Posted in Audio Dramas, Book Reviews, Home School Review Crew Posts, Uncategorized

Review of Britfield & the Lost Crown

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We have been reading and loving an adventure novel called Britfield & the Lost Crown and the escapades of Tom and Sarah.  Having already read a physical copy of the book myself, I was thrilled to have an opportunity to review the audio version of this book.  I have to say it did not disappoint. Full of English history, this adventure novel was worth both reading to as well as to hear being read aloud.

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C. R. Stewart, the author, has 20 years of experience in writing everything from fiction to non-fiction, and even movie screenplays.  Our family feels he has done an excellent job of creating a picture with his words in this Young Adult novel.

As a parent, I appreciate having the options of a paperback book, an e-book as well as an Audible audiobook.  Because we already had a physical copy of this book, I was excited to see the audiobook being offered for review.

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I was already familiar with the story and spoke about some points with my family.  However, the added dimension of listening to an audiobook as a family increased my enjoyment.  As we began listening to the story which is set in England, I was thrilled that the narrator, Ian Russell, spoke an accent.  I feel he did an excellent job, and his voice fit the storyline so perfectly.  

As an orphan, Tom endures much hardship at Weatherly Orphanage and at the hands of the individuals in charge, Mr. and Mrs. Grievous, the seedy caretaker Mr. Speckle, and even the legendary watchdog Wind all create a miserable existence for the children who are essentially being held hostage in the orphanage.

When Tom discovers his parents may be alive, he endeavors to make plans to escape the orphanage.  Sarah, one of his friends from the orphanage, winds up having to escape with Tom.  The relationships throughout the story came across well to our family.  We enjoyed listening to the adventures and escapades of Tom and Sarah as they made their way to London.

As Tom and Sarah move from one place to another and from people and situations to new circumstances, our family was enthralled by this book.  The danger, adventure, and mystery are portrayed well.

One of our family’s favorite parts of this story is when Tom and Sarah take to the sky in a hot air balloon.  It emphasized the importance of the hot air balloon the cover of the book.  Full of danger, adventure, and mystery, the story kept our attention. While I personally have no desire to go up in a hot air balloon, I can picture my children being open to such an adventure.

Detective Gowerstone provides an interesting foil for Tom and Sarah, but things are not always as they appear to be.  So our family also appreciated how the storyline developed through imagery and details that assisted our imaginations.  Throughout the story, we found things and people we thought were one way to actually be a different way.  We appreciated these twists.

There is an 83-page pdf study guide that goes with this book. It can be found on the Resources page here, along with printable quotes, creative ideas, and more.  The study guide is designed to be used over eight weeks (or longer) taking students through the book chapter by chapter.  It includes activities involving vocabulary, comprehension activities, and other activities such as crossword puzzles and word searches.  I definitely feel this guide would be an excellent addition for homeschooling families to assist with family involvement and ensuring your children are retaining what they are reading or hearing.

 

You can find  Britfield & The Lost Crown on Social Media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Our only complaint about this story is the same one I had when I initially read the book.  We were disappointed it ended and the next novel in the series is not supposed to be released until sometime in 2020.  We are anxious to find out how the story continues.

So if you want to read or listen to an adventure book with English history, check out this book for yourself.

If you want to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew about Britfield & the Lost Crown and the escapades of Tom and Sarah, click here or on the graphic below.
Posted in Audio Dramas, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

Review of Heirloom Audio’s “For The Temple”

 

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Our family loves listening to audio dramas, especially when we are traveling in our van somewhere.  Moreover, I love adding Christian audio drama to my family’s listening time and so I was thrilled to receive the 2-CD set of For The Temple from Heirloom Audio for our listening pleasure.  Heirloom Audio offers their audio theater either on CDs or as digital downloads.  For this review, we received the actual CDs.

