Blog Tour & ARC Review: Max Colton’s Road to Wonderland-H.A. Robinson

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Growing up with certain expectations and your entire life mapped out for you is never easy, but when the bar is set impossibly high, most would give up.
 
Not Max Colton.
 
Even as a child, his father is unrelenting. Discipline, rules and rigid control are all he knows. Nothing Max does is good enough, and no matter how hard he works, approval and recognition are always just out of reach.
 
From boarding school to university, Max gets a glimpse of the freedom he’s always been denied, and learns unexpected things about himself along the way. When he somehow finds himself thrust back under his father’s iron rod of control, that freedom proves harder to let go of than he anticipated and he finds himself caught in a balancing act between his lifelong battle for his father’s approval and living out his own hopes and dreams.
 
With loves found and lost and his friends at his side, Max has to navigate through the world one step at a time. People aren’t always as they seem, and every stone unturned reveals a new challenge, bringing him closer to a future that has always seemed elusive and uncertain.
 
A future that holds success, freedom and love he never expected to have.
 
A future that will offer loyal friends and a home that isn’t confined to a building.
 
A future that leads him to Wonderland.
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4.5/5 Stars
Max Colton’s Road to Wonderland is an intense, emotional whirlwind. Filled with heartbreaking moments of inadequacy, fear, self-loathing, and confusion, Max’s trip to wonderland is as bumpy and compelling as the others.

One of the more impressive elements of the Wonderland series is that each book is brutally honest, no-holds-barred on the emotional turmoil and all around terrible lives the characters have experience. Nothing is as perfect as it seems on the surface, everyone is going through something and it’s the particular magic captured on pages that anyone can relate to. Some stories will hit closer to home than others and it may be rough but it’s worth the ride.

Max’s fear is crippling and debilitating to the extent that he visible flinches and stutters around his father. The constant disappointment and incurable need to seek his approval is moving and achingly sad to read. No matter how mean, no matter how he lies and manipulates him, he’s still his dad and that’s everything. Max is desperate for some semblance of control when he feels his father has a hand in every major choice. The pressure within himself escalates to a toxic, explosive level. Everything in Max’s life is carefully controlled and choices are made with his father in mind. The physical and psychological effects are like an nasty case of PTSD. Every ounce of pain and fear Max suffers, you’ll feel it, deeply and thoroughly. There’s a sense that he’ll never escape from under his father’s thumb as Max continues to sacrifice his own happiness in a hopeless attempt to appease his father.

What I loved about this story is not only Max’s powerful, raw voice but the series of relationships explored. Each woman Max feels affection towards is different; Annabelle brings light and laughter to his life, he can finally relax and ease the tension gripping his body through exploration in BDSM. As Max learns to revel in this other part of himself, it’s almost cathartic. Each new relationship reveals more of who Max is as a person and the man he wants to be. Max learns and grows, finding it within himself to speak up and stand his ground, some times more than others.

Friendship becomes the place where he can be himself. His comfortable, playful banter with Moira is lively and hilarious. Together, they’re two little kids with really foul mouth blundering through life with bottles of alcohol and naughty thoughts. They’re perfectly adorable. And Izzy. I’ve loved Izzy since I read her Wonderland book but this rowdy, loud, happy Izzy is beautiful to read knowing how far she’s come.

Max’s story deals with abuse and adult themes/BDSM. These might be triggers for some.

Sex scenes were numerous but brief. Some of the BDSM scenes were abrupt, short, and ended too quickly. The details weren’t especially graphic and were often a little summary.

Questions were left unanswered that will have you begging for the next book. The ending particularly and the mysteries leading up to it.

Max is an amazing, kind-hearted, catch of a man. He’s temptation, dominance and compassion all rolled into one very sexy guy. The physical and emotional scars of his past make him but far from break him. One of the best, gut-wrenching aspects revolves around his idea of himself as a father, how much love and nurturing he’d shed on his child, every bit of love this father never granted him. My heart shattered into itty bitty pieces at his longing to be better, to share his kindness. I mean, Max Colton is girl kryptonite. He’s got everything going for him and toss in the swoony yearning to be a father, to take care of his woman, his quirks. Destroyed. Max Colton has my heart on a string, hook, line, and sinker.

