It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (27)

It's Monday! What Are You ReadingIt’s Monday! What Are You Reading?’ is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It’s a great post to organise yourself. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a great week. Mine was just okay in reading.

Last week,A

I read The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri and finished the dragon of the month club by Iain Reading.

Currently Reading- 

Anne of Green Gables & Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

I haven’t progressed much in this book as I’m reading it with other book of the week and will continue like same this week too.

Next this week-

The Bachelor of Belmead by Helen Bea Kirk

35963037People say that money can make or break you. Todd Ross is living a broken life when the grandmother he thought long dead gives him an opportunity to rebuild. Her estate is worth a fortune, but it comes with a catch and he’s not happy about it. With an angry ex on his heels, Todd must decide whether to continue down the path he was on, or jump in head first and make something of this second chance. Petrified that the inheritance bestowed on him will render him penniless, Todd and his friend, Shay, navigate the strange new living circumstance and social life together. Will it be Todd’s road to finding real happiness or will the strangers surrounding him lead him down the road to ruin? 


What are you reading this week? How was your last week? Have you read any of these books before or planning to read in future? What do you think about them?? Share your thoughts in the comment-box below.

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#AuthorInterview: with Vinita Bakshi, author of #31Miles @vinisb4

Hello Book Lovers! Today I’m pleased to share with you author interview with Vinita Bakshi, author of  31 Miles. I’m glad I got a chance to read this wonderful book and even more happy for getting a chance to interview the author. If you missed my review on 31 miles or would like to know more about book click⇒ HERE

About author_edited

I am a simple person born and brought up in Delhi. It hurts to see unhappy people all around due to different reasons. Thus, I created She Speaks to voice women issues and a cultural festival Aambrotsave with Literature, Art & Craft, Instrumental & Performing arts and food as it’s components. We also run a center for EWS and provide them informal education and holistic development completely free of cost. We also skill train women to make them financially independent.

Q&A

Q. When and why did you begin writing?

31miles, I began writing in Nov 2012. There was this childhood birth story that had always haunted me. And I played with the concept of online relationship. Back then not many had started writing on digital relationships.

Q. How did you come up with the idea for your book?

As I said I had always felt he compulsive need to share this rebirth story.

Q. What draws you to this particular genre? Do you think writing will stay in the same genre?

Fiction intrigues me and will always be my first love. But I keep writing on a diverse range of topics in my blogs and for other publications.

Q. How did you break in publishing world? How many rejections did you go through before finding publisher? If so, what did you do to keep yourself hopeful?

I must must always be thankful to almighty and My publisher Rupa for this break. I was talking to Penguin too. But once Rupa said Welcome to Rupa authors club.  The wait was over.

Q. What was your favorite chapter (or part) of writing this book and why?

Developing online romance between Rajan and Mansa was interesting. I used Urdu, English and Hindi poetry and lot of quotes, shers to create Rajan. And it became my favorite chapter. 

Q. What was the hardest part of writing the book? Was there anything that you deleted or altered?

Developing online romance between Rajan and Mansa was the biggest challenge and the toughest part. Took me the longest to write that part. I never deleted or altered anything.

Q. What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?

Love is the greatest human emotion. Family is the greatest social institution.

Q. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

Discipline, hard work and commitment to reach the finishing line.

Q. Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you?

Many and across genres – Roald Dahl, Tagore, Chekhov, Kafka, Leo Tolstoy, Premchand, Jane Austen, Amitav Ghosh, Rumi and so many

Q. What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime?

Anything from Business to fiction… depends on my mood

Q. What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime?

Anything from Business to fiction… depends on my mood

Q. What are your future project(s)? What’s it about? (*if relevant)

Yes …certainly. Lots is happening. One Hindi short novel – Bindu Ka Dayraa is complete and under discussion with publishers. Hopefully Hindi translation of 31miles should happen this year. I am also working on sequel of 31miles. A project, comprising true stories of women with a London based editor is also under progress.

