When her older brother’s best friend left to join the Foreign Legion, eighteen-year-old Célie moved on to make a life for herself as a Paris chocolatier. Now, five years later, the last thing she needs is another man to mess up her happiness.
Let alone the same man.
But five years in the Foreign Legion is a long time for a man to grow up, and a long time to be away from the woman he loves.
Especially when he did it all for her.
Half strangers, more than friends, and maybe, if Joss Castel has his way, a second chance…
Laura Florand is the international bestselling and award-winning author of fifteen books, including the Vie en Roses series (Once Upon a Rose), the Paris Hearts series (All for You), and the Amour et Chocolat series (The Chocolate Thief). Selected by NPR for their Top 100 Romance list, her books have appeared in ten languages, been nominated for RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Book of the Year, received the RT Seal of Excellence and numerous starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, and been recommended by USA Today and The Wall Street Journal.
She was born in Georgia, but the travel bug bit her early. After a Fulbright year in Tahiti, a semester in Spain, and backpacking everywhere from New Zealand to Greece, she ended up living in Paris, where she met and married her own handsome Frenchman, a story told in her first book Blame It on Paris. Now a lecturer at Duke University, she is very dedicated to her research into French chocolate. For a glimpse behind the scenes of some of that research as well as recommendations for US chocolate, make sure to check out her website: www.lauraflorand.com.
When Célie and Joss were teenagers Célie feel in love with him, but he seemed to only look at her as his best friend’s little sister, someone to look out for. But they became close, the brightest part of each other’s day, and just when Célie thought Joss’ feelings had changed to something romantic he left without a word, and joined the Foreign Legion gutting Célie’s heart in the process.
Now five years later, Joss has shown up again in Célie’s life, proclaiming that he went away to become a better man all for her, and Célie is livid and just about every other emotion in the book because, hello!! FIVE years without a word! It was all she could do not to just climb into his lap, bury her head in his chest and hold on tight. Why did you leave me, you bastard? Oh, thank God you’re home.
Joss was in love with Célie, too, back when they were teenagers, but what kind of life could he offer Célie, the brilliant, best thing in his life when he just lost his job? “Celie.” He closed his eyes a moment. “The way you look at me.” –He opened his eyes, holding hers with that beautiful, beautiful hazel green. “Célie. You know I’m just a man, right?”—“Made of clay,” Joss said, his mouth turning down. “I’m not good enough for the way you look at me.”
Célie thought they could escape the poverty ridden neighborhood they grew up in and become something better, together.
Both Célie and Joss have a lot of conflicting emotions to work through: confusion, anger, hurt, but also longing, passion, and love. Laura Florand brilliantly captures their powerful emotions, and makes you feel them profoundly. I did appreciate the dollop of humor, and sexy banter she added to lighten things up every once in a while, too: He smiled. “Kiss me or kill me, sweetheart? Which one do you want?” So she kissed him because…well, he really was that infuriating. A woman had to do something. Killing him out here in public like this would get her arrested.
I was thrilled that Célie didn’t want to kill Joss all the time and that all those pent up feelings of longing on both sides could finally be explored and satisfied, and let me tell you it was utterly HOT!
Laura Florand once again worked her writing magic and created an emotional, sexy and fun romance! Be prepared to swoon and sigh while reading! Loved the extra time with Dominque and Jaime, too! They were beyond adorable together. A copy was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Thank goodness I'm finally done! I swear, this would've been so much better if half the book was cut out instead of making this book this long. Gaaah! This book gave me headaches because of Celie's indeciveness and her and Joss' going in circles for most of the time. I couldn't keep up with the two of them. One minute they're finally okay, then the next Celie's mad at Joss again! There's nothing of particular importance that happened--not until the end--and it even took only one chapter to fix the problem so pretty much the rest of the chapters were just filler, IMO. I think I would've liked this more if this was just a novella instead. The writing is still pretty awesome and the romance made me swoon. (And I may or may not have cried at the proposal scene. It was just so sweet.)
This may not be my favorite Lauren Florand novel but it's still likable nonetheless.