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cooltext1889178114 copyH. A. Robinson is a jet-setting billionaire with a home on each continent, who spends her free time saving kittens from trees and babies from burning buildings. A graduate of Hogwarts and a frequent visitor to Narnia, she drinks coffee in Central Perk and tames dragons in Westeros. 

In her dreams…

In reality, she’s a support worker living in a small town in Cheshire, who would almost always choose fantasy over reality. She’s been an obsessive reader from the moment she picked up her first Enid Blyton book, more years ago than she cares to admit, and enjoys nothing more than getting lost in new worlds and adventures from the minds of all the amazing authors out there.
She’s had the voices of characters in her head for as long as she can remember, and puts them down on paper in order to convince herself and the men in white coats that she isn’t crazy.

The Road to Wonderland Series:

  Izzy @ Amazon US    Paris @ Amazon US     Ethan @ Amazon US 

   Izzy @ Amazon UK   Paris @ Amazon UK    Ethan @ Amazon UK 

 cooltext1892192940 copya Rafflecopter giveaway

Pleasant reading, 
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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Max Colton’s Road to Wonderland-H.A. Robinson

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Growing up with certain expectations and your entire life mapped out for you is never easy, but when the bar is set impossibly high, most would give up. Growing up with certain expectations and your entire life mapped out for you is never easy, but when the bar is set impossibly high, most would give up.

Not Max Colton.

Even as a child, his father is unrelenting. Discipline, rules and rigid control are all he knows. Nothing Max does is good enough, and no matter how hard he works, approval and recognition are always just out of reach.

From boarding school to university, Max gets a glimpse of the freedom he’s always been denied, and learns unexpected things about himself along the way. When he somehow finds himself thrust back under his father’s iron rod of control, that freedom proves harder to let go of than he anticipated and he finds himself caught in a balancing act between his lifelong battle for his father’s approval and living out his own hopes and dreams.

With loves found and lost and his friends at his side, Max has to navigate through the world one step at a time. People aren’t always as they seem, and every stone unturned reveals a new challenge, bringing him closer to a future that has always seemed elusive and uncertain.

A future that holds success, freedom and love he never expected to have.
A future that will offer loyal friends and a home that isn’t confined to a building.
A future that leads him to Wonderland.

cooltext1889172435 copy
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H. A. Robinson is a jet-setting billionaire with a home on each continent, who spends her free time saving kittens from trees and babies from burning buildings. A graduate of Hogwarts and a frequent visitor to Narnia, she drinks coffee in Central Perk and tames dragons in Westeros.
In her dreams…

In reality, she’s a support worker living in a small town in Cheshire, who would almost always choose fantasy over reality. She’s been an obsessive reader from the moment she picked up her first Enid Blyton book, more years ago than she cares to admit, and enjoys nothing more than getting lost in new worlds and adventures from the minds of all the amazing authors out there.
She’s had the voices of characters in her head for as long as she can remember, and puts them down on paper in order to convince herself and the men in white coats that she isn’t crazy.

The Road to Wonderland Series:

  Izzy @ Amazon US    Paris @ Amazon US     Ethan @ Amazon US
   Izzy @ Amazon UK   Paris @ Amazon UK    Ethan @ Amazon U
cooltext1892192940 copyEnter for your chance to win (2) $10 giftcards

Pleasant reading, 
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ARC Review & Giveaway: Ethan Walker’s Road to Wonderland-L.J. Stock

cooltext1790897456 copyAt nineteen, the world has so many possibilities. 

Ethan Walker was a typical teenager in that respect. He was happy, living at home with his family and partying when the mood struck. He was in no rush to grow up. His life was a blank page just waiting to be written, but that couldn’t last forever. 


Unfortunately, reality came knocking at Ethan’s door, forcing him to face truths he’d never allowed himself to see in the past – truths that soon robbed him of his innocence and youth. With the life he’d always known gone forever, Ethan found himself battling demons in disguise, only to find his own weakness was his worst enemy. 


When temptation turned to indulgence, and the ghosts of his past encouraged him to dig deeper, Ethan sought salvation in the form of violence. His fists and fortitude became his bread and butter, but the new turn in his life rejected the familiar and opened the door to more evil.

Inevitably, the darkness tried to sink him, and there was only one constant light that somehow seemed to shine brighter than the promise of escape: the mystery girl with the golden hair. 

In order to survive, Ethan had to dig deep and find a strength in himself not even he was sure existed. Only when he found himself on a path to Wonderland did he start to see a future beyond his past. All he had to do to get there was learn to breathe and not get himself killed in the process.

