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Artemis Fowl and Butler are off on a journey to Mars. But Miles and Beckett, his 11 year old twin brothers are fully prepared to make trouble. Miles is a genius, much like his older brother, while Beckett is... not. But Beckett has some very interesting talents. While the boys face danger from two opponents they compliment each other wonderfully. And Eoin Colfer must have had a field day with the humor and poor puns he deftly inserted into the narrative. A truly entertaining book and I can’t wait for the next installment.
I was browsing in my neighborhood bookstore. As is always the case, my eyes quickly past over the section designated " Death and Dying,but a cover caught my eye. It was " The End of the Twins, by Saul Diskin. I pulled out the book and began thumbing through the pages with the kind of experienced movement that a shopper uses when going through a rack of clothes. I expected nothing and was truly surprised when I saw amazing writing on the page. Although I am not a twin and death and dying are things I have gone to amazing lenghths to avoid, I was hooked. The book puts into words the thoughts and feelings that we are afraid to face about our families and ourselves. Don't be an ostrich. Read it!
I was happily surprised reading Saul Diskin's The End of the Twins. While formally it is a memoir, it reads more like an intimate, but objective, novel concerning the author's relationship over the years with his identical twin, Marty. His hero development is thorough and honest and I came to feel I had a better understanding of both him and his brother as well as their lifetime relationship while Diskin avoided all the pitfalls usually accompanying memoirs. Moreover, Diskin's writing style is crisp, unsentimental and true.Diskin sets the scene early by recounting growing up in a first generation Jewish family in Fresh York with Marty and his parents. He does not romanticize that childhood. Thus, while Saul and Martin have a unique relationship as identical twins, they soon feel the need to grow apart and individualize. His father is neither a stereotype nor a romantic, alternating between being an aggressive disciplinarian and a loving, protective father. As time goes on, Marty and Saul go their separate ways, Saul becoming a businessman in Arizona and Marty a professor in Fresh England. Their close relationship is rekindled when Martin is diagnosed with leukemia and the brothers begin to become closer as adults. As Martin's condition worsens, Saul tells their reactions and fears as it becomes apparent that Martin might need a bone marrow transplant with Saul as the donor. Even in this scene of their relationship. Diskin does not romanticize their feelings, instead objectively dealing with Martin's condition and Saul's own fears for himself, his willingness but also his pain in being a bone marrow donor and his frustration with the modern American health system despite some very caring health care providers.But enough of plot. What keeps this memoir-novel going is that Diskin's writing style and imagery rings true. Whether it was his father's anger towards a kid who had bullied Saul in Fresh York, his father being able to sleep late and luxuriate in a hot shower on a day off, his and Martin's fly-casting adventures as adults, or Saul's encounters with Martin's family and nurses, the language is clean, true and penetrates to the real hero of the people involved. Take, for example, what I consider a shining moment exemplifying Martin and Saul's closeness but need for independence which pervade the book. Saul has just returned to the East Coast as a young man and stayed with Martin for a short time when they feel the need for Saul to move on. After walking through different neighborhoods so Saul can catch a train, Diskin writes:We waved good-bye, standing about ten feet apart. hand-shaking or embracing each other was unknown to us in those days. A wave usually indicated that we would see each other shortly, although we had no idea when that would be. It turned out to be more than two years. Marty was standing at the top of the stairs, the bright, unforgiving winter light silhouetting him, etching his forced ,sad smile in my memory, while I, unable to understand the turmoil I was feeling, was standing in the transitional light, the fading natural light blending with the decadently artificial yellow illumination underground. A dizzy hollowness surrounded us as we knew we had to part once again. We were certain of that without knowing precisely why. Caught in that feeling of sick emptiness, we lingered a moment, frozen, a hand in the air, eyes fastened on the other, before Marty turned to walk home and resume his life and I descended further underground to take the train to the bus terminal and return to California, each of us a small relieved that the parting was accomplished and we could be alone while the ache subsided."Even as Diskin turns to the info of Martin's disease and his war to survive, he does not dwell on sadness or despair. Rather he objectively with his feelings about the possible death of his twin, his own feelings of possibly losing part of himself and breaks up the story with flashbacks to their relationships as kids and younger adults to emphasize the feelings he is encountering as an adult.I heartily recommend The End of the Twins. Marty and Saul and their families and the imagery of their lives will stay with me for a very long time. Hopefully, the same will be real for you.
