That’s right folks, yet another blog tour! I promise this is the last blog tour for a while
it better be, for my sanity … so we’ll be back to regular posting soonish but before that happens I must introduce you to The Coronation by Livy Jarmusch!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Livy Jarmusch is a dreamer, singer, songwriter and orphan advocate. As the founder of Crown of Beauty Magazine, she strives to reach young women and inspire them to realize their true worth in Christ. She loves fairy-tales, the smell just after it rains, golden retriever puppies and peppermint ice-cream cones. If you really want to get to know her, follow her on Pinterest, and if you find yourself repinning everything, you’re sure to be the best of friends! To join this princess on her pilgrimage through life, follow on instagram @livylynnglittergirl & Pinterest @livyglittergirl
Thank you for joining us at Penumbra Reviews, Livy! I was so excited when I learned about The Coronation. Is this your first published work?
Aw, thank you so much for having me Sari! I know how precious your Blog Space is and I just feel super honored that you invited me into your little living room here online to chat! The Coronation is my first novel, but it’s not my first published book. My first, Beauty Boys and Ball Gowns was a collaboration I did with a handful of writer friends where we tackled topics that teen girls deal with on a daily basis. My second, Secrets of Royalty is a 31 Day devotional, and then Regal Hearts is a digital Kindle series which is fiction, yet it’s released in a weekly ‘episodically’ format. (If you’re interested you can actually read the first episode of Regal Hearts for free on my website! www.livylynnblog.com)
Where did you get the idea for The Coronation?
That’s such a great question! I actually got the idea for The Coronation back when I was around sixteen or seventeen. It was during a time in my life when I had so many different story ideas swirling around, I really didn’t know where to begin! It was also a season of life where I had yet to finish and complete a single story idea (writers, you know what I’m talking about!). I was fascinated by the concept of a modern day monarchy, and I enjoyed exploring the possibilities as to what kind of experiences a family growing up in such a world might encounter. It’s hard for me to pinpoint my exact “Ah-ha!” moment, or know what inspired the initial idea. I think it was just one of those stories that I’ve always been carrying around somewhere in my soul, ever since I was a little girl. (What little girl doesn’t dream of castles and Princesses?) The first half, of the first draft of The Coronation was actually written when I was a teenager. The story has changed quite a bit since then!
How long does it take you to write a novel, start to finish?
I dabbled with the first draft of The Coronation for about a year when I was a teenager, then I got completely bogged down, discouraged, and almost threw the story away entirely! Life got busy, and I graduated High School, and started pursuing other dreams. All of my writing had been put on the back burning. It wasn’t until the spring of 2016 that I felt that strong desire to write again, stir up inside. I returned to The Coronation and started re-thinking some things. I worked on it until November, then had a few beta-readers take a glance at it! Then I edited from January until June! The Coronation was a really long, drawn out process for me, simply because I had written much of the story in my earlier years and it was in dire need of a massive amount of editing, reworking, and then editing some more! But the sequel, which is called, The Rebellion, was an entirely different story! I wrote The Rebellion in a month and a half! At this point, I don’t think I’ve written enough books yet to say what my ‘typical’ process is, or how long it takes me to write, because each book has been so very different. I think books are kind of like children, they’re all so unique and take on a completely different life of their own!
Who was your favorite character to write about?
I think my favorite character to write about was Hanson Fletcher. He’s in the opening scene, and gets sucked into this story in quite an abrupt and unexpected way. Because of the situation of his rough background and challenging family life, you instantly feel compassion for him and want everything to be okay! I love writing about him because he has a lot of layers, and even though there is a bit of a mystery about him, more will be uncovered in further books, which is exciting, as an author. (And hopefully exciting for the readers too!)
Was there any specific character that was easier to write about?
