Book Review: The Clockwork Menagerie by Elliot Cooper

The Clockwork MenagerieThe Clockwork Menagerie by Elliot Cooper

Warning: Review contains spoilers

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 5 stars

OMG. I love this story very much.

There’s a lot to love about The Clockwork Menagerie. For one, while short and sweet, the world that the author created is vivid in my head: historical and yet modern because of the advanced technology used to make mechanical animals which I find unique and beautiful.

The main character Clement Dyers is one of those who eked out a living by making life-like mechanical animals. Unfortunately he is dealing with many issues all at once: business problems, his former lover, and his stark future.

Secondly, every character and scene in this story has a purpose and as with the setting, the three main characters are well-written. Lastly, the love interest Duke Goodwin made me feel “kilig.” Nothing like a persistent guy trying to say sorry and make it up to Clement in his own special way to sweep not only Clement off his feet but also its readers.

Five stars to The Clockwork Menagerie by Elliot Cooper. Here’s to hoping we read more of them and more of this universe.

Thank you to NineStar Press for giving me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

About the Book

Autosmith Clement Dyer wants to create his life-like, mechanical animals in peace. He’s tired of being badgered about selling his business to his long-time rival and former lover, Duke Goodwin. He also craves appreciation for his living works of art.

Unfortunately, not all of Clement’s clients see his clockwork creations the way he does, and a prominent but dissatisfied customer threatens to sink his struggling business into the ground.

 About the Author

Elliot Cooper is a creativity addict who prefers writing stories that embody adventure, a hint of the taboo, and shadows that are deeper than they appear at first glance. All the better if romantic or erotic elements are key.

Elliot also enjoys video games and knitting, and lives in the southern US with his human and feline family.

Website
Twitter
Genre

 

The Backlist Revival Blog Tour: All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria

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Five Cuevas @5travels

Three guesses to where I’m going next. Starts with an M. Ends with a U. Has a lechon named after it. #travel

Travel blogger Five thinks she has hit the jackpot when the Macau Tourism Board  invites her over for an all-expense- paid blogger tour in exchange for blogging about Macau. But while she happily signs up for the trip, she didn’t sign up to be travel buddies with the infuriating Jesse. Will her dream  vacation turn into a nightmare junket? Or will falling in love be on the itinerary?

WINNER, Best Romance in English
2014  Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards

What readers are saying about All’s Fair in Blog and War:

 “The ingenious idea of incorporating blogging goes to show how powerful social media is in sending a message of love, and the essence of travel makes the reading experience all the more enjoyable.”

– 2014  Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards

 …All’s Fair in Blog and War really works.  It’s the kind  you’d want to read on a trip, or the kind  you’d recommend to a friend who’s going on a trip (I did that), or the kind  you’d recommend to a friend who’s looking for a light read (I also did this).”

– Tina Matanguihan, One More Page

“With its engaging characters, charming settings, and easy-to-root-for romance, “All’s Fair in Blog and War” is a great read for those looking for romance with a dash of travel.”

– Ronald Lim, Manila Bulletin

 “#Verdict — It’s a fun, fluffy, sweet literary getaway!”

-Meann Ortiz, The Girl Who Read and Other Stories

 All is fair.jpg

Book Availability:

All’s Fair in Blog and War is an independently published work. While it is available in print, it isn’t sold in brick and mortar bookstores. Here’s the list of available book formats and where you can get them.

DIGITAL

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/28MgrvK
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/332884
Buqo:  http://buqo.ph/Shop/Book/c9f53e5c-dd44-440a-99d2-c2867b449e85

PRINT

Philippine Edition

Available exclusively through the author’s website: www.chrissieperia.com

International Edition

Amazon:  http://amzn.to/28KZvqK
Book Depository: http://b00k.co/k5arv4
Createspace:  https://www.createspace.com/4368152

Other stories by Chrissie Peria:

The Kitchen When It Sizzles

A steamy New Adult romance published by Anvil Publishing’s Spark Books imprint. Locally available at National Bookstore and Powerbooks.

