The Book of Someday

( 13 )

Overview

The only thing they share is the woman in the silver dress. But the truth about her wraps around them more tightly than anything else, changing them forever.

When the past chases you, sometimes you just keep running. That's how Livvi Gray survives. She promised herself years ago that she'd forget those awful times, that she'd turn her someday dreams into reality. And she has. But sometimes we have to fight harder than ever to choose our own ...

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Overview

The only thing they share is the woman in the silver dress. But the truth about her wraps around them more tightly than anything else, changing them forever.

When the past chases you, sometimes you just keep running. That's how Livvi Gray survives. She promised herself years ago that she'd forget those awful times, that she'd turn her someday dreams into reality. And she has. But sometimes we have to fight harder than ever to choose our own path.

Micah and AnnaLee are fighting just like Livvi, trying to overcome their own struggles. But the three of them are connected in ways they could never have expected, and the mystery holding them close will transfix you as it barrels toward earth-shattering truth.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Dixon’s second novel (after The Language of Secrets) weaves together, across four decades, the lives of three driven, tormented women connected by a deeply buried secret. Novelist Livvi Gray survived an abusive childhood at the hands of a disturbed father and his enabling second wife. Micah, a brilliant photographer, discovers she’s dying of cancer, a diagnosis that feels like karmic payback for committing an act of betrayal that helped launch her career. AnnaLee, a heartsick young wife and mother in the 1980s, struggles with anger at her husband, who seems content to let her support the family. Dixon follows these three separate threads, weaving them ever more closely together. One sees the ending coming, but not the how or the why until the right moment, which makes an impact. Dixon gives Livvi’s affair with a married man too much focus, not drawing a strong enough comparison or contrast to AnnaLee’s relationship. The use of present tense, no matter what the decade, harkens to Dixon’s television-writing background, and pushes the reader out of the narrative at times, failing to make full use of the power of prose. Agent: Alice Tasman, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"Absolutely mesmerizing! Dianne Dixon's The Book of Someday is packed with vivid storytelling and palpable emotion. This novel made me think of all the "somedays" in my own life-the ones I dreamed about as a child, and the ones I've yet to add to my list." - Sarah Jio, New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter

"In The Book of Someday, Dianne Dixon creates a spellbinding landscape, dictated by the haunted memories of a brilliant little girl. Dixon's writing is both lush and restrained; she has a great gift for creating complex, absorbing characters. This is an exciting new writer, capable of creating a well-paced, emotional page-turner of the best kind." - Katie Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Girls in Trucks and The Magnolia League

"Dianne Dixon's characters are secretive and flawed but warm and loving, and have much to teach us. Highly recommended." - Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda MI

"A mesmerizing book that will keep you up all night." - Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines NC

"I truly enjoyed this...her writing flows through the pages, choosing perfect words to tie the emotions together." - Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic CT

"Dixon creates beautifully broken characters whose stories are as touching as they are invigorating. ... A stunning and heartbreaking story that readers won't be able to put down." - San Francisco Book Review

"This haunting tale is an excellent piece of escapism that will put a pang in your heart--and, sometimes, a chill in your bones... A compelling tale of three extraordinary women facing insurmountable odds." - Shelf Awareness, Starred Review

"With a tone reminiscent of Jodi Picoult, Kristin Hannah, and Carol Cassella, Dixon pulls at the threads between regret and nostalgia, forgiveness and blame, denial and acceptance. Emotional without being overwrought, The Book of Someday is an enchanting story." - Booklist

"The Book of Someday is a novel that will transfix you, captivate you, hold you hostage until you turn the last pages. A story of survival and the compassion to forgive. Highly recommended." - Jenn's Bookshelves

"The Book of Someday is an exquisite novel that looks at how our past haunts us and releases us. These three women's stories will break your heart, making you want to release your past and embrace the present. The stories will make you wonder what happened and what will happen." - Bloggers Recommend

