Book Reviews

BLOG TOUR: Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough [REVIEW]



Title: Blood Water Paint

Author: Joy McCullough

Format: ARC

Published: March 6, 2018 by Dutton Books for Young Readers

Genre: Young Adult, Poetry, Historical

Reading Period: March 5-8, 2018

Rating: ★★★★★


“When I finished this novel, I knew I would be haunted and empowered by Artemisia Gentileschi’s story for the rest of my life.” –Amanda Lovelace, award-winning author of the princess saves herself in this one

Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father’s paint.

She chose paint.

By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome’s most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost.

He will not consume
my every thought.
I am a painter.
I will paint.

Joy McCullough’s bold novel in verse is a portrait of an artist as a young woman, filled with the soaring highs of creative inspiration and the devastating setbacks of a system built to break her. McCullough weaves Artemisia’s heartbreaking story with the stories of the ancient heroines, Susanna and Judith, who become not only the subjects of two of Artemisia’s most famous paintings but sources of strength as she battles to paint a woman’s timeless truth in the face of unspeakable and all-too-familiar violence.


Joy McCullough writes books and plays from her home in the Seattle area, where she lives with her husband and two children. She studied theater at Northwestern University, fell in love with her husband atop a Guatemalan volcano, and now spends her days surrounded by books and kids and chocolate. Blood Water Paint is her debut novel.




Thank you Penguin Random House for sending me an ARC of Blood Water Paint. Also for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour.

What piqued my curiosity in this book is that it is historical fiction, that Artemisia Gentileschi’s story is real. Honestly, I’m not familiar with Artemisia because I’m not an art major that I had to research her biography to be more familiar with her story.

Blood Water Paint sets in 1600s Rome where women are not acknowledge. This book is heavy that it illustrate rape and trauma. Artemisia is a talented female painter who’s struggling as a woman because of the society’s expectations.  She also receives lack of acknowledgment  of her talents from her father in a way that she can’t write her name as the painter.

I’m fascinated how this book was written. It’s my first time to read a book in free verse poetry and historical fiction. I have so many feels in this book especially when Tino come to the scene. I somehow wished that Tino would not do it, that he’s not liable. At some point, Artemisia and Tino’s chemistry is adorable especially on how Tino protected Artemisia in some ways, how he gets angry because of ill-mannered treatment of Artemisia’s father to her, that it doubted my feelings because I’m aware that Tino’s intentions are not real. But not all stories ends with happy ending. Sometimes our most trusted person is the one who would do worst things to us.

Moreover, Blood Water Paint used Susana and Judith’s stories to reflects Artemisia’s reality. It’s very powerful that I’m very impress on how it was written. This book does not only tells about how women must fight for their rights but also it gives hope, it speaks the truth. Artemisia is a model that despite what the society will dictates, regardless if her name will be destroyed, she voiced out the truth and did not regret it. I would like to be Artemisia who is not only known as a talented artist, but also known as a woman, as a fighter.

Blood Water Paint is astonishing, stunning and breathtaking. I enjoyed it so much and I think I’m liking the writing style. Further, it is wonderfully written and there are so many lessons in it. I wish I could read books with similar style. Again, thank you Penguin Random House (specifically Friya :)) for letting me join this amazing blog tour!


“I wish men would decide if women are heavenly angels on high, or earthbound sculptures for their gardens. But either way we’re beauty for consumption.”

“If he cannot see the problem to begin with, how could he ever solve it?”

“But one can’t truly tell a story unless they’ve lived it in their heart.”

“I’ll tell you another secret. What’s that? There’s a lot you can get away with when no one is watching.”

“Two things colliding are always the most interesting things to watch.”

“(I know I said they weren’t monsters. They are. You just can’t tell at a glance. You never can.)”

“The world will tell you not to be outraged, love. They will tell you to sit quietly, be kind. Be a lady.”

“a hint she may be capable of more than any man has ever dreamed, the faintest whisper that at any moment she might risk everything she has to whirl around and stare them in eye, that’s just a flight of fancy.”

“I built up hopes on nothing.”

“…would she rather be suffocated slowly for the rest of her life, or die quickly trying to accomplish something?”

“And then you start to realize something has gone horribly, horribly wrong, and there’ll never be a way to put it back the way it was.”

“But that’s the thing about perspective. The slightest shift transforms the subject.”

“But history is nothing when overshadowed by a razor tongue and wealthy benefactors who decide to profit off a scandal.”

“Being in the right is not always the solace you might expect.”

“There will come a day, when this horror is not the only color on your palette.”

2/28 – The Fox’s Hideaway – Review
3/1 – Kaitbooktopia – Author Guest Post – Favorite Artemisia Painting
3/2 – JustAddaWord – Review
3/5 – Novel Ink – Review
3/7 – Bi Bookish Babe – Q&A
3/8 – Megan Write Now – Q&A
3/9 – Howling Libraries – Review
3/12 – Magical Reads – Review + Creative (hand lettering quotes)
3/13 – Crimson is Blogging – Review
3/14 – The Fandom – Author Guest Post – Her road to publication
3/15 – Wanderer in Neverland – Review


3 thoughts on “BLOG TOUR: Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough [REVIEW]”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s