Monday, March 2, 2015

Reluctantly Charmed by Ellie O'Neill

Kate McDaid is listing her new-year’s resolutions hoping to kick-start her rather stagnant love life and career when she gets some very strange news. To her surprise, she is the sole benefactor of a great great-great-great aunt and self-proclaimed witch also called Kate McDaid, who died over 130 years ago. As if that isn’t strange enough, the will instructs that, in order to receive the inheritance, Kate must publish seven letters, one by one, week by week.

Burning with curiosity, Kate agrees and opens the first letter – and finds that it’s a passionate plea to reconnect with the long-forgotten fairies of Irish folklore. Almost instantaneously, Kate’s life is turned upside down. Her romantic life takes a surprising turn and she is catapulted into the public eye.

As events become stranger and stranger – and she discovers things about herself she’s never known before – Kate must decide whether she can fulfil her great-aunt’s final, devastating request ... and whether she can face the consequences if she doesn’t.

Witty, enchanting and utterly addictive, Reluctantly Charmed is about what happens when life in the fast lane collides with the legacy of family, love and its possibilities … and a little bit of magic. 

Did you read that blurb? lovelove. First the cover (and title) snatched me and then the blurb had me hooked. I love finding books that I've heard nothing about and taking them home with me along with the promise of finding something special.

This Irish chick-lit(ish) tale has small elements of magical realism and a fun vibe that's a smidgen reminiscent of Sophie Kinsella/Meg Cabot (that's the best I can think to describe the style, with it's humour and quirky protag and her family and friends, but it's still not quite the perfect descriptor as O'Neill has her own distinct flavour going on). 

Reluctantly Charmed is whimsical with a plot that is wild in it's vision and escalating drama. I loved that about it (the unharnessed charm, marching along to it's own Irish beat). The setting is charming (Dublin! and then countryside Ireland!). 

I loved the off-beat vibe that felt distinctly Irish (and otherworldly to this Aussie girl here) ~ from it's rowdy pubs to it's superstitious folklore of eras gone by. Who wouldn't want to be charmed by the possibility of fairies. But not all fairies are good, or are they even real? There's an element of the unknown with foreshadowing on certain characters and there's also manic momentum as each successive letter is published, bringing with them more bedlam, uncertainty and promise.

There is a hot Irish-charm-swoon guy (which I would have welcomed more pages devoted to him, haha). He's a little elusive but brings all that sexual tension and leaves it in his wake.

My one criticism, for me as a reader, is even though the plot was always moving forward and all elements/scenes felt essential, there was just so many threads going on that it really cluttered things up towards the end and seemed to make the ending drag out a little and events take forever to finally unfold. Although, this could have been reader's anxiety ~ desperate to power through and see how the climax explodes all over the place and how the resolution would tie up (you will not guess it, guys). 

I love how unexpected the whole book is and it's effortless smiley, breezy style with a wholly original premise (although some elements touched on chick-lit tropes). And that wicked ending! Woah ~ beautiful mix of surreal and real, perfect and painful, sexy and surprising. One minute I was grinning away, smashing through the pages and the next I was startled and genuinely touched...

I liked it, truly, a lot. When I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about getting back to reading it. And when I was reading it, often post-midnight and drowsy in bed, I was forcing my eyelids open to keep going in true book-addict-just-one-more-page style. Pumped to see what Ellie O'Neill has next and so glad to have found a new fave author <3

Australian cover
International cover

Both covers are stunning! The Aussie one even has little 3D sparkly fairies on it (which you can't see through your screen, haha ~ they are not the white fairies you see, they're even tinier and sprinkled about) 
Which cover do you like best?


  1. This sounds interesting & cute!! I do like the international cover quite a bit, but based on how you described the tone the Aussie one might be more fitting?

    1. Both the covers are fun. I think the international cover suits it too, with the Irish landscape at the bottom and the tiny touch of whimsy with the flowers. She has red hair, so that's perfect :) Hope you get a chance to check it out!

  2. Ooh! I love the premise. And blurbed by a Moriarty? SOLD. Team Aussie cover, as per usual. :)

    1. I picked it up even without the Moriarty blurb! That's on the US cover :) It was really fun and quirky and I hope you love it!

  3. I do love my feel good books by Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella Nomes, so can totally see the appeal of this book. I also have a soft spot for hot Irish guys ;) Thanks for putting this one on my radar Nomes. I definitely am a fan of the Aussie cover, so pretty!

  4. Aw, this sounds like such a nice read! I’m happy for you that it was so enjoyable! I wouldn’t have given it a second glance, I don’t think, but after reading the blurb, and then reading your review, I’d actually like to read it (or at least try it) for myself! I love the fairy element and the magic that it being set in Ireland will, hopefully produce- it just sounds really promising!
    I think the Australian cover is a little too perfect, model-wise (there’s that photoshop glimmer to her skin), and I like the more natural/rugged look of the international cover, but overall the Aus one wins for me. The fairies are nice. That is my reasoning.
    Very glad to see you blogging, Nomes! Xx

  5. This sounds like just my thing! MUST READ! Great review Nomes :)


Thanks for the commenty love :)