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Every book has its own destiny. Work hard on your manuscript and then work harder to get it published.

Q. What is your favorite motivational phrase?

There are three principles to success – hard work, hard work and hard work.

Q. Currently reading

The Lowland – Jhumpa Lahiri

Q. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

It was one of the longest list of questions that I have answered 😊

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: www.vinitabakshi.com

Blog: http://vinitabakshi.blogspot.in/

Twitter: @vinisb4

Facebook Goodreads Linkedin Pinterest Smashwords

Book Links: (Amazon

Many thanks to author for taking the time out of busy schedule to take part in this interview.

Thank you for reading!

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#AuthorInterview with Susan Schaefer Bernardo @susanbernardo

Hey book lovers! Today I’m happy to share author interview with Susan Schaefer Bernardo, Author of Inspired- inspirational and entertaining mythological urban fantasy on Greek Muses with little family drama that I read and reviewed in January. It’s releasing next month on May 6th, isn’t it great?If you missed my review and would like to know about book click HERE.


About author_edited

susan.jpgI’ve been writing poetry and stories since I could hold a crayon!   I am a big believer in the power of creativity.  The process of writing poetry or making art allows me to express and understand my emotions.  Through our imagination, we find ways to move through painful experiences and transform them into something very beautiful and healing. 

I wrote my first book Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs because I wanted to reassure my kids (and myself!) that we are always connected to the people we love.  Writing my poem “Tonic Waters” helped me cope with grief over my mother-in-law’s death.   I was so honored when “Tonic Waters” was published in an anthology and read aloud at the 2014 World Cancer Day Concert – because it meant my words might console others experiencing similar pain.  I’m currently finishing my first YA novel for girls, and I’ve just finished collaborating on a wonderful new book to support children who have suffered a traumatic event. 

I love to learn just as much as I love to teach, and I hold a B.A. in English (UCLA), M.A. in English Literature (Yale) and elementary/secondary teaching credentials (Pepperdine).  I keep my inner flower child happy and inspired by sculpting, dancing, exploring tide pools, raising chickens in the city, traveling to cool new places (and attempting to speak the language, even if it’s just please and thank you), and taking long nature walks with my sons and our rescue terrier Poppy.  I’m happiest when I’m barefoot and surrounded by beauty.

Q&A_edited

Q. When did you decide to become a writer?

I have loved writing poetry and stories since I learned how to read! The first book I ever read by myself was Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham at age 4, and I think that inspired me to begin writing poetry.  I’ve been keeping journals for many years, and as a little kids, I loved to create little handmade books with my stories and drawings.

Q. What inspired you to write Inspired?

In 1994 when I was living in Boston, I had a vivid dream about a girl at a museum who sees a painting of Greek Muses coming to life, and then becomes their apprentice. I tried for several years to write it as a screenplay, but it really wanted to be a novel.

Q. What sort of research did you do to write this book?

For me, it’s always a rich mix of academic research, field trips to locations in the book, hands-on experiential learning and just daydreaming into the ideas. I have loved the Getty Villa here in Los Angeles (a museum focusing on Greek and Roman antiquities) since I went on a field trip there in high school…so I spent a lot of time wandering around there and picturing scenes. I’ve spent time in Greece and Rome, including exploring Pompeii and the Vatican Museum.  I also love “intuitive Googling” – just going down the rabbit hole of finding interesting facts and ideas on the internet!  In order to make the glassblowing scenes realistic, I took a glassblowing workshop – it was hot and exhausting work, and cool and exciting, too! I love doing art of all kinds.

Q. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’ve also published three children’s picture books: Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm and The Big Adventures of Tiny House. I can’t name a favorite – every project was a wonderful experience, and I am proud of all of them! One of the things I love about my picture books is that they were all written with the intention to help heal and inspire children going through loss or trauma. So it feels good to have them out in the world. Inspired is my first novel, and I have two sequels for it in draft stage.

