Influenced by a Book: Chocolat Chaud et Macarons

As a reader, there have been times when something that I read in a book has influenced some of my actions. Influenced by a Book is a feature that lets me share experiences like that. In a previous post, I talked about how A Wish Upon Jasmine by Laura Florand influenced me to give lavender oil a try. Today’s post is also inspired by another Laura Florand book, The Chocolate Kiss. The female MC of the book has a special way of making chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) while the male MC is renowned for his macaron creations.

My friends Kim and Mina are co-moderating a discussion of Laura Florand’s Amour et Chocolat series. While I haven’t reread any of the books recently, I’m being reminded of them because of the discussion threads. So when I had an emotionally draining and stressful work day, I chose to drown my sorrows in Angelina’s chocolat chaud and macarons:

Angelina - chocolat chaud and macarons

Angelina - chocolat chaud and macarons 2

OMG this chocolat chaud was super thick. It’s rich enough for me to marry! I could have had it just by itself for dessert. But I’m a macaron fan so I went ahead and ordered a set that included dark chocolate, chestnut, lemon and chocolate passionfruit. I finished all of these by myself and yes, I did feel slightly better about my day after this particular indulgence. Just one more work day to get through before the weekend is here.

What about you, have you done anything lately based on something you’ve read in a book?

Amour et Florand: Guest Post from Mandi

Since I consider Mandi of Smexy Books an expert when it comes to the romance genre, I love getting recommendations from her. I’m delighted that she’s also a fan of Laura Florand’s writing.

Amour et Florand participants, please give it up for Mandi!

SmexyBooks
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There are so many aspects of Laura Florand’s writing that appeals to me. The way she sets the books in romantic Paris, in busy kitchens or in quaint chocolate shops. The detail she uses not only in describing the setting, but the food that is created in these kitchens is terrific. It’s so easy to immerse yourself in the world she has created. Inside of this world she gives us such rich characters that leads to a full romance. My favorite thing about her books though, is what she does with her heroes. Her typical hero is a big guy who is extremely passionate about cooking, creating pastries or amazing chocolate. He is extremely intense, usually grumpy, and has 100% of his focus on his career. Until he meets his heroine. All of a sudden, that extreme focus, is parted. All of that intense passion has a new target. And instead of that heroine melting like a piece of chocolate in his hand, she resists. She might ignore. She doesn’t look his way. So instead of getting what he wants immediately (as he is used to) he has to work for it. His feathers are ruffled, and he has to find a way to prove to the heroine, he is worthy of her. This big strong man, is being brought down, and I love every second of it.

Dom in the Chocolate Touch knows he is overbearing and aggressive and wants to be a better man for Jamie.

Merde, but this stuff was complicated. He kept trying to pretend she was chocolate because at least he understood that you could never rush chocolate, but since she persistently resembled a woman instead, it was hard for him to treat her like something he could stir with a spoon.

Unfortunately.

Or when Gabriel is brought to his knees by Jolie in The Chocolate Rose…

“You’re beautiful,” she said involuntarily.

His smile grew wider, a boyish delight. “You mean, this.” He gestured to the marble counter, indicating her dessert and everything that had come before or been served to others.

“I said what I meant.”

His hand froze in the middle of the sweeping gesture. It turned, pressing flat against the marble, and his head bent. She couldn’t read his expression, as he stared down at his hand, so still. It was almost as if he was badly shaken, as if something was rising out of the shaking, warring inside him.

Or poor Philippe from The Chocolate Kiss (my personal favorite) who would make macaron after macaron for his beloved Magalie, and could never understand why she rejected them each time.

He couldn’t believe she had rejected one of his macarons. He had offered it to her fresh from his own hand. Not just his recipe, but made personally by him. And she had refused it.

His Desir. Apricot kissed by pistachio, with the secret little square of pistachio praline hidden inside, like a G-spot. Well, he didn’t call it le point Gin his marketing brochures, but whenever he created, he knew what he was doing: every pastry had to have its orgasm, its culmination of bliss that hit like a complete surprise. That made the eyes of those who bit into it shiver closed with delight.

But don’t fret. Not only do we get fulfilling and satisfying happy ever afters, but all that intense passion, and torment these heroes live with – pays off well in the bedroom too. I can’t recommend this author enough.

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Merci, Mandi! I do love how these big, super confident guys turn into marshmallows when it comes to their leading ladies. 🙂

Amour et Florand

The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand

The Chocolate Kiss is the second book in Laura Florand’s Amour Et Chocolat series. Featuring top chocolatiers in Paris, these books focus on hot guys who make delectable desserts. What’s not to like? I loved The Chocolate Thief, the first book in the series, so I dove right into this one after finishing that. The books don’t have to be read in order, they’re standalone stories since they’re about different couples although Cade and Sylvain (the leads in The Chocolate Thief) have cameos in this one. I would like to note that one of my favorite restaurants when I was in college was The Chocolate Kiss Cafe. If I was in Manila, I would have visited the place after reading this book.