Heirloom Audio provides quality Christain Audio Dramas the whole family will enjoy listening to time and time again.  These are more than just books read aloud.  They include amazing soundtracks, multiple voices, incredible sound effects and more.  Based on the books by G.A. Henty, this audio drama as with their others truly bring history to life.

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Along with the Audio dramas themselves, a Study Guide is also available.  This guide includes detailed information regarding the background of the story,  Our family really enjoyed following the development of John’s character.  One of our favorite parts was after John and his band had started thwarting the Roman Army.  He had returned to his family, and his mother and fiancee were extolling the character of the “John” they had been hearing about while John knew they were actually talking about him. At the same time, they wanted to know if John had met them and he replied he did know him.  However, when his father walked in and revealed the fact that John was indeed the one they were talking about, he stated that he had not revealed his true role in the events.  John has the wisdom to realize that those viewed as heroes sometimes let down those who extol their virtues.

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Another part of the story our family found particularly interesting was the conversation between John and Titus.  John spares Titus’ life in exchange for a promise from Titus that Titus and his armies would not destroy the temple.  John’s steadfast devotion to God and preserving the temple of God truly caused us to focus on our own faith and what we believe we would be willing to do for God.

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In addition to the audio drama, a study guide is available, which provides background information, a list of characters, questions for each chapter, vocabulary words and more.  Here are some screenshots of some of the pages of the study guide.  For our family, we decided not to use the study guide as a written exercise.  Instead, I decided our family would use the questions as a jumping off point to start conversations about what we were listening to in the story.  In other circumstances, I could visualize our children using the questions as journal exercises.  Upon answering the questions and writing out the definitions of any words required, I would have the children orally present their thoughts to the rest of the family.

 

 

Our family has also had the privilege of reviewing other dramas from Heirloom Audio including In the Reign of Terror, Captain Bayley’s Heir, Wulf the Saxon, and St. Bartholomew’s Eve.  From the very first audio drama, we listened to from Heirloom Audio our family has been captivated by the quality and details of these stories.  If your family utilize Christian homeschooling materials and enjoy books by G.A. Henty along with audio theater, check out For The Temple for yourself.  And if you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the banner below.

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Posted in Audio Dramas, Faith, family, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

Review of Heirloom Audio’s St. Bartholomew’s Eve

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I love adding Christian audio drama to our family’s listening time, and so I was thrilled to receive the 2-CD set of St. Bartholomew’s Eve from Heirloom Audio for our listening pleasure.  For many years, we have enjoyed spending time listening to audio dramas either on the radio or on CDs or from digital downloads.  Heirloom Audio Productions excels at creating family-friendly dramas based on the books by G.A. Henty.  These books capture the hearts and minds of our family.  The stories, actors/actresses and music provide an incredible combination for capturing your family’s imagination.

Heirloom Audio always does a remarkable job of producing engaging and entertaining audio dramas the whole family will enjoy listening to either at home or while traveling.  The dramas are primarily designed for children ages six to sixteen, but our entire family enjoys listening to this type of Christian audio drama. Our family personally prefers listening while traveling as it breaks up the monotony of any trips we take.  The two CDs provide over two hours of listening entertainment.

St. Bartholomew’s Eve opens with G.A. Henty meeting two young men who have slipped out of a church and plan to do some exploring.  The one boy wants to show his cousin some sights.  G.A. Henty reminds the boys about those individuals who died in the past so the boys could have the freedom to worship God.

The story then segues into the tale of an English boy and his French cousin in 1567.  The English lad has come to France to help support the Huguenots.  Because the Huguenots have ties to John Calvin, upon whose ideas the Primitive Baptist Church which is our church affiliation, our family felt a certain kinship to this story.  From the opening through the difficulties encountered by Francois and Philip to the death of one of the two, the story kept our interest the entire time.

