#Review : The Accidental Life Swap by Jennifer Joyce was fun and enjoyable

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The Accidental Life Swap by Jennifer Joyce
Expected publication Date: September 1st 2019
Publisher: HQ Digital
Genre: Women’s Fiction / Romance
Pages: 384
Stars: ★★★★★

Sometimes one moment can change your life forever…
Rebecca Riley has always been a bit of a pushover. When her glamorous boss, Vanessa, asks her to jump, she doesn’t just ask how high… she asks if her boss would like her to grab a coffee on the way back down!
So whilst overseeing the renovation of Vanessa’s beautiful countryside home, the last thing Rebecca ever expected was to be mistaken for her boss – or that she would even consider going along with it! Far away from the bustling city and her boss’s demanding ways, could she pretend to be Vanessa and swap lives, just for a little while? 

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for and honest review. ***

Accidental life swap was lovely countryside romance that revolved around Rebecca who accidentally got a chance to live her boss’ life. It was about believing in yourself, have confidence, stand up for yourself and don’t let others pushover you, and for that you only need inner strength and talent are always there, not a false identity.

Characters:

Rebecca had degree in event management but worked as PA for Vanessa, at her event management company. She was timid, lacked backbone, and let everybody pushover her. I didn’t appreciate her lies. She could manage the work she was assigned but looking at those builders and previous project manager’s work, Rebecca needed Vanessa’s confidence and intimidating demeanor. In achieving what she wanted, she hurt friends. But she developed into a confident and strong person by the end of the book. I must say she was very talented, she just didn’t get opportunity to prove her worth before (I should say she didn’t have courage to take the opportunity) and when she got her chance she rocked. I actually liked the way she rectified her mistakes.

I’m fiery female fan and she was far from that. But I know there might be some who are like her. Let me tell you her lack of confidence didn’t make her weak, she was just nice and didn’t know how to stand up for herself.

Oliver was nice throughout the book. He didn’t hesitate in speaking his mind. Fake Vanessa’s intimidating demeanor didn’t affect him and I like him for that. I also liked his childish side, his board game obsession and confessions while playing it.

Stacey, Oliver’s sister, and her animal sanctuary were amazing. I liked Stacey’s fiery nature. You wouldn’t want to be on her bad side but would definitely love her as your friend.

Vanessa was rich, selfish, horrible, and a tyrant boss. She did all in her power to get what she wanted and even fired her staff unreasonably. But her transformation at the end was biggest surprise.

I liked all builders and people of Little Heaton. All characters were well developed and well described.

What I Liked-

Book was beautifully narrated in meek Rebecca’s voice which was not that refreshing but definitely realistic. Writing was great, easy to read and follow with amazing setting. Picturesque countryside, Little Heaton, Vanessa’s holiday home and animal sanctuary took the center stage here. You cannot not notice quirky animals and their name in this book especially those feathery chickens and wandering donkey. I grew to love them all along with characters. When we are in countryside, how can we forget gossips and close relationship between people… and romance. There was right amount of everything friendship and betrayal, family drama, heartbreak and disappointments.

Plot was equally interesting. Book started with Rebecca’s inner rant on how grimy and disrespectful her flatmate was but all in her head. She never, couldn’t confront him or anyone. You seeing that first paragraph of synopsis? It exactly describes Rebecca. She couldn’t even say no to Vanessa when she asked her to oversee her holiday home renovation in impossibly tight deadline. When she reached countryside and at Vanessa’s home, she met builders who mistaken her and thought she was Vanessa.  She couldn’t rectify it quickly, in fact she enjoyed the respect she got, influence she could have on workers, and confidence she channeled through her mistaken identity but then she didn’t plan to fall for one of the builders and thus started all the mess.

I thought this false identity cannot last long, the game will be up pretty soon but I was surprised to see Rebecca managed to keep it secret for so long! She had many occasions to reveal the truth, but she kept the dodging it as she desperately wanted to finish the job within timeline, get a promotion and be in the team of event management-her dream job.

Rebecca and Oliver’s slowly growing friendship and romance was kind of cute. Who would keep playing board games rather than taking their fantasy for each other one level up! But we know them best when they played these board games, we see their other side that they managed to keep hidden from others. Rebecca’s problems with her family and Oliver’s past love life was among those hidden side.

Expanding idea of animal sanctuary, unexpected visits to check the progress of refurbishment, office gossips and some disappointing news made the story interesting. Some twists in the second half, though predictable, were quiet good. I could guess what will happened next most of the time but I must say I couldn’t guess that twist in the end.