Library Journal
The lives of three women are woven together in Dixon’s unusual, suspenseful second novel (after The Language of Secrets). Deciphering just how their lives are connected is part of the attraction of this compelling page-turner. Olivia is a young novelist haunted by the nightmares of her youth; former dancer AnnaLee is an unsettled wife and new mother; Micah is a world-class photographer on the brink of a life-and-death decision. Each protagonist experiences a turning point that will dramatically alter her future. The primarily present-tense narration gives immediacy to the plot, but it is also a bit confusing as readers try to puzzle out and disentangle the many seemingly important facts of these characters’ lives. Some supporting characters such as Andrew, a literary agent, are well drawn, and others, such as Jack, AnnaLee’s disillusioned husband, are not so well defined.

Verdict Fans of Brunonia Barry’s The Lace Reader and Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells may enjoy the intrigue Dixon offers.—Andrea Tarr, Corona P.L., CA
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
Screenwriter Dixon's (The Language of Secrets, 2010) second novel centers on the convergence of the lives of three women who have a mysterious connection. Livvi is a published novelist whose lonely, abusive childhood has left her emotionally damaged and needy. Growing up with a cruel stepmother and cold father, Livvi believes her mother was a party girl who abandoned her as a baby. Now an adult, Livvi has yet to break free of her need to find love and acceptance, and her relationship with Andrew, the rich owner of a publicity firm, seems to be exactly what she's been looking for all her life--until she discovers that Andrew's withheld huge secrets from her. Livvi begins to see that her knight's shining armor is somewhat tarnished, but she feels obligated to stay with Andrew for one very important reason. Across the country, famous photographer Micah is informed that she's ill and must begin treatment immediately if she wishes to survive. But Micah's not sure she deserves to live. Before she decides, Micah sets out to settle some debts from her past, seeking out people she once knew. However, despite her generosity to a cab driver's family, the absolution she seeks proves elusive. Flash back to 1986. AnnaLee is the devoted mother of a daughter whom she and her husband call "Bella." They live in the home that once belonged to AnnaLee's parents, a place where she always felt loved and secure, and AnnaLee is brokenhearted that she has to sell her parents' treasures piece by piece to keep her family afloat financially. Husband Jack is a poor provider and a fragile man who leans on his wife for support, but AnnaLee hasn't given up on him. Seemingly unconnected, these three women have one object in common: the image of a woman in a shimmering gown and pearl boots. Dixon's narrative begins as a real page-turner but breaks down about two-thirds of the way through; by this point, some readers will put together all the pertinent information and spend the last third focusing on the minor holes in the story and the clunky dialogue. Slightly flawed, but an OK way to spend a rainy afternoon.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781469290850
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 9/28/2013
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Dianne Dixon is a screenwriter living in California who has twice been nominated for an Emmy, has won a Humanitas Award for work done in television, and has been a Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Pitzer College. She is the author of The Language of Secrets (Doubleday, Anchor 2010/11). Visit www.diannedixon.com
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Read an Excerpt

Prologue...Olivia

Her father. Shouting her name. "Olivia!" His footsteps falling loud and heavy on the wood of the floor.

Olivia. The soles of her feet pressed hard against the same wood floor. Feeling the vibration of his every step. As he's circling, gaining momentum, coming closer to the place where she's hiding. Fierce jolts rippling through her. Edged on one side with terror, on the other with hope.

The air in the living room, the air throughout the house, is cold. Stale with the wintry funk of blankets in need of a good washing. Sour with the odor of boiled cabbage. Musty with the papery scent of books. Books piled onto windowsills, sagging on shelves, stacked in cluttered doorways.

It is because Olivia is only nine years old, thin and small for her age, that she is fitting so neatly into this cramped space. Stuffed in like a cork in a bottle. Knees drawn up, arms wrapped tight around them, spine jammed flat against a few inches of living room wall. One elbow pushing into the cracked leather of an old armchair, the other pinned against the side of a wooden cabinet. The cabinet door-open. Pulled flush against the front of the armchair to create the fourth wall of her hiding place. Suffocatingly close. Fogged with her breath.

