Monday, April 23, 2018

ARU SHAH by Roshani Chokshi / Author Interview #AruShah #RickRiordanPresents

Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! Today I am so thrilled to share my interview with Aru Shah author, Roshani Chokshi. I recently sat down with Roshani to talk about her MG debut. If you follow us on Mundie Moms, you'll know I am a huge fan of her YA series. I am thrilled she has a middle grade book out. It is FANTASTIC! I highly recommend picking it up! You can read my 5 star review for it here


Aru is so well written. I love that you made her this character that we can all relate to, whether you're a pre-teen reading her story or an adult. We've all gone through those stages or are going through of wanting to fit in. I love her journey teaches her it she doesn't need to fit. Something she desperately wants to do in the beginning of this story. She was so realistic. 

Aru was how I was in middle school. We have a lot of similarities. Middle school is so rough. You cry the most, but you also laugh the most. There's so much you go through. 

There are a lot of fun elements to this story. Which element to Aru's story surprised you the most?

I was most surprised with the emotionally journey of writing Aru. I genuinely felt like I knew her, because there are so many aspects of myself and my friends in her story. I knew exactly what she would do. She's self confident, and overly self aware all at the same time. The experience of writing her, and so many parts of this story genuinely made me cry. There are many things stitched with memory. At this stage you feel as though if something happens or you don't get it, you're going to die. 

Friendship is a huge part of this book, that I really enjoyed. What inspired it? 

Aru is dedicated to my best friends. While they are my best friends they aren't all necessarily best friends with each other, but with each of my best friends I get to share a different aspect of myself with each one of them. With Aru, and her sisters, that is their relationship. This book is totally inspired by Sailor Moon. I totally love this group of despaired girls bonding together, being magical, and loving one another. 

This story is such a good mix of an emotional journey that makes you laugh out loud, cry, sigh, and just enjoy the full on journey. It was so good. I loved getting to know Aru. How long has her story been in transition for you? 

This story has been in my head for eons. Literally. I think a large part of that is because when I was younger I wrote a lot of Sailor Moon fan fiction, and I also wrote a lot of fantasy stories, and wrote my friends, and myself in those stories. That is where the heart of Aru's story came from. It's been there for ages and ages. I did not come up with the plot until, any of it, until I actually heard about Rick Riordan Presents. There was just something that just cliched. I wrote three chapters and sent it to my agent, who is awesome. We went back and a forth a bit, and I had to figure out how to be true to myself, and my voice. Once I did, it clicked, and we sent it off to Rick. 

What came first when you created Boo? Was it his role in helping Aru on her journey or his own surprising story? 

His story came first. The great thing about ancient mythology and the very condiluted layered thing about it, is that everyone gets reborn. Everyone is reincarnated. Everyone's past life is, "I did this, and that's why x, y, z happened". I wanted to explore the consequences of someone's previous actions and what it meant if you had to remember what you did wrong. 

One of the major things I wanted to with this series was I really wanted to play with the idea of just telling your story. What makes you good, or bad, or a villain or what makes you heroic even.

That is one of the things I love about layered mythology. There is so much to the all the characters. I love that with mythology, you can take realism, and make it your own. I absolutely the Hinduism mythology. I'm beginning to see a lot of my Hinduism in books, and I love it.

It's a treasure trove of a story. That has been needed to come to light for a long time. I think the difficult thing with Hindu mythology, that because it's so closely intertwined with the religion, is that you never want to feel as though you are exoticizing your own heritage. So for me, that was the hardest thing about writing this was trying to be delicate about it, but also sharing the stories I grew up with, and hopefully making them coming to life in a new way. For me, these myths are alive, and deserved to be re-contextualized for a modern audience, and for every kid to still see themselves in every reincarnation in the story. 

I loved being immersed into this beautiful world you created. It was fascinating. What was your favorite part of creating your mythology for Aru's journey? 

There was a lot. Rick is the one who helped the most to organize the story structurally. He helped edit Aru. He was so supportive, and so helpful. He was most helpful in telling me that you have to give readers a road map of 'where we're going, why we're going here, and remind them what's the urgency with do this at this time'. Which is something I hadn't really done before. 

I am really excited about the diversity with the Rick Riordan Presents. I'm really looking forward to getting to know more of Aru's sisters. I'm so glad there's going to be a lot more of this story.

I can't wait for you to meet the next sister. 

I love that this series is about the sisters. 

It's sisters, and than Aidan. Who you meet at the end of book 1. 

YES! That meeting and the every end had me laughing, and wanting the next book. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series. 

Thank you to Roshani, and Disney for making this interview possible. Thank you especially to Roshani for taking the time to sit down with me to talk about Aru, and her story.

** This interview was transcribed from the audio portion of my in-person interview with Roshani. If there are any errors that is the fault of myself, and not of the author or publisher. 