WINNER:

2015  Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards
Best Romance in English

(International + Local Edition covers)

Sitting in a Tree

A short story included in the YA Anthology, Stories from Luna East Arts Academy. Published in the Philippines by Anvil Publishing. The anthology is available at National Bookstore and Powerbooks.

The Boy Who Fell


A Sitting in a Tree spin-off story, currently published in its entirety on Wattpad.

The Last Night of Her Wake

A dark short story steeped in Filipino lower mythology and culture. First published as part of the #StrangeLit speculative fiction ebook bundle from  www.buqo.com.ph.

All I Want for Christmas

Hot Like This

Two seasonal romance short stories co-written with Chris Mariano and Miles Tan. Both available as e-short stories on Amazon.

About the Author:

When not obsessing over fictional people doing fictional things, Chrissie chases  after a tiny human, a curly-haired dog, bacon,  and all the sleep she has lost over the years.

An advertising copywriter in her past life, she now spends most of  her time writing, cooking,  and guzzling coffee. She has two dreams: to write more  books  and to teach her daughter to eat vegetables.

Email                : chrissie@chrissieperia.com
On the Web    : http://www.chrissieperia.com
Facebook         : http://www.facebook.com/peria.chrissie
Twitter              : @chrissieperia
Goodreads       : http://www.goodreads.com/chrissieperia

Guest Post and Giveaway: We Go Together by Carla de Guzman

We Go Together Banner.png

We Go Together
by Carla de Guzman
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release date: January 19, 2015

Links:
Goodreadsbadge

amazon UK

Four Bad Writing Habits (And Why They’re Really Good) 

What kind of love would it be if it crumbled to pieces over one accusation_ If it doesn't endure, then what's the point_.png

Writing an outline then throwing it out the window

I always write outlines. I love them, I love plotting them and adding little notes to include my research and lines and ideas that I may get randomly. But then when I actually get to the business of writing the story, part or most of the outline goes out the window—sometimes because it no longer makes sense in the story or it feels redundant. That’s not a bad thing. I think when your writing deviates from your outline it’s more organic and logical to you. But I still refer to the outline to help me see where I wanted things to end. So if my deviation is too far from that, then I can change it in the manuscript.

Listening to music while writing

This is only a bad habit when you’re me, specifically. It’s really helpful until a good song comes on and, and I cannot. help. but. sing. I sing like Beyonce on tour when I’m alone, and it’s a great way to kill my groove and ground my writing to a halt. But listening to the right songs when you’re writing sets the mood sometimes. When I’m writing particularly sad scenes, the appropriate song can help me get into the right mindset.

Researching on the fly

I like a lot of descriptive specifics in my writing, and most of the time I only think of them when I’m actually writing the manuscript. So when I want to write a line like ‘the Sculpture Garden on the National Mall has opened up as an ice skating rink in the winter since it opened in 1999,’ I Google to back that up after I already wrote it. Then I fall into a research rabbit hole. It’s a great way to build worlds and find out more about the places and the things you’re writing about.

Using Facebook while writing

This is the ultimate death for my productivity. When I’m opening and closing different social media sites while writing, it means I’m stuck and I don’t know what to write next. When I notice that happening, I know it’s time for me to step back from my writing a little. I do the same when I paint, I walk away from it, clear my head a bit and come back.

Jho-sigstylediv

SYNOPSIS:

What happened to Beatrice and Benedick? They used to be in love. They used to be together. But something got in the way and its turned them into angry, bitter rivals that can’t get along, much less work together on a project that could change everything for Bea and Claudia’s little paper company.

Bea isn’t going to let Ben ruin her mood. Ben isn’t backing down from Bea’s barbs without a fight. But why is Claudia telling Hiro that Bea is head-over-heels in love with Ben? Why is Hiro convinced that Ben is in love with Bea?

