Posted in Nana's Nook

Nana’s Nook – Review – Part 1 – The Left Behinds: Abe Lincoln and the Selfie that Saved the Union by David Potter

Nana's Nook

I used to review children’s books when Kaden was younger and now Remi and Natalie are getting to that fun age where they love to read with me. Kaden is into chapter books and learning new words everyday. So I have decided to say “yes” when a children’s book crosses my path that I think they would enjoy.

abe lincoln
The Left Behinds: Abe Lincoln and the Selfie that Saved the Union
Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Series: The Left Behinds
2nd in Series
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers (January 12, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-0385390606

Percy Jackson fans and readers who have outgrown the Magic Tree House series will embrace this humorous time-travel adventure to Abe Lincoln’s White House and the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

Mel, Bev, and Brandon—the Left Behinds—are at it again. When the iTime app on their phones sends them to Washington, D.C., in 1863, they find themselves smack dab in the middle of the Civil War. They sit in on a séance with First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln and are shown every inch of the White House by Tad, the youngest Lincoln. When they drop in on the president himself, Abe Lincoln, he is preoccupied with the fateful battle at Gettysburg, which is just under way.

The kids receive their marching orders—they must somehow travel to Gettysburg from D.C., make sure what’s supposed to happen does happen, save the Union, and be home in time for dinner.

No biggie. After all, it’s only the entire future of the country at stake.

This sequel to The iPhone That Saved George Washington includes an author’s note and information on Civil War reenactments and living history sites around the nation.

Nana’s Thoughts

This is a chapter book I started reading with my oldest grandson. I had committed to feature this book today for the publisher, so what we have is a review in progress.

We have finished Part 1, Welcome to Washington City, so far. I really wish we would have read the first book, The iPhone That Saved George Washington, before we started this one because I would have liked a little more knowledge on this iTime app. An eight year old can ask so many questions and I hate saying “I don’t know, let’s keep reading and maybe we’ll find out”.  I guess I am like Professor Moncrieff in that way, I just hope I don’t frown as much. But I am getting ahead of myself.

This series/book features Mel, Bev, and Brandon. They attend the Fredericksville School and didn’t go home for the holidays. They meet Professor Moncrieff in the basement of Taylor’s General Store where he tells them about the iTime app and tells them they need to go back in time and “change things”. Somehow they are also to able to stay in touch with their teacher, Mr. Hart, by text messages. Even my grandson didn’t buy this. His mother’s cell phone drops calls when they go to his other grandparents house in the country. He just looked at me and said “No Way!” But I did the “let’s keep reading” thing. The kids are nervous about going back in time “again”. (“We really need that book Nana”) But the kids are off in a blink of an eye headed back to 1863 where they abruptly meet The First Lady, Mrs. Lincoln, and the adventure begins where.

Part 1 takes us through Chapter 10, Part 2, White House Guests and Ghosts, has ghosts in the title so my grandson is looking forward to that.

This is a great way to teach history. It is relate-able to kids and much interesting than any textbook I ever read. The age level, 8-12, seems right. The kids in the story are 12. My grandson is 8 and he needed help understanding a few words but so did Mel, Bev, and Brandon, so there are explanations right in the story. I did have to explain some things and as I said answer some questions. That is why this is an excellent learning tool.

We are just getting to know Brandon, Mel and Bev, and I am sure we are at a disadvantage not having read the first book, but these are kids kind of thrown together by circumstance, they are not “friends, exactly”.  The story has them working together and relying on each other and it is handled realistically for kids this age. Another good lesson.

Like I said this is a review in progress so I will update as we continue, but right now we give this book between 3 and 4 stars. I am close to 4 and my grandson is the 3. He wants to see what happens with the ghosts.


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You can find out more about David Potter and his books on his webpage here.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Just For Fun Challenge Reviews 2014 You Read How Many Books Challenge

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – My Just For Fun September Read

just for fun 2014
This is a challenge to help us get some of those books on out To-Be Read stacks read without the pressure of a review (unless we want to) or meeting any other challenge. These books are read totally Just For Fun. I have given just a brief review because I read the book JUST FOR FUN!!

This month’s Just For Fun read has been on my To-Be-Read shelf for over 2 years. My daughter kept asking “Why haven’t you read that book yet?” almost every time she visited. Now with the movie coming out and the 3 of us wanting to go I knew I had to read this book now. No more excuses.

gone girlGone Girl
Crown (June 5, 2012)
Published by Random House
Hardcover: 432 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0307588364
Paperback: 432 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0307588371
E-Book File Size: 1810 KB


On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?    As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I know I am probably one of the last people to read this book so I will give you just a brief review. I also don’t want to give anything away for those that haven’t read it or plan on just seeing the movie that comes out October 3.

This is  a really dark and twisted story.  I was fully engaged from the start and Part 2 was a huge surprise but I was totally disappointed by the ending but my daughter loved it so I guess it is open to debate. Maybe my age has something to do with it. This was one really screwed up marriage.

With all my reservations and conflicted feelings aside Gillian Flynn is an excellent storyteller. I was feeling a myriad of emotions while reading the story and it kept drawing me in. Then I wanted to throw the book at the end but I checked out a few reviews and talked to others and I am not alone.  In fact there are almost 23,000 reviews on Amazon for Gone Girl ranging from 1 to 5 stars. A book like this is perfect for a Book Club because as soon as you finish it you want to talk about it. I imagine there have been some awesome discussions since this book came out in 2012. I believe a good book invokes conversation and this one sure meets that criteria.

just you and a friend

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*This book was from my private collection.