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Chocolat and Other Delicious Things!

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Loveys, it’s almost book club time again! Which I’m thrilled about because the last month has had all kinds of unexpected issues (illness for one) and I feel like I have hardly been a part of humanity! I had all of these great intentions about being super social this year, and then one thing after another has happened, and basically my only social interaction lately has been with Jeff and my three children. SO, fingers crossed nothing else happens, and book club goes as planned next week.

Book club this month is Joanne Harris’s delightful novel Chocolat. I was immediately on board with this since I LOVED the movie so much. I was surprised by how much they changed from book to film–but the more I thought about it, the more I felt that the changes were good changes. They held to the themes while making the story something that worked perfectly in movie form. (This made me think of Julie and Julia. In that case, I loved the movie so much, but when I read the book, I didn’t connect with the author. The book just didn’t move me in any way.) When it came to Chocolat, I ended up loving the book and the movie. (Confession: I liked some of the characters from the movie better, but I liked getting to know Vianne in a deeper way.)

I was also reminded that I’m sort of obsessed with food. I really enjoyed the food/dessert aspects of this novel. I wish I could go to a chocolaterie in France! (This is also why I loved the movie.) I also enjoyed the mystic elements of this book. Whenever there are mystic elements in this kind of story, you end up wondering about how much is meant to be real or imagined, or perhaps the line between reality and otherworldly is intentionally blurry. I like the feeling I get when I read something that makes even the everyday seem like an adventure. The characters involved in the small town–mysterious, sympathetic, frustrating. The wind for Vianne, will it move her again and sweep her away to a new place?

So I get to host book club at my house this month and I’m thinking chocolate is in order. Maybe fondue? Maybe chocolate martinis? Maybe both? Jeff bought me a bottle of chocolate wine because he loves me, so we’ll try that. I’m feeling desperate for grown-up conversation, and book club is the perfect remedy. The only thing better than reading about food in books is drinking wine while talking about food in books!

P.S. I’ve been finishing up the final touches on my compilation book The Romano Family Collection. This compilation project is made up of my three Heartsong Presents novels, Table for Two, Second Chance Café, and Recipe for Love. I am so excited to have those available again! As I’ve been going through proofs, I can see again how much I enjoy food in fiction. Leo’s Lobster Magnifico, Isabella’s Corn Chowder, Alison’s Breakfast Casserole, Jeremy’s Bread Pudding–really, this girl likes to eat. In the Romano Family Collection, there’s a bonus short story called A Southern Belle Road Trip. I’m really thrilled for readers to get this glimpse into Ashley’s life (she’s a character from Table for Two!) It’s just a short story, but I managed to squeeze food scenes in regardless. And there’s a bonus recipe included! The Kindle version should be up and running soon, and I’m hoping the print version will be available within the next two weeks. Stay tuned for an update and possibly a giveaway!

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Candy Apples

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Here’s the thing about candy apples, they’re delicious (especially covered in chocolate), but they’re apples…come on! They’re fruit! They’re healthy, sort of. They have to have a vitamin in there somewhere.

Jeff got one of those special chocolate-covered candy apples last week as a gift. And he shared it with me. So delicious. You know what it reminded me of? A Berenstain Bear book from when I was a child called Trick or Treat. Did you ever read the Berenstain Bear books? I loved them. My mom would take us to the bookstore and we’d buy a new book, and it would be a special treat. I can’t remember when it was that we stopped buying the latest Berenstain Bear book, but I know I’ll love pulling them out and sharing them with Ashtyn. Books have always been a huge part of my life. Going to the bookstore has always been a delight for me. I recently read an interesting blog about adjusting to the onslaught of e-readers and that sort of thing. You should check it out at The Comfort of a Good Book.  

Anyway, I love that certain books are perfect for certain occasions. Like reading Trick or Treat around Halloween. Or reading The Night Before Christmas as soon as it’s December. I can think of so many books I like to read according to seasons. And finding special books for special seasons is just one way to celebrate the seasons with your child. Making candy apples and reading a book about Halloween or Thanksgiving or just fall in general–that experience can create a special memory in children. It did for me.