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Breakup Boot Camp

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After weeks of training to whip Joanna Kitt into shape for her big day, her picture-perfect engagement to her high school sweetheart is torn in two, and Joanna is left out on her perfectly toned rear end. To put the past and her heartache behind her, she sets off for two weeks at the renowned Retreat House Breakup Boot Camp in Topsail Island off the coast of North Carolina.

Despite her sadness, Joanna throws herself into the experience hoping surfing, yoga, spa treatments, meditation, and talk therapy will be enough to help her get over the one man she’s ever loved. But she soon learns the Boot Camp is only the first step to healing her broken heart. Joanna will have to come to terms with the career she abandoned, the loss in her life she never fully accepted, and the role she played in the ending of her relationship.

When she meets Todd Aldrich, the handsome and mysterious hotel chef, she has the chance to take her renewed heart out for a test drive and see if she is ready for new beginnings and new love.

Will 12 steps be enough to get her life back on track? Or will her getaway to get over him prove healing the heart takes a whole lot more?

302 pages, Kindle Edition

First published November 19, 2019

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About the author

Beth Merlin

8 books76 followers
Beth is a native New Yorker who loves rom-coms, Broadway, and a good maxi dress. She was introduced to her husband through a friend she met at sleepaway camp and considers the eight summers she spent there to be the most formative of her life. One S’more Summer is Beth's debut novel.

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5 stars
343 (38%)
4 stars
295 (33%)
3 stars
210 (23%)
2 stars
31 (3%)
1 star
11 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 124 reviews
Profile Image for Lisa Mandina.
1,869 reviews418 followers
November 19, 2019
I really enjoyed the other books I read by this author, the Campfire series which started with One S'more Summer, so I was very excited to read this one. It was a pretty good story overall. I liked a lot of the things that she learned to do to help out with her feelings at the Breakup Boot Camp. There were definitely some things that can be applied to real life for any time you're feeling down. I also loved having a connection back to the characters from the earlier series that I love, that was fun. Todd, the new love interest, was also pretty sweet sounding, and definitely had a smoulder about him with being able to cook and surf, etc. I also thought the whole pirate's treasure bit was fun and made for a very sweet twist at the end. I'd say it's another sweet story from an author I enjoy.

Original post on Lisa Loves Literature.
Profile Image for Kris Mauna.
509 reviews49 followers
November 19, 2019
Breakup Boot Camp was a fun, empowering read! My favorite part of this story was our main character, Joanna, because she felt relatable in many ways and I really loved seeing her development throughout the book. This is a story about losing your way only to find the path you were always meant to be on. <3
Profile Image for Loredana Mariana Bublitchi.
660 reviews47 followers
January 25, 2022
Am dat peste “Breakup Boot Camp” din întâmplare, ma lovise curatenia in Kindle si tot scroll-uind printre titluri, mi-au cazut ochii pe titlu si am zis “hai sa vad despre ce o fi vorba…”
Nu aveam niciun plan in a incepe aceasta carte, sincer, din contra, imi pregatisem “Regele cicatricilor”, dar n-a fost sa fie si m-am pierdut in povestea Joannei.

Joanna urmeaza sa se casatoreasca cu iubitul ei din copilarie, ii mai despart doar cateva saptamani pana la marele eveniment, dar nunta nu mai are loc, Jo descopera ca Sam o înseala si anuleaza tot. Astfel, protagonista ajunge intr-o tabara a despartirilor, unde urmeaza sa se deconecteze de viata sociala si de job, pentru a trece peste aceasta despartire ce i-a dat lumea peste cap, dar si pentru a se descoperi pe sine. Iar programele din tabara sunt unul si unul: o fosta starleta de filme pentru adulti care preda lectii de “dominatrix”, sunt incluse si lectii de surf si yoga, diverse tratamente si terapii, dar si posibilitatea de a experimenta gatitul, bucatarul este…un deliciu…