The End of the Twins by Saul DiskinCombining the talents of a unbelievable writer and the distinctive life hehas lived, Saul Diskin has made a story that captures the readerfrom the first page forward. This is not a typical twin's book. Wearen't faced with the stereotype of twins wearing matching yond teenage years, Saul and Marty, physically identical in everyway, felt the need to grow apart as individuals. Marty spent a hitch inthe army, entered college, came away with a PhD and became a professorat MIT. Saul spent a hitch on merchant ships, was occupied variouslyin the west and became a successful business man in Phoenix, ey raised families, lived apart and thrived apart, but were always intouch in that unique method of identical twins.A core strength of the book comes with Saul's honesty and his abilityto paint the picture. His descriptions are visual photos carefully andbeautifully crafted. We are able to see the twins in their privateinteractions as young boys, their exploits and wars on the streetsof Fresh York City, and life with their parents. Later, with thediscovery of Marty's leukemia, its twenty-year duration and Marty'sultimate death, Saul keeps the reader there with him, feeling Marty'scourage and his own, and sharing the love and the pain. I believe Saultakes us as close as we can come to an understanding of the emotionalconnection, manifest and subliminal, between these e war for Marty's life was a multiple effort. Saul's emotionaljourney during the time between Marty's discovery of the leukemia, it'srelative dormancy and then raging return, their bone marrow transplantfollowed by the brief reprieve before Marty's death, is a descriptionthat weaves its method through the story with dignity, courage and ough not a twin, one can relate to this compelling and powerfulstory. It is one you will be glad to have read and not soon forget.
When I started reading The End of the Twins, I was tremendously impressed by Saul Diskin's fluent narrative and by his strong use of images, so well depicted that it is hard not to feel transported to the scenes. The narration takes you initially to the particular environment in which the author grew up - a Jewish community in Fresh York City. This first impression was maintained as I kept venturing further into the remarkable story of the author and his twin brother, mainly as a effect from the flashbacks introduced by the author throughout the book. Those flashbacks provide intensity to the story as it develops in the course of time. They create it simple to see how powerful the relationship between the two brothers was despite the ups and downs of their lives and the time that they had grown t being a twin, it is hard to imagine the very unique relationship that can develop between identical twins. It is not like one is a copy or a mirror of the other. From what I perceived in the particular case of Saul and Marty, it was more like each one of them existed within the other. Fear and pain, kid mischief and joy and even conflict between the two brothers appear to be all expressions of this existing and being one while still maintaining their e End of the Twins is a story to which anyone who has experienced the beauty of fraternal love can relate. I can only say that I loved the book and I highly recommend it to any reader who is interested in stories with a strong notice of courage and love.
This superbly crafted memoir of the death of Saul Diskin's twin brother, Martin, reminds me of an adjustment I created to a related loss: I adjusted to the death of my wife decades ago by "including" myself in her death; in a sense, the self that existed with her--and because of her--went with her. This was possible because we are our relationships! I wonder if this may have been the experience of our author and one of his lessons for us. In addition to the literary pleasure of Diskin's work, I consider his achievement to be another illustration of how literature can serve as therapy.
Placing the words in the right and injecting private feelings to a story results in a successful read that will stay with you for a long time. This is such a book. You learn of the unique relationship that twins have fun (and infrequently "not enjoy")and the rest of us mortals can only read about. You learn of their life while a youth in the beginning, but the majority of the story concerns the illness of Marty. You learn a lot about bone marrow transplant and it is interesting. Marty is ill over a long period of time and the a lot of procedures and decisions that have to be created are sometimes overwhelming. This story will hold you interested from beginning to end.
So much fun to be had here. As long as you know what to expect, and really that shouldn't be too hard to do when you are getting ready to watch a film that has Danny DeVito & Arnold Schwarzenegger as twin brothers! Julius (Arnold) & Vincent (Danny) are the effect of a genetic experiment that should have realised the excellent child, instead they were born as twins, separated at birth and both went on to lead various lives. Julius was raised on a gorgeous island, he is greatly educated and knows no fear of the world, Vincent on the other hand is a low class womanising weasel from the huge city. Upon learning of having a twin brother, Julius sets off to the huge town to search the brother he never knew he had, problem is, is that Julius has no comprehension of town ways, and coupled with the fact that Vincent really isn't the brotherly kind, this only compounds the situation further. Twins is a very tidy piece, the two leads play off of each other very well, and as dumb as the plotting is, it sure as hell makes for a amazing fun night viewing. Female gravitas comes in the form of the sultry Kelly Preston and the criminally undervalued Chloe Webb, but really the film's charm is all down to the small and huge act of DeVito & Schwarzenegger, plenty of laughs here. So begin the ale, chomp on the popcorn, and leave the brain at the door. 7/10 Yakety Yak, Yakety Yak.
