Monday, January 23, 2017

ARC Review: A Crown of Bitter Orange (La Vie en Roses #3) by Laura Florand

A Crown of Bitter Orange
(La Vie en Roses #3)
by Laura Florand
Publisher: Laura Florand
Genre: Contemporary romance
Release Date: January 24th, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Childhood friends.
Tristan Rosier might have asked Malorie Monsard to marry him when he was five years old, but things had only gone downhill from there. She’d spent the rest of their lives ignoring him, abandoning him, and destroying his perfumes. Now she was back, to wreak who knew what havoc on his life. 

Lifelong enemies.
Tristan might choose to dismiss the generations-long enmity between their two families, but Malorie didn’t have that privilege. Like all the other privileges wealthy, gorgeous Tristan took for granted that she couldn’t. But if she was going to restore her family company to glory, she might just need his help. 

Or the perfect match? 
They’d known each other all their lives. Could these childhood friends and lifelong enemies ever uncross their stars and find happily ever after?

An actual transcript of the texts Lisa and I sent each other about this book would, unfortunately, be quite spoilery and would be entirely made up of many exclamation marks and all caps words. It's become quite the tradition to have enthusiastic discussions about our favorite books, and of course, A Crown of Bitter Orange became one of them. No surprise really, considering how much we both adore her books. 

For this review, we've broken down things we like into bullet points of a sort:

Laura Florand's Descriptive Writing

Lisa: I think what attracts me from the beginning about Laura Florand's books is how descriptive her writing is. In Amour et Chocolat series, for example, the way the chocolate making is described in The Chocolate Thief, and macarons and hot chocolate making in The Chocolate Touch, is just so realistic it makes you hungry for them. 

It's the same thing with this series; the way Laura described the rose and jasmine fields or in this book, the orange blossoms is just so picturesque. I love how the description of each scent is so vivid.

Eri: I actually picked up this series because of Lisa's very persuasive love for Laura Florand, but I definitely agree that her writing is one of the things that stood out to me when I read her books. She writes the details of desserts and fragrances so well that I can almost see or smell them. It doesn't just stay with the fragrances in this series of course, and I was able to imagine the locations so vividly, it was like I was there in person, in addition to feeling the tension and chemistry in every scene. 

The Plot

Lisa: Another thing that I like about this book and also this series as a whole is how it features different flowers in different books. Like we have roses in Once Upon a Rose and jasmines in A Wish upon a Jasmine and now orange blossoms. 

Also, don't forget about the mystery of the missing heirlooms! The longtime fight (or is it?) between Jean-Jacques Rosier and Colette Delatour with Jean-Jacques accusing Colette of stealing the family heirlooms are priceless, and so are the reactions of the Rosiers when they began to turn up one by one by the end of each story.

Eri: Yes to all the things that Lisa said, but I also love that each of the books focuses on a journey or quest of sorts for the heroine. In this book, it's Malorie wanting to restore her family company, and I like that in each of the books, the heroine's dreams or goals aren't secondary to the grand Rosier legacy, but balanced well.

The men in this series are all Rosier men, and they each play a different role in the family business, so that was interesting to see as well. And while they might be terrible at expressing their intent or motivations (*coughs at the thought of Damien*), they are quite supportive of the heroine and I like that both parties are on equal footing, for the most part. I never found the perfume industry to be so enticing, but this series has given me a whole new appreciation to it. 

The Rosier Family

Eri: I adore the Rosier family. Laura always writes relationships well, and in her other series, there's some very strong friendships, but this one has the addition of the heroes all being part of the same family, and I love seeing how close they are to each other. They all tease and mess with each other, but underneath is that Rosier bond, holding them together, and seeing the other members of the family, like the mothers and of course, Tante Collete and Jean-Jacques, being so supportive is wonderful as well.

Lisa: Ugh, I agree, the Rosiers are the best. I envy their close-knitted relationship with each other, and how the cousins have each other's backs despite their differences. I love the distinct role that Laura set for each and every character; like how Matt is the land and Damien the warrior, and Tristan the glue that keeps everybody together. 

