Friday, September 29, 2017

Fun Fiction Friday - September 29, 2017

Fun Fiction Friday
September 29th, 2017

Welcome back to Fun Fiction Friday. 

In my Fun Fiction Friday I share the books the older girls and I are reading, and a short review of a Young Adult or Juvenile book I have finished, if applicable. I will also ask the girls to tell me something they would like to share about at least one of the books they are currently reading. 

These are the books I have waiting to be read. However, I needed a break and didn't read anything all week, after finishing United As One by Pittacus Lore, until today when I started The Uncloaked by J. Rodes.

These are the Novella compilations in the I Am Number Four series that I was able to get a hold of. Wish my library had more of them. 

I also found this series on display in the library, and was intrigued. I'll be getting to them soon.

I just started The Uncloaked by J. Rodes that I was offered a Kindle copy of for review. It caught my attention right away, so it shouldn't take me long to get through it.

The Uncloaked by J. Rodes is the first book in a young adult Christian dystopian trilogy. I have enjoyed other dystopian series in the past, and was intrigued by the fact that this one is a Christian book. Review to come. Soon I hope. Look for it here on Fun Fiction Friday.

 The children and I finished the Secret of the Hidden Scrolls books (books 1 and 2). You can find that review here.

We are currently reading All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor and The Tanglewoods' Secret by Patricia St. John. All-of-a-Kind Family is a book that was listed in our My Father's World Creation to the Greeks Teacher Manual. We are learning about the Jewish feasts this year and this book includes several chapters in which the family celebrates the Jewish feasts. It is set in the early 1900's in NYC. The Tanglewoods Secret is another scheduled read aloud in our curriculum, however, it is not really connected to the lessons we are reading. So far the children and I are enjoying both of these books.

Tabitha is now reading The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis.

It's about a boy who runs away because he was going to be sold by his father. He meets a talking horse who brings him to Narnia. And on one night when they are riding they meet another talking horse and another rider which is a girl. 

Amelia is trying to make her way through Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

In this book Harry Potter goes to see the World Cup with the Weasley's, after seeing Dudley's tongue grow with Ton Tongue Toffee. When he gets to the campsite type thing where they find out that the reception type guy is a muggle. He said that someone tried to give him wizard money, but he didn't call it wizard money, he called it gold coins. 

Hannah is actually reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

We finished Imagine . . . The Great Flood by Matt Koceich. I posted my review last week.

I'm sharing over at:

What to Read Wednesday

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Biblical Time Travel Adventures with The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls {A TOS Review}

I've mentioned before that I love finding new Christian books that I can share with the children. It's even more exciting when the books fit in well with what we are learning in our lessons. I was amazed by the perfect timing for the review of these two books from Worthy Kids/Ideals. We received the first two books in a new series called, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls by M. J. Thomas. 

The first book is titled, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning (Book #1). This book focuses on the very beginning of time, or the seven days of creation, which we learned about during our first week of school. The second book is titled, The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: Race to the Ark (Book #2). This book focuses on Noah's Ark, which we learned about during our second week of school. 

This series was created after the author discovered he couldn't find anything suitable for his son to read that would teach him about the Bible in a fun and imaginative way. He was looking for books that were suitable for young readers in the 6-9 year old age range. I have to say, the author's first two books in The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series seem to fit the bill. The books are just over 100 pages in length, and they have appealed to all of my children, who range in age from 5-10. 

Let's delve into the books a bit:

The main characters of the series are named after the author's family members. There is nine year old Peter, who is named after the author's son, and ten year old Mary, named after the author's niece. Even the dog Hank is named after the family dog. The other prominent, recurring characters (so far) are Great-Uncle Solomon, the angel Michael, and Satan. 