Climax was intriguing. I liked Rebecca’s ideas and the way things were set up. That last visit from Vanessa and all events afterwards were wrapped nicely. End was perfect. Epilogue was most interesting.

If you ignore predictability and Rebecca’s lack of confidence, which was tiny lil bit annoying in the beginning, this story is definitely fun and enjoyable.

Overall, it was fun, light-hearted, fast paced and cute countryside romance. This book checked all the boxes I want in Women’s Fiction and Romance. Thumbs up!


Book Link: Goodreads | Amazon
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Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and my review? Have you read this book already or any book by the same author before? Are you going to add it to TBR? 
Have you read any book falling in this genre or theme? Do you like fiery heroine or meek one? Recommend me you favorite countryside romance.

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You Never Know by Akash Verma

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You Never Know by Akash Verma

Publication Date: September 18th 2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House India
Read Date: October 4th 2018
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Pages: 240

Stars: 3/5

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There will be times when you feel you have the best relationship, ever . .
There will be times when it will be the worst that has happened to you
There will be times when you know you are getting into something horrible, something that will not stop till it destroys you,
And yet . . .
You are pulled so inextricably, unstoppably . . .
She was my true love, I knew that. So despite being married and having children, I still went ahead with our affair. I hid it from my wife and colleagues. I told lies so I could be with her-it was that amazing! But I couldn’t hide from the dark truth she was keeping. It pulled me into a vortex of danger so deep that I lost all I had. It happened to me and if you think it won’t happen to you think again.


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You Never Know was a psychological thriller based in India, a story with sensual rose covered love story but covered with thorny hidden secrets that drags peaceful clean domestic life of successful advertising head into ripple of murky water of extramarital affair. It was about illicit affair, love, secrets, betrayal, extortion, plot and scheming of nasty minds.

First of all I just loved that cover– the color and look at that font! It was simply beautiful.

Writing was good. Author wove story line around the advertising industry creatively with a great deal of corporate talk for which I was at loss. As the blurb promised, from the very beginning there was a feeling of something wrong or disastrous going to happen and I knew this love story was going to ruin characters’ life.

It started with Dhruv going to find mobile phone of his lover, Anuradha’s dead ex- Sid, as it contains something that can jeopardizes Anuradha’s life and future and along with her his as well. Why, what he has at stake and what’s in that mobile made me curious to read more which took readers back to past at the beginning of their illicit love affair.

This was character driven story that had unlikable, creative and developed characters. Story was narrated from three perspectives Dhruv, Anuradha and Sid, each telling their feelings, life and how it was connected with the other. As Dhruv said ‘we two are one of the kind’ was exactly my thought about him and Anuradha.

Dhruv was a married man and father of two, at the top of his career and had perfect life but first sight of Anuradha, his colleague shakes the foundation of his perfect life. He looked decent, not someone who had occasional flings or not even flirtatious but the connection he felt with Anuradha defied all the laws. He loved his wife and children but his attraction to Anuradha made him break all the boundaries. I didn’t like the way he got lost in Anuradha’s love but I also liked his love for his family and the way he felt guilt for what he did which saved him at most crucial time.

Anuradha was drowned in her not-so-happy love life and still suffering from life without her dead- ex lover Sid. She was smart, attractive and lonely lady who craved for presence of someone whom she can love. She had dark secrets, secrets about Sid that she hasn’t shared with anyone. After reading chapters on Sid I could see Anuradha’s naivety and mistakes so often. She might be giving bad signals from the very start but I felt bad for what Sid did to her in name of love and his hunger for money. I was just shocked she went to this far after so much he has taken from her. I didn’t like her possessiveness and unpractical obsession with Dhruv while I liked her morals and principles which saved her in past.

Sid– I hated this guy. Hate might be very lenient word for this character. He was downright nasty and selfish person who only cared about money and his dreams. He didn’t have respect for his family, friends and love. He was shortcut taking, manipulative man. I don’t have good words for this character and he met his deserved end in the book. Author had taken a realistic approach in creating this character.  Sadly this type of people really exist in this world, one might have heard stories like his in newspapers and medias.

I liked the way story took turns. Vengeance, extortion, fierce love, betrayal, secrets kept the anxiety and suspense in book at constant level that kept me turning the pages till the end. It gave those creepy feeling you get while reading psychological thriller.

I could guess the end early but was not sure the about the exact turn. It was written satisfactorily and I liked character’s decision at the end.