Another portion of the story that really drew our family in was the discussion of the young child who Philip and Francois rescue.  They become concerned about whether a Catholic Frenchmen who comes to their aid can be trusted or not.  This led us to have a discussion about those individuals who provided assistance to the Jews during World War II.  We discussed how being of a particular faith does not necessarily make individuals untrustworthy or evil.  Many individuals during the time of the St. Bartholomew Massacre provided assistance to the Huguenots even though they were Catholics.

The St. Bartholomew’s Massacre took place during the reign of King Charles IX under the influence of his mother, Catherine de Medici.  The assassination of Huguenot Protestant leaders in Paris set off a massacre of tens of thousands of Huguenots all across France.  It seemed eerily similar to the deaths of the Jews during World War II.

In addition to St. Bartholomew’s Eve, our family has also had the privilege of reviewing, Wulf the Saxon, In the Reign of Terror, and Captain Bayley’s Heir.  You can check our reviews by clicking on the titles.

You can find Heirloom Audio on social media:  Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram at @HeirloomAudioOfficial.  You can also check out their “Live the Adventure Club.

So if your family enjoys radio drama, check out St. Bartholomew’s Eve from Heirloom Audio  for yourself.  If you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Audio Dramas, Bible Studies, Home School Review Crew Posts

Review of Brinkman Adventures’ Season 6 – Underground Rising

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I love adding Audio Dramas to my family’s listening time, and so I was thrilled to receive the digital version of Season 6: Underground Rising from Brinkman Adventures for our listening pleasure.  Our family enjoys listening to audio dramas any time we travel, so this was the perfect fit for our family.  These Audio Missionary dramas will captivate your family.

Brinkman Adventures provides a thrilling radio show that tells true, modern missionary stories through the fictional Brinkman family.  The episodes run for approximately twenty-six minutes and according to their website, “contains a Biblical theme, lesson, and compelling drama that will keep you on the edge of your seat.   Using modern sound effects, original music, and superb writing, Brinkman Adventures are ‘Movies for the Ears’.”

Season 6: Underground Rising contains the following episodes:

55 Dutch Underground Part 1
56 Dutch Underground Part 2
57 Twice Born Fly
58 I Wonder Why?
59 Free Burma Rangers Part 1
60 Free Burma Rangers Part 2

You can find the real stories behind these episodes here.  On this page, you will see pictures, stories, videos and more about what inspired the adventures. One thing we really loved about the “Real Stories” page on the Brinkman Adventures’ website was the inclusion of the “Making It Work” section.  This includes a Logline, the theme, and additional commentary.  I feel these items lend themselves to enriching family discussions and activities such as notebooking pages or other activities to help reinforce the stories.

As our family began listening to the Dutch Underground in our van, the intensity of the story captivated our entire family.  We could actually picture ourselves in the story.  The despair and courage faced by individuals in countries the Nazis captured come through.  We discussed whether we thought we would have the courage to put our own lives at risk for others.  This segued into a conversation about the early members of the church like the Apostle Paul, being willing to die for their belief in Jesus Christ.  Then we moved into a discussion about how Isis tortured and killed those who believed in Jesus Christ.  So we discussed what courage it took to be willing to lay down our lives for Jesus Christ.

As we listened to “Twice Born Fly”, we loved how the opening had the family gathering around the table and discussing what they were thankful that day.  We try to always eat dinner as a family, and often I try to have our children and my husband say what we are grateful for, so we could definitely relate to this portion of the episode.  But as the story progressed, we found ourselves confused by the episode.  Jack begins telling a story about being in prison and an event that occurred while there.  We just could not imagine Jack being in jail.  When he finally gets to the end of the tale, he reveals how it was actually a dream.  At that point, it made a lot more sense to our family.  We loved how even one of the daughters in the episode commented about not remembering hearing about her father being in prison.

