Book Review – Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Good Morning! Here is the Monday Morning Blog!

Sorry I missed you last week. Life with work and home got pretty busy for me. Didn’t leave a lot of time to write. It was the first Monday I ever missed!

Time for a book review. Not only was it a book I wanted to read, but it is part of a research project for me on the topic of teen suicide. A pretty big topic of conversation for the audience I write for. The last few posts have been about bullying. And a lot of teen suicide is a direct result of being bullied. So, it was good for me to take the time this weekend to read it.

Continue reading Book Review – Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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Book Review – The Perfect Game, Tom Seaver and the Mets by Tom Seaver

It was a busy week in the writing house with marketing tasks for The Hard Way, but with a weekend off from work, I decided to squeeze in a little reading. With the Little League World Series Regional Finals on the TVs at our house, I was pretty excited to find a baseball book to read this time.

An autobiography is a book written by a person about themselves. I remember doing a writing unit in grade school and we wrote one. I’ll have to find it in the school papers my mom gave to me. I haven’t read very many autobiographies, but thought it would be fun to read this one. The book was published in 1970 and it was kind of cool to have an almost 50 year old in my hands.

There are many life lessons to be learned from the game of baseball. I’m glad that our kids get to play the game and experience some of those lessons first hand.

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Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

The Perfect Game, Tom Seaver and the Mets

Author

Tom Seaver

Type of Book

Autobiography about Tom Seaver’s baseball career focusing on game four of the 1969 World Series when the New York Mets played the Baltimore Orioles.

Background

Tom Seaver was a professional baseball pitcher. Most people remember him and his time playing for the New York Mets. He played in the Major Leagues for 19 years, 10 years for the Mets and 9 with multiple other teams. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Summary of the story

George Thomas Seaver (Tom) was a kid who always played baseball. He started in Little League and worked his way into high school and onto college ball. He played with legion and town teams until he was picked to play for the Mets on April 2, 1966. It wasn’t an easy path, but he worked hard to get there. One of the ultimate goals for a pitcher is to pitch the perfect game. Meaning they don’t give up any runs or hits to the other team throughout an entire game. This story talks about his drive to pitch the perfect game in that game four and the events that led up to that World Series game.

Reactions to the book

The references to other players and historical events of the time helped me to really enjoy the book. I collected baseball cards when I was a kid (to keep up with my brother and the other boys in the neighborhood) so I have heard of the players Seaver talks about. The references he makes to Vietnam and strained racial relations will help a reader understand the time when Seaver played baseball.

I struggled a little bit with how he told his story. Going back in the past and coming back to where his was in the game seemed to confuse the timeline for me sometimes. However, the tidbits from his past did help me to understand the life path he took to be pitching in that game.

The story showed me how much passion Seaver has for the game of baseball. I was also impressed at how he instilled confidence in his players, something which brought a team from the bottom of the division the previous year to a World Series Champion the next. Very inspirational story. I would definitely recommend it.

If you are interested in learning more about the author/baseball player, here is a link about him Tom Seaver – Hall of Fame

The book itself is out of print, but I did find a couple of copies on Amazon.com The Perfect Game, Tom Seaver and the Mets . Our copy had been given to us from a friend for the boys. It looks like it used to be a library copy taken out of circulation. Just like the one pictured above.

 

Book Review – Conspiracy 365 – February by Gabrielle Lord

Once again, I found a book in our house to review. One of the boys had it in his room. I think it might have been one he read for sophomore English this year. It looked interesting, but the fact it said February on it made me wonder if I should read it before the January one.

Our book club read a book in a middle of a series for one of our monthly reads. Thunder Bay, by William Kent Krueger, the seventh book in the series. Since we read that one, I have gone back and read most of the series (I finished book #10 and Jim has read through #11) of sixteen. His books could all be read without having read the previous ones. But, if I had read the books in order, I would have learned more about the main character’s back story.

The Bully’s Way is the second book in The Way Series I am preparing for an alpha read in September.  I have heard when writing a series, the author wants to have it fit into the series, but also be readable on its own. So the reader doesn’t have to read the first one to enjoy book two. It is something I will keep in mind as I continue to write the books in The Way series.

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Conspiracy 365 – February

Author

Gabrielle Lord

Type of Book

Middle Grade/YA mystery and suspense. This is the second book of a twelve book series.

Background

Lord is an Australian author known as ‘The Queen of Crime Fiction’.