A fost o reala surpriza sa fiu prinsa de aceasta poveste, mai ales ca pana la ea, nu am mai avut niciun fel de experienta cu scrierea autoarei. Am descoperit o poveste amuzanta, usor de a fi desprinsa din realitate si sincer va spun, ideea cu tabara mi s-a parut super smechera. Pentru mine, care am avut parte de o multime de relatii dezastruoase, o astfel de tabara ar fi fost lux 🤣 si chiar am inteles-o pe Jo, de ce a optat pentru aceasta deconectare, iar s-o urmaresc a fost o placere.
Am ras alaturi de ea si de ea, ce e drept, mi-a placut modul cum a evoluat si maturitatea de care a dat dovada intr-un final pentru a-si rezolva probleme, m-am bucurat ca reusit sa leaga si prietenii frumoase in aceasta tabara, dar mai ales ca si-a acordat sansa de a-si vindeca inima 🥰.

Cu totii am avut inima franta la un moment dat si am simtit ca se naruie pamantul sub noi, iar povestea Joanneo vine ca un reminder ca nu este chiar atat de tragic, desi-n acel moment poate parea cel mai cumplit lucru posibil, ca speranta mereu trebuie sa ramana aprinsa, sa ne punem pe noi pe primul loc, sa ne cunoastem cat mai bine si sa nu ne temem de nou, dar mai ales, sa ne acordam sansa la o noua iubire ❤️.

Chiar va recomand titlul, are o poveste foarte simpatica, se citeste usor si sunt sigura ca va veti regasi, macar putin, in povestea Joannei ☺️.

“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief she is beautiful.”

“You see, being a dominatrix isn’t about sex. Being a dominatrix, embracing your inner dominatrix, is about taking hold of your authority and influence. You are a force to be reckoned with. You are the master of your fate and the captain of your soul.”

“(…) life may not be perfect, but your outfit can be.”

“Honey, there are weak loves, but there’s absolutely no weakness in loving someone, even someone who ultimately hurt you. But at the end of the day, what you want is a man that messes up your lipstick, not your mascara. Trust me on that one.”

“True love doesn’t have a happy ending. If you really think about it, true love doesn’t have any ending at all. It keeps on going because both people want it to keep going and are willing to keep working at it.”

Profile Image for Laura.
244 reviews
March 11, 2021
I didn't know what to expect from this book. I got it for free from amazon. I enjoyed certain aspects I mean the name of the book implies there will be heart ache and I did like the character development but that was about all. I feel like things wrapped up to nicely in a bow. I wanted a little more struggle.
but overall it is a book about finding yourself again and how family and friends are a big support.
Profile Image for Laura..devouring books like crumpets.
1,446 reviews83 followers
September 24, 2021
was OK.... I wouldn't put it up there with the dry humor Sophie kinsella offers... this really wasn't a comedy.... the characters were very one dimensional and diddnt really offer the personality to encompass quick wit....

Still was nice just wasn't the quick witted comedy i was expecting when compared with such Authors on Amazons Precis
Profile Image for Gaufre.
467 reviews22 followers
Shelved as 'abandoned'
August 3, 2020
It is hard for me to sympathize with anyone who can afford to go to a break up boot camp. I should have read the blurb (what’s up with its first sentence?).
Profile Image for Laurie.
1,411 reviews23 followers
November 18, 2019
"Breakup Boot Camp" by Beth Merlin was a wonderful story featuring a fantastic main character, Joanna Kitt. I loved Joanna and the way she threw herself into life after her breakup with her high school sweetheart, Sam. She really took advantage of the opportunity to examine what went wrong and own up to her mistakes, and I especially admired her ability to acknowledge the part she played in the breakdown of the relationship. Joanna was so much stronger and more independent than she gave herself credit for being, and the Breakup Boot Camp helped her learn how to move forward and create the life she wanted for herself.

Some of the sessions at the Breakup Boot Camp were very interesting to me, particularly the one featuring the dominatrix, Mistress Monica. Mistress Monica's message regarding confidence was certainly spot on, even if it was delivered in an unexpected way. The camp-wide search for Blackbeard's buried treasure was a fun touch too. Looking for the treasure was a nice way for Joanna to bond with her new friends, Zosia and Emmy, and I also loved the role it played in the story's epilogue.