*** Received an ARC via NetGalley from the publisher for an honest review.Yodassa Williams first offering, “The Goddess Twins”, was an interesting read. Amazing versus bad, Globe domination, Family dynamics are a few leads in the storyline.Teenage twin daughters of an international opera singer, Arden and Aurora, have a lot to learn about themselves, their mother, and the globe they live in. And they have to learn it quick as they search out their mother is missing, that they have superpowers, a family they did not know they had, and to top it off they and the females of their newly discovered family are den and Aurora may be identical twins but they are so opposite of each other in every manner. Where at one time they were close, now they cannot seem to be together without fighting. Will they be able to overcome their differences in time to save their mother?The storyline unfolds very quickly. Various kinds of love, courage and understanding will bring about an ending that could promise other stories for the characters involved by this clever author.
I’ve been in a Fantasy type of mood lately so when I saw The Goddess Twins on the Booksparks Summer Reading Camp Lineup, I went straight to Netgalley to request it! Unfortunately, the excitement I had going into it was short-lived, and ultimately, I DNF The Goddess e Goddess Twins follows Arden and Aurora, twins who have discovered on their 18th birthday, that they possess powers just as their mother goes missing in London. While learning the history of their family, a family full of goddesses ruling the world, they must war to save their mother from a man who thinks the globe is his for the begin, I loved the premise of Goddesses running the world, because who run the world? GIRLS! We’re introduced to the typical alpha male who has a plan to take the globe back. From there, we meet the girls, with Arden being the only somewhat pleasant hero with a somewhat likable script. The writing itself was scattered and choppy, with its a lot of random slivers of info given throughout but not well explained or connected. I was quite confused from the get-go and unfortunately, this wasn’t a Fantasy that transported me anywhere I wanted to visit.
I got an early reader copy and breezed through this story! Though the story is about the hero's journey, it's the characters that bring the most intrigue and hold me reading. I love the sibling rivalry, the realness of Arden and Aurora's characters, one a shy quiet bookworm desperately in find of self confidence and the other a fountain of rage and angst so sure she has no put in this globe and always jumping to reject someone before being rejected herself. The method their relationship conflicts, evolves, and grows over the course of their adventure is the meat of this book. Excellent for your teenager stuck at home in need of some fantasy escapism and totally accessible to adults as well!
I loved the creativity of this book. And, I could totally picture this book as a film (starring Chloe and Halle of course!). Williams delivers a fun, whimsical tale that also weaves in family drama. Because the twins do not know the full story of their heritage they sometimes judge their mother too harshly. And, isn't this how childhood works? As children, we are not always aware of the sacrifices that our parents create on our behalf. The twins definitely grow up in this novel. This is a powerful debut from her and I am looking forward to reading more of her work.
Although I agree with some of the reviewers out there complaining about how the book was too short, it is only because the concept is so amazing I wanted more! The notice about strong black women getting together to war injustice and the patriarchy is just so important these days... I enjoyed the various voices in the story (and I am looking forward to seeing them grow up and mature as their story evolves!) but my favorite parts are definitely those explaining how their magic and mythological globe worked, so I hope the next volume gives us more of that!
This book created me feel like I was on a mission with my own sister and cousins, and it was AMAZING. Reminiscent of Octavia Butler's Xenogenesis series, Yodassa remembers that although imitation is the greatest form of flattery, expansion is the greatest form of thanks. The author creates a globe where the Black women of a particular family are born with superpowers, but are forced to war an evil that grew from within their own ranks. Delightfully deviod of magic, these unbelievable ladies rely on the powers that they naturally have and stand by each other through everything. We spend the entire book in the minds of Arden and Aurora and there could be no better perspectives to have. Not a long read, my only regret is that we must wait for the sequel that is surely coming.***this review is based on an arc copy received for via Netgalley***
Thank you to SparkPress for giving me access to this eBook via NetGalley to review.2.5/5 starsThis is a YA modern fantasy about twin almost eighteen-year-olds. They search out they have powers, and are on a quest to search their mother who was kidnapped. Upon going to London to find for her, they meet their estranged family created up of a grandma and a lot of cousins: all women. The twins learn about a hidden past that allows them to see themselves more clearly- for better or for worse.I was interested in this story, seeing black girls in modern fantasy. I wanted to discover the potential I saw in how it could incorporate the strange familial dynamics into the conflict. I think that the choice of giving a spotlight to the women in the family, especially how they all have these special powers that they can share with each other, is very e main issue with this book is that it is incredibly too short for all the author wanted to include. There was small time for, explanation, action, or hero development. A amazing chunk of the story ended up being exposition dumps. Kind of a "this is how we got here" sort of thing.