When we began listening to “I Wonder Why?”, My children discussed how they could relate to the family picking up and moving.  Even though we are not missionaries, we are military.  So far our family has relocated 3 times, courtesy of the military.  Each time, some if not all of my children have had moments where they questioned why we had to move.  But in the end, the family we heard about recognized God’s hand in them being where they were.  Similarly, my children have come to terms with where we were stationed at, if not developing a genuine like for the location.  We also discussed how people rather than actual places make someplace home.

In the final two-part episode, we learned about Dave Eubanks, his family, and their life in Burma.  My husband and I loved where he finally convinces the woman he loved to marry him.  Despite numerous rejections, he persisted until he received the answer of “Yes!”

We found it fascinating to listen to the part where the Brinkman family came to visit.  When Jack and his children go off with Dave and some other members of his team, we were sure some kind of adventure was going to take place.  I am not sure we expected to have them involved in a potentially life-threathening conflict with the opposition.  Nor did we expect them to assist a woman who wound up giving birth during their attempt to make it to the safe camp.  But in the end, we saw that as Romans 8:28 (KJV) states, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”  Dave and Karen Eubanks definitely were following God’s direction for their lives and received the blessings of that obedience.  We also discussed how sometimes it can be hard to hear God’s voice, but often at those times, we can receive some small bit that later shows God’s hand was upon us the entire time.

 

Last year we had the privilege of reviewing Season 4 of the Brinkman Adventures.  You can review that review here.  You can also find Brinkman Adventures on Facebook here.

So if your family is like our family, and your family enjoys listening to  Audio Dramas check out the digital version of Season 6: Underground Rising from Brinkman Adventures for yourselves.  Click here or on the graphic below if you would like to read reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew who also received this audio drama.

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Posted in Audio Dramas, Home School Review Crew Posts, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

Review of Heirloom Audio Production’s Wulf the Saxon

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Our family loves listening to audio dramas.  They are a marvelous way to pass the time – especially when taking long trips in a vehicle.  So I was thrilled for our family to have the opportunity to review another audio theater production by Heirloom Audio Productions.  Heirloom Audio Productions brings another G.A. Henty novel to life with Wulf the Saxon!  This drama thoroughly captured the imaginations of my husband, our 17-year-old son, and myself during a recent trip we took that was about two hours away from our home.  For this review, we received audio cd set, which includes two compact discs that we were able to listen to easily in our vehicle.

 

I love how Heirloom Audio Productions always begins with an interaction between the character of G.A. Henty and some other individuals.  Then because of something that happens – in this case, two young men start arguing and fighting with one another.  The character of G.A. Henty then begins to talk about a story he knows and begins to tell the story to them.  I love how Heirloom Audio Productions is able to easily transition from G.A. Henty telling the story to the actual audio drama.

The story centers around the character, Wulf the Saxon, who is a young Saxon landowner. He demonstrates courage, leadership, wisdom along with his faith throughout the story.  It chronicles his journeys, adventures, and experiences throughout England and Normandy during the intense fighting that resulted over individuals wanting to claim the throne of England.  Wulf finds himself in various situations including being held captive, making new friends including Agnes De Burg and her family, fighting battles, conveying messages, and even protecting the king.  He consistently exhibits a faith that is inspiring.  He shows himself to be a true friend.  There were times, I was concerned about what would come next.

Our heart broke for Harold when he and his love Lady Edith had to part ways for the sake of England and then again when Harold died on the battlefield.  One of my absolute favorite lines from this audio theater drama references the fact that those who are able to marry for love are truly fortunate.  Wulf is fortunate to be able to marry someone he loves. I found it fitting that this quote is included in the CD case.

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This audio drama is recommended for ages six to sixteen, but I believe all ages can enjoy the story.  Because it deals with the subject of war, parts of this drama are somewhat graphic and intense during several of the battle scenes.  So you may want to use discretion on who is allowed to listen to it alone.