Do you like beautiful writing? Do you love romances full of heart? Do you enjoy character driven stories? Do you prefer books that concentrate on feelings and characters’ growth rather that entertaining readers with angst and action?
If you answered yes to the questions above, you should read Laura Florand’s books.
I’ve told this not once, but it’s worth repeating: Laura Florand’s writing is gorgeous. It’s so visceral and tactile. One of her books A Wish Upon Jasmine featured a perfumer heroine and I was drowned in scents while reading that story. The main character in All for You Celie is a chocolatier and I almost could taste chocolate she made. I’m always on sensation overload while reading this author’s books.
The romance between Celie and Joss was realistic and very touching. Yet again the author brought to life complex interesting and real characters. It was impossible not to care for them.
Laura Florand’s books are probably not for everyone. On the surface there is very little happening. You won’t find a lot of action or suspense in her books. Just two people dealing with their problems trying to sort their feelings and falling in love. I love this about her stories.
I also love that her books are low on drama. There is obviously some kind of conflict and obstacles that characters need to overcome in all of her books but her characters deal with them in mature and realistic way without unnecessary angst.
Despite having all Florand’s trademark traits All for You hasn’t won my heart. I didn’t fall in love with it the way I did with her La Vie en Roses series. It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly went wrong. After some reflections I think it was absence of family in both Celie and Joss’s lives. I have a soft spot for positive family representation in books. One of the reasons I love Laura Florand’s La vie en Roses series so much is Rosier family. Big supportive and loving family. I missed this here.
Also it was harder for me to connect with Joss than with other Florand’s heroes. “A man who doesn’t believe he deserve his girl” is not a concept I enjoy.
While All for You hadn’t become my favorite book by Laura Florand it was a very enjoyable read. And I’m looking forward to read new stories by this author.
I had a hard time reading this and I think there are two main reasons. The first is that it isn't really much of a romance. I mean, Joss and Célie are in love way before the story starts and it's pretty clear throughout that neither one ever stopped loving the other (despite the five years Joss was in the Foreign Legion). The story works because love really isn't enough to make a relationship all by itself and both characters needed to grow into being together in important ways. I'm not sure that's really "romantic" so much as it's "relationshiptic".
The second difficulty is that this book is the opposite of one of those you can't put down—meaning there were times when I absolutely had to put the book down or risk hating it (or myself). Part of that is the very predictability of the story because it's clear what both Joss and Célie have to do to be together almost from the start. Célie actually has a pretty smooth job of it as she is clearly more adaptable and introspective. Joss, however, sometimes needs things pounded into him on a more fundamental level (and yes, this is kind of what made him as successful as he was in as a Legionnaire so he's also fighting his past successes as well as his own nature). Which means you're right there along as he makes the same mistake a couple more times because he hasn't managed to generalize the central problem.
Which sounds way more tedious than the story actually is. It helped, of course, that I really liked Joss. He's that big tough guy with a caring heart that I love so well and I fell for him early and hard. It helps, too, that Célie is such a treasure. I kind of loved what Florand did by taking the manic pixie dream girl trope and investing it with volition and a strength to match Joss' in taking power over her own life and insisting on the respect and, well, personhood, she deserves. I could see what Joss found so inviting in her and why he would dream of one day presenting her with everything she could ever want.
So it's a good story well-told, but the difficulties keep my rating lower than it might have otherwise been. It wasn't the long slog you'd think for such a predictable story and the characters and setting are outstanding.
A note about production: This had the same problem that I found in Once Upon a Rose. I had a physical trade paperback from my library and it was glaringly poor quality. The writing and editing was rock-solid, but the type-setting and printing and matte cover were very poor. Some pages were faded to near illegibility and some were so dark they nearly glowed. It was weird, frankly, and more than a little off-putting.
A note about Steamy: There are one and a half explicit sex scenes and the one is very long. So this is the middle of my steam tolerance and, frankly, it was a bit of overkill. Seriously, I wanted them to be together and I didn't need all the byplay in getting there.
4.5 Stars. This is how much I love Laura Florand's writing. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book and I read it that night. Stayed up all night and went into work all book sloppy. Completely worth it!
