Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My Thoughts On: Amour et Chocolate Series (#2-5) by Laura Florand

The Chocolate Kiss (Amour et Chocolat #2)Series: Amour et Chocolat #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: 12/24/14
Format: Paperback
Pages: 342
Source: Purchase
Rating: 5++++ stars
The Heart of Paris

Welcome to La Maison des Sorcieres. Where the window display is an enchanted forest of sweets, a collection of conical hats delights the eye and the habitues nibble chocolate witches from fanciful mismatched china. While in their tiny blue kitchen, Magalie Chaudron and her two aunts stir wishes into bubbling pots of heavenly chocolat chaud.

But no amount of wishing will rid them of interloper Philippe Lyonnais, who has the gall to open one of his world famous pastry shops right down the street. Philippe’s creations seem to hold a magic of their own, drawing crowds of beautiful women to their little isle amidst the Seine, and tempting even Magalie to venture out of her ivory tower and take a chance, a taste…a kiss.

Parisian princesses, chocolate witches, patissier princes and sweet wishes—an enchanting tale of amour et chocolat.

My Thoughts
Never have I read a book with so much passion, sensuality, and longing as The Chocolate Kiss. To be perfectly honest, I can't even write a true review of The Chocolate Kiss because I'm a jumbled-up mess of word vomit and big feelings. I'm basically keeping myself on a tight leash here. I can't really wrap my mind around the ways I loved the story.
I went into The Chocolate Kiss expecting an amazing story. I have no hesitation with my expectations because this is the fifth of Florand's books I've read and every single one of them has been a remarkable reading experience. Here, we have a heroine in Magalie who's built the thickest, strongest walls around her heart, and a man, Philippe, who doesn't want to destroy those walls, but simply wants her to make a space for him. The antagonism between the two is thick and tense, as is the passion. The build-up is kept at a low simmer...until it just boils over and man, is the passion ever on from then forward.
Florand has an unparalleled knack for creating the best men. They are alpha men who aren't jerks, but very passionate and confident. Stubborn when it comes to winning the woman they love's heart. They express their love through their work, be it the world's finest chocolate, a sugar spun confection, or a macaron made to embody their affection. The passion in this story was remarkable. I do not understand how any writer can describe making hot chocolate or a macaron as more passionate than actually making love, but Laura Florand does it. Like a boss.
Florand's writing unfailingly takes my breath away. As I read The Chocolate Kiss, I would continually grab my (very indulging) husband's arm and sigh dramatically. He would smile and say "You love it so much, yeah?" I would sigh even harder and more dramatically, read a beautiful passage, and then I would say "See how much he loves her? How patient he is? How careful he is with her heart?"  This cycle repeated itself throughout my reading of the book. Did I mention my husband is indulging?
Laura Florand has secured her place as my favorite author. I emphatically recommend The Chocolate Kiss specifically, and her entire work as a whole.
Favorite Quotes 
  He dug his fingers into his biceps to keep from curling them into her biceps and lifting her straight off the floor. And to think he was known for his calm temperament in his kitchens. The non-volatile star chef. "You know," he breathed very quietly, feeling his voice going almost guttural, "you should have tried it. Just one bite of it might have been worth more than you think."
  Her eyes flickered. Yes. She wondered at least a little about that, whether she had missed out on something incredible.
... But if he could get her to bite down into one of his works of art, would everything dissolve away from her but his flavors on her tongue? Would all the muscles of her stiff neck relax in bliss? Would those molten brown eyes slide half-closed? Would she look up at him, when she had recovered from the first taste, with her lips parted, her eyes begging for more?
  He didn't use his strength to force her head up. Instead, he pulled her kneading left hand from his chest and stretched it over her head against the door. Holding her prisoner, his hand wrapped around hers and his body pressing into her, he brought his mouth to her wrist.
  And then he did things to her there that she hadn't even known the world contained.
  Rough prickle of beard, silk of lips, graze of teeth, and the delicate tasting of his tongue...
  Her muscles gave way. "Let me," he murmured with prickle and silk against the sensitive skin. "Let me in."
 An orgasm in one bite. As if hands ran all over her body. But more. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever tasted in her life. Made for her. It was so beautiful that tears stung eyes, and she open to find Philippe's gaze consuming her face with a feral, starved triumph. 
  "Magalie. I didn't want you to make me have to do this, because you're so sensitive about competition. But if you want chocolate, I can make chocolate"--he leaned toward her a little, his teeth showing sharp-- "that will melt your insides out."
  She lifted her chin him, feeling those insides melt just at the thought of him trying
  "So here I am, torn apart. I really didn't want to be torn apart. I liked who I was."
  "You liked your tower," he murmured, his voice almost an apology. "Do you really think I broke it? I just wanted to make room for me inside."
The Chocolate Rose (Amour et Chocolat, #3; La Vie en Roses, #1)
Series: Amour et Chocolat #1/La Vie en Roses #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Amour et Chocolat #1/La Vie en Roses #1
Genre: Contemporary
Publisher: AOS PublishingPublication Date: 4/9/13
Format: Paperback
Pages: 245
Source: Purchase
Rating: 4 stars