Millie! Millie is the spunky eight-year-old Princess who has a wild imagination and boundless amounts of energy! She is such a joy and I can’t help but smile every time I think about her. It was quite easy for me to write about her, because all I had to do was think about myself as an eight-year-old and boom: there was Millie! Millie has a lot of myself in her, so that’s probably why she was such a blast to write.
Is there anything that you didn’t originally plan that become part of The Coronation?
Yes! Because the story continued to change over the course of several years, a lot of things were changed and added. One of them being, Hanson Fletcher’s character. Looking back, I can’t even imagine how this story would’ve worked without Hanson. Strangely enough, the first scene of the book was one of the last scenes I wrote. It was a last-minute add-on, because I wanted to reveal more about Hanson’s backstory. Initially readers would have known even less about Hanson, but I really love how it worked out.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It depends on the day! Haha. Brainstorming totally energizes me! I love plotting and developing characters and connecting ideas that don’t seem like they should go together, yet somehow finding a way to make it work! But the actual writing part of the process, is a bit more draining! That’s the part that that takes practice, patience, and persistence. Sometimes, when I’m writing an intense action scene, I will actually feel exhausted afterword, as if I’ve been the one fighting the bad guys, and performing the stunts! I’ve also noticed that if I write a super intense scene, I’ll get really really hungry afterword! I must be burning up a lot of brain power! Haha.
What was the hardest scene to write in The Coronation?
The last scene. Just because I wanted it to be absolutely perfect. I’ve heard it said that the last chapter of your story is the most important, and if it doesn’t leave the readers excited and wanting more, then you’ve pretty much failed. So I tried very, very hard to craft exactly what I wanted, leaving the readers with a whisper of hope for what is to come in the future. 😉
What are your writing plans for the future?
Well, I’m continuing to write Regal Hearts, which is my digital Kindle series. Season 2 will be released this Fall! I’m also excited to release the sequel for The Tales of Tarsurella trilogy. I don’t have a release date yet, but it’s such a blast to hear that those who have already read the first book are anxiously awaiting the next one! Talk about a writers dream come true! I also have several other story ideas up my sleeve, but I am trying to pace myself and just take this writing journey one day at a time!
How do you want to impact your readers?
One of my prayers has been that the Lord would use my writing to encourage and inspire the creativity in others. I know many young writers who dream of writing, but are a bit timid when it comes to the idea of actually stepping out and making their dreams happen. There are so many doubts, obstacles, and things that writers must overcome both mentally in order to move forward!
My writing is far from perfect. I know that. There are so many areas that I need to grow in as a writer, but I’ve made the decision to release various works as I journey forward throughout this process. That can be kind of (okay REALLY) scary. Part of me thinks, “Oh no, maybe I should wait until my writing improves. What if someone reads this book, finds my flaws, and never wants to read another one of my books again?!”
Releasing what you’ve written is really vulnerable. It’s like you’re taking your heart and handing it to someone, giving them the full right to stomp all over it, slam you with a bad review, and give you One Star on Amazon.
But what we have to remember (both as writers and readers) is that the finished product, really isn’t the “Ultimate Showcase of our Potential and Talent.” It’s simply a glimpse into where I’m at in the process of my life right now. Hopefully, five years from now, I’ll look back and these stories and say, “Wow, look at this cute little scrapbook, showing where I was at in my life at that point. Yikes, my writing has gotten far better, but I’m not going to beat myself up over that. Hopefully this will give aspiring writers an example of the fact that they do not have to be perfect when they begin!”
Whenever I read novels written by famous authors, I gulp and say, “There’s no way I’m ever going to be this good!” And I think that’s what stops many writers. They don’t move forward, because they feel that they fall short of the “industry standard.” But we have to remember that our favorite authors have been working hard at honing their craft for years. We’re just getting started!
So I hope that my writing will inspire others to take courage and take the first step, in the right direction! There are so many things you can do today that will get you closer to your dreams of tomorrow! Start writing. Turn off your inner critic, and write whatever comes to your mind. Don’t judge it, just write! Every author has a starting point, and I hope that others watching my imperfect journey will be inspired to say, “Hey, if she can take those wobbly first steps in the right direction with a fearless attitude, then so can I.”