By: Roshani Chokshi
Published by: Disney Hyperion / Rick Rioridan Presents
Released on: March 27th, 2018
Series: A Pandava Novel #1
Ages: 8 & up
Add it to Goodreads

Best-selling author Rick Riordan introduces this adventure by Roshani Chokshi about twelve-year-old Aru Shah, who has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school.

While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?


Roshani Chokshi ( is the author of the instant New York Times bestselling novel, The Star-Touched Queen, and its companion, A Crown of Wishes. She studied fairy tales in college, and she has a pet luck dragon that looks suspiciously like a Great Pyrenees dog. Aru Shah and the End of Time, her middle grade debut, was inspired by the stories her grandmother told her as well as Roshani's all-consuming love for Sailor Moon. She lives in Georgia and says "y'all," but she doesn't really have a Southern accent. Her Twitter handle is @Roshani_Chokshi.


The Rick Riordan Presents imprint from Disney-Hyperion is dedicated to providing entertaining middle-grade fiction based on various world mythologies. Rick Riordan is involved in the selection, editing, and promotion of these books, working with great authors to tell exciting stories inspired by the mythologies of their own heritages.


Follow @DisneyBooks, @ReadRiordan, and @RoshaniChokshi on Instagram
Learn more about the book on the official Rick Riordan Presents site

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Tale Of Timothy Price And His Dragon by Francis Clark / Book Review #TheTaleofTimothyPriceAndHisDragon

Written & Illustrated by: Francis Price
Released on: September 30th, 2017
Ages: 5 & up
Purchase from: Amazon
Add it to Goodreads
An e-copy of this book was received from the author in exchange for my honest review

This magical tale tells the story of a boy, his dragon and the adventures they get up to when a dragon slayer (a mouse) pays them a visit. Full of wit, humor and introducing unforgettable characters this is a story children (and adults) can get lost in time and time again. Written and illustrated by Francis Clark this book is ultimately about friendship, imagination and the importance of showing kindness to others.

A fun, easy to read story full of imagination and friendship. This magical story is one that will easily hold short attention spans as the story caters to young children. It's a story that's easy to follow and understand. It's a story that works great for the 1st-2nd grade reading levels. The fun child like illustrations, and simple color scheme will be appealing to even the youngest of readers. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

ELEMENTALS: ICE WOLVES by Amie Kaufman / Book Review

By: Amie Kaufman
Published by: Harper Collins
Released on: 27th March 2018
Series: Elementals #1
Ages: 8 & up
Purchase fromAmazon  Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 owlets 
Source: Purchased book 

Everyone in Vallen knows that ice wolves and scorch dragons are sworn enemies who live deeply separate lives. So when twelve-year-old orphan Anders takes one elemental form and his twin sister, Rayna, takes another, he has to question whether they are even related. Still, whether or not they’re family, Anders knows that Rayna is his best and only true friend. She’s nothing like the brutal, cruel dragons who claimed her as one of their own and stole her away. To learn what he needs to rescue her, Anders will have to enlist at the foreboding Ulfar Academy, a school for young wolves that values loyalty to the pack above all else. But for Anders, loyalty is more complicated than blind obedience, and friendship is the most powerful shape-shifting force of all.

I have been a huge fan of Amie's cowritten YA books for a few years now, so when I heard she was writing her first solo book I was very excited. Even more excited that this is her first middle grade book. I was not disappointed. As many have said before, whe is awesome at YA but she can now say she is fabulous at middle grade too.

Our story starts with twin brother and sister Anders and Rayna who are orphans living on the streets. They need to scavenge and steal their food from where they can and are quite a team together. When by accident they end up at the trials held each month for children to see if they can turn into Ice Wolves, things start taking a twist no one expects, least of all Anders and Rayna. The Ice Wolves are an army of part human part wolves who protect the city from the dragons who threaten their safety. When Anders turns into a wolf and his sister is stolen away by the dragons, he decides to join the academy for training young wolves, in the hope it will give him the skills to find his sister.

Told in the point of view of Anders, it is a great story of friendship, and making those around you your family. Anders at first is an unlikely hero, he is used to having his sister around to make decisions and even to talk to adults. He is used to hiding on the streets and fending for himself. But once he ends up in the academy he learns more about himself and that he can trust other people to be there for him. The ending will knock your socks off and wanting more ASAP!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


By: Kir Fox & M. Shelley Coats
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: April 17th, 2018 - TODAY!
Series: Secrets of Topsea #1
Ages: 8 & up
Purchase from: Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads 
Rating: 4 owlets 
We are a Disney Hyperion partner, and received this book in exchange for our honest review

Welcome to Topsea, the strangest place you'll ever visit. In this town, the coves are bottomless and the pier has no end in sight. There's a high tide and a low tide... and a vanishing tide. Dogs are a myth, but mermaids are totally real. And seaweed is the main ingredient in every meal-watch out, it might just start chewing you back!

New kid Davy definitely thinks Topsea is strange. His mom keeps saying they'll get used to life in their new town-it's just the way things are on the coast! But after his first day at Topsea School, Davy finds himself wondering: Why is his locker all the way at the bottom of the school swimming pool? Why can't anyone remember his name? (It's Davy!) And why does everyone act like all of this is normal?!