The books were all published in 2010 and made into a mini television series in 2012 in Australia. Each segment of the television show was aired the first Saturday of each month through out the year. There are a total of seventeen books in the series, with additional storyline played out in the last five books.

Summary of Story

Callum Ormond is a fourteen year old boy on the run from the police and violent gangs. He has to find the answer to some research that his dad was working on before he died and has to stay alive for 365 days to do it. He lives in junk yards and abandoned houses to avoid all of those who are chasing him.

Reactions to book

The story was good. Lord kept the action moving and kept me reading. I found it may have been helpful to read January first to have more continuity in the story line. The book seemed to get a little long in parts, but as a 40 minute tv show, it may not have felt as long. It was probably written that way to get the story into the twelve segments.

If you are interested in picking up a copy of this book or any others in the series, you can find them here Conspiracy 365 Series

To learn more about the author, be sure to check out her website Gabrielle Lord.

Book Review – White Fang by Jack London

This is the third book written by Jack London I have read in the last month. They are all well written stories about people and animals and their struggles against their environment. White Fang is no exception. I read an adapted version of this one, since it was sitting on our book shelf right next to The Call of the Wild. I enjoyed all three books.

White Fang

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

White Fang

Author

Jack London

Type of Book

Adapted version would probably be a good middle grade read. I would caution sensitive readers there is some violence depicted in this story. It is in line with what actually happens in nature, but some readers may get upset by it.

Background

Just like The Call of the Wild, it was first published as a serialized story. According to Wikipedia, it was featured in Outing Magazine, which was published in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century under many different titles. Its tagline “the outdoor magazine of human interest”, ceased publication in 1923.

It was published as a book in 1906 and is said to be a companion book to The Call of the Wild, which focused on a domestic dog becoming wild while White Fang was a wild wolf/dog becoming domesticated. When two stories do this, it is called a thematic mirror. Disney also made a movie of White Fang in 1991.

Summary of Story

Story takes place in the Yukon during the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890s. A she-wolf has been living with a wolf pack. They have been foraging for food. When food becomes scarce, the she wolf and another wolf named One Eye, leave the pack. She gives birth to five pups. Due to the lack of food in the Alaskan tundra, only one pup survives. It is White Fang. This is his story of growing up as a wolf/dog.

Reactions to book

I liked the story. As an animal lover, I really got into the character of White Fang. The violence of nature in the book did get to me at points, but London was just telling the story from his experiences in the Yukon. And it was a hard and violent environment. It was neat to see the parallels and mirror images between this book and The Call of the Wild. I didn’t expect it, but glad that I read the other book first to be able to experience it.

If you are interested in picking up a copy, you can find it here White Fang

To learn more about the author, be sure to check out his website Jack London.

Book Review – The Sea-Wolf by Jack London

Happy Monday! 

Since it is the last Monday in May, it is also Memorial Day!

Be sure to honor the memories of the people who have died serving our country. It is also another special day in my world. It would have been my mom’s 78th birthday today. She would have been even happier that Memorial Day fell on her actual birthday this year. She always said the 30th is the original day the holiday was celebrated on. And she is right!

I have done a few book reviews of adapted books lately. They are ones with the stories condensed down for younger readers to be able to enjoy. It gives the reader the basic story without all of the subplots. I recently re-read Jack London’s Call of the Wild in an adapted version. So, I decided to read another Jack London book but the full version this time. There is a lot more story presented in a full version versus the adapted. I probably should have read the full version of the Call of the Wild this time to be able to make a fair comparison, but I haven’t read this book before. I will have to try and find an adapted copy of The Sea-Wolf and let you know how it compares.

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

The Sea-Wolf

Author

Jack London

Type of Book

Young Adult fiction if reading the full version due to a longer book. Adapted version would probably be a good middle grade read.

Background

Published after Call of the Wild in 1904, this book continues London’s theme of people and animals facing hardships. Most all of his writing is drawn from his own life experience with this book being based on his experiences at sea. 

Summary of Story

Story is set in the early 1900s. After surviving a collison at sea, Humphrey Van Weyden gets picked up by a sealing ship. He doesn’t have a lot of experience in the sea ways of life, being brought up in a weathly family and employed as a literary critic. The captain, Wolf Larsen, is a pretty violent captain, but he teaches Humprey not only how to crew and pilot the boat, but also builds him up to be a stronger man, physically and emotionally.