What’s the hardest part of writing for you in general?
Honestly, it’s being concerned about what other people think about me. God has really used this process of opening up my heart and releasing my stories, to show my areas in my life where I place way too much stock in what other people think about me! Proverbs says that the fear of man is a snare, and God doesn’t want us wrapped up in that mess. He wants us to be free! Free to express ourselves through creative outlets of song, stories, and friendship! Free to inspire and encourage others, without worrying what might happen if they reject what you give them. The hard truth is, not everybody is going to like you. But the Lord is teaching me that this is totally okay! My Heavenly Father adores me, and that is all I need! I’m learning that I can write and release without fear, because man’s opinion is simply just that: man’s opinion. Like Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” The opinions of others don’t need to sway us. We can be confident in who we are in Christ, no matter what others are saying.
What got left out, if anything, in the final draft of The Coronation?
A whole lot of extra, pointless, details! Haha!
And finally, what advice would you give an inspiring author?
Have courage. Don’t worry about what others think of you. Be confident in your identity in Christ, and don’t ever give up! So long as you keep going, you’re going to make it. Embrace the process and don’t beat yourself up over your flaws in imperfections. Enjoy where God is leading you, and take things one step, one day, one word at a time.
Thank you so much, once again, Livy, for answering my questions. 🙂 Your answers were really inspiring and I loved hearing more about you and The Coronation.
Now … onto the review!
ABOUT THE CORONATION
Prince Addison is only several weeks away from inheriting the Kingdom of Tarsurella. The entire Palace is ablaze with excitement, as the Royal Family prepares for the event of a lifetime. Despite the exciting event which is near at hand, Addison and his younger siblings (all seven of them!) must carry on with their daily activities. Meanwhile, Princess Chasity is dealing with her own fragile affairs of the heart. Her new security guard, Hanson Fletcher, is completely captivating, yet entirely frustrating. She attempts to keep the entrance of her heart firmly protected, while following the wisdom of Proverbs 4:23. But can she be successful in guarding her heart, from her security guard?
Honestly The Coronation is reallly hard for me to rate. I loved some parts of it and … other parts didn’t really work with me. First off, I feel the need to mention that
**I was given a free arc in exchange for an honest review**
and more importantly
*THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE ARC. Edits have taken place since the version that I read and the version released on the market. I’m hoping to read the version that is on the market to see the improvements myself, and be able to re-review it but for the time being this is a review of the ADVANCED READER COPY which doesn’t have all the edits that the new version does.**
Alright, thanks for reading that. I’m glad to get that out of the way, though it did need mentioning.
Because this is slightly hard to review I’m going to be breaking it down slightly differently …
I really enjoyed the plot. It was fluffy and very slightly cheesy for quite a bit of it, qhich isn’t my normal type of book but it made me fangirl and squeal. 😛 The twists and turns were amazing, and I would never have guessed the plot twists.
A lot of it centered around romance, but it was nice and compared to other secular books relatively drama free. I actually really liked how the romance all worked out in the end, it all turned out very Christian and refreshingly, not everyone randomly jumped into a relationship. The action balanced it out pretty well, and I didn’t grow bored of the plot at any part of the story after about 40% of the way through the book.
The first 30% of the book was fairly slow though, and I found myself putting it down quite often. At this point it was mostly fluff and the introduction of characters, though like I said after the 40% mark it really sped up.
I honestly think there were way too many characters. I had a really hard time keeping track of them, especially in that first 30% of the book. I feel like the royal family could have been slightly smaller, and there probably didn’t need to be the large amount of friends and guards and assorted people that there were. My poor swiss-cheese like reader brain was greatly confused. XDAnother problem that I seriously had was that basically every character had a perspective (which would be third-person omniscient, which is a style I honestly really don’t like, and didn’t think was particularly well done here, in my personal opinion). This added the bonus layer of going into basically everyone’s head, including, what I felt to be the unimportant people.