This romance is delisous. As I always, I love the humanity of Florand's couples. They ache, make, mistakes, and love. The hero here is such an guy--always trying to fix things without just listening. He is great guy though. A crush and best friend from the heroines childhood. He learns how to be a partnership. A little slowly at times but he learns.
The herrione is a wonderful mix of brash and soft. This is a young couple and New Adult in much more realistic ways emotionally and in other ways a lovely fantasy of beng themselves in terms of carreers so early in life. It is great romantic mix.
There are such tender true moment here and waves of emotion. So good!
I love this world and am thrilled with this spin off series. Enjoy!
I was given this book for my honest review. So, there you have it.
This was my first novel by Laura Florand... and quiet frankly I'm not sure what took me so long to read her books. Believe me, I'm kicking myself. I already one clicked a few other books by this author.
This book was delicious and I devoured it within a day. I was nervous to start this book because sometimes military themed love really does a number on me. I found that this book was a perfect balance- also the warm fuzzier that were continually bouncing around in my stomach helped. I thought I could pick up the book and just read a few chapters.... that is not the case. I'd like to say that this book should be savored, much like the chocolates in the book, alas- I could.not.put.it.down. The blurb above does a great job explaining what the book is about- so here are a few more of my thoughts/reactions:
1. The lead characters in this book are awesome. I love the flashbacks. I love the present story. I loved it all. I could not find a single fault in the way the book was presented. 2. This book has enticed me to start reading the previous series because the support characters were hilarious. I need more of them in my life. 3. The writing...it's so unique, distinctive and delightful. Aside from the story itself, the way it was presented and the writing style had me. 4. Swoon. So many swoon worthy moments. 5. Alpha Male... need I say more? 6. I found myself laughing out loud and getting strange looks from my husband about my reaction to this story. (He also speaks French so I had to ask him a few translation questions...which also prompted a few odd eyebrow lifts).
I HIGHLY recommend this book- It opened up a new author for me and I am so excited to begin reading her other works.
(Note: Penny Reid on Facebook said to "clear her schedule" because of this new release- this is what prompted me to dive in. I am SO glad I did. Thanks for the FB post, Penny!)
I know how crappy it is to be a princess in a tower. Now I want someone who will include me. I'm not very good at waiting up in my tower for the prince to get back. I want to be part of the life I live. And of the life you live, too."
This actually comes from a bit where our heroine Celie breaks up with the hero Joss. But I really liked that whole scene because I think Celie was very right. Celie's issues with Joss are all about the fact that he never communicates or shares his life with her, wanting to keep things from her until he thinks she's ready to know because he wants it to be "perfect" or "the best" when all Celie wants is for Joss to share things with her. I thought the issues Celie and Joss had to work through were very realistic and dealt well with, so I am very happy with this first installment of Laura Florand's new series!
I don't know why this took me two months to read! Maybe I just haven't been quite in the mood for Florand's distinct writing style. It can get a little same-y at times.
But on the good, I am SO HAPPY that this series is about female chefs!! I also liked that both of these characters were entirely French. I like my home country, but I was getting tired of the heroine always having to be at least a little American.
I also liked how this took on the trope of the guy leaving to "get better" for the woman without bothering to ever communicate with her. Célie did NOT let Joss get away with that, which is awesome.
So maybe four stars is a little high, but I feel like giving it that much . . . hope I liked Florand's next book better, though!
It's always a delight to receive a review copy (or indeed any copy) of one of Laura Florand's books. All For You, the first in her Paris Hearts Series, is no exception.
It's difficult to know where to start in reviewing this book, because, to me at least, it has quite a different feel to many of her previous works. While the sensual writing and references to fairy tales and myths (and let's not forget the lovingly described chocolate, which you can almost taste on the page) are still there, Célie and Joss's story feels somehow quieter than Florand's other romances. The story seems to be much more internal to the characters, and it almost feels more like a conversation than an adventure.
Which, when you have a hero who ran off at the age of 21 to join the French Foreign Legion (and I have to say, I smile every time I contemplate that, because it's so over the top in its romanticism), is a bit surprising. But perhaps he needs to rest now?
