Thursday, December 27, 2012

Book Review: The Chocolate Kiss

Author: Laura Florand
Publication Date: December 24, 2012
Publisher: Brava
Series: Chocolate # 2

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

“And Magalie Chaudron, stirring chocolate in the tea shop’s blue kitchen, felt smug to be tucked into the heart and soul of all this warmth, not wandering the wet streets searching for a home.” – ARC Copy pg. 1

“She spoke the word macarons lovingly, the way any Parisian would. Bearing no resemblance to the chewy, coconut-filled American macaroon, the heavenly sandwiches of air and lusciousness that were the Parisian macaron were the test of a pastry chef’s quality. And, according to all reports, Philippe Lyonnais did them better than anyone else in the world.” – ARC Copy pg. 11   

“He saw her at that lift of her chin. Caught in mid-laughter, his blue eyes sparkled merrily as they met hers. His eyebrows went up, and he grabbed a towel to wipe off the apricot cream. His gaze ran over her once and then focused back on her face – and focused intently. Alive. She recognized the look. She had met males who thought to pursue her before. Quite a lot since she had moved to Paris, in fact.” – ARC Copy pg. 23

“‘Chocolate does what I want it to,’ she said crisply, and she turned to finally walk past him.” – ARC Copy pg. 127

Paris, a quaint and cozy chocolate shop, and a dreamy, charismatic Frenchmen…what else could you ask for in a novel? Magalie has been working on perfecting the art of chocolate making since she was a young girl and alongside the help of her aunts she has made a name for herself among the Parisian streets where chocolate is a delicacy. Everything is all buttercream and icing in Magalie’s world until a new pastry shop opens and threatens to steal some of her business away. Not to mention the owner of the new shop is Philippe Lyonnais, the most famous pastry chef around. Magalie is determined to do anything to keep him from opening his shop on her street. She doesn’t expect her mission to be so impossible, however. Philippe is not ready or willing to back down and he may have something else in mind when it comes to our sweet, precocious Magalie!

One of my favorite settings to read about is of course, Paris. What is more romantic that Paris? Throw in a chocolate shop and a lover’s quarrel and we have a deal. The setting kept me entranced throughout the entire book. When you are constantly reading about the aromas and scents drifting out onto the streets you cannot help but lick your lips in envy of the Parisians on the street. Magalie and Philippe were constantly whipping up a new creation and Laura goes into so much detail with each new concoction that these two bring out of the kitchen. Chocolate is often said to be an aphrodisiac and it truly brings the romance to life in this story. Listening to Philippe talk about his pastries and macarons was enough to make even me go weak in the knees. And everyone knows that things always tend to get a little heated in the kitchen!

This is of course the second book in this series and if you haven’t read Laura Florand before I highly suggest that you pick up the first book in the series because it is as equally enchanting and tantalizing as this one. Her characters are enjoyable and yet have the tendency to make you want to scream at times as well. Just like Philippe and Magalie. Philippe was a phenomenal character because of his ability to make me despise him one minute and then find him utterly charming the next. And the tension between Philippe and Magalie is to die for! I couldn’t have asked for more intense and realistic romantic encounters between our two main characters. A competition over whose chocolate and pastries is good enough to be deemed the best is a wonderful way to bring two people together and it made for a sweet, charming read.

***A HUGE thank you to the publishers at Kensington/Brava for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***

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