That being said … I liked quite a few of the characters. At times the boy love-interests blended together a little bit, but once I got them sorted out in my mind I really liked them, especially David. I really loved Millie; she was so adorable! Also I really admired Hope and how strong she was. The King, and Clark were both amazing too, Vanessa was fantastic, and I loved a bunch of the other characters.
Bridget though, I had some problems with. For the first 90% of the book (after I had all the characters in track in my head) she honestly bugged me quite a bit. From about the 50%-90% mark she came off as stuck-up, irritable, unreasonable and just annoying. I know there was a reason for that, but I didn’t really like her. I think she was supposed to be sort of unlikable at this point but I reaaally didn’t like her. I didn’t like her reasoning at all, even at the end of the book, and honestly, she was just pretty snobby. But eh, if this was her purpose it was actually written pretty well. 😉
This, my dears, is where I had an actual problem with the book. Like I said
**I have been told by the lovely author herself that the book has been edited and re-edited since I received an edition. This review is from the before edition, and I can only remark upon what I saw there**
From the edition that I had the book honestly needed a thorough edit from a professional. I’m excited to, when I can, get a copy of the published edition, but until then …
In all honesty, the poor editing really affected my entire viewing of the book. The copy that I had was riddled with typos, had way too much head-hopping in my opinion, had at least one character’s name spelling randomly switch after two or three uses, described the color of characters eyes what seemed like a million times, had quite a few random rabbit trail background info dumps, had random capitalization of things and, just … yeah. There were quite a few other things too. Honestly it just hurt me a little bit? On several occasions I really wished instead of reading the copy for review I was offering critiques to the author as a beta-reader to fix the errors.
If this had a thorough edit before I read it, the book would honestly be at a four or maybe even five star rating for me, with all the errors in the advance copy that I read though, most of the writing just felt, unfortunately amateur. I can’t say anything about the published copy, and I’m hoping it’s much better, though.
Unfortunately, as it is apt to do, the poor editing affected the writing a great deal. If I had a clean copy with all the mistakes fixed, I could say that the writing was very smooth, and very easy to read. I love the heart Livy puts into everything, and the Christianity was written so beautifully in the speeches and such. Livy has a true gift for her elegant yet simple language that touches the heart.
The content/faith (Bad content lowering the score): 5/5
The Christianity was really beautiful in here. There was a bit of violence and such throughout the story, but nothing more than a ten year old couldn’t handle.
On the subject of Christianity though, it was so strong throughout the book that I feel like anyone who doesn’t already have a pretty strong faith, or anyone who isn’t a Christian at all, would find the book very difficult to get through. The audience for this book is definitely Christians.
All in all I can only give the book that I read 3/5 stars
I’m looking forward to maybe picking up the published copy, like I’ve said and reading that. Until then, I’m going to be looking out for other published works by Livy, and I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel of The Coronation! If you’re a Christian girl from the ages of 12-18 I’d probably recommend picking up a copy of The Coronation, though I personally can’t vouch for how well edited the published copy is.
Overall, I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to read and review The Coronation and meet Livy and be introduced to her books! I’m hoping if any of you pick up The Coronation you enjoy the plot and ending just as much as I did (I don’t think I mentioned this in the review but I was in love with the ending. 😛 )
I think that’s about all, as this post is getting huge but also, before you go head over to www.livylynnblog.com to check out the rest of the blog tour and see where that’s happening.
Thank you all for reading and bearing with me through all the reviews and blog tours (whew, that was a lot of work though it was all worth it and I’m glad it happened.) I’ll be back on Monday, hopefully, with an actual post but until then …
I can’t think of anything to say here but … eh. Let’s just chat in the commmments because I’d love to see what and how y’all are doing!