GoodReads  |  Amazon  |  BN

Her father’s worst enemy...

Top chef Gabriel Delange never forgave his old nemesis Pierre Manon for all the other chef had cost him.

One stolen rose...

And he most certainly couldn’t stand the sight of his own most famous dessert, the legendary Rose, claimed as Pierre’s own on the cover of his new cookbook.

A substitute victim...

But even Gabriel could hardly go through with a lawsuit when he learned the older chef had just had a stroke. Especially not when Pierre had one very cute daughter willing to be Gabriel’s victim instead.

Jolie Manon...

As a child, Jo had seen her family torn apart by her top chef father’s obsession with his work. She had given years of her own adult life to trying to pull him out of depression, after he lost a star. Now a food writer, she might be fascinated with a chef’s work, but she knew how to guard her heart. She would never allow another chef into her life.

Unless he blackmailed her into it...

Welcome to the heat and sun of Provence, where jasmine and roses climb up old colored walls, where fountains play in ancient stone villages, and where even a beast can prove he is a prince at heart…

My Thoughts
Oh, Gabriel Delange... I'm not sure there is a man out there who can match your angst, energy, passion.
That is my initial reaction to The Chocolate Rose, a contemporary take on the Beauty and the Beast story. Our beauty is Jolie Manon, whose father stole credit for Gabriel's work ten years prior. In an effort to spare her father, Jolie agrees to write a cookbook with Gabriel, committing to spend half of her time with him. Gabriel Delange is a beast in Jolie's eyes. Not in looks, but in ego and manner, in his unbridled passion for his work, and for her. But Jolie, she protests too much. She likes the beast in Gabriel. She provokes it.
I know I'm being very melodramatic in my thoughts, but it's this book! Gabriel was such a larger-than-life character, even in comparison to Florand's other Amour et Chocolat men. The others are passionate men, but much more restrained than Gabriel. He's thrown his heart at Jolie's feet, though he tries so hard to control himself, and he doesn't want it back. He wants her love. Jolie, she was really slow on the uptake in regards to Gabriel's feelings for her. To her credit, she's been warned off of chefs her entire life. She believes Gabriel could possibly be toying with her for a while, and thinks "Why would he want me forever when he could have anyone?" As a reader, I had the luxury of Gabriel's thoughts, knowing he loves her heart and soul.
I read The Chocolate Rose immediately after finishing The Chocolate Kiss, which is my favorite in the series. Coming off that books give this one an impossible task. I would have loved more time with this story and more time for the love between Gabriel and Jolie to build.
But in the end, The Chocolate Rose is another great story from Laura Florand. Even if it's not my favorite of hers, it still surpasses most.
Favorite Quotes
  "You're lucky you're so hot," she said bitterly.
   "I know," he said despairingly, shoving his hands into his pockets as leaned a shoulder against the jasmine. "It doesn't bear thinking of, what my social life would be like if I was ugly on top of everything else. Now what have I said?"
  "You are so-incredibly-arrogant."
  "I know. He sounded exasperated. "But I don't see how I've been arrogant with you. It seems as if ignoring your signals indifferently would have been a lot more arrogant, but apparently I have no idea."
  Her signals. She ground her teeth over the urge to take two great fistfuls of his hair, yank his head down hard, so that it hurt, and bite that sensual, arrogant mouth of his. And that would teach him for finding her signals so obvious.             
  And now--she had reached one of those slim hands of hers into him and closed it around his heart.   
  And she just held it there. How was he supposed to move around, continue to live calmly and strongly, while someone was squeezing his heart like that? He was afraid if he got up too fast from the cafe table or walked too quickly and outpaced her, it would get ripped right out of his body.
  No sudden movements.
  He had known he shouldn't make any sudden movements with her hand gripping his heart like that. And sure enough, she had ripped it right out of his body, and now she was standing there looking at it as if it was icky and bloody and she wasn't sure where to put it so that it didn't mess anything up.
  He sank his head forward into his hands, the water pounding on the back of his head. His chest felt torn wide open, one gaping, terrifying hole, and no one was handing her heart back across the way to fill the spot.

