My Certification Is on Its Way!

Guess what, peeps?!

You know I am an ESL teacher for my local immigration center, right?

Well, as my upcoming graduation gift, I have received the money to enroll in Oxford Seminars’ TESL Certification course in Montreal this summer! It starts in July and I need to go spend three intensive weekends in a classroom for practicum and then I’ve got a big theory module with relevant books and an examination at the end.

I’m so excited!

This means that I’ll soon be a certified English second language teacher! How neat is that?!

It’ll help me greatly in finding a teaching job, but also being accepted into Concordia’s Master’s degree in Applied Linguistics. I’m currently gathering the required letters of recommendation from my professors and typing my letter of intent to be ready when November comes around for the application process. I still haven’t decided if I’ll specialize in psycholinguistics or sociolinguistics (both up to the PhD level) or teaching languages, but what is certain is I’ll have this Master’s!

So, great news indeed!

tenor

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A Little PC Issue…

Hello, lasses and lads!

If you’re wondering why I’ve been so silent lately, it’s not because I lack reviews and post ideas.

It’s because my computer broke. (What a bummer!)

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Since I’m a distance university student, I needed a new one as quickly as possible! And so I went shopping for a new PC this week.

Please bear with me as I’m transferring everything from my external hard drive to this new computer…

However, fret not!

I’ve still got you covered: writing progress as well as book reviews and other writing-related posts are coming!

They’ve just been delayed by this… minor… incident.

You should expect a new post later during the week.

Thank you all, lovelies!

 

Colliding Skies: A Review

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by Debbie Zaken

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

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B&N

Goodreads

Oftomes Publishing Official Web Site

Genre: Sci-fi, Romance, YA

Pages: 380

ISBN: 9781999963309

*I received an ARC for free by Oftomes Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!*

IMPORTANT: I was kindly given this book for reviewing. However, I’m not one for sci-fi and even less sci-fi romance. BUT this is NOT a negative review; it is quite positive, on the contrary! I just want to tell you that my opinion might not be trustworthy when it comes to the sci-fi romance in this book. So, I will focus on other interesting elements and simply skim the actual romance to make a fair review for everyone to read.

The Story:

Since Skye Reilly can remember, she has been looking up to the stars. With high school graduation upon her, her telescope in one hand and her college acceptance letter in the other, she has life as meticulously mapped out as her star chart. That is, until the Celeians arrive and she meets Ethan, an alluring alien. Ethan collides into her like an asteroid, causing a gravitational shift in Skye’s trajectory and hurling her life into a cataclysmic collision course of interplanetary proportions.

The Celeians promise many things. An end to disease, global warming, and famine. The knowledge to help humankind. Despite the suspicions surrounding the intriguing aliens and rising anti-alien protests, Skye gives Ethan her trust, and eventually her heart. The very heart he could stop with a lethal electrifying touch of his hand. 
When the Magistrate, a council of alien leaders, threatens to put an end to their interspecies relationship, following her heart could cost Skye her life and the lives of everyone she loves. 
Not even light can escape the pull of a black hole.

The Negative Points: 

Let’s start with the two negative points for they’re few, as you can see. Best to go through them to better enjoy the positive ones. Whenever the story got a bit slow, new tension or problems arose from all sorts of situations. Also, the more we kept reading, the worse they became (a nice touch in my opinion!). The last point is how the romance sometimes looks… a bit too forced and quick. I mean, yes, there is development, but in a month? And for them to be willing to sacrifice everything for the other one? I sometimes find it too much for such a short time window. However, like I announced before the review, please take my opinion on the romance with a grain of salt.

The Positive Points:

Now, let’s dwell on the positive sides of this awesome story, shall we? First, it’s just marvelous! There, I said it. To me, who usually dislikes sci-fi books AND sci-fi romance even more, this is huge. I loved it so much that I talked my bestie into purchasing his own copy, can you imagine?! My jaw hit the floor when I realized my growing love for this book. You’re not surprised, I am! The main character, Skye, deserves praise. Not only is she courageous, she’s also brilliant! Something I rarely see in female MCs and I always complain about the lack of them. But no-oh in this story! Plus, she’s a real geek and loves all things astronomy and physics-related and I… I just love her, okay? Women are seldom shown loving things that have to do with numbers and such, so this was fun and refreshing. I’m a huge astronomy geek too so the references and the right terms used made me squeal with enthusiasm! No, seriously, Skye always means to call astronomic events by their real name and it makes my day, okay? She won’t settle for less than the truth. That’s my girl! As for Ethan, her interstellar love (a Celeian), he’s both amusing and loyal. He’s even got a funny side, though he can be extremely protective. I like him too. Nonetheless, I think he’s way too ready to give up everything for a mere human—the Celeians are a superior race, so this seems strange to me.

