Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Happy National Book Lovers Day - Pixel's 10 Things a Book Can Do For You

Happy National Book Lover's Day friends! 
The written word is one of the oldest, most self-contained and yet most grand forms of entertainment. You don't need a single other person to be entertained by a book. You can choose any kind you like, whether it's historical, biographical, science fiction or mystery...the sky's the limit and the world is your oyster! I've read several books in my young life, and reviewed some of them for you here on my blog. Since we're celebrating National Book Lover's Day, I'd like to share my Top 10 Things a Book can do for you, and also share links to all my book reviews, so you can discover some really great books in case you missed my reviews in the past. Ahhh, the joy of a good book can be such a comfort in many situations.

Pixel's Top 10 Things a Book Can Do for You:
1. A book can teach you a skill - anything from car repair to "how to teach your dog tricks" can be found in a book.
2. A book can teach you a language - Spanish, French, even sign language can be learned by reading a book.
3. A book can help you heal - coping with loss, dealing with past hurts...there are great books out there for healing.
4. A book can help you escape - there's nothing like a good story to help get your mind off of the worries and troubles of the day.
5. A book can make you laugh - great comedic writing in a book is a gift indeed!
6. A book can build your confidence - good self-help books, and ones that help you learn new things, can make you feel better and more confident.
7. A book can make you cry - we all know those heart wrenching stories that bring tears to your eyes, whether they are sad or happy tears.
8. A book can make you smarter - Oh yes! School books and any book from which you learn something new will make you smarter! Every time I open a book, I learn something new.
9. A book can teach you how to read - both children and adults learn how to read by...reading books! That's right, the more you read, no matter what level of learning and reading skill you have, the better you will get.
10. A book can bring you closer to friends and those you love - sharing a good book together, or talking about what you've read, why you liked it, what made the book special or meaningful to you, brings you closer together. It's bonding!

Here are a few links to my past book reviews, and books Mommy and I love, so you can discover some books that might become new favorites:
1. The Case of Jack the Nipper: A Chronicle of Mister Marmee by H.L. Stephens
2. The Case of the Wayward Fae: A Chronicle of Mister Marmee by H.L. Stephens
3. A Doggy Daycare Day by L.J. Burns
4. Purr Prints of the Heart by Deborah Barnes
5. Moments of Surrender by Jaye Lewis as well as "Moments of Joy" and "Moments of Reflection"
6. The Arthurian Saga ("The Crystal Cave" is Book 1) by Mary Stewart
7."Ariel" by Steven R. Boyett (Mommy's read this adventure about 5 times since she first found it in 1993)
8. "The Snowflake, Winter's Secret Beauty" by Kenneth Libbrecht and Patricia Rasmussen
9. "South With Endurance: Shackleton' Antarctic Expedition 1914 - 1917", The Photographs of Frank Hurley
10. "The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln" Edited by Anthony Gross

So, what good books have you read lately my friend? Any suggestions for me or Mommy to read? It doesn't matter what it's about, whether it's a how-to, a biography, a 300-page book or a 20-page's ALL good reading and all worthy of our time and appreciation. Please leave me a comment below. I'd love to hear about it! Who knows, you might make a recommendation that becomes my next best favorite.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Pixel Reviews "Purr Prints of the Heart" by Deborah Barnes - A Special Book with a Special Message

