SOS Aloha's Reviews > Mai Tai One On

Mai Tai One On by Jill Marie Landis
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's review
Aug 14, 2011

it was amazing

Best selling and award winning author Jill Marie Landis delivers a story that resembles a Mai Tai - fruity, tasty, and perfect for a summer escape. And let's not forget the umbrella! Known for her historical and contemporary books, Landis truly put her pu'uwai (heart) and `uhane (soul) into MAI TAIN ONE ON as she lives on Kauai's North Shore. Only a kama'aina (resident) could translate the island's culture into the colorful characters that brings Tiki tackiness into the reader's home.

The product description accurately sets the stage - Uncle Louie and the TIKI GODDESS BAR have become a favorite watering hole along Kauai's North Shore. Louie's customers-turned- friends, aka the Hula Maidens, grew concerned with his health. So they sent his niece, Emily Johnson, a one way ticket to visit her uncle. Little did they know that Em was at the end of her rope - divorced, broke, and out of options.

Upon her arrival on the Garden Isle, Em integrates herself in the TIKI GODDESS BAR and the local community. Soon, the GODDESS is operating in the black. The Hula Maidens gain a permanent home to perform. And Em hires Sophie - a twenty something local girl seeking to start anew (something that Em can appreciate). Just as the GODDESS denizens have control of their lives, Uncle Louie's feuding neighbor is discovered dead in the GODDESS's imu pit.

As the GODDESS gang finds themselves suspects, they morph into junior detectives to solve the mystery and end the mayhem that threaten their wacky, yet comfortable, way of life. Landis herslef morphs into a Hai' mo'elelo (storyteller) as she reveals how the GODDESS gang balances the Hawaiian culture in a modern world. I commend Landis for including a wide spectrum of kama'aina - the Hawaiians and the transplants, the "aunties" (older women) and the wahine (younger women), the kahuna (priest) and the Hula Maidens, the lunch trucks and the tourist traps. Landis demonstrates that Kauai is truly the American melting pot.

Landis also treats readers to two poignant scenes that remind us of her heartwarming romances. Shortly after the smoking body is discovered, Louie closes the GODDESS for the night by singing a love song to his deceased Hawaiian wife for whom the bar is named. Indeed, love transcends time. And as the story ends, Landis surprises us with a hint of romance. To say any more would spoil the reader's pleasure.

In the Tahitian language, Maita'i translates as "good". But MAI TAI ONE ON is No Ka Oi - none is better.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
August 14, 2011 – Shelved

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