ARC Review & Giveaway: Paris Hemsworth’s Road to Wonderland-Francesca Marlow


cooltext1889161239 copy‘Paris Hemsworth’s Road To Wonderland’ is the second novel in a new adult series, which tells the tale of a seventeen-year-old girl’s tragedy. A tragedy that steers her down an unlikely path full of twists and turns. 
 
     Paris is a naïve, feisty fashionista who floats, carefree, through life in 1990s Manchester, thanks to her three great loves: her gather, her best friend, and her motorbike. Izzy Moffit is a shy, quiet, literature lover who has been surrounded by violence daily, seeking solace in movies and music. The two are an unlikely duo, but since the age of four, they have been inseparable, always promising to be there for each other no matter what?
     That is until one day Paris receives heart-shattering news which turns her life upside-down. Suddenly, their friendship is tested in ways it never has before, and just when things are starting to look up for them, adulthood steps in and kicks them both in unimaginable ways. Paris is forced into a life full of fear, guilt and doubt, which sees her evolve from the feisty, fun young girl she once was into something she never thought she’d be. Weak.Having hit rock bottom, Paris is left with two options: climb the ladder back up or continue to swim in the sea of despair. The first option is easier said than done when you have no hope or faith left, when the loves of your life have all moved on, and you think you’re alone in the world. In the war against addiction, Paris knows it is only a matter of time before something has to give, but she is unable to predict at what cost.
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4/5 Stars
***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author and in correlation with this tour. 
***Contains triggers
When I first started the Road to Wonderland series, I immediately fell in love with Paris. Throughout Izzy’s story, I wondered what happened to make a girl who shined so brightly lose her sparkle, to completely combust and collapse into herself, hiding her beauty from the world. Now I know and it’s heartbreaking. Paris’ journey is full of gritty, honest emotional trauma that is stark in its brutal realism. There’s no sugarcoating. As Paris struggles to deal with her grief, she realizes the parts of herself she loved, are broken beyond repair. What makes it so harrowing is that Paris sees herself deteriorating and feels so low that she believes she’s powerless to help herself. Paris must overcome her past to build a happy future and everyday is a fight to remain in control. It’s dark, painful, and at times, Paris’ feelings of isolation and loss are crippling but incredibly real. 
PROS:
  • Paris is quite the spitfire. She’s saucy, playful, headstrong, and has quite the temper. She blows up and takes everything so personally, she second guesses everything and has no idea of just how amazing she is. What’s so compelling about this book, and the Road to Wonderland series in general is the transformation and growth each character goes through that goes well beyond a simple coming of age story. Paris’ story goes from her teen years into her 30s. So much happens in 15 or so years that is astounding to reflect back on how far she’s come. From a sheltered, boy crazy girl with ambition and passion, to a young woman who as a coping mechanism fell into reckless behavior and self-destruction, to a woman in an abusive relationship polluting her body and soul with drugs and finally to a woman who has found the strength to try living again. Paris’ grief is a toxic cloud that suffocates her soul. She’s lost without her father and instead of dealing with her emotions pushes the loved ones she has left away. Her self-induced isolation and lies further fracture the girl she used to be and destroy what she had the most faith in, her ability to thrive, to keep the promise she made to her father-to have a back bone, to cling to her best friend forever. Her disappointment in herself is gut-wrenching, the way she loses her self-worth inflicts heartache, pain, and pity on the reader. Her deterioration is beyond sad, it’s shattering. I fluctuated between moments of wanting to smack some sense into her, to shake her and say get over it, to forgive and run to Izzy, and to hug her. Paris is stronger than she knows and the sheer fact that she didn’t totally implode is evidence of that will within to live, despite her dire situation. 
  • Each scene is captured with precision. The rave life, the haze of drugs, to come down after the high, it’s all there is glaring detail. The paranoia and exaltation, the out-of-body euphoria and the crash, the sort of shady activities, grime, and delusions are all there and nothing is black and white. Some scenes read as a dreamscape of pleasant feelings and lust only to come slamming down into a nightmare of bad decisions and regret. 
  • Psychological and physical abuse are rough to read. It’s bloody, violence, and the possessive way Daggs rules her body and what happens to it is downright terrifying. Never once is it sexy. It’s disillusioned and twisted. Paris is passive and makes stupid choices but she is shaking, scared into agreeing. You can hardly blame her and what it really illustrates is how one choice can alter our entire lives. 
  • Friendship, more than anything else, is the theme of this story. The simple act of having someone to understand, to get you on a deep level like no one else can be a saving grace. When Izzy pulls away and Paris does nothing to stop her, her life falls to pieces. Izzy had been her rock for so long that without her, she doesn’t know who she is or how to function. Izzy doesn’t ask questions, she knows when to push, sometimes she’s crazy irritating with her pestering but she’s always there when Paris needs her. Paris Hemsworth’s Road to Wonderland is about hope and the staying power of true friends. No matter how long they went without seeing each other, the horrible fights, harsh words, and punches thrown, they always go back to each other and that’s what really counts.
  • Paris has seriously risky sexual encounters with guys. She’s ballsy and when intoxicated, goes after what she wants and won’t take no for an answer. Sex scenes are steamy, especially with the very gorgeous Rob. 
CONS:
  • Some of the terminology and colloquialisms as a non-British reader were a little hard to follow. I had to look up several references and be forewarned some of them are seriously blush-worthy. 
  • There wasn’t enough Izzy to truly get the extent of their friendship. Half the time it felt antagonistic and I didn’t get what they saw in each other. If I hadn’t read Izzy (Book 1) I don’t know that I would have felt their sisterly bond.
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Francesca is a self-confessed drifter, never quite fitting in anywhere until she discovered the love of reading two years ago. Books proved to be non-judgemental, loyal and thought provoking, so much so that she was inspired to create her own world. A world where she could channel her every day thoughts and emotions to deal with the daily grind which we call ‘life’.
Francesca’s biggest accomplishments to date are the two little ladies that share her heart, closely followed by the one thing she is very proud to say: “I wrote a bloody novel!” She’s a Yorkshire lass and a secret romantic at heart, with an eclectic taste in music and a great love for films-all of which continue to be a source of creativity as well as deserved relaxation moments.

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Enter for your chance to win an ebook of Izzy Moffit’s Road to Wonderland by Victoria L. James or an ebook of Without Consequence by L.J. Stock and Victoria L. James

Other Books in the Series

Izzy Moffit’s Road to Wonderland  by Victoria L James (book 1)

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