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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.

The Fixer 
Little Island
The Idea Of Him

THE IDEA OF HIM: A Novel ~Holly Peterson

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

“I yanked open the curtains to let the early morning light shine in, while I forced myself to start working on my screenplay. I thought about something Helen Gurley Brown, the founders of Cosmopolitan, who looked fabulous into her eighties, once said: The greatest love in your life should be your work, not your man.”

Allie Crawford, the hero of THE IDEA OF HIM, is a screenwriter, a mother, a wife and a charming, intelligent 34 year old woman who is working for a prestigious PR firm in New York City.  Her husband is CEO for an arts Magazine which is having great difficulty during the recession and with all the changes in publishing; he is a born charmer.  Allie is making the stable funds in the relationship, being the supportive wife, keeping the children on track, not able to focus on her love of writing, and figuring out that all that is happening in her life is off center.  Her noisy, demanding boss is not making life any easier and she is creating a new film festival in the City.  She is also sorting out her relationship with her father, who died in a plane crash when she was 16; Allie survived the crash as did her best friend James.

Allie’s husband has confessed to a spontaneous, short term affair and she is reeling from this reveal and working on trust, when a very attractive woman confronts her with some very disturbing news about some illegal activities connected to the film festival, her boss, and a wheeler-dealer Texan who has just been released from Prison.  The pressure is on and this brings up Allie’s look into her father’s life and what she is reviewing about their relationship and her mother’s alcoholism.  There is always that wonder if she should have married the high school sweetheart instead.

I would name this book a great rainy day or beach read and it was good story telling.  The story line was interesting and even through there was enough money, everyone was not over the top wealthy and there was good representation of the financial dilemmas nearly everyone is encountering.   The story had a good mystery to solve and lots of self-study and self-realizations.  It moved smoothly along and held my interest well.  THE IDEA OF HIM was a very interesting read.  I think most of the members of my book group would enjoy this book, but we would not use it as a book group discussion book – more likely THE IDEA OF HIM would be a personal read.

When do you stick with a marriage and when does one give up on a marriage is definitely a theme in this novel.

“Holly Peterson is the author of the NEW YORK TIMES and international bestseller, THE MANNY. She was a contributing editor for NEWSWEEK and editor-at-large for Tina Brown’s TALK magazine.  Prior to those positions, she was an Emmy Award-winning producer for ABC News for more than a decade.”

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s  from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket. Donations also welcomed. Thank you for your support.


tlc logo I was sent an unproofed copy of this book for review by TLC Online Book Tours and Harper Collins/ Morrow Publishing.  Thank you for the opportunity to share THE IDEA OF HIM

Holly Peterson Online
Holly Peterson on Twitter 
Holly Peterson on Facebook

The Sense of Touch
The Exiles 
He’s Gone 

BECALMED: Romance Fiction ~Normandie Fischer

Monday, February 17th, 2014

“When a Southern woman with a broken heart finds herself falling for a widower with a broken boat, it’s anything but smooth sailing.”

BECALMED was the book I choose to read on our recent snowy weekend.  It was a great book to just curl up in my chair by the fireplace and hunker on down to North Carolina in August.  There I was in the harbor of my lovely little beach spot after just coming off the water in my sailboat; windblown, warm, cozy and off onto a good mini-vacation.  This book and the lovely writing truly transported me into the world of Southern charm and a young woman’s thoughts about being a spinster at age 35.

Sara Longworth has spent the first five years of her thirties taking care of her family and their home in Beaufort, North Carolina.   Her frail mother has passed on first, then her brother in Afghanistan, and so she cares for her aging father and the family home until he dies.  She has opened a shop with her lifelong best friend Hannah who is a potter, to share her lovely jewelry which she designs.  The shop shares work of many of the artists in the area and the tourist visitors are quite taken with their lovely art. Sara, also known as Tadie, has a lifelong love of sailing, her own boat and she is very independent and thoughtful.  Only now, she is returning to the world after so much loss in such a short period of time and wishing she had a partner, maybe a child, and growing a bigger extended family.  She is confident and likes herself, and she is doing a lot of evaluating how her life turned out and why she is not feeling so attractive.

Will and his seven year old daughter Jilly are living on their sailboat and traveling the oceans after the death of their wife and mother, who was killed by a drunk driver.  Now the engine has been malfunctioning, they must change plans, and find a port in which they can get repairs made.  Will is doing work for an Engineering firm in Atlanta and Beaufort, North Carolina is as far as the cruiser will take them without a good fix.

The story has all the great problems to solve and twists which make for a new experience.  BECALMED is written by someone who knows sailing, boats, tourists and Southern traditions.  The writing is almost elegantly sporting and her antagonistic character is certainly right on the mark of so many possessive southern men as the ones I encountered during my 3 years venture to that stunningly beautiful state.  As I said earlier in this review, I was transported and was away from the snowy cold.  I have certainly met a number of thirty five year old women who are hearing their biological clocks after their efforts on wonderful careers that filled their desires to be in the world.   I think many are very happy with their choices and the things that they have accomplished; how wonderful to have a best friend and a developed extended family.  For some women, the urges for a special someone are stronger; maybe just the parenting urges.  The story has a realism which has been wrapped in the flowing of the Southern culture, and yet includes the contemporary dilemmas of a modern young woman.  BECALMED is just a lovely read.

Normandie Fisher has at least 8 writing awards listed on the cover of the book, and the book is well-written.

Normandie Fisher on Facebook
Normandie Fisher’s Amazon page  (only 99 cents for Valentine’s Day – free if you have Prime and a Kindle)

tlc logoThis lovely read was sent to me for review by TCL Online Book Tours, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and it is signed by the author.  It was a good read for the beach or a snowy day – BECALMED

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s  from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.  Donations also welcomed.

Recommended Reading:  (lots more good reads under the RR tab)
The Hourglass
The Best of Daughters 
The Light Between Oceans 
Our Love Could Light The World