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Bibliocrack Review: The Chocolate Touch by Laura Florand

"The time has come," the Walrus said. I am now three (or four, depending on how you slice it) books in and can categorically classify this series as bibliocrack of the highest order. A classification I hope will excuse my reviewing this third installment a touch early. My intentions are pure, I assure you. I just want to make absolutely sure you all know going in that the quality--it remains high. Yes, it does. And so while The Chocolate Touch sadly does not have an adorable silhouette cover in the vein of the first two books in the series, it makes up for it by featuring quite possibly the most overbearing of all overbearing French chocolatiers in Laura Florand's arsenal. Those of you who've read the first two books know what a statement that is. After essentially melting down over the gooey goodness that was The Chocolate Kiss, I narrowly resisted the urge to ransack the state for a good macaron and settled for raising my fangirl flag high and awaiting the next book. I was incredibly fortunate not to have to wait too long.

Dominique Richard has had to claw his way to the top of Paris' exclusive cabal of chocolatiers and patissiers. He's earned his stripes and is wholly unconcerned with the petty complaints of both his detractors and his peers. Quite frankly, he accepts the accolades and attention that come his way as no more than his due. Which is why he's taken somewhat aback at the effect it has on him when a single, unassuming American woman begins stopping by his chocolaterie every day like clockwork. She sits alone and silent at a small table in the corner, sipping his chocolat chaud and sampling the various bon bons and tartes he so carefully crafts. She never says a word. She never misses a day. And Dom is dismayed to realize he's begun looking forward to her daily arrivals, to what she'll order next. Somehow, it is as though she is nourishing herself on his creations. As though, if she could only absorb enough of his decadent chocolate, it will ease the bruised look from her face and clear the ever-present tension from her shoulders. From his view in the kitchen above the salon, Dom just as quietly holds his breath and hopes that it does. And before he realizes it he's sitting down in front of her, offering . . . anything he can. If only she'll stay. Of course, he has no real idea who Jaime is. And she's pretty certain that if when he finds out, the last thing he'll want is to see her face.
Paris was a good place to fight your demons.
I love this quiet observation of Jaime's. She and Dom are certainly well-acquainted with this truth. So often Paris is portrayed in fiction as a place to dream, to eat, and to drown in romance. And it is all of these things here, to be sure. But it is also a place to fight. And I love that about these characters and their story. When we meet them within the first few pages of the book, it becomes clear they're both fighting a whole host of demons. They are also in a place where they are licking their wounds to a degree. Dom's are older and somewhat more insidious in their reach, while Jaime's are so recent as to be breathing down her neck with every step she takes. It's not only the two of them who feel as though meeting the other is a godsend. It feels exactly that way to the reader as well. I could feel Jaime's hands shake as she faced her new life in the wake of disaster. I could taste Dom's frustration each time he was forced to conform to a shape far too confining for the size of his dreams. They were such a lovely match, perhaps even more so because for most of the book no one but the two of them could see it. A favorite passage:
She had to lift both hands to illustrate what she meant, but he just let her carry his hand with her, not about to let go. 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.
Laura Florand crafts these moments so delicately that they drift down on the reader like so much fairy dust, making your heart throb in time to the beat of her words. In each book in this series, I can pick out that scene, that moment where everything comes together and it's golden. This was that moment in The Chocolate Touch. "He meant that word she couldn't find." Honestly. It's a wonder I got anything at all done in the time I spent with Jaime and Dom and their Paris. Reading The Chocolate Touch was like sampling one of Dom's wild creations, at once intimate and unexpected, leaving you only wanting more.

The Chocolate Touch is due out July 30th.

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Comments

  1. Happy to hear it holds up so well, Ang. I started it last night. :)

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  2. I could use some bibliocrack!!! Will add it to my steadily growing list!

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    1. This is the good stuff. ;)

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  3. Laura's books just keep getting better and better. I read this one today and loved it! I really appreciate romances that aren't just about getting into bed, and this was so much more than that--really about two people healing each other. In short: YAY.

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    1. So do I, Maureen. Laura's brand of depth and loveliness is just very much my style.

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  4. I'm excited to read this one. Did you read The Chocolate Rose also? I'm glad you discovered these and spread the love. :)

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    1. I did read it. And while I enjoyed it, it didn't wow me like Thief, Kiss, and Touch did. The two leads didn't linger with me the way the others do. Something about the Paris books hits the sweet spot for me, I guess.

      Nothing delights me more than spreading the booklove. :)

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  5. Okay first of all I have no idea what these books are, lol, but you make them sound incredible. Secondly,
    Laura Florand crafts these moments so delicately that they drift down on the reader like so much fairy dust, making your heart throb in time to the beat of her words.

    omg girl! You are such a writer!! This is a beautiful sentence as is the whole review. <3

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    1. Amy, bless you for that. I'm currently going through the somewhat painful process of kicking myself back into writing mode again. This comment helps a lot. *hugs*

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  6. I love the cover. Never heard of this series but it sounds delicious...especially for a sugar addict like me. I thought the girl was black for a minute, hence the "chocolate" in the title...lol...

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    1. It is cute, isn't it?

      And delicious is the best way to describe this series. I highly recommend it!

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  7. I love your enthusiasm! I've put these on hold and take your recommendation pretty highly and will have to get on them. :) By the way, Harmons in Draper sells macarons. Surprising, I know. They're not bad either (and I've had Lauderee's masterpieces). Maybe I was just happy to find one locally and was willing to settle? :) Can't wait to read these!

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    1. Thanks, Becky! These books are too much fun not to gush about. I think you'll like them a lot.

