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 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


Jack London

Type of Book

Middle Grade (adapted version)


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.

Monday and May Day!

Happy Monday! It also happens to be May 1st so it is officially May Day today.

After a busy week with my day job, I was able to do a pre-publishing look over of my paperback version of The Hard Way on Saturday. Glad I took my time to take one more look at all components. I was hoping to announce it was ready for purchase this weekend, but I need to make one more check with my cover designer to make sure the cover is ready to go. I’m anxious to get it out there, but I want it to be right. Will make the announcement once it is officially online.

The other thing on my mind about writing is how hard it is to balance with a full time or more than full time day job. Many of my friends and co-workers are having a hard time believing that I could get a book published with all of the activities I currently have on my plate. Family life, major changes at work, and trying to get my book out there. I say when it is important, you find the time to do it. It has been hard trying to make it all happen, but I can’t be too hard on myself. I believe it will happen when the time is right. And it will.

Here is the link to the ebook again. Go ahead and take a look if you haven’t done so already. I get excited every time I think about the fact it is actually online.

The Hard Way Thumbnail
The Hard Way E-Book

My next step is creating an active marketing program and exploring places to get my book out to. The audience for my book are readers that have parents and teachers making their reading decisions for them. I need to explore ways to find those groups and get them to look at The Hard Way. And once I find them, figure out some advertising methods that will be the most productive. If they are gained from networking, that would be the best. But, If I must pay for them, then I want to be able to get the biggest bang for my buck.

It is a good thing I am self publishing my book on my own deadline. I will make time in my already tight schedule to get it done, because I want to. With all of the demands on my time and energy, I will need to be patient and know it will get done. If not right away, in its due time.

Just Days Remaining – Countdown to Book Launch – The Hard Way

6 days to go! Less than a week!

I feel like a kid the week before Christmas. Seeing all of the trees, lights and gift displays. I am so close to my dream coming true. When I write next week’s post, I will be a self- published author and have made one of my childhood dreams come true.

It has been a journey. One of hard work and some tears. I respect any author who goes through the process of writing and publishing a book. I’ve had a lot of help and support along the way, from my family and friends to members of Facebook groups, which makes accomplishing this goal mean even more to me. 

What did I get done this weekend?

For my paperback version, I assigned an ISBN number to it.

I set up my CreateSpace account and started uploading my cover and my manuscript. It was really fun to see it all in the close to final format. My editor did the formatting for me, but said sometimes the upload process can change things a bit. I’m glad that she told me, otherwise I might have become frustrated when it didn’t look just right the first time. We will have some minor tweaking to do to the spacing before we publish next weekend.

What is left to do this week?

After we do some additional formatting to the manuscript, I will upload it again and get it ready for the Saturday launch. Since I have been working on getting the e-book and paperback version ready to go, I may be publishing both versions on Saturday. I was originally planning to publish the e-book now and the paperback in a couple of months. After seeing that the processes are pretty much the same for both, as long as we get the reformatting done, they both may be ready to go live at the same time.

Going to the bank today and setting up a new checking account. This is where I’ll have  the royalties from my book go to and hopefully be able to pay expenses out of someday. I didn’t write this book to make a bunch of money. I wrote it because I have a passion for writing. But, if I can make some money, it would be icing on the cake.

Writing and publishing a book is a process with many steps. I know the process for my next one will be easier having done this one. In next week’s post, I’ll be sharing links with you on how to get a hold of a copy of The Hard Way.

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




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 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


Robert L. Perrine

Type of Book

Middle Grade Fiction


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 The Bookshop and the Junglest


Book Review – The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting

This was a book that I didn’t take the time to read as a kid. I saw it on our book shelf at home as another book I bought for the boys to read and jumped right in. This version of Lofting’s story was Condensed and Adapted by Kathryn Knight. I did a little research into what that really means. According to Yahoo! Answers, condensed means that the story has been shortened. It has left all the important plot points in, but may have taken a lot of the sub plots out. Adapted means that it takes a more adult story and makes it readable for children. It removes the big words and simplies the story to make it easier to understand.



Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

The Story of Doctor Dolittle


Hugh Lofting

Condensed and Adapted by Kathryn Knight

Type of Book

Middle Grade


Hugh Lofting created the character of Doctor Dolittle during the time he served in the British Army during World War I. He wrote letters home to his children telling them stories based on the character of Doctor Dolittle to protect them from the evils of what was happening in the war. When he arrived home, he started writing those stories into chapter books for children. The series of ten stories about Dolittle won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958 and the story The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle won a Newberry Medal in 1923. Two more Dolittle stories were published after he passed away and his stories have  been made into movies.

Summary of the story

Doctor John Dolittle, M.D. was just a normal everyday doctor. He started his practice in England treating people, but figured out that he had a way with animals, so he started treating animals at his home. Since animals can’t pay for his services, he needed to find a way to bring some money in to pay the bills. At the same time he received news that some monkeys needed medical help in Africa. So, he took all of the money he had left and set sail for Africa to help them.

Reactions to the book

I enjoyed the story. Dolittle’s interaction with the animals makes it a fun read for kids and adults. It is a very engaging story.

This edition of Lofting’s story has been condensed and adapted from the original story. It makes me want to read the original to see what I’m missing. In a note at the beginning of the book, Knight writes,

The Story of Doctor Dolittle has been carefully condensed and adapted from the original version (which you must read when you are ready for every detail). We kept the well-known phrases for you. We kept the important imagery and heart of the tale.

