2019 · Blog Tour · Book review

The Retreat by Sherri Smith @SL_Smith_ @TitanBooks #Review #Excerpt

Well it’s Wednesday and I hope you’re having a good week so far. My kids are back to school today and these holidays have just flown by so fast it’s crazy.

I’m sharing my review for The Retreat by Sherri Smith as part of the blog tour and I also have an excerpt to share too. I’d like to thank Titan Books for the invite and copy of the book.

About the book

Katie Manning was a beloved child star until her mid-teens when her manager attacked and permanently scarred her face, effectively ending her career and sending her on a path of all-too-familiar post-Hollywood self-destruction.

Now twenty-seven, Katie wants a better answer to those clickbait “Where Are They Now?” articles that float around online. An answer she hopes to find when her brother’s too-good-to-be-true fiancée invites her to a wellness retreat upstate. Together with Katie’s two best friends—one struggling with crippling debt and family obligations, one running away from a failed job and relationship—Katie will try to find the inner peace promised at the tranquil retreat. But finding oneself just might drudge up more memories than Katie is prepared to deal with.

Each woman has come to the retreat for different reasons. Each has her secrets to hide. And at the end of this weekend, only one will be left standing.

The Retreat is available to purchase here – Amazon

My thoughts

What an opener this book has, I was absolutely gripped and honestly wondered what the heck I was in for and I soon realised I was in for a real treat.

Katie Manning was child star of a children’s detective show. Her character Shelby Spade brought her fame and fortune until Katie was attacked by her manager and was left with facial scars. As the years progressed Katie’s life spiralled out of control with drink and spending money so when Katie’s sister in law to be Ellie suggests a weekend away Katie thinks this may be her chance to regain control of her life but instead of a weekend of bonding with her brothers fiancé she invites along her two college friends Carmen and Ariel.

What then follows is a very twisty, deeply disturbing story that honestly gave me whiplash. The story follows the four women, each chapter being told from the different characters and although I didn’t find any of them particularly likeable they were all very intriguing. The way the story is written it really draws you in, because it jumps back and forth with each character you slowly get to know them and their secrets and insecurities and I found it really difficult to put the book down, desperately needing to know what would happen next.

Although I was totally and utterly engrossed in the story and enjoyed it immensely it’s one of those stories that gives you a real unsettling feeling as you read. Its like you really want to keep reading to find out what will happen but you really don’t want to because you know it isn’t going to be good and I totally love stories like that.

I’m not going to reveal anything about what happens but if you’re a fan of psychological thrillers then I think The Retreat is one you have to read. It gave me shivers at times, had me totally engrossed and really wasn’t what I was expecting at all.

I will definitely be recommending The Retreat and it’s a story I certainly won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

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It all seemed so pointless. She had to return home in two days and face what she’d done. Even if she left the retreat as some newly minted warrior—then what? Positive thinking wasn’t going to keep her from getting arrested. And Katie wasn’t even paying attention to her. 

Dr. Dave still wore a bemused smile. “It’s not your thing? Why is that?” 

“I’m just not into, like, extreme sports.” She dropped the helmet. 

“The only limits that exist are in your mind,” Dr. Dave said with a tap against his temple. 

Ariel didn’t think that was true. She’d been watching one of Dr. Dave’s online videos before going over to Rob’s house last week, all pumped up on pushing boundaries and claiming what she wanted, and look where it got her. She couldn’t imagine a more limiting place than prison. 

“I was very inspired by your YouTube videos and everything you had to say.” Dr. Dave looked pleased by this. “But I know I can’t do this. I’m just not a fan of heights.” 

“Tell me about your phobia of heights.” 

“Oh, it’s not exactly a phobia. I just wouldn’t want to, like, fall from anything beyond one foot off the ground.” Ariel suffered from only a minor fear of heights but didn’t need the extra stress right now. Plus, she could never climb a rope in gym class and was certain she’d plummet from any of the ropes that were dangling like vines and break her neck. 

Dr. Dave suddenly chuckled like she’d said something funny. “You know what, Ariel?” 

“You’re my favorite kind of client.”
“Why is that?” Ariel felt a sudden uplifting swell in her chest. 

She wasn’t usually the sort of person who was singled out and given special attention. He gave her a slow head-to-toe assessing gaze. 

“Because simmering just below all of your insecurities and fears, Ariel, is a true warrior.” Ariel felt a slight plummeting at the mention of the weekend’s theme. Wasn’t everyone there to become a so-called warrior? 

“That’s great,” she mumbled. 

Dr. Dave leaned against a climbing wall with one knee bent, the sole of his hiking boot against it. Dressed in beige cargo pants and a white tank top, his thumbs hooked into his pockets, his wiry muscles peaking under his skin, he looked like the romantic lead on the cover of a Harlequin novel. 

His good looks were so distracting. 

“Tell me something, Ariel. How are the relationships in your life?” Dr. Dave’s pool-water eyes locked onto hers and wouldn’t let go. Ariel couldn’t look away. It was suddenly like he could see directly into her brain to all the little fears and anxieties frantically buzzing around inside of her. 

“I don’t know—I mean, they’re not great.” Ariel thought about how Rob would apply both of their employee discounts in the Holiday Inn lounge if he wanted to eat or drink before they found a room to have sex in. Why did she always want men who didn’t want her back? She was a placeholder for hotter, more glamorous girlfriends—and wives! Men didn’t date chubby women for their hearts of gold the way women were expected to with chubby men. Was there a single sitcom on television with a flabby, bumbling woman who burned every dinner, forgot to pick up the kids, and hid out in a lady-cave to drink and obsessively watch HGTV, only to be loved unconditionally by a svelte, long-suffering husband who fixed all her mistakes without damaging her ego in the pro- cess? No! Why? Because it was too scary, too unbelievable. Fat women weren’t lovable. Instead, Ariel had to sell herself on her utility; she was the first one a man asked for a favor and she was on it. She practically tripped over herself to do it.

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