The Retreat - Tor/Forge Blog

8 Books to Read for Galentine’s Day

By Alison Bunis

Happy Galentine’s Day! What’s Galentine’s Day, you ask? Essentially, for those of you not in the know, what started as a made-up holiday on the tv-show Parks and Recreation has become a real holiday. The day before Valentine’s Day, the most couple-y of holidays, gal pals everywhere put aside their partners and say to each other, “I appreciate your friendship and I love you.” How you celebrate is up to you, of course. Leslie Knope of Parks and Rec obviously goes for breakfast food, because that’s her love language. But for us here at Forge, our love language is obviously books. So to celebrate Galentine’s Day this year, we’ve put together a list of books celebrating women!

These books are by women or about women. Some of these women kick ass. Some of these women bake magic pies. Some of them tell you about their parents’ divorce and how not to join a cult, and some of them write about ISIS occupations. It’s a wide range, because there’s no predetermined way to be a woman, or to be a gal-pal. So grab your BFF, grab a couple of books, and get reading. Ladies celebrating ladies by reading about awesome ladies. What could be more Galentine’s Day than that??

For the Non-fiction Gal

Image Place holder  of - 52Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark
Pick up this book if you’re into Karen & Georgia’s podcast, My Favorite Murder! But even if you’re not a podcast person, don’t worry, this book is an excellent read for anyone looking for an honest, open, hilarious memoir about the struggles of dealing with mental health issues, addiction, and being a True Crime fan.

Place holder  of - 34Father of Lions by Louise Callaghan
This one is a touching story of humanity in the midst of war, told by award-winning journalist Louise Callaghan. Callaghan is one of the youngest Middle East Correspondents ever hired by the Sunday Times (UK), and she has had pieces published in The Sunday Times Magazine, Vogue, and the Times Literary Supplement. Talk about an impressive lady. Father of Lions is a must-read if you’re interested in a story that will make you view war and conflict in a new light, or if you want a good book about brave animals.

To Get Your Pulse Racing

Placeholder of  -69The Retreat by Sherri Smith
We’ve all got that one friend who’s way too into the latest wellness craze. Maybe we are that friend, and no one’s told us yet. Doesn’t matter, this is just the book to break the spell: four friends go for a weekend getaway at a wellness retreat. By the end, only one of them is left standing…

Image Placeholder of - 40Trust Me by Hank Phillippi Ryan
Hank Phillippi Ryan is an award-winning investigative journalist, so when she sits down to write a book about a journalist looking for the truth in an unbearably brutal story, you can bet she delivers. Trust Me is full of all the psychological suspense and manipulation that any thriller reader could ever desire.

A Hint of Magic

Poster Placeholder of - 91Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber
For your friend who believes in magic, for your friend who believes in love, for your friend who loves to bake, for your friend from a small town, for your friend with a close family, for your friend with serious family issues: Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe checks all the boxes. But have baked goods on hand: you’ll definitely want a snack while reading.

Remembrance by Rita Woods
Do you want to spark a discussion with your friends? Want to dive into the deeper issues surrounding the Haitian Revolution and the Underground Railroad? Or do you just want to sink into an enthralling read about four women, connected across different times and places, struggling to make their way in a world that doesn’t have a place for them? (Hint: If you liked The Underground Railroad or The Orphan Train, this is definitely the book for you.)

Historically Accurate Friendships

Ask Me No Questions by Shelley Noble
 Okay, this one’s for the gal pal groups who watched Downton Abbey together. The movie helped, sure, but it was just one movie. So if you’re suffering from Downton Abbey withdrawal, Shelley Noble is here to help you out with her delightful mystery set in Gilded Age Manhattan, where horse racing, romance, murder, and scandals abound. Someone simply must do something. And our plucky heroine Lady Dunbridge is happy to oblige.

