I've been in the mood for a thriller to sink my teeth into and The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz delivered. I've seen and heard a few people talking about this and when I looked in my Netgalley queue, I realized I had a copy; I was beyond excited!

I inhaled this book and it was honestly unlike anything I've ever read. It was inspiring, sick, twisted, scary and really fun. It was released yesterday, February 21st, and I need all my thriller lovers to go and read it ASAP!

Publisher's Summary

Alex has all but given up on her dreams of becoming a published author when she receives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: attend an exclusive, month-long writing retreat at the estate of feminist horror writer Roza Vallo. Even the knowledge that Wren, her former best friend and current rival, is attending doesn’t dampen her excitement.

But when the attendees arrive, Roza drops a bombshell—they must all complete an entire novel from scratch during the next month, and the author of the best one will receive a life-changing seven-figure publishing deal. Determined to win this seemingly impossible contest, Alex buckles down and tries to ignore the strange happenings at the estate, including Roza’s erratic behavior, Wren’s cruel mind games, and the alleged haunting of the mansion itself. But when one of the writers vanishes during a snowstorm, Alex realizes that something very sinister is afoot. With the clock running out, she must discover the truth—or suffer the same fate.

A claustrophobic and propulsive thriller exploring the dark side of female relationships and fame, 
The Writing Retreat is the unputdownable debut novel from a compelling new talent.

My Thoughts

As I said above, this book was sick and twisted. It started off spooky and scary; this big 'haunted' house with this elusive author, plus a group of women who have never met before (aside from two). From the moment the retreat was revealed, you were aware something terrible was going to go down.

At first the writing was a bit confusing; Alex didn't come off as a strong protagonist at first and I wasn't sure if she was reliable or not. However, that changed as the story went on and once everyone was at Briarwood, Roza's estate, you were hooked. 

I mentioned above that the book was inspiring and that's because of the writing portion. I love books about writers so the idea of a writing retreat (without everything that happened in the book) sounds delightful and I might try to take myself on one at some point.

As the book goes on and stories start to unravel, I became very weary of everyone at the retreat, from Roza to the other writers, to Roza's employees. Something was up, something wasn't right but until you get to the first climax of the novel you're unaware of how screwed up everything is.

One of the women goes missing and that's when the book really picks up; that's when secrets start spilling out of the woodwork yet, you can't be too sure who to trust or what is really happening.

I can't say much more without giving away the entire plot but you will never see the rest of this book coming. This will be a completely type of thriller than you're used to. The Writing Retreat one of my new favorites!


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