Overall, I loved this book every bit as much as I did the Campfire series. I really appreciated the little Easter eggs Ms. Merlin added in for fans of those books, including the fact that one of the actors who auditions for "Cats" had a previous role in "Elizabeth," and that Joanna's wedding dress is a Georgica Goldstein. Somehow I could see Gigi and Joanna becoming friends if they ever had the chance to meet! Who knows, maybe Joanna will be cast in one of Perry Gillman's shows one day, and they'll become besties. At any rate, I highly recommend "Breakup Boot Camp" and look forward to reading whatever Ms. Merlin writes next.

*ARC provided by the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.
12 reviews
November 20, 2019
Another amazing book by Beth Merlin!! She’s becoming one of my all-time favorite authors! Loved the references to her other series. Beth’s writing style is so natural and pulls you in so easily.
Profile Image for Layla.
478 reviews4 followers
April 6, 2020
I was sent an eARC of this from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

This is certainly not the kind of book I would usually reach for however if you are a lover of any sort of romance 'chicklit' esque book, this may very well appeal to you. It is a journey of re-discovery and the steps that one must sometimes take to move on.

I found the latter quarter of the book much more interesting than the firs three quarters as it showed a lot more depth to the characters, especially the main character Jo. There are a few humorous moments as well to detract from the emotional undercurrent of the story.

Profile Image for Aymie.
122 reviews7 followers
June 25, 2020
I started this book back in February when I was sitting on a beach in Dominican living my best life. I think I got half way through before we headed home and then I never touched it again. That is until this week. It's been in the high 30°'s making me think of my last vacation and being on a beach!

I really liked that this book focused more on healing than just a happily every after. If I could afford this camp, I would go for the relaxation and self love, who needs the broken heart? There will always be something you can talk about with a Dr. P!

I haven't read any other books by this author, but I might whenever I get to vacation again.
Profile Image for Cranky - The Book Curmudgeon.
2,089 reviews148 followers
November 22, 2019
4.5 cranky stars

This book was like a breath of fresh air. It was a different concept, after her breakup from a long relationship with Sam, Jo was persuaded to go to a breakup boot camp which was an idyllic place on the beach facing the ocean. It was a place to learn to love yourself and become the person deep inside. There were yoga classes and surfing lessons along with spa treatments including one I have never heard of but I won't forget it!!!!

Although a predictable ending it was well written and an enjoyable read, especially some of the antics she got up to with her new friends who were both celebrities in their own right, but everyone was there for the same reason and they made life long friendships.
4 reviews
November 19, 2019
What a fun, well written story! I loved all of the healing antics at the boot camp - super clever, while also being really metaphorically significant. It was a lighthearted read, while still being smart and inspiring. I think everyone who reads it will find it relatable. Well done, Beth. I can't wait to read whatever you publish next!
Profile Image for Anie.
1,007 reviews44 followers
November 18, 2019
Uplifting and inspiring!

Joanna Kitt is engaged to be married to a guy she loved since high school. The story starts with her very early training for the big day. But when she finds out that he cheated on her, her life falls apart. The lady at the wedding shop recommends Breakup Boot Camp. She throws herself into the program. But there is more to the story than just heartbreak. Joanna was not OK even before that happened and now is her chance to start to live again.

The story is very character-driven, you get pulled in into her world and can't help but feel and cry and be happy with her. She goes through a whole lot of heartbreak and personal growth. As you are reading the storyline, her character gets more and more depth as the story progresses. It starts just as heartbreak and betrayal. As she goes to Breakup Book Camp and is forced to think, to feel, her past issues come fort. The story is not so black and white anymore, but all shades of grey. As she starts to take responsibility for some of the issues, she can finally get closer to a happier future. :)

My favorite part was the love story. New crush wasn't the reason for her to get better, she got better on her own & then came the happily ever after. I appreciated that part very, very much. :)

received from Xpresso Book Tours
Profile Image for Baca Buku.
555 reviews2 followers
January 4, 2020
This book was recommended in my reading feed as a romance... but it isn't really one. We have two people meeting, seeing potential in being together and ending up with an HEA, but the middle part - the development of the relationship - is mostly missing.
That doesn't mean this was a bad book. There was a lot that kept my interest. I see it as a combination of women's lit, self-help book and reference manual. The story revolves around a breakup, but the book is really about friendship, childhood trauma and family relationships. Throw in information about cooking, acting and psychology (sometimes too much info dump; at other times, just the right amount) and you get an enjoyable read.
354 reviews3 followers
December 27, 2019
Pretty deep

I was surprised at the gamut of emotions I went through reading this book. The beginning was pretty funny with the Bridal Boot Camp and I didn’t think the book would be that deep or get as serious as it did.

