on June 24, 2014 :
Teen Encounters Ancient Spirit in Trip to Hawaii
“Moa” by Tricia Stewart Shiu, the first in a series of fantasy books for young adults, begins when Hillary receives a trip to Hawaii for graduation and upon arrival encounters an ancient Hawaiian spirit named Moa who is the story’s narrator.
“Moa” is a fantasy adventure story but the plot also is filled with though-provoking moments. Hillary travels around the island with sister Molly who does not believe in magic or the spiritual world but comes around with prompting from Hillary.
In the story the portal from earth to heaven is closed by negativity and evil and Moa knows that /Hillary is the one chosen to save the world by re-opening the portal.
Author Shiu is a spiritualist who has studied mediumship, pagan, Huna and healing rituals. The trilogy beginning with Moa was inspired by her personal encounter with an ancient Hawaiian spirit. Teens and young adults will certainly enjoy her writings but so will older readers with an open mind.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on April 12, 2012 :
I am finally done with the book, it took me two days to read a short book. It didn't keep me interested and I wasn't attached to the characters.
The concept of the story
The intro to the chapters where it gave the ritual ingredients
Everything else I believe.
--The writing felt like it was switching around a lot. Felt like it was trying to be 1st person present to 3rd person present and because of this switching feel I had to reread parts over again because it hadn't actually switched.
--Also, the Granddad part kept bugging me because she was using the word as a name whereas that gave it the feel of "granddad" being the narrator's granddad and he wasn't.
--The long drawn out spiritual journeys with the chakras. It felt like we were getting long lessons on meditation and if I had wanted to learn how to meditate (which I already know how) I would have bought a beginners guide to meditation.
--Learning about the chakras was cool, however they were not introduced in a fun way or an intriguing way so I ended up just skimming over it instead.
This book has major potential!! I believe if it had been in 3rd person it would've been great. Personally I wont read the next books in the series, I did like the concept of the story, but couldn't connect.
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)
Mallory Heart Reviews
on April 3, 2012 :
A smooth-reading novel packing a lot of YA wisdom, “Moa” is a good read, and a fast-paced one. In concise strokes, author Tricia Stewart Shiu paints her characters and arranges her settings and plots. Suspension of disbelief is easy and quick, and the reader settles into expecting, and then receiving, out-of-the-ordinary events and encounters. Is Hillary a witch, or isn’t she? Does her nemesis, the high school bully, level evil curses, or not? Can shirts animate? Do ancient native spirits exist? More importantly, can one young lady save all?
Read on and see, and you will find yourself reaching the end and wanting to start back at the beginning all over again. “Moa” is a recommended book for both YA and adult readers who enjoy good writing, plotting and characterization, a story that impels, and enough paranormal adventures and misadventures to keep the reader on the edge till it’s over.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)
on April 2, 2012 :
Hillary who has always been misunderstood not only by her classmates, but also her own family. This misunderstanding take Hillary on a journey of spiritual enlightenment. Through this journey she not only is reconciled with her sister but is able to reach a higher level of enlightenment.
Although this type of book is not my cup of tea I recommend it to anyone who is interested in spirituality and mysticism.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
on March 29, 2012 :
First things first, I received a copy of this book free from the author via goodreads.com group Shut up and Read for a fair and honest review.
I give this book three stars.
I found this book to be a combination of Nancy Drew meets The Ghost Whisperer meets Eckhart Tolle.
Hillary goes to visit her sister and her niece in Hawaii for her high school graduation present from her parents. Hillarys sister, Molly, and niece Heidi are grieving the recent loss of Molly's husband (Heidi's father) Steve. While dealing with her own issues (the strain of being bullied in high school), Hillary meets Moa, an ancient spirit who manifests as a seven year old child. Moa has been watching and waiting for Hillary because it has been fated that Hillary would help Moa defend an ancient portal (gateway to the other side of death). During the adventure Moa teaches Hillary about many New Age (metaphysical) practices.
It was hard for me to warm up to this book. The style of writing, stream of consciousness, third person narrative mode was not one that I am used too.
As Moa narrates she jumps from Hillarys history to her own with little separation. I found myself having to re-read sections, locate the separations of the narrative.
As the book progressed and I trained myself to watch for the jumps, this was less of a problem.
In my view, this book was a new age metaphysics fiction book first and a mystery second. I do not mind reading metaphysics books. However I found that the Wiccan Practices and explanation of the metaphysical belief structure took over as the theme of the book, weakening the mystery side of the book.
I never felt pulled into the book. I tried to think of why and the only reasoning I came up with is there is too much narrative. I like to 'feel' a part of the book and to me the way that happens is to read what the characters are feeling, thinking, reasoning. Having Moa do all the explaining of Hillarys' feelings seemed distant and failed to capture my attention. The end result, for me was that I was unable to relate to the main characters.
