Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2
Director: James Gunn
PG-13 | 2h 16min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 5 May 2017

The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage.

Huh. That was the only expression I had after watching Guardians Vol. 2. This might have been one of those scenarios where it was best to go in with no expectations but after how much I loved the first film, I was expecting a bigger better one this time around.

Instead, it just felt like... a lot more of the same jokes but the actual story was forced and felt almost like they were really reaching for something they just didn't achieve.

The first movie managed to do, as Marvel does so well, balance a serious storyline all while embracing the humour and absurdity that is Guardians of The Galaxy.

This movie seemed to struggle to find that balance and frankly, its only real saving grace was Baby Groot. Who would have even thought you'd hear me say that Vin Diesel saved a movie, seriously.

 Everytime you were getting bored and wondering why you were wasting your time on this story, Baby Groot would have an adorable and or hilarious moment and bring you back.

I HATED Ego as the father of Peter Quill. I think the director made a huge mistake changing the Canon for this storyline because well, it was just the worst. It was corny and bad and it overshadowed everything else. On top of taking away from the Guardians story,  Kurt Russel was just bad I'm sorry. In a cinematic universe that brought us likeable, relatable villains such as Loki, I expected so much better.

I LOVED Yondu in this film. Here we have a man we thought was a villain who really was just trying to be a Dad, create a family. I think his *SPOILER ALERT* sacrifice was really a touching moment though I was confused why they bothered bringing up the whole Ravager issue when they weren't going to elaborate on that backstory more that that weird scene with Sylvester Stallone.

In review, I guess, if you're a Marvel fan you should see it though it really didn't provide anything more to the MCU in my opinion. I expected there to be a bigger focus on the infinity stones and learning more about the different planets and realms and ...while it touched on them briefly, it didn't give us much to take away.

As a Marvel fan, I'm sad to say that I wished I'd seen Wonder Woman instead.

The Scribe of Siena (Review)

The Scribe of Siena 
by Melodie Winawer
464 pages | May 16th 2017 | Touchstone


Equal parts transporting love story and gripping historical conspiracy—think The Girl with a Pearl Earring meets Outlander—debut author Melodie Winawer takes readers deep into medieval Italy, where the past and present blur and a twenty-first century woman will discover a plot to destroy Siena.

Accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato knows that her deep empathy for her patients is starting to impede her work. So when her beloved brother passes away, she welcomes the unexpected trip to the Tuscan city of Siena to resolve his estate, even as she wrestles with grief. But as she delves deeper into her brother’s affairs, she discovers intrigue she never imagined—a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city.

After uncovering the journal and paintings of Gabriele Accorsi, the fourteenth-century artist at the heart of the plot, Beatrice finds a startling image of her own face and is suddenly transported to the year 1347. She awakens in a Siena unfamiliar to her, one that will soon be hit by the Plague.

Yet when Beatrice meets Accorsi, something unexpected happens: she falls in love—not only with Gabriele, but also with the beauty and cadence of medieval life. As the Plague and the ruthless hands behind its trajectory threaten not only her survival but also Siena’s very existence, Beatrice must decide in which century she belongs.

The Scribe of Siena is the captivating story of a brilliant woman’s passionate affair with a time and a place that captures her in an impossibly romantic and dangerous trap—testing the strength of fate and the bonds of love.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I read the synopsis of this book, only that it sounded similar to Outlander and I knew that I'd enjoyed (am still enjoying, give me a break it's a long audio book) that story. So I figured this one would be equally enjoyable. The short, yes and no. 

I enjoyed it but I wasn't thrilled or wowed by it. Tuscany is one of my favourite regions of Italy and I was excited at the prospect of seeing a modern day woman thrown into the middle of it hundreds of years ago. That portion of it was sort of underwhelming. It felt like the historical aspect and goals of the heroine were drowned out beneath the romance. I love romance in literature, I do, but I don't like when it overshadows the plot.  

I would have loved to have seen this story without the romance and see what it could have become, or at least without much of the romance. I think the intrigue of the story drew me in had nothing to do with the romance and everything to do with the discovery of this ancient conspiracy. 

I definitely recommend reading it. It was enjoyable it just wasn't my favourite. 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for the ARC of this novel. 

Photograph © Dana Maxon
Melodie Winawer is a physician-scientist and Associate Professor of Neurology at Columbia University. A graduate of Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University with degrees in biological psychology, medicine, and epidemiology, she has published forty-seven nonfiction articles and book chapters. She is fluent in Spanish and French, literate in Latin, and has a passable knowledge of Italian. Dr. Winawer lives with her spouse and their three young children in Brooklyn, New York. The Scribe of Siena is her first novel.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Film Review)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Directors: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
PG-13 | 2h 9min | Disney | May 26, 2017

Johnny Depp returns to the big screen as the iconic, swashbuckling anti-hero Jack Sparrow in the all-new Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. The rip-roaring adventure finds down-on-his-luck Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil's Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea—notably Jack. Jack's only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry (Brenton Thwaites), a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune, but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced. 