Q. Describe what your ideal writing space looks like.

I am a wandering writer! I have a little old Mac Airbook, and I move around a lot when I am writing. Sometimes, I sit on my deck. I live on a hill and have a great view of trees in the canyon below and blue skies above. Sometimes, I write in a big tent in my backyard (I just dyed the tent purple last week!), because it feels very creative and cozy.  Sometimes, I take my laptop or journal to a favorite coffeehouse or the library, so I don’t get distracted by all my clutter or unfinished projects around the house (like laundry!). And my favorite of all is to take my laptop or journal with me when I travel, and get creative in an exotic place! I have written overlooking a lake Bali, sitting on the Hill of Tara in Ireland, and while at a bistro in Paris, to name a few!

Q. What was your favorite chapter (or part) of writing this book and why?

The scene that takes place at the Getty Villa was my favorite, because it really blended the angst of growing up with the magical possibilities of the fantasy aspects of the book! I channeled my teen self from when I went there in high school, including the annoying boy in my class….and also got to dream about meeting a cute boy and a bunch of magical Muses.

Q. What was the hardest part of writing the book? Was there anything that you deleted or altered?

Revising. I revised the book for a very, very long time. I let go of whole plot threads, changed the beginning, the end, the middle – over and over. I think the book just didn’t want to be ready for me, until I was ready for it!  In the past 6 years, I have learned SO MUCH about indie publishing – and now I feel confident about launching Rocket (that’s my main character’s name!)!  Two years ago, coincidentally (?!), a book I co-wrote with LeVar Burton was sent on an actual rocket to the International Space Station and read aloud by Astronaut Kate Rubin!

Q. Your favorite quality in a protagonist.

Three of them: intelligence, a sense of humor and kindness.

Q. What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?

Trust and enjoy your journey! Pay attention to the voice inside of you — and notice the things that light you up and make you glow – those things are clues about your soul purpose. We are all here with our piece of the puzzle for making the world a better place. Even the parts of our lives that seem hard while we are going through them are valuable parts of our human, creative process.

Q. Who are some authors that inspire you?

SO many – I read about three books a week. JK Rowling, of course! Anne McCaffrey. Ursula K LeGuin. Dr. Seuss. Tomi Adeyemi. Erin Morganstern. Virginia Woolf.  Stephen King. Anthony Doerr. And for creative support, I love Anne Lamott’s guide for writers, Bird by Bird, Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic.

Q. Your favorite childhood book.

A Little Princess

Q. Do you read book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?

I read them obsessively! The good ones feel like hugs. When I get a bad review, I try to see if they feel true and useful, and if I can use them to improve for the future. If they get me too depressed, I re-read the good ones and cuddle my dog, Poppy, or write about my feelings in my journal. I don’t love every book that I read, so I can’t expect every reader to love MY book, right? That’s what makes the world interesting – everyone’s got their unique tastes and opinions. Please leave me a review if you read the book – it means so much to authors to know that their words are reaching readers!

Q. What are your future project(s)? What’s it about? (*if relevant)

I have a few books in the pipeline! My picture book partner Courtenay Fletcher is currently illustrating a picture book biography I wrote about the artist Theophile Steinlen, and that will be released by early 2019 (it was inspired by a little bronze cat sculpture I found in an antique store in Paris a few years ago!). I am working on more YA novels in The Firefly Tribe series – telling more of Rocket’s story, and also focusing on the other “apprentice Muses” we meet in INSPIRED, who come from other cultures and time periods (the other books in the Firefly Tribe series will be exploring Celtic mythology, South American shamanism and Hindu goddesses).

Q. Advice for aspiring authors.

Explore your world! I believe that our job as a human is to be creative and curious – so get out there and fill your imagination with rich experiences. Travel. Daydream. Hug trees. Go to museums. Learn other languages and meet people from all walks of life. Try something new whenever you can – whether it’s listening to different music or wearing a funny hat – go for it! Get your hands dirty – make art, plant flowers, build sandcastles, climb mountains. Be kind to yourself, and surround yourself with encouraging, loving people. Be an encouraging, loving person yourself! Read lots of great books. Experiment with writing in different styles, voices, genres. Believe that the Universe is always showering you with blessings and gifts. And persist. Some projects burst out of you – others take decades, like Inspired. It’s all okay.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I see you – and you are AMAZING!!! I know it’s tough being on this human journey sometimes – but isn’t it also magical? 