"We are hardwired from birth to know our time on earth with you is fleeting and borrowed in the scheme of your life span, and we instinctively know to live in the joy of the present moment as a result of that." ~ Mr. Jazz, "Purr Prints of the Heart"
The written word can be a very powerful thing. It has the power to capture you and the power to set you free. When done well, the written word has the ability to make you laugh, thrill you, bring you to tears and either, open, change or melt your heart. It is a most valuable teacher and a wonderful way for people to share stories and bond with each other.
I was reminded of just how joyful and powerful good writing is, for I've just recently read a very special book called "Purr Prints of the Heart: A Cat's Tale of Life, Death and Beyond." It was beautifully written and was penned by my dear friend Deborah Barnes, a talented, award winning writer who is the heart and creative genius behind "Zee and Zoey's Cat Chronicles" blog. Before I share the book, I'll give you a little background on how our friendship started. It was "chance" meeting that instead was meant to be, and it linked us together in regards to dear Mr. Jazz. This moment in time also gives you a peek into the genuine heart of this writer, even before you read any of her work...
Mommy and I met Deb Barnes in May, 2013 at the BlogPaws Pet Blogging and Social Media Conference in Washington DC, when both Mommy and Deb had something weighing on their hearts. Mommy had a very important luncheon with Petfinders in the afternoon, in a small restaurant next to the conference in which dogs were not allowed. Mommy could not find any alternative for my care given my special needs. She was worried sick about it and was about to decline attending. She happened upon meeting Deb, a warm, kindhearted cat blogger whom we'd admired for quite a while. The three of us felt a natural rapport right away and talked for a while. Upon finding out the situation, and sensing our need, Deb offered to watch me so Mommy would not have to miss the lunch. Deep down in her heart, Mommy felt good about it and trusted Deb. Little did we know that Deb was filled with despair. Her precious cat Mr. Jazz was very ill, he wasn't eating, and Deb was afraid she was going to lose him. He was in excellent hands at home, but she was still distraught. Yet in spite of that, she reached out and unselfishly did for someone else. Although I'm often shy around strangers, I felt safe with Deb, and we had a great time for those two hours. I helped her eat her lunch, lots of people took photos of "Pixel Blue Eyes with Deb the cat lady", and she told us later that I was able to take her mind off of her beloved Mr. Jazz for at least a little while. We've been friends ever since...
Deborah Barnes' book "Purr Prints of the Heart: A Cat's Tale of Life, Death and Beyond" is a beautiful story and journey as told through the eyes, and heart, of Mr. Jazz. Mr. Jazz is an old soul. His cat mother told him so, and his human mom knew it from the very beginning. Now, don't let the title make you think that this book is a sad lament full of only loss and sorrow. Oh no friends, it is so much more than that! The very first chapter had me barking out loud with laughter and Mommy giggling at Jazz's 10 week old kitten "reality check" of how his amazing new "furever home" would be (as told to him by his beautiful and wise Ragdoll kitty Mom) as opposed to the first place that his human Mom took him to before bringing him home. Yes, you guessed it...the veterinarian's office. He had visions of "sunbeams, treats and toys" everywhere, not a needle filled, temperature taking torture hall. "Lies, lies and more lies," he announces in great angst. Poor little Jazz...I understood exactly how he felt! Of course, once he really gets to his new home, all his fears are abated and he discovers he was just being well cared for to ensure he will be healthy. And he DOES see his "sunbeams, treats and toys."
Mr. Jazz walks you through his early life, and introduces you to his family members, including his human family, and his cat and dog siblings. He loves his Mom Deb very much, and feels especially close to Kit, his female tabby sister cat who was rescued off the streets of New York years earlier by Mom Deborah.
Mr. Jazz (center) sharing a moment with his siblings Zee & Zoey.
Mr. Jazz learns a great deal from Kit, who explains all kinds of things to him. He learns about his Mom Deb, about some of her history and how she rescues and cares for animals in need. He learns about the other animals whom she's loved before. And he learns about the Rainbow Bridge. How perfectly fitting for Jazz to first hear about the Rainbow Bridge from a fellow animal, from his wise and loving big sister Kit.
I was enthralled by every detail he shared. I loved the way Deb captured Jazz's story so eloquently from so early on. I actually felt like he was in the room with me, telling me each story, sharing each anecdote, revealing each important moment in his life. Deb has a gift for channeling Jazz's heartfelt love, feelings and emotions. Whether we were enjoying a sweet moment in the story, sharing in a tough time that Mr. Jazz and his family endured during his life (do it yourself home improvement can a nightmare for ANY pet to endure), or crying during the struggles of his illness and ultimate loss, Mommy and I, paw in hand, snuggled together, enjoyed each moment we spent reading it together.
That's right, we read this book together. After all, Mr. Jazz, a Ragdoll cat, is the narrator of the story. Deborah Barnes' book is a tremendous way for you to bond with your pet. This is not "a cat lovers only" book, because love knows no species. This is for anyone who has ever loved an animal. This is for anyone who might be considering getting a pet for the very first time. It's a gift for all ages. It's a heartwarming look at pet life and love from birth, all the way through death, and truly, beyond, to the very best of our understanding. It is about pet loss from the pet's perspective, at least through the eyes of handsome and beguiling Mr. Jazz. Purr Prints of the Heart shows us that love knows no bounds, it has no limitation of species, and loves continues far beyond this earth. This beautiful true story illustrated to us all that it's okay to share in another's loss. It's okay to learn from another's experiences. It's okay to cry from another's tears. And it's okay to let go of those you love the most when it is time, find peace in your heart, and still celebrate the time you had with them.
Guide to Coping with Loss
Deborah Barnes didn't want to just share Mr. Jazz's story, she also wants to help others who have ever coped, are currently coping, or one day might have to deal with the loss of a companion animal. The feelings of loss and despair over the death of an animal can take many forms, and every person is different. Loss is real. It does not matter whether you knew the animal 20 years or 20 days. It doesn't matter whether they died peacefully in their sleep or died a horrible death, it is all devastating. In the back of the book, Deborah included a guide to coping with pet loss. She and Mr. Jazz wanted to help others begin to deal with the complex grieving process that comes with loss. I think that Mr. Jazz must be looking down from heaven with pride in his heart for his Mom who is seeking to help others cope with grief and loss.
Every pet seeks to teach their beloved human about life, love, acceptance, giving, enjoying the moment, and when the time is right, letting go. That last one can be the hardest lesson of all. I have yet to teach Mommy that lesson, but we learn to let go of little things in life to make our days less stressful. ~ Pixel Blue Eyes
In the end, Mr. Jazz's "old soul" wisdom is undeniable, so I leave you with his sage advice that I hope all humans will understand and follow...
"All I ask of those of you reading my story is that you try to remember that life is finite. Love, treasure and appreciate what you have in your lives as if it might be your last day, because it very well might be. And when you lose a beloved pet like me, don't be closed minded, afraid to feel love again - open your hearts and homes when the time is right to another pet who needs a furever home because there are so many animals...who deserve a chance for a happy life. I promise it will not dilute the love you had for will fill our hearts with joy knowing you have given another creature a chance to love you the same way we did." ~ Purr Prints of the Heart

