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PAINTING JULIANA: A Novel ~Martha Louise Hunter

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

“Husbands have refinanced the family home and moved the equity into their business; quite often, they will set up separate bank accounts with separate mailing addresses.  It is called insurance.” He pauses soberly. “You would think more women would do it, instead of being stupid, trusting imbeciles.” Chapter 6

PAINTING JULIANA is definitely about a Texas housewife which reflects the Texas attitude and spirit about women, and then it is not.  It is a story about dreams, careers, lawyers, light and dark, wind and tornados, canvas and brushes, mental health and psychological abuse. The story is Juliana’s experience of her lawyer husband throwing her out of the house and telling her they are getting a divorce.  She has only what she can grab in 20 minutes and put in her car and by the time she gets to the gas station her credit cards are cancelled and she has only the funds in her wallet.  She is court ordered to leave her 14 year old twins with their father.  He invents lies to tell the daughter and the son.  It takes the whole length of the book and Juliana figures it out and gets a very classy revenge.

Our first introduction to Juliana she is a seven year old and about to start second grade and a dream sequence/ nightmare begins to frighten her awake each night.  The dreams begin when her mother hangs up black – out curtains to keep the outside – outside.  Her mother has experienced so much racism that she has become an agoraphobic and she never goes outside.  Juliana’s parents are both CPA’s and she is not aware that her father is a painter, whose parents insisted he get a safe career and not paint.  He has lost his dream and his beautiful wife insists that he release his painting activity even more.

The writing is fairly fast paced and I think that helps the story move forward and not drag; the reader truly wants to know what happens next and is left guessing the outcome often.  There is a great deal of adultery in the story and subtle but stealth nasty maneuvers using the law.   Partners appear to be working with the other, yet we find that maybe these actions are part of their destruction.  This is Hunter’s first novel.   I think her writing will get better and I am looking forward to her second book.   My copy of the book is an uncorrected proof and had several unfinished sentences and abrupt transitions, which I am sure the editors will correct before the sale copies are sent to stores.

How can a woman endure so many problems at once and remain emotionally open and parent her children in stolen moments and car pool?  Alzheimer’s, no money, parent’s house in disrepair, only an old Indian motorcycle to drive, bills piling up, brother angry and not helpful and then this reoccurring dream; Juliana holds on – barely.  The divorce papers fly out the window, Texas sized problems and no true friends.

tlc logo TLC Online Booktours and Martha Louise Hunter,  sent me a copy of PAINTING JULIANA  for review and it was quite the exciting read and a warning to lots of women who are ignoring what is happening to them or are living someone else’s dream.   A woman finding her true self, the extremely hard way – PAINTING JULIANA

Martha Louise Hunter Online
Martha Louise Hunter on Facebook 
Martha Louise Hunter’s Blog

PAINTING JULIANA was a finalist in the Writers League of Texas Mainstream Fiction Contest.

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Little Island
The Idea Of Him

THE CONDOR SONG: A Novel of Suspense ~Darryl Nyznyk

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

THE CONDOR SONG mixes so many elements that I am quite fond of; then matches these particles with some good writing skills to make for a very interesting read.  While my family was off cross country skiing, I was busy reading about the development of a ski resort in an environmentally sensitive area of California.

This is a fictional story, but it is based on Walt Disney’s plan to open a ski resort in California and the discovery of wild Condors nesting in the very area they were planning to build.  That made the book even more interesting with all the environmental details that were exposed when trying to develop land for public use.   The book was well detailed because of the author’s second career as a Land Developer.  His first career as a lawyer also shines.

A tired middle aged lawyer, who is deep into a depression surrounding a major life trauma, gets called to help a friend of the family in keeping her family farm.  If he can find the agreements between families, then she will not suffer the loss.  A famous environmentalist is murdered on the John Muir trail through the Sierra Nevada’s and this draws attention to the land in question and the Lawyer, Sean Donovan, is drawn into the Sierra Club’s work to stop the development.  This puts him in the “line of fire” of the Land Development segment of the law firm he was fired from, working against the Golden family and their wishes for a ski park, one of his former clients at the old firm.

What they do not know is that much of the opposition financing is coming from drug money and a Mexican gang leader.  Strange and deadly things begin to happen.   The courtroom scenes are full of good twists and reveals.  It is fascinating to have all the research and background and it is wonderful, of course, to have the truth win out and devious folks get their justice.

THE CONDOR SONG has some good descriptions of the land involved in the dispute and the family that wants to share their family’s favorite spot with others.   The family has 4 sons and one is a great environmentalist and outdoorsman who is concerned about development in this pristine area.

There is a good measure of character development and of course a love interest that just keeps the reader wanting to know more.  Even though we know the outcome of the Disney Project, there are many new suspenseful moments in this story.  It is fiction!

I knew I would like this book, when I read these review words on the first page:

“The legal expertise of John Grisham meets the environmental activism of Barbara Kingsolver in this thriller by veteran author Darryl Nyznyk”  ~Sheila M. Trask, ForeWord Review

So here’s to a good read in the New Year; three cheers for THE CONDOR SONG.

Darryl Nyznyk’s Shelfari Page
Nyznyk Books on Facebook 

PR by the Book  sent me this book for review and I was delighted to have the opportunity to read THE CONDOR SONG

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s (giving away a free tote bag this season with all orders) from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed. – See more at: http://patriciaswisdom.com/#sthash.3SafEKcH.dpuf

Related Reading:
The Alligator Man 
The Stranger You Know
In The Land of The Living
The Beautiful Heist