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!

Beauty & The Beast (Film Review)

Beauty and the Beast
Walt Disney Pictures
PG | 2h 9min |  17 March 2017

Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" is a live-action re-telling of the studio's animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs. "Beauty and the Beast" is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle's enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast's hideous exterior and realize the kind heart and soul of the true Prince within.

Disney strikes gold again with another live action re-telling of one of their classic animated films. Disney fans of the original will not be disappointed with the brilliant presentation.

Your favourite characters come to life in beautifully done CGI that doesn't destroy the imagination instead only adds to it.

Disappointments? While she did a fantastic job in the role, I'm not sure that Emma Watson was truly the right choice for Belle. This isn't any fault of her own, however as she both acted and sang beautifully in the film. However, I have a tendency to find with her that she does not become her role. When I watch her in a film I am not lost in the story in the sense that I feel I should be. I do not see Belle, I simply see Emma Watson.

Josh Gad, while hilarious in his role as Le Fou left something to be desired in his singing for the much beloved Gaston performance, though the scene itself was brilliantly presented.

Speaking of the Villain you hate to love, Luke Evan's performance as Gaston was utter perfection! He was my Gaston in every way I could have imagined.  I simultaneously loved and hated him a lot more than the original!

The gem of the film however is Dan Stevens in his performance as Beast/Prince Adam. He perfectly embodied the man turned creature turned man and shifted your emotions for him from annoyed, to sympathetic to nothing but pure love. By the end of the film, you too were in love with a the Beast.

So well done! If you're a Disney fan this is an absolute must see!

The Cutaway (Review)

The Cutaway: A Novel
By Christina Kovac
320 pages | March 21st 2017 | Atria / 37 INK

The Cutaway draws you into the tangled world of corruption and cover-up as a young television producer investigates the disappearance of a beautiful Georgetown lawyer in this stunning psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn.

When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Despite skepticism from her colleagues, Knightly suspects this ambitious young lawyer may be at the heart of something far more sinister, especially since she was last seen leaving an upscale restaurant after a domestic dispute. Yet, as the only woman of power at her station, Knightly quickly finds herself investigating on her own.

Risking her career, her life, and perhaps even her own sanity, Knightly dives deep into the dark underbelly of Washington, DC business and politics in an investigation that will drag her mercilessly through the inextricable webs of corruption that bind the press, the police, and politics in our nation’s capital.

Harkening to dark thrillers such as Gone Girl, Luckiest Girl Alive, and Big Little Lies, The Cutaway is a striking debut that will haunt you long after you reach the last page.

The Cutaway is an intriguing mystery that holds your attention. I'm easily lured into a book where I don't have the answers right away. This one keeps you guessing and that is what makes it such a good read. Some of the characters do come off a little flat, unimaginative but I was willing to read through it because the plot was well done and the book written well overall. 

I didn't absolutely love it but I was intrigued and entertained which is what I believe the author intended. I would recommend it for a quick read to anyone who loves a good intrigue.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada for an ARC copy of this book

Christina Kovac managed newsrooms and produced crime and political stories in the District. Her career as a television journalist began with Fox 5's Ten O'Clock News, followed by the ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C. For the last nine years, she worked at the Washington Bureau of NBC News. She lives with her family outside of Washington D.C.

Confessions of a High School Disaster (Review)

Confessions of a High School Disaster (Chloe Snow's Diary)
By Emma Chastain
March 7th 2017 | Simon Pulse

In the tradition of Bridget Jones’s Diary, a lovably flawed high school student chronicles her life as she navigates the highs and lows of family, friendship, school, and love in a diary that sparkles with humor and warmth.

I’m Chloe Snow, and my life is kiiiiind of a disaster.

On the plus side, I got the lead in the musical!

On the down side…

1. I’m a kissing virgin (so so so embarrassing).
2. My best friend, Hannah, is driving me insane.
3. I think I’m in love with Mac Brody, the most popular senior guy, whose girlfriend is so beautiful she doesn’t even need eyeliner.
4. My dad won’t stop asking me if I’m okay.
5. Oh, and my mom moved to Mexico to work on her novel. But it’s fine—she’ll be back soon. She said so.

Mom tells me everything is copy. So I’m writing down all the horrible things that happen to me in this diary.

This is the worst year of my life so far, unless maybe it’s the best.

I instantly loved this book. Chole is a funny, honest teenager dealing with a lot of changes in her life. While I'm not sure that I see the Bridget Jones references (other than the fact that it's told in the form of her diary), I was refreshingly reminded of Louise Rennison's Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging. 

While I'll admit a lot of what we see from Chloe in this story is tedious and somewhat annoying, it's pretty honest for a teenage girl. She is witty, snarky, petty and exceptionally observant of her surroundings which creates a funny, entertaining read. However, I probably wouldn't give it to my Thirteen-year-old sister anytime soon. I would pitch it more to mid-late teens or young adults looking for a flashback.

