Monday, 19 August 2019

The Retreat - Sherri Smith blog tour

The Retreat: A Novel of SuspenseThe Retreat: A Novel of Suspense by Sherri Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.

Another book centered around a wellness retreat which seem to be a popular choice for writers at the moment. A psychological thriller that brings together 4 women Katie, Carmen, Ellie and Ariel who attend a weekend getaway each hoping to gain something uplifting from the experience.

Naturally things don’t go particularly well and at the end of the novel only one of the group come out alive. Well paced with characters although not entirely likeable do make this work.

Not as good at Nine Perfect strangers by Liane Morriarty but worth 4 stars

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.


Excerpt 4. Carmen

She’d started donating her eggs in her second term at NYU when she realized that her financial-aid package, even with a scholarship, fell short of covering all of her tuition.

She had tried working as a bartender, but the late nights caused her grades to slip, and her partial scholarship was threatened. She was in danger of not being able to finish out the year. She would have had to drop out, left with nothing but crippling debt to show for it (which eventually happened anyway).

Enter Darla Gibbins from ReproGen. She’d solicited Carmen in the student commons, stepping out in front of her as if she were selling hand lotion in a mall. Darla looked like either a madam or a television evangelist. Chubby and virtually chinless, her fake thick lashes wagged from her eyelids like butterflies stuck in glittery grease. “What’s a little discomfort for a couple of weeks if it puts up to $10,000 in your pocket? Easy money.”

Ten thousand turned out to be seven thousand. But the egg donation was easy, and she could study in the waiting room. She was hooked.

Now Carmen was on her fourth donation because clearly she came from especially fecund stock, and the money was just cover- ing the little extras like clothes and replacing the busted picture window because they couldn’t go another winter with cardboard as their only protection. Her thirteen-year-old brother, the shithead, had gone on a Banksy-inspired vandalism spree and now Carmen was stuck paying off his fines to keep him out of juvie. Then to top it off, the hot water tank just went.

She told herself it was her last donation, but even she didn’t be- lieve it. She felt hooked. It wasn’t the easiest way to make money, but out of all the ways to make money, it wasn’t the worst either.

Carmen felt she was nine years old and back in the free swim- ming class offered to low-income families. The instructor had called the kids who’d passed to stand on the side and left the failures in the pool, half treading water, half drowning, looking up at them, chlorinated water burning up their noses and eyes. Carmen did everything right to escape that pool, but there she was anyway. Pov- erty was like a serial killer at the end of a horror movie; just when she thought she’d gotten away, it popped up stronger, yielding an electric bill like a machete.

She still skimmed the release of liability waiver and signed it anyway. She planned on backing out at the last minute to avoid Katie’s inevitable wheedling that would last the entire weekend. Carmen’s contract specifically stated she not partake in any drugs or alcohol, yet she couldn’t deny her interest was piqued. She’d love to drink some magical tea, morph into her spirit animal or whatever, and gallop around in some rainbow-drenched, unicorn-laden alter- nate universe for an hour or eight. Her life was hard. It’d be nice to sink into oblivion for a while. It was what she’d always liked about Katie; she brought out Carmen’s risk-taking side. She slayed her type A. Got her to loosen up, drink too much, have fun, take off her glasses, let her hair fall loose like the schoolmarm in some old- school rock video who suddenly gave in to all her seething impulses. Katie was her bad influence. Someone she could blame for doing what she really wanted to do.

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