**Book 3 in the Road to Wonderland Series, Ethan Walker can be read in conjunction with Izzy Moffit’s Road to Wonderland by Victoria L. James and Paris Hemsworth’s Road to Wonderland by Francesca Marlow or standalone.

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***I received this ARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review and participation in this tour.

Ethan Walker’s Road to Wonderland is a harrowing story of loss, escape, and trying to live again. Not everyone takes a pretty path towards the future and some fall prey to toxic habits to get them to the next day, so lost are they to their grief. Ethan was a victim of circumstance, one that nearly took him to an early grave. In true Wonderland fashion, Ethan’s journey is a hard one with tough lessons and disastrous choices but with the help of friends, hope and recovery are still possible. 

PROS:

  • Ethan’s story is a provocative and intensely real one. The dangers of drug use are depicted full force as they turn from a coping mechanism to true addiction. Ethan’s life becomes a hot mess of illicit sex, blurred days, and desperation to get his next fix. Everything he once was, his innocence, his heart are in a catastrophic and precarious situation as he loses all ability to care. L.J. Stock clearly did substantial research in the use of recreational drugs, the feelings, emotions, and effects as well as the recovery process. 
  • Ethan is a player, what’s unclear is how much of his sexual prowess was pre or manifested from drug use. He likes to live in the moment, partying, feeling, grabbing the pleasures life has to offer by the horns and going with it. He’s got a dirty mouth and blunt, erotic thoughts that will turn your face a nice shade of pink. The way he treats women is abominable but they’re not really any better. Most are skanky, flirty girls who put out for anyone and have no regrets the next day. Gruff, sexy, and full of arrogant charm, Ethan is hyper masculine. Between his killer body and blatant sex appeal, he’s hard to resist. Even in his drug induced haze, Ethan has moments of stark clarity that show the true nature of his character, one who is loyal, loves fiercely, and protects the people he cares about. Rife with guilt, Ethan’s concern is never truly with his personal safety but what it’s doing to his little brother and how it’s hurting his best friend, Scott. 
  • The relationship between Ethan and his father is brief but gut-wrenching. The hatred, loathing, and general disgust are especially poignant. The final conversation is heartbreaking to read, that anyone could be so heartless and cruel was shocking and twisted. My heart ached for Ethan as he discovered that parents are not always heroes and sometimes they’re nothing more than your ticket into this world. 
  • I loved Ethan because despite his obvious flaws, he was real. He didn’t pretend to be anything but a mess, he knew he was a jerk, and when he made mistakes, his heart rose to the surface, fighting to regain who he once was. Ethan’s path isn’t sugar-coated and far from traditional yet so many people go through similar situations after loss. 

CONS:

  • Ethan’s rehabilitation felt fast and unresolved. Because the scenes in the center were glossed over, his true anguish and suffering were muted. 
  • As Ethan’s best friend, Scott was a poor example but there for him when he needed to be slapped in the face and woken up from his perilous life choices. Scenes with Scott are far and few between. While their bond is felt, it’s not as strong as it could have been. More scenes of them together, to capture their particular interactions and really gauge their friendship would have helped to feel like Ethan had a real friend. Instead, Ethan felt alone, not entirely because he cut people out and pushed them away but there wasn’t a build up to place the foundation of their friendship.
  • Ethan’s run with Daggs seemed much less sinister and lighter than it felt from the brief insinuations in the other RTW books. The nature of Daggs character, his wicked evil personality, his despicable actions were absent. Ethan’s life hung in the balance of this horrendous person and his cronies and the foreboding, the anticipation, the fear were minimal. 
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From a young age L.J. Stock was led by her imagination. From the moment she could read she fell into worlds where trees could talk and little girls could move things with their minds. 

In no hurry to grow up, she found stories all around her, in the forests of Plym Bridge, the moss covered hills of Dartmoor, then, as she grew older, the wide spread city of Houston, where she currently resides and works. A constant daydreamer, she hopes that one day, her passion can become something more than just a hobby for her. 

Still led by her imagination, the worlds have slowly grown from childish adventures to urban fantasies and romances. With inspirational authors such as Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, John Grisham and Stephen King guiding her through her life so far, L.J. Stock has finally decided that it is time for her to go for gold and try land herself on someone else’s future list of favorites. 

