Embracing a Healthy Family

St. Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio Review: Great Historical Adventure Adapted from G.A. Henty



St. Bartholomew's Eve


Sometimes taking a different route from learning is a nice break away. I know my girls enjoy when we do something different from traditional books, television documentaries and movies and even online learning programs so listening to St. Bartholomew's Eve from Heirloom Audio was a nice break to our evening family time. I am a fan of G.A. Henty and have been since I started homeschooling and his books were a part of the very first homeschool curriculum I purchased. The audio contains over two hours of wholesome Christian entertainment that encourages them to utilize their imagination and set themselves back in history. It was a bonus for me as my family was from that time period so I was able to really understand and relate to the time period and the persecution of Hugenots.

St. Bartholomew's Eve



The story centers around main character,  Philip Fletcher, who is visiting his family in France from England. It's lively and the actors portray each accent perfectly allowing the children to really feel they were there. The actors are even some you might have heard of such as Brian Blessed, Elizabeth Counsell and many others. We listened to audio one on a road trip and I enjoyed it. My girls did too but not my husband but I think it's because he's not really big into history and doesn't really understand that homeschool part of different learning opportunities. This audio is adapted from G.A. Henty's book, St. Bartholomew's Eve. 

Heirloom Audio Productions

The story is exciting and full of almost non-stop adventure and drama and my youngest particularly loved how often God was mentioned as well as the Christian theme. She liked the music and was okay with the fighting as she is pretty mature and understands the struggles in fighting for what is right. I think in this time and age, it's an unfortunately timely reflection of the persecution that is now occurring. This audio provides the leaders of tomorrow an insight on what it's like to fight for what you believe in.

Philip proved to be our favorite mostly because I'm half English and have quite a bit of French in me. I liked how the story provides examples of not giving up and putting one's faith in God. In one of the events, they are outnumbers trying to hold a fortress in spite of being outnumbered. They prayed to God and a plan came into fruition allowing them to win. You have to listen to the audio to find out how they overcame this and many others events leading to the win for Christianity.

Follow Heirloom Audio on social media:  FacebookTwitterGoogle+Instagram. Heirloom Audio provides good quality Christian entertainment for kids by as their mission, is to engage the listener's imagination by taking them back in time. Take a look as there are many other products to continue your children on an adventure! This is a very professional adaptation that will not disappoint.


Read what others on the Crew thought:

St. Bartholomew's Eve {Heirloom Audio Reviews}

Brinkman Adventures' Season 6: Underground Rising Digital Review



Underground Rising Season 6 Brinkman Adventures



I remember growing up and listening to old audio recordings of shows my dad would listen to when he was young. I found them interesting and loved how they made me use my imagination to see how main characters looked, placed appeared and how people might have looked during emotional times. This review of Brinkman Adventures' Season 6: Underground Rising reminded me of the times I spent with him since it's all audio. The digital story starts as two sisters visit their grandmother, Omie as she preferred to be called, and she tells the story of her time during WWII. Lynn VanKersteren, Omie, immigrated to Canada from Holland and tells the story based on true accounts of her and her husband's life in Holland during World War II. 

Part I: Dutch Resistance


Part I is all about the Dutch resistance which was important in helping the allies during WWII. As the war progressed and Germany invaded and took over Holland, brothers Hans and Reng, Omi's husband, began working to resist them. They even helped the Jewish people who stayed behind. The entire episode details what they did and the danger they submitted themselves to in order to resist. Some audios are hard to understand when either utilizing foreign actors or actors attempting to speak in the accent needed but this was not the case with Season 6: Underground Rising. As a bonus, if you check out the Real Stories page for Season 6, you will see many photographs, supplemental stories and facts as well as a great sounding recipe for Oliebollen (Dutch doughnuts) and they look good!

The next episode was called Dutch Underground Part 2 and left off from the last episode. They even provide a recap of the last episode and a parental recommendation to listen with parents if under the age of 10. The story continues with the right amount of dramatic music, sound effects and continues with actors that are easy to understand. It's really done in a great manner invoking emotions and the imagination while providing a great historical look into what life was like as part of the Dutch resistance. 