To purchase "Purr Prints of the Heart", visit the following link, which has all the information you need: 

Deborah Barnes writing with her "assistants".
Deborah Barnes resides in the tropical paradise of South Florida with her fiancĂ© and feline family of seven. She is the author of the 5-star rated books, The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey – A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary and Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond as well as the award winning blog, Zee & Zoey’s Cat Chronicles that continues to cover the everyday journey she shares with her cats along with topics from the humorous behaviors of cats to very serious subjects on pet responsibility.  Deborah was awarded 2013 “Writer of the Year” by Friskies Purina on behalf of the Cat Writers’ Association and she is also the Secretary of the nonprofit, Pawsitively Humane, Inc. of Miami, Florida, whose mission is to create public awareness and reduce the numbers of animals on the streets and in shelters through an extensive educational campaign. (Website)
Friends, I hope you'll go visit Deborah Barnes on some of her social media sites.
Make sure to tell her I sent you!  (Website)  (Blog)  (Zazzle)
#/zeezoey  (Zee and Zoey - Facebook)
#/purrprintsoftheheart  (Purr Prints on Facebook)  (Pawsitively Humane, Inc.)
All quotes from the book "Purr Prints of the Heart" are copyrighted and reprinted with permission by Deborah Barnes.
Do you have a special story to share about pet loss or something associated with this story? I'd be honored to have you share it in a comment...