Set in Washington DC, this book is a modern adaptation of WIlliam Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing

Jho-sigstylediv

GIVEAWAY: 

Join the giveaway for a chance to win by clicking the image below. Good luck! ❤

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author, occasional illustrator, full-time traveler.

e28ba-bdbt2blogo2bfor2bbloggers

Blog Tour ~ Interview and Giveaway: Underneath It All by Ysa Arcangel

Hello, Ysa! I’m so happy to have you here at Cinderella Stories. Welcome to my blog and thank you so much for granting me this interview. First of all, congratulations on your new book, “Underneath It All.”

1. Would you please tell us about your book Underneath It All. How long did you write this?

Underneath It All is a story forgiveness, love and the courage to follow your heart’s desires. It’s a story about a graduating college student Agata Ferrero and the newly appointed young dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Reeve Gates.

This story not only focuses on two people fighting for their taboo love, but about love fighting the dark eyes of hatred and crashing a heart of stone. A kind of love that endures pain and forgives sins that brings the family back together.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

As cliche as it may sound, when I haven’t read what I really wanted to read.

I’m an avid reader and an active member of the read/write site called Wattpad. You  think you have read it all but there’s more! I aspired to be one of those writers I look up to. My aspirations became a dream and that dream is now a reality.

3. Ms. Ysa, you’ve got a ‘day job’, what is your work schedule like when you’re writing? How does that work? Do you have a daily word count goal?

I don’t just have a ‘day job’ but also a perpetual job.I’m a mother of three and a wife of very grumpy hubby who hates to see me up until the wee hours writing like crazy.

At work during down time, I write.  On the train, on my way to work, I write on my phone. I writer wherever I can. I don’t have a daily word count goal but I see to it to write at least 1k whenever I can.

4. What is your writing process, do you work on an outline first or just go write without one?

I consider myself a half-blood pantser. I need a plan, a general idea. I write a rough outline of  the beginning, middle and end then pants all the way through.

5. What is one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Along the way, I have learned a few hard and soft lessons in creating my books one of which is not to expect every reader will love your book.  As the old adage goes, you cannot please everybody. I just continue creating quality stories and branch out to different genres to broaden my audience and sharpen my writing skills.

6. What do you think makes a good story?

I think for me, when I think about a ‘good story’ I think about the actual construction of sentences, how the author put words together, creates well-developed and multi-dimensional characters, draws the readers in and the overall organization of the story. That’s the technical part of it.

But I think that the best indicator of a ‘good story’ is if it touches your readers in some way. That your readers might be able to completely put themselves in the shoes of your heroine.

Funny thing, one person’s trash-read is another person’s great-read. I do believe that just because you have a great story doesn’t mean you write well and the same is true in reverse.

7. Do you have other works in progress?

I have two paranormal/urban fantasy WIPs.

8. Your tips for aspiring authors?

My advice to aspiring writers, just write it! You’ll never know how long it’ll take you to write a story unless you begin writing. Go ahead, make that first step. Do not be afraid to share your work to the world. Criticism may break you but it will always sharpen your skill. Your work may not see the light of the day in an actual published book but at least you enjoy the journey regardless.

Build your author platform and fanbase before you take advantage of all the publishing path and tools available for you. Write as much as you can and when you get published, publish more books. Especially, do not give up on what makes you happy.

UNDERNEATH IT ALL

 

A senior at Gates University, Agata Ferrero knows without a doubt that Reeve Gates is off limits…

Students can’t date faculty, and Reeve has been appointed by his father as the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. But when a near accident with the front end of Reeve’s sleek sports car brings her in close contact with him, Agata can’t deny the flash of desire that consumes her.

Reeve Gates is a man hell-bent on revenge…

Abandoned in the care of his step-mother as a child, Reeve accepts the position at Gates University for the sole purpose of ruining his father’s career. What he didn’t expect was to be sidetracked by the sultry eyes of a student.

Resisting temptation is even harder than it looks…

When a sorority pledging incident leaves Agata stranded on campus in the middle of a treacherous storm, her better judgment falters and she accepts help from the young Dean she can’t get out of her head. Certain there is a beating heart underneath his stone-cold exterior, she escapes with Reeve on a romantic retreat away from prying eyes.