Twice Born Fly and I Wonder Why


The next episodes, called Twice Born Fly and I Wonder Why touches two different stories from a Godly aspect. It also has the same type of dramatic music, easy to understand vocal actors and a sense of being there with the story. It provokes the imagination to conjurer up what the characters look like such as Jack and Louis. Details about places like the Factory added to the story line. I Wonder Why is the story about 11 year old Samantha  who long with her family leaves for India. It brings the listener into a world believing they are watching it with the trials and tribulations they endured. It teaches about God and love with their work in the orphanage. They even touched on asthma which my 11 year old was happy about as she has asthma and she feels it's often a neglected disease.

Free Burma Rangers Part I and Part 2

The next and final two episodes are titled Free Burma Rangers Part I and Part 2. This tells the journey of Dave Eubank from boyhood to his Green Beret career. These episodes teach about Burma and their long continued fighting. It's a story of a kid who grew up in a missionary family and grows up still helping others. Part 2 details how he and his wife, Karen, worked to help the people of Burma in a time of desperate fighting and killing.

One story includes how 400 Burmese soldiers were coming after a village. Thanks to Dave's Green Beret training, he and his Free Burmese Rangers were able to protect the village. It's a story filled with God and faith.

I noted the Real Stories above and really recommend reading the page either before or after or even both after listening to the audio as it provides great information to the story.



My children enjoyed listening and found Part I and 2 of the Dutch Resistance was their favorites and I agree. They were lively and being that we're WWII fans, it really appealed to us. Season 6 should appeal to anyone given the Christian based theme behind each episode. They are professionally done with high quality sound affects and a great alternative to allow young ones to conjure up images versus watching it on a TV or computer.
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Check out what others on the Crew thought about Brinkman Adventures Season 6: Underground Rising:


Brinkman Adventures Season 6 Reviews

CashCrunch Games CashCrunch Careers Review




Cash Crunch Careers


Trying to figure out what you want to do when you grow up is a difficult question whether you are young or young at heart. My girls, although still a bit young, ponder the idea on what they want to be including myself as I return to the job market which is why we all were happy to take the CashCrunch Careers survey from CashCrunch Games. It's an easy way to look at areas that might be of interest from a career perspective. The survey is not terribly long so even my 11 year old didn't mind it. From the My Locker screen, you have access to Dashboard, My Profile, Careers Report and have the option to change the password and log out. Once the survey has been completed, it provides an analysis of your core skill sets and provides a report that details possible careers/jobs.


For the Career Match, work styles and attributes to careers are used based on 10 years of research conducted by the US Department of Labor so the data is reliable and current. One of the sections titled Motivators and De-motivators was interesting and spot on for all three of us. The one above is for my 15 year old daughter. The way that the match up of jobs appears is really helpful as they utilize characteristics/inherent traits divided up into categories to look at jobs that you would enjoy, be good at and eventually excel at. From over 13 years in the pharmaceutical industry and experiencing job burn out, I can testify how important it is to enjoy your job as once the job is no longer fun or enjoyable, it's pure misery just to show up.



The best fit jobs are provided in 20 top categories with a number of jobs within each category. There are also videos and college links provided to explore further career options and educational paths. When my 11 year old took the survey, her Career Attributes were also spot on as she's very direct, driven and a leader as shown above in the screen shot. Her Matching Jobs were the same of mine and my other daughter but if you drill down to each umbrella of jobs, there will be varying ones that might be more suitable for each person. For myself, I drilled down further into the Public Relations Manager role and I was able to review various information about this particular career as well as attributes, abilities, work values and skills that match well with this occupational choice.  The second tab provides colleges that offer degrees in this path as well as information about the college. The accompanied videos are nice in providing an overview on what the job is and what they do. I really liked the video and the entire CashCrunch Careers website provides both type of learners an opportunity to read and see valuable career videos.

Overall, it's a fun exercise to have your children or even yourself try out to prepare for the future. Learning is all about exploring and there isn't a reason to not start out earlier exploring what one might want to be when he or she grows up. I had a user error and had to contact customer service and the response time was amazing! I enjoyed taking the CashCrunch Careers survey by CashCrunch Games. I would recommend taking the survey and exploring what might be a great fit for your older child or even an adult in the family.