I would recommend it as it forces you to see what is important but there are parts that are tear jerkers. The heroine and others must work through their past mistakes.

My only thoughts are the friendships seemed a little fast to be so deep. I find many people as they get older are not as vulnerable as portrayed in the book. But overall a good book I would recommend. It has a happy ending but not a light read.
Profile Image for Jo.
1,458 reviews11 followers
November 20, 2019
This is, in my view, one of those books where the cover simply doesn't reflect the content at all.  For my money, it undersells the story.

And the story itself?  Well, superficially at least, it's a reasonably light tale of a bride-to-be finding herself again after heartbreak.  But there are layers to this book - particularly around Jo's family and her history. I'm not going to lie, there were parts of this book that I found deeply emotional.  

Overall, a well balanced story that didn't rush to its conclusion.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.
Profile Image for Dj.
30 reviews1 follower
July 14, 2020
This book was engaging enough I finished it in one day. It was a heartwarming story of real-life struggles that had me laughing, crying, & cheering.
Profile Image for Monisha.
367 reviews
January 4, 2020
I really enjoyed reading this book.. I loved the characters and most of all I loved Jo.. It is really hard to get back on track after a split in a relationship. The author has written it exceedingly well and I give it 5 starts
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
20 reviews1 follower
January 5, 2020
Refreshing read

A romance that is easy to read and involved...never expected it to bring tears to my eyes. Pick it up and get entranced.
73 reviews2 followers
January 2, 2020
I really liked this book. I loved that the central theme was more about finding yourself vs just finding someone new. And her realizations about herself were spot on! I will definitely recommend this book to other people!
Profile Image for Janet Simmons.
686 reviews
December 29, 2019
I loved reading this book. Joanna Kitt is a very strong relatable main character in this book. She really pulls you into the story so you feel like you are right there with her all the time. All the circumstances in this book are so relatable, if they haven't happened to us, we know someone else they have. One minute I was laughing and the next I had tears forming.. such a wonderful book. Will reccomend to anyone to read it
Profile Image for Michelle Goldfinch.
32 reviews3 followers
December 29, 2019
This was a great fun read. A bit of romance, lots of heartaches but romance wins in the end. Terrific characters that I really got involved with, I wanted to know what was happening to them and that things were going to get better.
What I really liked in this book was the author didn't just rely on the boy meets girl and everything gets better. This heroine grew and changed and made herself stronger along the way.
I really enjoyed this book.
Profile Image for Come_read_with_me_.
682 reviews23 followers
December 10, 2019
Joanna and Sam were high school sweethearts! Joanna couldn't ask for more, marrying her childhood sweetheart and a body that would turn heads as a result of her bridal boot camp. She thought life couldn't get any better until her world came crashing down. Sam was cheating on her. Trying to get her out of her depression, Joanna joins up to a breakup boot camp. Where do I sign up!!! Yoga, surfing, meditation and self love yes please. Here Joanna meets amazing friends and also an amazing chef Todd. Bonus that he is easy on the eyes 🤣
Joanna realises she has a lot she needs to sort out. Not just her separation from Sam but herself too.
This book is gripping! The descriptions of the beach and the activities, wow I was living it. They were amazing! I loved how supportive Joanna's friends were. Even though they had fame and riches, just shows it doesn't count for much if you are unhappy. I loved how much Joanna grew as a person. Usually in a book with a cheating partner I have no sympathy for the cheater however in this book I did!! Beth has an amazing way for showing us how hurt Joanna was, how amazing Sam used to be. It was like a death instead of a break down of their relationship.
It was great seeing a few of the characters from Beth Merlin's previous books the campfire series
418 reviews2 followers
December 30, 2019
Great read!

