is a delicious guilty pleasure you cannot get enough of, just like a slice of triple chocolate cake. All this cake talk makes me want some.

Alright, Let’s get serious here.

really like both Maya’s and Jake’s character. At times Maya might have seem whiny and a little… over the top, but honestly once you see the burden she’s caring and what’s going on at home, you change your mind about her. I did! Jake is also going through some tough stuff. I felt like he was more mature in the way he handled things than Maya did, but he did have to grow up from a young age so there is that.

The beginning of Jake and Maya’s relationship and how it continued throughout the book felt very natural to me. I felt like I was reading a true story, something that could happen in real life. It also made me want to visit Alaska and that’s not something I would normally say. Trust me on that. I like the cold, but I’m not in love with it.

I do wish we could have seen more of Maya’s family before the tragedy and her best friend. Her best friend is a riot and I really wished she would have had a few more scenes in that book. She kinda brought some life and a bit of comedic relief to the story.

Overall, I advise you to read it. It’s the perfect read for a cold rainy day. (Don’t forget to eat some cake while you’re eating it!)

The Edge of You is now available for purchase in the United States.

Rating: 4/5

Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read list

TopTenTuesdayThank you to The Broke and The Bookish for this wonderful meme! If you want to learn how to participate, click here and check it out. Promise you won’t regret it.  :)

Well hello everyone… You’re shocked that I have made an appearance right? Me too! Texas has been interesting and I’m so homesick for California. Let’s all pray and think positively that I will soon be transferred back. This week we have Top Ten Books On My Fall To-Be-Read list. My list is a mix of books that are coming out soon and books that have been on my TBR for a while. (And I’m sorry no pictures of the books this week)

1. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

2. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

3. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Mass

4. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Mass

5. Slammed by Colleen Hoover

6. Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover

7. This Girl by Colleen Hoover

8. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennett by Bernie Su & Kate Rorick

9. Afterworld by Scott Westerfeld

10. The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Do we have any books in common? What are you dying to read this fall? Please let me know down below! :)