I really couldn’t get into this book so sadly I didn’t finish it. I couldn’t relate to the characters and they spent most of the book acting immature. There were so many things that didn’t make sense and o was left bored and unsatisfied. Sadly, not for me.
In a world where isolated-group thrillers are aplenty, this narrative offers a fresh take on an old theme. Set in a competitive writers' retreat, members begin to mysteriously vanish. As a lover of similar retreats, I found myself even more engrossed in the plot. What sets this tale apart is its gothic undertone, masterfully blending elements of horror and thriller. This refreshing mix ensures readers are hooked from the get-go. Purely entertaining, this book was a rollercoaster I thoroughly enjoyed riding.
I really enjoyed this one. Read it for my book club and I think it was really well done. The atmosphere was great as were the twists in the book. I also enjoyed the combination of thriller/romance. Would definitely recommend.
I really enjoyed this book, kept me
Intrigued and eager to read. I haven’t read anything by this author before but will definitely be looking out for more 😊
When I read the blurb I was so excited to read this story but sadly it fell flat for me.
Quite a few things were pretty hard to believe and the last half of the book in particular got messier and messier.
The main characters also seemed much more immature than the ages that they are meant to be. This made it quite difficult to care about or root for any of them.
I did like the setting and some parts were interesting but overall, this was a real let down.
It had all the potential but simply didn't live up to it.
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
A very different read, but a little too basic for my liking.
The story came across rather silly. The could not connect with the characters and felt it was a story that has been told many times and been told better.
Didn’t have the best of starts. It seemed very tedious with the characters carry on. But it did pick up and had my interest. Turned out to be a great plot,
I had my reservations about this book, because I'd just abandoned a thriller with a similar premise (I've come across three different retreat-based thrillers published this year alone!) Like 'The Wilderness Retreat' by Jennifer Moore, this was another slow start, but thankfully the main character wasn't half as annoying so I was able to give 'The Writing Retreat' much more of a chance!
My interest was finally grabbed once we get to the retreat itself, which makes me think this is where the story should have started to begin with. The introductory stuff leading up to this felt unnecessary, or could have just been included later on through flashbacks to contextualise Alex (and Wren's) history.
Nonetheless, the story mostly kept me intrigued, albeit the action could have kicked in sooner. There was a lot of scenes involving the retreat participants getting to know each other/developing cliques and participating in writing workshops, which just wasn't very interesting to me. In fact, the first half kind of felt like a high school drama rather than a thriller. The characters simply didn't read as a a group of adults in their mid-twenties to me and came across as caricatures at some points.
On the plus side, I did enjoy some of the themes explored, with Bartz posing the question: does great art require pain and suffering? And how far would you go/how much would you endure for the sake of your passion/art and for it to be recognised by others?
All in all, this is a competent thriller that's also full of a surprising amount of sapphic spice and plenty of twists once the action escalates. Worth a read but there's probably better thrillers out there.
3.5 rounded down.
Many thanks to Oneworld Publications and NetGalley for providing me with a digital review copy.
The Writing Retreat is a phenomenal thriller from start to finish. Filled to the brim with twists and a captivating plot, this one is sure to keep readers hooked. The characters are well-developed. The story is incredibly fast-paced. This is one not to be missed! Highly recommended! Be sure to check out The Writing Retreat asap.
This was a great first half. I loved the setup, the compelling cast of female characters and the tensions between them. However I found the big twist in the second half predictable and just a bit too bonkers for my taste. It was an enjoyable read though.
I am disappointed by this book. I was so looking forward to it from the minute I read the synopsis but honestly- I wasn't "thrilled" by this so called thriller. I found it to be predictable and underwhelming. The plot twists were previously heavy handed so it became obvious that you were supposed to remember it because it was going to be coming up again just wait long enough.
The Writing Retreat
I am a sucker for a remote location suspense Thriller and I really enjoyed this. Lost me a little near the end but still overall a great read I would definitely recommend. A great debut from this author.
Thank you to Netgalley, OneWorld Publications and Julia Bartz for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest Review
Thank you to One world publishing for this ARC copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly! I loved the fact that all of the characters were writers and loved the variety of character within the retreat. I enjoyed the plot and the book within a book excerpts throughout.
It did take me a little bit of time to get into the book personally but once I was a few percent into the book I was completely gripped and read through it super quickly!
I loved the setting and mystery around it, and was shocked by the plot twists throughout.
I gave this book a 4 ⭐️ rating.