Again. Her father's roaring shout: "Olivia!" This time not quite as near. And with a different quality. Something wild, slightly unhinged. And in the tender place at Olivia's core, where fear is wedged against hope, there is the sensation of fire and snakes. And knives.

The chill from the wall at Olivia's back is agonizing, shaking her with cold. She lowers her head-letting her hair fall across her arms and shoulders. Her hair, honey-blond, has never been cut. It's extraordinarily long and thick. As it settles around her, Olivia feels its weight but no warmth. She whispers a single, angry word: "Stupid!" Last night she put a quilted bathrobe, and mittens, and her fleece-lined slippers at the foot of her bed. Then this morning, only minutes ago at first light, when she was running out of her room, she forgot them. She has come away unprotected, wearing only her nightgown.

Olivia's shivering is making her teeth chatter. She's worried about the noise. She bites down-trying to quiet it. And for a split second...absolute stillness. Then a flash of light. A thundering BANG. Searing pain. Her father's fingers twisting deep into her hair. Knotting it into a handle, lifting her off the ground. Olivia is coming away from the floor with her knees to her chest, her arms still tightly wrapped around them.

She is momentarily airborne. Then she's landing on her back, on the sofa. With the wind knocked out of her. Just for an instant something strange: as if time has stopped. Her father. Making a tiny hushed sound that sounds like, "Sorry." The look in her father is bordering on terror. Then it's gone. The look-and the terror. And he's screaming: "What the hell? What the bloody hell?"

Calista. With her ink-black eyes and soap-white face. Rushing into the room, wailing: "How could you do such a hurtful thing? Knowing we'd be getting out of bed with the house quiet like death, and you nowhere to be found. Your poor father calling for you, and you not answering. Like you'd been taken or something!"

Olivia. Being dragged to her feet. By her father, gasping, gulping. As pale as paste except for the skin right above his cheekbones, which is blotchy red. "What the hell's wrong with you? What in God's name did you think you were doing?" The darkness in his eyes obliterating Olivia's hope, leaving only her fear. She's trying to make herself hold still but can't. She's shaking too hard. With the fear. And the cold. She's barely able to breathe as she's telling him: "I wanted to know...would you miss me if I was gone?"

But it's not her father who's swooping toward her, it's Calista. Calista in her rumpled gray nightgown, wafting the smell of sleep-musk and sweat, saying: "Have you lost your mind? What kind of child even thinks of tormenting her parents with such a wicked prank?"

There is the sting of a slap on Olivia's face as she answers: "You're not my parent."

"And for that," Calista mutters, "I thank the Lord."

Olivia only half-hears what Calista has said. Olivia's focus is on her father, even though she's trembling with the cold. Even though her eyes are watering from it. And she can barely see him. Even though she's in terrible pain because he lifted her up by her hair and let her full weight dangle from her scalp, she cannot move away.

Olivia, too young to comprehend the concept of impossibility, remains at her father's side. Trembling in her faded nightgown, gazing up at him. Longing for him to kneel and put his arms around her: to hold her close, the way a father in a storybook would. If the little girl he loved had been lost and now he had found her.

***

When her father turned and walked out-ashen and silent, his anger spent, his expression blank, hands hanging loose at his sides-Olivia came back upstairs. Cold. Sick with sadness.

She went to the end of her bed. Gathered up the quilted bathrobe, the mittens, and her fleece-lined slippers. And with her teeth chattering and her fingers blue, she put them away and wrapped herself in the blanket from her bed. Later, after she heard the thump and whoosh of the heat being turned on, she went into her closet to get dressed.

She is near her bedroom window now. Watching dawn give way to morning. She's at the little pine table that serves as her school desk. Her books are in tidy stacks at one end and her pencils in orderly rows at the other. She's wearing a beige sweater, brown corduroy pants, striped socks, and navy-blue sneakers. She is meticulously clean and neat. With the exception of the place at the crown of her head where her father's fingers were dug in to lift her from the floor. There, her hair is wildly snarled. And she has no way to deal with it. Olivia's hair hangs from her head to her hips in a massive, weighted curtain. Only the reach and strength of an adult can maneuver a brush from one end to the other.