Cash Crunch Games

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Also, read what others on the Crew thought about the survey and their experience:

CashCrunch Careers {CashCrunch Games Reviews}





See it. Stream it. Google Chromecast Streaming Media Player is a Must Have





See it. Stream it. Google Chromecast Streaming Media Player is a must have for any family regardless of how techie one might be. We love our Google Chromecast with the ability to watch movies, shows, live TV, YouTube or streaming photos from all your family's devices. This is a really cool feature as we have multiple devices and at anytime, it's possible for us to want to show each other what we are watching or to look up something. We often will bring up YouTube to watch something which makes it really convenient versus having to go to the computer and huddle around it. The versatility is amazing and I love having so much entertainment control in one feature as the Google Chromecast Streaming Media Player. It's also beyond easy to use and we have helped our budget by eliminating cable!

It's easy and it's portable! Just plug it into your HDMI port on the TV and power away with your phone. Another great feature is you can still use your phone while streaming on the TV. You're not limited either as it works with over 2,000 other apps such as Netflix, YouTube, YouTube TV and HBO NOW. Google Chromecast also allows the user to start streaming via your voice with such commands like, "OK Google, play The Crown from Netflix on my bedroom TV." It's that easy! We use ours to watch YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime as well as various programs that can be viewed via apps like Drive Thru History for our homeschooling family. 

The Google Chromecast Streaming Media Player can make any TV a mega-entertainment TV too! No need to buy a new TV or one that has it build in! One of the things that I like about this is it is portable and can go with you especially when you are on vacation and are settling in for the night and prefer to watch what you want at the hotel versus their limited programming options. I don't stay overnight without it. It does have high speed wireless connectivity too so no extra cords and it's compatible with HDTVs.

Check out the Google Chromecast Streaming Media Player and not only save money by cutting the cord to cable but have fun with all the options in entertainment! It's portable, inexpensive and versatile. 





A couple of disclaimers:

  • There might be subscriptions to view some content such as Netflix and Google Home, Chromecast and compatible content required to cast to a TV using Google Home.
  • Web-based services and content require high-speed internet.


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Teach Sunday School Books of the Bible At-a-Glance Review



Books of the Bible at a Glance



Teach Sunday School has a great way to teach the Bible with Printable Books of the Bible "Summary Sheets."  We utilized this as a supplement to studying the Bible.  These are perfect prepared Bible lessons for parents and Sunday school teachers. We reviewed Books of the Bible At-a-Glance which are one page cheat sheets summarizing each book in the Bible into an easy read document. I know my youngest, 11, has difficulty at times understanding the Bible which one can't blame her considering there are 66 books that were written by 40 different authors. The big questions we are all taught to answer of the who, what, where, when and why are provided in a quick easy way.

Each printable includes:

  • Book title
  • Book number and placement
  • Author
  • Date Book was written
  • Time period covered
  • Claims to fame
  • Famous stories included
  • Most famous versus
  • Important points about the book



I admit I have not read the entire Bible and as a person who did not grow up in church or with parents that read or encouraged reading the Bible, it's been something I have picked up along adulthood. I know if I had these one page summaries, it would have really helped my understanding of each book I was reading. I think they are great to use before reading a book, when taking a break as well as after reading a book to re-read as a refresher. They are really wonderful summaries for each book. For this review, I'm going to reference one of the earlier pages covering Deuteronomy. Each page has the same format so it's easy for the student to understand the component of each summary. 




The "AT-A-GLANCE" section provides the book number, the author and timing. The description of the timing really helps to understand how it fits into each book of the Bible.




The next section details the "CLAIMS TO FAME" and the "FAMOUS STORIES INCLUDED" as well as "MOST FAMOUS VERSUS" In the case of Deuteronomy, it covers the most famous person, Moses, and his death.



The final portion of the one page summary lists the "Important Points about the Book". I really enjoyed reading each of these and so did my daughter. It really helped to reinforce what she read and to ensure she understood the key points. 

