Saturday, December 17, 2016

A New Classic Christmas Tale

Before there was Santa Claus, there was a young boy who believed in the impossible. . . . Lemony Snicket meets Elf in this warmhearted Christmas caper.
Eleven-year-old Nikolas—nicknamed “Christmas”—has received only one toy in his life: a doll carved out of a turnip. But he’s happy with his turnip doll, because it came from his parents, who love him. Then one day his father goes missing, and Nikolas must travel to the North Pole to save him. 
Along the way, Nikolas befriends a surly reindeer, bests a troublesome troll, and discovers a hidden world of enchantment in the frozen village of Elfhelm. But the elves of Elfhelm have troubles of their own: Christmas spirit and goodwill are at an all-time low, and Nikolas may be the only person who can fix things—if only he can reach his father before it’s too late. . . .
Sparkling with wit and warmth, A Boy Called Christmas is a cheeky new Christmas classic-in-the-making from acclaimed author Matt Haig and illustrator Chris Mould.

I promised to do two things before the end of the year; I said I would post the list of top 2016 reads (which I have yet to do) and I said if A Boy Called Christmas arrived in time to review before Christmas Day, I would review it.

Well I'll be damned if RandomHouse didn't expedite shipping and get me the audiobook in record time. It arrived late last night and for the first time since I was a child, I have an audio Christmas story to listen to just before Christmas.

My first thought upon popping in disc one was-My god, I never knew I needed Stephen Fry to read me a Christmas tale. I absolutely love his story telling abilities and he has done a marvelous job with A Boy Called Christmas. I'm practically swooning over here.

Matt Haig's Christmas tale is simply wonderful. It's heart-wrenchingly sweet and for the first time in years I find myself wishing I still believed. Christmas just loses its magic over the years and now that I have a child of my own I've done my best to bring some holiday cheer into our home while secretly wishing it would be over already. 

Matt Haig's story has truly put me in the mood for the holidays. It's a new twist on an old tale with unexpected characters and a story that will stay with you every Christmas season.

I'm slightly sad I don't have a printed version as well to see the artwork I've heard so much about. I may pick up a copy just to have a look and save it for when my son is older. 

We sat by our artificial fireplace all morning, eating Christmas cookies and listening to Nicholas's adventure and it was a fantastic way to spend the day. I believe we'll listen again the closer it gets to Christmas and I will definitely be sharing this audiobook with his grandparents.

A Boy Called Christmas is a must read/listen this Christmas season and it will certainly become a yearly tradition in our home.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Year in Review-2016 Best of Macro

Happy Macro Monday!

I'm winding down for the year so this will be the last Macro Monday of 2016.
I will still be uploading photos to Instagram *ChasingtheWindPhoto
but my blog will be a bit bare for a few weeks.

To celebrate the upcoming year (hopefully a better year than this...) I've compiled the top picks from my Instagram page, the photos most liked and chosen by you!

Thank you so much for following and I'll see you next year.

Your #1 top pick of 2016!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Arm of the Sphinx

Forced by necessity into a life of piracy, Senlin and his crew struggle to survive aboard their stolen airship. Senlin’s search for his lost wife continues, even as her ghost hounds his every step. But the Tower of Babel proves to be as difficult to reenter as it was to escape.

While searching for an unguarded port, Senlin encounters the camp of Luc Marat, who seems equal parts bandit and humanitarian. One thing is for certain: his asylum for the downtrodden hods is not as peaceful as it appears.

In desperation, Senlin turns to the mysterious and dangerous Sphinx, with whom Edith shares a terrible bond. They discover the Sphinx’s help does not come cheaply. Senlin must choose between his friends, his freedom, and his wife.

'A crew could never be sure what sort of welcome the tower would offer them.'

I have decided that I do not have the talent to give this book the review it deserves, so I'll give it the best I can. 

I had no idea what to expect from Arm of the Sphinx. Senlin Ascends was so fantastic and ended on such a cliffhanger that Book 2 could have gone in any direction and I couldn't even imagine what Josiah had in store for these characters.

If you've read Book 1 and have yet to dive into Book 2, I will do my absolute best not to spoil anything. If you haven't read either book, you're probably best checking out my review of Senlin Ascends and going from there because there are quite a few changes in Arm of the Sphinx and discussing them here could potentially spoil Book 1.