  "Be careful with my brother, Jolie."
  Uh-oh. She wasn't sure she knew how to be careful of Gabriel.
  "Don't...merde. Don't--make him fall even harder for you,if you're going to drop him when you get bored."
  Bored? Of Gabriel?
  [...]"He's not very boring," she said.
  "I need to meet a cookbook writer," Raphael informed the heavens very firmly. "Let's say, when you get frustrated then."
  Jolie burst out laughing. "I've been frustrated with him since before I even met him."
  Raphael sighed. "This intervening in someone else's love affairs doesn't really work, does it? Just--don't do anything mean, all right?"
  "You have the most beautiful heart I've ever seen," she said softly.
  He took a sharp breath, and his hand lifted to cover that heart, as if it suddenly felt fragile. "Not a marshmallow?" he managed, but the attempt at dryness in his voice was a little rough.
  "It's so big," she said. "It fills all of you. It fills everyone around you. And yet inside"--she touched the flecks of gold left on her plate.--"I think there's this precious center that, if I'm careful, if I show you can trust me with it, you'll give only to me."

The Chocolate Touch  (Amour et Chocolat #4)Series: Amour et Chocolat #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: 7/30/13 
Format: Paperback
Pages: 298
Source: Purchase
Rating: 5 stars

GoodReads  |  Amazon  |  BN
La Vie en Chocolat

Dominique Richard's reputation says it all--wild past, wilder flavors, black leather and smoldering heat. Jaime Corey is hardly the first woman to be drawn to all that dark, delicious danger. Sitting in Dom's opulent chocolaterie in Paris day after day, she lets his decadent creations restore her weary body and spirit, understanding that the man himself is entirely beyond her grasp.

Until he touches her. . .
Chocolate, Dominique understands--from the biting tang of lime-caramel to the most complex infusions of jasmine, lemon-thyme, and cayenne. But this shy, freckled American who sits alone in his salon, quietly sampling his exquisite confections as if she can't get enough of them--enough of him--is something else. She has secrets too, he can tell. Of course if she really knew him, she would run.

Yet once you have spotted your heart's true craving, simply looking is no longer enough. . .

My Thoughts

** Spoilers if you haven't read The Chocolate Touch and Sun-Kissed **

Oh one writes tortured, romantic heroes like Laura Florand. It's like, the passion of Heathcliff without the crazy and abuse. These men, all her men, are passionate about chocolate and the woman who steals their heart.
My impressions from Dom Richard have been through the eyes of his frenemies. Those impressions were that he was a brutish flirt, womanizer, and that he took arrogance to a new level. But I cheated. I read Sun-Kissed, and got a glimpse of a man in love, and who protected his love with a remarkable care. So, I knew Dom had it in him, but in this book I learned how far he'd come in his life, how hard he'd worked, how difficult it was for him to fall in love, and exactly how beautiful that love for Jamie Corey was.
I also went into The Chocolate Touch very curious about what Jamie had undergone off-page. I knew in Sun-Kissed that she'd been severely injured, but that she was okay. And that she had Dom. I have to say, Jamie has been the most endearing heroine of this series, for me. Her strength and capacity to love Dom was so beautiful.
Even though I knew where Dom and Jamie end up (Sun-Kissed is a must-read!), their story was all I'd hoped for.
I loved The Chocolate Touch. I think I'm still a bit partial to The Chocolate Temptation, and The Chocolate Kiss is my favorite, but this one stands right up there.
Favorite Quotes
  Him,with his all-out, aggressive, take-it-or-leave-it approach to women, he was so reined in, so subtle, so gentle. Slow, slow, slow, he told himself. Slow. She's a cream or a pastry or a chocolate to be tempered just right. Think about her that way. Sloooow.
  Let her absorb you. Just the way she sat in the salle day after day and absorbed everything you made ,as if it was the only thing in life she wanted to do.
  She pushed the free hand toward the one he held,apparently trying to gesture closeness."Warm,"she said again.And then she did something that undid him to the last faint whisper of his soul:she gave his hand a squeeze with fingertips that could just barely reach around his,apparently using him to indicate what she wanted to say. He meant warmth.He meant this word she couldn't find.
He turned and kissed her
  "Whatever it is you're trying not to do. You can do it to me."
  He had survived everything else after all.
  She shook her head, her mouth a bitter twist as she forced her gaze back to her chocolate. "You don't know what you're asking."
  "Then why don't you tell me?"
  Blue eyes locked with his in one moment of naked honesty. "If I could, I would crawl into you and never come out.
  "Why don't you ever stay the night with me? Only one time, since we've started dating, have you stayed until I woke up. It's confusing, the way you're always gone in the morning."
  "I've always stayed the whole night," he said, startled. "I leave for work." Still pressed back against his desk, he stared at her. "You didn't know that?"
  She shook her head.
  "So when you wake up and I'm not there, you've been thinking--what?"
  "That it's understandable you would need space. That I need to let you breathe."
  There was a silence. "No," was all he said, the word packed tight with meaning. "No. I--breathe better when you're right here."