The Books of the Bible At-a-Glance is a PDF printable providing quick access. You or your student(s) can read it online or print it. If you have a student that enjoys coloring, you could print it in black and white and have them color different parts of the page. Another key aspect is satisfaction guaranteed! Try it out without risk if you don't agree it's a great supplement to teaching the Bible. I would highly recommend it them for any age and I think it would be ideal for a Bible school too.


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Read what others on the Crew thought:

Books of the Bible At-a-Glance { Teach Sunday School Reviews}


David C Cook and Case Makers Academy's Forensic Faith for Kids Review






My youngest is a HUGE fan of Corgi dogs so when this review was presented, I jumped. She also is very interested in learning more about God which this book provides an excellent resource in diving into critical thinking. David C Cook and Case Makers Academy sent us Forensic Faith for Kids to read along with great online activities. This book is important to me because in today's society, there seems to be bigger pushes in denying God. The book, along with the online activities, draws the kids into thinking deeper and for themselves. I liked how they pressed upon not just taking another person's word for something even if they provide a compelling heart felt opinion as to why their way of thinking is right.


Forensic Faith for Kids

Throughout the book, there are various "extra's" such as: Dig Deep - Visit the Online Academy, CSI Assignments, various black and white illustrations as well as questions that make the cadets think a bit further in applying what they just learned from a Christian point of view. It's really a great book in applying the Bible to a story that is appealing to children while directing them in a non-obvious educational way to them. The fact that it had Bible versus, references to the Bible often and facts about Corgi dogs, really brought my cadet's interest in full circle. The book is not the only fun feature of this review as noted above, there is an online academy.
The Case Makers Academy is full of fun activities for children. The young cadets have an opportunity to work with Daniel, Hannah and Jason as they learn how to become detectives with Detective Jeffries. There are fun downloadable activities and videos to watch, and at the end, they can print off a certificate. The three sections include:

  • Cold-Case Christianity for Kids - Investigate Jesus with a Real Detective. This has eight chapters and a Postscript on how to be a detective along with downloadables that compliment each chapter. Above are two screen shots of the sheets that can be printed. They are a lot of fun and more importantly, they teach cadets on how to really think about things and investigate further instead of taking things at face value. Critical thinking is vital in so much. One of the things I really like about this review was the reinforcement of resisting "philosophical naturalism." The Adult Leader Guide was also helpful in providing information to help guide my little cadet further. The website is easy to navigate and it's colorful which is appealing to children. Each chapter is short and gets to the point in what the cadet needs to learn.
    • God's Crime Scene for Kids - Investigate the Case for God's Existence. This is set up similar to Cold-Case Christianity for Kids with eight chapters and a Postscript. They are short and concise videos with accompanying downloads to really enhance each chapter's lesson.
    • Forensic Faith - Become a More Reasonable Follower of Jesus is just like the other two lessons within the Academy. The first photo below shows my cadet watching one of the chapter's videos. The second photo shows her reviewing the download available to print.






    Overall, my daughter really enjoyed this book and thought it was "very cool!" I would recommend this as I think it's done in such a fun way and brings critical thinking to the forefront which is something that I think is needed more in educational products. I love that it's also Christian based. 
    David C Cook and Case Makers Academy has a win with Forensic Faith for Kids in our family!

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    Read what others on the CREW thought:

    Forensic Faith for Kids {David C Cook  and  Case Makers Academy Reviews}

    Cave Tools BBQ Grilling Tools Set Review & 15% Off Coupon







    Cave Tools BBQ Grilling Tools Set which is made from 20% heavy duty thicker stainless steel is the perfect accessory to your grilling or smoker collection. The three piece utensil set is professional grade that includes a fork, spatula and tongs. It's affordable too and makes a great birthday or Christmas gift! We used our's first with the smoker as with thicker cuts of meat, you really need heavy duty dependable utensils to avoid dropping it or causing an accident if it breaks.




    Not only is the spatula convenient for flipping over anything that requires turning, but it's also a bottle opener that is perfect for tailgating or maybe even adding your favorite brew as a marinade for the smoker. It's also oversized for even the larger cuts of meat such as steaks. The grill tongs are not the ordinary type you purchase in the store as they have six teeth to help grip the hot dogs or brats. Each utensil has a extra wide hooks for hanging up in between usage or even while using them with the grill or smoker.