Putting words on paper is as essential as breathing to her, but on the rare occasions that she isn’t writing, she can be found with a video game remote in hand or curled up on the couch with her pup and a good book. Music is also such an important part of her life, it’s a wonder there isn’t a background soundtrack playing wherever she goes. 

A good girl to most, a bad girl to a few, L.J. believes that every genre should be attempted and is more than likely to have tried to release three hundred series’ ranging from vampires and werewolves, to dystopian and even classic romance, before she reaches even middle age. At least, that’s the plan for now.

The Road to Wonderland Series:

Izzy @ Amazon US    Paris @ Amazon US

Izzy @ Amazon UK   Paris @ Amazon UK

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If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:
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10367687_474665502636001_8741961117485032372_nScarred-Hearts-200x30018851343Crash by Nicole Williams
Pleasant reading,
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Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: Paris Hemsworth’s Road to Wonderland-Francesca Marlow

Book: Paris Hemworth’s Road to Wonderland
Author: Francesca Marlow
Genre: New Adult

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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 naive, feisty fashionista who floats, carefree, through her life in 1990’s Manchester, thanks to her three great loves: her father, 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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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 well deserved relaxation moments.

canstock6484730  Join the Release Day Party 8pm UK, 16th January
with Francesca Marlow & Victoria L James

Facebook Release Party

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Enter for your chance to win a $10 Amazon giftcard 

Other Books in the Series

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

Pleasant reading,
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Cover Reveal: Paris Hemsworth’s Road to Wonderland-Francesca Marlow

 Paris Hemsworth’s Road to Wonderland
(RTW Book 2 – can be read standalone)
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‘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 naive, feisty fashionista who floats, carefree, through her life in 1990’s Manchester, thanks to her three great loves: her father, 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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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 well deserved relaxation moments.

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


Pleasant reading,
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ARC Review, Interview, & Giveaway: Izzy Moffit’s Road to Wonderland-Victoria L. James

