Book Review – Wanderlust by Skye Warren

by Maryse on April 21, 2013 · 20 comments

in My Book Reviews

<—- First off – BEWARE OF DARK READ!!! Enter this review (and book at your own risk). Deals with VERY difficult subject matter and I worried that it was too hard for me, in the beginning part, even if these are totally up my dark alley. But I’m glad I stuck with it. I ended up loving it.

Maryse’s Book Blog: Okay so I’m continuing my “Dark-read” weekend (impromptu, but I’m just in the mood for Dark and scary potential romance, it would appear).

and as I continued reading, I got nervous:

Maryse’s Book Blog: Okay yes this one is definitely disturbing. Did I say potential romance up there? Eeeeep. And yet I’m sure the author will find a way…

I was right. For me, the author did not disappoint.

And still, this is going to be a hard review for me to write because my logical mind wants to say one thing but my emotions kind of overruled a lot of my brain. Stupid emotions!! What do they know!? But they kept butting in, and confusing me over this dark and sordid tale.

Logically, I knew. Emotionally, I was feeling the “more to the story” aspect. Despite my reservations, I connected. This book DID exactly what I wanted it to do, but that I hate admitting to. Especially a story like this. After having finished it, I simply felt as if… I kinda loved it. I felt okay about what I would say in my review. I was comfortable with it, despite the initial horror that we walked into. And I mean horror. Edge of my seat, OMG-can-I-really-continue-reading-this? horror.

So when I woke up this morning and my husband asked me if I finished “that” dark book, I enthusiastically starting telling him about it. To be fair, I tried skimming the intro. More like, I wanted to tell him where it went… (and what we learned) vs. how it started. And let’s face it. Describing what this book is about sounds CRAZY! Especially when I found myself saying “wait!! Wait! But but but…” (This is really one of those “you just gotta read it, to get why I’m still thinking about it” kind of reads).

‘Cause there is so much more to this book than it’s horrifying start. But unfortunately I had to start somewhere and as I tried to race past the start, he held up his hand and said:

“I dunno wanna hear any more. Nope. You’re into the dark-stuff but not me.”.

neutral *whoops* My bad. I should have known this was not something he wanted to hear. But it’s true. He can barely stand horror movies, especially the psychological stuff. Getting him to watch one with me is like pulling teeth. *sigh*

So I stopped and thought to myself…

OMG… am I that weird that I liked this book and connected to it?

‘Cause trying to re-tell the story out loud, it sounds ghastly and who the heck can connect to THAT? And there began my doubt and fear of how I was going to tell you that well… I loved this book, without sounding like a psycho.

After all, there is NO excuse for what he did, how he did it, the decisions he made. His actions are that of an evil monster, and logically… reality speaking – in real life – there are no two ways around that. Nobody has the right to do what they did and not be severely punished, and NOBODY deserves that kind of treatment. EVER. And I wish with all of my heart that this was never a reality. Our world is riddled with monsters and broken people that break others.

“Story-line” speaking (the fact that I was safe behind the “fiction label”, and the storytelling) there is so much more to this terrifying and heartbreaking tale. And while I don’t know how realistic it all is (I guess there are different levels of monsters and their threats), the story went where it needed it to go, and I can’t help but appreciate the depth of the thought processes, realization and backstory that was explored. And the emotion that came of it.

So what’s it about?

Oh boy you guys, do I really have to tell you? I tried with my husband and it didn’t go well. How do I do this you guys? How can I tell you I sympathized with and felt for a monster again? I’ve done it in past books and struggled but had a bunch of you sympathizing with me, so I was okay. But since this book is so new, I’m feeling a bit alone here. I don’t know why some of ‘em make me love them, so I’ll just… blame the author. She’s just that good. Yah, that must be it. ;)

Okay, here goes. Evie has lived an unconventional childhood with her agoraphobic mother and has never really been out of the house. Minimal education (via homeschooling), and no life-experince whatsoever. No friends. No family. Just the two of ‘em. Oh and once upon a time, that mom-exboyfriend/nasty predator (again horrendous) that was a true deviant monster behind closed doors. Her life was not a life.

