Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: 7/31/12
Rating: 5 stars
Breathtakingly beautiful, the City of Light seduces the senses, its cobbled streets thrumming with possibility. For American Cade Corey, it's a dream come true, if only she can get one infuriating French chocolatier to sign on the dotted line. . .
Melting, yielding yet firm, exotic, its secrets are intimately known to Sylvain Marquis. But turn them over to a brash American waving a fistful of dollars? Jamais. Not unless there's something much more delectable on the table. . .
Whether confections taken from a locked shop or kisses in the dark, is there anything sweeter?
First up, I would like to once again thank Karen at For What It's Worth Reviews for the recommendation. I've been reading her reviews for the Amour et Chocolat series for a while now, and as always, she's the best. Seeing my friend Rachel's -at Readers Den (and Waves of Fiction) praise for this series also helped seal the deal.
Second, these reviews are going to be so difficult and fall will surely fall short of the due Amour et Chocolat deserves. So whatever I say from here on out, multiply that times ten.
So, about The Chocolate Thief...
The Chocolat Thief is a charming and romantic story set in the heart of Paris. American Cade Corey has her heart set on starting a new line of chocolate for her family's empire, and she wants to use Sylvain Marquis's, the world's premier chocolatier, name. Sylvain considers his work his art, and will not be bought by an American company that mass produces chocolate to sell at discount prices. Cade simply refuses to take no for an answer, and resorts to breaking into Sylvain's shop at night to uncover his secrets. He's disdainful of her work, she's seduced by his.
Besides this winning premise, what truly won me over to The Chocolat Thief was the characterization of Sylvain and Cade. Cade has lived her life in the shadow of her family's wealth. Cade values her privacy, and instead of living the life a spoiled, party girl heiress (she mentions that Paris Hilton's life did not have to be publicized), Cade has dedicated herself to the family tradition of mass produced milk chocolate. It quickly becomes apparent that Cade's true passion would be to work in a shop, not unlike Sylvain's. She longs for the creative side, for the beauty and wonder of making artisinal chocolate.
Sylvain is elegant and dismissive and beautiful and in her eyes, he must have many women to fill his nights, would never be attracted to her. But, the beauty of getting Sylvain's point of view is to immediately realize that this is not the case. Yes, Sylvain is beautiful, but he still sees himself as the thin and awkward teen who repeatedly had his heart broken. At a young age, he realized that the way to a woman's heart, at least temporarily was through decadent chocolate. And even the chocolate will not keep your heart unbroken forever. The fact that Cade wants his name on her product is infuriating and insulting, yet he can't help but be pleased. If he can see that she wants him as well as his name, that will be his undoing.
I appreciated so much about this love story. So many books have unnecessary or forced angst due to miscommunication and immature decisions/feelings. With Cade and Sylvain, though the might have had moments of miscommunication, they fixed it. It wasn't the driving force, or the wedge that came between them. Circumstances in their lives may have caused issues, but it was always clear that they would have the presence of mind to figure anything out. It was so very refreshing.
Laura Florand has created a delicious, charming and romantic story in The Chocolate Thief. The attention to detail was impeccable. I was in Paris, in the chocolatier, during my time with this book. Her prose was gorgeous and engaging. The Chocolate Thief is the start in what I am convinced will be my new favorite series.
"He took a breath and kissed her harder. His pleasure responded to her pleasure, and hers fed his, while the kiss deepened, lightened, changed. Kisses learned each other.
"I can't believe you're real," he breathed, his fingers rubbing over her back and ribs, where her skin yielded to his hands and where it didn't. It surprised her that there was any point it didn't; she felt as if her very bones were melting. "And yet you are."
He gripped her shoulders so hard, those strong fingers hurt her, finally holding her back. His eyes were open again, blazing far hotter than any chocolate could. "Cade. Every dream I have has you in my apartment, has you in my laboratorie, has you with my babies, has me making supper for us on a cold night, has us laughing, and dancing, and ... together. Every chocolate I've made since I met you, I've made for you. I've seen your gaze on my hands while I did it; I've thought of the way it would melt on your tongue. Don't--you--toy--with--me. I can't take it.
Series: Amour et Chocolat #6
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: AOS Publishing
Publication Date: 1/14
Rating: 5 stars
She hated him.
Patrick Chevalier. The charming, laid-back, golden second-in-command of the Paris pastry kitchen where Sarah worked as intern, who made everything she failed at seem so easy, and who could have every woman he winked at falling for him without even trying. She hated him, but she’d risked too much for this dream to give up on it and walk out just so he wouldn’t break her heart.
