Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Joy of Reading - Pixel Reviews "The Case of Jack the Nipper, A Chronicle of Mister Marmee"

As you know, I've been recovering from a rough tail pain time, and have been under close veterinary, and most importantly, Mommy supervision. We've had a lot of rain lately, so going outside has been a wash many days as well. Hence, my last few weeks have been a little more laid back than others. It was a perfect time for me to catch up on reading an amazing adventure called "The Case of Jack the Nipper: A Chronicle of Mister Marmee" by author H.L. Stephens.
The Case of Jack the Nipper is set in Victorian London and is narrated by Mister Marmee, a Victorian Gentlecat who is forced to take up residence at Hanover Place after Mister Marmee's beloved owner Annie must go off to boarding school. Hanover Place is the home of London's premiere veterinarian Dr. Stephen Hanover and his vivacious dachshund, Sir Happy.
The story is so well written, and such a highly intellectual read that at first, I did not realize that Mister Marmee was a marmalade colored cat, nor that Sir Happy was a dog. The story became all the more intriguing when I did find out that the pair of consulting detectives were not human.
From the very first page I was enthralled. The characters of Mister Marmee and Sir Happy are very captivating. It doesn't take long before Mister Marmee and Sir Happy are hot on the trail of clues after a series of vicious dog bite attacks occur in and around London. Sir Happy teaches Mister Marmee all the tricks of the crime detecting trade. Eventually, they lead detective Hyrum Farley of Scotland Yard, a family friend, down the investigative trail to finding the attacker.
Here's just a snippet of what Mister Marmee says about his friend, the amazing canine detective Sir Happy:
"Although he is unquestionably aware of his great gifts, rare gifts, his purpose in offering assistance in deciphering clues and unraveling mysteries is, quite simply, to help his fellow creature. Sir Happy believes with all his heart his gifts were meant to be shared, without ceremony and completely without self-praise. He has often said, "What would it profit me to glorify myself for what Providence has seen fit to bestow upon me? It would be sheer folly for all involved and would be a complete waste of my energies."

Wow! And that's just one tiny section of how beautiful the language and friendship is in this book. I could just read it or listen to it read to me all day long! According to Mommy, it has the language and feel of a century old classic like Little Women, the mystery and intrigue of Victorian London reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes, and the wonderful relationships and animals you would expect to see in the greatest Disney movie of all time. Oh, how I wish I was written in a book the way these lovely characters are written about and spoken of by Mister Marmee and H.L. Stephens. This is going to be a classic one day, a story that every man, woman and child will know in an instant...I can feel it.

Amazingly, gripping suspense catches you when you least expect it in several parts of the book, to where I found I was holding my breath for far too long, unable to tear my eyes away as I pawed to each subsequent page to find out what happened next. The way that H.L. Stephens blends the human and animal characters is seamless. In fact, instead of the normal "animals are limited and humans can understand them" story-line, it is the humans who are limited in understanding the vast depths of an animal's understanding, while the animals understand the humans perfectly. Mister Marmee & Sir Happy comprehend everything that is going on, and lead the way to finding the dastardly criminal. But can they catch him or her before its too late??
There are several lovely characters, both human and animal, that you are just going to love! One of them is named Lady Jasmine who reminds me so much of several of my most noble dog friends. She was born into the dog fighting world, forced to fight to survive from the time she was just a puppy. She's never known anything different, but she knows it is wrong. At one point, she is faced with a choice...keep on fighting, or refuse to do that which she loathed...OH!!! I can't say must read about her. Let me just say that she ends up being a beautiful story of redemption, love and honor, and is an integral character. Dr. Stephen Hanover, is so warm and wonderful, Charles and Amelia are beautiful inside and out, and Officer Farley is just as charming and unpredictable as can be!
You can read some about H.L. Stephens on the back of her book, but you will find that you really get to know her through her writing. She has an incredible ability to capture the true heart & soul bond that humans and animals have with each other. The depth of feeling in this story is so profound it will truly leave you speechless.
The Case of Jack the Nipper is a captivating (and safe) read for anyone ages 8 to 108. The language is classical in nature, similar to some of the greats such as Little Women, the Count of Monte Cristo and Sherlock Holmes himself. The story line flows so effortlessly, and the characters are written with such depth and beauty (the good characters of course) that I found myself believing them to be real. You can actually see the characters, the scenery, the action, within your mind's eye and nothing is lacking. I actually felt as though I was a part of the adventure, and that Mister Marmee, Sir Happy, Lady Jasmine, and all the beloved players of this wonderfully woven masterpiece were right there with me.
Paws down, this book is incredible! It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it most definitely will make you think. No matter what you might think of the animals before you read this book, by the time you have read the last sentence of "The Case of Jack the Nipper", I promise you will never look at another animal quite the same way again.
To get your own copy of this amazing adventure, look for it online in e-book and print at all your favorite stores, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iStores, and many other fine establishments. And don't just take my word on how great this book is, read some of the fantastic reviews on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Now, promise me you'll let me know if you read it. I love a good conversation about a good book!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Joy of Loved Ones - Dixie Watches Over Pixel

Pixel's Mommy here on this (mostly) Wordless Wednesday. Normally I let Pixel do all her own posting, but she is having another terrible round of nerve pain & inflammation due to her docked tail. She's been in utter misery for days,  forced to wear her blow up collar so she can't touch her tail, taking steroids, nerve pain medicine and other meds to keep her calm. Needless to say, there is no sweet Pixel smile as of late. We are praying that she will be back to her smiling, joyful Pixel self very soon.
Her sister Dixie, whom you've seen many times in Pixel's sweet & comedic posts, and who survived being a puppy mill momma for 3 years, has traded roles with Pixel for now. Dixie has assumed the role of comforter and watcher, she has been seeking Pixel out to snuggle and stay close to Pixel while we try all we can to make Pixel comfortable and figure out our next course of action to help her through this painful tail nub time. Pixel's blog is normally mostly about her fun adventures, rescue work we do, and the joys she finds in life. Well, this is another part of Pixel's life that we mostly document and share through our No Tail Left Behind campaign on Facebook, Twitter as well as on our new website/blog. I took these photos today...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Joy of Long Hair and Natural Ears - Pixel's Black & White Sunday

In Photoshop CS3, used Black and White tool. 

In Photoshop CS3, used Channel Mixer Monochrome tool.
I'm very excited to join in the "Black and White Sunday" blog hop, hosted by Dachshund Nola, You Did What With Your Wiener and My Life In Blog Years. I love having long hair & having my ears wave in the wind. Which version of the photo is your favorite?