Sunday, 30 October 2016

Get Ready for Halloween with Liv Hadden's Book!

In the Mind of Revenge

ISBN: 978-0578166063
Print: $9.99
E-book: $3.99
Suspense, Thriller
Dreams Into Reality Publishing
187 pages
March 5, 2016

“Mine is a tale of pain, hate, lies, murder, injustice, vengeance, and love unreturned. It began much like yours; a hopeful innocent born to a world of endless possibilities. But my journey has rarely been paved with opportunities of light. Confronted by those who sought to eclipse what light I had found, the darkness came for me. Wrapped in its intoxicating embrace, I have risen from the dead to reclaim my dignity and the life that was taken from me. I have begun my journey into the mind of revenge. Revenge for me. Revenge for those like me. Those who are shamed.”

In the Mind of Revenge, book one of The Shamed Series, takes a deep look at how monsters are born. Set in a society that glorifies “normal” and demonizes different, this dark tale takes its readers on an emotionally wild ride of vengeance, murder, pain and desperation. Though the reader is warned by its main character, Shame, not to develop an attachment, the first person narrative combined with Shame’s uninhibited vulnerability makes it nearly impossible not to do so. Raw, vivid, honest, fast-paced and beautifully vulgar, In the Mind of Revenge is sure to have you emotionally twisted from beginning to end.
This is a story for the shamed, by the shamed. The question is, are you ready for it?

Order your copy at, and your local bookstore!

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Praise for In the Mind of Revenge

“If a cat has nine lives, Shame has 29.  Liv Hadden leaves us in the dark as to whether this character is a girl or a boy.  As Shame often muses, why is gender that important? It’s reflecting on issues like gender that makes In the Mind of Revenge more than just a rather exciting read.” - Reader’s Favorite

A somber revenge tale, but fronted by a protagonist both absorbing and sublimely complicated.” - Kirkus Reviews

“In the Mind of Revenge tackles hot-button social issues in a way that forces the reader to rethink the importance of what society deems as normal.” - Self-Publishing Review

“An absorbing crime story…”  - Blue Ink Reviews
MIND BLOWING! From the first sentence, “I am ugly.” to the last sentence, “I see you.” this book had me glues to the pages. I read this book in one night.”

Fantastic roller coaster of a book. VERY visual.  There were moments where I was too in the moment and felt as if I was truly there.”

“The ambiguity that surrounds the main character’s gender/sexuality is a welcome change. It allows you to get wrapped up in the character’s development.”

“It’s like Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Middle Sex.  The gender ambiguity coupled with the vague use of personal pronouns was bold and executed masterfully.”

“What a relief it is to not have a completely heteronormative main character with a love interest for once, and to also have it executed so damn well.  Shame’s identity is kept under wraps masterfully by the author and I almost hope she never reveals it.”

This book sucked me in as soon as I opened it. I swung from feeling pity and heartache for Shame, to hating the character, and back again. After whipping through it in under a week, I can honestly say the novel didn't disappoint in the least--my main problem is desperately wanting the second and third installments in the trilogy to be written NOW so I can read them!’

Q&A with Author Liv Hadden

What inspired you to write In The Mind of Revenge and The Shamed series?

The tale of this story in particular is personal in nature, and perhaps the very reason it’s so close to my heart. When I was a senior in college, I experienced my first serious bout of depression. I didn’t entirely recognize it at the time, most likely due to self-medicating with alcohol. I called it partying; I was in college, so I was allowed to. I can’t tell you how many times that year I looked myself in the mirror and didn’t recognize me, at all. Not one inch.

I was almost 200lbs, had pushed away all my friends, could not get a job in my chosen field (environmental sustainability) and had absolutely no sense of who I was or who I wanted to be. One drunk night I decided I would write how I was feeling. It started with, “I am ugly.” I wrote about a paragraph, then went to sleep. That night I dreamt of a dark shadowy figure, one tormented and demonized by their own mind. This figure began to take shape, and at first I thought it was a shadow version of myself. Then, I understood it wasn’t just me. It was everyone.

This shadow was all the pain of everyone who was hurting. It was lonely, scared and ashamed. The next morning, I woke up feeling way more energized than I had in months, so I picked up my computer and started writing. I wrote anytime I was feeling lost, crappy, bored, horny…didn’t matter the feeling, if I felt compelled to write, I would.