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First thing, this book could do without first chapter which was like preface. It gave away too much, a little after climax scene and I could guess lot from that first chapter which ruined half the thrill. For those who have read loads of books in this genre can easily guess the story right away.

Second, Dhruv and Anuradha’s connection was simply implausible. It seemed silly they felt such strong and instant connection at first sight. One can feel the attraction because of outer appearance but the soulmate kind of connection at first sight was hard to digest for me. They were going too fast and too deep in relationship in just few weeks!

Third, I couldn’t buy the heaps of mistakes these two smart people were making in the story. It was hard to digest their naivety. And the language, derogatory, disrespectful remark on women! No chance of appreciation on that.

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Overall, it was nice, interesting, engaging psychological thriller but was a bit predictable and implausible. One can try this book, if story piques your interest.


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Author: Akash Verma

Buy Link: Amazon.in / Amazon.com

*** Note: I won this copy during Goodreads giveaways. ***

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The Pawn by Punit Patel

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The Pawn by Punit Patel
Publication Date: June 16th 2018
Publisher: Notion Press
Read Date: September 12th 2018
Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Crime Fiction
Pages: 314

Stars: 3.5/5

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Goodreads blurb_edited

Like every other town, Scandicci too has its story. In fact, there are multiple stories woven around the web of lies, deceit, hate and, above all, vengeance. All these stories revolve around one particular person, Dimas Romero, a drug dealer who considers himself a tyrant. Among these stories, one involves an orphan boy named Logan who leads an ordinary life. A change of events take place after the mysterious disappearance of Dimas, and Logan has to get himself involved, because of his love Abigail, who happens to be Dimas’ wife.

A murder is suspected and the suspects are numerous. It becomes really hard for the police to determine the culprit from among a gardener, an angry father, a madman, a lover, a wife, a revengeful neighbor and a person who has lost his love. Upon interrogation, they all have only one thing to say, “I would have killed him if given the opportunity.”

As the story unfolds, it reveals many long lost secrets which provide an even stronger motive for each of the suspects. Amidst this chaos, it becomes a challenge for Logan and Abigail to prove their innocence and fight for their survival.


review_edited

The Pawn was the crime fiction thriller, a debut novel, revolving around the drug world and terrifying drug dealer of Italy, an ordinary orphan boy and an abused wife. It was about vengeance, love, power, and a murder mystery that put all the character on suspect list.

Characters

Logan, 24, living with Uncle who could not afford to pay for education but was nice and they both earned enough to live. There was more to this character than it seemed initially. He was smart, caring person a great friend and lover. I like the way he supported his friend when he needed and how he had been patient for his feeling towards Abigail.

Abigail, neighbor of Logan living in abusive marriage and was wife of Dimas. They secretly harbored feeling for each other ever since Logan moved into the neighborhood. I felt pity for her after knowing her part of story.

Dimas, cruel powerful drug dealer working under drug lord Miro. His introductory chapter was crude and terrifying. I could see why people feared him so much but looking at his security free living, it felt bit silly that those who wanted revenge were still afraid of taking action.

Salvatore, rich and non-corrupt inspector general was working on the case of Miro and Dimas. His entry made the story more interesting and I was fully invested in book. I wanted to see how he going to find evidence against him. He was strong character and I liked to read chapters related to him.

All other characters of the book had their story and were equally important in the book. They were nicely represented and made story interesting.

What I liked

The book was third person narrative, character driven with the brief life story of all characters in the book and how their life was connected with one person Dimas. Though he was the villain of the story the book was so closely looped around him. Characters were charm of the book. The plot was pretty mix of many crime thriller book but characters made it more distinguishing.

There were some disturbing scenes related to abuse, torture and offensive language but author haven’t gone much in detail. As I read this book almost blindly and with not too high expectations, there were few things that were surprising and enjoyable like- twists, Italian phrases and author’s efforts to give the setting a realistic feel, emotional heart wrenching stories of characters.

I liked the first half of the book more. Zephan and Logan’s friendship, feelings of Abigail and Logan for each other were narrated soulfully in first few chapters. Story progressed at gradual pace. First 50% of the book, it was all about introduction of all character, their life and how they were connected to each other. It took interesting turn when Dimas suddenly disappeared.

Second half was all about Inspector investigating all characters on whereabouts of Dimas, his history which unrevealed many stories and buried pain and suffering of characters, some twist and turns. Suspense was gripping, till end I couldn’t guess who was behind the disappearance of Dimas and whether he was really disappeared or murdered.