Who wouldn’t love a bit of...Black Girl-powerModern MagicGoddess FantasyI enjoyed reading this book. It was a fun fast read, quirky characters, and I loved the setting in Ohio, London and Jamaica. I was entertained reading this book, and a amazing escape read I enjoyed - who doesn’t love magic right? The diversity and representation in this book was fantastic. I think that this book was set up for a amazing begin of a series - potentially crossing my eat debut novel.
Overall it's a nice story that gives young kids a developmentally appropriate introduction to economic principles. The author makes a an abstract concept accessible and concrete. My 5 year old was skeptical about this book series. However, he agreed to test this book, which I read to him. He seemed genuinely interested and engaged. He said he liked the story and learned about how pencils are made. He said he would definitely read other books in the series after having read this one. I was pleasantly surprised. I will certainly consider purchasing the physical book and other books in this series.
I can't remember how I stumbled upon this book, but decided to it for my is much better than expected. The book gently introduces complexity and interconnectedness in an economy, how things just magically happen (Hayekian Spontaneous Order), and how it benefits everyone by allowing people from various nations and religions, who might otherwise hate each other, to cooperate (reminded me of Voltaire's comment on the London Stock Exchange in 1734).The book doesn't go into the hubris and folly of central planning, which is perhaps a subject that parents could introduce to children as part of reading this e illustrations were fantastic, the characters were relatable. The glossary was a bit massive and advanced for a young child, but it will support parents of precocious kids who wish to learn more.On a snarky note, there are socialist Economics Ph.D.s (I'm looking at you, Kshama Sawant!) who should be reading this book to unlearn whatever nonsense they studied in grad school.
I really liked how this one teaches children how we are all a part of everything...even as little as the production of a pencil! My seven year old was able to learn some amazing principles about it government wise and begin some discussions, my four year old just enjoyed the story :)
Nearly every chop is amazing dance music...I have recommended the songs on The Latest to several DJs who play Latin dance music. The timing goes from slow on some cuts to medium on others...so there's a range. Even if you don't understand every word in Espanol, you obtain the drift...the melodic sense is there...
Love this cd...my summer vehicle jammer and then some for the roads of Brooklyn and Queens...there is something relevant to every neighborhood on this cd. #s 5, 6,8, 11, AND 15 may have some skips in it beautiful soon, can't obtain enough! I must confess I can't really understand the words...I obtain the meaning in the feeling of Romeo's voice and this takes my love for bachata even further. I love bachata, bhangara, beautiful much anything with a amazing beat for dancing and my 2 girls ( 4 and 2 yrs old) love dancing to this cd with me...whenever I take the possibility to carry the cd inside.Highly recommend you give it a try!
I PAYED A LOT FOR THIS CD, 18 DOLLARS TO BE EXACT, IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A 'NEW' PRODUCT AND WHAT DO I GET?, A USED AND SCRATCHED CD, THERE IS NO WAY AN OLD CD COST THAT MUCH. AVENTURA THE LAST IS A GOOD ALBUM TOO BAD I CANT LISTEN TO MOST OF THE SONGS CUZ THE FRECKEN CD WONT PLAY THEM, SO DISAPPOINTED :(
Soy super fanatica del Grupo Aventura y la verdad que este cd esta muy bueno, la mayoria de canciones tienen buenas letras y musicalizacion, lo unico que no me gusta es, cuando empiezan ha hablar como haciendo un present acerca del grupo que si se separan o no! no entiendo la parodia o lo que sea que estan tratando de hacer. Por ultimo ojala que sigan juntos y que se siga dedicando a la bachata, porque dan a entender que cantaran otros generos o algo por el nclusion: Compre el cd etsa bueno =)
I'm not Latino, and wouldn't call myself a Bachata fan, but have been listening to different styles of Latin melody for about 10 years now. I only heard a few of Aventura's songs on MTV Tres, and decided to pick up this CD. I admit I didn't like it all that much at first, and would have given it 3 stars at the time. After a month or so listening to it once or twice a week in my car, it has really grown on me, thus earning the max 5 stars. Aventura takes Bachata to fresh horizons, truly earning them the self-proclaimed title, "Kings of Bachata". Lenny Santos is an wonderful guitarist on every track, and the cameos by Wyclef Jean and Akon w/ Winston Y Yandel add special flavor. I wasn't an Aventura fan before this CD, but am one now. You can be one too 8).
