Janelle Meraz Hooper

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Geronimo is coming to Winnsboro, Texas

Thanks, Maryann Miller, for this super story on Geronimo, Life on the Reservation!

Hey Janelle. You did a great job writing the Geronimo script. It was very moving! Terry Swindol, Tupelo, MI


Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Life on the Edge Comes Alive January 30, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
Janelle Hooper's well-developed characters are always memorable and this book is no exception. If you have ever lived under near-destitute means, you will be quickly drawn into this story of folks living on the edge in more ways than one. Her descriptions of the trailer camp and surrounding area put you there, as you try to imagine how the occupants will overcome their circumstances. This is a book for older adults who recall their own trying times and for younger readers who may feel chagrin at the way they've treated their parents. It's a modern story reliant on the issues of the day such as over development of pristine Northwest land, homelessness, and seeming hopelessness. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.


Amazon review of The Slum Resort:

4.0 out of 5 stars TOUCHING AND ENTERTAINING June 13, 2013

By Elizabeth Lyon

Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase

As I began Slum Resort, I expected the zany humor I've come to expect and enjoy in some of Janelle Meraz Hooper's other novellas. In this gem, she tempered humor with pathos, as Maggie, Stella, E-Z, Breaking News and other trailer occupiers help each other, make do, and try to figure out how to cope with people who seek to exploit them. Hooper has a light touch for these heavy topics, which is why this story works so well. What is Henry, the neighbor unlike them, really doing? The reader knows but Maggie and Stella have to figure it out. Even though the premise of the story is as familiar in life as in fiction, i.e., the disconnect with the humanity of the poor set against the ambitions of the greedy, I wanted to cozy up to this story and find out what happened next--because I liked the characters so much.

Amazon review of The Slum Resort:

Unique and inspirational, January 29, 2013

By Raul Ramos "author of the Class H Trilogy, AMERICA LIBRE, HOUSED DIVIDED & PANCHO LAND"

This review is from: The Slum Resort (Kindle Edition)

In sparkling prose, author Janelle Meraz Hooper relates the tale of a plucky group of seniors who endure poverty with humor and aplomb. Far from the golden years we all wish for, these seniors are down on their luck -- mostly because of their willingness to help others. How they resolve a crisis which threatens to leave them homeless left me inspired at our capacity for caring and love. 


The Slum Resort


Amazon review-5.0 out of 5 stars A Tale of Corporate Greed January 14, 2013

By Aline Lesage

Format:Kindle Edition

In this departure from her typical humorous and satirical style, seasoned author Meraz Hooper addresses the thorny issue of near-homelessness. With wit and compassion, this short story presents a cross-section of some of society's powerless and marginalized, namely those who struggle to survive in their decrepit trailers.

Not surprisingly, each resident has a sad story: save one, all have been abused by or fallen prey to their children, spouse, employer, or the system. All are smart and genuinely good people who must fight daily for their dignity and their limited possessions.

The plot is centered on a not-so-unlikely case of corporate greed where a single outsider's machiavellic plan will annihilate the entire park's residents fragile stability. As the threat looms, the author takes the reader inside the park's miserable atmosphere, also inside some of the residents' discriminating mind.

This is no tear-jerking story meant to instill pity for those who have been forced into borderline homelessness. Yet its lighter tone does convey the implicit warning that such devastation can indeed happen to anyone. While attempting to dismiss the trailer trash stereotype of SS and system abusers, if anything in this tale of corporate greed, Meraz Hooper suggests that anyone hit by such tragedy deserves at least some measure of compassion.


  I bought your Slum book and really enjoyed it.  It's a great read and so believable--I could have met those characters in the government bureau camps we lived in when I was a kid. Congratulations on your success with it! R. Anderson



On Nook- A romantic ribbon weaves its way through a latticework of exotic pets, jewelry, and Northwest cuisine including cherry pie! All of this against the backdrop of urban Seattle. Janelle Meraz Hooper's sense of humor and descriptive dialogue keeps you smiling. Reggae describes what happens to snakes in Jamaica. " ...but whenever anyone finds one over deh, dem beat it until it's so flat it's halfway to being a belt." The author adds drama based on a Washington State natural disaster, making this love story her best yet! Anonymous

I just finished the snake book, and loved it! J.D. in Utah


Most Helpful Customer Reviews (from Amazon)

5 stars! loved!!
By kay haglund on March 2, 2014
Loved the story line of Janelle, lovely writing. Could not put book down until I finished. Love to see made into a movie!!

