The Charm Offensive: Finding Happily Ever After

Review: The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun

Reality dating tv shows have just never really been my jam. So many of my friends and sorority sisters look forward to watching The Bachelor or the Bachelorette every Monday night, but I just never really got the appeal, to be honest. So, when I heard about the premise of The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun, I’ll admit that I was skeptical. But it turned out to be my favorite book that I read in the month of August! And that is high praise, because I managed to read a total of 15 books in August, with five of them being 5 star reads for me! So, thank you to my friends at Atria Books for asking me to be a part of the blog tour as we celebrate the release of The Charm Offensive this Tuesday September 7th! I know you guys are going to fall in love with this one!

“Dev Deshpande has always believed in fairy tales. So, it’s no wonder then that he’s spent his career crafting them on the long-running reality dating show Ever After. As the most successful producer in the franchise’s history, Dev always scripts the perfect love story for his contestants, even as his own love life crashes and burns. But then the show casts disgraced tech wunderkind Charlie Winshaw as its star.

Charlie is far from the romantic Prince Charming Ever After expects. He doesn’t believe in true love, and only agreed to the show as a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his image. In front of the cameras, he’s a stiff, anxious mess with no idea how to date twenty women on national television. Behind the scenes, he’s cold, awkward, and emotionally closed-off.

As Dev fights to get Charlie to connect with the contestants on a whirlwind, worldwide tour, they begin to open up to each other, and Charlie realizes he has better chemistry with Dev than with any of his female co-stars. But even reality TV has a script, and in order to find to happily ever after, they’ll have to reconsider whose love story gets told.”

The Charm Offensive, Alison Cochrun (Atria Books)

This is hands down one of the best romances that I’ve read this year! I love everything about this novel. I love how much asexual representation was shown in the novel, and even learned about the different forms that asexuality can take.

What struck me most was the focus on mental health and neurodiversity. The characters felt real and I connected to them so quickly. Very often, we see mental health discussed in novels as almost an afterthought. But in The Charm Offensive, we really got to see up close how Charlie and Dev navigate the world and how their mental health issues affect their relationships with others, both in romantic and platonic relationships.

This book was so thoughtfully written with plenty of heart and humor. I cannot wait to see what Alison Cochrun writes next!

Click HERE to pre-order The Charm Offensive from a Seat at the Table Books in Elk Grove, CA! It will be available everywhere on Tuesday September 7th!

A Christmas Adventure: Royal Holiday

Review: Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. While this time of year is a difficult one for me since losing my mom, I find comfort in the holiday season and spending it with my family. I feel the most fulfilled when I’m surrounded by Christmas decorations, listening to Christmas music, and playing with my godchildren. Curling up on the couch with a hot cup of coffee and a warm blanket next to the tree watching The Family Stone or Elf is my definition of the perfect cozy night around this time of year. As much as I’ve always been a book lover, I’ve never really been one to go for Christmas themed books for some reason. But now that I’ve really been trying to read more intentionally, I wanted to try some out this year!

I wandered down the book aisle at my local Target and saw a few different options. I saw one that everyone always recommends: Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. But the one that caught my eye the most was Jasmine Guillory’s newest novel, Royal Holiday. The gorgeous green cover was so festive and caught my eye instantly; I had to pick it up! Reading through the summary, I saw that it was actually a romance novel! Now, I love fiction so much but I NEVER go for romance novels. I don’t really know why, but they just have never really interested me much, but I decided to take a chance on this one. I’m so glad I did!

Royal Holiday is about a woman named Vivian, a middle-aged social worker from Oakland, CA. This piqued my interest because I live just over an hour away, so I immediately felt a connection to her story! Her daughter, Maddie, is a stylist and has been hired by the British Royal Family to style the duchess for the Christmas holiday. Since Vivian never takes time for herself, Maddie suggests that she join her! The story takes us along their trip to the gorgeous estate in northern England where the royal family stays for the holidays. There, Vivian is introduced the Queen’s Private Secretary, Malcolm Hudson. Their chemistry is real from the beginning, but their lives are an ocean apart. The novel takes us through their romance with the end of Vivian and Maddie’s trip looming over them.

My favorite part about the novel is that it brought back that feeling of winter vacation as a kid when you had no responsibilities and were able to escape reality and get lost in the magic of Christmas. It also showed readers how important it is to not only treat yourself from time to time, but to be able to let go a bit and be open to new experiences, no matter your age. It gave readers a portrait of a fun, respectful romance between two partners who learned how to communicate well in a healthy way. I think we all need more examples of that. Overall, this was a sweet, romantic story about a couple learning to overcome the challenge of time and distance. I recommend this book for anyone who is a fan of romance novels, Christmas themed books, or both. It’s also a great introduction into the world of romance novels because this was my first one! I’m open to others now that I’ve tried one out! It was a quick read, I finished it in under a week so it’s perfect even for those of you that have a busy holiday season. So, you can read a bit here and there between baking Christmas cookies and finishing your holiday shopping and wrapping! It was a fun, festive read that helped get me even more in the Christmas spirit.  

Shop the Christmas books & movies referenced in this post!

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