The marketing departments for book publishers think they have to categorize books in for them to sell. They wish to reach a targeted market, so they pigeon-hole works into categories like middle grade novels, young adult novels, romance novels, mystery novels, and so forth. I hate that, for it limits audiences. Fine writing is fine writing; the human condition is the human condition, no matter what age a hero is or in what situation we search him or her. Millions of readers of the Harry Potter novels proved that; although the books were marketed as children’s books, they appealed to a much wider audience. And that brings me to David Bowles’s The Smoking Mirror: Garza Twins Book One. Bowles is a skillful writer, and his book—although targeted to a middle grade audience—is instructive, witty, and charming. It is the tale of twins Juan Angel Garza and his sister Carolina. They are tasked with saving their mother, who has been taken into the underworld. And what Bowles imparts is the idea that all of us have the power to accomplish extraordinary tasks if we have the motivation. And love for their mother is certainly a strong force. I’m not discounting the fact that this is a book that kids will love and learn from. But I am saying that anyone, no matter what age, will identify with these children and will have fun Bowles’s well-crafted, exciting adventure. He takes us into the underworld of Aztec and Mayan mythology. His gods, goddesses, and monsters come from tales told to him as a child, and they are directly from the Aztec/Mayan myths. In his acknowledgments, Bowles admits that he stayed real to what he’d read about the underworld in those myths, but he also embellished a bit. Any kid of American Hispanic origin will relish this tale simply because it explores the roots of their culture. The book is peppered with Spanish, but Bowles is so skillful a writer that not knowing Spanish is not a hindrance (and he helpfully provides a glossary at the conclusion.) Thus any kid not of Hispanic roots will take the wild ride and be dazzled by its fire-breathing villains, its zombie-like creatures, and its shapeshifting heroes. This is Fun—and that capital “F” is not a typo, for this, as they say, is fun with a capital “F.” I’ll end with my best imitation of a carnival barker: “That’s not all, folks. Tell you what I’m gonna do: if you like The Smoking Mirror, we’re gonna throw in (in 2016) a second Garza twins story.” So the saga of the shapeshifting twins will continue. Kids and kids at heart will be able to have fun the Garza twins long after they finish The Smoking Mirror. Que bueno!
David Bowles’s Pura Belpré honor book, The Smoking Mirror, is a fast-paced, masterful journey through Aztec mythology and pre-Columbian Mexican history. Bowles, who was inspired to make a fantasy novel in the tradition of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson that featured a Latinx protagonist, weaves a captivating story of epic proportions, all framed by familial love. (For more from Bowles, see his guest post.) Moreover, though this is a diverse book with two Latinx protagonists, their Mexican heritage is necessary insofar as it provides the ethos for the setting of the text, but this is not a story about race or ethnicity and it is all the better for that. Bowles instead focuses on the supernatural elements of his source material and the character journeys of his twin protagonists. The book is a fast read, full of page-turning action, which will intrigue even the most reluctant reader. Additionally, because it has both a male and female protagonist in twins Johnny and Carol, it should appeal to boys and girls. The Smoking Mirror, like a lot of middle-grade books, has shorter chapters that maintain the pace of the narrative and hold readers constantly engaged without seeming overwhelming.While Johnny and Carol’s journey through Mictlan is riveting, I was most captivated by Bowles’s exploration of their relationship, particularly of their twin connection. As a twin myself, I am always uncertain if an author will be able to capture the special bond we feel, and Bowles does so in spades. This is not the tired good-twin/bad-twin nonsense that pervades literature and media. Bowles is sure to individualize both Johnny and Carol, and they are depicted as complex characters with strengths and flaws that set them apart from each other; in fact, their differences improve their relationship as the text unfolds. Johnny and Carol start the story having grown apart following their mother’s mysterious disappearance. But when their father sends them to stay with their family in Monterrey, México, they must rely on each other in a fresh environment. When they both explore that they are naguales, or shapeshifters with unique magic, their bond is cemented and they start their journey to Mictlan to rescue their mother from Texcatlipoca, the god of destruction. Likewise, as naguales, Johnny and Carol share an intimate psychic connection, which they use to communicate telepathically. Their internal connection comes in handy as they journey through Mictlan, where they must constantly save each other. In these moments, they realize that their differences do not separate them, rather that they are complementary, and by the end of the text, Johnny even tells Carol, “‘you are my balance’” (198).The backdrop for Johnny and Carol’s quest to save their mother is a richly populated mythological globe full of terrifying monsters and strong deities. By his own admission, Bowles mixes Aztec and Mayan mythologies to make his Mictlan. The effect is an expansive, multilayered underworld that rivals Dante’s Inferno. Bowles, a scholar and professor at the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley, has also done translation work from multiple languages, including Nahuatl, the language spoken by a lot of Mesoamerican indigenous peoples. It is obvious, then, that Bowles knows his source material. However, my only complaint with this text is the difficulty involved in keeping track of all of the Aztec- and Mayan-inspired beings that Johnny and Carol encounter, due to the similarity and/or complexity of their names. Because I’ve studied pre-Columbian, Central American literature (though certainly not as extensively as Bowles), I consider myself to be familiar with Aztec mythology/history; yet, I was confused in multiple locations throughout the text. Bowles does contain a thorough glossary and pronunciation guide, which I frequently required to consult, but for a book that is so fast-paced, this disrupted the reading process. For the uninitiated reader, this could be a barrier to feeling fully immersed in the text.Ultimately, I was riveted by Johnny and Carol’s impassioned find for their mother. Even when I was confused by the terminology, this book continued to be un-put-down-able. Bowles makes his characters feel real, and I became deeply invested in their story. From the snappy dialogue, infused with Spanish words and phrases, to the intricate world-building, Bowles keeps his reader’s attention from beginning to end. Now I’m itching to obtain my hands on A Kingdom Beneath the Waves, which was published in 2016, as well as the other three books in the series, forthcoming in 2017, 2019, and 2021.
