A MelanieM Review: Hawaiian Orchid (The Hawaiians 2) by Meg Amor

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

Kulani is “The Orchid,” a young, insecure, pro-surfer who comes from a rough background on the Big Island of Hawai’i. He’s Beau Toyama’s cousin from Hawaiian Lei. But he’s also a healer and has a heart as deep as the ocean he’s part of. Like the great Hawaiians, who have gone before him, warrior Kulani Mahikoa epitomizes the spirit of aloha and love. Kulani’s not only healing his own wounds, but “The Lost Boys”—young, homeless, abandoned and abused gay boys he’s taken under his wing.

Rob Masterson is a wounded psychologist who’s trying to come to terms with his husband Tony’s death. When he died, they were separated but still living together. Can the lone and lonely New Zealand widower reconcile all the pieces of guilt and love, to heal and fall in love again? When he drops anchor in Kona Harbor and meets the exotic islander—young, bolshie Kulani—explosive heat makes sparks fly between them.

Is the age difference between them a barrier or something they’ll get past? Kulani has more layers than Rob ever bargained for. And Rob’s tangled knot of responsibility, grief and guilt with his New Zealand heritage and past life is something he needs to untangle.

Two wounded men have to learn to trust and love one another. Traveling between the South Sea Islands of beautiful New Zealand and the exotic Hawaiian Islands—they forge a sea change, finding a home for their shrapnel laced souls.

I discovered Meg Amor through the first terrific book in this series, Hawaiian Lei. Hawaiian Orchid (The Hawaiians 2) by Meg Amor cemented the fact that I’ve found something incredibly special, in this series and in this amazing author. From that forward where I learned the author had suffered two losses central to her heart, she brought that pain and loss to this story, making it ours through the character of Rob.  All the way, from the first sentence through to the dictionary at the end, Meg Amor held me captive by a tale layered in the need and search for love in all its aspects, from romantic to familial.  It does so within a deep and encompassing framework of various Pacific Island cultures and religions, the spirituality flowing through the storylines like a healer’s chant.  It takes place not only on the Big Island (BI) of Hawaii but also in New Zealand as Rob searches for closure for himself and a start anew finally with Kulani. For Kulani, he’s looking for acceptance, healing, and love too.  It’s his journey as well. This is a big story, big in heart, big in scale and the author makes this vast narrative intimate in emotion and connectivity for the reader.

Rob Masterson is a complex character. He’s older than Kulani, wounded by the loss of his husband, torn and beaten in ways by the way in which his marriage was ending and the way his husband died. Rob hasn’t healed when he meets Kulani, a gorgeous younger man.  Rob immediately recognizes in Kulani someone with wounds as deep or deeper than his but there’s an attraction between them than neither can resist.  Kulani is a character full of surprises for us and Rob.  That initial meeting of a sullen, young man lays the right superficial impression for the author to blow us away with the depths of pain and beauty awaiting below the surface.  She peels away the first layer slowly for Rob and us as Kulani slowly begins to open up and show his true self, only for Rob to realize how much he’s been holding back himself. Amor makes us believe in each man.  Their pain, sometimes awkwardness (Kulani’s), abruptness (Rob’s), and tenderness to and for each other is vivid, authentic and real.  So is the steps they take, forward and back,  towards a relationship.  It includes help and support from a number of other characters, including Beau and Matt from Hawaiian Lei and even their respective parents.  Again, the relationship dynamics here are complex and real.  And they make the story.

Now this story also contains a third element I won’t go into here.  It sets the stage for the third book in this series, Hawaiian Fragrance (The Hawaiians #3) which I’m going to read and review next.  Going into it here would I believe spoil something wonderful so I’m leaving it out.  But again, this aspect of the story, again just elevates Hawaiian Orchid and this series into another realm for me, that of the comfort read and the story I’ll read again and again.

The mysticism and spiritualism present in the first story is still here, toned down somewhat but it flows through as naturally as breathing air.  So beautifully done you might not even notice how deeply ingrained it is for these men and families.  But it’s there, especially in the reading Rob has done for him, one more important necessary step in the healing process for him.  Plus there are other elements that appear in the story as well, folded in so easily that I believed in them as much as Rob and Kulani.