It is a great thing that these classic stories are condensed and adapted for younger readers to enjoy. I like the fact that she points out that there is another version that kids can read when they are ready. Since I liked the story, it is something that I’m going to check out.


If you are interested in learning more about the author, you can check out this posting about him on Encyclopedia Britannica Hugh Lofting

If you would like to purchase a copy for your kids or a kid who is special to you here is the link to in on The Story of Doctor Dolittle




Book Review – Seventh Dimension – The Door, a Young Adult Fantasy by Lorilyn Roberts

Special Message: Check this book review for a special giveaway!

Now we are onto a YA Fantasy novel review. Fantasy writers create alternative worlds where their characters either go on a personal journey to learn about themselves or to be a hero in the other world. There are many fantasy types of novels out there. Some are dystopian in nature and others are apocalyptic take overs of what we know our world to be now. Like the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, this book is a great start for this series with the main character, Shale Snyder, being led to the door of the parallel universe by a stray dog.



Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Seventh Dimension: The Door


Lorilyn Roberts

Type of Book

YA Fantasy


Lorilyn Roberts is a Christian author who writes for the young and young at heart. The Door is the first of four published books in the Seventh Dimension Series. Roberts is currently working on the last book of her five-book series. It has been the finalist of four different book awards and was the winner of the 2014 Book Goodies Best Cover Contest Winner, YA category

Summary of the story

Shale Snyder is a fourteen-year-old girl who feels all alone in the world. Due to an event that happened when she was twelve, she continues to be shunned by the kids she calls friends. One day, she meets a stray dog, Much-Afraid, who leads her to a door in the woods. After she goes through it, she is in a whole other world, the seventh dimension.

It is a coming of age story. When Shale arrives in the seventh dimension along with the stray dog Much-Afraid, she meets Cherios the rabbit, Baruch the donkey, Lowly the pig and Worldly Crow who all help her on the journey where they meet Shale’s dad and the King.

Reactions to the book

Shale’s journey to the seventh dimension happens so she can deal with her demons and learn about the power of faith to help her forgive herself. She’s introduced to the idea of a king who I believe represents a higher spiritual power. Roberts does a great job of weaving the Christian themes into the book and not make it feel like a religious book. I would recommend this book for middle grade and YA readers, but it could also be enjoyed by adults as well.

If you are interested in learning more about the author, you can check out her website Lorilyn Roberts

If you are looking for a copy of the book, here is a link to it on The Door

The author, Lorilyn Roberts, has offered a free copy of the book we just reviewed, The Door. I would like to do a giveaway to one of my followers on social media who comment on this review. I will randomly pick a winner from all that comment and will announce the winner on next Monday Morning’s Blog. Be sure to check out the author and Amazon links to learn more about the author and the book! 

Book Review – Race for the Sky by Dan Gutman

After years of planning and experimenting, Wilber and Orville Wright finally got the powered Wright Flyer off the ground on December 17, 1903. Look where we are one hundred and thirteen years later. According to Wikipedia, in 2016, an average of ninety three thousand commercial flights originate from nine thousand airports daily. And Boeing has a 787 Dreamliner which seats up to 335 passengers.

Race for the Sky is told to us through the diaries of fourteen year old Johnny Moore, a kid who lived in Kill Devil Hills at the turn of the twentieth century. He watched the Wright brothers create the Wright Flyer and he wrote about it in a journal that his mom gave him.

As a pilot myself, I love to read books about aviation. I visited Kill Devil Hills with my aunt and saw the place where powered flight began. I love going to the places where these things actually take place and imagine how it really happened. Reading this book added to my knowledge of Wright Brothers and how the Flyer took flight that day.




Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

Race for the Sky


Dan Gutman

Type of Book

Middle Grade Fiction


The book was published November 1, 2003 just in time for the one hundredth anniversary of the first flight.

Summary of the story

Fourteen year old Johnny Moore is given a journal as a gift from his mom to ring in the new century (1900). She said he didn’t have to go school if he wrote in this book every day. At that time, it wasn’t uncommon for kids to not go to school. They would stay home and help with things around the house or go to work and earn money for their families. While he did fish to earn some money, Johnny wound up getting his education in a little different way, he spent time watching the Wright Brothers build the Wright Flyer.

The Wrights weren’t the only ones trying to build an airplane. The race to put a flying machine into the sky was being attempted by men all over the world. The Wrights even had visitors come to see what they were doing. Some were truly curious, but others acted as spies and were trying to steal ideas so they could be the first to built one.

Reactions to the book

Just like Dear Mr. Henshaw, this book is written in epistolary style, from the main character Johnny Moore’s point of view through the use of his personal diary. This style makes the story more personal by showing how Johnny feels and what happened through his eyes. I really enjoy that for middle grade reads.

Gutman does a great job of writing an engaging novel to describe one of the great moments in history. Reading stories like these are a fun way for kids to learn about these significant historical events. Having been to the site and reading this book brings the significance of the event full circle for me. I would definitely recommend this book.

To find out a little more information about the author, Dan Gutman, here is a link to his website Dan Gutman’s website

If you are interested in purchasing the book, here is the link to it on Amazon Race for the Sky