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Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate) [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Amy Thomas , Cassandra Campbell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 28 2012
Forever a girl obsessed with all things French, sweet freak Amy Thomas landed a gig as rich as the purest dark chocolate: leave Manhattan for Paris to write ad copy for Louis Vuitton. Working on the Champs-Élysées, strolling the charming streets, and exploring the best patisseries and boulangeries, Amy marveled at the magnificence of the City of Light.

But does falling in love with one city mean turning your back on another? As much as Amy adored Paris, there was part of her that felt like a humble chocolate chip cookie in a sea of pristine macarons. Paris, My Sweet explores how the search for happiness can be as fleeting as a salted caramel souffle's rise, as intensely satisfying as molten chocolate cake, and about how the life you're meant to live doesn't always taste like the one you envisioned.

Part love letter to Paris, part love letter to New York, and total devotion to all things sweet, Paris, My Sweet is a treasure map for anyone with a hunger for life.

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Review

"Like a tasty Parisian bonbon, this book is filled with sweet surprises." ---David Lebovitz, author of The Sweet Life in Paris

About the Author

Amy Thomas is a writer based in Paris and New York. In addition to working as a copywriter in advertising, she writes about food, travel, design, and fashion for various publications such as the New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Town & Country, and Every Day with Rachael Ray.

Cassandra Campbell has recorded nearly two hundred audiobooks and directed many more. She has been nominated for and won multiple Audie Awards, as well as a prestigious Odyssey Award, and she has been awarded more than twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards. Cassandra was also named a Best Voice by AudioFile for 2009 and 2010.

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5.0 out of 5 stars A fun and frothy glimpse into a glamourous life Sept. 10 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book while in Paris... it's wonderfully evocative, and a fabulous guide to the best bread and pastry!
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4.0 out of 5 stars a delicious read! Aug. 1 2012
By Laura Fabiani TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This was the perfect book to bring with me on vacation. I read most of it as we drove from Montreal to the Atlantic provinces'and it got me excited about trying new sweets and foods just like Amy Thomas writes about in her memoir about living in Paris.

For a chocolate lover like me this book had me drooling through all the detailed descriptions of the mouthwatering treats at the patisseries and boulangeries the author discovered as she toured the shops and cafés in Paris. Thomas, a freelance writer in New York was offered to work in Paris to write ad copy for Louis Vuitton. She jumped at the chance to live in one of her favorite cities in the world. I loved following her on her delicious journey as she alternated between Paris and New York, sometimes comparing, but mostly sharing the best and beloved sweets in the world.

You cannot read this book without getting hungry. I looked for chocolate shops with new interest as we toured new places and towns on our travels, but although I found some good chocolate, nothing compared to the unique chocolate experiences Thomas wrote about. I have been craving the 'strawberry balsamic truffle made with strawberry purée, eight-year-old La Vecchia Dispensa Italian balsamic vinegar, and 66 percent dark chocolate, which was dusted with freeze-dried strawberry powder'. I mean, c'mon, doesn't that sound amazing? One bite would bring me to heaven!

Interspersed between such heavenly descriptions are Thomas' reflections on her singlehood and what she wanted to do with her life. She speaks openly about being an expat, about loving both cities (NY and Paris) and how at times she felt she wasn't completely part of either.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  72 reviews
69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lots of food descriptions, with no real plot. Feb. 23 2012
By Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl Book Reviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
(Originally posted on my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl. I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for this review.)

The idea of this memoir is pretty adorable. I love Paris, I love New York, and I love desserts! I envy that Amy Thomas got to fly off to live in Paris for two years, doing advertising for Louis Vuitton and sampling all the amazing pastries and breads, not to mention the culture itself. The pages of this book are crammed full of bakeries and other foodish places in both Paris and New York. She makes a lot of recommendations for those who plan to travel to either location. Many times I felt like I was reading a menu with really detailed, yummy dessert descriptions. Do not read this on an empty stomach, or if you're on a diet. The author even had me craving desserts I'm allergic to!

She also talks a lot about the history of various bakeries and dessert creations. Like the original chocolate chip cookie was a mistake. Someone accidentally dropped a chocolate bar in their cookie dough, and decided to go with the flow. A star was born. There's lots of cool tidbits of information that I enjoyed reading about. I learned quite a bit.

Of course, she adds in personal stories from her past, as well as her time in Paris. My favorite one is when her parents fly to Paris to visit her. She describes all the touristy stuff there is to do, and she made me want to visit even more. She takes them to this one tearoom called Angelina's, that sells the best hot chocolate in the world. She compares it to melted truffles. YUM. Coco Chanel used to have her 5:00 tea there everyday, and Audrey Hepburn popped in frequently. I looked this place up online, and it is GORGEOUS (and majorly expensive). I need to go!

There were a few things that caused me to drop my rating of this book. I loved the idea, but the execution could have been stronger. I don't speak or read French, and there is a TON of French in this book with no translations! She has a conversation with a woman who runs a bakery, and it was entirely in French. I could kind of make out what the general idea of the conversation was, but I had no idea what they were saying. She also used a lot of French phrases in the middle of her English sentences. It took away from my enjoyment, because I kept getting frustrated that I was missing something important. I just wish a parenthetical translation were there, or a footnote. Something. The author also writes really long, flowery sentences (sometimes the size of a lengthy paragraph) that are extremely wordy lists of stuff. She does this a lot (sometimes 2-3 times per page), and it gets kind of tiring.