If you've read both books, I love you and move right along from here.

With that in mind, here we go.

Everything has changed. Nothing is as it was and things will never, ever be the same again. The Tower continues to take everything from its inhabitants that which it demands and Thomas Senlin finds he can either become the thieving pirate he needs to be, or face the ruin of his crew and the ultimate failure at recovering Marya.

I mentioned in my review of Senlin Ascends that Senlin changes throughout the book and as he changes so does the depth and complexity of the story. He transforms from cringe-worthy naivety to a more a conscientious, worldly man, shedding his shy, childlike views and growing to adapt to his situation. The same can be said of the story itself, evolving from simplicity to a wonderful complexity.

With Arm of the Sphinx, it's all brand new. My first impression was-I don't recognize these people! Not only has Senlin taken command of his ship, he's taken control of his destiny. He continues to evolve and adapt and it's absolutely fantastic to witness. 

Beneath that shy exterior he began with, Thomas Senlin is hilariously cunning. He is the ultimate pirate, an even better Jack Sparrow as he knows how to get exactly what he needs and what he wants while continuing to be grossly underestimated despite his growing reputation. He is an absolute joy to read about and he isn't the only one going through these fascinating changes. The entire crew has to face their new life and their new roles in the tower and what's more is they now have to learn to trust and rely on each other, something none of them had ever done before.

But how far will they trust their captain and his continuing need to find someone they all believe to be lost forever? His obsession may just lead to his ruin.

Marya takes a backstage in this book, at least the real Marya does, as for the other... You're in for a treat. She's deviously haunting Senlin and her presence is a bit more than he'll admit he can handle.

There are so may answers in Arm of the Sphinx and yet so many more questions arise. The Tower is not what it seems, it's definitely not what I had guessed, and I have no idea what will happen from here. 

Arm of the Sphinx definitely tops Senlin Ascends, it's a fantastic sequel and I'm wringing my hands trying to find some way to distract myself until The Hod King arrives sometime next year. We haven't even seen a fraction of what the Tower conceals within it's walls and I'm freaking dying with anticipation.

This series is an absolute must read, Bancroft has absolutely blown me away with his work and he's only just begun.

If you're interested in checking out my review of The Books of Babel book 1 - Senlin Ascends, you can read that Here

About the Author
Josiah is a freelance writer, poet, and musician. His work has appeared in dozens of journals and magazines, including Slice Magazine, BOMB Magazine’s: Word Choice, Rattle, the Cimarron Review, the Cincinnati Review, and Gulf Coast. In 2010, Josiah's book of poems was a finalist for AWP’s Donald Hall Prize in Poetry. The poet Alberto Rios had this to say about his collection of poems, The Death of Giants:
"These are poems of constantly surprising adventures for the reader. The title poem sets the tone, marvelous in its pragmatism and equanimity, and the poems benefit from this start. Things happen, and things get done because of that, but what is so easily said is the precise source of wonder in these pieces, in that even the most complex and strange occurrences are simply dealt with."
Connect with Josiah

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


When Felix is deposed as artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival by his devious assistant and longtime enemy, his production of The Tempest is canceled and he is heartbroken. Reduced to a life of exile in rural southern Ontario—accompanied only by his fantasy daughter, Miranda, who died twelve years ago—Felix devises a plan for retribution.

Eventually he takes a job teaching Literacy Through Theatre to the prisoners at the nearby Burgess Correctional Institution, and is making a modest success of it when an auspicious star places his enemies within his reach. With the help of their own interpretations, digital effects, and the talents of a professional actress and choreographer, the Burgess Correctional Players prepare to video their Tempest. Not surprisingly, they view Caliban as the character with whom they have the most in common. However, Felix has another twist in mind, and his enemies are about to find themselves taking part in an interactive and illusion-ridden version of The Tempest that will change their lives forever. But how will Felix deal with his invisible Miranda’s decision to take a part in the play?

This has officially been my very first Margaret Atwood novel. I've heard all good things and her work has been described to me as 'absolute genius' so when I saw one of her works up for grabs on Blogging for Books I figured it was the perfect time to give her a go.