      THANK YOU FOR THE MACARON TIP. I am now plotting to get up to Draper sometime this weekend.

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  8. I've only read The Chocolate Kiss - but I think I'd better get caught up!

    Also - I'm with Amy. That sentence was beautiful <3

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    1. Yep. Don't want to miss the other two. So much swoony Paris goodness.

      Thanks, Allie. *hugs*

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  9. As always, it makes me happy when you end up loving a book that I’m excited about. Isn’t Laura Florand amazing? It’s just so much fun to read about her characters, they’re all so distinct and different from each other. I’ve been looking forward to The Chocolate Touch ever since I finished The Chocolate Thief and found out that Cade’s sister and Dominique Richard have a story of their own. I’m currently in the middle of this one and really enjoying it. That scene that you highlighted is one that gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling. I wonder what are the other scenes in the other books where you felt like everything came together?

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    1. I am eternally grateful to you for directing me to these books!! She's become a comfort read author so fast it almost makes my head spin. And I completely agree, as soon as I heard this one was going to feature Dominique I was sold. There's no way I didn't want to know more about him from his cameo in THIEF.

      The scene in KISS is the one I quoted in my review, where Philippe goes to her room and they argue over her sending the women after him. Exquisite.

      In THIEF it's the one where they are both eating at the same restaurant. He's with his friend, but he spends the whole time watching her eat her ravioli. SO GOOD.

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  10. After "The Chocolate Kiss," my reading this one is a foregone conclusion. Glad it's high quality.

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    1. Yay! Let me know what you think.

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  11. I just finished The Chocolate Touch last night and it was glorious! I must have re-read the excerpt on her website a dozen times before Netgalley let me download it.

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    1. Wasn't it? *sigh* Dom and Jaime were so great.

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  12. I’m eternally grateful to Michelle for recommending these to me! And it makes me happy that you love these books just as much as I do. It’s rare for me to recommend something that you end up loving, it’s nice to have our roles reversed sometimes. :P Like you said, I wanted to read about Dominique’s story right after seeing him in The Chocolate Thief.

    Oh those scenes are lovely, I remember both of them. Didn’t you love seeing Cade, Sylvain, Philippe and Magalie in this one? I do agree that this series has very quickly been classified as a comfort read for me. I love discovering series like that.

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    1. Michelle's the best.

      I *loved* seeing them all in one room in this one. She handled all those dominant and colorful personalities so well, reminding you how much you love Sylvain, Cade, Philippe, and Magalie without letting them overwhelm Dom & Jaime's story.

      Please to be sending any other insta-comfort read series recs my way. ;)

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  13. I read The Chocolate Thief last month after you reviewed it and LOVED it! Then I read Laura Florand's story in the Kiss The Bride anthology and started hoping Dominique Richard would be the hero of one of the books. He intrigues me. :-D

    This is such a good series. She's a wonderful writer, and her characters are so real. It's a bit hazardous to my health, though - after finishing The Chocolate Thief I ate about 9 Hershey bars in one week because I was craving chocolate (and my budget sadly doesn't stretch to fancy French chocolates)!

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    1. So happy to hear that, Emily! It's an absolutely delightful series. I've been craving macarons ever since. Have you read THE CHOCOLATE KISS yet? I haven't been the same since. ;)

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  14. Sigh, I was kind of putting off reading this review because I knew I was going to have to go buy something afterward. Yup, going off see about buying the first in this series. It's probably time anyway - I've only been hearing about these book for the past couple of months..

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    1. It's time, Janice.

      It's time.

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  15. I hadn't even heard of this series before!! I looked up The Chocolate Thief and boy, I'm going to have to get a copy of that now! Chocolate, romance, Paris... a recipe made with Shannon in mind! ;)

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    1. Ooh, Shannon. This series is going to be so very much up your alley! For some reason, I thought you already knew about it. Now I am all giddy waiting to hear what you think. :)

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  16. I just LOVED your review. I just finished The Chocolate Touch myself last night. It was full of yummy goodness of several different varieties. I did not know there were other books in this series. I am going to have to check them out too. Finding the right gourmet dark chocolate to nibble on while I read them will be an adventure too. I just started my own book blog and I applaud you on yours. It looks wonderful and you write the kind of reviews I like to read.

    http://novelshnovel.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you so much! Wasn't it just a lovely read? You most definitely need to check the other two out. I love them both, though I'll give KISS the edge because wow.

      I really need to track down some macarons and heady chocolate. It's a scandal I haven't managed it yet. ;)

      Congrats on the blog, btw! I look forward to checking out your posts and reviews. Happy reading.

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  17. So glad to hear the third book is wonderful. I just began The Chocolate Kiss, and holy macaron I am already in love! She writes scenes that just make me tingle (and crave chocolate!)

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    1. Are you?! Yay!! She really is the master of a scene that LANDS.

      So, so happy you're loving it, Alexa.

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  18. So I had to wait until I finished this book before reading your review in full (cause I like NOT KNOWING) and I have to say yes and double yes to everything you wrote. TOUCH has definitely become my new favorite of all Florand's books. The pairing of Dominique and Jamie works so dang well. It just hits the all right notes at exactly the right moments.

    By the way...you totally stole my snippet. Although maybe I'll be able to forgive you after reading this brilliant review ;)

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    1. Definitely have to go in NOT KNOWING. :) And that is exactly what makes Florand awesome--she hits the right nights at all the right moments. I was half in love with these two before I had a handle on who was standing where.

      Ack! Sorry for the snippet-stealing. It's the best moment, isn't it? I mean, like a high C for sure.

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