 
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     Making it to seventeen in one piece isn’t usually a concern for your average teenager, but if there’s one thing Isabella Moffit has never been, it’s average. Dragged through life by parents who couldn’t care less and surrounded by violence on a daily basis, Izzy reaches that epic birthday milestone in her life with only one person to thank for getting her there: her best friend and soul sister, Paris Hemsworth.
     Vowing to stand side by side through thick and thin since they were four years old, the two of them have made it this far and are confident that now is their time to tackle the world head on, one shaky, naive little footstep at a time.
     Except they have no idea what awaits them both on the other side of adulthood, and before either one of them can strap on their hard hat, they’re taking so many knocks and bruises that Izzy’s childhood suddenly seems like a stroll in the park.
     Dodging as many bullets as they can along the way, Izzy tries to hold on to Paris’ hand for as long as possible without either one of them slipping away. But no-one ever told them how rough their journey would be. No-one told them that friends and family would change or leave along the way. And no-one told them that for every good intention they have, there’s a thousand people out there with bad ones, waiting to rip them apart.
     Follow Izzy’s journey in part one of the Road to Wonderland series – a coming of age novel with a difference, where you’ll face tears, tantrums, laughter and heartbreak, but above all else, hope. Hope that no matter what life throws your way, it’s all part of setting you on the right path to your very own Wonderland and that, more often than not, everything happens for a reason.
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***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review and participation in this blog tour
***This is New Adult so 18+ and contains what could be triggers in terms of drug addiction and physical abuse.
PROS:
  • The emotional depth is staggering and complex. Victoria L. James delves into the warring aspects of the psyche, stripping the characters bare and emphasizing their conflicted emotions in love, life, and friendship. Each character is full of confusion about what it means to love and be loved. The road to self discovery and learning to give and take is compelling to watch. As each character struggles to figure out their relationships it’s a seriously rocky road full of speed bumps and dangerous twists. 
  • Izzy’s life is devastating. More than anything in the world she wants to be accepted and loved as she is and she’s forced to contend with a home life that does nothing but challenge and attempt to break her. The scenes of abuse are not especially graphic, there’s blood and pain, and broken bodies but nothing prepares you for the emotional trauma. There’s scenes between mother and daughter that are so poignant and powerful, it brings tears and heartache. The tender way Izzy cares for her mother, how meticulous she is in checking her wounds and minimizing the pain highlights and reinforces Izzy’s endless compassion. 
  • Nothing is more heartbreaking than learning a truth that destroys your hopes. Izzy is slapped in the face by so many truths that you can’t help but hurt for her. The feelings are so raw and rough, they’re like open wounds and your heart bleeds for Izzy. 
  • Izzy is astoundingly courageous. She never will admit defeat, she is not broken, and though she does go into emotional downward spirals, she’s fiercely independent and works hard to make a life for herself. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such bursts of overwhelming pride for a character as she makes her moves towards recovery and rebuilding her life. 
  • Friendship is the main theme of this story. The unshakable bond of best friends. Paris and Izzy are complimentary, total opposites really. Izzy soothes and tames Paris while Paris helps Izzy work through her grief and psychological scarring. The Cooper family is made of angels, they’re Izzy’s saviors. 
  • Dandy is an amazing character. He’s a father figure that Izzy never had and has so much love in his heart that it makes you believe in the power of good, kind people. Their relationship is warm and full of these wonderfully insightful conversations about life. 
  • There are several relationships in this book and I thoroughly enjoyed that each was so different. Each experience changed Izzy and made her stronger. There are all sorts of relationships and many times, I think authors get stuck in a rut between the too kind guy, the jerk, and the sarcastic sexy playboy. Love can be toxic, it can be cruel, sometimes it’s laughable and demeaning, but the feelings are real and a whirlwind. Victoria did a fabulous job getting at the nuances of many different types of love.
  • Paris’ story is rough and sporadic. Though it’s not constantly a main arch, it’s always there because Paris is never far from Izzy’s thoughts. Though we might not know what’s going on with her precisely, like Izzy, you feel almost compelled to know. Paris’ story shows that though you might materially have everything all it takes is one life changing event to turn your world upside down. Paris doesn’t know how to deal with her sadness and has an addictive personality. This combination is pretty deadly. Her mood swings are intense and shift from one moment to the next without much warning. Seeing the toll getting in with the wrong crowd has on her is hard to read and made harder by Izzy’s thoughts when she finds her. 
  • There’s fear in abundance and after quite a few disappointments the foreboding is wicked strong. There’s tons of uncertainty about what will happen and where Izzy and Paris’ stories will lead. I loved that because it was authentic. Sure, we can guess where life will lead us and we can try to prepare but we never truly know.
CONS:
  • Sometimes it was really frustrating watching Izzy slip into phases of pushing people away almost to the point of self-destruction. You kind of just want to shake some sense into her. 
  • Because this story is so expansive, a journey of nearly 15 years, some sections dragged a little midpoint where it was a bleak and lonely life for Izzy. She was in a cloud of repetition and routine as she tried to figure her life in the moments after university. 
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Jordan: Tell me about the Wonderland series.

Victoria: This whole series was an idea that was put together by a group of writers who each took on a character to write about along the way. So the entire series will eventually lead to the same place. It’s showing the characters journeys to finding one another in what they will eventually call their “wonderland”

The other authors that will be releasing along the way will be Francesca Marlow, L.J. Stock, H.A. Robinson and Charlie M. Matthews. Some of us will be writing about more than one character also, so we have the potential for a decent sized series here.

Moffy will have a follow on too at some point… Fingers crossed. I love Izzy too much to let her go just yet.

Jordan: Izzy Moffit’s Road to Wonderland spans close to 15 years. What made you decide to write such an expansive story rather that focusing on a few short years or specific period of Izzy’s life?
Victoria: I think it’s mainly because I feel that Izzy has so much to give once she reaches her “Wonderland” that I wanted to do a really detailed explanation of what brought her to be this amazing woman. We were also aware that there wasn’t much out there like that. Most novels concentrate on the here and now. Or they give brief explanations of a person’s past, all of which is brilliant, but I fell in love with Izzy the moment she was created. Her history, her childhood, her mistakes, they were all what moulded her and I felt that she needed the world to see the life that made her the way she was. I wanted the reader to live it with her and, hopefully, watch her grow into something amazing. To scream when she messed up and sigh when things went right for her. I wanted it to be the reader’s journey as much as Izzy’s.
Jordan: Well, it definitely was a journey for me. As a 20 something year old girl, I can personally identify with many of her qualms about love and sex and the uncertainty of the future.
Victoria: The early twenties are as perilous as the teenage years. People expect a woman to turn 18 and have all the answers. The truth is… even women in their 30’s and beyond don’t have those. Just ask Izzy. Lol.
Jordan: What are some of the main themes of IMRtW? The role of friendship is powerful in this story, so much so that the greatest “romance” of all seems to be between Izzy and her best friend. What made this relationship the focus of the story, or more specifically, what made you choose to highlight friendship over the traditional ideas of romance?

