Monday, February 19, 2018

Wulf the Saxon by Heirloom Audio Productions Review

I am so excited to start out our first review of the year with one of our favorite audio drama companies; Heirloom Audio Productions! This time our grand adventure is Wulf the Saxon. I received a physical CD for my family.

The physical CD copy of Wulf the Saxon has two CDs in a tri-fold case with the Inspiration Verse inside the middle of the case. Wulf the Saxon is 2 1/2 hours abridged story by G.A. Henty. Recommended for kids 6 and up in age and yes, even adults will enjoy this epic adventure.  

Heirloom Audio Productions always has an amazing cast. Wulf the Saxon is no exception with Brian Blessed (Star Wars, Tarzan), Chris Larkin (Master and Commander), Helen George (Call the Midwife), Jack Farthing (Poldark), Sian Phillips (I, Claudius), and Patrick Godfrey (Les Miserables, Ever After).
The story is adapted from the collection of G.A. Henty books. G.A. Henty has 122 books that cover historical events in several eras and across many continents. His books are the apex of courage, Christian character, loyalty, and a Godly lifestyle. G.A. Henty witness many battles while traveling to report them and even ventured to America during the gold rush. G.A. Henty had the gift of storytelling that is capturing the imagination to this day with his epic adventures.

Wulf the Saxon Synopsis:
In 1065 the King of England is Edward the Confessor. England’s is fighting to not be a divided nation despite the odds against her. Normandy is waiting to take over the throne of England. Its during the Norman Conquest and the birth pains of England to become an undivided nation and a turning point in the history of England.
The main character is Wulf of Steyning a young page who becomes a thane who is loyal, courage’s, and an honorable young man. Wulf and his loyal friends gain the favor of Earl Harold Godwinson. Earl Harold is likely to be chosen as the next King of England.
Wulf and his faithful friend risk their life to protect the Earl and the country they love, but Wulf’s going to experience being shipwrecked and captured as a prisoner by Count of Ponthieu. He and his friend escape and with the help of Duke William of Normandy are able to gain the freedom of Earl Harold. Wulf fast wins the favor of Baron De Burg, his daughter Agnes, and his son Guy and a bond of friendship develops with the De Burg family. 

Not everything is as it seems as some trickery is going on with the Duke William of Normandy and Earl Harold suspects it. Then the trickery is revealed when the sacred objects that were hidden are revealed. The Dukes trickery is going to have an impact in the near future. Duke William has his eyes on the throne of England.

Wulf shows his valor, courage, and nobility in battle. He captures a castle and prevents it from being retaking while suspecting a secret passage to enter the castle. A piece treaty is made and prevents another battle. As a result England doesn't have another conflict with Welsh for 100 years. 

Wulf foils an assassination attempt against the King of England but, not without some consequences. Many battles of brother against brothers, country men against one another, and a nation against another nation.

I’m not going to give away the rest of the story, so you will need to pick up your own copy. 

How did I use Wulf the Saxon in my homeschool?

Usually as soon as a package from Heirloom Audio Productions arrives it gets ripped open within seconds and quickly inserted into a DVD player. Usually, it’s the car’s DVD player as we are heading into town for the day. Not, this time my whole family was down with the flu within days of one another. When everyone started feeling somewhat better I put on the audio drama for everyone to listen too. We had to listen to it several times as we were recovering and couldn’t keep awake long enough to take in the whole story at once. Someone in the family missed a certain portion of the story usually. It had nothing to do with the story everyone was just not quiet feeling 100% yet. Luckily, nobody minds listening to the story more than once.

Finally, after two weeks of not leaving the house we finally got to enjoy the story in full as we went to appointments and other activities throughout the day. WE LOVED IT! My kids love the adventures and exploring history with Heirloom Audio Productions. The audio drama is so realistic that it takes your breath away. I could almost feel the ocean waves crashing against the ship during the storm if I closed my eyes. The emotions that you feel with the characters are surreal as you are listening to the story. My son declares that it’s like watching a movie in your mind. My kids love the action and the history. My family loves history and revisiting something we've learned already and exploring new history. My son always has to research more facts after many of Heirloom Audio Productions audio dramas. I love that my kids are hearing wholesome stories of men and woman who have Godly character, courage, and aren’t afraid to do what is right despite the consequences. We have already listened to Wulf the Saxon in full several times. We still listen to the many of audio dramas that are available from Heirloom Audio Productions. My kids just don’t get tired of the stories.
My son likes listening to the stories sometimes when he is working on school or messing around on the computer. He has a big imagination and the adventures with Heirloom Audio Productions are priceless for this mamma when I watch him go on an adventure!

Wulf the Saxon has been a huge hit in my home. I can’t wait till the next adventure. My kids are already asking me when the next story is going to be available. 