Tristan Rosier & Malorie Monsard

Lisa: Okay, I'm always about dark and broody guys, but Tristan Rosier captures my heart so effortlessly. He intrigued me ever since we met him in Matt's book; he's so playful and full of life it's hard to not like him. I love how he dances around his cousins, teases them and gets away with it, and I love that we get to find out why he behaves that way in this book. We also get to see another side of him when he's with Malorie--he's so protective of her, and she's the only one who gets under his skin and makes him angry and frustrated, so that kind of adds another layer to Tristan.

I adore Malorie too! She kind of reminds me of Jess, the way she's so determined to make her own way and how hardworking and diligent she is. I love that she slowly learns to trust another person other than herself and that she doesn't have to do everything alone.

Eri: Honestly, I knew I would love Tristan's book just because he's so charming and playful, and with a heart of gold, but when I read the synopsis for this book I was ecstatic! The whole childhood friends/enemies type of set up is what I live for in romance books, and I knew Laura would do it justice, so I went in expecting to enjoy it, and ended up falling head over heels for Tristan.  He's a little mysterious, as Lisa said, since he seems to be light-hearted about everything in the other books, so getting to see beneath that veneer and into the depth he hides behind it was great. When he's around Malorie, you see how that light-hearted attitude backfires on him a bit, and seeing him lose his cool around her just made me love him more. You get a hint from the synopsis that Tristan has feelings for Malorie for a while and seeing that longing manifest into the cloak of protectiveness and genuine caring was a delight.

Malorie is a wonderful heroine too, and I really loved her independent spirit, she tries and works so hard. She's less open than Tristan, but the way she slowly lets down her guard around him as the book goes on was so sweet, and I like how she may feel the family vendetta strongly, but it doesn't stop her from knowing who Tristan is and appreciating his good qualities. As per usual, Laura writes books where the characters are well-matched for each other, and this was no exception.

Final Thoughts

Lisa: Jess and Damien are still my ultimate couple but Tristan and Malorie come close! Well, they tie with Matt and Layla because I can't choose between those two for the second spot. I can't wait for the next book in this series; I need Lucien's book like last year.

Eri: For me, Jess and Damien probably tie with Tristan and Malorie for first spot now, though Matt and Layla are a very close second. I feel like I say this too often, but every new book of hers seems to be a favorite, they're just that good. Likewise, I want to read Lucien's book so badly but I definitely am curious to see whether Antoine will get his own book, I am dying to know more about him, and I have a lot of theories right now.

I hope we've done a satisfactory job at convincing you to pick up this series and Laura's other books and do drop us a line if you have read them :) Here's to more fun reviews headed your way and all the romance for everyone!

Thank you to the lovely Laura Florand for providing us with a review copy.

Monday, January 9, 2017


Brought to you by two drift-compatible reading buddies, Scoundrels & Seduction is a blog all about the under-appreciated genre of romance.  This blog will feature reviews, features, and other fun things about our favorite authors and books.

Hello everyone! I'm Eri and I'm a college student who hides a hopeless romantic behind the snark and cynicism of being a newly minted adult. I prefer love in the fictional world, and I'm quite terrified of finding it in real life, considering the grandiose expectations romance books have given me. Of romance, my first love is Regency romance, but I do love a good contemporary or chick lit book as well. I'm quite particular with my favorites, but once an author wins my favor, I'm loyal as a dog to keeping up with releases.

Starting this blog is a very exciting adventure for me, considering how much I love this genre and the lovely books that make it up, and I couldn't be happier to share this with one of my best friends Lisa, who is my kindred spirit in all things romance. More often than not, we are usually texting each other about all the romance because we love a good couple and banter, so this seems like the perfect outlet to share our loves with the world.

Hi, fam! I'm Lisa and I'm a postgrad student who really should be focusing on academia more but how do you do that when there are so many great romance books to read? Someone teach me please! Anyway, to say that I'm a big romance buff feels like understatement; I read romance novels (and cry about them) almost all the time. My high expectations of real life men can be attributed to all the love stories I read. 

Unlike Eri, my first love is contemporary romance, but I started reading regency romance a couple of years ago and I haven't stopped since. I immediately jumped on the idea when Eri asked me if I wanted to start an all-romance blog with her. What better way to showcase my endless love for this genre than to dedicate a blog to it with one of my best friends? We're both drift compatible when it comes to our reading picks and material, and I'm totally excited to share our reads here with the rest of you. 

We hope you enjoy our blog and all the delightful things we have to bring to you! In the meantime, feel free to chat and fangirl with us on social media <3