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Book Review: Trinity Icon by Steve Wilson

Trinity Icon by Steve Wilson**Special thanks to the author for providing an electronic copy of the book for review purposes.**

Book Details:

Poland’s past and present collide in an epic quest for peace and treasure.

In Central Europe, Poland has rejected plans for an anti-missile shield—until a threat from beyond their borders causes disaster. During testing, an Iranian ICBM veers off course with tragic results, and the Polish government turns to NATO—and the United States—for protection. With the defensive shield now back on the table, National Security Advisor Willis Avery envisions an even broader network of emplacements. His strategy depends on the cooperation of the breakaway states—and the help of Captain Michael Neill. Tasked as a liaison, it’s Neill’s job to convince the republics. He enlists the aid of an old friend, General Andrei Ulyanov—and, if he can keep her alive, dynamic and beautiful journalist Viktoriya Gavrilenko. The stage is set for increased tension when the Russians threaten an arms race. Avery is targeted, and along the way, Neill becomes caught up in the search for a lost religious icon, foretold by legend to restore the faith of a disheartened people . . .

Steve WilsonAbout the Author:

Steve Wilson is a multimedia designer for a large metropolitan newspaper, and has worked in advertising for over 25 years. He is a prior service Marine, now serving as a Master Sergeant in the Air Force Reserve. He is the father of two grown sons, and lives in Florida with his wife.

Over the course of his military career, he has received the Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medals, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal. In 2010 he was named the Air Transportation NCO of the Year. His ties to the armed forces—as well as short-term mission trips—have taken him to Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe and the Pacific, as well as the former Soviet Union. These experiences have helped to shape his story lines.

You can connect with Steve on Facebook and his blog.

Book Details:

  • Series: The Michael Neill Adventure Series
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: White Feather Press, LLC (July 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161808108X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1618081087
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 0.9 inches
  • Retail Price: $15.95
  • Electronic version also available

My Thoughts:

In Trinity Icon, readers are greeted by some familiar characters and introduced to a few new ones. One character is an interesting twist to Michael’s background story that we thought we knew as readers of the Michael Neill novels. I loved the new dimension this particular character added to the story, and while it drove me nuts, I liked that not everything was revealed in this book.

Michael has spent some time stateside, but it’s time for him to head back overseas. This particular assignment fits him perfectly due to the location. During this assignment, ghosts from the past come back to haunt him, and things are revealed that take him by surprise. While he’s dealing with the riggers of the current assignment, he is also trying to sort out his feelings for his fellow Marine which is complicated by the fact that he is an officer and she is enlisted.

Trinity Icon moved a little slower for me than the previous two Michael Neill novels, but it did not fail to hold my attention and keep me reading. There was a lot of information and history packed into the story which caused me to need to pay more attention to the details to get a better picture of everything taking place within the story. In fact, the book started out with the history of a certain town and relic before jumping into the present day. It then went back in time to that same story at the conclusion of the novel.

Once again, Steve Wilson’s understanding of the military allows his books and characters to feel natural and realistic. Of course, I can’t wait to see what will be revealed in the next book as there were a few details that were left up in the air in this book.

CWA Disclosure Statement

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The Kombucha Experiment

Kombucha

I’ve been hearing about the health benefits of Kombucha for some time, and lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of bottled Kombucha at the stores. After reading the book about Kombucha, I decided it was time to give it a try. Last week, I put my newly acquired scoby in my sweet tea and set it aside to ferment for the week.

Yesterday, I tasted the tart, fermented drink and knew that it was time to halt the fermentation and put it in the fridge. I took out the scoby, washed it,  and put it in the fridge with a little of the Kombucha for use later. The Kombucha jar was placed in the fridge, so I could strain it and put it in a jar later.

Today, I screened the Kombucha and put it in a clean cider jar. I had a small glass of the Kombucha. Whew! It tasted like apple cider vinegar. Either I let it ferment a little too long, or it’s an acquired taste. Either way, it’s a bit much for me. lol! I may try to add some fruit juice or juice to it to see if it helps with the taste. If I can’t get past the taste, it may be used in cooking in place of vinegar. ;)

I’m still intrigued by Kombucha, so I’m sure that I’ll try a few more renditions of it before I decide whether or not it is for me. I know there is no way that I’m getting Munchkin to drink it as this point in time. D would be willing to taste it, but I know it’s not something that he would drink at this point in time.