I felt if ever there was a story inside me and a character worth taking the leap, it was Shame and this story. After years of writing, I really sat down and applied the story to paper. Three months of hard work later, I had a complete manuscript, and here we are now. It’s surreal and exciting!

You hit your readers hard with some pretty shocking topics. What do you think they’ll find the most surprising about In the Mind of Revenge?

I think the blunt nature of the writing will be jarring and/or refreshing, depending on who the reader is. I’d like to think the most surprising thing will be the lack of certainty of the gender of the character, ultimately leading to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter. Because it doesn’t!

Tell us about Shame and how you utilize your main character to drive home your message.

I chose to write the book in first person specifically so it would really be a dive into the mind of revenge. Because we have such an intimate, vulnerable look at the deepest, darkest places of Shame’s mind, it’s hard to decide from page to page whether you have hate or empathy for the character. I also created some contrast with the personalities Shame seems to draw in. They are very vocal, relatively clear on what they want/who they are, and are “good” (relatively speaking). Shame lacks self-awareness and the entire book is seen through this tunnel vision that I think speaks to the idea that A. revenge isn’t simple, gratifying or worth it and B. the pain and hurt Shame feels can only be healed when Shame is ready to address it and really see things from the inside out.  

Does any of the book come from personal experience?
There are definitely bits & pieces of the story that are inspired by things I have experienced. I find that true of all my writing. However, I was never bullied the way Shame was, nor have I ever been on a bloody, self-destructive vengeance rampage. Four of the primary female characters (Cassie, Anna, Margaret & Sawyer) are named after my cousins, though their likenesses were not used.

Did you have to do any special research for your book?
I didn’t have to do much. A lot was inspired by the surge of bullying related suicides and school shootings since I was in elementary school. I grew up in a time where hearing of mass shootings was just “part of the nightly news”. It makes me sick, and I used my writing as an outlet for my anger, sadness and despair about my lack of ability to do much to change things. These are realities I grew up with, so the research was just living.

That’s an incredible motivation, and what a cool way to turn your frustrations into such a thrilling book! It’s shocking how things like that have really become ‘the norm’.
The thing that surprises me the most is that we (U.S. citizens) are STILL victim shaming. We still maintain it’s the woman’s fault for wearing that skirt, or the young gay boy’s fault for being on social media, or the transgender girl’s fault for not waiting until she graduated.

They’re issues that affect everyone there, so your book really appeals to anyone, of any age - especially given the vagueness of Shame’s gender.
I believe a reader’s experience is very personal to them, so I think my story is unique by supplying a genderless, ethnicity ambiguous character. Anyone can put themselves in this person’s shoes. I also think a lot of the issues surrounding bullying, gender fluidity and sexuality in the book are very relevant to today’s society and topics that need to be highlighted until they aren’t even topics anymore.

Since this is part of a series, did you craft parts of In the Mind of Revenge with other pieces of future books in the series? If so - what were they?
Yes and no. When I sit down to write, I just kind of let things happen. Once they’re written, I then create possibilities. So, I keep the future in the mind, but don’t craft a storyline based on where I think it’s going. I let it take me where it needs to go. Sometimes, I have had an idea and it went in a totally different direction. I did leave several story details open purposefully: 1. To create the tunnel vision storyline of being in the mind of revenge and 2. Leave a lot of places for Shame to explore. For example, Shame hasn’t been paying attention to body changes outside of the current situation. In one part of the book, Shame is shot, but then we never hear about it again. Weird. How could someone be shot and forget about it? We’ll have to wait & see...

Can you tell us what readers can expect in book two, From the Mouth of Decay?

I am introducing a new narrator, so the story will come from two perspectives instead of one. We'll learn more about what really happened to Shame the night of the attack, the results of the experimental surgery, and will also uncover more about Cassie and the life she has been living.

Instead of being so wrapped up in Shame's world, we are going to start to see what's happening at large because Shame is starting to see that. It’s a new awakening within Shame that causes the character to emerge from the small, clouded world of hate and regain pieces of the soul that used to be.

**I have not read this novel yet, but I am so intrigued I had to share!

k (My Novelesque Life)

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Enough is Enough, Kris!

