Category Archives: Sophie Morgan

Top 10 Most Popular Reviews of 2012 (according to my WordPress stats)

The most popular posts on my blog are cover reveals first and foremost. Then deal announcements. But what about reviews? WordPress’ stats show the most popular (ie. most views) posts in the past year (16th January 2012 until today). I made note of the Top 10 (correct as of circa 5PM Tuesday, ie yesterday):

Equal 9th with 55 Views: Tiffany Reisz’s The Siren. So close to giving this five stars. Marked it down because I don’t like when authors make their characters authors, too. And Nora doesn’t seem to have an agent ;-)

Equal 9th with 55 Views: Marissa Meyer’s Cinder. Another close to five stars. Marked it down because it tries too hard to stick to the fairytale, with the prince and the ball. When it’s original with the cyborg and plague, it’s more awesome.

8th with 58 Views: Tiffany Reisz’s Seven-Day Loan. It’s since been retitled The Gift. Normally I don’t bother reviewing short stories, but Tiffany Reisz makes me want to tell the world. I have her second and third novels on shelf to be read. Now I wait for more short stories to be made free.

7th with 64 Views: Gabrielle Carey & Kathy Lette’s Puberty Blues. I just love this. It doesn’t pull any punches. It’s short, to the point, and doesn’t glamourise or romanticise teen relationships. It’s brutally honest, with a voice that can’t be matched. And it’s funny.

6th with 68 Views: John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Little Star. The author’s previous novel, Harbour, just didn’t work for me, and it’d been a few years since his glorious first two novels. But Little Star is a real return to form, and could be a morbid hit with teenage girls. I really enjoyed this, and the short story collection, Let the Old Dreams Die, that follows. Gotta love Lindqvist :-)

5th with 71 Views: Bleeding Ink Anthology. I have no idea why this rated so popular, considering it’s a self-published short story anthology edited by members of Kelley Armstrong’s forums. There are a few standouts, but overall I don’t think much of it.

4th with 98 Views: Fanny Merkin’s Fifty Shames of Earl Grey. The only book in the Top 10 that I gave five stars. I’ve never read, and don’t plan to read, E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, but I love this. I normally believe there’s a special hell for parody books, but Fanny Merkin’s is a special case. If you’re going to read a parody, you may as well read the best.

3rd with 126 Views: Sylvia Day’s Reflected in You. This trilogy annoys the shit out of me on so many levels, yet I’ve read the first two books in full. I share spoilers, and that’s probably what brings in the page views – you want someone to tell you what happens so you don’t have to read it for yourself ;-)

2nd with 863 Views: Sylvia Day’s Bared to You. Surprisingly, I actually gave this three stars, but that was back when actual conflict between a couple was something new and different. Until then, romance novels basically had no conflict at all between a couple – it was all external. This novel made me feel anger and frustration, and a bloody lot of both. It’s genuinely quite an achievement for a romance novel to make me feel something other than “meh”. I REALLY dislike these characters.

1st with 1884 Views: Sophie Morgan’s The Diary of a Submissive. I don’t read memoirs. Yet I saw this on NetGalley, and decided to give it a shot. Only worth three stars, yet the most popular with my blog visitors. Not my regular readers, mind you – I’m pretty sure most of the views came via Google searches. It’s a UK book, so probably didn’t get much US blog coverage. Mind you, I’m pretty sure a lot of my Crossfire review visitors came via Google searches, too, though those books got plenty of blog coverage all over the Internet. Huh.

what to conclude from the Top 10? They say more about my visitors than they do about me ;-) 6 of the 10 heavily feature sex, so my visitors want me to review more erotica? (Though I certainly wouldn’t call Puberty Blues erotica.) I was expecting J. Kenner’s Release Me to be up there, but considering it was published only in the last month or so, it may not have had as much time to gather viewers. Plus, I cross-post all my reviews to Shelfari and Goodreads (and Amazon when they don’t ban them for using forbidden words), so chances are they’ve been read there instead of on my blog. That’s fine. I’m not one of those obnoxious self-promoters who say on Goodreads “full review at [insert blog link]“. I treat Goodreads users with more respect than that. Okay, I AM an obnoxious self-promoter, but not when it comes to reviews on Goodreads ;-)

4th September 2012 Releases

Happy Release Day to:

Ann Aguirre
Outpost (Razorland, Book 2)
Macmillan Feiwel & Friends (US: 4th September 2012)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Deuce’s whole world has changed. Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight. To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out. Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols – those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.