This production displays excellent acting, wonderful sound effects and a brilliant musical score.  The original score for Wulf the Saxon is by John Campbell, who is an Emmy Award Winning composer.  With two sons in our local homeschool band and our other son and our only daughter participating in the Homeschool Strings program, I tend to really listen to the music in the background.  The music selected for this drama suits it perfectly and helps to perfectly set the stage for the drama.

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To go along with the audio dramas, Heirloom Audio Productions has introduced a club called the Live the Adventure Club that includes a wealth of resources.

This club includes many valuable resources including a study guide for the drama.  The study guide is available as a download on the Live the Adventure Club site from Heirloom Audio Productions. The study guide offers background information on what is included in the study guide, a background on G. A. Henty, information about Heirloom Audio Productions, a list of the members of the cast and crew, background information on important people during the time of the story.  Even though we did not receive the bonus materials as part of this review, I still highly recommend you investigate it for yourself.

Our family thoroughly enjoyed Wulf the Saxon from Heirloom Audio Productions and definitely recommend it.  You may also want to check out our family’s reviews of Captain Bayley’s Heir and In the Reign of Terror – two other audio dramas by Heirloom Audio Productions.

If you would like to check out reviews by other members of the Home School Review Crew, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Audio Dramas, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Missionary Stories

Review of Brinkman Adventures Season 4

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One of our family’s favorite ways to pass time on road trips is listening to audio dramas. Have you heard of Brinkman Adventures?  We were introduced to their missionary stories when we received Brinkman Adventures Season 4 to review.  This was the first time we had heard of this audio drama series.  And I have to say, we loved the stories. For the purpose of this review, we received the audio drama as a download.  However, they are also available on audio CDs as well.  Personally, I found the downloads perfect.  I was able to download them to my computer and then use iTunes to listen to them on my computer.  However, I also have the option to listen to them on my iPhone or iPad as well.   This season contains 12 episodes full of missionary stories, adventure and more.

These adventures are in many cases based on real people and the events that happened to them.  Also, as a parent, I love how at the beginning of episodes containing intense stories, children under ten-years-old are instructed to get their parents to listen along with them. This shows the creators have a genuine concern for their listeners.  At the end of each episode, listeners are instructed to visit the website for more information regarding the real-life characters and situations.  Here is the link to the website where you can find the real stories behind the episodes.  Here are some screenshots of the stories behind the episodes.

 

Each episode is about twenty-five minutes long.  The stories engage you in the drama and keep you on the edge of your seat in many cases.  The background music is incredible and helps set the mood of the stories.  The stories themselves are engaging, inspiring and moving.

Our family loved how the episodes build upon each other.  Characters frequently reappear.  Another feature our family really enjoyed was listening to the snippets in between episodes, such as the one where the creator of the Brinkman adventures introduces his family who actually provide the voices for the characters in the show.

Our family tended to listen to these episodes together, however, there were a few that I listened to alone.  I can guarantee the next time we get in our van to drive somewhere, these episodes will be playing.

Even though our children are twenty-one, almost nineteen, almost seventeen and almost fourteen, they all enjoyed listening to the stories because the children are span such a large age range.  I also appreciated the time and care provided to the idea of grown children finding their own place in the world and respecting the ideas and concerns of their parents.  Over the course of several episodes, the story of Michelle and the young man she wants to marriage developed.  Mr. Brinkman does an excellent job of showing the struggles parents go through in this situation.  As a mother, I could totally relate to the struggles Mr. Brinkman faced.

Our children really enjoyed the episode with RD, the Koi fish and the adventures that the computerized RD had when armed with a paintball gun.  Of course, listeners were informed at the end of the end of this episode, that it was not based on real life.  Plus, they were instructed to never try doing this at home.  However, I could see my sons (especially our oldest) trying something like this himself.

So if your family is looking for wholesome audio dramas, check out Brinkman Adventures Season 4 for yourselves.  If you would like to read more reviews, click here or on the graphic below.