Today I had lunch with my cousin and I told her everything about my relationship with Derek.  I have told her things in the past, but tried to always keep Derek in a positive light.  As I started writing about my relationship in this blog I have come to realize I was still hiding.  By talking to everyone I was talking to no one.  I could not be held accountable for my feelings for Derek.  Hearing my cousin, who is my best friend and greatest supporter, say to me that he is horrible for me and my light hit me a bit.  My cousin, no matter what I choose in life supports me, but has stayed mum on the topic of Derek and my relationship. I could see her eyes welling up a bit when she told me she read my blog posts and I deserve so much better than this.  He has hurt me in every way possible.  He has done many things even I cannot admit it to myself.  I have cared for him, supported him (mentally, emotionally and financially) and put myself second.  Unfortunately, he has not done that for me.  He has not factored me into his thinking process and how we will live our lives together. I am the one that has to plan and yet, I don't have the power in our relationship.  Soooooo, my caring readers, don't worry I will still fight to get my loan payment paid back by Derek, but I am letting go.  Enough is enough.  I hope his mistress turned girlfriend, if she is real, has better luck with him and his mother.  She is another pawn in this game.  I wish her all the best and hope she can help him be a better man or escape without too many scars.

Cue Adele...

Just the guitar. OK, cool.

This was all you, none of it me
You put your hands on, on my body and told me
You told me you were ready
For the big one, for the big jump
I'd be your last love everlasting you and me
That was what you told me
I'm giving you up
I've forgiven it all
You set me free
Send my love to your new lover
Treat her better
We've gotta let go of all of our ghosts
We both know we ain't kids no more
Send my love to your new lover
Treat her better
We've gotta let go of all of our ghosts
We both know we ain't kids no more
I was too strong, you were trembling
You couldn't handle the hot heat rising (rising)
Baby I'm still rising
I was running, you were walking
You couldn't keep up, you were falling down (down)
Mmm there's only one way down
I'm giving you up
I've forgiven it all
You set me free, oh
Send my love to your new lover
Treat her better
We gotta let go of all of our ghosts
We both know we ain't kids no more
Send my love to your new lover
Treat her better
We've gotta let go of all of our ghosts
We both know we ain't kids no more
If you're ready, if you're ready
If you're ready, I'm ready
If you're ready, if you're ready
We both know we ain't kids no more
No, we ain't kids no more
I'm giving you up
I've forgiven it all
You set me free
Send my love to your new lover
Treat her better
We've gotta let go of all of our ghosts
We both know we ain't kids no more
Send my love to your new lover
Treat her better
We've gotta let go of all of our ghosts
We both know we ain't kids no more
If you're ready, if you're ready (send my love to your new lover)
If you're ready, I'm ready (treat her better)
We've gotta let go of all of our ghosts
We both know we ain't kids no more
If you're ready, if you're ready (send my love to your new lover)
If you're ready, I am ready (treat her better)
We've gotta let go of all of our ghosts
We both know we ain't kids no more
Written by Adele Adkins, Johan Schuster, Max Martin • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group
Off to book club...more on book club later :)

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Future of My Novelesque Life


As you may, or may not, have noticed I have been absent for a few weeks.  I am at this time trying to figure out what exactly I want from this blog.  When I first started this blog, it was just a fun thing to do by sharing my thoughts on books I am/have been reading.  It brought me happiness and helped me gain confidence. While I was getting myself back, I was also finding myself immersed in feminist, social and racial justice.  And, yet I still had this other part of me trying to do everything to keep my relationship with Derek still functioning.  While I always wear my heart on my sleeve, I also bared things I never spoke out loud to anyone else.  As my heart was breaking my soul was mending.  I found myself inspired and I started a writing blog.  I was going to keep it anonymous and distant it from this blog. For 36 years I have kept my true feelings to myself in order to get along in society and with people.  For 5 years I kept every moment of my relationship a secret from people because I was ashamed of how I acted, and that I was keeping it a secret because he asked me to.  I have been getting great feedback with both aspect of my blog, but I am not sure if keeping it as one blog is the best way to showcase myself.  I have been reading and taking notes for reviews but have been feeling a bit overwhelmed by my personal emotions.  For five years I have been planning to marry Derek and create a future.  I saw myself as being in Admissions for Universities for the rest of my career. And, him being hired by his uncle to work as an apprentice for his electrician company.   I wasn't planning to be where I am today.  While I am mostly happy with how things are going NOW, I cannot force my heart to just mend.  Nor am I a person that can just get over things and not worry.  For me I always thought that Derek and I would be tied together because of love and him being my first for everything to do with love he promised me he would be there.  And, now we are tied together because I still feel the same way and he owes me a large amount of money. I am not forcing the legalities as he has to pay for schooling soon.  His uncle who owns the company he works for won't help with the investment, so I decided that I would try and make his life easier...but it has made mine a bit tougher with just a part-time job at the library ( I am hoping that will become full time). I am a saver and survivor so I don't worry so much about me.