The first book begins with Peter, Mary, and Hank being dropped off at their great-uncle's house while their parents (who we never meet) take off for Africa, for an unexplained journey. All we know is that the children will be with their great-uncle for a whole month, and they are not looking forward to it. Fortunately, what appeared like it was going to be a boring, uneventful month, soon became a wonderful opportunity for adventure. Their great-uncle is an archaeologist, and it seems he found some mysterious scrolls on one of his expeditions. Until now, no one has been able to open them, so he wasn't sure what was in them or what they could do. All he knew was what his guide had told him about the scrolls:

That very first night the children hear a lion's roar and are drawn to the library where they discover a secret room which contains the scrolls in question. The children accidently break the wax seal on one of the scrolls and find themselves transported through time to the beginning of the world. 

Thus begins their amazing adventure. However, all isn't rainbows and roses. Though they get to experience some great events, they discover there are rules to follow and a deadline they need to meet. This is explained to them by the angel Michael. They only have seven days to solve the mystery of the scroll or they will be stuck back in time forever. The scroll is written in Hebrew, and they need to figure out what it says, using clues they come across along the way. They also need to remember not to tell anyone they are from the future, plus they can't try to change history. 

In this first book they find themselves experiencing what the dark void might have been like before God created the world. They get to experience light without the sun, moon, or stars. They find themselves swimming non-stop until they are saved by Michael in a small boat. They have to go without food until God creates plant life on day three. And then they get to enjoy their time with the animals God creates. They spend time swimming with dolphins, riding on rhinos and elephants, and chasing after a monkey who ran off with their scroll. Their biggest struggle comes when they end up face to face with Satan in the form of the snake. 

They are almost drawn in by his lies, but quickly realize they shouldn't trust him. Then they are almost killed before Michael comes by to save the day. Finally, right before solving the message of the scroll and returning to the present day, they get to see God create Adam and Eve. 

In the second book, three days have passed in the present. They again hear the lion's roar and find themselves transported to the time of Noah, this time with a few more supplies (but oops, no food). They arrive outside a walled city and experience firsthand the wickedness of that time. Unlike the first book, there are many more people to interact with now. They discover that there is only one rule in this city. People do whatever they want, including lying, cheating and stealing, but the "Dark Ruler" will not allow anyone to use the word "God." While in the city they come face to face with trouble in the form of a couple of local boys named Jakar and Darfus, plus their wolf named Shadow. Thankfully, between Mary's karate lessons, a hatchet Peter found in the bag, Hank's help, a sudden dust storm, and the city gate slamming shut behind them, they are able to get away. 

They soon discover both God and the angel Michael played a role in helping them escape from the boys and Shadow. After a scary night in the tent they brought along, they find their way to where Noah and his family have built the ark. They help get the animals into the ark, even offering advice along the way. While they are happy to be able to help, they also find that there are some issues they would prefer to not deal with, such as cleaning up after the animals and dealing with escaping animals. But worst of all, they find themselves again coming face to face with Satan, who the people know as the "Dark Ruler" who lives in the Temple of the Snake.

There is a lot more suspense in this second book. Peter and Mary end up having to face Jakar, Darfus, and Shadow two times. Plus Satan realizes that they are the same children he faced during the creation week. They are thrown into the dungeon and almost don't get out to help fix the ark. I'm assuming Satan is going to show up in different forms throughout this series, becoming quite the adversary for Peter and Mary. We see that he is present in the world, trying to interfere in God's plans. Along with this, it was trickier for them to solve the scroll as there were double the number of words. Let's put it this way, they cut it awfully close. 

The messages in the scrolls are great lessons for the reader to learn. In book one we learn that "God Created Everything." And in book two we are reminded to "Trust God, He Will Rescue You." Throughout their adventures it is impressed upon the children that God is with them.

As the children solve the mystery of the scrolls the wax seals turn into shining medallions. So far they have collected two, and we can't wait to see what other ones they will be adding to their collection as the series progresses. 