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website:  www.susanbernardo.com

Facebook:  @SunKissesMoonHugs

Twitter:  @susanbernardo

Goodreads

Book Links: Amazon

Instagram:  @thefireflytribe

Thank you, Yesha, for the opportunity! xoxo Susan

Thank you very much Susan for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview. 🙂

I hope you all enjoyed reading this interview. 

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The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri

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Publication Date: October 29th 2017

Read Date: April 23rd 2018

Genre: Romance / Contemporary

Pages: 408

Stars: 4/5

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Goodreads blurb_edited

A gripping emotional inspirational fiction about love, loss, and finding hope in the darkest of times. 

In the autumn of 2012, destiny wreaks havoc on two unsuspecting people—Soham and Fiona.

Although his devastating past involving his brother still haunted him, Soham had established a promising career for himself in Bangalore.

After a difficult childhood, Fiona’s fortunes had finally taken a turn for the better. She had married her beloved, and her life was as perfect as she had ever imagined it to be.

But when tragedy strikes them yet again, their fundamentally fragile lives threaten to fall apart.

Can Fiona and Soham overcome their grief?

Will the overwhelming pain destroy their lives?

Seasoned with the flavours of exotic Nepalese traditions and set in the picturesque Indian hill station, Gangtok, The Fragile Thread of Hope explores the themes of spirituality, faith, alcoholism, love, and guilt while navigating the complex maze of family relationships.

Inspirational and heart-wrenchingly intimate, it urges you to wonder—does hope stand a chance in this travesty called life?

If you love contemporary literary fiction novels by Khaled Hosseini and Jhumpa Lahiri, contemporary christian fiction novels by Melissa Storm, and tragic romance novels by Jojo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks, then make time for Pankaj Giri’s new heartbreaking inspirational novel The Fragile Thread of Hope.


review_edited

The Fragile Thread of Hope is a bittersweet Love story and it won’t be wrong if I say it was a Life story of two lead characters Fiona and Soham who travel their life path through darkness and tragedy towards the light holding on the fragile thread of hope. Book is about loss, grief, love, family, importance and true meaning of life, and bits of spirituality.

Characters_edited

All characters were written with so much emotion keeping in mind all the minute details. They were so realistic and their actions too felt real.

Soham– was shy, had a problem in expressing his thoughts and was not much good in conversations since his childhood. His love for his elder brother and parents was described so nicely. Those who is youngest child in family can easily relate to his thoughts and feeling. I felt for him more than Fiona as one after other bad things happening with him and he was damn lonely while Fiona had her mother to hold on.

Fiona– was conservative and very close. She wrapped herself in hard shell after her abusive alcoholic father’s death. She was judging all men based on her dark childhood experience until Joseph finds a way to penetrate that shell. When she married Joseph I saw a different cheerful Fiona. I liked that happy picture of her. And then again darkness returns and so her closed nature as well. Her feelings for Joseph and her pain and suffering was so emotional and heart touching. I could see why it was so hard for her to move on and live life but I couldn’t feel much while reading her life till the guilt and regret she expressed for her mother.

Sharon– Fiona’s mother, was kind of third main character. She was most lovable and inspiring character of the book. She suffered lot in past and even after marriage. The way she handled her own grief without any support, brought up Fiona on her own and also the way she handled Fiona in her loss and pain was mind-blowing.

What I liked_edited

Book was narrated beautifully in third person voice through the perspective of Fiona, Soham and Sharon, alternatively. It started with the biggest tragedy in their life and then author take us into the past life of all three characters, their childhood, how they turned out because of the events they encountered in their past, college and professional life, finding love and then back to tragedy and present life, their life after those events to how they will find the hope and happiness again in their life. Transition through all the phases of their life was smooth and mesmerizing. I felt like I was watching the emotional TV soap.

