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August 2013

Kiss the Bride (Amour et Chocolat 0.5) by Deirdre Martin, Christie Ridgway, Laura Florand

I Read this anthology for Laura Florand's "All's Fair in Love and Chocolate", which I would rate 4.5. I have ended up reading her Amour et Chocolat series all out of order and that has worked out just fine, since all the couples are so interesting and charming. Her writing makes me hungry and jealous but her fantasies are so satisfying.

In this story Elle is a artsy food blogger that has moved to Paris in part because she has become obsessed with the artistry of Simon Casset's chocolate confections despite never having tasted them. Simon is obsessive and intense, who channels his energy into his precise and detailed work, is completely charmed and disarmed by her flustered reaction at meeting him. She makes up a fiancé as part of impulsive cover story for her interest in him a fiction he sees through immediately even though he chooses not to challenge it directly. Both characters revel in the intense interest and focus they have for each other but eventually Simon must find a way to convince Elle to drop her fictions and trust him with her heart.

All the stories feature women is some way scared to commit. Ridgway's short story felt compressed at times, but was touching. I didn't care at all for Martin's "Early Bird Special".

After the Kiss by Lauren Layne

Julie Greene is at the top of her profession, a leading columnist for Stiletto Magazine (a best-selling glossy women's magazine based in NYC). She writes about dating, specifically first dates. She leaves the relationship and sex advice to her best-friends and colleagues Grace and Riley, the other two parts of Stiletto's writing Triumvirate. She lives for the fun of falling into love, the flirting and the kissing, happily sharing her experiences in her columns, until her editor ask her to write a column about "taking a relationship to the next level". Unable to draw on her personal experience and unwilling to hand over her column to work rival she decides to engage in some research.

Mitchell Forbes is hard-working Wall Streeter, who has just ended a long stable relationship with a woman he once thought would be the perfect wife after realizing that while it looked good on paper he didn't love her as he should. Teased by his co-worker for his inability to even contemplate a post-breakup fling, he surprises himself into agreeing to bet challenging him to date a woman at least 5 times but not get serious.

Julie and Mitchell meet at cross-purposes both hesitantly and awkwardly trying something new. Can Mitchell just date a woman for the fun of it, and can Julie let her defenses down long enough to stick around?

After the Kiss is being marketed to
fan of "Sex and the City", those who are looking for light, witty and breezy romance. I never watched more than a handful of episodes, but I can see the connection, the leads are urban professionals girlfriends taking NYC by storm. I think the book will really appeal to fans of Julie James. I will be back to read the rest of the series.

(originally published at Goodreads, books provided free of charge by the publisher in exchange for fair and unbiased review).