The Chocolate Heart (Amour et Chocolat, #5)Series: Amour et Chocolat #5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: 11/26/13 
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368
Source: Purchase
Rating: 4 stars

GoodReads  |  Amazon  |  BN

No one hates Paris--except Summer Corey. The moody winters. The artists and their ennui. The inescapable shadow of the Tour Eiffel. But things go from bad to worse when Summer stumbles into brooding, gorgeous chef pâtissier Luc Leroi and indecently propositions the hero of French cuisine...

Luc has scrambled up from a childhood panhandling in the Paris Métro to become the king of his city, and he has no patience for this spoiled princess, even if she does now own his restaurant. Who cares if she smiles with all the warmth of July? She doesn't eat dessert!

There is only one way to tempt her. A perfect, impossibly sweet seduction...

My Thoughts

Oh my. The Chocolate Heart was so intense! I've mentioned that I read the series out of order, beginning with the first book, then skipping to The Chocolate Temptation (book six), then I read Sun-Kissed (book seven) then went back and read two through five. With all my hopping around, I've noticed that the series definitely gets more intense as you go from books two through five. The Chocolate Temptation was a bit less intense for me, but I think that was due to Patrick Chevalier's deceptively easy-going manner. I should also note that much of this story runs concurrent to The Chocolate Temptation, and it was very cool to see some of the same events happening through Luc Leroi's darker perception.

Anyway, back to The Chocolate Heart! I really liked it. Like The Chocolate Touch, it was a harder read. The writing is still beyond gorgeous and I just love revisiting Laura Florand's Paris and her intense, emotionally draining men. What made it difficult was what also made it very good: Summer and Luc were profoundly damaged by their childhoods, slow to believe that they each held value to the other, and very, very slow to open up. Yes, it was frustrating to have those blocks between Luc and Summer, but I also felt it was true to their character and good of Florand to not make it "easy" for the sake of the reader.

I honestly don't know what I can say at this point without becoming even more redundant. The entire series is a gorgeous experience. It's full of passion and angst and sexy and romance. Funny moments, sad moments, heartbreaking moments and moments so beautiful, so beautifully expressed that I'm brought to tears. It's been a wonderful experience. If you're looking for intense and beautiful, Amour et Chocolate is definitely the series to read.

Favorite Quotes
  Her eyes flickered to his with a flash of pure hunger.
  Yes! Triumph licked him, thorough hot licks of her mouth on his skin. Oh, yes, I can make you hunger for me.
  And then her smile turned her whole beautiful, luminous, delicate face into something so impossibly wonderful that his hands- his hands- almost shook with the need to grab it to him, to crush it to him, and never let it get away.
  "You're so beautiful." Water streamed off him, that lean body of his all wild, taut muscle, his face burned clean of anything but passion.
  He kept saying that as if she really was. She slipped her hands up those slick shoulders. "Let go,"she whispered. "Lose control."
  His body shook in hard, long spasms that drove him deeper into her. "Hold me while I do," he whispered. "Hold me together. Don't let me go."
  So she wrapped her arms around him as hard as she could and held on.
 And he let all the wildness out."
  "I could kiss you until there's nothing left of you," he whispered.  
  Where the words should have woken that visceral fear of being reduced to nothing in someone else's life, instead an image grew of herself: golden, strong, glowing in his arms like a precious star. "No, you can't."
  His thumb traced over her lips. "Don't underestimate how long I can kiss you."
  A soft smile, almost as contained as one of his, full of an astonishing amount of confidence. "Don't underestimate how long I can last.""
  Luc gave that tiny,contained grin of his and admitted: "I wouldn't mind having a fountain built to me. And"--his voice got all funny again--"I have a really powerful vision of you with four black-haired kids in lavender fields." He took a deep breath and watched her.
 She got all funny. As if her whole being had disappeared into a burst of butterflies, fluttering upward, outward. It felt dizzying and tickling and terrifying and lovely.