"Really, really good book. I don't want to call it a "beach read," because it's a very smart story. But if you are looking to escape with a few great laughs, it's the perfect read. I normally don't read romantic comedy, but I do love Janelle Meraz Hooper, and I'm not just saying that." Tiffany Elliot, Bonney Lake, WA

"..was unable to put it down, stayed up till 3am the day I got my copy! Of course I did that again with her other book also!" Pat Dickerson, Puyallup, WA

“Just sat down this morning and finished the book. It is a keeper.” Danny E., Oklahoma

Janelle M. Hooper's latest book "Bears in the Hibiscus" is a delightful read. She handles the twists and turns of her characters' life with a sense of humor that is uplifting and her very own. I recommend this book as a remedy against depression.

Elfi Hornby

"I loved the book i will read it again!" H.B. Tacoma, WA.

I just finished reading Custer and His Naked Ladies,  and read Bears in Hibiscus, and A Three Turtle Summer before that.  I enjoyed all three books and found myself wanting to read them instead of working!   N.D. Puyallup, WA

"Just finished the book, it was a great weekend read.  I recieved a Kindle for my birthday so am planning on downloading your other books as well." S. M, Puyallup, WA

"I finished your book. It was wonderful. I could hear your voice reading it to me." S.B. Puyallup, WA

"I read your book and I loved it. Parts were hilarious!" L.S., Sumner, WA



Reviews and Comments

"Custer and His Naked Ladies," is not normally a book I would just pick up and read. Personally, I'm more of a historical fiction and sci-fi nut. It was a pleasant deviation from my usual literature-diet.

I loved the setting. Not many people think great stories can come out of the American mid-west, or even Oklahoma for that matter, but trust me, they can. It provides a unique flavor of it's own, I was actually pleased that it didn't take place the whole time in Seattle, or even LA or New York. Plus, the huge presence of the native culture provided a brilliant and thought-provoking look on society, from casino debates to the influence of the Mob.

The second unique factor I enjoyed was the age group. With the exception of the few key characters; Glory, Soap, and Ben, everyone was a senior citizen. Most stories feature characters between birth to middle age, so it comes to no surprise that most are convinced that all the fun has to end when you turn sixty. This story, and this cast of characters, proves different. They are all the most feisty, and entertaining lives I have ever had the chance to glimpse at.

I also highly enjoyed the romance between Glory and Soap. I kept thinking, "Oh please get together, please get together." You don't see enough older romances and they're beautiful. The love scene (yes, there is a small one) was revealing, modest, and simply lovely.

The third, and perhaps best, was the inner-weaving of so many plot lines. You not only had the drama with Glory going on; her divorce and endless fear of never finding true happiness, which was the main arch. But also the drama going on in the community, the casino debate on the reservation and over-reach of the Mob. As I live-long Washingtonian, I am very familiar with the love-hate relationship between reservations and casinos, but until I read this book, I was unsure of how the Mob worked into all of this. And the measures the ladies take, is both hilarious and serious. The third plot was the side story of Dan, a cousin of Glory's, who is kidnapped while on a mission trip to Mexico. I was unsure of how this would go down, but you were able to weave it in seamlessly - this was just another thing they had to deal with - and I enjoyed it very much.

If you want a break from the daily grind of the Northwest winter, pick up "Custer and His Naked Ladies." No only will you feel relaxed and refreshed from all that great Oklahoma sunshine, you might learn something along the way.


Tiffany (Richards) Elliott

Freelance writer and part-time critic






Janelle Meraz Hooper has done it again! Custer and His Naked Ladies is filled with quirky and likable characters in a richly detailed setting. Humor, family and love come shining through. There is a poignant line in the book that has stayed with me: "Old age had crept in and stolen their bodies while they were dancing through life." These women have danced! VF Gibson, Seattle, WA

 I purchased "Custer and His Naked Ladies" at your booth on July 4 in Steilacoom and promised I'd let you know what I thought of it. After I finished it my husband decided to read it (we both had enjoyed "A Three-Turtle Summer" a few years ago) so I waited to hear his comments.We thoroughly enjoyed the book. We both agreed that you are excellent at spinning a yarn and at painting a verbal picture of people and places. You can quote us on that!
P. R., Tacoma 

