Thursday, October 30, 2014

Experience History with Audio Books by Jim Hodges Productions (TOS Review)

Jim Hodges Productions Review

We are big fans of audio books in the our house. We recently had the opportunity to review A Knight of the White Cross MP3 audio book by Jim Hodges Productions.

Jim Hodges Productions Review
Gervaise Tresham, a poor, orphaned noble, joins the Knights of St. John in Rhodes. He quickly rises to knighthood and does daring exploits. He gets captured by the Turks and after being in captivity for two years he escapes in time to help in the defense of Rhodes. After defeating the Turks he heads to France to recuperate from his wounds. During his adventures he meets Claudia, but he has sworn to never marry. Because of his daring deeds he was released from the order and allowed to marry. Throughout Gervaise's exciting adventures he remains a man of strong character.

A Knight of the White Cross is narrated by Jim Hodges and is a story for all ages. It comes in MP3 format, which means it has to be played on MP3 compatible CD player, DVD player, or computer. One thing I like about the MP3 format is that it is easy to transfer to a personal MP3 player if you prefer to listen to stories on them.

My kids (18, 14, & 12) listened to A Knight of the White Cross together as our "read-aloud". Very nice, since I didn't have to read-aloud.  Being that it is set during the War of the Roses it took awhile to figure out who was who and what was what. Eventually, the kids began to get the characters straight and start to get into the story. By the end my kids were very involved in the story and were really excited when it ended better than what they were predicting would happen. Caleb (18) is the only one who has read any G.A. Henty books and I was glad to see that Destini (14) and Chantry (12) interested in his story as well.

While listening to the story we also used The Study Guide for G.A. Henty's The Knight of the White Cross. The study guide comes in PDF format and is 66 pages long. It includes vocabulary words,questions for each chapter, and quizzes. Also included are several activities that you can do for each chapter and an answer key.

I am not a big fan of study guides so I used this in a very relaxed manner and we focused on the questions. One thing about the questions is that they weren't all comprehension questions, but also included a lot of questions that seemed to required additional research. This was frustrating for my kids. I would have preferred these to be included under the additional activities along with a black line map or a link for one. The study guide would be a great asset to an intense study of the time period of history or just to use for history.

If my kids had any complaints was the narrator's voice. (As I stated earlier, we listen to A LOT of audio books and are very sensitive to that.) Thankfully, they did get so interested in the story that they were able enjoy the story for itself. Overall, The Knight of the White Cross was a big hit and it has definitely piqued their interest in reading other G.A. Henty books.

The Knight of the White Cross Audio Book is available from Jim Hodges Productions for $25.00 for the MP3 physical CD or $18.00 for the digital download. The study guide is available for $12.00.

Social Media for Jim Hodges Productions:

Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Read-Aloud Thursday - A Mish Mash of Books

Read-Aloud Thursday Pictures, Images and Photos

I am excited to say that we did get some read-aloud in this month for all the kids. I have been reading a lot of picture books to Delani, many of them recommended by Amy from Hope Is the Word and Pam from Ed Snapshots' 31 Days of Picture Books. We are also currently reading the My Book House series and we finished Volume 2. I'm not sure how we finished it before Volume 1, but it happened that way. Here is a look at what we have read:


Our favorite picture book that we read this month was Snoring Beauty by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen. I found this book while passing through the children's library and since I have a fondness for fractured fairy tales I quickly snatched it up. Snoring Beauty is a twist on the story of Sleeping Beauty told from the perspective of a mouse who can't sleep due to the princess' loud snoring.

This story not only tickled Delani's funny bone, but I found the rest of my kids (12, 14, & 18) hanging around and heard quite a few snickers through out the story. A picture book that keeps the interest of pre-teens and teens is a book worth reading!

I finally finished reading Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne to Chantry and Destini. We started this book last March, but with our move and the advent of summer it didn't get finished. When school started again I decided to pick up where we left off.

I have always enjoyed this story, but both the kids and I really struggled with this as a read aloud. The first problem came from them having watched the film with David Niven (after my oldest read  the book he had to watch the film which he loved) and surprisingly (according to my kids) the film closely follows the book. When it didn't they informed me of it (which wasn't very often). Secondly, Verne really does use some tough to pronounce words in his writing, not to mention that I can't say French words and trying to get Passepartout out every line or so was trying.

When it was all said and done I think having them listen to an audio version would have been a better choice.  Oh well, live and learn! We will now be delving back into Swallows and Amazons.

See what others are reading aloud over at Hope is the Word.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesdays with Words (Quiet)


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (aff) by Susan Cain was recommended to me. Chapter 1 talks about how extroversion has become the cultural ideal and the author show how this has happened which I have found very enlightening.

But by 1920, popular self-help guides had changed their focus from inner virtue to outer charm--"to know what to say and how to say it," as one manual put it...
Susman counted the words that appeared most frequently in the personality-driven advice manuals of the early twentieth century and compared them to the character guides of the nineteenth century. The earlier guides emphasized attributes that anyone could work on improving, described by words like 
  • Citizenship 
  • Duty 
  • Work 
  • Golden deeds 
  • Honor 
  • Reputation 
  • Morals 
  • Manners 
  • Integrity 
But the new guides celebrated qualities that were--no matter how easy Dale Carnegie made it sound--trickier to acquire. Either you embodied these qualities or you didn't: 
  • Magnetic 
  • Fascinating 
  • Stunning 
  • Attractive 
  • Glowing 
  • Dominant 
  • Forceful 
  • Energetic 
It was no coincidence that in the 1920s and the 1930s, Americans became obsessed with movie stars. Who better than a matinee idol to model personal magnetism?