The story begins with Joss's return, after five years in the Legion. For Joss, it has been five years of making himself worthy of Célie, of firing his body 'like clay in a kiln'. The problem is, he never mentioned any of this to Célie, he just left, without telling her that he was leaving or where he was going or even that he liked her. As far as Célie knew, he was a surrogate big brother, who hadn't even noticed that she had a crush on him.
So Célie, who was left behind to fend for herself in a fairly bad part of the banlieues, and who has reinvented herself by gaining an apprenticeship with a top chocolatier in Paris, and becoming a chef chocolatier herself, is more than a little unimpressed when Joss turns up out of the blue and tells her that he did this all for her.
In many ways, this is the book in a nutshell. Joss has put Célie on a pedestal, and keeps on trying to make everything perfect for her, without actually ever consulting with her about what she wants and what perfect would even look like for her. I have to confess, I spent a lot of the book wanting to smack him, because he really did NOT learn, or at least, not for a very long time. But at the same time, even while keeping us firmly on Célie's side, Florand doesn't let us hate Joss. He's doing some fairly stupid things, but he's also never really lived a life in which failure was an option, and so the drive for perfection - to the exclusion of rational thought, sometimes - really does make sense. And Célie does get that, and it's easy to see why she loves him - even though it's also easy to see why she feels the need at one point to empty a pot of ganache over his head from a great height.
One thing that is noticeable about this story, too, is how young the characters are. While they are both advanced in their careers, they are still in their early twenties, and neither of them has lived a particularly normal life. It makes sense that they are still figuring things out.
Dominique and Jaime from The Chocolate Touch are fairly important characters in this book, and I think this is a very good choice on Florand's part. They aren't just making the traditional 'happy ever after' appearance here, they are characters who are a bit older, who have gotten a bit further along at figuring out how to have a relationship that is also a partnership, and in Dom's case, we see a character from the same background as Joss and Célie, who has acted as Célie's mentor (as well as her surrogate big brother in Joss's absence), who, with all his issues, is better placed than most to understand where Joss is coming from.
Overall, I still find it difficult to decide what I think of this book. The writing is beautiful. The writing is always beautiful. I adore Célie, and sort of want to be her, and Joss, Dom, and Jaime are all characters I enjoy spending time with. I also love the way Joss's learning disability is hinted at, but never really stated. But in many ways, it feels less like a romance to me than it feels like two characters trying to figure out how to have a relationship. I'm not sure if Ms Florand was aiming for the New Adult genre, but I think she might have found it.
It's an unusually quiet, thoughtful romance. And hey, did I mention that the heroine makes amazing chocolates and the hero ran away to join the French Foreign Legion? (That just never stops being cool.)
4 stars. This was another good one from Laura Florand! I'm becoming a big fan of her writing. Her books are so romantic and her writing is so sensual and rich. It is so different from most books I read. The setting of Paris and the chocolate theme played a big part in the book. This book is Celie and Joss's story. They grew up together in a poor neighborhood in Paris. Joss was friends with Celie's brother, but he was her friend too and she had a big crush on him. But five years ago, he left unexpectedly and joined the foreign legion without telling Celie and it broke her heart. She went on to become a chocolate maker in Paris and built a happy life for herself, but she never forgot Joss. Now he's back and he wants Celie. He tells her that he always wanted her but he didn't feel worthy of her, so he left to better himself to make himself worthy. Now he feels like he is worthy and wants to pursue a future with Celie. But she is angry at him. It takes a lot for her to overcome her anger and learn to trust that he is there to stay. Poor Joss was kind of an idiot about some things. He was the strong, silent type and not experienced with relationships or good at expressing himself. For example: But they were able to overcome a few misunderstandings and make their relationship work. I enjoyed watching them grow and their relationship develop. They were really sweet together and a great match. I really liked both of the characters. Overall, I enjoyed the book very much and am looking forward to more from Ms. Florand!