And as a new adult, she wanted to explore the world. Leave her life. Set a goal or two and just try to live. So heading to a new job possibility in Texas, Evie finally finds freedom. A bit terrified and scattered, pretty much money-less, but free. That freedom doesn’t last long when she arrives at a truck-stop and is pursued by a very handsome but equally scary-acting man. Paranoid? She had every reason to be, ’cause he was everything her mother warned her against.

He hadn’t threatened me explicitly, but it was there. In his presence, in his casually arrogant words. If I tried to leave, he would restrain me. He would hurt me tonight, violate me tonight, the only question left up to me was how much.

He did everything her agoraphobic mother insisted the people of the world would do to her.

There was only one reason I could think of why a man who looked as good as he did would force a woman – because he preferred it that way.

And the bad stuff just kept coming. This is where I wondered “reality-wise” if the horrors she kept encountering would have actually happened. From monsters preying on her as a young girl to immediately encountering a monster in her newfound freedom, to encountering even more monsters as the story continued. From people that refused to help her (monsters!!), to… other stuff. Let’s just say this sad girl had the worst luck. I was appalled.

… she needed to stay home and watch me, that the world was too dangerous for either of us. Especially me.

She said I attracted them, the very worst kind of men. And maybe she was right to a point. There was something there, something large and scary lurking under the water. Every once in awhile it would surface with a flip of my stomach, like when a man would speak to me with a certain authority…

Was there just something about her… maybe the way that she was raised, that constant mental reminder… that kept landing her in these incredulous situations? Is it fair to say that anyone “attracts” bad attention? Maybe not, but in this case… perhaps avoidable mistakes were made. I mean, come on… there’s NO WAY this much bad luck could possibly happen to one person right?

I was an animal bred in captivity, unprepared for the harshness of the wild.

But, again it’s fiction. And Evie had to grow up fast, develop some serious coping mechanisms. Adapt her behavior to survive this ordeal physically. And mentally.

I’d never really had a plan. That had been the point. I had wanted to wander, to flit, and I’d flown right into a spider’s web.

And along the way, she learned some things. None of it was fair. And there are things that happened that had me tentatively connecting with her, to the bad guy. If you decide to read this, maybe you’ll see why. Or maybe you’ll think I’m nuts. Hey, I’m still questioning my rationality in all for this, but the author DID introduce many non-monstrous things, many moments of growth and realizations that I just… accepted. It went from super-dark (evil) to… sad-dark (acceptance). Unavoidable awareness. A new lease on life. An incredible connection.

I wanted freedom, but freedom wasn’t worth much if I let other people take it away with a snap of their fingers, with a passive-agressive threat or a pill dropped into a soda. I had escaped once before, from my mother’s house, and I would do it again.

Quite the reveal and ending! Whether it is a good or bad one… well. My lips are sealed. HEA? I can’t say. But let’s just say that while it did sort of end a bit quickly, and I wish the author would have expanded, explored… continued, the quick-ish ending didn’t ruin the story for me. Maybe there will be more to come?

*sigh* I dunno… Is it me? Do I have a stupid-soft heart even for those that don’t deserve it? Or do some monsters deserve a soft heart? I dunno you guys. But this book did that to me.

Now, I want to make it clear that I didn’t fall/crush on the bad guy (I never really do, to tell you the truth when they are or when they do things… this bad). This is NOT a new book-boyfriend for me. Heck no! I know I have an anti-hero penchant but even I have my limits while reading. ;)

There’s the sexy bad boy that we can “tame” (at least enough to be good for us), there’s the bad-guy that toes the line of morality (might even entertain criminal activity) but still will protect and defend that one girl forever, and then there’s the real bad guy that does the unforgivable.

But sometimes time, or “reveals” eventually heal things… change things. Still though. GAH!

And while I’ve never “fallen-fallen” for the true bad guy (that top-level monster) I HAVE felt and merged with the heroine, and felt her as she… does. And that’s scary. In this book I did it again. I connected to the heroine’s confusion (her mind over her heart). I felt and agreed with her random bouts of rationality and extreme anger. I wanted her to be strong. And as time went on and the lines were blurred, as secrets and pain came to the surface from her and from him… as things came to light and her heart started taking over…

You’re mine. Try to understand, I have to do this. I’m as trapped as you are, can’t you see?

