Thursday, March 18, 2021

A Book Review: The Wedding

    Hey, everyone! Thanks for waiting this long for me to post another review. For some reason I haven't been reading a lot of books recently, or can't remember enough about the ones I want to review. Maybe I'll switch to weekly Friday updates...

    Today I'm excited to feature The Wedding, yet another book written by the lovely Livy Jarmusch and the third installment in the ongoing Tales of Tarsurella series! Usually I stop at book number one or two, but this post marks the first series that I've fully reviewed. So now you can find all three books here, with all of their content warnings and things to know about. Yay! 🎉

    This review has no spoilers.

    (The discussion questions will have spoilers, since they are supposed to be used after reading the book.)

(Note: Check out my review of the first book HERE, the second book HERE, and an exclusive interview with the author HERE.)

Title: The Wedding

Author: Olivia Lynn Jarmusch

Series: This is the third in an ongoing series about the royals of Tarsurella.

Targeted Age Range: 14+

Synopsis: Vanessa Bennett is living in a real-life fairytale. Now that she's engaged to the man of her dreams, The Palace Staff is consumed with wedding preparation. The upcoming event is no small affair, as Vanessa is bombarded with hundreds of decisions she needs to make before the wedding date arrives. Amidst the endless details concerning dresses, decorations and napkins, a greater question looms: is Vanessa truly ready to become Queen? As tensions rise within Tarsurella, the role of joining her betrothed in governing an ever-shifting nation is no small task. Will she crack under the pressure?

Meanwhile, Jane Akerly is hoping to awaken from a nightmare. Her father has been missing for months. Advised to accept the harsh reality that he may never return, Jane isn't ready to give up. She finds comfort in the one place she's always run to for escape-her daydreams. Her imagination has the power to carry her across the ocean, stroll the streets of London, and imagine that all is well. In an unexpected turn of events, Jane is given the opportunity to create the future of her dreams-but will her pen be enough to save her?

Language: "Geesh" is used once, as well as "stupid". A few hurtful insults are flown during arguments.

Violence: The Wedding includes mentions of a kidnapping (carried over from the previous book) and several scenes where characters are in mortal danger or under the threat of mortal danger.

Romance/Sexual Stuff: Like in the last two books, this story also is centered around romance, especially teenage desires and feelings. Most of the main characters have a love interest, or at least a budding relationship with a member of the opposite sex. A few mentions of attraction and non-detailed kissing. In this story (referenced in the title) an engaged couple pursue planning their wedding while also figuring out what a strong marriage and engagement looks like. Another subplot of this particular book deals with the possibility of a blended family, as one widower seeks to pursue another woman.

Spiritual Elements: The Tales of Tarsurella is a Christian book series. Praying, following God's will for your life, having a Godly view on romance, are featured, as well as various Scripture passages and Biblical concepts.

Magic: None

References: There are references to TV shows (Say Yes to the Dress, I Found the Gown), social media platforms (YouTube), Hallmark movies, horse derby terms, and various well-known food brands like Oreos and Pringles. 

Other Issues: A few of the main characters lie about their intentions or actions, believing it's better for others if they don't know the truth. There is one instance where a girl runs away from authority.

Where To Buy: The Wedding is available on Amazon, eBay, Abebooks, Book Depository, Alibris, and Better World Books.

My Age Range: I think kids aged 14 and up would enjoy this book the most. 

Read Aloud: I think this book would be better read alone.

My Opinion: After tearing through The Coronation and The Rebellion, I was so excited when The Wedding came in the mail. Throughout this series, Livy has continued to pursue high standards in her writing and subject matter, and I was pleased to discover even more of that here.

    The Wedding not only intensifies the ongoing conflict among the Tarsurella royals, the uprising of the democratic-minded young adults, and the kidnapping of Walter Akerly, but tackles the issues of unconditional love, following Jesus' example in life, and Godly marriage in today's world using an ever-growing, ever-relatable cast of characters. With every new installment the author makes her series even more enticing and wonderful. After reading the book myself, I especially liked how she handled Asher's character arc as well as Jillian's struggles with the opportunity of a stepparent.

    Again, I'd recommend The Wedding (and the rest of the Tarsurella books!) to any story-loving teen who wants to find a series that will bring them closer to God, and give them a memorable adventure too. This would also be a great pick for a mother-daughter book club, or just a fun opportunity to discuss pursuing relationships well with friends or family members. I, personally, can't wait for the next book!

Discussion Questions:

-After reading, what was your favorite scene in The Wedding? Why did you pick that one?

-Oftentimes in the series the media is portrayed as heartless and calculating, only searching for a hot story to grace their magazine covers. Do you think this is a fairly accurate representation of most news outlets today? Why or why not? If most of the Tarsurella reporters really saw the "big picture" of the Asher situation and the recent monarchy protests, do you think they would change their articles to better line with the facts?

-How does Walter Akerly's kidnapping affect his daughter, Jane, both life-wise and personally? Give examples from the story to support your answer. What's your opinion of Jane as a character and why?

-Out of all of the subplots in The Wedding, which did you feel influenced the story the most? Which impacted you the most?

-Through her marriage to King Addison you can see how far Vanessa has come as a person since her first appearance in The Coronation. What has Vanessa learned about the royals of Tarsurella? What has she learned about herself?

-Princess Chastity and Hanson Fletcher's "dance with danger" impacted the two of them in very different ways. Through their not-so-great relationship, what has Chastity learned about God and herself? What has Hanson learned about himself and his past, if anything? If you could give advice to Chastity and Hanson regarding their relationship, what would you tell them?

    Thanks so much for looking at The Wedding with me! I am so happy that you were able to join me. Stay tuned for any news regarding Book 4 on here and on Livy's website, as I'm sure I will be very excited about reading it when it comes out.

    If you've read The Coronation, The Rebellion, or The Wedding already, drop me a comment and let me know what you thought! I would love to find more Tales of Tarsurella fans to chat with and get to know. If you've read about the series but don't think it's for you, please consider recommending the books to someone you know that may be interested. 

    Like always, I am open to review requests AND now interview requests. Take a look at my Review Policy page and let me know if there's a book, series, or author you'd like for me to feature on here.

    Next week, I was planning to do another book review, but this time I'm going to participate in a blog tag post.

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