All for You, as the title suggests is all about first love and how one man gives his all, his very best to the only person that truly matters. Its also the latest in Laura Florand's arsenal of love stories that can guarantee you moments of heartbreak, laughter, tears and of course a rocky happily ever after that is truly worthwhile. All for You is the first book in the Paris Hearts Trilogy. Here we have an intersection of her previous series with of course The Chocolat series and if the reader is really mindful and very quick in catching little details, The Roses series as well. Celie and Joss, both so young, both so in love and both so set in their ways despite their age. Can they truly find that fine balance in their happily ever after? A sensual feast not just because its set in Paris and has chocolate involve (but that really helps). Every interaction, thought, word, movement displays an almost erotic quality when we see Celie and Joss engage with each other. A character driven plot, where two lovers are so in love but forgets that sometimes giving your all means accepting everything as well. Laura Florand excels in stories that has all the fluffy romance but with that touch of realism that makes you see that this is a story that can actually exist in the real world. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
Laura Florand reads are my guilty pleasures, and unsurprisingly I devoured All For You in a single sitting. While there aren't many external conflicts to Celie and Joss' story, theirs is a romance with many layers.
“Célie. You know I’m just a man, right?” “No!” she said indignantly. She did not know that at all. “Made of clay,” Joss said, his mouth turning down. “I’m not good enough for the way you look at me.”
From their deliciously angsty adolescent romance to them reconnecting and rediscovering each other as adults, it was so clear Joss worshipped the ground Celie walked on. He joined the Foreign Legion to make himself worthy of having her, but instead of being deliriously happy on his return, she is spitting mad. Both Celie and Joss have a lot to work through- love and loss, reconciliation and learning to hope again.
This was a wonderfully adorable and heart-warming story. I enjoyed both Célie and Joss. They are fairly young but they know what they want and go after their goals with gusto. I liked how a lot of this story was them learning to communicate well with each other and take each other's thoughts and feelings into consideration. Seeing Dom and Jaime mentor and push them along was absolutely adorable too. As always I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading one of Florand's books. I'm really looking forward to the other books in this series. I like having female chefs as the heroines.
I liked this but I didn't love this. I think the pacing wasn't quite what I wanted? I liked the idea of it so much, but there was just some piece of it lacking in the final read. I even reread it before writing this because I wasn't in the best mood when I read it for the first time. But no.
I had the pleasure of reading this beautiful story last weekend. I waited until I had dealt with all responsibilities and potential distractions. Then, I tucked myself away in my reading nook and disappeared, back to virtual Paris, via Laura Florand. *sigh* I love the Laura Florand Imagination Transportation to France! The anticipation was great...the enjoyment, even greater. The heroine in All for You, Celie, was such a delight when we first met her in The Chocolate Touch. I like that Celie didn't morph into some other creation for this story. She was still the enigmatic, fierce, and loyal little stick of dynamite who kept Dom on his toes. The chocolate out the window scene... priceless! The way she kept threatening violence... so endearing. I liked Celie. I really liked that she had this spirit of kindness that was all covered in dark chocolate. She is an old soul. Again Laura Florand has written a heroine who is not the typical and yet not irritating in an effort to be Stronger and Wiser Than All Other Heroines. She had vulnerability that made me cry... between the bed and the wall? Heartstrings! She was able to call Joss on his stinkin' thinkin'... AND she checked her own stinkin' thinkin'. Very nicely done. We all get crazy when we are in love. I enjoy the Crazy Crazy kind of love story that makes the characters a little stupid and knocks them off their axis for a bit. That's why I read romance. Strong emotions... powerful gestures.
Who is Joss? Joss is Celie's first and only love. He is the man who broke her young heart. In order to get bigger and better, to become worthy of Celie, Joss went away for 5 years. He joined the French Foreign Legion. That. That is indicative of a strength of character and a very strong level of devotion for Celie. Speaking of strong...IF you happen to enjoy imagining a great big, gorgeous man with superhero strength when reading a glorious romance...LOOK NO FURTHER!!! He can climb buildings, ladies! Literally! The truly beautiful thing was that these young lovers did such a great amount of growing together. While Celie had learned to be self-sufficient and cautious, her lesson in trust and being vulnerable with her heart was just beautiful. During his 5 years as a Legionniare, Joss had gained physical and mental strength, but his emotional growth didn't happen until he allowed himself to be vulnerable. Gah! It was magical and sweet. Young love...First love...Forever love.