However, I liked how they’re depicted: gorgeous, calm and peaceful. Humans who meet them can hardly look away for they’re that stunning physically. They’re also quite intelligent, which could make or break it. Because are they on Earth for good or evil?

Something else that makes me adore this book? The humour!  Actually, it was the first thing that caught my feelings and interest. It’s full of sass and intelligent twists. Speaking of twists, the ending is surprising! I mean, I saw some of the big ‘’revelations’’ coming, BUT the main character does get hurt (and a lot)! Can we all just appreciate that? Usually, main characters get lucky or they’re just SO good and skilled and awesome that they don’t even have a scratch on them at the end of the big battle. Realistic? Hm, no. But in Colliding Skies, let me say I was pleasantly taken aback! It deserves an award for this. The award for ‘’Finally, the MC Gets Badly Hurt Physically’’.

There’s more: it ends with a cliffhanger. A lot of you hate those, but I genuinely couldn’t live without them. They’re fun and only increase my need to know more, which is good for the author (and for me, if I care about the story). It’s nice—there are so few books with cliffhangers it makes me sad. But fortunately, there’s this one.

The Conclusion:

In conclusion, Colliding Skies by Debbie Zaken receives a rating of 5 out of 5 stars from me! It surpassed every expectation I had and it also made me enjoy something I (let’s be frank here) hate. So, if you ask me, it’s quite impressive. This sci-fi romance is, believe it or not, one of the best books I had the pleasure of reviewing. Congratulations, Debbie! Also, dear readers, buy yourself a copy and read it with an open mind, just like I did. You’ll see, it’ll be rewarding in both fuzzy feelings (for those who love romance) AND adventure (for those like me who love to explore the universe).

If you want to learn more about Debbie Zaken, head over to her Web site, Twitter account, Facebook acount  or her Instagram account.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue: A Review

I still have nightmares about trying to read Moby Dick for a college literature class. Seriously, that book is my great whale. Despite many (many!) attempts to read it, I still haven't been able to get through it all. Consequently, I believe it is on

By Mackenzi Lee

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Amazon.ca

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B&N

Goodreads

LibraryThing

Genre: Historical Fiction, LGBTQ, YA, Romance

Pages: 513 (Hardcover edition)

ISBN: 9780062382801

The Story:

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

My Favourite Points:

Two things really stood out for me in this book: the quality of the writing and Monty.

This book was very well written. The drama was there as well as humour and intriguing plot points.

As for the characters themselves, I found them to be quite unique and they even managed to develop over the pages. Although I’d have wanted for Monty to grasp things more quickly and change more than what he did, but it was simply realistic so I can’t really talk against that aspect.

The plot was fun and interesting, though it sometimes lacked realism or high stakes.

My favourite character was Felicity (hands down!). She’s strong, independent, determined and impressive in her own way. She’s pursuing medecine in her free time despite what her father and society think of a woman having a passion (or the wits!) for it. I can’t wait for the sequel, which is all about Felicity!

My Lesser Points:
However, Monty didn’t sit well with me. At all. He’s such an idiot from beginning to end. Yes, okay, at the end he’s a bit more open-minded and kind, but since the characters were done realistically, people will often come back to behaving just like they used to so with very few differences… He’s arrogant and careless and doesn’t even put himself in Percy’s shoes for… EVERYTHING. It’s always others’ fault and he’s so oblivious. I know he has a hard past, but he’s really just blind or plain stupid. Either way, I don’t like him. It’s his personality I dislike. Reading this book wasn’t a lot of fun because he was in it, see? I don’t even know why I finished it. Probably because Felicity is awesome and Percy is so cute. But Monty? Thank God the sequel isn’t about him!

Conclusion:

But not everything is lost for there’s a special treat in this book: interracial homosexual love. Like, why don’t we see this more often? In all possible combinations: interracial love, homosexual love, and interracial homosexual love. It’s cruelly missing and this book gives it to us.

Lastly, the realism surrounding epilepsy and madhouses is heart-wrenching. But well done!

Oh, I forgot: it’s set in 18th century, so that’s pretty great.

All in all, the book and story themselves weren’t bad, but Monty ruined it for me. I hated picking up the book and having to read HIS point of view. If it had been Percy’s, now, that would have been perfect and sweet, I’m sure of it. I guess it’s 4 disappointing stars for this one. I can’t rate it less than 4 because a character didn’t sit well with me, right? Let’s say I’m judging the overall product as a 4 stars.

If you want to learn more about Mackenzi Lee and her books, head over to her Web site  or her Twitter account.

The Little Red Wolf: A Review

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By Amélie Fléchais

Amazon.com

Amazon.ca

Indigo

B&N

Goodreads

LibraryThing

Genre: Children, Picture books, Fantasy, Fairy Tales

Pages: 80

ISBN: 9781941302453

*A special thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

The Story:

The Little Red Wolf was inspired by the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale by Charles Perrault. This story is about a little wolf with a red cape who needs to cross the dangerous forest to deliver a rabbit to his grandmother. However, he must heed his mother’s warning about the treacherous and villainous humans living in those woods. When stumbling upon a charming little girl, the Little Red Wolf will have to choose if he’s ready to trust this creature or follow his mother’s advice. Curiosity might have killed the cat… but what will it do this Little Red Wolf?