Olivia is wondering what her punishment will be. Wondering whether or not she is going to be hit-and if she is, with what, and how hard. Her mouth is flooding with the taste of salt. Tears crowding every inch of her. Fat and hot. She's afraid to let them go. Terrified of all the ways they could hurt her if they were to show themselves on the outside. Where other people could see them.

Olivia shifts her attention to the window-and her telescope. The view it provides is of rolling hills. Dormant vineyards, winter-bare. And a long, dusty road with a modest country house at the far end. A house that used to look exactly like Olivia's, battered and brown, and has now been transformed. By a picket fence and banks of roses. By walls painted white, and a bright-red front door. By a family named Granger: a pretty mother, an amiable father, and two young children.

Olivia has never spoken to any of the Grangers. Never come close enough to touch their picket fence. Or hear the sound of their voices. Yet she hungers for them-yearns to be inside a house like theirs.

Through the telescope Olivia is seeing the school bus stopping outside the Grangers' gate. Where their mailbox is. The mailbox that has their name painted on it in bold black letters. And Mrs. Granger with her radiant prettiness, long shearling coat, and rainbow-colored muffler is running her fingers through her children's hair. Giving each of them a kiss as they're scrambling onto the bus.

Then the bus pulls away. And Olivia is grieving. Watching Mrs. Granger go back into her house.

When both the school bus and Mrs. Granger have disappeared Olivia closes her eyes and dreams. She dreams Mrs. Granger is still at the side of the road and that it is she, Olivia, who's being lovingly sent off to school. She's wearing a backpack, her shoulders warm with the sun. The air smells like perfume, like roses. And she's hearing the friendly squeak and rattle of the bus as it's stopping-for her. The sensation is glorious. Like dancing with butterflies. Mrs. Granger is raising her hand. On the other side of the dream, Olivia, with her eyes still closed, is raising her own hand and slipping her fingers into her hair. For the span of a heartbeat she is experiencing a mother's caress. The sweetness of it, almost unbearable.

And in the midst of the sweetness-excruciating pain. Olivia's fingers snagging against the tangles, pushing at the sore places on her scalp. Shattering the dream. Letting in the harsh reality that Calista has marched into the room, muttering: "Stop whatever nonsense you're up to. And for goodness sake, open your eyes!"

Calista. Wearing a baggy, ankle-length woolen skirt, a flannel shirt, and a pair of blue clogs, scuffed at the toes. Placing an apple onto the pine table. Putting it on top of one of Olivia's books, a thin volume in a dust jacket made out of white wrapping paper.

Olivia is frantic to keep the book away from Calista, to stop her from opening it and reading it. And killing the things that are inside it by simply laying her flat, black gaze on them.

But Calista doesn't realize the book is different from any of the others on the tabletop. She's pointing to the apple, telling Olivia: "Your father didn't think you deserved any breakfast. You have me to thank for this."

Olivia wants to believe Calista is lying. She wants it to be her father who sent the apple, although she knows he has offered no opinion on the subject of her breakfast. She knows he's left the house and has done what he always does when he's upset. He has vanished.

Now Calista is pulling a wooden-handled brush through Olivia's hair. Inflicting hurt with each grim, determined stroke. And Olivia is thinking about the women in her history books, the women of the Old West. She's thinking they must have had this same grim determination in their strokes when they were beating rugs. Or intruders.

Calista is gathering Olivia's hair into a thick braid. "I envy you this. I've never seen hair so long and magnificent."

"I hate it," Olivia tells her.

Calista brusquely fastens the braid with a rubber band. "I think it pleases your father-for your hair not to be cut."

"How do you know?" Olivia has turned so that she can look directly at Calista. Something she rarely does; she's intrigued, curious. Her father seldom speaks, unless he's instructing Olivia in her schoolwork. She's eager for any scrap of information. "What did he say?"