Characters’ life, their hometown, religion and rituals everything was written in beautiful vivid way that I could easily picture. Author woven life and love story with many different topics including alcoholism, death of family members and loved ones, abusive family, religious beliefs, depression and suicidal thoughts, and spirituality with insightful inspirational words that might help those who have experienced loss and can give hope to move on and live life. The blog in the book ‘Himalayan soul’ was just awesome.

Most beautiful thing was the way author represented these two different characters with different perspective, coming from different religion and family background, living totally different life that I couldn’t even imagine their path will intersect at some point and the way their grief and pain brought them together and connected their fragile life with stronger bond of hope and love. Another remarkable point was how both main characters had unintentionally taken their parents for granted, cared for them less and not even realizing how much dependent they were on them until something bad happens to them. Their realization, guilt, and regret was so heartfelt and relatable.

In India, people don’t go to therapist if they are suffering from grief, they find their own way to come out of grief and depression, but sadly some can’t and commit suicide. The close look of Soham’s loneliness and Fiona’s depth of pain created a fear in me that they will do something silly but I loved the way both characters kept living, found a way to conquer their depression and more importantly found each other.

Story was quite predictable, I knew at certain point what was going to happen but I was more curious to see how that will happen. End was nice and I loved to see the peace and happiness in these two tragic characters’ life.

why not 5 stars_edited

Slow. Story was interesting and was unique but it was almost 400 pages long and it progressed slowly, some events were dragged too much in showing close picture of emotional status of characters. I didn’t like those sentences with too much details on minor thing. It felt unnecessary at many places. Book was emotional roller coaster but it touched me superficially not as deeply as I expected.

Overall, The Fragile Thread of Hope was unique,  interesting, inspiring, emotional roller-coaster that all contemporary lovers would love to read.


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Author: Pankaj Giri

To know more about author click Here.

Buy Link: Amazon.com / Amazon.in

*** Note: I received e-copy of book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author for giving me a chance to read this book. ***


What do you think about the book and my review? Have you read this book already? Have you read something similar to this before? Share your thoughts in comment-box below.

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#AuthorInterview: Monica Mujumdar Dixit, author of #AQuestforSpring  @monicadixit

Hello Book Lovers! In February I read A Quest for Spring by Monica Mujumdar Dixit and also got a chance to interview author later that I’m happy to share with you today. By chance if you missed my review on the book you can read it Here

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About author_edited

quest-for-springI was born in Raipur and did my schooling from Bhopal and Mumbai. I went on to graduate from Mithibai College, Mumbai and studied Law at the prestigious I.L.S, Pune. I practiced at the High Court in Nagpur till my daughter arrived. Post that I worked as a Legal Analyst at a publishing house publishing law journals. I took up a sabbatical to care for my ailing mother-in-law and since her passing away I haven’t returned to work.


Q&A_editedQ. When did you decide to become a writer?

It was not something I decided upon. It just happened. My friend with whom I shared the first draft of A Quest for Spring which I had written as a short story suggested I develop it as a novel. After much deliberation I thought why not give it a shot. And here I am today, an author.

Q. What inspired you to write A Quest For Spring?

I have seen far too many relationships break, soulmates drifting away. It was the unseeming possibility of ending up together for a happily forever that prompted me to write A Quest for Spring.

Q. What sort of research did you do to write this book?

The third and fourth parts of A Quest for Spring are based in the Valley and London. I have never visited Kashmir. Whatever I know is from friends who hail from Kashmir and a few books. The only ones that are written are Our Moon has Blood Clots by Rahul Pandita and Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer. Apart from these books I read whatever there was on Kashmir on the net.

I happened to visit London amidst writing A Quest for Spring so I got to observe a lot of things. The way people there dress up, the food they prefer, the suburbs that are reasonable to live in, the eateries and most importantly the tube route.