I love time travel stories, which was one of the reasons I was hoping to review these books. The thing is, because I am a fan of such stories, I noticed right away that Peter and Mary interact a bit too much with other characters. Especially when one of their rules is to not change the future. Not that they are going out of their way to change things. However, I thought it was sort of silly that Noah had to ask them how to organize the animals on the ark as if he didn't know what he was doing. And Peter "invented" a wheelbarrow to help clean up after the animals. To me, this would be "changing" the future. 

The Bible accounts are kept pretty true to the real stories, with some creative license thrown in to create a world that Peter and Mary can interact with. As we read, we would discuss some of the aspects that weren't quite accurate. It really helped that we had been reading the Bible accounts around the same time we were reading these books. That way the children knew what the Bible said, and could see where the author was changing things up. We enjoyed seeing the illustration of the walled city which had a pyramid with the temple on top, as we have been learning about them. Though we learned about these cities as a part of our study of civilizations after the flood, I would imagine these types of cities would have been built prior to the flood as well, and the descendents of Noah would have patterned their cities after what they knew from the past.

I do realize there isn't a lot of detail regarding how life would have been during the time of Noah, beyond the fact that wickedness was running rampant. So, when people create stories about this time period, they have to use their imaginations. I just make sure my children understand that we don't really know these details and we are reading a book of fiction. For instance, we know Satan works in this world, but he probably wasn't a cloaked figure residing in a temple in a city. 

Now, the one point I really felt needed to be brought up was something I realized just this morning. According to this story, Noah was brothers with Jubal and Tubal Cain, the latter was even in the story. However, that didn't seem quite accurate to me, so I sat down and wrote out the genealogies from Genesis 4 and 5. Though Noah and Tubal Cain both have fathers named Lamech, they are not the same Lamech. Noah's lineage goes back to Seth, while Tubal Cain would be a direct descendant of Cain, Seth's older brother. I do appreciate that the author was trying to include details from the Bible to make the story more authentic, but this seems like quite the oversight.

Regardless, we really have enjoyed reading The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls books. I allowed Tabitha to read them on her own first, but I was then reading them aloud to all the children. We would read a chapter at a time, sometimes two a day as we would read the books during our school storytime and at bedtime. Amelia was also supposed to take them and read them independently, but she was in the middle of another book, so Hannah took off with them. At first I wasn't sure if she would be ready for them, but she did a great job reading them. Even Harold tried, but he is still a bit young. Amelia has finally started reading the first book. I like for them to read them independently and also hear them, that way they may catch details they may not have caught on their first exposure to the story.

I would say that the age range of 6-9 years old is quite appropriate for independent reading. Older children can most assuredly enjoy the story, though it is definitely a quick read. And younger children should enjoy the adventure being read to them. 

I had the girls write the following book reports so they could share a bit about these stories. Harold even drew a picture of his favorite scene.




I can definitely recommend these first two books in The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series. You just need to make sure your children are aware that they are fictionalized stories of true accounts in the Bible. Read them with your children, or prior to them reading them, so you can be aware of what they are going to be reading. Use them as an opportunity to delve into the biblical stories together. I love that the author includes a section in the back of the book that lists the Bible passages where these stories can be found. Figure out what was different and what could have been the same. But most of all, focus on the important points of the stories. God is a part of this world, he created everything and he is to be trusted. It is quite reassuring to know that God loves us so much and he can rescue us if we call on him. 

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Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about these books.

The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls. {WorthyKids/Ideals Reviews}
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Throwback Thursday Blog-Style #171: September 28, 2017

Welcome back to... 

I know, I know, Throwback Thursday seems to be all about sharing pictures from the past, great memories that mean something to you, that you would like to share with others. At least that is how it appears to me. Throwback Thursday wasn't something I was participating in, and then I came up with an idea.

I thought it would be great fun and a help to my blog to share old content, but not just any old content. Each week I will share an old blog post from a previous year, any year, BUT it has to be from the current week (for example, something I've posted around September 28th, from any previous year)  I will go in, edit the post if needed, add a pinnable image if I don't already have one, and share it on Facebook.

