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Fiction shows off culinary passions



'The Chocolate Kiss' by Laura Florand

Welcome to La Maison des Sorcieres. Here the window display is an enchanted forest of sweets. A collection of conical hats delights the eye and the habitues nibble chocolate witches from fanciful mismatched china.

While in their tiny blue kitchen, Magalie Chaudron and her two aunts stir wishes into bubbling pots of heavenly chocolate chaud. But no amount of wishing will rid them of interloper Philippe Lyonais, who has the gall to open one of his world famous pastry shops right down the street.

Philippe’s creations seem to hold a magic of their own, drawing crowds of beautiful women to their little isle amidst the Seine and tempting even Magalie to venture out of her ivory tower and take a chance, a taste…a kiss. Parisian princesses, chocolate witches, patissier princes and sweet wishes – an enchanting tale for chocolate lovers.

 

'The Coincidence of Coconut Cake' by Amy E Reichert

You’re Got Mail meets How to Eat a Cupcake in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.

In downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lou works tirelessly to build her beloved yet struggling French restaurant - Luella’s - into a success. She cheerfully balances her demanding business and even more demanding fiance, until the morning she discovers him in the buff with an intern.

Witty, yet gruff, British transplant, Al is keeping himself employed and entertained by writing scathing reviews of local restaurants in the Milwaukee newspaper under a pseudonym. When an anonymous tip sends him to Luella’s, little does he know he’s arrived on the worst day of the chef’s life. The review practically writes itself: underdone fish, scorched sauce, distracted service he unleashes his worst.

The day that Al’s mean - spirited review of Luella’s runs, the two cross paths in a pub: Lou drowning her sorrows, and Al celebrating his latest publication. As they chat, Al playfully challenges Lou to show him the best of Milwaukee and she’s game but only if they never discuss work, which Al readily agrees to. As they explore the city’s local delicacies and their mutual attraction, Lou’s restaurant faces closure, while Al’s column gains popularity. It’s only matter of time before the two fall in love, when the truth comes out, can Lou overlook the past to chase her future?

Set in the lovely, quirky heart of Wisconsin, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake is a charming love story of misunderstandings, mistaken identity, and the power of food to bring two people together.

 

'The Art of French Kissing' Brianna Shrum

Seventeen-year-old Carter Lane has wanted to be a chef since she was old enough to ignore her mom’s cautioning to stay away from the hot stove. And now she has the chance of a lifetime: a prestigious scholarship competition in Savannah, where students compete all summer in ‘Chopped’ - style challenges for a full-ride to one of the best culinary schools in the country. The only impossible challenge ingredient in her basket: Reid Yamada.

After Reid, her cute but unbearably cocky opponent, goes out of his way to embarrass her on day one, Carter vows revenge, and soon they are involved in a full-fledged culinary war. Just as the tension between them reaches its boiling point, Carter and Reid are forced to work together if they wants to win, and Carter begins to wonder if Reid’s constant presence in her brain is about more than rivalry. And if maybe her desire to smack his mouth doesn’t necessarily cancel out her desire to kiss it.

 

'The Secret Ingredient of Wishes' by Susan Bishop Crispel

Twenty six-year-old Rachel Monroe has spent her whole life trying to keep a very unusual secret: she can make wishes come true. And sometimes the consequences are disastrous. So when Rachel accidentally grants an outlandish wish for the first time in years, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown - and her past - behind for good.

Rachel isn’t on the road long before she runs out of gas in a a town that’s not on her map: Nowhere, North Caroline - also known as the town of ‘Lost and Found’. In Nowhere, Rachel is taken in by a spit-fire old woman, Catch, who possesses a strange gift of her own: she can bind secrets by baking them into pies. Rachel also meets Catch’s neighbour, Ashe, a Southern gentleman with a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after for the first time in her life.

As she settles into the small town, Rachel hopes her own secrets will stay hidden, but wishes start piling up everywhere Rachel goes. When the consequences threaten to ruin everything she’s begun to build in Nowhere, Rachel must come to terms with who she is and what she can do, or risk losing the people she’s starting to love - and her chance at finding happiness - all over again.

 

'Stay Sweet' by Siobhan Vivian

Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriend while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best of friends.

Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend, Cate, have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is ‘head-girl’ at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…

 

'The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living' by Louise Miller

When Olivia Rawlings pastry chef extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club - sets not just her flambeed dessert but the entire building alight, she escapes to the most comforting place she can think of - the idyllic town of Guthrie, Vermont, home of Bag Balm, the country’s longest-running contra dance, and her best friend Hannah. But the getaway turns into something more lasting when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, offers Livvy a job. Broke and knowing that her days at the club are numbered, Livvy accepts.

Livvy moves with her larger-than-life, uber- enthusiastic dog, Salty, into a sugar-house on the inn’s property and begins creating her mouth-watering desserts for the residents of Guthrie. She soon uncovers the real reason she has been hired - to help Margaret reclaim the inn’s blue ribbon status at the annual country fair apple pie contest.

With the joys of a fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, and the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door, Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small town life. When she meets Martin Mc-Cracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from Seattle to tend his ailing father, Livvy comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought.

But then another new arrival takes the community by surprise, and Livvy must decide whether to do what she does best and flee or stay and finally discover what it means to belong. Olivia Rawlings may finally find out that the life you want may not be the one expected - it could be even better.

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