Thursday, January 8, 2015

WINNERS ANNOUNCED in the 12 Days of Christmas "The Case of the Wayward Fae: A Chronicle of Mister Marmee" GIVEAWAY!!

Hello Friends! I am so very excited to reveal the winners in the 12 Days of Christmas "The Case of the Wayward Fae: A Chronicle of Mister Marmee" GIVEAWAY!! As promised, we have 7 winners.
First, I'll give a breakdown of the prizes, as first listed in the book review and giveaway post from December 24th, 2014.
1st Prize ~ Autographed 2 Book Set "The Chronicles of Mister Marmee" by H.L. Stephens (1 winner)
2nd Prize ~ Autographed copy of "The Case of the Wayward Fae" by H.L. Stephens (2 winners!)
3rd Prize ~ e-Book copy of "The Case of the Wayward Fae" by H.L. Stephens (4 Winners!!)

1. 1st Prize - Cheryl M.
2. 2nd Prize - Janet K.
3. 2nd Prize - Sharon E.
4. 3rd Prize - Coyote B.
5. 3rd Prize - Brenda H.
6. 3rd Prize - Laura B. S.
7. 3rd Prize - Becky
Congratulations Winners!!!

I will be emailing each of these winners so that I can get their print or e-books to them as soon as possible. I hope that each winner enjoys the books immensely! Please let me know what you think. I always love to hear about a good book, even when I've already read it! Thank you so much friends for all of you who took part in this fantastic giveaway. It was loads of fun and I can't wait to do it again. That's right, stay tuned for other giveaways I'll be having in 2015...I'm planning on many good things, so keep visiting!
If you have any questions or feedback, don't hesitate to email me. My email address spelled out (to avoid getting spammed by automated web bots) is: pixelblueeyes dot blog at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Joy of a Good Book & a Giveaway - "The Case of the Wayward Fae: A Chronicle of Mister Marmee" by H.L. Stephens