    She rinsed the spatula off so please excuse the water spots!


    They were very easy to clean up and are dishwasher safe. Not only do you get the beautiful set of utensils but you also get 25 barbecue recipes as a free download. There is also a lifetime warranty which I'm sure we will test out as we grill and smoke out a lot! As always, Cave Tools provided the very best products with no complaints from us! I did note a question/answer comment for this on Amazon stating the tools might be too heavy for a woman which I completely disagree with.  I picked them up and used them and had no issue as well as my seven year old granddaughter! They would definitely make a great gift for the tailgater, for Father's Day or even Christmas since it's coming upon us pretty fast!


    They were a hit with my son-in-law who does most of the grilling and all of the smoking. He also uses the Cave Tools Instant Read Digital Thermometer (click to see the review) every time he cooks. 


    Use GRILLSET15 for 15% off!


    Click here to purchase and to learn more about Cave Tools BBQ Grilling Tools Set to learn more!


    Click here to see our review for the Meat Claws which is a must have for any grill or smoker master!







    Cave Grill Set

    NEW - Sony Noise Canceling Headphones at Best Buy





    Listening to music or even a good audio book is always best with great sound. My phone is inadequate and my computer speakers are not up to the task. When I read about the NEW Sony Noise Canceling Headphones, I wanted to learn more. Sony’s proprietary HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1 brings the WH-1000XM3 to the pinnacle of noise cancellation which is really makes a difference with listening to great sound. The 40mm drivers with their Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) diaphragms are Hi-Res Audio compatible which reproduces a full range of frequencies. Another great feature is longevity. You can listen all day up to 30 hours of playback and when it's ready to be charged, a quick charging will provide another five hours of listening pleasure in only 10 minutes!

    For those that are really into great sound, the Smart Listening feature is really smart! Smart Listening by Adaptive Sound Control automatically detects your activity such as walking, waiting or traveling, and balances noise canceling levels accordingly without any required input. 

    You can also ask it questions by activating Google Assistant with a simple tough! In a world full of many things to do, this type of convenience is nice to have. Often times I'm watching or listening to something and want to know who was the actor or the singer so this feature would be helpful to me. The Sony Noise Canceling Headphones are also designed with soft, pressure-relieving earpads in foamed urethane that is evenly distributes the pressure while increasing the ear pad contact for a solid fit without pain or pressure. 

    No worries if someone calls either while using the headphones as with a click of a double-tap or to call, change tracks, turn down the volume and make your call by touching or swiping the panel. Another HUGE feature I like is Quick Attention Mode. No more having to stop and take off the headphones when you need to respond to something or someone. Simple place your hand over the housing to turn down the volume. That is pretty cool to me!

    There is a one year warranty on parts and 90 days on labor. I've researched and read that the sound is "amazing!" 

    Check them out the NEW Sony Noise Canceling Headphones now at Best Buy!







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    Barbour Publishing: Kingdom Files Series Who Was Books Review








    We are a homeschooling family that incorporates Christian based components whenever possible so when we had a chance to review Barbour Publishing two books in the Kingdom Files series, we jumped.  Who Was Jonah? and Who Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? were two books in which my children enjoyed reading. My youngest is a big fan of any Who Was type of books and loves to read about people. She has a keen interest in Biblical characters as well so this series of books definitely peeked her interest.

    I had both my girls, as well as myself read What Was Jonah? and What Was Mary, Mother of Jesus? At first sight, my youngest stated she really liked the set up each book. She thought it was neat that the books were set up as file folders and enjoyed the illustrations. 


    Kingdome Files Who Was Jonah   Kingdome Files Who Was Mary Mother of Jesus

    Each book begins with an introduction to the Reading Detective allowing them a chance to understand how the book is set up:

    1. Fact Files contains the key information on the Bible character.
    2. Action Files laid out the events of the Bible showing that particular character.
    3. The Power Files contained more information and memory versus to help encourage a self-provoking thought process in how God is working in their lives too.

