27 August 2012

Book Review: The Boot Camp by Kate Harrison

"SIX...days of dawn runs, blistered feet and non-stop sit-ups...

FIVE...meals a day - if half an apple or an oatcake counts as a meal...

FOUR... poster beds not included - but sleep won't be a problem after a ten hour workout...

THREE... women with a battalion's worth of baggage between them...

TWO... hardcore ex-forces trainers with testosterone to spare...

ONE GOAL: To feel like a million dollars, for the first time in your life.

Leave your Mars Bars and Marlboros at the door... this is Boot Camp!"

Rating: 4/5

I'm a big fan of Kate Harrison's 'Secret Shopper' series, so when I found out she was going to be releasing a stand-alone novel this year, I was quite excited to read it and thought it'd make a nice change to meet some new characters from Kate! I really liked the book cover, with the gold and pink being a nice contrast and it's quite different to a lot of things out there, so it sort of stands out from everything on the bookshelves at home at the moment. I was lucky enough to receive a review copy, so eagerly got stuck in, and was soon engrossed in the book and couldn't put it down!

The Boot Camp tells the story of a group of women who all decide to go to a boot camp in the middle of nowhere to desperately lose weight! They are under the strict instruction of the ex-army leaders Staff Pepper and Staff Ryan, one mean and one friendly, and the men really do put the ladies through their paces. There is Steph, who has gone to the camp to lose weight and prove to her ex-boyfriend Steve that she really is worthy of his love; Vicki who won the space in camp in a competition but wasn't quite prepared for the lack of luxury she was expecting... then tthere's a television presenter, bride to be and her mother, and some hardcore camp go-ers thrown in as well... it's going to be a week of pain, but will it be worth it?

I really enjoyed the premise of this book, and found out after reading it that Kate actually attended a boot camp herself before writing the book to give it an authentic feel for the readers, and so she could actually know what she was writing about! A boot camp isn't something that I could see myself doing if I'm honest, too much like hard work lol but I was curious to read a book set at one, just to see if it is as bad as I was imagining! Kate tells the story through the multiple narratives of several of the characters, but my favourite by far was Steph, the lady doing it to try and win back her (pig of an) ex boyfriend, and prove she isn't just a fat chef even though she isn't actually sure that she is. After a few days, Steph starts to wonder if she's worth more than Steve, but can't bring herself to see that she is special. The other females each have their own insecurities, and these too are very well written, I myself felt the same things as many of them did!

The male characters in the book, Staff Pepper and Staff Ryan are fantastic, both hard army men who want the best for the women but are both very different in their approaches. You could tell from reading that Harrison had done her research, from the exercises involved and described within the book, to the small snippets of facts throughout as well, that made it entertaining to read. I felt really sorry for most of the female characters who were struggling with the pace, I know I would and their pain felt realistic enough to put me off ever going through a boot camp myself! I also liked the setting and the way the boot camp seems to go to pot as the book goes on, there are definite laughs in here, and I felt so sorry for Edie who ran the camo, ditzy but a kind heart!

Overall, this was a really enjoyable stand alone novel from Kate Harrison that I really enjoyed reading, and would recommend to those who have enjoyed reading her other books in the past. With a cast of likeable characters, including a few you'll love to hate as well, there is certainly something in there for everyone and I found it an easy book to pick up and put down every ight, and be able to carry on with the story. I finished the book in a couple of days and really enjoyed every page. From Steph to Vicki to Staff Ryan, I felt for all the characters who all have their own issues, and are using boot camp to work through them in different ways. It's a really great book, and a fun one to take on your summer holidays as you're sitting there sipping cocktails by the pool being lazy!

You can buy The Boot Camp as a paperback or an eBook now!

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