…well… what? eek I know… right!? Am I a sucker? LOL!!! Is there a grey area? Can the bad-guy become the good guy?

And this is why I love books like this. I experience every emotion and much of it is not good. I question every single emotion except for the one I should have. But that’s the thing. While I feel what I should feel, I also feel what my mind tells me I shouldn’t, and I’m tested. I simply can’t believe this could happen, and then I can’t believe where it manages to take me. Twists and turns of a different kind. This was a nightmare, and yet I felt a different kind of pain. HIS.

Why do I do this to myself? Heck I dunno. Maybe ’cause these are just… never boring to me.  Why do I gravitate towards psychological thrillers? Why do I watch horror movies?

My husband asks me this all the time. My answer? I’ve jokingly told him…

“It’s training. I learn what not to do.”;)

Oh you know… like NOT venturing out on your own into a dark secluded alley with a smile on your face and skip and a hop to your step. *shrug* ;) I mean of course, you should have the RIGHT to do that without fear and danger, at any time in your life. But you know… there be monsters.

If I was someone special, it was a dubious honor at best. Someone special who let people imprison her. Someone special who imprisoned herself with her fears, preferring to live through her dreams.

This book affected me emotionally in ways I never thought it could. Great edge-of -your-seat writing, touching emotional introspection, and enlightening… even in it’s darkness.

So did I love it? Yep. Do I feel bad about that? Yep. And that’s what I’m looking for in a dark read.

4.5 stars overall, simply for the “can’t put it down” feel it gave me. I won’t be forgetting this one… ever.

P.S: And… 4 stars for only a few of the “whoa, too much!” moments that pulled me out of the story (’cause of the outrageous lack of humanity). I had a harder time just “going with” that.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa April 21, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Your review is spot on Maryse! I imagine this was a very difficult review to write , but you did an awesome job. I loved this book too……definitely not boring. I agree that the ending felt a tad bit rushed though. I’m definitely gonna check out more from this author.

Nancy Parken April 21, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Maryse: You have done it to me again, as I’ve got to read this one next. Your reviews are the best.

Sharon Tyson April 21, 2013 at 4:33 PM

Yup, me too! My TBR just shifted yet again!!!!

Renea April 21, 2013 at 4:46 PM

I too am reading this book. I am about half way through now and am sitting incredulous that so many awful unspeakable things just keep happening to this one girl. Although, I will admit that I have not been able to put it down this afternoon! Thanks for the recommend!

Jill April 21, 2013 at 4:47 PM

I agree whole-heartlessly with this review! I really enjoyed this book, even while feeling that maybe I shouldn’t! Great review, Maryse!

Melissa Chavez April 21, 2013 at 4:50 PM

No your not weird. lol. This is what a good book is suppose to do. A good book pulls you in no matter the context. It makes you feel what the characters feel. It puts you onto a rollercoaster of emotions that sometimes you just have to put down until you can catch your breath. These are the books that I love. I too like to read the dark reads because it is not something that happens often (I hope). It takes up somewhere where we can never imagine going. I am definately going to have to pick this one up. I am too intrigued now. I will not be able to help myself. Thank you for another GREAT review. You give just the right amount of what a book puts you threw and just enough of a story to let us know why you felt that way. Yup, I will be picking this one up.

Maryse April 21, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Thank you guys!!! *ahhhh* I feel better, now.

I always wanna tell you about the books that I can’t stop thinking about but sometimes they’re… you know. Eeeeeep! ;)

But still, if you can take it, SO worth it.

Nicole S. April 21, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Great review for that book. Everything you said is spot on. I do feel weird sometimes too for enjoying such dark reads but its the emotional rush that’s addicting in any read. These just give a lot more of all those feelings.

