• Welcome to LydiaSchoch.com

Top Ten Tuesday: Debut Books I’m Excited About


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

There is a blanket with alternating white and dark orange stripes on it spread out but still wrinkled. On the blanket is a cup of hot cocoa in a red mug and an opened book that has yellow tinged edges of its pages and looks like it’s getting old. Many of the books I read are from authors who are new to me or new in general, but I don’t normally spend a lot of time digging around in debut book lists.

I pay attention to the blurb and first page when deciding what to read next. (Okay, covers matter, too! But they’re the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. I’ve read amazing books with not-so-great covers and quickly tossed aside other books whose gorgeous covers did not match what was inside of them).

Sometimes this means I’ll read six books in a row from the same author and still yearn for more from them.

In other cases, I really loved one or two books from a particular author but haven’t connected with the rest of their work.

I have no other what other people’s habits are, but I hope to find out from you all today.

Here are four debut authors I’m curious to try.

 

Book cover for The Museum of Human History by Rebekah Bergman. The image on the cover is a painting of a white woman whose right shoulder is hunched over slightly. She’s touching the bottom of her face as if she’s contemplating something. She does not appear to be wearing a shirt, although we can only see the skin of her arm, shoulder, hand, and neck. Her head is covered from the bridge of her nose up by a pink, yellow, orange, and blue cloud that grows lighter the further up it you look.

 

1. The Museum of Human History by Rebekah Bergman

Why I’m Interested: The thought of someone surviving an awful accident only to stop aging is intriguing. It makes me think of the similarities between that and how after someone dies they are forever frozen at their age of death in the memories of those who loved them.

 

Book cover for “Period: The Real Story of Menstruation” by Kate Clancy. The cover is blue and there is a gigantic drop of red blood that symbolizes the O in Period and has the phrase “The real Story of Menstruation” written in it in a black font.

 

2. Period: The Real Story of Menstruation by Kate Clancy

 

Why I’m Interested: I’m fascinated (and a little disturbed) by how much scientists are still learning about menstruation, the uterus, and other related topics. It’s about time that these things were studied in depth not only for people who have typical menstrual cycles and reproductive organs but also for those deal with diseases or abnormalities related to menstruation and the uterus that some doctors sadly can be pretty dismissive of.

 

Book cover for “On Earth As It Is On Television” by Emily Jane. Image on cover shows a drawing of a red spaceship shining a white beacon of light on the author’s name. The author’s name and title are written in a repeating pattern of white, blue, orange, and pink letters.

 

3. On Earth As It Is On Television by Emily Jane

 

Why I’m Interested: I love first contact stories!

 

Book cover for “She Is a Haunting” by Trang Thanh Tran. Image on cover shows a young Vietnamese woman with thick black hair. She looks frightening and is staring straight ahead at the audience crying as six small flowers grow out of her mouth.

 

4. She Is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran

 

Why I’m Interested: Haunted houses are one of those tropes that immediately grab my attention. I hope this will be an excellent example of how to scare characters silly with a haunted house.

 

What are your reading habits like?

Threatening Forest: A Review of Over the River and Through the Woods

Book cover for Over the River and Through the Woods by Evan Camby. Image on the cover shows a young woman wearing a cape walking through an incredibly dark woods. You can see weak and light green light filtering through the woods at the far end of the path she is walking on. It is barely light enough to make out the outlines of the trees in the rest of the forest, and the effect is of cloying and threatening darkness that threatens to envelop the girl as she scurries towards the light. Title: Over the River and Through the Woods

Author: Evan Camby

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: June 21, 2016

Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Historical

Length: 28 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

Old Settler’s Woods is haunted. Evil. A place Ellie swore she would never set foot again.

It’s the winter of 1941, and a devastating blizzard has struck her small town. With the roads blocked, the only way to reach her ailing grandmother is to take the trail through Old Settler’s Woods, a place of unspeakable darkness and decay. Faced with losing the only family she has left, Ellie must contend with the evil once more. But will she survive with her sanity–and her soul–intact?

Review:

Content Warning: Hypothermia, mild violence (think ghosts lightly scratching at someone’s arms),  and an implied murder that was never actually described or confirmed.

These woods are dark and deep, but not even Frost would make the mistake of calling them lovely.

The atmosphere was utterly perfect. Anyone who has ever walked in or near a forest on a cold winter day might recognize the uncertainty that can flood the nervous system when one hears something cracking, snapping, or scuffling off in the trees without being able to tell where the sound is coming from or who or what might be making it. Yes, it’s probably just an animal running away or a tree branch breaking under the weight of the heavy snow on it when it happens in real life, but that doesn’t necessarily make the experience any less eerie. My brain was flooded with memories of such days as I read this, and I shivered with delight as Ellie rationalized away what she was hearing and kept walking further into the forest no matter what.

I kept finding myself wishing for more substance to this story. There were brief glimpses of and hints about the terrible things that had happened in Old Settler’s Woods over the years, but none of them were described in enough detail to make them come to life in my imagination. I desperately wanted to give this a higher rating based on everything else I loved about it, but in the end this issue held me back from doing so. Reviews must be completely honest if they’re to be trustworthy, after all.