Those who I think might find an interest in this book are readers who like metaphysics, and mystery.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Feb. 26, 2012 :
YA new-age spiritual journey. A high-schooler turns to new-age spirituality to deal with personal despair and traditional teenage angst ( mean girls ). Although her powers make many uncomfortable, her strength of spirit comes in handy when an ancient Hawaiian spirit requests her aid. Positive story for young adults about taking a positive outlook in life and believing in yourself.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Nov. 28, 2011 :
I'd give this book 3 1/2 stars. :)
Hillary is an 18-year-old-girl on her way to Hawaii to visit her recently widowed sister, Molly and her daughter, Heidi. Life has been nothing but easy for her, since she has been picked on and bullied at school, mostly by an obnoxious trio of girls, whose leader was initially her friend. Misunderstood and set aside due to the rumor that she is a witch and puts a hex on whoever she wants, Hillary has mostly kept to her self and resents the unwanted animosity from her peers. All she wanted to use wicca incantations for were protection, but through a mistake (not her own) she is somehow thought to actively seek revenge or harm others. Not even her parents fully believe her.
When she arrives at Hawaii and meets her sister, it is only family that greets her but she is unknowingly followed by Moa, a 7-year-old native who has accepted her role as an Ancient Gatekeeper aiding the souls of the deceased to the Light.
It seems that the troubled spirit of George Paulet a former aspiring usurper of the throne in Hawaii, who was prevented from achieving his goal, still thinks he can make it even from beyond the grade, somehow blocking the passage of souls to the Light, thus upsetting the balance that could result in earthquakes etc, even world destruction and Hillary is the only one who can help.
Despite the danger of world destruction that permeates this book, I have to say that it is one of the most light-hearted and feel-good books I have read lately. Not only is it written in a simple, readily-absorbed way, but it also is fun and filled with wiccan spell instructions in every chapter relevant to the issue at hand. I thought it was a nice change and very interesting to read that in relation to the story. As I have no idea regarding Wicca, witchcraft or anything like that, it made for a very engrossing read and at times I felt like it was easy. like I could see myself doing that and really feeling in balance with the universe, at peace, optimistic and unburdened. If only it were that easy! lol
But it did make for a relaxing and lovely read.
Hillary was a very likable heroine, especially having been through all that she has been through and never giving up or loosing her courage. It felt like life gave her lemons and she made lemonade. She made the best of whatever she had and it defined her in a positive light. She was strong, loyal, protective of her family and quite noble and moral.
Molly was a typical older sister, but more importantly she was a mother and I liked how the author paid attention to detail and she had very mother-like reactions towards her daughter and her safety.
Heidi was adorable and very funny as a little girl. She wasa cutie, whereas Moa came across as focused, noble, brave and very affectionate. I loved the parts that were written through her eyes and the little bits and pieces of how life was in her time.
Generally, I found the description clear and imaginative and it really gave me a feel of life in Hawaai or rather the scenery there and maybe a little of the way of life (that and Hawaii 5-0 lol j/k)
I liked the revelations towards the end, I didn't see the twist with Steve's heritage, or Paulet but it was refreshing and clever. I also thought the bits about the healing power of positive thought and how we can heal emotionally and psychologically by revisiting traumatic experiences in another light were quite ingenious and profound.
If I had to say something negative for the book, I would have to say that it was mostly minor editing issues (which may have already been addressed in a more recent version), i.e. the use of present tense instead of past tense like :"The group walked home in silence until they reach the coolness of the front foyer". This happens for a few times throughout the book, but I didn't find it distracting. Another thing is that in the beginning Moa kept saying (2-3 times) that Hillary was in for the adventure of her lifetime and that she alone could save Hawaii and probably the world, but nothing of that happened for several chapters and it was a bit awkward...Then again Moa is supposed to be a 7-year-old child, but she has lived for hundreds of years..so maybe that was it.
And finally, on only one occasion (which I wouldn't normally notice, but it was a short book so I remembered :P)after Heidi is taken to "another dimension", somehow Hillary isn't asleep, but Molly sleeps? After her child is taken? I mean even if Hillary told her she was going to be ok, it didn't feel like something she would do... I mean come on, her child had been taken. :P
But after that she is again heart-breakingly motherly so she redeems herself. :)
Overall, this was a very entertaining and feel-good novel with likable heroines and a good, solid plot, mixed with a lot of the things you'd want to know about wicca, our balance with the universe and how we can better our lives and ourselves. Don't miss it if you want something cute to read.
* Given by the author in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you :)
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)
on Nov. 22, 2011 :
MOA is a very imaginative story that takes place in one of my favorite settings, Hawaii. The main character, Hillary is very easy to relate to. We follow Hillary on an adventure that not only takes place in the outside world, but also inside of Hillary herself. The story also contains interesting facts about Hawaii's history and culture. One thing that makes this book very unique are the rituals at the beginning of each chapter. Shui outlines the rituals in short, easy to grasp paragraphs that make these rituals accessible to readers of all ages and backgrounds. I challenge anyone to read this book and not want to try at least of few of these rituals in your own everyday life. I look forward to the next book in the trilogy...an adventure in Egypt!
(reviewed the day of purchase)