My first impression wasn't positive. I don't know much about Shakespeare and I figured that would hinder my reading a bit, but that really wasn't the problem. The book is slow, thoughtful, calculating, and it's all told by Felix while slowly losing his sanity.

I had to push through the first few chapters of his loss and building depression, his troubles garnering no real sympathy from me and it left me wondering if the story would ever build into anything remotely fascinating. It was just so slow going.

But, the more I read, the more I realized I had to know how it ended. I had a few theories throughout the book, and remember, I don't know much about Shakespeare so there's no way I could have compared his story to that of a Shakespearian play and actually figured out what was going to happen.

Halfway through I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book had pulled me in and I couldn't stop reading. I had to know what was going to happen.

I still had a few issues, like that fact that everyone in the book seemed to know way more about Shakespeare than I would have thought an every day Joe should have known... I mean, how many jail security guards studied Shakespeare and can name his more obscure plays? I definitely couldn't name more than three and that would take quite a bit of thinking...

But overall Hag-Seed built into a fantastic story, an emotional and gripping read and I'm very glad I saw it through to the end. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Holliston: Friendship is Tragic

Down on their luck wannabe filmmakers Adam and Joe want desperately to celebrate Halloween to the fullest, but their wallets say otherwise. When Adam finds a pre-paid credit card loaded with money, he decides to buy gifts for his friends Joe, Laura, and Corri from a mysterious shop full of rare items. Little does he know the card carried a terrible curse; one that will not only tear apart their friendships, but tear apart all of Holliston! Loaded with laughs, guest appearances, and horror movie references that fans of the show or just fans of great comics will all enjoy! 
Written by Greg Wright (Monstrous, Wild Bullets), edited by Travis McIntire (Up the River, Bayani and the Nine Daughters of the Moon), with pencils and Inks by Stephen Sharar (Up the River, Wild Bullets), and colors and letters by Joshua Werner (Zombie Rush Riot, Jack of Spades). 

I know I'm a little late on this one being that it's a Halloween story, but I so wish I had read this before my Halloween Reads post because Holliston would have been on it! You can believe it will be on the list for next year.

I hesitated in responding when Greg Wright asked if I wanted to read his newest work, not for any particular reason, I just wasn't up for trying something new and I really wasn't up for the possibility of a disappointing read (it always breaks my heart writing a negative review). I almost said no, but I knew he was working on a project with Jim Kersey, and if you don't know that I love Jim Kersey's work then you're definitely not following my twitter feed (Amok Brothers is epic and you should be checking it out).

If Jim says a guy's alright, then that's good enough for me.

I had never heard of Holliston, I didn't know it was a tv show until I read the foreword in Friendship is Tragic, but don't worry if you've never seen an episode, this novel is a stand alone addition that anyone can enjoy-And if you enjoy this graphic novel I can guarantee you'll want to watch the show. 

My copy of Season 1 is already on its way.

Friendship is Tragic absolutely stole my heart within the first few pages, not only because the foreword is so personally inspiring and completely heartfelt from the creator Adam Green, but also because Joe and Adam are so perfectly adorable. Adam is over the top innocent and completely excited to make this year the best Halloween ever and Joe's sarcastic cynicism is simply hilarious. The banter between these two makes it apparent just how close of friends they are. The connection between them is immediately apparent and even had I not read Mr. Green's foreword, it's clear a lot of love went into crafting these crazy characters.

What's really fantastic is that the creators of this comic are fully aware of just how unbelievable their story is. Greg Wright openly makes jabs at the plausibility of his own story and it only adds to the hilarity of the situation as it's blatantly obvious things are seriously getting f&%$ed up and the guys just keep rolling with it and seeing where the trouble leads. 

The pop culture references are on right on point and I love the throwback to Adam Green's other works. Hatchet happens to be one of the first horror films I watched when I started getting into the genre.

Joe and Adam had me smiling from page 1 and I just can't say enough good things. Greg Wright did an excellent job pulling this comic together. 

I said this after reading Halcyon's Wake and i'll say it again for Holliston- If you can sit back and let the author run with their imagination and enjoy the pure, slap-stick comedy fun they've brought you, then you'll truly be able to appreciate Friendship is Tragic. It's a great ride and I'm looking forward to learning more about this Holliston fandom.

Check out more about Holliston at Source Point Press

Buy Holliston: Friendship is Tragic