While the "Garza Twins" series is geared more for tween readers, I've taken time to test out these titles -- and oh how I relished escaping into this sequel, far more so than the original! I must admit, what likely biased me to favor Book Two so strongly was my private fascination with the ocean. My favorite hero here recalled for me a now-famous cinematic Amphibian Man. The best moment for me was the unexpected yet timely appearance of a certain goddess -- I couldn’t support but think of moviemaker Peter Jackson’s ver of Galadriel.Speaking of which, I believe my accepting this tale as a Middle-Earth-style epic, created it less a hardship for me -- even motivated me -- to hold track of the a lot of characters and multiple Nahuatl names, as compared to my experience with Book One. Reading most of this sequel as an e-book (utilizing the word-search option) likely also helped me in that regard. Moreover, what appealed to me was Book Two's innovation to expand the first volume's Mesoamerican mythology to now contain a surprising number of aquatic deities and creatures.A glossary is included at the end, to help with both Spanish and Nahuatl terms. If I'd be nitpicky, I would've preferred some early dialogue rephrased to more closely match true-to-life speech. Otherwise, I very much enjoyed seeing a key supportive hero from Book One return, to summon the central 12-year-old sibling pair to support stop a potential apocalypse. I also enjoyed seeing how a few secondary characters employed their own shifting abilities almost in the style of the "pseudopod" VFX in James Cameron's movie "The Abyss."
This novel describes 12-year-old twins discovering their ancestral ties to shape-shifting abilities -- an early tip of how Mexican indigenous mythology would come to life, along the quest that the siblings undertake to search a missing family member. As a resident of southernmost Texas, I appreciated the story's inclusion of a real-life town from my region among the settings. The English text is simple to read, and while a number of Spanish words and phrases are woven in, most are quickly translated within the narrative (but also in the glossary at the end).I've seen this title categorized as a children's book. I’d personally deem it more for a young-adult audience, for one main reason: The story not only acknowledges the human sacrifices that arose among the Aztecs, but at one point incorporates it as an element of suspense. Readers need not be discouraged, though -- there's no sensationalized violence, nor is this anything like the more adult-level horror tales I've read that have dealt grim fates to amazing guys. Here, the tweens obtain to face up to their sequence of trials and thereby present their main hardship was differentiating the Nahuatl names -- a lot of were unfamiliar to me compared to, say, the deity Quetzalcoatl. But I deemed this an possibility to obtain acquainted with individuals (and species) other than those found in Greek or Norse mythology. I laughed out loud at misheard terms, and I got a kick out of the Star Battles references. I enjoyed noticing info from modern Mexican culture, folk religion, and Catholicism -- I was happy to see that an example of the latter was left unexplained, as a to the intelligence of readers.
David Bowles’ The Smoking Mirror, is the story of the Garza twins—[email protected]#$% Johnny and his sister Carol—whose family is torn apart when their mother goes missing. Neglected by their father, and increasingly estranged from one another, the kids are shunted off to relatives in Mexico, where they learn of their shapeshifting abilities, and of the startling and risky quest that only they can make. They must venture into the Underworld, and pass through its realms, in to rescue their mother. As with all stories that pit amazing versus evil, The Smoking Mirror is populated with sidekicks, unexpected helpers, creatures and the monstrous. Crammed with info about Mexican folklore and mythology, and spattered with Spanish terms for authenticity, this is a YA paranormal adventure with a twist. Although the book’s protagonists are 12 years old, which would ordinarily create it suitable for middle grade readers, in my view the vocabulary in this book lends it to older readers, from around age 14 onwards.(I received a review copy of The Smoking Mirror from the book’s publisher).