Through newspaper articles, stories, surveys, notifications, and more, follow Davy and the rest of Ms. Grimalkin's fifth grade class through the weird world of Topsea. (Whatever you do, don't make eye contact with the rubber ducks.)

A fun, imaginative read. This book is mix of a variety elements that make up a charming, yet very unique middle grade story. Like Davy and his classmates discover, the harder you try to figure out anything that's happening in Topsea, the harder it is to understand all that's going. That's the part of what makes this story so fun to read. The trick is to just go with the flow when reading this story.  Trust us! 

Topsea is definitely the strangest place I've ever visited. It's a town of many secrets and riddles. To call it a strange place would be an understatement. It's more unforgettable than anything. Just as Davy learns something new about the town from his classmates, he ends up uncovering even more intriguing information and myths. I'm definitely most intrigued with the legends. I'm very curious about how some of the town's basements have water in them, and some don't. That's just one of the many things I'm curious about. The rest you'll have to read about. 

This story is definitely a fun, intriguing read. I have a feeling this book only scratched the surface of all this town's odd secrets. All the strange happenings through out this book made for a unforgettable adventure. I think it's safe to say that this story is unlike anything we've read before, and we're looking forward to it's sequel. I'm looking forward to when I can go back for another visit to Topsea. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

THE GOLDEN GLOW by Benjamin Flouw / Book Review #TheGoldenGlow

Written & Illustrated By: Benjamin Flouw
Published by: Tundra Books
To Be Released on: May 15th, 2018 
Ages: 4 & up
Purchase from: The Publisher | Amazon 
Add it to Goodreads
Rating: 5 Owlets
An e-copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review

Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox meets Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever in this stylish picture book about a quest for a rare and mysterious plant.

Fox loves nature. There's nothing he enjoys more than reading about and picking flowers. One evening he comes across a rare specimen in his old botany book -- the golden glow, a plant from the Wellhidden family, found only in the mountains . . . a plant that has yet to be described. Fascinated, Fox decides to set off on a quest in search of the mysterious Golden Glow. He packs his knapsack, a map, a compass, a flashlight, a sleeping bag and other items for his hike. Along the way Fox observes many different kinds of trees and plants. He also encounters woodland friends who help him make it to the summit of the mountain. But when Fox eventually stumbles upon the object of his quest, he makes a surprising decision.

With spreads of educational content interspersed throughout, The Golden Glow is a charming story that details the simple pleasures of a nature hike and celebrates observing the beauty of nature.

Like the rare flower in this story, The Golden Glow is a gem of a read. It's one that brings the outdoors to life, and stirs the adventurer's heart to want to be along side Mr. Fox in his quest to find the mysterious, rare flower high on the mountain peak. The rare, beautiful flow is one no one has seen, but Mr. Fox has read about it in a book. 

With the help of his woodland animal friends, and a lot of persistence and not giving up, Mr. Fox finds the beautiful treasure he's been looking for. His journey in the beautiful out doors shares a message with readers about the importance of leaving things as we find them, as well as showing readers the important roles those around us play. 

This is a great story mixed with illustrations that are frame worthy. I absolutely loved this book, the outdoor adventure it provided without leaving my house. Though now I long to be outdoors. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

POPPED STAR by Rhode Montijo & Luke Reynolds / Book Review #GumGirl #TheGumazingGumGirl

By: Rhode Montijo w/ Luke Reynolds
Illustrated by: Rhodes Montijo 
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Released on: April 3rd, 2018
Ages: 6 & up
Series: The Gumazing Gum Girl #3
Purchase from: Disney | Amazon | B&N
Add it to Goodreads

Gabby Gomez knows she needs to come clean with her family about her secret identity. But just as she works up the courage, trouble pops up again as Ninja-Rina twirls onto the scene! Has Gum Girl finally met her match? Is Ninja-Rina tutu much to handle? Buckle up for more flavored-packed action as Gum Girl takes on someone a little more her size. It’s another exciting adventure with the ever-elastic, super-stretchy superhero, Gum Girl!

This book is a fun, entertaining read! Gabby Gomez is a character who makes girl power fun and her lessons learned in this book, relatable. I'll admit, it would be fun to have the gum chewing super powers Gabby has. Aside from her awesome abilities, Gabby learns some real life lessons in this book, like learning to work together, and work with someone you may not like, or like what they're doing. She also learns the importance of honesty, as well the importance of being true to yourself. 

Gum Girl is a fun, fast read. With easy to read words, an engaging storyline, and illustrations that make this story even more exciting, this is a book I'd recommend for all readers under the age of ten. Plus what's not fun about a book that smells like gum? Also included in this book is a poster under the dust jacket. My favorite part of this book is what Gum Girl writes in her Hero essay at the end of the book; "Anybody can be a hero". 


Find out more about The Gumazing Gum Girl! series here

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~