I DNF this novel at around the 70% mark. Shortly after I started reading it I wondered if it would be for me, as the main character seemed quite young and immature, but as I am always intrigued by books about writing, and I had read good things about it, I decided to keep reading.
I liked the setting (with many Gothic elements) and the initial premise, although I soon grew weary of the characters and their overdramatic behaviour. I have enjoyed novels where I haven’t particularly liked any of the characters, but that didn’t happen here, and the more the plot developed, the more their behaviour seemed inconsistent and the suspension of disbelief eventually got too much for me.
There are interesting elements to the story, the background of the building and the setting are good, and I am sure many readers will enjoy it, but it was not for me.
Good luck to the author and thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC copy.
Thanks first to the publishers, Netgalley and to Julia Bartz for the ARC of ‘The Writing Retreat’.
I finished this in one sitting, absolutely tore through it! It was brilliantly twisty with multiple layers and continuous reveals. The book is phenomenal as it has a book within it which only elevates the story.
A big hit and one that will fly off the shelves!!
Thank you to NetGalley and Oneworld Publications for this ARC! This was one of my most anticipated thrillers of the year and I was not disappointed!
This is a thriller following Alex, an aspiring writer with writer’s block who, along with four other women, gets selected to attend a writing retreat at the home of her favourite author. One person will be selected as the winner of a seven figure book deal and they each have to write a whole novel from scratch. However, things quickly devolve into a nightmare. That’s all I’m going to say.
This was an excellent debut novel from Julia Bartz and I think she will be an auto buy author for me from now on! This was one of those books that felt like eating a bag of crisps. You tell yourself you’re just going to have a few and then before you know it you’ve reached the end of the bag. I sat down to read a couple of chapters before bed and before I knew it I was halfway through.
There is twist after twist, I really enjoyed the characters and their defining personalities. I think Kiera was my favourite character, what a badass! I also love the book within a book trope, I know it’s not for everyone but it’s one of my favourite tropes!
Julia really knows how to create tension and atmosphere. The last 100 or so pages had my heart racing, it was filled with action, tension and twists. You don’t know who to trust, at times you don’t even know if you can trust the main character. The snowy, isolated setting, the creepy Victorian mansion, the creepy Victorian mansion’s backstory, a cast of characters pitted against each other, it had all the makings of a fantastic thriller for me.
This author has so much potential and I truly can’t wait to see what she comes up with next! This one came out on the 2nd March so you can grab it right now!
Very much along the same lines as 'Nine Perfect Strangers' and one that I only read a month ago, 'The Wilderness Retreat', I fear the market for this style story is truly saturated.
The set up is all perfectly serviceable - a number of writers' won' a place at a retreat hosted by a well known author. Things turn weird fairly soon, and there isn't a happy ending for everyone invited. Unfortunately it wasn't just the retreat that got weird, there is a very odd sub story involving a massive orange demon. This element did not really add anything for me, it rather reinforced my view that they were all unhinged and consuming even more LSD than they were admitting to.
The characters were all exhausting, the sort of people who court catastrophe and make everything about themselves. Saying that I did finish it - but will forget about it sooner rather than later.
Entertaining and quick read, although it takes a lot to scare me. I loved the premise of author envy and trying desperately to succeed, As a writer, who hasn’t dreamt of winning a coveted month-long writing retreat in an idyllic location, especially one that is tutored by an author you hugely admire? However, it did get a little messy and too implausible towards the end.
Author Roza Vallo is hosting a writing retreat at her secluded home, where five young writers are to spend a month writing a novel, with one lucky winner receiving a publishing deal. Alex has been a life-long fan of Roza and can't believe her luck when she is chosen. However things soon take a turn when the attendees start to die and Alex realises that she could be in danger.
A dark, twisted, gripping thriller that you won't be able to put down.
I wanted to both devour and savour this book at the same time. I was desperate to find out how the story would end and yet I also loved lingering to enjoy the writing style. The plot is clever and well-written, full of surprises to keep you guessing until the very end. One of my favourite aspects was reading a story within a story, as you follow Alex writing her novel as part of the retreat. This added a really unique and original element to the book.
A huge isolated house was the perfect setting, especially during the tense scenes that made heart beat loudly and kept me on the edge of my seat. The characters were unpredictable and each was fascinating in their own way.
A fantastic debut novel from Julia Bartz, I will be sure to pick up anything she writes in the future.
Thank you NetGalley and Magpie for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.