There is a sensual quality in this author's novels that I haven't found in any other books. I have never been to France; but, I somehow imagine that she has captured the essence of the French in the attitudes and emotional levels of all of her characters. It is the way I imagine them, anyway. I enjoy the extra dose of imagination that is factored into understanding the whys and wherefors within a novel. I would be disappointed and would quickly surmise if she wrote about a Paris créatif who had the passion level of, say, a Chicagoan. Not just passion as pertains to love. I am talking about the big passion for artistry and the awareness of the artistry that is in everyday things. The emotions that just cannot be bottled...they must be expressed! Ms. Florand has filled that promise in every book. I appreciate the aspect of a different culture having a very different norm in the way they express thoughts and emotions. I love that.
I am very excited to read the continuing stories of this new series!
(I received an ARC of this book in return for an unbiased review.)
Let me start off by saying that this probably is not going to be the book for everyone. If you don't particularly care for conflict that could have been resolved if the hero and heroine just *talked* to each other in the first place instead of assuming, this is probably not the book for you. For me, those situations really depend on how the book is written, and how the situation resolves itself in the end.
I was fascinated by Dominique Richard's staff in The Chocolate Touch. It was therefore a joy to discover that one member of his staff would get her own book, and that Dom and Jamie make frequent appearances in this book.
Célie and Joss grew up together, until one day Joss decided to join the French foreign legion and let Célie grow up before they could be together. When he returns, she has done just that, and achieved a lot in her field - but he still keeps on making decisions for how he thinks their life together should be. He buys an apartment to fix up, but does not consult her on the purchase because he wants it to be perfect for her. He buys her a motorcycle that she wanted when he last knew her, but in the meantime she has a little scooter that she has purchased on her own (and never got a motorcycle license...) and so on. He has imagined for so long what he thinks is best for her, that he does not stop to ask what she thinks might be best for her.
It all comes to resolution through very satisfying arguments. During one of which Joss ends up with a pot of chocolate over his head. It does not resolve itself by declaration of love, but by actually discussing the problem- not quick and easy (thankfully) because there were serious misunderstandings.
I laughed, and I cried while reading. (Tears in my eyes several times.) While I don't think the beginning of the book is quite as strong as the end, it was still a very good read and I will be reading it again.
As I was reading the final words, I wished it could have been longer.
I was incredibly lucky because I got to read a pre-published draft of this book, and oh, it is so much fun. Célie is such a fabulous heroine, and the descriptions of the chocolates she makes (as one of the best chocolatiers in France) are mouthwatering. I spent a lot of the book rolling my eyes at how screwed-up the hero, Joss, was in his relationship mentality, but by the end, I completely understood where that attitude of his had come from, and I truly believed that he and Célie would be happy together, as he finally figured out that she was a hero to stand and fight by his side, not a princess to set on a pedestal. And even before he managed to overcome that attitude, the chemistry and tension between them really crackled off the page, making for an incredibly fun read. It was also fun to see returning characters from Florand's Amour et Chocolat series in this book playing important supportive roles, but this could definitely stand alone. It's the start of a new series of romances starring young women in Paris, and it is a genuinely delicious opening to that series. I can't wait to read the other books, too!
Thanks to Laura, I got to take part as a beta reader for this wonderful book. As usual, Laura's writing is flawless and her characters are lovable. I really loved Joss and his lack of communicative talents. It just made him all the more endearing. Add to that his time spent in the Foreign Legion and that makes him ooh-la-la yummyfied! *slurp* *giggle* And I loved Celie's feisty character. It was so adorable that she could tease Dom and aggravate him so much! I know this is Joss and Celie's story but it was really nice to have glimpses of Dom and Jaime. They were after all the first couple I read! =]]
All in all, another awesome Laura Florand production!! =]]
This was a very romantic second chance romance story. It is about Celie, who is a chocolatier in in Dom's shop (from The Chocolate Touch) and Joss, her brother's friend, who just came back from 5 years in the Foreign Legion. He left without saying goodbye, to make himself a better man for her. Meanwhile, she was heartbroken & didn't know if and when he would be back. It was a rocky road to romance for these two, but well worth it!