Follow Me to: The Colorado Ice Castle

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To kick of 2018 myself and a few friends decided to take a drive up I-70 to Dillon, CO to an Ice Castle. While we found no kights, white walkers, or Ice Dragons on our adventure we did feel as if we had stumbled upon Elsa’s frozen fortress, stepped through the closet into Narnia, or had found ourselves North of the Wall. While we were there it was hard not to get lost in the magic of all the places your mind could take you.

picsart_01-03-10-53-51.jpgThis particular Ice Castle was built by Ice Castles, LLC based out of Utah. Based on information from their website and the news, these are hand crafted masterpieces that are constructed over time using about 10,000 icicles per day to create, they have 10′ thick walls and can weigh around 25,000,000 pounds! All of these fun facts aside, it is just beautiful in general.

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Upon your entry you will receive a map of the different rooms in the Castle. I’m not going to lie tho, I glanced at the map, tucked it into my pocket and just wandered through the castle. I climbed into crevices that opened up into rooms like an igloo, stood in line with all the other grown kids to take my turn on the slide, and marveled at the artistic quality of the icicles throughout each room. We were there during the day time so we unfortunately did not get to see the light show, but it was still worth the drive into the mountains for this fun afternoon adventure.

This is something I would for sure recommend you do for fun. It’s fun for the kids and the kids at heart!

To order tickets to the Ice Castle and for more information go to http://icecastles.com/dillon/

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“The ice pressed close around them, and he could feel the cold seeping into his bones, the weight of the Wall above his head. It felt like walking down the gullet of an ice dragon.”
~ Jon Snow, A Storm Of Swords, George R. R. Martin
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Book Review: Siege and Storm

14061955.jpgBook: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy
Print Date: June 2013
Goodreads Score: 5 stars

 

Short Review: So good!  I could not put it down!

Book Summary

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Long Review:  First things first, to everyone that is already a fan of the Grishaverse I apologize for taking so long to join you!  I have had this one and the third in the series on my to read list for awhile now. I finally found the time to dive into the series again and I enjoyed this book even more than the first one.  I also liked that it didn’t follow the traditional path of a story (slow start for character building, starts getting exciting with more going on in the middle, and ends with a huge finale and a giant cliffhanger), this one jumped right in with some very interesting revelations that keep you wanting more the entire book.  This was a page turner for me because I think I wanted to know more about the firebird just as much as Alina did! I read this in an evening because I just couldn’t put it down!

I both loved and hated the new love triangle that gets introduced. I wont tell you who all is involved in this new development, but I promise it’s good!  I know which person Alina should probably end up with, but I am so rooting for someone else! I also could not get enough of the new characters that were introduced, the twins Tamar and Tolya and Stormhund. They quickly became my favorites and I later found out that there was more to them than I even realized at first. Huge spoilers if I expand on this so I will just wait for you to read and find out yourself exactly what I mean.

The only thing that I honestly felt was lacking was the Darkling. I wanted more of his evil self in the story this time around. I mean who doesn’t love to hate a good villain!

“The Darkling had told her he was destined to rule. He had claimed his throne, and a part of her too. He was welcome to it. For the living and the dead, she would make herself a reckoning. She would rise.”
~Leigh Bardugo, Siege and Storm

Book Review: The Culling

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Book: The Culling by Ramona Finn
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Sci-Fi
Print Date: November 2017
Goodreads Score: 3 stars
Giveaway: $50 Amazon gift card

Short ReviewAn interesting twist on a dystopian story.

Book Summary 

In a solar system where The Authority decides who lives and who dies, only one of their own assassins can stop them.

Glade Io is a trained killer. Marked at a young age as an individual with violent tendencies, she was taken from her family and groomed to be a Datapoint, a biotech-enabled analyst who carries out the Culling. She is meant to identify and destroy any potential threats to the human colonies. But when she’s kidnapped by rogue colonists known as the Ferrymen, everything Glade thinks she knows about the colonies, and The Authority that runs them, collapses into doubt.

Pulled between two opposing sides, and with her family’s lives hanging in the balance, Glade is unsure of who to trust—and time is running out.