Author did nice job in putting all pieces on chess board and playing with them till the end. Title made lot of sense in last chapter. End was dramatic and Bollywood style. That last line was impressive.

why not 5 stars

I knew that author edited book himself, there was no professional help and I could see that in the book. If book was edited by professional editor, it would be more polished and impressive. There were many unnecessary details that just added word count which could be avoided.

At some scenes the emotions of characters didn’t come out natural. Though it had potential it failed to affect me, may be because of style of conversations which felt underdeveloped at many points.

I can’t deny that cover is so lookalike of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. I wish there was a bit originality.

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Overall, it was interesting, suspenseful, character driven crime thriller. A nice debut novel which could be better with bit of polishing. I like it.

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Buy Link: Amazon.com / Amazon.in

*** Note: I received this book from the author, In exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author. ***

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Have you read this book already or planning to read in future?
Have you read something similar to this before?

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The Day I Met My Soul : Meraki and Her Inner-World Adventures by Meeta Gupta

Publication Date: September 11th 2017

Publisher: Notion Press

Read Date: July 13th 2018

Genre: Fiction / Spiritual

Pages: 138

Stars: 4/5

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Goodreads blurb_edited

Where do you plan to holiday this season? 
Why don’t you embark on an adventurous journey with young Meraki, beyond physical boundaries?

A story filled with anecdotes about Meraki’s life and how her setbacks and problems set her on a journey to the unknown inner world, are sure to enrapture you. On her journey, she discovers the mystery behind her thoughts, breath, emotions, silence and stillness. 
Drawing a parallel with our inner self, this soul-stirring experience will uncover how we are constantly guided by the unknown universal power. As Meraki dives through layers of her inner world, be prepared to be amazed when she discover her powerful self.
Will Meraki be able to communicate with Universal Language as she encounters a ferocious tiger during her solitary stay?

This is an inspiring tale celebrating the strength of the young girl, her inner-world, adventures she sets off on and on a different note, how these sojourns empower one to bring forth their powerful presence.


review_edited

The Day I Met My Soul was a spiritual fiction a story of Meraki an ordinary girl chasing her dream of making an animated film turns towards journey of self-discovery and yogic life. The story was about self-discovery, spiritual journey, understanding the true meaning of life, peace, love, and happiness; about strength of inner self and love of nature.

Characters_edited

Meraki, main character of the book, was strong, sensitive and nature loving person who was enchanted by stories of sages and yogis living in seclusion, by their life and spiritual power. When she encountered such sage in forest during her vacation and when she visited one living in hermitage, it planted seed life in seclusion and spiritual powers. Her profound feeling for Astro (her beloved dog) led her to the biggest decision of her life and changed the course of her life. Her development in the journey of self-discovery was wonderfully narrated.

What I liked_edited

Book was third person narration from Meraki’s POV. Author’s note and forward in the beginning told lot about the book and what’s in it. Hurdles in life, competition and chasing after materialistic world that lead to anger, anxiety, depression and physical illness. Meraki faced all of that while she lived in the external world and how this state of her made her determined to plunge into inner spiritual world was remarkable. The way she kept herself motivated and determined to follow the words of her master, keeping her focus and not dwelling into millions of thought that disturbed her meditation was motivating and inspiring.

On every page of the book there was beautiful, life learning quotes that made me to stop for a while and grasp those words. Poems at the start and the end of the chapters were on the topic covered in particular chapter. They were deep and soul-stirring that guide readers to the depth of inner world.

The message about following your true calling, giving more importance to inner happiness and becoming peace loving, love exuding soul by leaving behind materialistic world and attachments was the heart of the book. ‘By giving love you receive only happiness and peace’ was exemplified in many different ways. How in oneness with universe and nature one can reach to deepest level of mind and can perform unimaginable task like levitating and calming the wild beast was awe-inspiring. I specifically loved last few chapters in which Meraki’s love of nature was highlighted. How she changed the flooded area and its surroundings, the way her determination and selfless work made sanctuary for all living beings.

The world in the end narrated was something one can only dream but the dream that can be achieved if performed with true heart and purpose in life. It was wonderful end that touched me.

why not 5 stars_edited

Book was too short and I wish author have explored this vast topic more deeply and also have included few more aspects of life that stop people from following their dream and leads towards destruction.

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Overall, it was inspiring, motivating, thought-provoking spiritual fiction with deep words and poems. I recommend this book to readers who love this type of book.


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Author: Meeta Gupta

To know more about author click ⇒ Here

Buy link: Amazon.com / Amazon.in

*** Note: I received this book as a winner of giveaway. Many thanks to publishers for sending me 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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