I am giving myself a break.  For the next several weeks I am going to be editing my blog and trying to figure out how to separate and yet keep my writing and blogging together. And, I am taking every extra shift at work I can.   Thank you for patience and I PROMISE my the new year  I will have us sorted out.  I will have Halloween Book reviews this week - old and new!


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I had a wonderful day where things turned out right and I had a fabulous time with friends.  (Derek didn't show and that is all right.  I missed him but nothing else).  While I was waiting for my stuffing to fluff up I watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and man, I still love it! When Peppermint Patty invites herself to Charlie Brown's non-existence dinner I still feel anxious about that scene 30 years later.  And I would love toast and popcorn for dinner...good choices, Charlie Brown and Snoopy!  I also read...

Written by Louisa May Alcott
Illustrated by Molly Johnson
1868 (reissue: 1974); 73 Pages
J.B. Lippincott Company 
Genre: holiday, thanksgiving, food, picture book, short story

This story is set in New Hampshire in the 1800s so this more about an American Thanksgiving (as are most books) but yet the traditions and sentiments are quite similar.  Little Women is one of my favourite books and after reading this story I am going to have to reach further into Louisa May Alcott's works.  I enjoyed this sweet story of a regular family in the 1800s getting read for the Thanksgiving feast.  We get such a wonderful composite of the time and great characterization for a short story.  In the library edition I read it also had illustrations by Holly Johnson that were incredible.  It really fit the story.  This is wonderful book to read with your kids on Thanksgiving and/or for yourself.  I highly recommend this book.  This is the sixth story in the collection called Aunt Jo's Scrap Bag.

k (My Novelesque Life)

Monday, 10 October 2016

Thanksgiving Books to Read with Your Kids!

I am a big fan of most holidays...and love tradition (if you have not already figured that out).  Holidays were always big in my family and we celebrated Thanksgiving for a long while until we literally could not fit the whole family in one house.  Since then some of our family has continued on with having their on traditions.  For the past 4 years I have had celebrated Thanksgiving at Derek and his mother's place.  Every year I would ask to help and would get the customary, "I've got it, but thanks." And, then the next day Derek would hear from a relative how none of us helped.  So last year I bullied my way in to making the dessert and help set up decorations.  It was a bit better but still feel like the guest of a guest, but using the host's kitchen.  My mom, or my mom and I, would do our dinner on Halloween as I wasn't home on the day, and Derek was not one for coming over to my place. 

So I decided this year - no matter what happens - I am having Thanksgiving dinner my way and with my parents.  On my day off Wednesday, I put up the Halloween decorations, bought the turkey and all it's trimming and invited some dear friends.  Today I was able to bake some treats and make some of the trimmings (so I don't forget anything tomorrow).  Early in the morning as I look through my emails and have tea and breakfast, in goes the turkey for the main event.  I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year! And, I did it all on my own and my way.  Derek is invited but we won't hold our breath :) Another new tradition for a book addict is books about Thanksgiving! Here are some picture book ideas to read to the kid in your life. 

1982 edition - Image from Maryann Cocca-Leffler
Written by Eileen Spinelli 
Illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
1982, 32 Pages
Harper Trophy
Genre: fiction, holiday, picture book, children, thanksgiving, 

Every year the Tapplestons' have a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. This year it seems like nothing goes right.  The turkey is now at the bottom of the pond, the pies have been sold out, the salad fed to the rabbits and the mashed potatoes, well they didn't make it to the table either.  As Uncle Fritz's stomach growls and Grandfather is hungry as an elephant times four, Grandmother reminds them of the real meaning behind Thanksgiving:

Turkeys come and turkeys go
And trimmings can be lost, we know.
But we're together,
That's all that matters -
Not what's served upon the platters.
At the end of the day, no matter how things turn out with the feast it is the time together with the people you love that matters.  I missed having dinner with my parents, hosting and being surrounded by family.  I will miss Derek as much as I missed my parents but this time it's his decision to be together on the holidays or not.  I loved the illustrations that remind me of my childhood, and as I read the book it seemed like something I had read as a kid.  It was written in 1982, so very possible.  I hope you get a chance to read this amazingly fun book.