"It's not so much what he's said, it's more like-" Calista pauses; a slight catch in her breath, the same one that's in Olivia's when she thinks about her father. "He's a complicated man. He's brilliant, a genius. Geniuses don't see the same world other people do. Ordinary people like you and me."

"My father says I have an excellent mind." Olivia doesn't want to be grouped with Calista in any way.

"Well, you should use that ‘excellent mind' of yours to do something other than play ugly tricks on the one person who's sacrificed everything for you. Your father has devoted his life to raising you, schooling you, all on his own. He's been a saint. Something that certainly can't be said about your mother-"

A loud roaring. In Olivia's ears. Like the bellow of a caged lion. The ferocity of it is stinging her eyes. Putting a low moan in the back of her throat.

"-your mother abandoned you, ran away, when you were still a baby in diapers. Because she was blond and beautiful and all she thought about was her own pleasure." Calista is gripping Olivia's chin, not letting her look away. "That heartless prank you pulled this morning tells me you're headed down the same selfish road as your mother-more concerned with what you want than what you owe."

Olivia expects this is where her punishment will come. A hit with the back of the wooden hairbrush. Or maybe a slap from Calista's wide, bricklike hand.

To Olivia's surprise, Calista steps away and has an unfamiliar gentleness in her voice as she says: "I'm not telling you these things to be cruel. I'm trying to teach you a lesson. You're a difficult child and you need to grow up to be a good woman."

Calista sits at the edge of Olivia's bed, saying: "I've been trying to show you how to mend your ways, every day, for the two years I've lived in this house, the entire time I've been your father's wife. I think it's one of the reasons he married me. Being alone with you was too much for him; he needed a woman's help." Calista is smoothing the folds at the waistband of her baggy skirt and sighing. "But soon I won't be able to look after you as much. You'll need to be on your own. I'm going to have a baby, Olivia. A child that's mine." Calista's tone is incredibly soft, as if she's speaking only to herself. "There isn't anything as precious as a baby of your own, if you're a good woman. To a woman with a true mother's heart there is nothing more important than cherishing her child."

Olivia is again experiencing the sensation of fire and snakes. And knives.

***

In the afternoon, Olivia is standing in front of a shelf near her bed. The shelf contains an assortment of little-girl treasures that, over the course of her childhood, Olivia has discovered in her father's attic. The most beloved of these objects is a small, beautifully delicate copper-wire cross. Olivia keeps it hidden, tucked away behind two other items from the attic. A portable record player and a stack of old record albums.

Olivia has put the soundtrack of a Broadway show onto the record player's turntable. She waits for the music to begin. Then lowers herself out of sight. Into the sliver of space between her bed and the wall. There is no lock on her door: this is the only place she can find privacy. She has brought along a pencil and the book in the white dust jacket-and she's opening the book to its first page. On that page, written in the perfect cursive taught to her by her father, is the book's title:

"The Book of Someday"

The pages beneath the title page have been filled with what is essentially an evolving map of Olivia's heart. Every sentence a dream being born, a vow waiting to be kept. Among them are notations such as:

Someday I will have a birthday party with people and singing.

Someday I will go to ballet lessons and wear pink ballet shoes. I will have a friend and we'll hold hands and she'll think I'm nice.

Someday after the century changes, when it's in the 2000s and I'm all grown up, I won't stay in the hills out by Santa Ynez, California any more. I'll go to a place that is somewhere else. I will live in a house with a red door and roses.

Someday I will be pretty and not have long, heavy hair that aches my head.

Someday when I'm a mommy I'll never run away because I'm selfish and bad. I'll stay and I'll say I love you. I'll say it all the time, and give hugs. And I won't hit, especially not with a wooden hairbrush because of the hurt not ever stopping, even after the bruises go.

Someday I will attend a real school.

Someday I will be brave and tell Mrs. Granger how much I love her. Maybe she will let me come and live with her and she will smile at me and let me have a dog. One that's little, and is white with a curly tail.

