Sugar and Spice and all those Lies

Sugar and Spice and all those Lies, Print Soft Cover ISBN: 97809962427443, Sojournar Books, an e-book by Evy Journey.

Regine (Gina) Lambert wants to become a Haute Cuisine Chef with eventually her own restaurant. She is fortunate enough to be hired as a line cook by Laura Lenoir, owner of the expensive and immensely popular Du Coeur Restaurant. Laurie has initiated a program where new dishes are presented by its originator to a guest ordering that particular dish. Gina has provided such an original and presents it to a patron who is immensely wealthy and a frequent, ‘preferred’ guest. He, Leon, is entertaining Cristi, a dear friend whom Gina has not seen in some time after many years of a close relationship established by their family community ties. Unfortunately, Leon immediately is attracted to Gina, drops Christi, and commences to send large bouquets and continues even though she refuses to acknowledge them. Christi is infuriated because this is another loss of boyfriends that is a repetition of previous occurrences, and this one is ‘the catch of a woman’s dreams’. Later she attacks Gina who must be rushed to the hospital. Police Lieutenant Brent Hanson is investigating the case, interviews Gena and ‘feelings’ develop between the two. Simultaneously Marsha, the Pastry Chef at Du Coeur, has become a friend and confident of Gina’s, and becomes interested in, and then involved with, Brent while Leon gradually convinces Gina that, although a long history of being a fickle lover, he really wants her. She decides to live with him. After some time, his father wants him to marry and produce a child to carry on the family’s hugely extended business empire. He proposes, she accepts, but the father says no and if he insists, his accustomed wealthy way of life will end. Leon’s choice and the subsequent fallout of his action provide the remaining content of the book.

Discussion: At the end of the book a note “About Evy” states “Evy Journey, SPR (Self-Publishing Review) Independent Woman Author, awardee, wannabe artist, a writer…because beautiful prose seduces her and existential angst continues to plague her even though such preoccupations have gone out of fashion. She takes occasional refuge by invoking the spirit of Jane Austin and spinning tales of love, loss, and finding one’s way – stories into which she weaves mystery or intrigue and sets in various locales. In a previous life, armed with a PhD, and fascinated by the psyche, she researched and shepherded the development of mental health programs. And wrote like an academic.” Now the author of novels,

this description fits the present novel with characters each of whom carries variably amounts of psychological baggage. As such, it will have appeal to certain readers who enjoy stories of this nature. Parenthetically, some proofing errors are evident.

3* Romance involving psychologically encumbered characters.

Beneath the Scars

Beneath the Scars ISBN: 9780999235706, Shalimar Press, an e-book by A. M. Carroll.

Lacey Burke, a product of a sordid early childhood of being shifted constantly from one foster home to another, now is a NYC police detective with a partner who is a very handsome, dominant, womanizer who equates well with everyone. The original plot purportedly is about her being haunted by a horrible dream that begins after sighting a strangely familiar man on the subway and subsequent activity involving this man who actually is stalking her. However, the tale also contains numerous other concurrent activities of police/criminal action as well as elements of mystery, a little suspense and an evolving romance. The story ends a little short of the first elements but satisfactorily for devotees of the romance genre and provides a beginning for further tales about the protagonist and her adventures.

Thus, this is not exactly the “fast-moving tale of suspense” reported in the introductory blurb. Some of the activity does deal with the “repressed memories” expressed. It also morphs into fundamentally a romance of sorts containing considerable “romantic tension” as reported. The less than enthusiastic term describing the romance results from the seeming concentration on repetitive explicit sexual activity and also slows when time is spent on the understandable difficulties Lacey has with respect to her partner Jason and his womanizing history. Additionally his strong dominance tendencies, as described, certainly would make one hesitant about a lasting ‘love’ situation because of the known dangerous levels to which such tendencies can escalate.

Conclusion: An erotically inclined romance with bits of mystery and suspense involving psychologically burdened individuals that should provide a pleasant read for many.

3* Erotically oriented, multi genre story no doubt of interest to many.