Picking up about six months after the first book, The Smoking Mirror, A Kingdom Beneath the Waves does a amazing job of re-immersing the reader into Carol and Johnny Garza’s globe without overshadowing its own plot with too much background. One does need to have read the first book in the series for this second book to create sense, given that The Smoking Mirror provides much-needed background on the Mesoamerican mythological roots of this series’ worldbuilding. We begin A Kingdom Beneath the Waves with the understanding that Carol and Johnny, the series’ twin protagonists, wield xoxal or savage magic, and that they are naguales, meaning they can shift into alternate forms: Their tonal—their animal spirit—being a wolf and a jaguar, respectively. Utilizing these powers, Carol and Johnny are enlisted into helping the underwater kingdom of Tapachco as it is being threatened by the fugitive prince, ol and Johnny’s involvement in saving Tapachoc—and, by extension, the world—is complicated by their previous run-ins with the mythical world. Indeed, what makes this series so fascinating is that Carol and Johnny are not straightforward heroes, they grapple with tough topics and their own faults as they learn to wield their burgeoning powers. Their choices have huge consequences, but those choices still feel within the realm of these young protagonists, which makes this series relatable despite its fantasy elements.Further, one of the things I search most intriguing about this series is how integral being Latinx is to the series and, yet, it’s not a series about race/racism or xenophobia (though those things are present)—rather, these are stories about young people demonstrating resilience and making tough decisions. Carol and Johnny’s struggles for amazing translate well for young readers, especially young Latinxs or other historically marginalized readers. What’s more, this book furthers representation by not only establishing Carol and Johnny’s own Indigenous heritages (by drawing a line between them and other twin naguales), but also introducing characters who are coded as Polynesian. This increase in representation in this series further reflects the diversity of our globe and would resonate with young readers of all with the previous book, Bowles’s mastery of myth and history is impressive. While reading these books, I do have some problem keeping track of hero names, put names, and mythical monster names. While this doesn’t pull me out of the narrative, it may some readers. As with the first book in the series, Bowles provides an index at the end of the text that helps to briefly remind readers of characters’ names and so l in all, I found A Kingdom Beneath the Waves to be a amazing addition to this series. It added more complexity to the globe established in The Smoking Mirror and created me intrigued to hold reading the rest of the series. For readers who loved Percy Jackson or other fantasy series, The Garza Twin series is a must-read.
This is the second in the YA, teen-oriented series by David Bowles. It tells the story of the shape-shifting Garza twins Carol And Johnny, and their family. Family is a large theme in these stories. The setting is show day, but with a powerful confluence of history and mythology from Mexico, and beyond.I recommend these books for you any who have fun fantasy and mythology, and the fast-growing genre of "border tales." The books are quick paced and, while geared for young teen readers (the protagonists are 13 in this story), they are enjoyable for any age, in my opinion. David Bowles is an acclaimed author and professor who has multiple translations, stories, and volumes of poetry in his curriculum vita. There's a nice blending of modern and ancient here. I always learn a amazing of lore, and a decent bit of vocabulary with his works. This one is no this installment, we learn more about the twins' powers, and the rules of magic in the globe they inhabit. There is a decent crossover with perhaps more familiar myths, and a amazing dose of tie in to the first volume ("The Smoking Mirror"). I rated both books five stars, but this second book is the better of the two in my opinion. There's more detail and some loose ends and plot points left over from book 1 are inventively covered in the second book. I definitely recommend reading them in order, but you could do this one as stand-alone and not miss too much. There are, however, references to the earlier story that you would miss by not reading it first.Looking forward to book 3!
The shapeshifting twins continue to mature and learn how to use their vast powers in this fast-moving sequel. The family vacation turns into a quest to save the globe from immolation by water!Johnny and Carol have a amazing rapport. I liked how Johnny really feels compelled to use his shapeshifting abilities to support others, but that gets him into danger. The undersea action created it like I could see the merfolk and sea creatures. Pink dolphins are real!
I grew up in South Texas. When I joined the military I moved away and never really looked back. A few months ago, this novel came along and changed everything for me. While at first glance this novel may appear to be a teen's story I am here to say this book is much much more. This is a cultural encyclopedia of South Texas. The same put I never looked back on when I joined the military is now the same put I heart yearns ese days everyone talks about El Chapo and the drug cartels. We unfortunately are too fast to judge Hispanic culture by the cover pages. If you wish a real taste of South Texas and Hispanic culture look no further than this novel. I am sure you will not only fall in love with the story but you will also fall in love with the real Hispanic the author: Thank you David for reawakening my respect and desire for South Texas culture. Your book is a real diamond in the rough and I look forward to ready MORE of your novels.-C.S.