 

Blinded by retaliation…

Reeve manipulates his dying father into handing over control of the university—and immediately threatens to shut down the school as a form of cruel payback. His scheme sparks a campus-wide protest that leaves one of Agata’s professors dead and her future hanging in the balance.

Agata must fight to convince Reeve he is capable of forgiveness, and their taboo love is worth more than revenge.

But is there really a bright future awaiting…

Underneath It All

 

 

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Forever Night Stand: https://amzn.com/B019NK762C

Snippets of Memories: A Forever Night Stand Bonus Book (99 CENTS) https://amzn.com/B01ASFS4Q8

 

Ysa Arcangel is a Filipino author based in Manila. She works as a Spanish-English GDS Helpdesk by day and a writer by night. She is a loving partner to a chef and a mom to three amazing kids.
She enjoys creative writing and uses her obsessive nature by writing contemporary paranormal and romance fiction with lots of laughs, tears and sighs showcasing sweet, funny and badass female leads with raunchy and hot male love interests whether human or supernatural.
She’s a lover of coffee, tattoos, and giant dogs. She is also an extreme sports enthusiast. When she’s not writing, you can see her spending time with her family, reading, or having TV series marathons.

 

–– FOLLOW YSA ––

Book spotlight ~ Bloodline Maharlika by Anne Plaza

I won this book weeks ago but I have yet to feature it. I hope to read it one of these days.

About the book

There’s nothing ordinary about Owenn Magpantay the moment awareness seeped through her consciousness.

A demi-goddess born from the line of maharlika and Bathala himself, Owenn is the hope for peace between mortal and the divine. But when the god Apolaki decried Bathala’s love for humans, Owenn became his ultimate target.

Together with her half-sister, the bathaluman Mayari, they travel to present day Manila where Owenn must eventually face the evil of Apolaki with the help of Companions descended from the warrior nobility

About the author

anne_picAnne Plaza has a degree in Psychology, but has actively pursued a career in writing in her previous work as a reporter and online editor. She currently works in the field of marketing communications and spends most of her time writing fiction (while not on the lookout for the nearest cupcake and cronut store). Aside from writing, she loves to read contemporary romance, young adult, fantasy, and historical fiction. She also collects stamps and postcards, and loves everything about cats. Anne is based in Quezon City, Philippines.

In Over Her Head is her first published work in English.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Blog – thoughtsbrewed.blogspot.com
Twitter – twitter.com/anneplaza
Facebook – facebook.com/anneplaza2013
Email – anneplaza@gmail.com

BOOK LINKS:

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amazon UK

Blog Tour ~ Excerpt and Giveaway: Underneath It All by Ysa Arcangel

UNDERNEATH IT ALL
A senior at Gates University, Agata Ferrero knows without a doubt that Reeve Gates is off limits…
 

Students can’t date faculty, and Reeve has been appointed by his father as the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. But when a near accident with the front end of Reeve’s sleek sports car brings her in close contact with him, Agata can’t deny the flash of desire that consumes her. 

Reeve Gates is a man hell-bent on revenge…

Abandoned in the care of his step-mother as a child, Reeve accepts the position at Gates University for the sole purpose of ruining his father’s career. What he didn’t expect was to be sidetracked by the sultry eyes of a student.

Resisting temptation is even harder than it looks… 

When a sorority pledging incident leaves Agata stranded on campus in the middle of a treacherous storm, her better judgment falters and she accepts help from the young Dean she can’t get out of her head. Certain there is a beating heart underneath his stone-cold exterior, she escapes with Reeve on a romantic retreat away from prying eyes.
 

 Blinded by retaliation… 

 Reeve manipulates his dying father into handing over control of the university—and immediately threatens to shut down the school as a form of cruel payback. His scheme sparks a campus-wide protest that leaves one of Agata’s professors dead and her future hanging in the balance. 