This can be more than just an audio book for enjoyment. You can add it to your history curriculum as a supplement for a certain era. Maybe you are learning about an event or person in history. You could make this as a unit study, book report, and even into a lapbook. Heirloom Audio Productions makes amazing Study Guides for their productions which will enhance the audio drama. (At this time Wulf the Saxon doens't have a Study Guide). They have more historical facts to enhance your studies, a wonderful Bible Study, and so much more.

Live the Adventure Club

If you’re not familiar with the Live the Adventure Club You should check it out. You have access to the whole library and the Study Guides that are available. You also will receive physical copies of the audio dramas three times a year. There is so much more as there is a community forum that you can share with other members, parent resources, newsletters, interesting articles, and so much more. I have really enjoyed being part of the Live the Adventure Club.

I highly recommend Wulf the Saxon and any of the other audio dramas from Heirloom Audio Productions. Other members of The Homeschool Review Crew have been listening to Wulf the Saxon so stop by and see what others are saying about it.
Social Media:
Twitter:    Tag:   @HeirloomStories     
Pinterest:            Tag:   @heirloomaudio   
Instagram:          Tag:   @HeirloomAudioOfficial   

Friday, February 16, 2018

Shabbat Shalom

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers Book Review

In this unexpected and redemptive love story, successful LA artist Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want—money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist—an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.

Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship—and both their lives—forever.

New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers returns to her romance roots with this probing tale that reminds us that mercy can shape even the most broken among us into an imperfect yet stunning masterpiece.

My Thoughts:
Francine Rivers has been a long time favorite author for me.  I love the complexity of her characters and the plots that she weaves into her stories.
The Masterpiece you find yourself going back and forth in the past and in present day. It’s throughout the book as she does this with two of the main characters. It adds a lot of debt to the story. It didn’t take the story long to grab my interest.  
Grace is a strong believer but has many struggles and hurts after finding her husband with another woman. Shortly afterwards she finds out she is pregnant. Her intention is to give up her baby for adoption until she sees her newborn baby and holds him in her arms. She has had a rough life with the violent death of her parents and her cheating husband who divorces Grace.
Then you have Roman. He is an atheist and whose life is a bit of chaos. Grace comes to work for him as a personal assistant. They are as different as day and night. We know that only God can take a mess and create a Masterpiece out of two lives.
There are a few things that may not sit well with some readers. One is the topic of divorce and marrying again. The other is abortion as Grace’s friends at church think she should have an abortion.
Overall, this was an interesting book but, not one of my favorites from Francine River. A good reminder of God’s love for His Creation.
I received a free copy of this product from Tyndale House Pulbishers in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this information accordance with the FTC Regulations.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt Book Review

Cover Art

To Be Silent Would Be to Deny Their God, To Defy Would Bring the Wrath of the King.

Seeking quiet and safety after a hard childhood, Leah marries Judah, a strong and gentle man, and for the first time in her life Leah believes she'll have peace. But the very nation Judah was named for has been conquered by a cruel king, who decrees that all Jews are to conform to Syrian laws or risk death for following the laws of Moses.

Judah's father resists the decree, igniting a war that will cost him his life. But before dying, he commands Judah to pick up his sword and continue the fight--or bear responsibility for the obliteration of Israel. Leah, who wants nothing but peace, struggles with her husband's decision--what kind of God would destroy the peace she has sought for so long?

The miraculous story of the courageous Maccabees is told through the eyes of Judah's wife, who learns that love requires courage . . . and sacrifice.

My Thoughts:

Every year during the season of Hanukkah my family remembers the ternary that the Jewish people endured during the time of Antiochus IV, and the bravery of the Maccabees during the revolt. WE celebrate the freedom to worship God and not the battles. You can read the story in the Maccabees in the Apocrypha. It isn’t a light reading but a powerful story of a faithful God.

First off, this is the first time I have read any of Angela Hunt’s books. I love reading historical fiction especially those that center on the Jewish people. The author uses    many references to create this novel. I love the familiar liturgy that is translated within the story.

I like characters that have a lot of depth and are complex. Not only that but, I like characters that feel realistic. Leah is a complex individual she lived in fear and obedience to her abusive father. Leah watches her mother being emotionally and physically beaten makes her wonder if Ha-Shem is hearing her prayers.

Then one day Leah and her friend encounter a group of young Greek men with not so wholesome intentions. The outcome doesn’t look good for them. That is when Judah Maccabee enters her live. Leah couldn’t image a man standing up for a woman to defend her.

Judah is nothing like her father he is gentle, his life is one of a God fearing man who follows the Torah. He is a man to be reckoned with to protect his right to worship God and not to profane what is holy and sacred.

I’m not going to give away any spoilers. This is a powerful story that I recommend.
 I received a free copy of this product from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this information accordance with the FTC Regulations.


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