Olivia is abruptly looking up from her book. The song coming from the record player is describing a concept she has never thought of before. A "someday" that needs to be added to her list.

Someday I'll go to town in a golden gown and have my fortune told.

Olivia's pencil is flying across the page-spelling out this new promise. And there is unbridled bliss.

***

When the day has faded, and night has come, there is unbridled terror.

Olivia is waking from a horrific dream. Screaming and at the same time burying her face in her pillow. Trying to stop the sound so he won't hear. But her father is already on the other side of her doorway. In the darkness. She can feel him there with the look in his eyes that is soft, like sadness, and then harsh, like the sharp edge of a stone.

Her father knows about her nightmare. Olivia has told him exactly what she sees when she dreams it and that it has been with her for as long as she can remember. She doesn't understand why, but she senses the knowledge of these details is what brings that strange look to her father's eyes. That look of sorrow, and of stone.

Once her father is gone from the doorway, Olivia crawls into the frigid space between her bed and the wall. Desperate to stay awake. To keep the nightmare at bay.

The dream is ghastly in its silence and its simplicity. A void. And a woman. Floating in an eerie kind of sleep. Draped in a shimmering garment that flows from her shoulders to her knees like a column of starlight. Wearing pale-colored, high-heeled shoes fastened with a strap at the instep, each strap anchored by a single pearl button. Her arms outstretched. A silver band encircling her head. In the band, a plumed white feather. Her hair is short. Chestnut brown. Her face is in shadow. Only her lips are visible. Fiery red and slowly parting. Making way for a noise. A shrieking howl. Which, when it comes, will be the sound of unadulterated horror.

Olivia's fear of her nightmare is colossal. Her only defense is to gaze toward the window-waiting anxiously for the protection that morning will bring.

This will become a habit with Olivia-her passion for morning. As an adult, she will greet each new dawn by walking briskly toward the rising sun. And on one of these walks, almost twenty years from now, Olivia will again encounter the fiery-lipped woman in the pearl-button shoes. But she will no longer be an apparition haunting the night. She will be a reality. Existing in the cold, clear light of day.

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Customer Reviews

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( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 4, 2014

    This compelling story of three women who do not know each other,

    This compelling story of three women who do not know each other, but share a common history reminds me of the parable of the blind men and the elephant. Our view of what happens to us in life is often distorted by our limited perception. 

    This book is deliciously written and you will find yourself unable to put it down. You know the women are related in some fashion and you'll enjoy the journey as you find out how.  

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2014

    Very good

    I really enjoyed this book it was about how people are good and bad!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    I enjoyed reading it, though after the intro it was a bit of a s

    I enjoyed reading it, though after the intro it was a bit of a slow start, but I really got into it from there. I can't say I'm the biggest fan of open endings, where nothing comes together, it's rare that I can enjoy them, and when I do, it's because they're masterfully done by someone like John Steinbeck. All in all though, I did enjoy the book.

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  • Posted December 11, 2013

    Three different women with three different story lines and I won

    Three different women with three different story lines and I wondered for the longest time if they were going to interconnect.  Two stories took place in 2012 and the other took place in 1986, so it was easy to infer that the 1986 story was the connection between the two.  

    My favorite character was Livvi because I just wanted to root for her to find happiness.  I felt like she was the most developed character and the reader really knew her as we learn a lot about her childhood throughout the book and what makes her the person she is now.  When you find out about her childhood it makes you root for her even more.

    I wish that the stories had connected a little earlier to allow for some more interaction between the women - I think that would have been a better ending.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2013

    Wow! What an amazing book. All I can say is read this! I never w

    Wow! What an amazing book. All I can say is read this! I never wanted to put it down. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2013

    Read it in 2 days. Each chapter left you wanting to read more.

    Read it in 2 days. Each chapter left you wanting to read more.

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    Posted January 19, 2014

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    Posted December 24, 2013

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    Posted December 24, 2013

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    Posted July 3, 2014

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