 Agata must fight to convince Reeve he is capable of forgiveness, and their taboo love is worth more than revenge. 

 But is there really a bright future awaiting… 

 Underneath It All

 

 

 

EXCERPT #2:
EXCERPT 2:
He walked up to the counter and prepared a glass of orange juice. He grabbed a bowl and poured butternut squash soup into it. He prepared a cup of coffee and reheated a box of pizza and a bowl of spaghetti.
“Let’s eat.” He ordered and sat across from me. He stirred his coffee without taking his eyes off me.
“Thank you. It smells really good.” I gave him a grateful smile. Knowing he cooked for me, intentionally, on a day that meant nothing to the rest of the world, meant everything to me.
“Are you feeling better now?” he asked and shoved a spoonful of spaghetti in his mouth.
“Yeah, thank you.”
“If you were wondering if I was the one who changed your clothes, no. It wasn’t me, Tatiana did that; she was here earlier.”
“Oh, I see.” I nodded and began to sip my soup. I felt the liquid pour down my throat. The warmth of the soup enveloped my lungs and felt so good. “You shouldn’t have gone through all the trouble of bringing me here. You could have dropped me off at my dorm and left me there.”
“If I want to fucking spend time with you, I will, okay? I wanted to make sure you’re fine.”
There he went again changing moods. I swear there had to be something mentally wrong with this guy. No other person in my life frustrated me as much as he.
“Well, aren’t you sweet?” I smirked.
“So you want to tell me what happened this afternoon? What were you doing out in the storm, Agata? Are you trying to kill yourself?”
One quick bite then he got down to business.
My breath caught in my throat. I really didn’t want to
tell him.
“I was…” I paused and bit my lip. I wasn’t sure how to phrase it, “…finishing a task.”
Reeve paused with a fork halfway to his mouth. “Task?” he asked with a raised eyebrow. I didn’t answer.
“Sorority task?”
I mentally face palmed and nodded in confirmation.
“How long did I stay out there? You think I lasted thirty minutes out there?”
“I knew it,” he stated, shaking his head. “Agata, I don’t give a damn if you finished that fucking task or not. You scared the shit out of me; don’t you know that? You’re not joining the sorority.”
“I have the right reasons for joining.” I bit my lip.
“Reasons?” He gave me a confused look.
“The sisterhood is important to me.” I thought of giving him some lame excuse.
The room grew still. He stared at me, his face blank, and I couldn’t move.
“Are you kidding me?” His gaze was unyielding. “You think the sorority will save you from dying out there? They don’t give a damn, Agata!”
“It’s part of the process,” I reasoned out.
“That’s ridiculous.”
“You should have known it. You’re part of the organization.”
 “That’s why I don’t want you in!” He threw his napkin on his plate and shot up to his feet. I
remained silent and gazed at my food. “Agata, what’s gotten into you?” His words almost forced me to look at him.
“I’m leaving.” I stood from my chair but he grabbed my hand and pinned me to the wall. “For once, I wanted to do something for myself without thinking of whatever people might say,” I spat.
He released a heavy sigh and ran his fingers through his hair. “Agata, after three and a half years you thought of joining a sorority? For what?”
My chest rose and fell erratically as I met his eyes. “Once I finish my task and pass the initiation, I’ll be one of them. By that time, I can tell if this guy who keeps giving me mixed signals really feels
something for me. They say he
only dates sorority girls. If he will not date me, then it’s confirmed—he’s only messing around with me.”
I didn’t move a muscle as his eyes burned back into mine. A shaky gasp escaped from my lips and I flinched as he reached for my face. After pausing momentarily to observe my reaction, he went on to gingerly brush my tangled hair from my face.
“Agata, you’re not the type I want to date.”
I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. His words grated against my ears and it hurt like a bitch.
“You’re not someone I want to take out for dinner, walk home, kiss goodnight, nor say goodbye.”
He didn’t stop tearing with the knife, and pierced through the walls of my heart.
“Because you know what, Agata? I don’t want to just date you and walk you home. You’re someone I want to come home to, someone I want to cook dinner with, to sleep with, to kiss hard, and fuck harder.”
The words snapped out of his mouth quick enough to petrify me. I looked up at him; his plump lips were pursed into a stern frown. His eyes were darkened, no time for bullshit. I bit my lip, and with every
second that I didn’t reply his face grew more and more serious.
A small smile crept upon my lips and I looked away to hide my flushed cheeks. I couldn’t contain my happiness. I wondered how my mood had changed so drastically in this conversation.
He smiled, bringing his thumb up to graze my cheek. “You’re blushing.”
I reached up and quickly wiped my cheeks.
“Now, are you still joining the sorority?”
He came closer. Our noses were almost touching, his eyes never leaving mine. I held my breath.
I closed my eyes. He was going to kiss me. I could almost feel the touch of his lips on mine, his breath in my lungs. He leaned down, then I heard my stomach growl in hunger, which caused Reeve to chuckle.
“Hungry? Come on, let’s continue to eat.”
 