Reactions to book

By reading the full version, I was able to get the entire story, but it got a little wordy for me in places. But, I realized this is how writing of that time period tended to be. I did enjoy it and plan on reading an adapted version of the story in the near future. I’ll be interested to see what parts of the story they choose to tell in a condensed format.

The version of The Sea-Wolf that I read also included a few of London’s short stories. I read one called “The Law of Life” and I could see how deep London felt about life in the Yukon. This story talks about the life and death of one of the elder’s of a tribe. About how life takes it’s course and death is a natural part of it. Goes to show how life experience can add some depth to an author’s work.

If you are interested in picking up a copy, you can find it here The Sea-Wolf

To learn more about the author, be sure to check out his website Jack London.

Book Review – The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Happy Monday! Hope you were all able to enjoy your weekend. I took a three days off from work for some down time. Well, I did get some down time, but it seemed to be a weekend to catch up on home things. Errands on Friday, some spring house cleaning on Saturday and some home projects on Sunday.

With all of the things I got done, one big accomplishment happened on Sunday evening, the paperback version of The Hard Way was published on CreateSpace. It should be available on Amazon.com later this week. So excited! Now, with both versions available, I’ll start learning what it takes to get the word out and get working on marketing.

In the meantime, while I was looking at the bookcase with the boys books in it again,  The Call of the Wild was calling to me. I remember reading this book in middle school. Ok, so it has been awhile. The version we have for the boys and the one I read was an adapted version of the story, so I didn’t have all of the story development as London originally wrote it.

 

The Call of the Wild

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Call of the Wild

Author

Jack London

Type of Book

Middle Grade (adapted version)

Background

Jack London spent almost a year in the Yukon collecting material for this book. This story was first published in serialized sections in the Saturday Evening Post in the summer of 1903 and was published a month later in book form. Call of the Wild was published in 1903 set in Yukon, Canada during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush.

Summary of the Story

During the gold rush, there was a need for sled dogs. Men would go and steal dogs from people and sell them into sled dog teams. This is the story about a dog named Buck who this very thing happened to. 

Reactions to the book

I like the story. It brought be me back to when I originally read it in middle school. It was fun to read the adapted version to get the main points of the story. It would be fun to read the full version again.

The book can be found on Amazon Call of the Wild

If you are interested in learning more about the author, check out his web page Jack London


I have reserved The Sea-wolf from our local library. It is another popular story London wrote after The Call of the Wild. Since I haven’t read this one yet, I think I’ll read an unadapted version.

Book Review – The Bookshop and the Junglest by Robert L. Perrine

 

the-bookshop

 

It was time to read another middle grade novel and this one came my way. In one of my fiction writing groups on Facebook, Robert L Perrine posted that his novel was free on Amazon.com for a limited time. When I download a book offered to me this way, I make a point of writing a review. Not only to help another writer out, but also as a thank you for giving me a free copy. Authors are giving their books away to get the exposure, so another thing I could do is blog about it on my Monday Morning Blog.

 

Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

The Bookshop and the Junglest

Author

Robert L. Perrine

Type of Book

Middle Grade Fiction

Background

This is the first book in The Bookshop series and the first book published by this author. Perrine is a chef turned author. Just shows that writers can come from many different professions in life.

Summary of the story

It is a fantasy and adventure story featuring the characters of Maggy and Ethan Marconi. On the first day of summer vacation, they find a book on their dining room table that must be returned to not just any Bookshop. Little did they know when they brought it back, that they would be taken on an adventure to a place called the Junglest with Mr. Catterwall, the proprietor of the bookshop. During their trip, the trio is threatened by many elements of the jungle and they learn about a young girl who lives there.

Reactions to the book

I really liked the story. The characters were easy to relate to and Perrine told a good story.

The whole setting with books and a bookshop was fun and drew me right in. The lessons that Perrine presented through Mr. Catterwall, some being about historical events while others being life, would be easy to relate to for a middle grade reader. Through the adventure, Ethan learned about courage while Maggie learned about how important it is to have a sibling, even though he can be a dork sometimes.

Be sure to stick with the story, as it got a little long winded in places for me. Through this book, Perrine came up with a fun way to present the idea of being taken away on an adventure when one reads a book. When presented this way, I think it could help kids become more interested in reading. I know I went on a fun adventure when I read this one.

I would recommend this fun, adventure novel to any middle grade reader.

If you are interested in learning more about the author or if you are looking for a copy of the book, here is a link to it on Amazon.com The Bookshop and the Junglest