Finding ‘Ohana (Netflix)

For a lot of us, spending a summer in Hawaii sounds like a dream come true, but not for siblings Pili and Ioane.

Pili and Ioane grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and enjoy the chaotic, city life. When their grandfather, who lives in Hawaii, has a heart attack, their mother rushes them to Hawaii to be with him. This unexpected summer trip does not go over well with Pili and Ioane who had their own ideas on how to spend their summer.

Now, stuck on an island far away from friends, the two must find some way to entertain themselves. For Ioane, this consists of spending time on his phone and mocking his sister. For Pili, this means embarking on a treasure hunt with the clues she discovered in her grandfather’s journal. Ioana soon finds himself (unwillingly) involved on his sister’s “stupid” quest.

What promised to be a boring summer, soon turns into an adventure they will never forget, ultimately bring the family closer together.

Finding ‘Ohana has a distinct Journey to the Center of the Earth / Indiana Jones feel to it. The cast, particularly Kea Peahu (Pili), Alex Aiono (Ionae), Lindsay Watson (Hana), and Owen Vaccaro (Casper) do a stellar job carrying the movie. This family-friendly movie (Fun fact: there is only one make-out scene) can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

The Thief

What better way to spend a stormy Sunday than reading a good book?

I just finished reading The Thief, the first book in The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. This Newbery Honor book was entertaining, and I didn’t want to put it down. (It wasn’t that rare breed of book you can’t put down; it was simply a good book you did not want to put down.) The book deserves more than three stars, but not quite four. Maybe a 3.7 or 3.8.

The story begins with Eugenides, or Gen for short, locked in the king’s prison. Gen, a petty thief with a large ego, is provided an opportunity to accompany the king’s magus on a quest. An offer, given his limited resources and his desire for fame, he accepts. The quest begins sending Gen, the magus, and their companions on an adventure through neighboring kingdoms.

The book is heavy on description and the introspective thoughts of the main character, which I often skipped over. However, I found the characters intriguing enough to keep reading. I simply liked the characters and looked forward to seeing how their relationships developed.

I am placing this book on my list of books for all ages. (There are a few “goddam-its” and “damn’s” in there, but that’s it. ) While the story does not make it into my top-ten, it is good enough that I would recommend it to pre-teens and teens.

Fatemarked by David Estes

Fatemarked.jpgFatemarked by David Estes is the first in The Fatemarked Epic series. It’s been a while since I’ve come across a book that I couldn’t put down, but Fatemarked had me hooked. I couldn’t and didn’t want to put it down.

The book is well written and the characters are multi-faceted. Each character has its strengths, and none are perfect. Even the characters you don’t like and want to hate have a human side to them that makes you empathize or at least recognize they weren’t always the monsters they were portrayed to be.

If you are looking for an enjoyable escape and you’ve got several hours to spare, check out Fatemarked. But be prepared, you won’t want to stop reading.

I would say this book is PG-15. There is a sex scene in it, but its no more than what you would see in a PG-13 movie, and you can skip over it. However, there is cruelty and violence in the book which is why I gave it the PG-15 rating. I would not want my young teen to read the book. The cruelty is by no means graphic, but it is enough that some people may be uncomfortable.