Last year I focused solely on recipe posts for the posts I wanted to share, and the year before that, I shared past review posts. It was fun remembering some of the recipes and reviews I had forgotten about. This year I will be sharing random posts.

Would you like to join in? You do not need to edit your past post in any way, you don't need to create a pinnable image, though it couldn't hurt, in fact it will help your blog traffic to add quality pinnable images to your posts.

Just go into your archives, choose a favorite post from this current week from any previous year, and link it up below. (If you don't have anything from this current week, it is still okay to link up with a post from a previous year around this time. And if you haven't been blogging for a full year, feel free to share any earlier post.)

Please make sure to share from the past as instructed above if you would like your post to qualify for the Featured Post. Most weeks I find that there is a wonderful post, but I can't feature it because it is a current post, not from the past. I love reading the current posts, if you want to share them. However, I am not able to feature them, because the spirit of Throwback Thursday Blog-Style is to share posts from the past.
Thank you

I will be pinning posts to my appropriate Pinterest boards and will be randomly selecting a Featured Throwback Thursday post to share next week. Just a note, I will be sharing a picture from your post if you are selected as the featured post, but I will link back to your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. By linking up you are giving me permission to use your picture in the post. 

Here is my Throwback Thursday post:

Originally posted September 29, 2014
Fun With Wild West Fairy Tales

Here is this week's randomly selected
Featured Throwback Thursday:

To participate, link up below. It would be great if you could visit several of the other posts that have linked up. Stop by, comment, and pin images so we can help each other.

No button currently, and there won't be one until I can figure it out seeing as Photobucket has changed things. Feel free to still share the picture in place of the button. Just link it to my Throwback Thursday Blog-Style permalink please.

Happy Throwback Thursday!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Adventurous Christian Audio Drama with Captain Bayley's Heir from Heirloom Audio Productions {A TOS Review}

It is no secret that our family loves listening to Christian audio dramas. We've been a fan of them for the past three years. So, you won't be surprised to learn that we were absolutely thrilled when we discovered we were going to have the opportunity to review the newest release from Heirloom Audio Productions. To date, we have received and reviewed every single G. A. Henty adventure that Heirloom Audio has developed, and we love them all. Captain Bayley's Heir was no exception. 

We received the physical 2-CD set of Captain Bayley's Heir, along with access to the Live the Adventure Club which gave us the opportunity to download the Study Guide along with some other wonderful extras. 

As usual, the inner CD case has some wonderful artwork, plus there is an insert with a listing of all their audio dramas.

Included in the bonuses that are available with the Live the Adventure Club membership are the following:
  • Captain Bayley's Heir Adventure Playlist (online or download as zip file)
  • Captain Bayley's Heir E-Book (listen online or download as a pdf file)
  • Official Soundtrack (listen online or download)
  • Downloadable Printable Cast Poster (pdf file)
  • Study Guide and Discussion Starter (read online or download as a pdf file)
  • Inspirational Hymn Poster (download as a pdf file)
  • Desktop Wallpaper Download (download as a jpg file)

The Live the Adventure Club also has a wealth of information, which I will go into after sharing about Captain Bayley's Heir

So, what is this newest release about?

This story takes place during the 1800's, during the gold rush era of American history (which we had learned a bit about with our core curriculum a couple of years ago). It was cool to have a story set in this time period. What was different about this story was that the action was split between two settings. In addition to the events that happen in America, the story also takes place in England. Which is actually where Mr. George's story begins. 

Oh wait, I didn't introduce you to Mr. George yet, did I. Mr. George is the narrator of all the Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty releases from Heirloom Audio Productions. He is meant to be G.A. Henty himself, telling the story to young men who he happens to meet at the beginning of the CD. The most popular duo are Ned and Gerald, though Mr. George has also told his stories to Dan and Vincent, as well as others. In fact, during the opening scene, Mr. George is writing a letter to Ned and Gerald, and he talks about Dan and Vincent, the boys who were the focus of the other American adventure, With Lee in Virginia. It so happens that the story always includes main characters with the same name as the people Mr. George is speaking to. In this story, Mr. George has met up with a young man named Frank who is on his way out west. 

