Wednesday, June 19, 2019

#BookReview: SEEDS OF DECEPTION by Arlene Walker

Synopsis: A clash between Cherokee Indians and their former African slaves comes to a head in the tribal town of Feather Falls. On the same day Sput Louie McClendon is evicted by reviled town tycoon Goliah Lynch, her husband mysteriously vanishes. Has he fallen prey to bushwhackers or timber thieves? Or is Lynch behind his disappearance? Alone and desperate, Sput Louie turns to town elder for help, but are his intentions pure? As Sput Louie’s frantic search for her husband intensifies, she stumbles onto a dark twisted family secret – one that could not only have devastating implications for her, but the entire town of Feather Falls.

Review: Iyanla Vanzant always talks about people "doing the work." Nothing comes to anyone easily, you must prepare so when an opportunity presents itself, you're ready to seize your moment. Arlene Walker has done her work and has been preparing for this moment. Seeds of Deception is well researched historical fiction about Africans formerly enslaved by Native American tribes and their quest to be recognized as tribal members. Recognition of such would allow them to receive land, stipends, etc. from the U.S. government, especially important in the post-Civil War era. It should be noted that descendants of formerly enslaved Africans are still fighting for tribal recognition.

Walker's characters are well developed and multidimensional. Their story lines are intriguing, and she's really out to teach her readers aspects of history they never knew about or provide a deeper understanding of that which you thought you knew. Her writing style is reminiscent of J. California Cooper, specifically The Wake of the Wind, and Leonard Pitts, Jr. (Freeman). Fans of either author will greatly enjoy Seeds of Deception.

I've followed Arlene on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for quite awhile, so I've been aware that she was working on a book, but I didn't know it would be this book and that it would be so good. Honestly, I'm so envious of everyone who hasn't read her debut novel yet. I wish I could go back and meet her characters all over again. I haven't stopped thinking about their stories yet. Seeds of Deception is easily one of my favorite reads this year.

Seeds of Deception by Arlene L. Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and FortuneSynopsis: At the news of her mother's death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn't spoken since Natalie left in anger seven years ago, when her mother refused to support her chosen career as a chef. Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco's Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading, with businesses failing and families moving out. She's even more surprised to learn she has inherited her grandmother's restaurant.

The neighborhood seer reads the restaurant's fortune in the leaves: Natalie must cook three recipes from her grandmother's cookbook to aid her struggling neighbors before the restaurant will succeed. Unfortunately, Natalie has no desire to help them try to turn things around--she resents the local shopkeepers for leaving her alone to take care of her agoraphobic mother when she was growing up. But with the support of a surprising new friend and a budding romance, Natalie starts to realize that maybe her neighbors really have been there for her all along.

Review: There's a lot going on in Natalie Tan's life: resentment for her mother and a bit of shame about their fractured relationship; proposed gentrification of the neighborhood she couldn't wait to escape but has come to love; and a bit of romance. Initially Natalie wants to sell the building so she can hit the road and continue to drift from place to place as she has since she first left home, but soon comes to realize Chinatown is exactly where she's meant to be.

Roselle Lim deftly weaves all of these elements into one of the most magical reads I've come across this year. I can't wait to see what she does next.

Natalie Tan's Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews on Goodreads!