I just finished reading your book "Custer and his Naked Ladies" LOOOOVE it, excellent writing and story. It gave me a nice inside view of the wonderful culture of our American indians. Good job Janelle! S.Z., Puyallup, WA

"Custer and His Naked Ladies was great!!!!!!!!"
Dan Eppler, Geronimo, Oklahoma
"I have read the book and really liked it! I don't often have the chance, nor the time, to read novels, but once I started this one I couldn't put it down."
B. G., Lawton, Oklahoma
"I am LOVING your books. I'm on Custer right now. Just started it. You are an awesome author!"
Shirley Diaz, Puyallup, WA

Elizabeth Lyon (Manuscript Makeover) said...
"...may I introduce Janelle, a wonderful novelist who has been gifted with a great sense of humor..."
               Jungle Red Writers Blog, Writing well is the best revenge   


The Oklahoman, July 6, 2008


Turtle and Brown were good and close to my heart. Custer ties them all together . Most of all I loved the conversations and atmosphere you created of all your beloved Oklahoma folks. Believe you captured the spirit of simple Mexican-Indian culture. Its wonderful, joyful times and the sad times which your little people know how to handle well. They are so brave and think nothing of it. This is true courage. I  Your relatives, the naked ladies, felt familiar , like I know them. It's like peeking in and being a part of the culture. True Oklahoma spirit in Custer. AND, yeah, you can write a love story! Wow! I feel you have put your heart and soul into this book.

I liked all your additional information at the end. Shows real tender loving care for your story and respect for history.

Your romance novel (next?) will really sizzle. I can already feel the smoke. Jane W., Pasadena 

Someone has your/my  book and I have to go hunt for it. It's movin' around fast. I keep nagging and suggesting. "Get your own copy, why don't cha, so I can have my book back."
But I don't even know where it is right now or who has it. If I hear one of my friends giggle then I've got 'em dead. I'll know where it is.  Think I have a solution. I'll invest in another story and they'll want to read it and I'll get my original story back. How's that for a fresh idea.  Let's see. I need to get your first book. Send e-mail concerning price. And it must be signed.  Maybe if you make it out to me, I'll get it back.
Gina Simpson, Bellevue, WA


Reviews & Comments

Reviews & Comments

5 Stars! Gripping story By Murielle Cyr on May 3, 2014

Format: Paperback
This is a gripping story of domestic abuse fuelled by the high level of racism existing in Oklahoma in the late forties. It documents the cruelties suffered by the Hispanic, Japanese and African American of that era.
Grace, the youngest daughter of a close-knit Hispanic family, lives in constant terror of being assaulted by her bigoted, mean-spirited husband, Dwayne. She suffers her beatings in silence fearing he will take her daughter, Glory, away from her. Grace is a talented seamstress and with the help of her family devises a plan to be free of her abuser while he is away on military leave.
The characters are fleshed out and the action is fast paced and full of suspense. This is a terrific read that offers hope to the victims of abuse and racism. Well done !


4.0 out of 5 stars Light-hearted writing, deep and disturbing content, October 31, 2013
This review is from: A Three-Turtle Summer (Paperback)
Janelle - our author - has written a novel that disguises years of horror and despair behind cozy country anecdotes, dialogue, and situations. To me, this reads like a psychological thriller / chiller, made all the more so by the calm and carefree rhetorical style used throughout.

To some this would be disconcerting; to me, Janelle has produced a piece of genuine art. If you're looking for warm fuzzies in a story, the only warm fuzzy you'll find in this one is basic survival and triumph. I found it impossible to put down; I'm a quick reader so its length allowed me to get through the entire book in an afternoon.

I was struck - to keep hammering on this - by how deeply contrasted the prose and peril were. Excellent read, excellent work, Janelle.


A Cool Book Review (www.cool-book-review.com)

Janelle Hooper has brought a story of domestic violence into fine focus with this book. It is a tragic tale but one reflecting the persistence of the human spirit which eventually brings a final relief from the agonies of pain, fear, and violence. The demeaning treatment of the heroine of this tale by her husband and her resourcefulness to secretly battle him could only be told by someone who has been very close to similar actual events as either participant or observer.