Frank is also one of the main characters whom we meet early in the story that Mr. George is telling the American Frank. We also meet his cousin Fred and a young lady named Alice who is like a cousin though she is no relation. Frank and Alice live with Captain Harold Bayley in his estate, and Fred visits often. We also meet a young man named Harry who lives in a poor section of London with his parents and his dog Flossy. These characters become acquainted early in the story when Frank saves Flossy from drowning in the icy waters of the lake in Hyde Park. 

Though Frank is a young man with Christian morals, he does find himself drawn into doing things that he knows he shouldn't be doing, such as going with his Westminster friends to a meeting where he ends up getting into a fight and breaking another man's nose. This other man threatens to go to Frank's headmaster if he doesn't pay him ten pounds, and he can't ask his uncle for help, or he would have to admit he was out of bounds from the school and in a fight. Even with his friends' help, he doesn't have near enough money to pay off this extortion. However, he ends up coming by the money anonymously. Sadly, this bank note was stolen from the head master, and Frank is accused of stealing it. Faced with expulsion, and thinking his uncle doesn't believe his innocence, Frank flees to America, on the advice of his cousin Fred. Thus begins his adventure to try to clear his name as he makes a way for himself in the new land. 

While he is off in America, we also follow the story of Captain Bayley, who now figures Frank is definitely guilty because he fled. Included prominently in this part of the story are Fred, Alice, and Harry. Intertwined in this tale is the mysterious whereabouts of Captain Bayley's missing daughter, who disappeared years ago, after having a fight with her her father over her choice of fiance. 

As the story progresses we follow Frank's adventures in America where he deals with such events as surviving a storm while working on a boat, finding his way to the wild west, fighting indians, going prospecting for gold, and gets fatally injured while protecting people from robbers. All the while he has been learning about God's grace. 

Back in England, new revelations reveal an amazing discovery about an heir of Captain Bayley. While they are enjoying their lives, there is still shadows hanging over their heads: What happened to Frank? Is he alive? Was he guilty of the crime he was accused of? 

Throughout the story we wonder: Will these family members ever be reunited? Will Frank's name ever be cleared? Who actually framed him? These are all questions that remain unresolved until almost the end of the 2 1/2 hour tale. And no, I refuse to give any of that away. The suspense of these dilemmas is what make this adventure so intriguing. 

We absolutely enjoyed Captain Bayley's Heir. As usual, it was full of adventure, plus historical and spiritual insights. As you follow along with the drama, you get caught up in the story thanks to the sound effects, music, and wonderful acting. Captain Bayley himself was a man with a really quick temper and would go on tirades which we found quite amusing. He is played by John Rhys-Davies, and there were times I could just see Gimli (from Lord of the Rings) in my mind while he was off on one of his rants. We enjoyed learning more about American History, having a story that took place in a time period we glanced over a year and a half ago. We definitely appreciate that they are sharing Christian values, and that the song "Amazing Grace" played a prominent part in the story. 

Now I would like to take some time to talk about the Study Guide and Discussion Starter. 

The 38 page study guide is organized the same way the study guides for recent, previous releases have been organized. It begins with an introduction section which includes a list of the crew and cast, an introduction to the actual study guide, plus information about G.A. Henty and Heirloom Audio Productions. Then we get into the actual guide. 

There are three kinds of questions for every track:
  • Listening Well
  • Thinking Further
  • Defining Words

The "Listening Well" questions are the easier questions, which are the ones I use with my young children. These questions are usually asking for literal facts that can be pulled straight out of the story. 

The "Thinking Further" questions require the student to dig deeper, to be able to delve into details, make inferences, and even do some research. We usually skip these questions. 