The Positive Points:

The storybook The Little Red Wolf features eerie but cute (and even funny) drawings – they’re childish and exaggerated. I think it fits that new fairy tale, inspired by the creepy Little Red Riding Hood. If it had other pictures, I figure it would have changed the mood drastically and not have it be as troubling as it is! This book uses and elegant font which reminds me of the fairy tales of old.

Moreover, the colours used to paint the story start bright and get darker and darker as the little red wolf (a cute little fellow!) steps closer to the enemy. These artistic choices fit the story perfectly. It’s easy to notice how much work the author and illustrator put in the illustrations! As for the story itself, I was under the positive impression it was told in a way that is reminiscent of the fairy tales of old. However, don’t be mistaken in thinking it’s too hard for a child to understand because it’s not. It simply has a distinctive ring and approach to it.

All in all, the images are beautiful. I loved how imaginative wolves’ houses in trees and underground are; it’s quite original. This story is faithful to olden fairy tales what with the words chosen, the warnings, the colours used, the gruesome events and twists and characters depicted.

The song woven in the story was fun and I also loved all the different point of views, though the main (and cutest) one is the little red world, our sweet protagonist. The little suspense and mystery surrounding the humans was predictable, but then again it’s a tale for children! So, I can’t really blame the author for this, can I? Last but not least of the positive points is how the ending explains the red cape the protagonist has and what really happened to the humans’ family. It demystifies everything and answers all the reader’s questions, leaving them satisfied once they close the book.

The Negative Points & Conclusion:

Although I know a wolf is carnivorous, and he would obviously take a dead rabbit or something like that to his grandma, it was slightly disgusting… mostly when he eats parts of it. Don’t get me wrong: there might not be any blood, but the image is still disturbing somehow. I’m not sure this is okay for children. Or perhaps I’m too sensitive when it comes to animals. Or in general, too. But that is the only negative point I could find.

While I think this adorable storybook is really worth purchasing (especially for a child you know, although it’s a greatly enjoyable read even for an adult), it didn’t grab me fully. I do think back on it appreciatively, but my emotions weren’t really in the equation. For all these reasons, good and bad, I give The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. I encourage you to give it a try or buy it for a child you know! The point of view of the wolf is a very different take on this reimagined story – it’s great and surprising.

If you want to learn more about Amélie Fléchais and her storybooks, head over to her Facebook account or her Tumblr.

Merry Writing and Updates!

Hello everyone,

Here is a quick note to wish you a merry Christmas and best wishes!

Also, I have made huge progress with my novel Heaven’s Army: Down to Earth last week in terms of plot and characters. I will update you more when the holidays are over.

There are two or three book reviews coming soon too.

And the poetry workbook I told you about recently? Yes, I did write some of it! It’s coming together. I will tell you more when I am back from the holidays.

Again: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

See you next post!

A Poetry Workbook For You & Translators’ Annual Conference

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Hello, everyone!

I have such important stuff to tell you.

We’d better start now, then!

Annual Conference and Continuing Education Day

I went to the OTTIAQ’s (Quebec in Canada’s professional translators’ association) annual conference and continuing education day last weekend! It was fabulous, inspiring, and motivational. I learned a lot to help me in my future career and simply about the translation world. It might have been exhausting, but it was well worth it.

Plus, it sounds as though I might have found a few freelance job opportunities too. I met four great women (including two students, just like me!) and we are staying in touch. Networking in your own field can be truly amazing.

For the first time in my life, I saw I was not alone in my little corner of the world, loving languages so much it hurts and makes me fly high at the same time. There are others where I am! I got to talk with them, listen to them, to our shared passion.

It was both uplifting and eye-opening.

Find what you love, folks. And do it.

Want a Workbook? I’ll Make One!

I’ve been thinking about creating a workbook for you guys for a while now… Since my poem was published (read it here) on Selcouth Station, it made me realize poetry is something I do very well! There isn’t enough poetry guides or help in the world for it and I figured I could give you some tips, tricks, and guidelines to write poetry.

So, how about a poetry workbook, fellows?!

I’m still outlining everything, but I learned how to use the tools to make it. Let’s say I’m getting closer to the final product. It’ll have information, my own tips and tricks, examples, and exercises (of course!) to get you going at producing your own masterpieces!

Should I make a poetry workbook that focuses on delivering emotions or how to tell a micro-story within its lines? Or perhaps just about poetry in general?

Also, what would you like to see covered in its pages?

Please leave your answers below!

I love discussing with you, ladies and gents.