Ellie was a practical and resourceful woman, so I appreciated the time Ms. Camby spent explaining why Ellie would even think about wandering into a forest that her grandparents had spent years warning her to avoid. Not only that, but she did it during a fierce blizzard when the radio was warning everyone to stay home and off the roads! These are the sorts of scenes that can make or break a horror story, so I was glad to see so much attention spent on Ellie’s reasons for venturing out and why turning back wasn’t an option for her no matter how cold or frightened she was. I understood where she was coming from, and I felt like I got to know her better because of it.

Over the River and Through the Woods made me shudder.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: What I Eat in the Average Day

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

I know this week’s prompt is asking about our average eating habits, but mine shift throughout the month. I’ll begin with what’s typical during the colder months of the year when I don’t have a migraine.

As I mentioned in the morning routine prompt last November, I normally have almond milk and oatmeal with fruit, nut butter, and chia seeds for breakfast.

Close-up of penne noodles evenly covered in a marinara sauce and sitting in a white bowl. There are two sprigs of basil sitting on top of the pasta. Lunch is my biggest meal of the day. It’s common for me to eat dishes like pasta, rice and beans with various seasonings and vegetables added in, stir-fry of various sorts, tacos, fajitas, or chilli.  I batch cook a couple of days a week, so these are often leftovers from previous meals.  During heat waves, I switch to cold options like sandwiches, hummus and pita, large salads that include a source of protein, etc.

Typical dinner foods include options like smoothies, baked beans, big plates of raw and/or cooked vegetables, fruit, some leftover meat or other high-protein foods, eggs prepared in various ways, or other light and healthy meals. This remains pretty consistent throughout the year. I can get heartburn if I eat spicy food or too close to bedtime, so I try to eat just enough of something mild (ish)  to keep me full until morning.

We do order takeout occasionally as well, but I try to cook at home as much as possible.

Sounds pretty healthy, right?

If I’m at any point in the migraine cycle, things change. Strong cravings, generally for sugar and salt,  are one of the early signs that I’m going to have a migraine within the next few days, and it’s really hard for me to resist junk food on those days.

The closer I get to needing to take my migraine medication, the more painful it is for me to chew hard foods like, say, carrot sticks or apple slices. If you’ve ever had a toothache, it’s similar to that but in multiple teeth on one half of my face.

I experience nausea that makes my body finicky about the texture, smell, and taste of the food that it will allow to remain in my stomach. My sensitivity to noise as the migraine looms closer also makes it impossible for me to use something like a blender then.

So my diet shrinks down to soft foods that have mild scents and do not require noisy preparations until my medication kicks in and I’ve slept off the worst of the rest of it. Sometimes we’ll order in pizza on those nights instead of me trying to cook something.

I will often roast some sweet potatoes and hard boil some eggs a day or two in advance to give myself some healthy options, and I’m always on the lookout for other dairy-free foods to add to my rotation when I can’t chow down on raw, crunchy stuff.

Luckily, I’ve been able to reduce my number of migraines by figuring out my triggers for them,  avoiding triggers as much as I possibly can, and following a strict sleep and meal schedule. I can’t avoid every migraine, though, and so that’s how they influence my diet.

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Confessions


Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Person holding a finger in front of the mouth of a small dog as if to keep him or her from speaking. For today’s freebie post I’m going to be sharing some bookish confessions.

(The dog in the photo isn’t mine. I simply thought it was an amusing illustration for this prompt).

1. Reading graphic novels definitely counts as reading in general, but I personally don’t enjoy that form of storytelling. I’d rather have more words and fewer pictures.

2. I am quick to give up on books I’m not enjoying. Life is too short to read something that doesn’t resonate with me.

3. Vlogging is scary and I never want to do it. Ha!

4. I do not understand people who judge others based on the genres they do (or don’t) read. It’s one thing to say that genre X isn’t your cup of tea and quite another to say that one type of storytelling is inherently better or worse than all others. Honestly, there are gems and duds in every genre.

5. Audiobooks work best as rereads for me. When I get distracted by my workout or cleaning, I like being able to immediately figure out what I missed in the last scene or two.

6. Some classic novels have passed their expiration dates (at least for me). I’ve loved some of them but been completely bored and confused by others.

7. As much as I love reading, I relish my reading breaks when the weather is nice enough for me to spend tons of time outside every day.

8. I don’t follow as many book bloggers as I used to. I felt slightly guilty for unfollowing them, but I simply don’t have time to keep up with as many of them as in the past.

9. Horror novels are best read in the middle of the day, not right before bed. Feel free to guess how many nightmares I had before I figured this one out.

10. I’m quietly suspicious of people who think fiction is a waste of time. While I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule, the folks I’ve met who think that way tend to be less empathetic than average and really struggle to see the world from other points of view. Fiction can teach us to appreciate the many shades of grey in a conflict (or  character, or real human being, or an issue), and it confuses me to meet folks who have such black and white thinking they can’t even enjoy a simple story.

What are your bookish confessions?