Cover Image: The Charm Offensive

The Charm Offensive

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Rainbows and Sunshine 
October 16, 2021

I absolutely loved this book! A twist on the TV reality show trope and I highly enjoyed every second of the book.

I loved the mental health rep and the queer side characters. It takes about anxiety, OCD, depression and also about asexuality. Dev and Charlie have great chemistry from the beginning and I loved seeing them slowly open up and fall for each other.

Both the characters are real and flawed but perfect together. All I wanted was for Dev to finally get the Happily Ever After he deserves and I was incredibly happy by the end of the novel. And Charlie completely stole my heart. He was so adorable, especially when Dev makes him blush.

Highly recommend this book to everyone looking for queer take on the dating reality shows with a swoony romance, only one bed, over-the-top romantic gestures and more. That ending was absolutely perfect!

*ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review
Was this review helpful?
I was not aware going into this story how much time is spent in the headspce of neurodivergent characters. This book is written in alternating first person perspective and both main characters are managing their mental health struggles and at several points are being really challenged by these struggles. I feel it's incredibly important for people to read books from different view points, as well as readers being able to see themselves in print. 

There are tons of 4 and 5 star reviews speaking on the light hearted approach to the characters, Dev and Charlie, moving through their lives and searching for love. I have to disagree. they do find love in each other, but it's not remotely light hearted. Maybe with the back drop of a reality tv program the author is making an attempt at bringing levity to their struggles, but at times I felt the very heavy feelings these men were coping with both individually and together. It was nice to see how they were both so open to each other's differences and willing to work within each other's comfort zones. For the most part though, this really didn't feel like the light romantic comedy so many are touting it up to be.
Was this review helpful?
I don't watch real life dating reality TV shows, but I love reading about them. In The Charm Offensive, Charlie goes on a Bachelor-type TV show in an attempt to regain employment in the tech industry. He's not into the show at all, but thinks it can help with his image. His producer Dev is a huge believer in both the show and in love as a fairy tale. While Dev tries to get Charlie more comfortable in front of the cameras, they start to develop feelings. There's a lot of pining in this book (my favorite!), as the two deny how they really feel for each other. I really liked how their relationship developed, and loved the side characters (including the TV show's crew and contestants) and the behind the scenes aspect of the book. I also really loved the way Cochrun handled serious mental health issues in this book. This one was funny, sweet, and charming - recommended!
Was this review helpful?
I will not be giving feedback on this book. I started it, and was not in the right mindset for reading it. When/if I do pick it up again, I will definitely leave a thoughtful review.
Was this review helpful?
This was a lot of fun. I don't watch The Bachelor (I maybe did for like a season or two there at the beginning? Maybe?) but I absolutely loved this book. I love when a book deals with mental health in a way that is organic and not just like, 'he had a panic attack once and then he fell in love and he was cured' and thankfully, this book does the former instead of the latter. I loved the side characters (this is my official petition for a spin-off about Jules and Parisa k, thanks) and the plot of the story was a lot of fun. I enjoyed seeing the evolution of Charlie and Dev's relationships not only with each other but with themselves as the story unfolded.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you so much @AtriaBooks & @NetGalley for gifting me this physical ARC in exchange for my honest and unbiased review (Release Date | 07 September 2021)

SYNOPSIS | Dev is a believer of true love & has worked as a producer on the set of a bachelor-style reality tv show for many years (Ever After). This year, the prince of the show is a rich tech nerd in need of an image reboot (Charlie). Dev is tasked with helping him get comfortable on camera to make this the best season yet except Charlie doesn't fall of any of the female contestants... he falls for Dev.

WHAT I LIKED:
- a whole host of topics are covered including LGBTQ+ representation on main stream media, anxiety, mental health, depression & therapy
- the behind the scenes into the chaos of filming a reality tv show
- the slowly creeping up on you romance was very sweet
- the overarching vibe of every person, no matter what they are dealing with, is worthy of love

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
- closed door romance
- I kept forgetting that Dev was Indian
Was this review helpful?
5 stars could not recommend more! For fans of the Bachelor and "One to Watch" this is a front runner for one of my favorite books of 2021!
Was this review helpful?
I requested this book after seeing so many 5 star reviews and so much hype around it! I was so excited to receive it and I started reading it immediately! The premise of The Charm Offensive captured me immediately.  I instantly fell in love with Dev and Charlie. As someone who struggles from anxiety, I completely understood how Charlie felt. Charlie's anxiety just radiates off the page and at some points that felt a little overwhelming for me. But more often, I felt such sympathy for him and how uncomfortable he felt in his own skin. Dev was such a charming and sweet character to read about.  I couldn't help but root for both of them to fall in love and make it work!!! I loved the representation for the LGBTQ+ community, the frankness about mental health, interracial relationships, and so much more. I never thought a dating showing premise would become a book I couldn't put down but I was wong. This book was everything! Easily 4 out of 5 stars!