Aaah! Great read, lots going on here, more then just your usual Rom com, therapy, lots of therapy, and romance, that too!
Profile Image for Mack Black.
Author 9 books32 followers
December 10, 2019
This book was enjoyable while also helpful. I liked the things she learned at her camp for dealing with a breakup.
It was cute and funny and kept me turning the pages.
Joanna was a real down to life character that was relatable and she wasn't afraid to own her mistakes and try to better herself. I really resonated with her and felt for her after her breakup with her high school sweetheart. She certainly showed that you can always find your way again even in the toughest of storms.
The search for the treasure was a fun and engaging add-in. I loved the side characters as well and hope to read more from this author.
55 reviews1 follower
December 12, 2019
I really like Beth Merlin and her ability to create characters you want to root for, even the "bad guys" in this book were multidimensional, flushed out characters who had reasons behind how they acted. I really appreciated the protagonist's growth trajectory and her ability to empathize with the people in her life by the end. It was an uplifting read in a time when I really needed it, thanks Beth Merlin.
579 reviews10 followers
June 20, 2020
Originally reviewed for Chick Lit Central (www.chicklitcentral.com)

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Beth Merlin’s Campfire series, I looked forward to reading Breakup Boot Camp, and it was another five-star experience! The premise behind the Retreat House in Topsail Island felt unique and fresh, not like anything I’ve ever read before. Joanna takes off for the coast of North Carolina in order to heal her broken heart, and I couldn’t help but wish for that type of place when I’d gone through my own heartbreaks in life. While the words “boot camp” are part of the title of the program, it feels more like a means in finding one's self again, in making lives whole. Where’s a Retreat House when you need one?

In attempting to rediscover who she is, Joanna discovers Todd, the hotel chef. I appreciated Todd as a character, considering he goes against what one would imagine him to be typecast as. There was an instant need inside me to see these two together, despite the damage done by Joanna’s ex. There’s also a conflicting sense of loyalty where he’s concerned. Having a relationship with the high school sweetheart means several years’s worth of time and commitment. That was felt deeply when reading between the lines of what Joanna wanted, vs. what she really needs.

Along with the romantic experiences are tight woman bonds that are formed at Retreat House. They are unlikely friendships, but just what Joanna needs, what they all need. While I appreciated the focus on Todd, I felt the bigger focus was on the amazing women Joanna meets along the way, friendships that I know will carry on in the lifetime of this character.

I thought it was clever of Merlin to add touches of her Campfire series into Breakup Boot Camp. Experiences like that always thrill me, because I feel even more connected to the new characters, by bringing out some of my favorites from the past. However, even if a reader hasn’t had the pleasure of reading the Campfire series yet, this novel can be read as a standalone, easily. But it will most certainly make you want to read the other books by Merlin. An inspiring, top notch read!
Profile Image for Firefly Hill Press.
9 reviews1 follower
November 18, 2019
We are so so proud of Beth Merlin and this title. It is the first that Merlin writes outside the world of The Campfire Series, but man, she writes like a seasoned pro who navigates the tough waters of intriguing plot and authentic emotion. Her writing strengthens with every book she crafts and this book offers awesome little Easter eggs that fans of the Campfire Series will just LOVE.

My favorite aspect of Beth's stories is that she focuses on the women, not the relationships that society claims will be the mending agent. It is the women themselves who find their own happiness and contentment before they allow a relationship to add to their "happily ever after." It is a story of self-discovery and growth - full of laughs, real strife and heartbreak, and endearing strength of character.

It is a MUST read for anyone who's ever experienced heartbreak and has made it out the other side.
Profile Image for Sandra.
5 reviews
August 25, 2020
A fun tale of forgiveness and fresh starts

Romantic and sweet without being overly sentimental. The relationships seem very realistic. I don’t know if the concept of a breakup bootcamp was made up entirely for the story or based loosely on a real thing, but it’s a great idea. If such a place doesn’t exist, it should.
Profile Image for Rhyann  Dines-Lucas.
111 reviews2 followers
August 30, 2020
What a beautifully written story with laughter and tears and wonderfully flawed characters
My only negative was that there were a few errors in wording that should have been picked up and affect the flow sometimes
Displaying 1 - 30 of 124 reviews

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