Long Review: This was, in my opinion, your typical dystopian story that made things somewhat predictable. I did however enjoy the added sci-fi twist to the story. The thought that technology has advanced so far that you can literally sync your brain with a computer is kind of creepy. What was even creepier is that these same people that are synced with the computer then have the ability to kill anyone through the act of culling.  I couldn’t help but wonder how terrifying life must be in this world that the author has created. To know that at any moment the Authority could decide you are a threat and BAM, you can’t even defend yourself!

The characters are each interesting in their own way. My favorite is Kupier. From the moment he is introduced you immediately like him.  He is very driven, a great leader, and loves his family. Glade is a tough nut to crack. One minute you think she really is like a robot and then the next you find she is capable of emotion and you are able to peel back a layer to her. One of my favorite parts was getting to see how Glade unraveled all of the knew knowledge that she was given about the Authority by Kupier. She has gone her entire life thinking one way and is know basically being told its all been a lie. From the moment that Jan Ernst Haven gets introduced I am immediately suspicious…but I will let you be the judge.

This was not by any means my favorite book, but it is a quick and fun read that I think you will enjoy!

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About the Author
Ramona Finn writes about courageous characters who fight to live in broken, dystopian worlds. She believes a person’s true characters is often revealed in times of crisis, and there is no greater crisis than the worlds that she drops her characters into!

She grew up sitting cross-legged on her town’s library floor–completely engrossed in science fiction books. It was always the futuristic world or the universe-on-the-brink-of-extinction plotlines that drew her in, but it was the brave characters who chose to fight back that kept her turning the pages.

Her books create deep, intricate worlds with bold characters determined to fight for their survival in their dystopian worlds–with a little help from their friends. And, of course, romance is never out of the question 😉  WebsiteGoodreadsFacebook

To enter the Giveaway for the $50 Amazon gift card Click Here!

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Book Review: The Alice Network

32051912Book: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Genre: Historical Fiction
Print Date: June 2017
Goodreads Score: 5

Short ReviewA captivating suspense filled story!

Book Summary 

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth …no matter where it leads.

Long Review: I developed a love for stories set during wars at a young age. My Dad reads a lot of Historical Non-fiction so I thought I would give it a try when I was in Junior High and thus my love of Historical Fiction was born. I love learning about history, even if it is laced with fiction, so when I saw the summary for The Alice Network I knew I had to read it. I made the suggestion to my book club and thankfully they were all just as excited as I was to read it.  I highly recommend that you go out right now, or quickly grab your Amazon Kindle, and order this book immediately.

The characters are amazing. Amazing doesn’t actually even come close to describing them. They are spies, former soldiers, young girls searching for lost ones after the war, and evil French men. Each chapter goes back and forth between the two main characters, Charlie and Eve. You spend half of your time neck deep in 1914 during World War I and the other half just after the end of World War II. At the end of each chapter you hate to leave your heroin yet you can’t wait to get back to the other. I honestly can’t pick just one favorite character from this book. I love Eve and Charlie’s determination, fearlessness, and strength and the depth to each character. I even fell in love with some of the smaller characters. You also are introduced to an evil character that you obviously don’t love, but who you know makes the story as powerful as it is.

What I loved about this story was the emphasis on strong women. Yes, the story is laced with strong men, both good and evil, but mainly it is about the strength of women. I loved learning about the Queen of Spies, Louise De Bettignies. This is a a real story. A story of a woman that ran a large network of spies in German occupied France during World War I. Her fate in the book was her true fate in life that earned her the name Queen of Spies and I loved reading every word of it!

There is so much suspense throughout this book that you will literally be on the edge of your seat as you read. You will feel like you are right there being scrutinized as a spy is asked to present their papers at a border crossing, right there as Charlie discovers another clue to her cousin’s whereabouts, and right there as bombs are dropped and bullets are fired. Kate Quinn did an amazing job with this book and I can’t wait to read more of her work!

“Fleurs du mal,” Eve heard herself saying, and shivered. “What?” “Baudelaire. We are not flowers to be plucked and shielded, Captain. We are flowers who flourish in evil.” 
~Kate Quinn, The Alice Network