Heidi H. April 21, 2013 at 8:43 PM

Gee thanks, Maryse…I’m right in the middle of reading another book and then saw this one (didn’t read much of your review…I like to be surprised) – read the first 2 chapters on Amazon and HAD TO BUY IT…darn it! LOL!!

Kevin Dorival April 21, 2013 at 9:24 PM

I think Wanderlust was an awesome book. I love how Skye developed the storyline. I had to get a grip of myself while my emotions went out of control.

Lisa M April 22, 2013 at 10:23 AM

It was definitely a dark read weekend for me too! I read Mafia Captive and Wanderlust and If You Stay(not a dark read)!! Loved If You Stay even though I was upset about what happened to poor Pax!! When I started reading Wanderlust I was so upset and thought why am I reading this book?? Is there something wrong with me?? But of course I had to find out what happened next and I finished it this morning!! Now I am ready to read something cheerier! Not sure if that is the right word for it. So many choices of my tbr list from your tbr list!!

Amanda April 22, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Eeek, i’m almost afraid to buy this book.

I would like to point out that, yes, it is possible in reality that this girl was attracting “monsters”. Victims attract abusers without ever realizing it. It’s actually a very common occurence. That, and, most of us will continously go after the ‘self fulfilling prophecy’ of what we believe we deserve or what we’re “comfortable” with. It’s sad, but it’s true.

Sarah April 22, 2013 at 12:57 PM

I can see how its similar with Consequences, which is why I’ll be reading it, maybe it would take my mind off Convicted which im dying to read :-s

Mellisa S. April 22, 2013 at 3:28 PM


When I read the description of this book last week I looked up all her other books. By the description alone I feel compelled to read this book. Now, you write a very candid review!! I was dying to read this book before. And now, I want to read it even more!! As soon as I can find a way get to get this book, I will.

Thanks again for an honest review,

Mellisa S.

Heidi H. April 22, 2013 at 10:17 PM

Well, I read it. Loved it. Now I can’t get it out of my head!

Maryse April 23, 2013 at 9:34 AM

Me too. Days later and I’m still thinking about it.

Cathy April 23, 2013 at 10:01 AM

I literally JUST found your blog through a shared FB post, and I am sooo very glad I did! I haven’t read this one, but it sounds good enough to move to the top of my TBR list! Crazy excited now to read it! Thank you. =)

As far as your question on whether or not that much bad luck finds someone…it does, and it happens often. For some reason, a reason that I have yet to fully understand…a good percentage of girls who are molested are raped later on in their life by men they thought they could trust, or they end up in poor, even abusive relationships. I know part of it’s self-esteem…those “top-level” monsters, they know how to pick their prey wisely, at least that’s how it seems to me. And having compassion for those monsters, “connecting” with them, I get that. They are “human” (yes, I know, fictional book, so not really, lol). And just like in real life, there are reasons that people end up taking the life path they’ve chosen. It’s not an excuse, it’s just a means of understanding what may have led them that direction…and they are just as hurt, lost, empty as the victims they choose…IMO, obviously.

Thank you so very much for sharing! I’m glad you were able to get it out in a way that I could relate to because I have a funny feeling that I’m going to love reading this one, too! =)

Maryse April 23, 2013 at 4:47 PM

I’m so glad you found us, Cathy!!!

And I do appreciate your take on victims and predators. This is one heck of a dark book, but still one that captured my heart. Craziest thing when that happens, I’ll tell ya. ;)

Norma April 25, 2013 at 8:33 PM

Ok I just finished reading this book and I truly love it don’t feel Maryses I feel this same way you do!!!! My # 1 dark read, do u have any more good dark read please let me know thanks

Marisa May 9, 2013 at 11:40 PM

Just finished. Sooo disturbing! Maryse, you nailed it 100%. As soon as I hit the last page, I came here to read your review and get to know your feelings. I felt better about myself for having connected, forgiven and even wanted them to end together. My mind battled my heart all the way through the book. Although I liked the book, I felt there were too many threads left behind. Is this part of a series. If so, it would make more sense. It also felt unfair that Evie didn’t get to share her story with him. When I thought everything was going to fall into place (despite having feared they wouldn’t because the book was more than 90% gone)…the end hit me.

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