Finally, she's a complainer. She complains a lot about being single, and how all of her friends are pairing off. She complains about Paris, her job, her lack of friends, how her jeans are tighter than they used to be (which they should be with everything she eats! Haha), her lack of French skills, and how she misses New York. But then she goes back to visit NYC, and mopes and complains about how it's not upscale enough for her anymore. And THEN she goes back to Paris and complains that she misses New York. I understand that it's hard uprooting your life and moving to a foreign city. And I can totally understand why she felt like this. But filling her memoir with complaints didn't make much sense to me. She spent a lot of the book sporting the "the grass is always greener on the other side" mentality, and I got tired of it. She was giddy about food. Food solved all of her problems. I wish she'd expressed more of her happiness in other areas of life.

Overall, this was a moderately enjoyable read. The author has a few coming of age moments, and you can tell she learned a lot about herself during her time abroad. I appreciated her human side, but wished for a little more depth. She either talked at great length about food or her hardships. I enjoyed reading about the food, but I got sick of it towards the latter part of the book (it started to feel about as exciting as a cookbook without the recipes). Maybe Paris, My Sweet should be read in small doses, along with another book. I might have appreciated it more that way. If you love New York and Paris, this book will take you there. And if you love torturing your dieting self with amazing sounding pastries, this is the book for you! At least reading about calories doesn't plaster them to your hips, right? I've created a Dessert Bucket List now, thanks to Amy Thomas. :)
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun book about Paris with excellent descriptions of the amazing food! Feb. 1 2012
By AnneB - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Amy Thomas has written a memoir of a time in her life where whe finds herself torn between two cities, Paris and New York. While working in New York and enjoying a fun social life she is given the opportunity through her job to work in Paris. Thomas decides to go for it and shares all of the experiences she has there, the good and the bad. We get to read about what Parisians are really like and we get wonderful descriptions of the amazing food Thomas enjoyed while in Paris.

First I have to say that the descriptions of the food Thomas enjoyed in Paris are some of the best I have ever read, and I have read a lot of foodie books. They were quite a few times I was really craving a warm slice of French bread, a perfect cupcake, or a delicious piece of dark chocolate. The sections about the food were for me the best parts of the book.

Thomas also spends a lot of time writing about the difficulties she had to adjusting to living in France. I really felt for her when she talked about her difficulties with the language and her loneliness while in Paris. I am sure it would be very difficult to live alone in Paris and try to find your own way.

A lot of the book is also spent with Thomas dealing with so many of her friends getting married and having children while she was still single at 36. She really takes an honest look at the decisions she made in her life and tries to come to terms with the decisions she made and I admired for that.

The only problem I had with the book was that while I did love the parts about the food, after a while they became almost too much for me. There were too many detailed descriptions of all of the different shops she went to and all of the different food she tried. I found myself skimming over some sections after a while. Other than that it was a great look at what it would be like to live in Paris for a time and I know I am still craving some of those yummy sounding French treats!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Author is a whiner...info on Paris sweets is the gem of this book! Nov. 21 2012
By A reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm not looking to insult here, but I agree the author is a whiner. There are two books here...one on Paris sweets, one on her personal struggles to grow up. The info on pastry and what stores offer the best items is really a nice read and a good help if you are going to Paris. However, the personal reflection on her life never reached a satisfying understanding/resolution and it makes you wonder why it is included. Sometimes she is grateful, sometimes she looks like a brat. I'll take her advice on pastry & chocolate and leave the rest behind.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not What I Expected May 17 2012
By Fiona Ellen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Amy Thomas is thrilled to be living and working in Paris. She writes detailed descriptions of breads and desserts and compares these to New York City's desserts. She also describes her work experiences as an advertising writer for Louis Vuitton and the friends she makes there. Her quest for a Paris romance is never fulfilled, but her quest to experience a life in Paris is fulfilled. I can only give this book one star for many reasons. First, it felt disorganized because, even though she divided her memoir into chapters centered on different sweets, such as bonbons and cupcakes, she rambled off onto other topics within each chapter. She sprinkled her overly long sentences with swear words, which I found offensive, and French words, which I found frustrating. She just did not stay focused on her theme which seemed to be about French desserts. She bounced from food, to her romantic angst, to friend angst, to trying to decide what to do with her life. I think this book would have been an enjoyable read if she reworked her wordy sentences and tightened up her focus. I am planning a trip to Paris soon and I thought reading this would give me an insider's view of the city. It did not. Finally, how many people reading this book live in New York? I really couldn't care less about New York food because I don't live there.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yin/Yang Feb. 22 2013
By Lyndell VanMatre - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Francophile that I am, and having spent untold wonderful times in Paris, I still found much to enjoy in this book. I always keep a list (on my phone) of new places to go/see the next time I'm there, and was able to add quite a few places to that list from her well-written, yummy sounding descriptions. In fact, I stopped reading frequently to look places up...then found the list at the end of the book! (My bad -- should have looked at the table of contents!)

But there's the other side...the whining, spoiled child. There was enough good information offered that I plugged my way on through, but my overall ennui with her disagreeable nature brought my rating way, way down. I kept waiting & hoping for her to actually grow from the experience & share what she had learned.
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