David Bowles is an online mate from discussion forums we once frequented. I recieved this book in exchange for a review.I bought another copy because it is amazing and I wish a copy to preserve. So, the story is about the Garza twins and their find for their mother. They go from a depressing shattered home life to a major adventure that brings them deeper knowledge of themselves and their heritage. It is some amazing fun to read. The characters are richly depicted and they ring real to life even as they encounter the fantastic.I everything Dr. Bowles produces because it is all good. This story is amazing and I really look forward to the sequels.
I was very fortunate to keep an advanced copy of The Smoking Mirror latest week from my mate David Bowles, and the best method to describe the book as “The Wonder Twins meets Percy Jackson with a lot of Mexican e Smoking Mirror chronicles the adventures of Nagual shapeshifting twins Johnny and Carol Garza who travel to the Aztec underworld to rescue their mother Veronica after she disappears leaving the family in turmoil. Their mother and grandmother are also shapeshifting e twins endure typical pre-teen struggles while finally coming to terms with their new-found abilities. Johnny morphs into a jaguar while Carol changes into a Mexico red wolf. David does a amazing job in capturing how the twins learn to hunt and track in their respective animal forms.He paints an amazing picture of the Aztec underworld with its special characters, numerous creatures and risky settings. The story has lots of action and the plot moves along quite well.I can’t wait for the sequel and it’s nice to finally see a fresh generation of Latino fantasy heroes with more coming on the horizon.
Well, South Texas poet/author/translator Dr. David Bowles has done it again. With his sequel to 2015’s award-winning The Smoking Mirror, A Kingdom Beneath the Waves, Dr. Bowles takes his readers to an unexplored watery globe riddled with mermen, shapeshifting dolphins and other unusual sea creatures. The Garza twins continue to discover their Nagual heritage and strive to master their savage magic. The author creates a globe complete with a royal hierarchy and the history of its civilization. You are totally submerged into the merfolk’s culture and their respective customs. A Kingdom Beneath the Waves is a amazing read with powerful characters and lots of action to engage fans of both fantasy and syfy of all ages. I look forward to the next installment.
We got this book for a 3 year old as the television present is too violent for him. The book is a amazing replacement bc he’s a major TMNT fan but isn’t allowed to watch the show! This book isn’t too violent for a 3 year old in my opinion. The turtles war and conquer robots rather than something living in this book so, that’s a plus for an impressionable kid. He loves it!
amazing story full of action, still, I felt it could have used more romance, but that aside its only true issue with that was too short, but I understand that writing android games that draws out while still keeping it interesting and very hard to do, the ending of this one just felt like it was the ending of a prologue.
Of all the children's books telling and retelling the story of the three small pigs, this is my favorite. Nothing is cooler than martial arts to my young boys. Introducing martial arts to the story allows for some enrichment of the characters. Foolish choice of building materials was not what leads to first two pigs failure. It is their lack of dedication to their martial arts lessons. The small sister gets the be the heroic third pig.But what I love most about this book is the voice and meter. It is effortless, even when reading for the first time, to hit the creative rhymes on the simple to follow rhythm. The author's use of puns, specifically swine similar puns is t it!
I am a first grade teacher with a a unique small ninja master in my classroom. While preparing to do a fairy tale unit I came across this book and bought it with one kid specifically in mind, however I couldn't be more pleased....there is something in this tale for all to enjoy! They love the rhythm and rhyme and my small girlies loved the fact that the sister kicked bootie in this one! I loved all the "pig" humor being from a county that's claim to fame is the Pork Festival! Now if I can just obtain my class to obtain the true notice that hard work does off we will be in business. Needless to say, I'm buying another copy to give to my small ninja master who comes to school most days either dressed as a ninja or Michael Jackson!
A excellent adaptation of the classic 3 small pigs fairy tale that has the 3 small pigs in training to conquer their arch-enemy. A amazing read for children of all ages for the National Day of the Ninja. The art is very well done in this fully illuminated Kindle picture book, with double tap word zoom enabled.
This is one of my 5 year old daughters favorite books at the moment! Not sure if it's because we live in Japan and ninjas are a huge thing among a lot of children here, but she thinks it's very funny. This is also a book that I have fun reading as well, so it's a win-win situation. There is one part where it says something about kicking the wolf's "butt," however, because of the flow of the book, I'm not bothered by it, and of course this is the part that my daughter thinks is most hilarious!
The concept is good, well written, and well thought out but the execution leaves a bit to be desired. While its simple to obtain immersed in the world, you search that the ending is abrupt and there are too few paths explored and relationships unfulfilled. This story had the potential to be one of the best CoG but the author left too much of it unexplored which left me wanting. Still, its a amazing story but only average because of the execution.