If you make/drink Kombucha on a regular basis, I’d love to hear your tips. Part of my problem may be that I don’t like tea to begin with, so fermented tea may not be right for me. :)

Side note: The glasses shown with the jug of Kombucha were made by the wife of D’s co-worker. I think they’re pretty cool. :)

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Nutty Gluten Free Coffee Cake

Gluten Free Coffee Cake

Nutty Gluten Free Coffee Cake Recipe

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1/4 C sorghum flour
  • 1/4 C almond flour
  • 1/4 C brown rice flour
  • 1/4 C teff flour
  • 1/4 C amaranth flour
  • 1/2 C tapioca starch
  • 1/4 C potato starch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 C coconut sugar (you can use regular sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 C butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 C sour cream

Filling/Topping:

  • 1 C nuts (walnuts & pecans are a favorite mix here)
  • 1/4 C coconut sugar or white sugar
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 C chopped nuts (keep separate from the other nuts)

Icing Drizzle: (These are approximate as I just add sugar until the right consistency)

  • 1-2 Tbsp cream (almond milk or regular milk can be used)
  • 1/3 C powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking dish.(I used 1 lb. loaf pan.)
  2. Combine dry ingredients in one bowl until well mixed.
  3. Combine wet ingredients in a different bowl until well mixed.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Beat until well mixed.  Set aside.
  5. Place filling ingredients into food processor (or blender).  Pulse until it reaches the consistency you desire.
  6. Pour half of your batter into the pan.  Spread out the batter as it can be thick.  Sprinkle half of your nut mixture over the batter.  Pour/spread the rest of your batter over the nut mixture.  Top with the remaining nut mixture.  Top with additional chopped nuts.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  8. While your cake is baking, make your icing drizzle.  Combine the cream and vanilla, slowly add powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency.
  9. Allow cake to cool for a few minutes.  Drizzle with icing.

Note: The coconut sugar will give the batter a brown tint.

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The Boxcar Children DVD Review and Giveaway

Boxcar Children DVD

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway and providing a sample of the film for review.

About the Film:

Four orphaned and homeless siblings happen upon an abandoned boxcar, which with a little creativity and hard work, they gradually furnish with all the comforts of home. Fearful that they will be sent to live with the reputedly cruel grandfather they have never met, the children keep their new home a secret – until a serious illness forces them to reveal themselves in order to save young Violet.

About the Cast:

Featuring an all-star cast of voice actors, including Academy Award Nominee Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now), J.K. Simmons (Spiderman), Zach Gordon (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Joey King (Fargo), Mackenzie Foy (Twilight series), and Jadon Sand (LEGO: The Movie), this is the very first full-length, animated feature adaptation of Gertrude Chandler Warner’s best-selling classic!

Film Details:

Actors: Martin Sheen, JK Simmons, Joey King, Jadon Sand, Zachary Gordon
Directors: Dan Chuba, Mark A.Z. Dippe
Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English, French
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
Number of discs: 1
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Phase 4 Films
DVD Release Date: August 19, 2014
Run Time: 81 minutes

Preorder at Walmart: http://www.walmart.com/ip/38107477

My Thoughts:

I was excited when I heard that the beloved book series The Boxcar Children was coming to life in an animated dvd film. I have always enjoyed the books, so I looked forward to seeing how they would handle the animated version. The story itself was a beautiful tale of the children coming together to face the odds with hard work and determination, a kind stranger offering a helping hand, and an unexpected family reunion. Unfortunately, while the story line was good, the animation left a bit to be desired. My teen daughter made the comment that it looked like animation from before she was born. I wish they would have done a better job with the animation to do the story justice.

The dvd contains several bonus features that can only be unlocked on your computer. It includes:

  1. The Boxcar Children Movie Soundtrack (mp3)
  2. Town Map (pdf)
  3. Activity Kit (pdf)
  4. The Boxcar Children E-book Preview (pdf)
  5. The Boxcar Children Guide to Adventure E-book Preview (pdf)

The bonus features available via your dvd player include:

  1. About the Author/Museum Featurette
  2. Stills Gallery

As I stated, it was a really nice movie that could have been enhanced with better animation.

Giveaway:

Want to win your own copy of The Boxcar Children on DVD? Giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada only. Giveaway ends August 21, 2014.

Click to Enter The Boxcar Children DVD Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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Wordless Wednesday: Figs, Peaches, and Pluots

Pluot

Peach

Figs

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