    Each book encourages the Reading Detectives to memorize versus from the Bible as well as write down questions they might have as they make their way through the books. The books are perfect length to keep them entertained and encouraged to read to completion. I particularly liked the mini timelines too. The illustrations inside are black and white and are spaced perfectly to not bog down the message behind the books. The words chosen also speak to children and are not the same words utilized directly from the Bible other than the memory versus.

    My middle child, 15, who usually grumbles when having to read books she has not chosen, was very agreeable to read both books. She enjoyed that they were short and concise and stated they were not boring which was a big win to me. She liked how they were similar to other Who Was books as she enjoys learning about other people too. She's not a big Bible reader and this was a good way to get her interested in important people of the Bible.

    The Kingdom Files

    My youngest, 11, stated she enjoyed reading the books and thought they were neat. She actually approached me a few times to tell me something she read or to show me a picture she thought was funny. She read her first book in two days and was eager to start on the second book. She said they were easy to read and even though she didn't have to read the second one, she asked to read it. She even stated she, in addition to the two she read, she wanted to read all the other books in the series which include:

    • Kingdom Files: Who is Jesus?
    • Kingdom Files: Who Was Daniel?
    • Kingdom Files: Who Was David?
    • Kingdom Files: Who was Esther?

    My youngest's final thoughts:  "They were good books!" and I agree!

    Barbour Publishing

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    Read what other members of the CREW thought:

    Kingdom Files {Barbour Publishing Reviews}

    Roman Roads Media Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder Review



    Roman Roads Media Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder
    Roman Roads Media has an online course titled Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder which is the subject of this review. Roman Roads Media provides parents and teachers with a classical curriculum choice for their student(s) in middle grades to adults. It is a self-paced program in which the student is expected to complete a lesson per week over 30 weeks.

    • Signing up was effortless to include enrolling my learners into the specific course I purchased or in this case, received to review. Each learner has their own login and there is a master account to track and adjust settings as needed. The master account holder can adjust the course from easy to normal depending on the skill level of the student.
    • The campaigns are sequential so a student cannot jump to another assignment without completing the preceding one. There are activities or games to reinforce what was learned.
    • Each word is presented and pronounced with extra information to put the word in correct context with an accompanied picture. The student can repeat the pronunciation as many times as needed to ensure he or she can pronounce it properly.
    • After so many words, a game follows that is more or less a quiz of recognition. There is an information button that allows the student a refresher of that word. If the student gets one wrong, he can review it and it will pop up again until the student can complete all them. It will not proceed until all are correct.
    • Scores will be listed on the Course screen and the student can repeat the lesson if he is not happy with the score.
    • Students can review completed lessons but incomplete lessons will remain locked. 
    • The online course is versatile and can be used on iOS, Android, PC or Mac.

    The lesson screen shot example below shows how each word is presented in what my 15 year old student stated was in flash card format which she liked. Each screen allows the student to rehear the word and to see the definition:
    After the short series of flash card type screens, a quiz follows to match the word with the picture. The pronunciation of the word accompanies each quiz question. My students, 15 and 11, both would have preferred longer time periods with the flash cards as well as smaller increments of words in between practice sessions. Luckily for them and myself, Roman Roads Media thought of everything and provides a training area to practice more. I can also track all progress and the grades received. 

    There are 31 chapters in Picta Dicta Vocabulary Builder to learn from and the parent/teacher can set the learning level based on the student's skill level. The various exercises helps the student learn each word from Learn, Choose, Spell, Forms and Test Forms. The hand drawn illustrations are simple which was the purpose to allow students to comprehend them faster.  I believe this is a great program for those who have a Latin background or for a student that can pick and up and run with memory based learning programs. It's easy to follow and we all liked the flashcard component of each lesson. The pronunciation and definitions provided a well rounded manner in which to learn each word. I had to contact customer service once due to user error and they were fantastic in the speed in which they helped me and making me feel I was important to their program. Although I feel my students aren't quite ready for this program, I am going to look at the other programs such as Picta Dicta Ancient World as I think that one might be a better starter program for them.


    Roman Roads Media

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    Read what others on the Crew thought about the three different products we reviewed:

    Classical Rhetoric and Picta Dicta {Roman Roads Media Reviews}