Newer Edition Image from Harper Collins

Here is a YouTube video of the book, but it is a later editions.  The illustrations in my library copy were older and different. 

Image from Goodreads
Written by Barbara Greenwood
Illustrations by Heather Collins
1999; 48 Pages
Kids Can Press
Genre: nonfiction, activities, cooking, children, holiday, thanksgiving

A good book to get into the spirit of the holiday! Greenwood provides you some history on how pioneers celebrated the Harvest.  You also get some activities and recipes from that time.  This book would work with younger kids as it is not very long and is easy to understand. 

*Tomorrow is Thanksgiving (in Canada) and I will be featuring a review from one of my favourite authors and Thanksgiving book...stay tuned!

k (My Novelesque Life)

Friday, 7 October 2016

Essay Rant Today, Holiday Review Tomorrow!

Found on Google Images

Guess what is coming up soon in Canada? Thanksgiving! And, tomorrow I will have some reviews for Thanksgiving picture books :) Now on to the essay rant...

                                                              *             *              *

Let's be honest, I have never really thought about Donald Trump until he was seriously running for President.  When he first announced it, it was like Kim Kardashian becoming a feminist and doing good for others.  I chuckled to myself until it was said he is really running to be the President of the  US.  At first I was just annoyed that we would have to see him on TV and listen to him spouting outrageous venom.  Then I came to realize that there are people who believe in his propaganda.  Did we learn nothing from Hitler's rise to power in Germany?  How is this happening in this day and age. 

At times I feel like the world is going backwards.  I felt more safe in the 1990s being a person of colour than I do now.  The amount of black men, and women, dying in America by Americans is shocking, but also terrifying.  I've heard it said, by men, of course, that it's a woman's world.  I will agree with that once women are paid the exact same amount for the exact same job with the exact same duties and responsibilities.  If a woman can live in a world where they can walk out the door without any fear of rape, I will believe that Feminists have won.  It is not about women being "allowed" into the police force, but about women "not" being sexually harassed in the name of fraternity. And, voting or standing by Donald Trump only means we will be making the landscape more of toxic and horrifying for any generation.

Found on Google Images
It sometimes takes seeing evil for us to stand up and make a difference.  I hate confrontation so I stay away from a strong opinion.  I like being a mediator as I hate conflict between others.  Therefore, I can be too easy going in some respects.  I am trying to break away from that and become a stronger person by standing up for what I believe in and doing things I want to do.   It starts with the small things.  This Spring I refused to always go to Derek's house when we want to hang out and voiced what I wanted for my, and our, future.  It brought a lot of conflict and confrontations.  The last five years have been the most heartbreaking, frustrating, exciting and new for me.  Derek was there for it all, and the first person I loved.  I thought if I loved him I would always go along with things and forgive him for things so we could move on.  Going along with things I didn't always want to do or feel comfortable with made me resentful - of myself and him.  So I stood up for what I wanted. 

I can't say things magically worked out because they didn't...they haven't.  Derek wants that person that I felt was my weakest moments.  I don't think I can go back to being that person as I have grown so much. I wrongly blame him for not loving me as I am now, just because I love him, then and now. I wrongly blame myself because I want to be the woman he wants but also resent myself for forgiving him when he cheated and betrayed us.  Frustrated at myself for wanting to be loved so much by this person that I always sweep away the signs.  How can I expect people to see Donald Trump for the misogynist, racist  he is when I make excuses for the man in my life?

Found on Google Images
For the past 4 years I have attended Derek's place for Thanksgiving.  His mother picks the day that Derek's sister-in-law can come (ie: when the sister-in-law is not having Thanksgiving at her mom's) and so my parents put Thanksgiving off till Halloween to be accommodating.  This year, I have decided to throw Thanksgiving with my parents ON Thanksgiving.  I am very excited to cook and bake for my chosen family.  Derek, of course, is invited and we will see if he comes over (I will miss spending that day with him, but not just being an extra person at dinner)...but either way I will have a good time because I am spending it with people I care for and know like me whether I am the lost-Kris they met or the stronger-Kris I am now.  I know I must frustrate a lot of you by not being more kick-ass towards Derek.  But know I choose me today.  And, my plan is to choose me tomorrow.