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Posted in Audio Dramas, history, Homeschool Review Crew Posts, Homeschooling

Review of “Captain Bayley’s Heir” from Heirloom Audio Productions

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Our family absolutely loves listening to audiobooks – especially when we are traveling.  So I was thrilled for our family to have the opportunity to participate in this review.  Heirloom Audio Productions brings another G.A. Henty novel to life with Captain Bayley’s Heir!  The quality of this audio drama is fantastic.  For the purpose of this review, we simply listened to the audio drama.  The listeners are pulled into the story which begins in England, but tells of the Gold Rush in the United States and includes visits to various countries in Europe as well.  This is our second review of a production by Heirloom Audio Productions and we enjoyed it as much as our first.

This two-and-a-half hour audio drama begins with a conversation between G.A. Henty and a young man while they are traveling together.  The young man mentions that he is in love with a young lady who is a Christian.  However, he is not.  During the course of their conversation, G.A. Henty mentions that he writes books, so the young man asks for G.A. Henty to tell him a story.  This story brings out the boundless grace offered by God if we are only willing to take it.

G.A. Henty proceeds to tell the story of a young man in England who encounters various individuals and his life.  Frank is the nephew of Captain Bayless and has a cousin named Fred.  He also is good friends with a young lady named Alice.  Frank encounters another young man named Harry when Harry’s dog needs to be rescued from the water.  Frank heroically saves the dog.  They become friends and Frank discovers Harry’s birth parents had passed away.  So Harry is living with another couple who were generous enough to take him in and give him a home after his mother died.

This story contains many twists and turns.  Those twists and turns include Frank finding Harry’s adopted mother a job with his uncle.  Frank is accused of a crime he did not commit.  The headmaster of the school accuses Harry of stealing from him in addition to “going out of bounds” by leaving the school campus, which results in him getting into a fight.  He begs his uncle in a letter to show whether he believes Frank is innocent.  When Captain Bayless fails to respond, Frank and Fred determine the best course of action is for Frank to escape to America.

This drama wreaks of action and adventure as well.  From a terrifying encounter on a boat with a storm and a tree to an encounter with Indians, along with stagecoach robbers.  This drama does an amazing job of painting what life was like in America during the time of the Gold Rush.  The friends Harry makes truly make this story memorable.  Also, the use of “Amazing Grace” frames the story to perfection.  While faith and the Bible are not shoved in the face of those listening, the role of faith is made clear.

To go along with the audio dramas, Heirloom Audio Productions has introduced a club called the Live the Adventure Club that includes a wealth of resources.  This club includes valuable resources including a study guide for the drama.  The study guide is available as a download on the Live the Adventure Club site from Heirloom Audio Productions. The study guide offers background information on what is included in the study guide, a background on G. A. Henty, information about Heirloom Audio Productions, a list of the members of the cast and crew, background information on important people during the time of the story  and other resources to facilitate the study and discussion of the story.

The questions are broken down by disc and tracks on the CD.  The questions include questions for listening well, thinking further, defining words along with opportunities to expand learning and Bible Study as well as additional resources.  Here are some screenshots of pages from the Study Guide.  While our family did not use the study guide this time, I plan on everyone listening to the audio drama and utilizing the study guide and other resources at that time.  Heirloom Audio Productions has done an amazing job with this audio drama.  If you would like to read our review from the first product, you can click here for our review of “In the Reign of Terror”.

The “Live the Adventure Club” offers the ability to see the selections you have purchased along with the bonus material, kids activities, and games, educational treasures as well as other educational resources.  When members click on their listening library, they can select from listening to the audio drama online with the ability to answer online questions, take quizzes, listen to the soundtrack, view or download the e-book, print a cast poster or inspiration hymn poster, download desktop wallpapers, and utilize the study guide and discussion starter.  Once your family has completed the drama and the online activities, you have the ability to print a completion certificate.

Or if you would like to read other reviews of “Captain Bayley’s Heir”, you can click here or on the graphic below.

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