Note: This reviewer is very observant. This book was written about my parents but listed as fictional to protect my mother while she was living. It's correct category should be autobiographical-fiction.


Kind words...

I'm a fan of Janelle Hooper's writing.  Three Turtle Summer and Brown as I Want, not to mention a number of other works, sit on my bookshelf.  She's a prolific writer, so keeping up with her output is challenging.  To that end, I've ordered her latest, Custer and His Naked Ladies.  I enjoy reading the Okie-Mex flavored adventures of Glory and her covey of relatives. 
Janelle paints her stories with crisply defined characters, leaving just enough fuzziness around their edges for us to fill in a color or two from our own life experiences.  This allows us to make her characters our own, and adds immensely to the pleasure of reading her works.
In Three Turtle Summer and Brown as I Want, we watch Glory as a little girl try to stay alive in a stuation she doesn't understand.  This is a tragic story, one that told differently would be a depressing read.  But Janelle wraps the story in situational humor and somehow Glory muddles through, all the while chasing the local bugs and playing spy with neighbor friends.  Her relatives and adult acquaintances are stirred in generously, so the reader - who is most likely an adult - can readily relate.
And now along comes Custer and His Naked Ladies.  Glory is all grown up.  This story HAS to be a romance.  What other choice does Janelle have, after all???   

James R. Muri

Novelist, Sailor



When I read A Three-Turtle Summer I was moved by the author's warm and sensitive portrayal of a woman trying to free herself from the husband threatening to destroy her. Grace is a survivor determined to protect her daughter Glory, and turns to her feisty mother and sisters for support. Janelle Meraz Hooper gives us more than a story. She gives us a cast of hilarious and memorable characters in a vividly drawn setting. Her sense of humor permeates the book and is especially strong in the dialogue. A Three-Turtle Summer is a keeper. VF Gibson, Seattle, WA

Reviews of A Three-Turtle Summer

I have read  A Three-Turtle Summer.  Seems such a part of your author's heart.  There is bravery, despair, but always the hope that tomorrow will be better.  I loved your book and have taken, on many occasions, great glee in describing and recommending it to others. Alice P. in Washington State

 Reading 'A Three Turtle Summer' is a learning and rewarding experience. The author conveys very clearly - yet with measured tact - the insidiousness of discrimination and prejudice, namely towards minority women. Janelle Meraz Hooper's dialogues are witty and her characters are convincing. Hers is a moving portrayal of one woman's resolve to conquer herself, against all odds. This is a warm, unassuming and memorable story with no frills attached. I loved it!

Review of A Three-Turtle Summer

Set in Oklahoma in 1949, A Three-Turtle Summer offers a revealing view of the hard life of a Hispanic military wife and her daughter on Fort Sill's military base. Married to a post World War Two soldier that was raised with the mindset that physical and mental abuse are natural means by which to establish control over one's wife, Grace, the primary character slowly develops a plan to escape the constant beatings she endures.
Grace creates a secret life unknown to her husband as she attempts to cope with her circumstances and protect her daughter.
A Three-Turtle Summer is not only a fascinating story of survival and hope, it also paints a magnificent snapshot of life in the Southwest a half century ago. I found it captivating and hard to put down. I would not hesitate to recommend this superb book by author Janelle Meraz Hooper.

Kelly Creso

Bold Media Corporation

Reader Reviews

Review of A Three-Turtle Summer, January 29, 2003 Reviewer: Aline Lesage from Tacoma, WA Reading 'A Three Turtle Summer' is a learning and rewarding experience. The author conveys very clearly - yet with measured tact - the insidiousness of discrimination and prejudice, namely towards minority women. Janelle Meraz Hooper's dialogues are witty and her characters are convincing. Hers is a moving portrayal of one woman's resolve to conquer herself, against all odds. This is a warm, unassuming and memorable story with no frills attached. I loved it!


“…I loved it. The Dwayne character was fun to dislike and watching his life deteriorate, seeing him reap what he sowed, was wonderful. Grace emerging from the brutality of Dwayne unfolded beautifully. Spinning the sisters and characters in it made the whole book a lot of fun to read…” M. H., Yakima, Washington


 Three Turtles in Bethesda..".I read it in one evening and couldn't put it down.  Your characters are so vivid and rememberable.  Thank you for your work and your lessons, even for us old white gringo guys.  I will look forward to the sequal about the rest of Glory's story."  B.H.