Merry Christmas Eve Friends! Although it's "Wordless Wednesday", I have much to say because I just finished a GRAND ADVENTURE without leaving the comforts of my home. There is nothing quite like reading a good book. No matter who you are or what your circumstances might be, a good book with a wonderful storyline can take you on incredible adventures you never thought possible. A well written story can take your wildest dreams, your deepest longings or your most elaborate imaginings and weave them into a reality of characters, adventures, and places you can visit and experience any time you like. Such is the case with the novel by H.L. Stephens, "The Case of the Wayward Fae: A Chronicle of Mister Marmee". This is the second novel in the Mister Marmee series and let me tell you, it is even more amazing and incredible than the first adventure!
I reviewed the first novel, "The Case of Jack the Nipper: A Chronicle of Mister Marmee" back in August, 2013. That first book introduced the amazing characters of Mister Marmee, a brilliant marmalade colored cat who is the narrator of the series; Sir Happy Heart, the greatest canine detective London has ever seen; premiere veterinarian Dr. Stephen Hanover, Sir Happy's beloved human; and Lady Jasmine, a noble and beautiful pit bull friend of Mister Marmee and Sir Happy who escaped a horrid past to find forever love in the heart of a young boy. The first novel also introduced the endearing Charles and Amelia Hurst, and of course Inspector Farley of Scotland Yard, who calls upon Sir Happy's keen intellect to help solve a most heinous crime.
In "The Case of the Wayward Fae", all these characters, plus a whole host of new and exciting friends and foes, are introduced. This second novel takes place in England's countryside, at Dawberry Manor, the country home of Dr. Hanover and Sir Happy. After the excitement, danger and adventures recounted in "The Case of Jack the Nipper" is closed, everyone is looking forward to a quiet time in the country. Life, after all, is slow and uneventful in the countryside, right? Not necessarily. After a series of strange and seemingly unconnected deaths and crimes occur in much too close succession in this sleepy country area, Mister Marmee and Sir Happy begin investigating as only they can! It doesn't take long before whispers of "fairy mischief" begin to spread among the country folk, adding an additional mystery that Sir Happy and Mister Marmee must dig through in order to find the truth. As Sir Happy starts fitting pieces together, he is wrongly accused of attacking a horrible man, and must go into hiding, leaving things up to Mister Marmee, who is not the master crime solver. It becomes a race against time, with Mister Marmee calling upon the help of a very special woman named Bitty Early, who lives deep in the forest where "the fairy folk" are thought to live. Sir Happy's life is in danger and only Marmee can save him, but...but... Oh, I can't say another word, you MUST read the book!!
The characters that H.L. Stephens creates for you are like no other. I cannot express enough how complete and multi-dimensional they are. H.L. lets you into their emotions, their feelings, sharing their wit, their innermost fears, and you see, feel and experience exactly what they are experiencing! It is truly unbelievable. They are not just words on a page, they are your dearest friends, your most loathsome adversary and you wait with great anticipation to read what will happen next.
Let me tell you, I was riveted with each turn of the page. I made Mommy stay up until the wee hours of the morning reading it with me. We could NOT put it down! We had to force ourselves to quit just to get sleep sometimes. It made us laugh with such humor our bellies ached, it made us cry to where we almost sobbed, and it always made us think.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
"With the solitude of darkness came the agony of a restless mind. My wearied body screamed for the comfort of slumber, but my mind would not comply with its demands. I was plagued by the events of the day, not just because a man had lost his life in my presence. It was horrific enough. What disturbed me and prevented me from escaping the reality of the daylight hours into the arms of my dreams was the feeling that the events as we knew them did not add together as I thought they should. Inconsistencies scratched at the back of my brain, but I was too drained mentally to put my paw upon their exact source. I was reluctant to agree with Sir Happy's assessment of Mowbry, but I was beginning to think my friend might be on to something in believing there was more to this incident than met the eye. 
I thought a nice midnight refreshment would help put my brain back in order and perhaps assist me in clearing my thoughts. After all, no truly gifted intellect could concentrate with a gurgling stomach nearby. I made my way to the cold store room to catch a smoked kipper or two. My grave mistake was forgetting that several of the villagers had laid the body of the dead man to rest there. What a sight greeted me when I eased opened the store room door!"
I bet you are dying to know what in the world Mister Marmee saw when he opened up that door. You are just going to have to read the book to find out! (I am going to help you get that book! Keep reading to find out how.)
Watch "The Case of the Wayward Fae: A Chronicle of Mister Marmee" Book trailer on YouTube.

