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The Chocolate Rose (Amour et Chocolat, La Vie en Roses) Paperback – April 23, 2013
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A shorter, but just a sweet, tale that will not disappoint Florand's numerous fans. Jolie Manon is a kind, giving character with a healthy dash of modernity and sex appeal, while Gabriel Delange is a socially inept, brutally frank Adonis of the kitchen. Their sparks are instantaneous, despite the legal complications that lies between them, and the explanation of kitchen hierarchy is fascinating to learn about. Nothing about this brief tale is boring, and the only true criticism is that it is over far too soon.-- RT Book Reviews
Gabriel falls hard and fast and he is the one who has to persuade Jolie to take a chance on love. He is the more vulnerable character, and it is a nice contrast to his beastly side. This book is so romantic and sexy, and the inclusion of all the cooking and food scenes makes it really fun. -- USA Today, Recommended Read
Each time I open one of Ms. Florand's books I am captivated by her imagery, the life she brings to these huge personalities and her creative way of telling a story that revolves around food. With only two books read I can easily say I am turning into a huge fan and cannot wait for the next one. -- Fiction Vixen
"[Florand] has a way of making you feel like you are in France. Making you feel like you are in Gabriel's frantic, fantastic kitchen watching him work and trying to taste his food. She makes the setting come alive and she integrates not only the setting but Gabriel's profession which is so much a part of him into the story and into the romance. Speaking of the romance, Laura Florand writes such great chemistry. In both the Rose and the Kiss, the hero and heroine start out as enemies of sorts, but she uses those raw emotions to propel their sexual tension into new heights." -- Smexybooks
About the Author
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Find Laura on the Web
Laura Florand burst on the contemporary romance scene in 2012 with her award-winning Amour et Chocolat series. Since then, her books have appeared in ten languages, been named among the Best Books of the Year by Romantic Times and Barnes & Noble, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. In 2015, NPR gave her the enormous honor of naming her Chocolate Kiss to its list of the Top 100 Romances.
After a Fulbright year in Tahiti and backpacking everywhere from New Zealand to Greece, and several years living in Madrid and Paris, Laura now teaches Romance Studies at Duke University. Contrary to popular opinion, this means she primarily teaches French language and culture and does a great deal of research on French gastronomy, particularly chocolate. For more information, please see her website: lauraflorand.com.
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Florand usually writes such strong characters that I can relate to. I actually hated both Gabriel and Jolie. First of all, Gabriel is so incredibly whiny. He just broods about some girlfriend that left him years ago (and really, it didn't even sound that serious) and he complains ALL. THE. TIME. about not being married. He thinks "what's wrong with me" and "why does he get to be married and I don't." Those were actually his thoughts. Guy just don't think like that, at least not to my knowledge. I am pretty sure I have heard a girlfriend of mine utter those exact sentiments. And when him and Jolie started sleeping together, became incredibly clingy and even more whiny. He whined about her going to visit her father who just had a stroke for crying out loud. He whined about other men cooking for her. He whined about being too rough during sex. He whined about her not saying "I love you" back to him, even though he said it about five minutes after they started having sex. In short, he whined a lot. And then there was Jolie. I just didn't get her. She kept calling him a beast and a brute, even though he was far from it (remember, I said he was whiny?). She would complain about his roar, but then she liked the wild side during sex. I also did not get why she was so turned off by Gabriel. First she said that she would never marry a chef because of the hours. Then she said she hated relationships because once she was in them, the men became very clingy and needy. I guess she got the best of both worlds with Gabriel.
Then there were the sex scenes. In the other books, they were so steamy that I blushed when I read them in public. Yes, the sex scenes actually were kind of graphic but they had zero steam. And they basically spent five chapters making stupid sexual innuendos that only high schoolers and extremely immature people make. The author was trying too hard to make the reader believe the two characters wanted to have sex together. There was so subtlety and no building of passion. And it seemed like it was all about sex. They flirt, they sleep together and five minutes later Gabriel is talking about marriage and kids (big surprise there).
This was a big disappointment. I expected better from Laura Florand.
The Good: There's a leading man that is truly both strong, hard, and utterly male and a complete soft hearted, ooey gooey mess. It's a fine line of hating him and loving him. He's exactly that kind of guy I love reading about. The story itself is cute and still hot. The pacing is one of the best I've read lately. I laughed, I groaned and I liked every minute of it. The peripheral characters were strong enough without being completely whitewashed or overshadowing the story. I got a happily ever after that didn't leave me rolling my eyes.
The Bad: The overuse of the same French words over and over. It's seriously horrible. I almost gave up five chapters in because I didn't want to read them anymore. It was overkill. We know the setting, the characters, we didn't need those words to remind us and they weren't even good French words! For that alone I have to deduct a star. I'm not sure how I felt about Jolie. She annoyed me a lot because she was so one dimensional. Having one flaw isn't complex. She was just flat to me. All of her emotions were the same no matter the actual circumstance. It's a bit repetitive in description. Might have liked to see more of the peripheral characters, if only because I know they appear in other stories. There are times that the heart, the sugary sweet in the love story was too much. I need more bite to the story to fall in love with it completely. This one is heavy on the chocolate and I'm a salt girl. It's also a little light on plot. Their love and the inevitable outcome is set up way too early. There's not enough conflict or intrigue where the romance is concerned. There are missed opportunities for witty banter and real conflict.
It's a good romance story though. Give it a whirl.