This is an incredible story.  I highly recommend it as I do the one that starts the series. Hawaiian Orchid (The Hawaiians 2) by Meg Amor will be on my Best of List this year and it’s highly likely the series will as well.  Hawaiian Fragrance is next.  There’s something else you might want to look at! There’s a link here to the Hawaiian Orchid page on Meg Amor’s website. It contains more information on the meaning of the different orchids, the characters, the big island of Hawaii and much more.  Check it out!

Cover artist:  Syneca Featherstone. I just love these covers.  Beautiful and as lush as the islands themselves, the men are perfect!

 

Sales Links:  Amazon |    Loose Id LLC

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 302 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by Loose Id LLC
ASINB015G3F1N6
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Hawaiians :

A MelanieM Review: Hawaiian Lei (The Hawaiians 1) by Meg Amor

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

 

Beau Toyama, biplane pilot and flight instructor on the Big Island of Hawai’i has only been out for a year. His last relationship with a man was a disaster. When he meets Matt Quintal, who’s visiting his sister, he’s stunned by the instant attraction to him. But Beau’s afraid to ask for what he needs in a relationship; his anger frightens him. The “mixed plate” Hawaiian/Japanese/Tahitian man works on being Zen calm but Matt brings all his emotions to the surface. It uncovers a devastating secret from his childhood and deep shame that needs healing.

Matt Quintal, New Zealand painter has been living the wild gay life in LA. After one more night of soulless mechanical sex where his body is engaged but his emotions aren’t—he knows he needs a change. His sister wants him to come to Hawai’i for a visit; another big rock in the middle of the Pacific doesn’t seem like a solution but he has to do something. When he flies with Beau in his biplane, he feels a strong pull toward both man and plane that he can neither explain nor deny.

Matt’s a New Zealander, they’re encouraged to be tough, rugged and durable. He is, but he’s emotionally a wreck, afraid to show his emotions, so he’s surprised when Beau encourages him to be all of himself. Has he finally found the freedom to be the man he wants to be? The heat between the two men is like watching Pele let her hair down, releasing her hot, molten lava. Will the gorgeous Hawaiian with his long silky black hair and soulful brown eyes finally convince the gypsy nature in Matt to put down roots in another island culture?

First of all, let me say that if you can embrace or accept the possibility of the element of mysticism, that your ancestors in other  planes of existence are looking after you, that Astrology is real as is the ability to chart patterns in your life, then you will dive into this story with all your heart.  Hawaiian Lei with its characters Matt and Beau and their mixed heritages of Maori, Hawaiian, Tahitian, Japanese and more anchor this novel with their cultures, religions, their ancestral support and faith. Here you step firmly away from the Christian religious beliefs and into one of the Pacific cultures and it’s beautiful. And ugly and in the end full of redemption, hope, love and family.  It’s quite the journey.

Matt’s life is empty in California,  A dream and a call from his sister in Hawaii prompt his flight (literally) to her and something new. Rach, his sister, is adept at reading their charts and she knew he would be coming, his dream was the final push to send him on his way.  Once you land with Matt, give up and immerse yourself in their world where paths can be seen, owls and turtles are totems and their appearances are significant, and a quick meeting between two men does mean true love.  Its both magical and mundane and it totally works.  Its natural for everyone here to live in this way, so in tune with each other and nature that you will believe in it with your heart.

There are also some dark issues that Beau has to work through, he does with Matt’s help and that of a sacred healing ritual, Lomi Lomi, that plays out here.  The novel is full of terms from the various Pacific cultures represented here (it’s fascinating to see how tightly they are aligned).  There is also a small dictionary at the end that’s nice but the reader will pick up all the meanings in the story.

Hawaiian Lei is lush, vivid storytelling, rich in layers, nuanced characters (main and otherwise).  It speaks of family, recovery, and the ability to move forward after healing.   It has a heartwarming ending, full of elements that brings together  so many threads from throughout the story.  I just loved this.  And I highly recommend it.

Cover Artist:Syneca Featherstone. The cover art is beautiful and perfect.  I love it.

Buy Link: Amazon      | Loose ID          | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 231 pages
Published March 17th 2015 by Loose Id LLC
Original TitleHawaiian Lei
ASINB00UUL7V1A
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Hawaiians #1