Pirates you're back! After the complete travesty that was Stranger Tides and At World's End, Dead Men Tell No Tales comes back with a vengeance. It falls back to a complex but easy to follow storyline that keeps you intrigued. If I'm being honest, however, which I always try to do, I could have easily done without Jack Sparrow. I'm not sure why, or what was different about this film but the way that character was presented was incredibly different than what we're used to. The voice, the classic lines, they all weren't delivered with the familiarity of the Jack Sparrow that became an icon.

What I will say is that the new cast made up for it. Brenton Twaites was exceptional as Will & Elizabeth Turner's son. I have to admit it was the draw of this storyline that pulled me into seeing the movie to begin with. Physically he was a perfect combination of both but his acting was great and there were definite moments where he just oozed this 'Will Turner' vibe from the first film. Any true POTC fangirl would appreciate.

Kaya Scodelario was also exceptional as Astronomer Carina Smyth. We spend the movie wondering who this young scientist's father is (and you guess and guess) and the reveal is sort of an anti-climax because while the reveal was surprising and made for a beautiful moment within the film, I though the realisation on both ends would have been a bit more shock factor and a bit less... well, how it was.

I am also not sure why Henry Turner's identity was kept a secret so long in the media. Because, unlike in the original Pirates of the Caribbean, we learn who Henry is within the first few minutes of the film. It was never some huge secret that he is Will's son, in fact, he tells Jack immediately. It may have added an additional layer of intrigue to the film if that was kept a secret a little bit longer, at least from the other characters.

Over all I was impressed, this was the POTC sequel that we all deserved. It could have been improved certainly but it had be intrigued and certainly left me wanting more which I can say, Stranger Tides certainly did not.


The Shadow Sister (The Seven Sisters 3) (Review)

The Shadow Sister (The Seven Sister 3)
By Lucinda Riley
528 pages | April 25th 2017 |  Atria Books

Travel through the lush English countryside and explore the magnificent estates of the British aristocracy in this next spellbinding love story in The Seven Sisters series by #1 internationally bestselling author Lucinda Riley.

Star D’Aplièse is at a crossroads in her life after the sudden death of her beloved father—the elusive billionaire, affectionately called Pa Salt by his six daughters, all adopted from across the four corners of the world. He has left each of them a clue to her true heritage, and Star nervously decides to follow hers, which leads her to an antiquarian bookshop in London, and the start of a whole new world.

A hundred years earlier, headstrong and independent Flora MacNichol vows she will never marry. She is happy and secure in her home in England’s picturesque Lake District—just a stone’s throw away from the residence of her childhood idol, Beatrix Potter—when machinations lead her to London, and the home of one of Edwardian society’s most notorious society hostesses, Alice Keppel. Flora is torn between passionate love and her duty to her family, but finds herself a pawn in a larger game. That is, until a meeting with a mysterious gentleman unveils the answers that Flora has been searching for her whole life...

As Star learns more of Flora’s incredible journey, she too goes on a voyage of discovery, finally stepping out of the shadow of her sister and opening herself up to the possibility of love.

The Shadow Sister is the third in the sweeping Seven Sisters series, “soaked in glamour and romance” (Daily Mail) and perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and the novels of Kate Morton.

I was quite uncertain what to expect from this book. The description seemingly had everything I could ever want in a book, but I was unfamiliar with the series. I was informed the book could be enjoyed as a stand-alone, so when I received this book as an ARC I went ahead and devoured it.

This is not what I would call an easy read. While I enjoyed it the book itself required a lot of committed time and concentration though luckily it is not dull so it's not that difficult but I definitely had to give it my full attention. Not the type of book I would recommend reading while you're juggling another few.  

The author manages to paint such a vivid picture for the reader, weaving an intricate, interesting and intriguing story line. I was so drawn into the story line of quite literally The Shadow Sister, fighting to find her own way and struggling with putting her own needs before those of her sisters. It was an extremely relatable read when we all face that choice of me or them. 

I give it a full 5 stars not only because I was enveloped in the storyline but because this made me want to go back and read the first two in the series! 

Thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada for the ARC. 

Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland, and after an early career as an actress in film, theatre and television, wrote her first book aged twenty-four. Her novel Hothouse Flower was selected by the UK’s Richard and Judy Book Club in 2011 and her books have been translated into over thirty languages and sold over ten million copies worldwide. She is a New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author.

Lucinda’s novels include The Seven Sisters, a seven-book series telling the story of adopted sisters and based allegorically on the mythology of the famous star constellation. The first three books, The Seven Sisters, The Storm Sister, and The Shadow Sister have all been No.1 bestsellers across Europe, and the rights to a multi-season TV series have already been optioned by a Hollywood production company. The fourth book, The Pearl Sister, will be available in November this year.

To read about Lucinda’s inspiration behind The Seven Sisters series, please visit

She is also releasing a number of stand-alone books such as The Olive Tree, a contemporary story based around a family holiday in Cyprus, which will be available in paperback from July. This follows the release of rewritten titles previously published under her maiden name of Lucinda Edmonds such as The Italian Girl and The Angel Tree. 

Lucinda lives with her husband and four children on the North Norfolk coast in England and West Cork, Ireland.

When not writing, travelling or running around after her children, she loves reading books that she hasn’t written with a glass or two of Provençal rosé!