A Three-Turtle Summer and As Brown As I Want, The Indianhead Diaries:

…Just finished reading them. Both, were very enjoyable. A bit sad, but kept me glued to every page. I do believe Oprah would really enjoy them and put them in her book club. If I knew how to contact her, I would.”  D. S., Sumner, Washington


“…I just wanted you to know I read the books you left in Quad B at St. Joseph’s. I really enjoyed your story…can’t wait for a new one to come…" HB, Tacoma, Washington


I loved it. The Dwayne character was fun to dislike
and watching his life deteriorate, seeing him reap what he had sowed, was
wonderful. Grace emerging from the brutality of Dwayne unfolded beautifully.
Spinning the sisters and characters in made the whole book a lot of fun to
read. Thank you. C. M. H., Wenatchee, WA

Janelle Meraz Hooper gives us more than a story. She gives us a cast of hilarious and memorable characters in a vividly drawn scene...Libros en iguama.com





The first of a trilogy that covers a little girl growing up in Oklahoma with a zany family. Her dad, a soldier bats around his women while her mother looks for ways out. The turtles? If you've ever been to Oklahoma in the summertime, you'll remember the heat. Even the turtles can't live through it. The summer Glory watched her mother cleverly come up with a means of supporting them is fun to watch, although it took three turtles to survive. Val Dumond


Reviews of As Brown As I Want,
The Indianhead Diaries


Janelle Meraz Hooper has hit a homerun with her second book, AS BROWN AS I WANT, The Indianhead Diaries." Even better than her much acclaimed first book, A THREE-TURTLE SUMMER, Janelle's new book propels the reader through a series of unique situations as experienced by eight-year-old Glory, who always seems just a few steps ahead of her scheming father.

Sometimes hilarious, sometimes gut wrenching, AS BROWN AS I WANT takes the reader into the heart and mind of young Glory, a perspective of innocence and unwitting cleverness that confounds the best laid plans of her father, who has taken out a $50,000 life insurance policy on her with every intention of collecting.

Glory is a master spider and scorpion collector, fast with a jar, faster with
the lid. Teamed up with her cousin Carlos, age ten, the question becomes, "Is anyone in the neighborhood really safe?"

Toss in a few snakes, a snapping turtle, a little bit of poison and a stepmother
from Hell and before you know it, you've got a book almost impossible to put
down. AS BROWN AS I WANT is a roller coaster, each twist and turn better than the one before.

How does young Glory survive? Just when you're ready to shed a few tears, you'll find yourself chuckling at another unanticipated turn of events, silently
cheering Glory along.

Glory's tale doesn't play by any recognizable formula, it sets its own rules as
it goes. It creates a storyline that captivates and entertains with a flare that
is uniquely 'Hooper-ian.'

My hat is off to Janelle Meraz Hooper. AS BROWN AS I WANT is a marvelous read. It’s no surprise that it was a finalist in the 2004 Oklahoma Book Awards!"

Review by Kelly Creso
Managing Editor
Bold Media Corporation


I finished reading As Brown as I Want, and really enjoyed it.  I could not put it down! N. D., Puyallup, WA


I have just finished Brown and it's extraordinary.  Caldicott worthy, at least.  Laughed myself silly. Alice Peeples, Lakewood, WA.

"I love your second book.  You have masterfully written in a style befitting a child, so fresh and natural, handling a very serious subject in a way to make reading easy, even if it makes one's heart thump." 
Elfi Hornby, author of Dancing to War and Shadow of Defeat
(Note: Elfi has a new book: So, This Is America!)
"Hilarious!" an Oklahoma reader
I read your book, As Brown As I Want. I thought the book was so good. I couldn't stop reading it. I got in trouble for reading it in class because i just couldn't put it down. Valerie, a student


Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories

First of all let me congratulate you on your wonderful stories. I find them to be very funny and entertaining.

B. M., Texas

Bridge To Divorce (from Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories):

The Bridge To Divorce:

“Very good indeed.”

K. A., Allahabad, India


"I'm sorry about your mom. I thought the Red Plaid Lunchbox must be autobiographical. What a stirring tribute to her, and to the empathy she engendered in you. It's the best of the short stories." E.S., New Jersey