Traveling With Ghosts

Traveling with Ghosts: A Memoir 
by Shannon Leone Fowler
304 pages | Published February 21st 2017 | Simon & Schuster

From grief to reckoning to reflection to solace, a marine biologist shares the solo journey she took—through war-ravaged Eastern Europe, Israel, and beyond—to find peace after her fiancé suffered a fatal attack by a box jellyfish in Thailand.

In the summer of 2002, Shannon Leone Fowler, a twenty-eight-year-old marine biologist, was backpacking with her fiancé and love of her life, Sean. Sean was a tall, blue-eyed, warmhearted Australian, and he and Shannon planned to return to Australia after their excursion to Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand. Their plans, however, were devastatingly derailed when a box jellyfish—the most venomous animal in the world—wrapped around Sean’s leg, stinging and killing him in a matter of minutes as Shannon helplessly watched. Rejecting the Thai authorities attempt to label Sean’s death a “drunk drowning,” Shannon ferried his body home to his stunned family—a family to which she suddenly no longer belonged.

Shattered and untethered, Shannon’s life paused indefinitely so that she could travel around the world to find healing. Travel had forged her relationship with Sean, and she hoped it could also aid in processing his death. Though Sean wasn’t with Shannon, he was everywhere she went—among the places she visited were Oświęcim, Poland (the site of Auschwitz); war-torn Israel; shelled-out Bosnia; poverty-stricken Romania; and finally to Barcelona, where she first met Sean years before. Ultimately, Shannon had to confront the ocean after her life’s first great love took her second great love away.

Cheryl Strayed’s Wild meets Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk in this beautiful, profoundly moving memorial to those we have lost on our journeys and the unexpected ways their presence echoes in all places—and voyages—big and small.

I'm going to be honest, memoirs aren't always my thing. Typically when I'm reading a story I want to get lost in a false reality, and memoirs, reliving someone else's experiences often feel too real and personal. On many levels, I can't always relate. A memoir is such a personal and unique recollection of the individual's journey. 

This memoir was the exception for me. The moment I read the description, I was intrigued. I knew that wanted to read this story and I wasn't disappointed. Traveling With Ghosts is a beautifully written account of love, loss and adventure. Shannon doesn't sugar coat anything and allows the reader to see the truth. A story that had the potential to be extremely depressing, was instead empowering and intriguing. 

I recommend this to anyone I think this story has something to teach all readers and will have a profound impact on anyone who dares to read it. 

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for an ARC of this book. 

Shannon Leone Fowler is a writer, marine biologist, and single mother of three young children. Since her doctorate on Australian sea lions, she’s taught marine ecology in the Bahamas and Galápagos, led a university course on killer whales in the San Juan Islands, spent seasons as the marine mammal biologist on board ships in both the Arctic and Antarctic, taught graduate students field techniques while studying Weddell seals on the Ross Ice Shelf, and worked as a science writer at National Public Radio in Washington DC. Originally from California, she currently lives in London. Traveling with Ghosts is her first book.

Lost Legacies (Cover Reveal)

A Lost Legacy: Awakening (Lost Legacies 1) 
By C.E Dimond
258 Pages | Write Addictions Publishing

Finn Adams thought she knew what her life had in store for her; a mundane existence of day to day life. The arrival of a stranger in town turns her world upside down. When her mother goes missing, Finn soon discovers that she is a witch and she is being hunted for her power. Ripped from the only life she’s ever known, Finn is transported across the country to Broadhaven, Maine to discover the secrets she never knew about herself, her heritage, and the tremendous power that's been kept from her for so long. Her loyalties are tested when she learns of her true parentage and discovers she is part of a prophecy, destined to awaken an ancient power that has been lost for centuries. As she struggles to learn from her mother’s past, she is faced with the ultimate struggle of good and evil, family or friends, she must learn who she can trust and find the power within herself to stop the prophecy from coming true.

A Lost Legacy: Wandering (Lost Legacies Prequel)
By C.E Dimond
110 Pages | Write Addictions Publishing

Seventeen-year-old Warlock Eamon O'Neill was born and raised in the Broadhaven Coven. Life at Broadhaven meant two things; One, he was inherently magic and two, he had a role to play. What his role was, never seemed to be clear. Descended from Celtic royalty, the expectations on young coven members are high. Coven life is a series of ancient rules, traditions, and secrets. Eamon has always trained to be the perfect Warlock and the perfect son but struggles living in his father's shadow. When a threat from the past resurfaces, the opportunity of a lifetime presents itself. One of his own will be chosen to track down the last living Witch in their Coven, and he is determined to be the man for the job. Eamon will need to place his own issues aside and focus his most powerful magic to complete the trials. He must prove he is the only one powerful enough to protect their only weapon.

About The Author

C.E Dimond is an Irish-Canadian author. She has always had a passion for literature and from a young age indulged her mind in the fantasy fiction world. As a child, her bedtime stories consisted greatly of Irish folklore and songs that inspired a true love of her heritage. She has a love of World Religions, psychology, languages and history and has put all of these inspirations to work in her writing. She is an alumna of St. Mary’s Academy and studied Theatre and Film at the University of Winnipeg. Currently, she lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Connect with C.E