H.L. Stephens understands in every possible way, the incredibly strong and deep connection between animals and people. She knows full well that dogs and cats, as well as most all the animal kingdom, can understand humans perfectly. In fact, in the Chronicles of Mister Marmee, it is the humans who are lacking in their ability to fully understand the animals and their extremely high functioning brilliance. These are not just talking dogs and cats like a child's cartoon. Oh no...this is a well structured, classically written, high level vocabulary masterpiece. A tapestry of brilliant characters with as many facets to their characters as a diamond has on a ring. You simply will not be able to help yourself once you start reading The Case of the Wayward Fae. It's just that good!
You will finish reading this book with a longing for still more. This story makes you feel that you are right in the middle of the events, taking part if you will. Not only does each character come alive within the words of each page, but each true and noble character becomes a treasured friend, a cherished confidant and beloved part of your life. No matter who you are, whether you love history, animals, mystery, adventure, fairies, Sherlock Holmes style "who done it" novels or just are intrigued by the underdog concept of animals solving crimes, you are going to LOVE THIS BOOK. It is filled with laughter, gripping "edge of your seat" adventure, poignant moments that will make your eyes water, deep friendship that will make you wish you were Mister Marmee or Sir Happy yourself, and an adventure unlike any other you've read or heard. So go run out and get the book for your friends and family members. You can order H.L. Stephens "The Case of the Wayward Fae: A Chronicle of Mister Marmee" at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play store, Smashwords, and many other online book stores.
You can learn a bit more about H.L. Stephens by reading her blog or visiting her Facebook page.
Pixel gives "The Case of the Wayward Fae: A Chronicle of Mister Marmee" 2 Paws UP! Safe and enjoyable to read for ages 8 - 108!
How would you like to win a copy of "The Case of the Wayward Fae: A Chronicle of Mister Marmee" by H.L. Stephens? How a set of BOTH books in the series? Tis the season of giving, and I want to give my friends some copies of H.L. Stephens' extraordinary adventure novels starring Mister Marmee. There are several prizes offered:
1st Prize ~ Autographed 2 Book Set "The Chronicles of Mister Marmee" by H.L. Stephens (1 winner)
2nd Prize ~ Autographed copy of "The Case of the Wayward Fae" by H.L. Stephens (2 winners!)
3rd Prize ~ e-Book copy of "The Case of the Wayward Fae" by H.L. Stephens (4 Winners!!)
To enter, simply use the rafflecopter entry tool below. It is quite simple. Just click on each question or instruction such as "Enter your name", "Leave a comment" etc, and further instructions will be provided for you. Each item gives you a certain number of chances to win. If you do ALL the items, you get over a dozen chances to win! Hurry friends, the contest ends at 11:59pm EST January 5th, 2015.
This is my Christmas present to YOU friends, in celebration of
the 12 Days of Christmas which starts
December 25th and runs through January 5th. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Joy of a Good Book - Pixel Reviews "A Doggy Daycare Day" by L.J. Burns

There is nothing quite as cozy as a warm bed, a snuggly blanket and a good book on a rainy day or a lazy afternoon. I especially love books with or about animals. I like it even better if an animal WRITES THE BOOK. Yes, animals are quite prolific, as you know well from my own musings here on my blog. Animals have a lot to say, and writing is a perfect outlet for us, just like it is for everyone else.

What a joy it was the day I found out my good friend Mitzi Jo (she likes to be called MJ by her friends) co-wrote a book with her Mom L.J. Burns called "A Doggy Daycare Day".

Let me give you a little background on them before I delve into the book. MJ, who has been in TV commercials (including one with the dog whisperer for National Geographic), and can do all kinds of tricks, has been helping run a wonderful doggy daycare with her Mom, who professionally trained dogs for Hollywood for over 20 years before opening the doggy daycare. They share a very special bond. The real life doggie daycare that L.J. owns and operates is called "Camp Jean". If I lived nearby, I'd certainly want to stay there! They have a fantastic looking facility, with several acres of property, all dedicated to making the most fun doggy daycare you've ever seen or experienced! M.J. also has a blog where you can read up on her activities throughout the year.
The book, A Doggy Daycare Day, details a typical day with MJ, her siblings and all the dogs that come to stay with them at the doggy daycare facility. They have all kinds of interesting little adventures. MJ keeps everyone in check and they all have loads of fun. It is a lighthearted look at "a day in the life" of a doggy daycare out in the country.
The book is beautifully illustrated by Andrea Vitali, an incredibly talented artist and children's book illustrator.

WOW! Look at the detail in his work. I feel like I'm in the same room with MJ and her friends in the book. I can almost hear them saying the words I read because they really look like they are talking. His artwork is absolute Disney quality, isn't it!
It is perfect for the very young, the young learning to read, adolescents or just the young at heart. It could really teach kids about how fun dogs can be.
The book itself is in paperback or e-book format. I always think it's more fun to get the actual book, especially one that has such pretty illustrations, not to mention such a well written one by a friend.
"Look Mommy! MJ signed the copy of the book she sent me! It even has her "pawtograph" mark on it." I sure feel special.
So friends, you've got to go get a copy of this book. You can purchase either a paperback or an e-book version on Amazon here.
Do you have a dog book you love? I'd love to hear about it. Leave me a comment and tell me the name. Maybe I can read it or even do a review of it. And of course, if you've written a book and would like me to review it, simply contact me via email at pixelblueeyes dot blog at gmail dot com.