I wanted my protagonists to come across as authentic as persons. I wanted my readers to find a connect with them. I wanted my readers to identify Amolika and Raehan as persons they might know like may be a close friend or a cousin. To make them as authentic as any living beings I did a lot of research to portray their characteristics. I revised a bit of the basic French that I learnt in school. I watched Titanic and An Affair to Remember twice or thrice. I listened to the old classics Lara’s Theme and Five Hundred Miles and read books on Sahir.

 Sniffed onto a bottle of Old Spice to get a hang of the fragrance.

Q. How did you break in publishing world? How many rejections did you go through before finding publisher?

It took me three years to complete the final draft of A Quest for Spring. I started out in April 2014 and in April 2017 I had completed the draft. Since it took me three long years to complete it I did not want to wait any further to get it published as the subject would have become redundant or someone else might have published a book on a similar premise. At that time most of the big publishing houses were busy publishing celebrities and the wait was for over two years, thus I got in touch with Notion Press and self published the book.

Q. What was your favourite chapter (or part) of writing this book and why?

Part III of the book is my favourite part. I enjoyed writing it the most as it was a interesting to write about the challenges that Amolika faces in her professional life and the plot of Part III has a political background. It was as thrilling to write it as it is to read.

Q. What was the hardest part of writing the book? Was there anything that you deleted or altered?

The hardest part to write was the campus romance. It was years since I passed out of college and besides I had never been in a relationship, so that part was tough to write down. I had to run down the memory lane a number of times.

Q. Your favourite quality in a protagonist.

My favourite protagonist would be Amolika coz she is everything that I would ever want to be. Her determination, ambitious nature and perseverance are her strengths more than draw backs.

Q. What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?

A Quest for Spring is so relevant in today’s times. A Quest for Spring speaks about two people in love following different faiths. It’s a long and an arduous journey of two soulmates, Amolika and Raehan. It’s about love in the most human form. The protagonists are selfish, ambitious and even vindictive at times. They betray the trust placed in them by the other. They fail in their relationships but pick up the threads from thereon. They learn to forgive and most importantly trust again. They overcome all conflicts arising out of the faiths they follow as well as the ones they were instrumental in creating. In today’s times where the seeds of distrust and fear are sown so deep, A Quest for Spring brings in new hope. “Love doesn’t come with a guarantee of safety. There will always be challenges. To overcome them together is what love is all about.” is what Raehan says to Amolika and it kind of sums up Raehan and Amolika’s journey from winter to Spring. I would want the readers to learn to forgive and most importantly learn to love and trust again.

Q. Describe what your ideal writing space looks like.

My desk has my laptop, iPod and head phones, different types of journals, pens, highlighters and sticky notes.

Q. Who are some authors that inspire you?

Sarat Chandra, Jhumpa Lahiri, Anuja Chauhan, Gulzar, Erich Segal,

Jane Austen, Enid Blyton, and Charles Dickens.

Q. Your favourite childhood book.

David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities and Six cousins at the Mistletoe Farm by Enid Blyton were my favourite books as a child.

Q. Do you read book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?

Yes, I read each and every word. The good ones bring immense happiness. I take the bad ones with a pinch of salt. I just use them to improve my skill. Fortunately A Quest for Spring hasn’t received very many bad reviews.

Q. What are your future project(s)? What’s it about? (*if relevant)

My next book will draw heavily from my grandparents love story.

Q. Advice for aspiring authors.

My advice would be that one should never give up and believe in one self.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I just want to request them to read A Quest for Spring.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website:  http://monicamujumdardixit.com

Facebook: Monica Mujumdar Dixit, A Quest for Spring

Twitter: @monicadixit

Goodreads

Lnkedin: Monica Dixit

Book Links: (Amazon)

Many thanks to author for taking the time out of busy schedule to answer all questions so wonderfully.

I hope you all enjoyed reading Q&A as much as I did.

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