 

rafflecopter-giveaway-e1420463655480

Forever Night Stand: https://amzn.com/B019NK762C

 Snippets of Memories: A Forever Night Stand Bonus Book (99 CENTS) https://amzn.com/B01ASFS4Q8
Ysa Arcangel is a Filipino author based in Manila. She works as a Spanish-English GDS Helpdesk by day and a writer by night. She is a loving partner to a chef and a mom to three amazing kids. 
 She enjoys creative writing and uses her obsessive nature by writing contemporary paranormal and romance fiction with lots of laughs, tears and sighs showcasing sweet, funny and badass female leads with raunchy and hot male love interests whether human or supernatural.
 She’s a lover of coffee, tattoos, and giant dogs. She is also an extreme sports enthusiast. When she’s not writing, you can see her spending time with her family, reading, or having TV series marathons.
–– FOLLOW YSA ––

Cover Reveal: HOST (Lola, Party of Eight, #2) by Erin Lee

“All I want is a life…my own life.”
★★COVER REVEAL★★★
Coming July 4th, 2016
 

 

HOST by Erin Lee
Lola, Party of Eight Series, Book Two
Cover Design by Rock Your World Promotions
Stock Photos via Adobe Stock
(use of Adobe Stock images does not indicate endorsement of Adobe Stock’s business practices)

★ SYNOPSIS ★
Two arms, two legs, ten fingers, ten toes.
One brain, seven alter egos and one host.
Sometimes, the numbers just don’t add up.

After more than thirty years in a mental hospital,
dissociative identity disorder patient Lola Murray
thought she’d finally silenced the voices.
But it doesn’t take long for Lola to realize
her alters are back.
This time, they refuse to be silenced.
After months of lying dormant, Lola’s seven alters
are determined to be heard by the world.

Will Lola be strong enough
to reclaim her life?
Or will she once again
allow her alters to take charge?

 

 

★ ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

ERIN LEE

 

Erin Lee is a freelance writer and therapist living with her family in southern New Hampshire. She is the author of Crazy Like Me, a novel published in 2015 by Savant Books and Publications, LLC, Wave to Papa, 2015, by Limitless Publishing and Nine Lives, 2016 and When I’m Dead, 2016. She’s also author of Limitless’ Alters, the first book in the “Lola, Party of Eight Series,” Host, and Merge, the final books in the series.

Lee holds a master’s degree in psychology and works with at-risk families as a home based therapist and court appointed special children’s advocate. As a therapist, Lee is passionate about mental wellness and helping people who have experienced trauma. She recently contributed to the Semi Colon Project Anonymous anthology, with a revised excerpt of When I’m Dead–“One Good Reason”–in hopes of raising money toward suicide prevention and awareness. Her short story, “Rest in Peace?” will be featured in Limitless’ Thirteen anthology, to be released in October, 2016, and also aimed at raising money toward mental wellness.

★ FOLLOW ERIN