Here’s the summary from Laura Florand’s website:

The Chocolate KissWelcome 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 habitués 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.

In case I haven’t mentioned it often enough here on the blog, let me say this again: I love macarons. And the male lead in The Chocolate Kiss makes amazing, world-renowned macarons. Sigh, if only I could grab a bite straight out of the book’s pages. Philippe’s artistic creations seemed not only beautiful but deliciously mouth-watering as well. Same with Magalie’s rich hot chocolate, with wishes stirred in specifically for the person the drink is meant for. Magalie seems to know exactly what a person needs, be it courage to seize the day or strength of spirit to handle life’s burdens. With that idea as well as the name of their tea room, La Maison des Sorcieres (The Witches’ House), the whole novel has a whimsical touch to it that makes it feel more like magic realism instead of contemporary romance. It reminded me of one of my favorite books, Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells. Magalie was a character that I could easily relate to. She loves her little corner of Paris but has a hard time adjusting how the rest of the city makes her feel. So she arms herself with stylish outfits that make her feel stronger about facing the world outside their tea room. Here’s a passage that particularly resonated with me, I hope it’s not too spoilery to share it:

You couldn’t cure loneliness by wallowing in it, up above the world, on an island far removed from everything. She knew that. But she had such a hard time with all the cures. They seemed rough and brusque and brutal, as if they abused her skin with a pot scrubber, things like trying to go out with men she barely knew, or dancing in Paris nightclubs, or hanging out with friends in bars over in that world past the banks of the river.

She had been something of a party creature in her high schools, still was one to dance all night at New Year’s celebrations or weddings when she went back to Provence, but there was something harsher about dancing here, forcing herself into a mass of people, stranger among strangers. Occasionally, one of her friends from the university, the longest continuous friendship she had ever had, could talk her into it. But it was much more tempting to curl up with a book under her thick white comforter.

Still, sometimes after she curled up, she regretted her lack of courage and felt bleakly lonely.

It was important to have a really good book.

Yes, it’s really important to have a good book. The Chocolate Kiss can definitely be classified as one of those good books. I wouldn’t have minded giving up a night out with friends to stay in and read this novel. In fact, I did stay up later than usual to finish reading this, even though I had to get up early for work the next day. I thought the romance between Magalie and Philippe was done very well, there was obvious attraction between them that they kept denying so the tension just built up. I thought it was funny how they kept tempting each other with their specialties – Philippe with his macarons and Magalie with her hot chocolate – and how they both refuse to try and sample each other’s work even though everyone else is raving about them. It’s a symbol of how they can’t let the other person gain the upper hand by admitting that they even want a taste. And when they finally give in? Well, you just have to read the book and find out. Similar to The Chocolate Thief, I really enjoyed reading about the secondary characters in this story. I like how the romance isn’t just about the two leads but also about the people important in their lives as well as the work that they’re passionate about. Another excellent installment in Laura Florand’s romantic chocolate series. I think it’s pretty much a given that I’m excited to read The Chocolate Touch. Counting down the weeks until it becomes available.

Bakerzin macarons

Other reviews:
A Girl, Books and Other Things
Smexy Books
Dear Author
Nooks & Crannies

Shoot That Book: Laura Florand’s Chocolate Series

Shoot That Book combines my passion for books and my tendency to become trigger happy with a camera. My lack of photography skills is compensated by my enthusiasm. Basically, I like taking pictures of books.

My good friend Michelle of See Michelle Read recommended Laura Florand’s contemporary romance novels when I met up with her a few weeks ago. I hadn’t heard of this author before but was immediately curious when Michelle mentioned that the books are all about chocolate, romance and Paris. What’s not to like? Fortunately, I was able to order copies of The Chocolate Thief and The Chocolate Kiss before flying back to Singapore. I’m still in the middle of The Chocolate Thief and thoroughly enjoying this decadent read. Since I think the covers for both novels are pretty, I wanted to feature them here on the blog. I like how the two covers match each other:

Laura Florand1

The iconic Eiffel Tower is included in The Chocolate Thief’s cover to represent the setting:

Laura Florand2

I like the details of the two covers – how one woman is (almost) holding a bag of chocolates and the other a stack of macarons (yep, another favorite dessert aside from chocolates):

Laura Florand3

And of course, I had to include a snapshot of the French word for chocolate:

Laura Florand_chocolat

Lovely covers, don’t you think? I always like covers when they fit the story within the book. It kind of makes me sad that the third book in the series doesn’t match these two:

The Chocolate Touch

I’m still excited to read it though! Have you read Laura Florand’s novels? Would love to hear what you think of them if you have.