January 3, 2017

REVIEW: Retreat (Getaway #1)

Retreat (Getaway #1), by Jay Crownover
Publish Date:
December 28, 2016
Publisher: self-published
Format: ARC, provided by the author and Inkslinger PR
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) Every once in a while, you need to get away from it all.

I was a woman on the edge, shaken and shattered after a breakup that felt like it tore my entire world apart.

My best friend, sick of watching me drown in misery and melancholy, harassed me until I agreed to go with her on a week-long wilderness retreat.

She promised days spent bonding and getting in touch with our inner bad-asses. It was supposed to be all about the two of us roughing it and making do with the bare minimum. She assured me we were going to be pushed to our limits in ways that were unimaginable. Neither one of us could have ever guessed just how right she was.

Nowhere in the glossy brochure did it say anything about the fact I was going to have to battle the insufferable but deliciously rugged and sexy trail guide instead of the elements. The brochure also forgot to mention the part that warned when you left civilization behind, there was no place to pack your inhibitions and fears.

I was told that I would be facing a week where the only thing I should expect was the unexpected. However, no one mentioned that I was going to have to fight for my life…and my heart as soon as I ventured into the unknown.

I was a pro at hiding from my feelings but when it came time to face a real threat, one that could change everything, I learned I was more of a no surrender, no retreat kind of girl.

Boy, does Jay Crownover sure know how to keep a secret. I learned of the existence of Retreat right after Christmas and immediately applied for an ARC. The very next day, I learned it was out in the world, and I have so much faith in Jay's storytelling abilities that I didn't even wait to learn if I had been selected for the ARC - I went to Amazon and bought the paperback right away. Best. Decision. Ever. 

I'm so glad Retreat was my first read of 2017. I started the year off on a high note, because Retreat was absolutely incredible. It's about two friends, Leona - or Leo - and Emrys, who decide to go on a unique vacation. Leo has lost her way ever since a very bad breakup left her in a dark place. Emrys books the two of them a week-long trail ride with real-life cowboys in the Wyoming back woods. No cell phones, no high-stress jobs, and lots to distract Leo so that she can find her way back to herself. It was supposed to be quiet and serene and soul-searching. 

The three brothers who run the ranch offering the trip - Cyrus, Sutton and Lane Warner - are all very different, but each interesting in their own ways. It's Cy though that catches Leo's eye from the moment they step off the airplane. He's grumpy and broody and not at all what Leo pictures a cowboy should look like. But, he proves quickly that he might wear motorcycle boots and not own a stitch of flannel, but he really knows what he's doing on those trails. And when danger hits their small group and the calm vacation becomes life threatening, both Cy and Leo find out what they're really made of. 

Authors walk a fine line when they write characters like Leo. She's bitter and angry and unhappy with pretty much everything ever since her last relationship went way south. It's hard to convey that to a reader without making the character someone that's easy to hate. Which, honestly, is usually what happens with me. I get so angry at how badly the character is treating the people around her that it's hard for me to root for her HEA, especially with a guy that's wonderful. 

However, Jay Crownover wrote Leo absolutely perfectly. She was just the right amount of bitchy so that I understood how hurt and shaken she was. But, she was also just the right amount of forgiving that I felt that the person she is now is not how she usually is. It made me want her to get back in touch with her former self so badly, and I believed she could do it. 

Honestly, the amount of growth in Leo from beginning to the end is astounding and one of the most satisfying parts of the book. A lot of that has to do with Cy and the influence he had on her. Leo let him in because he was unassuming and seemed almost as grumpy as she. He was a kindred spirit, and  it didn't hurt that they had awesome chemistry from the beginning. They lit that trail on fire. 

But Leo also grew so much because she HAD to. When trouble strikes their group of 11, Leo has no choice but to put her crap aside in order to help ensure that everyone - but especially Em and Cy - survives. She had to suck it up and be brave. Situations like that change people. And at least for Leo and Cy, the adversity they faced and how they handled it broke loose the walls they had built around their hearts. Not everyone was positively affected by the outcome of their situation, though, and I am already on the edge of my seat waiting for book two in this series so that I can see how things work out for everyone else. 

Retreat was edgy and suspenseful with plenty of Jay Crownover's special brand of sexiness and heat. And I absolutely loved the setting, as nearly all of the book takes place in the woods while they're on the trail. Retreat is told from Leo's POV, and I was cool with that, since it was clear she was the one who had the furthest to come in her quest to rediscover herself. This is totally unlike every other Jay Crownover book I've read before, but it's no less amazing. I can't wait to see what comes next. 

1 comment:

Anna said...

Great review, Krista! Sounds so good!