 *Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC. I voluntarily chose to review it and the opinions contained within are my own.*
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely adored this book! It reminded me a lot of "One to Watch" in that it had a more "woke" spin on the Bachelor Nation franchise. What made this book stand out even more was the commentary and normalization of mental health struggles. Dev and Charlie are two characters worth rooting for, and they were created so wonderfully. I highly recommend this one!
Was this review helpful?
This book was so cute!  I loved it.   I love Charlie and how strange he is.  I love Dev because an Indian American guy who works in reality tv coaching contestants is amazing!  The book was hyped all over the bookstagram world and it was well worth the read.
Was this review helpful?
Uhmmm YES to everything in this book. The witty banter, the friendships, the lovable characters and of course the STEAMMM 🥵 I cannot recommend this one enough! It was so so so good. If you’re looking for a book that truly makes you smile almost the whole way through, pick this one up. I also couldn’t put it down because I HAD to know everything!!
Was this review helpful?
Lights, camera.... action? Charles Winshaw is the most eligible bachelor and has 20 women vying for his heart this season on Ever After. The problem? He isn’t quite sure he’s interested in any of them— or women at all. Additionally, Charlie has OCD and severe anxiety, which result in him hating unexpected physical contact and uncontrollable panic attacks. This makes him the opposite of the “perfect prince” that the show is hoping for. 

The Charm Offensive follows the story (and features split POV) of Charlie and Dev. Dev Deshpande has worked on Ever After for six years. His job is to coach Charlie to be dateable and likeable on TV. What makes this difficult is Charlie’s radical realization that he might not like women. Dev takes Charlie on clandestine “practice dates” that turn into so much more.

I really wanted to love this book. I did. But it felt overdone. The Bachelor plotline was just SO prominent that it was almost distracting from the incredibly romantic story unfolding. The book was enjoyable, but I just kept thinking about The Bachelor franchise and how everything was pulled from that. I do think the book was, overall, worth reading. I enjoyed the characters and the overall romance plot. I found myself thinking of Colton Underwood and wondering what role his time on The Bachelor(ette) influenced him in his gay awakening. Was anything in his life similar to Charlie’s? 

I won’t speak to accurate representation (Indian, OCD, LGBTQIA+, etc) as I am not part of any of those groups, but it was included.

Thank you so much to Atria via NetGalley for this advanced reader’s copy in exchange for my unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
Ms. Cochrun has written a fun book that will, I think, be enjoyed by many. Readers follow Dev and Charlie, all the while wondering if there will be a “happy ever after” for them and if so, with whom? You may think you know and you may even be right and yet, this is still a book that is easy to spend time with.

I enjoyed the notion of setting a book on the set of a reality tv show. I don’t watch shows like The Bachelor but this may seem familiar to fans of such series. I liked the behind the scenes story. I also enjoyed the character sketches and the over the top way that the contest was portrayed.

Gay relationships are a part of this story. Readers early learn that Dev has been hurt by another man who works on the show. Will he move forward and find love? Will Charlie who is supposedly brilliant in business but lacking in how to deal with others find what he is looking for? Read the book to find out.

By the way, spend a minute to think of what the title of the book does or may mean. I had a few thoughts on this.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title. All opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This is one of the best male male romances I have ever read! I love the premise of a bachelor type show and I love the side characters in this as well as the leading men! The banter and the romance were so cute!
Was this review helpful?
I really wanted to love this book, it seems like everyone else loves it. And it keeps getting compared to Red, White and Royal Blue which I loved. But I can’t get into it. Poor Charlie’s anxiety just comes off the page so much it was starting to make me anxious for him. I stopped about halfway in. I know Dev and Charlie will live happily ever after and I’m sorry I’ll miss it.
I got to read an early ebook edition from NetGalley. Thanks!
Was this review helpful?
Thank you, NetGalley and the Publisher for the chance to read this book!

