Monday, October 31, 2011

Can You Survive: Jack London's Call of the Wild - Ryan Jacobson - Blog Tour Review and a Spooky Story for you!

Stolen. Shipped. Enslaved.
Can You Survive?
You find yourself in Alaska, a dangerous world of greedy men and savage dogs. Every moment, your life is at risk. Do you have what it takes to survive as Buck, literature’s most famous sled dog? Or will the freezing temperatures and rugged wilderness lead to your doom? Step into this adventure, and choose your path. But choose wisely, or else…

Title: Can You Survive? Jack London's Call of the Wild
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Choose Your Own Adventure, Adventure, Action
Publisher: Lake 7 Creative
Publication Date: October 15, 2011
Format: ARC
Source: Received from author. Many thanks goes to Ryan Jacobson for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
Look for it: Amazon, Book Depository
My rating: 4/5


Can You Survive: Jack London's Call of the Wild is an adaptation of the classic tale Call of the Wild. It has been adapted into a choose your own adventure book, where the reader becomes Buck. Choices abound for the reader as they follow along with Buck on his journey across the wilds of Alaska. 
The wilderness is a treacherous place, and death beckons to the unwary. Buck has to learn who to trust, and how to adapt to the harsh conditions he is forced into. He no longer lives in the lap of luxury and you will need to make the choices alongside him. If you make the wrong choice, that will be the end of the line for Buck. There are many different choices to make within the pages of this book, and many of them lead to Buck's demise. Will you, and he, be able to make the right decision in every situation? Only time will tell. 
I thoroughly enjoyed reading and re-living the classic tale of Call of the Wild in this format. I believe many middle grade readers and even teens will enjoy reading it as well, especially since they get to dictate what Buck does next. All in all, this is an adventurous adaptation that will have the reader living out Buck's story. 

Now for a Spooky Treat!

The Haunted Hutch

“Surprise!” exclaimed Lila Palmer.

Her daughter Jenny stifled a gasp. It was indeed a surprise—but not a good one. Jenny’s parents had unexpectedly arrived at her home, and while they were always welcome to visit, the gift they had brought was not a happy sight.

The china hutch was a gorgeous piece of furniture, but its worth was measured only in sentimental value. The antique had been passed down from mother to daughter for generations. Apparently, now it was Jenny’s turn to own it.

As a child, Jenny had never given much thought to the hutch. She would have ignored it all together if not for the times she had gotten into trouble on its behalf. The items displayed behind the hutch’s glass doors had a strange habit of rearranging themselves, and the hutch doors often popped open without explanation.

For years, Jenny shouldered the blame, even though she was innocent. Fortunately for her, when she was eight years old, her mother witnessed a door opening on its own; a statuette jumped off its shelf and onto the floor. After that, Jenny wasn’t blamed anymore.

Before the girl’s ninth birthday, the Palmers hit a stretch of bad luck. The family’s house was burglarized, and the thieves took several hunting rifles and a jewelry collection that included Lila’s heirloom wedding rings.

Mere months later, an electrical fire destroyed the Palmer’s home, consuming most of their belongings. The only item to survive the blaze was the old hutch. Lila took special care in cleaning the soot off her prized possession, and while she did so, she made a startling discovery: The two stolen wedding rings had suddenly appeared on one of the hutch’s shelves.

Even after the Palmers moved the hutch into their new home, its contents continued to change positions, and the doors sometimes opened themselves. At first, these happenings were little more than fun conversation topics. However, as the years passed, Jenny detected a ghastly pattern: Every time the hutch doors opened, a loved one died within three months!

Jenny hated herself for discovering the correlation. She spent most of her teen years in fear of finding the hutch open, and when this harbinger came, she waited in dreadful anticipation for death to find someone she cared about. It always did, without exception.

By contrast, in the years after she left the hutch behind, Jenny didn’t attend a single funeral. It would seem that in escaping the antique cabinet, she had saved her family and friends from the Grim Reaper.

Yet here it was. Death—the hutch—had found her again. Jenny silently debated her options. Although it would break her mother’s heart, she eventually chose to refuse the gift.

She didn’t have to.

As the hutch was lifted off the truck, the glass on its doors broke. Jenny tried not to smile; now she had an excuse for keeping it in the garage.

Three years came and went, and the hutch sat in storage. Time softened Jenny’s opinion of the family treasure. Eventually her sentiments got the better of her. (The hutch’s predictions of death couldn’t be real. They were simply matters of coincidence.) She fixed the hutch and moved it into her dining room.

For the better part of a month, Jenny enjoyed the old piece of furniture without incident. Then one day it happened. Jenny came home from grocery shopping to find the hutch’s doors standing open.

Exactly three months later, her 36-year-old cousin died from a heart attack. Jenny wasted no time in getting rid of the hutch, once and for all.

© Ryan Jacobson

Ryan Jacobson can be found on his website, on facebook, and on twitter.


Ryan Jacobson has always loved choose your path books, so he is thrilled to get a chance to write them. He used his memories of those fun-filled stories and his past experiences to write LOST IN THE WILD. The book became so popular that he followed it with STORM AT THE SUMMIT OF MOUNT EVEREST and CAN YOU SURVIVE: JACK LONDON’S CALL OF THE WILD.
Ryan is the author of nearly 20 books, including picture books, comic books, graphic novels, chapter books and ghost stories. He lives in Mora, Minnesota, with his wife Lora, sons Jonah and Lucas, and dog Boo. For more details, visit

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