Sometimes, writing a book review is harder than I care to admit. Usually that is the case for stories I didn’t like, that are full with mistakes (editorial or otherwise), or that just ‘didn’t do it’ for me. In those cases, I want to be honest about my feelings but I still want to honour the fact that someone made the effort to put pen to paper to write down the musings in their head. Where it is difficult to write, it is even more difficult to get your story published and out to the public. The fact that someone has done all that deserves recognition and admiration, even if I do not care for the end result. Besides, the fact that I didn’t like a story doesn’t mean that you won’t; you might absolutely love it and call me crazy for not ‘getting it’.
However, sometimes it is hard to write a review for the exact opposite reasons. Hawaiian Lei is such a book for me. Written by Meg Amor, the story is set on the main island of Hawaii and the setting itself is already breathtakingly beautiful. As if that isn’t enough, Matt and Beau –the main characters– feel so much alive and so real that I swear I could walk ‘round the corner and bump into them. The rest of the cast is no more alive. The storyline pulled me in from page one and I had to keep reading; putting the book away for such mundane things as sleep and food was unthinkable.
Matt and Beau meet when Matt moves in with his sister after his live, especially the gay scene, in LA becomes too much to bear. Both carry childhood scars, even now holding them back. But, if love is to exist between them, those scars have to be faced. And they have to be dealt with. They decide to see if LomiLomi can help them deal with past hurts and old convictions.
Although the book is filled with greatly moving scenes, there are two that stand out for me. The LomiLomi scene is one of those, the scene where Beau has a nightmare is the other one; he winds up in a highly spiritual place on the island where Matt finds him, cowering before his memories. It might not sound like a lot, for this story it was incredibly vivid and passionate.
Don’t confuse the passion of that scene with the raw heat and passion of the love scenes… Ms Amor commands such eloquence that the steam practically rises of the pages. Ooh-la-la!
Hawaiian Lei was powerful, cleansing and healing. My advice is to have some tissues to hand; tears will flow, in happiness and in sadness.
I happen to know that book two in the Hawaiian series, Hawaiian Orchid, has already been written. Call me jealous, but I wish I was Ms Amor’s editor… they get to read her next book first!
Beau Toyama, a “mixed plate” Hawaiian/Japanese/Tahitian man, is a flight instructor on the Big Island of Hawai’i. He’s a lovely, gentle, shy soul from a dysfunctional island. One day his wife Mikey said, “I love you, babe, but this isn’t working. I need a good man…” She’d paused. “And so do you.”
Matt Quintal, a New Zealand painter with a Norfolk Island and Maori background, has been living the “gay scene” in LA and knows it’s a crock. Needing to escape, his Polynesian soul is drawn back to the Pacific. He visits his sister Rach in Kona on the Big Island, where his spirit connects.
When Matt’s heart is drawn to the sound of a biplane’s radial engines flying overhead, his life is about to change. There’s an instant soul connection and heat between Beau and Matt. Unbeknownst to them, the spirit of Beau’s mom, Tehani, has guided Matt home to Beau.
Beau and Matt need to work together to overcome family dysfunction and abuse. Can they reveal their deep emotional vulnerabilities to find redemption and healing? What they both want is a loving relationship. But they must allow their hearts and souls to open before they can love and trust again.