I requested this after seeing lots of hype around it from some fellow bookstagrammers and I'm so glad I did! The story, characters and romance was just amazing, but I think what really sold me was the absolutely incredible mental illness and LGBTQ+ rep, especially the ace rep! 

Charlie has weaselled his way into my favourite characters of all time, he was just amazing! His romance with Dev was slow-burn, total obliviousness and it was the best. 

Overall, I would highly recommend this one for fans of queer contemporary romance books with amazing representation and a Bachelor style plot!
Was this review helpful?
What happens when you take a rom-com style book, throw in a BTS look at a reality TV dating show with characters that make you unable to put your Kindle down? You get THE CHARM OFFENSIVE by Alison Cochrun! I absolutely adored this book from start to finish!

I can't help it. I am a sucker for anything reality TV related, and when it's in a storyline, 9 out of 10 times I will read it. This story takes place on a Bachelor-inspired reality TV show (even down to the following season being The Bachelorette), called Ever After. We meet Dev, who is a producer who is in charge of the talent. You know the ones you've always heard about but ignore? The ones who poke poke poke to make good drama, but are there to console when things go too far? That's Dev!

Then we meet Charlie, who is our Prince Charming - only he lacks the charm. He's not so polished and camera ready as you would expect. And right away? I began to feel protective of him, and wanted him to succeed in everything he ever set out for in life.

As I turned the pages, I just wanted MORE. More Dev. More contestants. More Charlie. More production. All of it together was story magic. And then Dev and Charlie get together and I LIVE FOR THE SECRET RELATIONSHIP DRAMA OF IT ALL!

This was so much more than just a secret growing relationship while contestants try to "fall in love" with Charlie. This book dives into LOVING YOURSELF and making sure your mental health is taken care of. Some have anxiety, some have depression - whatever it is, this book helps shine the spotlight on making sure that you take care of yourself first and foremost.

There's also LOVING OTHERS - but it's not always the linear man on a white horse riding in to save you type of love. Who you love, when you love, how you love - they can be fluid and ever changing. This story highlights people finding themselves and trying to figure it out. But it's not just romantic love - there's also the love of friends that help you through. And friends always know more than you think they do!

But we can't forget LOVING A GREAT TV SHOW - and let's be honest. The best reality TV show has a perfect blend of drama and romance in locations you may never see unless you are watching. Unfortunately, we do see the dirty underbelly of how the show can get there, complete with those that don't care about your mental health, do not care about who or how you love, as long as they get what they want.

I cannot wait to see where Alison Cochran will go next. The way that all of these important messages were crafted so well together in a book that is fun, fresh, and with a little bit of *spice,* is a skill that many would hope they could achieve. I highly recommend this story to anyone and everyone! I give this all the stars, every rating you can and will be telling everyone I know to READ THIS BOOK!
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book. Two things I like television production and love stories. A setting and premise I've never read before, now we can only hope the Bachelor/Bachelorette turns out the way Ever After does in the end.
Was this review helpful?
🔥🔥2/5 Steam Rating

If you’re in the mood for a fluffy romance, this book isn’t for you. However, if you’re looking for a witty & sweet romance that’s also deep and will give you all the feels… you’ve come to the right place!

I think I can go on about this book all day, so let me summarize it for you.

𝐖𝐇𝐀𝐓 𝐈 𝐋𝐎𝐕𝐄𝐃:
• The witty one liners had me laughing and messaging a friend with them!
• All the representation in this book!!! Neurodivergent MC, an Indian MC, and an interracial relationship
• So much LGBTQIA+ representation 🏳️‍🌈; this book dived into what asexual is an the spectrum that can be seen. There were also three characters that used they/them pronouns which I LOVED seeing written so casually. So much of the LGBTQIA+ community had representation in this story!
• The focus on mental health; especially OCD, anxiety, and depression
• 𝐂𝐎𝐍𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓!!! So rarely do you see characters asking for consent, so I loved seeing it repeatedly done!
• Parisa is the best wing women; we all need someone like her in our lives!
• Even though this story covered deep topics, it was still witty, charming, and so sweet.

Looking back, the only thing I wished was different, was that it was written in first person. I think it would have been a bit more impactful and a touch easier to remember who’s POV I was reading. With that said, it didn’t impact how much I loved this book!

Thank you @atriabooks & @netgalley for this #gifted ARC. These opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you so much for giving me access to this title for review. Unfortunately I am putting this book on hold for now because I am having trouble getting in to this story. I hope to try and pick it up at some other time. 

Kind regards
Was this review helpful?