Of Irish Blood by Mary Pat KellyOf Irish Blood by Mary Pat Kelly
This vivid, compelling epic is a great read for anyone interested in Irish heritage or family history, because author Mary Pat Kelly based the story on her own great-aunt’s life. Following heroine Nora Kelly as she travels through Europe in 1903, readers will meet all kinds of exciting real-life characters such as Gertrude Stein, William Butler Yeats, and James Joyce!


What to Do If You Wake Up With a Bloody Knife In Your Bed

Image Place holder  of - 78By Sherri Smith

What would you do if you woke up with a bloody knife in your bed?

No idea? Well I’ve got the answers for you!

Hey, we’ve all done it right? Woken up to something or someone in our bed and not remembered how it got there. I mean, usually it’s a person, but ever since marijuana became legal in Canada—there’s also a whole lot of Maltesers* rolling around in the flannel sheets.

But what if you wake up next to a bloody knife? Unlike one-stands, there’s just no standard etiquette on how to deal with that.  So I thought I would come with 10 things NOT to do, if you find yourself in this predicament.

  1. Don’t panic. Surely you just drunkenly ate a raw steak the night before.
  2. Once you realize there’s no steak in your home and that you’ve been a vegetarian for twenty years: don’t touch it! One word: forensics. Sure, there’s probably already a ton of DNA on it from your bed, but why add to it?
  3. Don’t get out of bed on the same side as the knife (same as the morning after a one-night stand.) You might cut yourself.
  4. Once you’re safely out of bed, don’t use it to make a sandwich. You don’t know whose blood that is and what sort of contagions it carries!
  5. Don’t stir your morning coffee with it either, because stirring with a knife causes strife. Or so my mom says.
  6. Don’t tuck the knife back under your pillow. The tooth-fairy is not going to clean up your messes for you.
  7. Don’t take a selfie with it. That’s super incriminating.
  8. Don’t put it in the dishwasher, because again, forensics, and you will eventually need to get to the bottom of whose blood it is.
  9. Don’t cower in the corner of your bedroom. Instead, take a quick survey of your home to make sure there isn’t a body anywhere.
  10. Do call the police. Call them as soon as possible. Your lawyer too. Be as honest as possible. If you’re too hung-over and need to run out for a hair-of-the-dog bloody Mary first, well then use duct-tape and a sharpie to make your own POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS barrier.

If you follow the above steps you’ll probably still not be OK at all. You’re welcome!

Order Your Copy:

Image Place holder  of amazon- 59 Place holder  of bn- 21 Placeholder of booksamillion -51 ibooks2 3 indiebound


Note from the Forge Team: We had to look these up too. American readers, Maltesers are strangely delicious Canadian candies that are kind of like Whoppers.


New Releases: 8/13

New Releases

Happy New Releases Day! Here’s what went on sale today.

Bright Star by Erin Swan

Place holder  of - 58Paerolia has been at peace for two centuries, and all is well in the land—or so it seems. Beneath the surface, a tyrant is rising to power.

A traumatic experience in Andra’s childhood has left her mute and subdued, a servant in the Chief Judge’s manor. But when an assassination team, led by the secretive and alluring Kael, infiltrates the manor and makes a quick escape, she takes her chance and flees with them.

Andra is thrust into the ranks of a secret rebellion—a group of outcasts and believers seeking to overthrow the Chief Judge and replace the corrupt government with new members, ones who will restore and preserve the land they love. Now, the girl who was once an outcast must somehow become the leader Paerolia needs. But she is stronger than she believes—and with the help of a fiercely loyal dragon, she may just be the one to lead them all to victory.

Knaves Over Queens by George R. R. Martin

Image Placeholder of - 47Developed by aliens and field-tested on Earth, the virus known as Xenovirus Takis-A was released in New York in 1946, changing the course of human history forever. Most of those infected die — and a tiny percentage become deformed beings known as jokers. A lucky few survivors become aces: superhumans gifted with amazing powers. Now the virus has reached Britain.

There, Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, gifted with extraordinary longevity, together with the Enigma ace Alan Turing, set up a special organization named the Order of the Silver Helix. They will need all of the wild cards they can find if they are to deal with the terrifying mutations spawned by the virus.

Edited by #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin and Melinda M. Snodgrass, Knaves Over Queens features the writing talents of Paul Cornell, Marko Kloos, Mark Lawrence, Kevin Andrew Murphy, Emma Newman, Peter Newman, Peadar O Guilin, Melinda M. Snodgrass, Caroline Spector, and Charles Stross.

The Mage-Fire War by L. E. Modesitt Jr.

Image Place holder  of - 83Once again, prejudices against the use of chaos magic force Beltur and his companions to flee their refuge in Axalt. The rulers of nearby Montgren have offered them sanctuary and the opportunity to become the Councilors of the run-down and disintegrating town of Haven.

Montegren lacks any mages—white or black—making this seem like the perfect opportunity to start again.

However, Beltur and the others must reinstitute law and order, rebuild parts of the town, deal with brigands—and thwart an invading army.

The Peaceful Valley Crime Wave by Bill Pronzini

Poster Placeholder of - 98Nothing much happens in Peaceful Valley, Montana. And that’s just how Sheriff Lucas Monk likes it.

Aside from the occasional drunken brawl or minor disturbance out on the reservation, he hasn’t had to resort to his fists or sidearm in years.

That is, until mid-October, 1914, when the theft of a wooden cigar store Indian sets off a crime wave like nothing Lucas has ever seen. Teenager Charity Axthelm goes missing, Reba Purvis’s housekeeper is poisoned with cyanide Reba is sure was meant for her, and Lucas’s gut tells him that this is only the beginning.

It’s not long before the first corpse shows up, bringing the peace in the valley to a thundering end.

The Retreat by Sherri Smith

Placeholder of  -14Four women.
Four secrets.
A weekend that will change them forever…if they survive.

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.


Four Books That Will Make You Want to Skip Your Next Vacation

By Jennifer McClelland-Smith

Have you had it with seeing your friends’ amazing vacation photos on Instagram? The only thing more fun than reading about someone else’s vacation is reading about someone else’s vacation gone horribly wrong, right? Take a different kind of vacation with these other great reads full of twists and turns for tourists.

They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall

Image Placeholder of - 6It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime. In They All Fall Down by Rachel Howzell Hall, Miriam Macy is excited to receive a surprise invitation to a luxurious private island off the coast of Mexico, as are the 6 other strangers joining her. They soon find themselves in a lonely mansion in the middle of a lush forest, surrounded by miles of open water with sporadic cell coverage. Strange accidents start happening, killing off the strangers one by one, leaving the survivors to wonder who is responsible for all of this? And more importantly, who’s next?

American Drifter by Heather Graham and Chad Michael Murray

Place holder  of - 49US Army veteran River Roulet takes off to Rio de Janiero to escape his troubles in this thriller by New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham and actor Chad Michael Murray. Escape is what he finds in the spirited grasp of Brazil, until he falls in love with Natal, a drug lord’s mistress. The former soldier finds himself on the run, hunted down by the gangster and his men, the Brazilian government, and the painful memories that haunt him.

The Toll by Cherie Priest

Image Place holder  of - 33Is there anything more tantalizing than Southern gothic horror? Titus and Melanie find out exactly what it means to be on the highway to hell while on their honeymoon. Titus wakes up in the middle of the road to find his wife has vanished. The swamps of Florida are the perfect steamy backdrop for this unforgettably creepy read.


The Retreat by Sherri Smith

Placeholder of  -63A former child star, her best friends and her soon-to-be sister-in-law travel to upstate New York to a wellness retreat, each for her own reasons and each hiding a grim secret. They start the weekend seeking inner peace and soon find themselves wondering if they’ll survive it. Self-care takes on a whole new meaning in this twisty, turny thriller.

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