Book Title: Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies by Evy Journey
Category: Adult Fiction, 240 pages
Genre: Literary / Women's Fiction
Publisher: Sojourner Books
Release date: December 2017
Tour dates: Feb 1 to 16, 2018
Content Rating: R (Two bedroom scenes)
Cooking a wonderful meal is an act of love. An act of grace. A gift that affirms and gives life—not only does it nurture those who partake of a meal; it also feeds the soul of the person who creates it. These are lessons Gina learns from her mother.
Gina is a young woman born to poor parents; a nobody (her words) who wants to taste life outside the world she was born into and her passion for cooking is all she has to help her do so. She gets lucky when she’s chosen to cook at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area where she finds a world of a privileged class with money to spare for dinners that cost hundreds of dollars. A world of new friends and new challenges—one that exposes her to fascinating people who’re also gripped by dark motives.
Amidst her culinary adventures, she becomes good friends with pastry chef Marcia, and falls in love, in different ways, with, two very different men: Leon, a rich regular client who has been dating Cristi, her friend from childhood, and Brent, a brooding homicide detective. This other world, it turns out, is also one of unexpected danger that eventually threatens her life.
Can the lessons she learned from her mother about cooking and life help Gina survive and thrive in this other world of privilege, pleasure and unexpected danger?
Sugar and Spice Is About Food, But What About All Those Lies?
Two crimes are committed in Sugar and Spice and All those Lies. The victim in both cases is Gina, the main character. One crime is more serious than the other and it pushes Gina to the edge of death.
Despite the crimes in the story, this book is not a cozy mystery. A detective is summoned, but not to solve whodunit questions nor to track down criminals to bring them to justice.
We know from the beginning of the criminal acts who the perpetrators are. These perpetrators are not about to run away from the law. One suffers from depression and the other feels so guilty she confesses and reports her crime to the police.
But crimes have to be investigated. The law must make decisions about how to deal with them. The police gather evidence so a prosecutor can determine what the perpetrators should be charged with. These elements may make the novel sound like a legal thriller. But it isn’t that either.
This novel can’t be placed in the neat categories readers often expect. And yet these actions, these events can happen to any person. Anywhere. Anytime. As they do to Gina. That’s real life and life just can’t be pigeonholed much of the time the way we try to do it in books.
I’m not unfamiliar with crime. I used to do research or program evaluation that focused on mental health issues like violence and drug use among certain criminal populations.
Violence, unfortunately, does happen. And in one instance, I saw it done on a relative. It can be a dangerous world out there and injuries, more often than not, are inflicted by people we know.
For want of a more specific genre to fit it into, Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies is Contemporary Women’s fiction—a broad uncertain genre—with a literary bent. Its focus is not on the sideshow of crimes committed. Rather, it’s on how they shape the kind of person Gina is.
Are the crimes as big a force in Gina’s life as cooking inventive dishes and giving people joy and pleasure as they dine? That’s for the reader to decide. And that decision will color how they feel about the story and Gina, in particular.
To read other reviews, please visit Evy Journey's page on iRead Book Tours.
This romance has some unexpected dark turns and under tones. Our young heroine works hard to overcome past difficulties and follow her dream. She focuses exclusively on her work with no time for a social life. A chance encounter with a frenemy from her past opens unexpected doors into a kind of life she never expected to experience. Gina believed her success and interactions with the uber wealthy would come from preparing their food.
Handsome, wealthy Leon is a known playboy. Don't count on him for a longterm romantic future. Gina isn't counting on him for anything more than praise for her signature recipe. As with many singleminded men, the more he can't have something, the more Leon pursues it, or in this case, Gina.
Prepared to really dislike Leon, he managed to surprise me. He is not as unaware of his flaws as I would expect. He is also not as narrow and exclusive as one might think.
Every good romance needs conflict, and there is no shortage here, from Gina's friend who is dating Leon, and is not willing to share his attention, to the moody detective who comes into their lives not in a romantic way.
While this book moves along in a steady way, that storm cloud over any potential happiness never fades from the scene.
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About the Author:
Evy Journey, writer, wannabe artist, and flâneuse (feminine of flâneur), wishes she lives in Paris where people have perfected the art of aimless roaming. Armed with a Ph.D., she used to research and help develop mental health programs.
She's a writer because beautiful prose seduces her and existential angst continues to plague her despite such preoccupations having gone out of fashion. She takes occasional refuge by invoking the spirit of Jane Austen to spin tales of love, loss, and finding one’s way—stories into which she weaves mystery or intrigue.
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