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.

Dawn of Infinity

Dawn of Infinity ISBN: 9781775210108, a sci-fi thriller in e-book by V. J. Deanes,

The story opens with Kalen Mars severely beating an attacking a Bully during his high school lunch break. His friends are concerned that they, as such, now will be a target. However, Devon Granger who has recently moved into their small town of Hadley’s Crossing agrees that his actions not only were justified but also correct – an important impacting fact on later activity in the book. The plot then begins to expand into a convoluted series of activities involving a small group of brilliant scientists who have extended their abilities in editing human genetics. They are able to reproduce mammals in artificial wombs, store digital information in DNA, use a digital ‘switch’ from one state to another based on external stimuli, and additional means for ultimately producing robots in human forms that are so ‘human’ in all aspects that they even are able to obtain citizenship. The reaction of the general public when a few of their earlier clones go rogue is, as might be expected, horrendously violent. Fear leads to rioting, destruction of anyone/thing thought to be a ‘non-human’ and ultimately actual division of the country into differing zones. Simultaneously, distrust, duplicity, betrayal, deceit and treachery enter the scientific community stimulated by the usual individual motivations. Some of the individual human-like clones are made and used as spies and as destructive instruments in all things ‘requiring correction’ in the scientific community. Also surfacing, is the shocking revelation to Kalen that he may or may not be a clone following an attempt by Vern Gedder, who looks exactly like him, to kill him. From this point the action accelerates even more as Kalen must escape killers from several sources until he can discover his true identity. His home town of Hadley’s Crossing becomes of increasing importance. The position of importance of formerly introduced characters re-emerges, and numerous other pertinent figures are introduced. The subsequent activity regarding Kalen’s questionable identity is most interesting to follow as its correlation with the scientific group becomes more evident and the final revelation provides an intriguing closure to the volume.

Conclusion: The author has set forth a fascinating, fast-moving, nicely characterized sci-fi thriller that provides closure for the story but with plenty of space for additional volumes. More importantly, perhaps, he has provided the reader with a most engaging look into science’s possible future. He has presented the production of a technique that makes an organ that can transmit information from a computer to a human brain so as to open the “dawn of post-human evolution”. This “Affinity” allows the human’s unity with artificial intelligence so as to provide a mind that can be “One with the World”. The technique is a product of sci-fi fiction and obviously presents many problems including simply those of ‘hacking’. HOWEVER, in the light of what has been accomplished already by science with respect to DNA, cloning, robots, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and more, the world already has advanced far down, and even passed, some of the Sci-Fi paths set forth by novelists in their tales during the last century. Who actually can say what lies ahead in this century?

5* Thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi thriller with engrossing considerations.