We present stellar evolutionary sequences of stars in the mass range 5-12 M ⊙, having solar-like initial composition. The stellar models are obtained using updated input physics, including recent rates of thermonuclear reactions. We investigate the effects of a modification of the 14N(p, γ)15O reaction rate, as suggested by recent evaluations, on the formation and extension of the blue loops encountered during the evolution of the stars in the above mass range. We find that a reduced 14N(p, γ)15O rate, as described in the text, has a striking impact on the physical conditions of burning and mixing during shell hydrogen burning when the blue loops are formed. In particular, we find that the efficiency of shell hydrogen burning is crucial for the formation of an extended blue loop. We show that a significantly reduced 14N(p, γ)15O rate affects severely the extension of the blue loops and the time spent by the star in the blue part of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram in the mass range 5-7 M ⊙ if the treatment of convection is based on the Schwarzschild criterion only. In this case, envelope overshooting helps to restore well-extended blue loops as supported by the observations of the Cepheid stars. If core overshooting is included during the core hydrogen and core helium burning phases, the loop formation and its properties depend on how this overshooting is treated for a given stellar mass range, as well as on its efficiency.