Warriors of Honor from New Liberty Videos (TOS Review)

New Liberty Videos Review

As much as I love to read and encourage it in our home, I find that the rest of my family love to watch videos. A documentary is always a great way to slide a little learning in, plus a couple of my kids are visual learners. Recently I had the opportunity to review Warriors of Honor a Christian DVD which shares the faith and legacies of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson from New Liberty Videos.

New Liberty Videos Review

Warriors of Honor, which is a documentary for all ages, focus on Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and tells their story from the beginning of the Civil War to the end of their lives. The viewer is introduced to both men and learns about their beginning military careers, their strong faith in God, and their decision to fight for the Confederacy and then on through the war covering:
  • Manassas
  • The Valley Campaign
  • Seven Days Battle
  • Second Manassas
  • Antietam
  • Frederickburg
  • Chancellorsville
  • Stonewall is shot
  • Crossing Over (Stonewall's death)
  • Gettysburg
  • Cold Harbor
  • Sherman
  • The Final Year
  • Appomattox
  • The final years of Robert E. Lee
Warriors of Honor is filled with a lot of information about both men's lives, especially during the war.  Many of the quotes throughout the film show the strong faith that both Lee and Jackson had in God and how they relied on him. Jackson was know for praying all the time and loved attending church and vocally gave glory to God. Lee's faith was showed in his character that he portrayed all the time.

The quality of the film is excellent. Shots of Civil War battlefields are throughout along with reenactments. Different voices are used for different characters. The music is pleasant and not distracting at all.

I watched Warriors of Honor with my husband and my oldest son. My 12 year watched up until Stonewall Jackson died. About two minutes into the film I realized that this was going to be very biased toward the South. I didn't say anything to my son or husband and a few days later re-watched it to see if I was reading more into, but determined I wasn't. I did ask both my son and husband separately and though they both enjoyed it they both noticed the bias as well.

If you are a Civil War buff or like learning more about Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee Warriors of Honor may be a good choice for you just beware that there is slant to it. Researching quotes and how ideas are presented from this film would make a good research project for a high school student to do and find out for themselves where the truth lies. It would help a student see that things can be biased on either side.

Warriors of Honor is available from New Liberty Videos for $19.95 along with many other Christian DVDs of different topics.

Click to read Crew Reviews

Crew Disclaimer

Monday, October 27, 2014

What's On Your Nightstand - October

What's On Your Nightstand

While writing this post I was surprised at how much I read. I know I had at least a week that I didn't get anything read and seeing the final results I am in shock. A few books I had been reading on for a while and just happened to get them finished this month, so please understand I didn't start everyone of these books in October and finish them before today. I took a trip earlier this month which gave me quite a bit of time to get some audio books in also. I am not too sure what November will bring, but I want to make a good attempt at my Nightstand pile. I am pretty sure I won't get through Gone With the Wind, but I want to start it.

For November:

From September's Nightstand I read:
  • The Life Ready Woman: Thriving in a Do-It-All World by Shaunti Feldhahn - This book really surprised me. I had almost donated it before reading it, but decided since I bought the book I should read it and I am glad I did. The title is misleading, but the main focus is how a woman needs to know what her core values are and how to line them up with God's Word rather than what our culture says woman should do. There were a few points in which I couldn't support, but overall a worthwhile read.
  • Practicing Hospitality: The Joy of Serving Others by Pat Ennis & Lisa Tatlock - Recommended by Carrie at Reading to Know. This book just fell flat for me. The writing style was very dry and since the kitchen is not where I shine it was hard to get excited about anything. (This year I have done more entertaining than I have ever done and I have one more big event to go, which the thought of it makes me want to go run and hide.)
  • Hatteras Girl by Alice J. Wisler - 3rd book in the Heart of Carolina Series. I didn't like it as well as the first two.
  • Tears of Pearl (Lady Emily Mysteries) by Tasha Alexander - I enjoyed the previous Lady Emily books, but this one was disappointing. I was particularly annoyed and saddened at the attitude portrayed by Lady Emily at finding herself pregnant and all she could think about was how it was going to tie her down at home, etc, etc, etc. I really struggle with author's who tell their story in another time in history, but makes them think and act like how our world today.
  • A Bitter Truth (Bess Crawford Mysteries) by Charles Todd - This series is becoming a favorite. Engaging from beginning to end.
I also read:
I listened to:
  • Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer - This story is a very different Heyer novel. It included pirates, the Spanish Inquisition, sword fighting, and a lot of suspenseful and fun moments.
  • Cotillion by Georgette Heyer - Another Heyer book that doesn't follow her typical format. This was a re-read though I didn't realize it when the story began, but the more I listened the more I realized that I knew what was going to happen. Fun read!
See what others have read over at 5 Minutes for Books.


Related Posts with Thumbnails