Amour et Chocolat Series
The Chocolate Thief (Amour et Chocolat #1) The Chocolate Kiss (Amour et Chocolat #2) The Chocolate Rose (Amour et Chocolat, #3; La Vie en Roses, #1) The Chocolate Touch  (Amour et Chocolat #4)  The Chocolate Heart (Amour et Chocolat, #5) The Chocolate Temptation (Amour et Chocolat, #6)  Sun-Kissed (Amour et Chocolat, #7; Snow Queen, #2)
(covers lead to GoodReads page)  
My Reviews

About Laura Florand

LLaura Florandaura 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

 photo AndreaSig_zps3f75055b.jpg


  1. LOL. Your review reminds me of Rachel when she's done with another book in this series. She's completely crazy for these books :D "They are alpha men who aren't jerks, but very passionate and confident." I LOVE those! I seriously need to meet these men asap. And gimme this passion you and Rachel are both praising :) And there's a sort of Beauty and the Beast retelling? *tries to contain her grabby hands* "Don't underestimate how long I can kiss you." *swooooons* Gahh, I can't wait to start this series! And the interaction between you and your husband, btw, is too darn cute ;) So glad to see it's one of your favorite series as well, Andrea!

  2. Oh Andrea! My heart is all a-flutter over this post! I loved every book but of course I had my favorites, too. The Chocolate Touch just took my breath away. I was on a car ride on route to a vacation and I kept swooning over it to my husband (he's indulgent as well!) and there may have been a few tears. Laura's stories bring out such emotions!

    I still need to read The Chocolate Rose and I'm really curious now that you describe this larger than life hero.

    Brilliant post, Andrea! You make me want to re-read, something I rarely have time for. I will make time at some point with this series, though. :)

  3. I think I bought Chocolate Rose after you gushed about it so much. Great reviews! Sounds like a series that I would love

  4. I love the ones that leave you a jumbled up mess of thoughts like that :) I've got them all on my list and have been picking these up. SO many of yall I follow are just adoring them I know I need to get to them soon.

  5. I don't know why I keep putting this series off. Wish I had more time to read - the first book is just taunting me from my Kindle every time I turn it on! I love that both you and Rachel adore this series and I'm definitely going to read it!

  6. Ahh! I need to get copies of this series as soon as possible because your reviews were so great, Andrea. I love the sound of all these passionate men who love chocolate and their women! I can definitely see myself enjoying this series.
    Lovely reviews, Andrea! :)

  7. I've only read one book in this series but, man, can Florand write. She's got an amazing way with words and, yeah, she knows how to write a strong man. *fans self*

  8. I think I saw this at Karen's blog (fwiw) too and she loved it. I love the sound of this series! I love books that's full of passions without it being overly dramatic, just filled with love for life and love for love.

  9. Ok, you seriously have me intrigued with this series and now I wanna check it out! Passion, love, and chocolate?! That sounds amazing to me. Great reviews!

  10. Umm wow. clearly you loved this book so clearly I need to add it to my TBR. This sounds great and with such high praise I'm sure it will be a hit for me. Great review Andrea.

  11. How can you not love chocolate? Hehe

  12. You are cruel..I am trapped in my house without chocolate and you have me drooling! LOL Well now I want to read them all. For the first book, did you read book one? Do they work as standalone? I am so tempted to one click it right now.

  13. "I'm a jumbled-up mess of word vomit and big feelings" <-- That right there is awesomesauce! I know how much you love Florand and this series. I've actually one-clicked at least the first one. And it's a series I hope to start sooner than later. Oh, and I love that your hubs is so indulging. ;)


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