The "Defining Words" section shares words that are mentioned in the story. In the past we have used these words for searches on Google or in a dictionary, to try to figure out what they mean.

Some of the pages even have black and white pictures depicting scenes from the story.

Additionally, there are seven "Expand Your Learning" sections. Here you will find more information related to the story, such as: Victorian Money, Manifest Destiny, different aspects of living in the gold fields, and information about routes by sea from Europe to California.

Next you will find a list of books to read for more information about Victorian England and the American West. The actual Study Guide concludes with three Bible Studies. They are titled:
  • God's Grace
  • Becoming a Christian
  • Honoring Your Parents
Each starts with a paragraph explaining the topic, and then there are points to study with Bible verses to look up. 

The remaining pages are dedicated to Heirloom Audio Production's previous releases. 

Now I wanted to share some more details about the Live the Adventure Club website. 

When you first log into your account, you would come to your dashboard. From there you could navigate the site using the tabs at the top of the screen, or links on the sidebar or throughout the bottom of the page. In order to get to the bonus material for the CD's that you have purchased you would go to "My Library" at the top, or "View Adventure Library" on the side.

From your "library" you can access any of the adventures you have purchased (or in our case, received for review). You can listen to the adventure online or go to your bonuses. These bonuses are what I mentioned earlier in the review. However, there are even more goodies. You can listen to each track individually, following along with the actual Read Along Script, and then you can take a quiz. The quiz has questions like the "Listening Well" section of the Study Guide, but it is given in multiple choice format. The "Thinking Further" questions are also included, as are the "Defining Words." A benefit of using this section for the "Defining Words" is you can hover over each word to see the definition. 

Clicking on "Kid Activities" is another way to get to the adventure you would like to listen to as mentioned above. All of the releases can be found on this page; however, if you have not purchased a specific CD, you will be directed to a page on which you can do so. On this page you will also find coloring pages for all the stories which you can print or download. There are also Word Searches for each adventure. These can be printed or completed online. If you choose to complete them online, they will be timed, which is sort of cool. There are also fun activities that correspond with the different stories. For instance, you could make shortbread or create Ancient Roman Coins. 

In addition to resources to facilitate your time with the audio adventure, there are a slew of resources for the parent. In the "Education" section there are such treasures as the study guides, plus information on how audio learning may increase your child's I.Q.. There is a "Crash Course on the Constitution" with components that can be watched, listened to, and read online. Plus there are a variety of textbooks that can be read online. There are texts on American History and World History, Biographies, and readers for different grade levels. 

Under "Resources" you will find articles and podcasts on many different subjects. The "Inspiration" section brings you daily devotionals and inspirational stories of the day. On the sidebar you can click on a link to see past inspirations. Plus there is a "Quote of the Day" and a "This Day in Henty History." I'm quite intrigued by this "Day in Henty History" facts. They share different events that happened on this day, stating which G.A. Henty Adventure they would have taken place during. 

Last, but definitely not least, there is a wonderful community message board where you can discuss the adventures, plus other topics of interest, with fellow parents. 

Right now you can sign up for access to this wonderful resource and you will get a 3-month free trial, in addition to being able to receive Captain Bayley's Heir for just $1.

As always, I can highly recommend this new adventure from Heirloom Audio Productions. While you can just purchase the CD set and enjoy the adventure, the bonus resources really do help to expand the enjoyment of the story. I would highly suggest trying out the free trial of the Live the Adventure Club so you can have access to these resources. 

You can find Heirloom Audio Production on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+.

Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mate had to say about Captain Bayley's Heir.

Captain Bayley's Heir {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: September 27, 2017 (w/linky) : Fun in the Field House

Looking forward to seeing your Wordless (or not so wordless) Wednesday posts this week.
No button currently, and there won't be one until I can figure it out seeing as Photobucket has changed things. Feel free to still share the picture in place of the button on your Wordless Wednesday post or in a list of Wordless Wednesday linkies. Just link it to my Wordless Wednesday permalink please.

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