Saturday, May 10, 2014

ARC Review: Sun-Kissed by Laura Florand


Title: Sun-Kissed (Amour et Chocolat, #7; Snow Queen, #2) 

Author: Laura Florand

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Release Date: May 20th, 2014 

Sun-Kissed is a beautifully written coda to Florand's Amour et Chocolat Series. Bringing together Mack Corey, the father (or father-figure) to three of the heroines from this previously six-book series) as well as Anne Winters, the mother of Kurt from Snow-Kissed, Florand ties together the loose threads in this extended family of French chefs, chocolate-lovers, and emotionally strong individuals who have found love, often in the most unlikeliest of places. Without a doubt, I'd recommend reading Sun-Kissed only after having finished the rest of Florand's back-list, merely because the sweet cameos of past couples and references to prior love stories will tug at your memory, further adding to the experience of this short novel.

Sun-Kissed is a compelling romance, primarily because its protagonists are far older than the typical age-group associated with young love. Which is precisely what this story is not. Sun-Kissed is far from a tale of first love, with its healing kisses and gentle caresses. Instead, it is a story of the building affection and burning love between two adults; adults who have been knocked down by life, who have built walls of steel and ice around their hearts, and who have -- somehow -- persevered through watching their young family age and travel away from them. Set during the wedding of Jaime Corey, Mack's youngest daughter, and Dominique Richard, an absolutely swoon-worthy French chocolatier, Mack and Anne slowly realize that the only path they want into their future is one traversed together.

It isn't an easy romance, though. For Mack, facing the reality that both his daughters have married, found spouses they want to spend more time with than their own father, and are moving to another continent entirely is a difficult admission to deal with. Mack's entire life has revolved around his daughters; caring for them, providing for them, making enough money for them, and loving them enough for two parents. Now, to witness them simply leave everything he has built for his not-so-modest son-in-laws is -- to put it mildly -- a bit of a shock. Moreover, for Anne, the tough facade she walks under refuses to drop. In order to have become a wealthy and successful single-mother, Anne chilled her heart with ice and sharpened her gaze with steel, intimidating every man who dared challenge her and knock her down. Thus, to open her heart to Mack Corey is no easy task. Florand builds their romance gradually, though, making sure to intersperse within their love story the familial issues that plague them, due to their age. Kurt and Kai's heart-breaking situation follows us into Sun-Kissed as Anne acknowledges the fact that she may never have grand-children and, worse, that her son fell in love with a woman as far removed from Anne herself. It is the myriad of all these dilemmas -- both inner and outer -- that make Sun-Kissed such a masterpiece to inhale.

Moreover, the brief appearances made by my absolute favorite Florand heroes, from Sylvain Marquis to Philippe Lyonnais, only elevated Sun-Kissed as Florand manages to keep her large host of characters distinct in their individual personalities, despite the similarities many of them share, and displays their relationships with a balance of poise and realism. Nothing is sugar-coated and though this novel seems to be full of happily-ever-afters, they are endings hard-won; endings that will only continue to be hard-won as well.

19 comments:

  1. I haven't heard of these! that's great the romance was built up.

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  2. It's nice to read a romance involving older adults, it's usually so different to YA romance or even romance involving 20-30 year olds. And it's always fun to see fave characters from another series pop up in a new book!

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  3. I hadn't heard of this series until today but it does look really promising!

    Lovely review, Keertana! <33

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  4. I can't wait to read this, Keertana! A friend suggested George Clooney as a picture of Mack Corey, he is in his 50s after all. Hard to believe that, right? Men in their 50s can be HOT! I'm so excited to catch up with my favorite couples. I think Jaime and Dom top the list and then Kurt and Kai. Wonderful review! :)

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  5. This sounds like really sweet story I'd like. Lol, Rachel I know how much you love this series. I am glad to see that Keertana likes it too.
    Great review.

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  6. gosh i cannot believe I haven't read her books yet, I own a few too *embarrassed* they sound so beautiful, all of them

    The romance doesn't sound easy at all.

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  7. Awwww this sounds like a sweet, heart-warming read. I love reading romances involving adults from time to time. I always enjoy those. I'm glad you liked this one! :D

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  8. I just read Snow Kissed, and though I didn't enjoy is as much as I hoped I would, it made me want to read the rest of the books.

    I'm glad you found this enjoyable enough. :)

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  9. I didn't know this one but it sounds like an interesting romance book. Mainly when the romance isn't either an easy one. thanks for the review.

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  10. I absolutely love how you describe the romances in this one, Keertana. I'm not a big fan of cut and dried happily-ever-afters, so to hear that they're hard-fought and hard-won makes me really excited to read this someday. It sounds so very tangible and real. Fantastic review!

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  11. "Nothing is sugar-coated and though this novel seems to be full of happily-ever-afters, they are endings hard-won; endings that will only continue to be hard-won as well. "

    LOVE that Keertana! I love a story that's a hard-fought battle between the characters and their lives as well as the characters and one another, I just need there to be that happy ending waiting for me at the end. Glad to hear that's the case here!!!

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  12. I love Laura Florand's writing style. She always makes me drool -- over the romance, over the food and over her prose. Her characters never have it easy but there's something to be said for a hard-won love. Great review!

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  13. Have to have my HEA, but my fave HEAs are the hard won type. Those usually stay with me the most and even though you had me curious at the beginning of your review... that last part totally won me over. So adding the whole series.

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  14. I've been keeping up with you a little more on GR these days. I know I read this there, but I will say again that I'm so excited that I finally started this series. I love that she's giving Mack a romance, which is definitely untraditional, and I can't wait to see beloved characters again. Do I need to read all the books in the Chocolate series? I know some are less favorites. Both you and Rachel have said The Chocolate Touch is your second favorite, can I skip to that, or is that not a good idea? Advice!

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  15. Your review of one of these novels is what originally drew me to your blog. I wanted to know more about them. And then I got to read all the reviews of them and decided they were something I'd want to read. And that your blog was something I didn't want to miss. And it seems like this last book in the series (?) is not to be missed either, though different in tone from the others. Great review Keertana!

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  16. I think this is the lowest you've rated one of Florand's books, and it's still a fairly good rating for you. Ever since I enjoyed (but didn't love) The Chocolate Thief, I've been wondering if I should give the series a try again. I think I will, though, after reading so many glowing reviews from you. I'll keep my fingers crossed this is one of those series that will grow on me as time goes on. Lovely review, Keertana!

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  17. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Your glowing reviews of Amour et chocolt series make me want to start the series. I checked out The chocolate thief from library and looking forward to enjoy as much as you did. Wonderful review, Keertana (:

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