Victoria: With Izzy’s life being completely chaotic, it would have been so easy to make it a traditional boy meets girl love story and have her fall into the arms of a man who promised to save her, but that wouldn’t have been true to who she was. Paris was the one soul who saved her during her childhood and, Izzy being Izzy, she was pretty adamant that Paris remain the focus throughout. I wanted her to learn to love herself before she gave herself over to anyone else. The friendship with Paris was such a huge part of who she was, it had to be the main focus because it was such a huge reason as to why she was so loving, giving and self-sacrificing throughout.

As a group of writers, too, it seemed right to all of us to try and do something a little different.

Jordan: What I loved about IMRtW was how authentic it felt. It’s an emotional overload complete with terrible choices and even worse consequences. I appreciated that Izzy and Paris were so real, that they were complex, and that they were far from perfect.
Victoria: I love that you picked that up about their characters. That’s exactly what we wanted to achieve with them and with all the characters in the series, actually. They have to connect and to feel like someone the reader has met before, or even someone like themselves. No human is perfect. Mistakes are what make us who we are. The girls stories hopefully show that not all bad decisions have to be as disastrous as they first seem… It’s all part of a greater plan, right?
Jordan: I hope so. 🙂 IMRtW deals with several serious issues like abuse, drug addiction, and self-esteem issues. Did you do a lot of research into the psychological and physical aspects of these issues and the steps to recovery?
Victoria: Bits of research were done here and there, but honestly, very little. As a woman in my thirties myself, I’ve lived a very colourful life and I’ve paid attention along the way. Haha. As have all the writers involved. There was generally one of us in the group who had quite a good grasp of the ins and outs of each issue covered, so we were our own research, so to speak. I think most writers pick things up from a lifetime of reading, too. The main concern for me when writing about all these subjects, was handling each issue as sensitively but as accurately as possible. Hopefully that came across 🙂
Jordan: Oh, yes it came across really well. Are you working on anything outside of the Wonderland series currently?
Victoria: Actually, I am, yes. I have another three novels in the works at the moment. One of which will hopefully be out sooner rather than later. *fingers crossed*
Jordan: Awesome. Can you talk a little about it or is it a surprise?
Victoria: It’s a little bit of a surprise, although I can tell you that it’s a co-write with another one of the Wonderland writers, L.J. Stock. It’s a little more adult than the RTW series, but you should definitely still check it out. I’d LOVE to come back and tell you all about it once we make the official announcement and do the reveal…
Jordan: Can’t wait. I’d love to have you back to talk about it. Thank you for the opportunity to interview you and for giving us a glimpse into the madness behind Izzy. 
Victoria L James is a teenage girl stuck in a thirty-something year-olds body. Living somewhere ‘oop north’ in England, she has had a strong passion for words and stories going as far back as she can remember, which she credits to her grandmother and her love of reading anything that was on sale and cheap from the local market stall. Never once did she think she would release a novel, though. At best, she thought her love of language and her ability to create stories in her mind would provide her with a ‘get out of jail free’ card whenever she messed up and her parents were mad at her during her teenage years… and when even that didn’t work out, she thought she was pretty much done for.
 
When an opportunity presented itself for her to take a back seat from paid working life for a few years, she knew straight away that she had to try and write about a few of these worlds she’d come up with along the way, and quieten all the voices in her head without racking up a heavy psychiatry bill for the pleasure.
Wearing her heart on her sleeve and trying to lighten her friends’ and family’s lives with naff, and more often than not, badly timed, nineties jokes, she has yet to learn the art of knowing when to shut up. Which is another reason writing became a passion of hers. With pen and paper, there are no limits.
A firm believer in never quitting, with a ridiculous obsession for all things Rocky, she hopes that one day she writes a story that will inspire at least one person out there to keep on going if theyre struggling. Other than that, she’s just a regular old converse wearing, corona sipping, English version of Chandler Bing, who loves and adores her family more than life itself. Oh, and she also has two cats. Every writer has to mention their cats, right?
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