But he didn’t hate her.
Sarah Lin. Patrick’s serious, dark-haired American intern, who looked at him as if she could see right through him and wasn’t so impressed with what she saw. As her boss, he knew he should leave her alone. The same way he knew better than to risk his heart and gamble on love.
But he was never good at not going after what – or who – he wanted.
He could make magic out of sugar. But could he mold hate into love?
I gave The Chocolate Temptation five stars, but that almost hurts me to do so. I want to give this book an infinite amount of stars. The Chocolate Temptation is hard for me to wrap my head around and articulate everything I want to say about it. Several of my friends have reviewed it and have done a far better job.
Sarah Lin is nearing the end of her term as intern in the best pastry kitchen in Paris. It is demanding and exhausting work, but it is her dream. Sarah believes she is failing, always a moment away from being fired by the Chef, if not for his second-in-command, Patrick Chevalier. Patrick invited Sarah to intern, and seems invested in helping her succeed. But he is charismatic and flirtatious and seems to like - and be liked by- everyone. Sarah cannot help but fall a bit in love with this dynamic man, but seeing him flirt and charm his way with everyone breaks her heart a bit. How could she, very quiet and struggling, ever be good enough for him? She chooses instead to hate him.
Patrick Chevalier is fascinated by small, quiet, perfection-seeking Sarah. He's spent her internship helping her in any way he can, even in ways she never realizes. He's in an awful position, walking a fine line between maintaining a professional distance from his intern, and going after the woman he loves. Patrick is desperate to have Sarah, but also desperate to protect his own heart. A difficult past has shown Patrick that whatever he loves will eventually be taken away from him, so how could he possibly tell Sarah. He lays the pieces of his heart out as subtly as he can, in macaron, or a sugar-spun heart; Sarah is so lost inside her own head and protective of her own heart that she cannot see what is in front of her. It is a fragile and exhausting pull between these two. Patrick wants to take care of Sarah, yet knows she must make her own way in the kitchen. Sarah wants to believe Patrick can love her, but she mustn't be the only one to put her heart on the line. Florand created a fabulous pairing in these two, and worked that to a fine, exhilarating perfection.
Once again, Florand's depiction of Paris was so gorgeous and detailed and for the first time in my life, I truly want to visit. I feel as if I already have, in fact. In the pastry kitchen as well. I could smell the desserts, see that sugar being manipulated. It was as fascinating as if I had actually seen it. The romantic aspect was very intimate, quiet, but as real and emotional as it gets.
I can list so many more things I loved about The Chocolate Temptation, truly. I feel emotionally exhausted (in the best of ways) but also invigorated. This is a story that has been my pleasure to read.
Sarabelle," he called laughingly, and she hated him for that, too. The way her ordinary, serious American name turned so exotic and caressing with those French Rs and dulcet Ahs, like a sigh of rich silk all over her skin. The way he added belle onto it, whenever it struck his fancy, as if that couldn't break someone's heart...
"You have no idea how beautiful you are, do you?" Patrick said. "How many times I could make you come like this, just so I could watch you."
Her lashes rose, and the water caught in them, stinging her eyes as she tried to stare at him through the drops. He wasn't smiling. He didn't look as if he was waiting to catch his next wave. His face was severe, stark, his concentration so intense it almost hurt, as if she might be wrenched away from him if get didn't look at her hard enough. As if that mattered.
"Everything," she said on a rush.
His eyes brightened, intensely blue, and he waited, breath held.
"The way you make me laugh, and the way you flirt, just--teasing, you know, and the way you always know what to do, and the way you make me feel like I can do it, that it’s all right, if I relax and give it time, I’ll be fine. The way you’re so gorgeous, everything you do looks so beautiful and so easy, and yet it can’t be easy, but…it doesn’t matter, when you’re there. When you’re there, it feels possible."
The Amour et Chocolat Series
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About the authorLaura Florand is the international bestselling author of the Amour et Chocolat series (The Chocolate Thief, The Chocolate Kiss, etc.), where sexy French chocolatiers woo the women they love with what they love best--romance you can taste. Her books have been translated into seven languages, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and been recommended by USA Today, NPR, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. She was born in Georgia, but the travel bug bit her early. After a Fulbright year in Tahiti, a semester in Spain, and backpacking everywhere from New Zealand to Greece, she ended up living in Paris, where she met and married her own handsome Frenchman, a story told in her first book Blame It on Paris. Now a lecturer at Duke University, she is very dedicated to her research into French chocolate. For some behind the scenes glimpses of that research, please visit her at www.lauraflorand.com.