Carolyn Crane
Head Rush (Disillusionist, Book 3)
Samhain (US: 4th September 2012)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

In an attempt to put her unhappy past behind her, Justine Jones throws herself into nursing school and planning her wedding to Otto Sanchez, the man of her dreams. But something is off. Random details aren’t adding up…and is it her imagination, or are her friends and fiancé keeping secrets from her? And what’s with the strange sense of unease, and her odd new headaches? Justine tries to stay upbeat as Midcity cowers under martial law, sleepwalking cannibals, and a mysterious rash of paranormal copycat violence, but her search for answers leads her into the most dangerous mind game yet. With the help of unlikely allies, including her paranoid dad and best frenemy Simon, Justine fights her ultimate foe…and unravels the most startling mystery of all.

Megan Hart
The Space Between Us
Harlequin Mira (US: 4th September 2012)
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Tesla Martin is drifting pleasantly through life, slinging lattes at Morningstar Mocha, enjoying the ebb and flow of caffeine-starved customers, devoted to her cadre of regulars. But none of the bottomless-cup crowd compares with Meredith, a charismatic force of nature who can coax intimate tales from even the shyest of Morningstar’s clientele. Caught in Meredith’s sensual, irresistible orbit, inexpressibly flattered by the siren’s attention, Tesla shares long-buried chapters of her life, holding nothing back. Nothing Meredith proposes seems impossible – not even Tesla sleeping with Meredith’s husband, Charlie, while she looks on. After all, it’s all in fun, isn’t it? In a heartbeat, vulnerable Tesla is swept into a spectacular love triangle. Together, gentle, grounded Charlie and sparkling, maddening Meredith are everything Tesla has ever needed, wanted, or dreamed of, even if no one else on earth understands. They’re three against the world. But soon one of the vertices begins pulling away until only two points remain – and the space between them gapes with confusion, with grief and with possibility…

Melissa Marr
Carnival of Souls
HarperCollins (US & UK: 4th September 2012; AU: 5th September 2012)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures – if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live. All Mallory knows of The City is that her father – and every other witch there – fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it’s only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.

Sophie Morgan
Diary of a Submissive (Memoir)
Penguin Gotham (US & CA: 4th September 2012)
Review
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Sophie Morgan candidly explains what exactly an independent, 21st century woman gets out of relinquishing her power and personal freedom in a submissive relationship with a dominant man for their mutual sexual pleasure. Here is a memoir that offers the real story of what is means to be a submissive and follows Sophie’s story as she progresses from her early erotic experiences through to experimenting with her newfound awakened sexuality. From the endorphin rush of her first spanking right through to being collared, she explains in frank and explicit fashion her sexual explorations. But it isn’t until she meets James that her boundaries and sexual fetishism are really pushed. As her relationship with James travels into darker and darker places, the question becomes: Where will it end? Can Sophie reconcile her sexuality with the rest of her life, and is it possible for the perfect man to be perfectly cruel?

Caragh M. O’Brien
Prized (Birthmarked, Book 2)
Macmillan Square Fish (US: 4th September 2012)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumour to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime. In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole?

Jackson Pearce
Fathomless
Hachette Little, Brown (US: 4th September 2012)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Celia Reynolds is the youngest in a set of triplets and the one with the least valuable power. Anne can see the future, and Jane can see the present, but all Celia can see is the past. And the past seems so insignificant – until Celia meets Lo. Lo doesn’t know who she is. Or who she was. Once a human, she is now almost entirely a creature of the sea – a nymph, an ocean girl, a mermaid – all terms too pretty for the soulless monster she knows she’s becoming. Lo clings to shreds of her former self, fighting to remember her past, even as she’s tempted to embrace her dark immortality. When a handsome boy named Jude falls off a pier and into the ocean, Celia and Lo work together to rescue him from the waves. The two form a friendship, but soon they find themselves competing for Jude’s affection. Lo wants more than that, though. According to the ocean girls, there’s only one way for Lo to earn back her humanity. She must persuade a mortal to love her…and steal his soul.

Susan Beth Pfeffer
Blood Wounds
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (US: 4th September 2012)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

Willa is lucky: She has a loving blended family that gets along. Not all families are so fortunate. But when a bloody crime takes place hundreds of miles away, it has an explosive effect on Willa’s peaceful life. The estranged father she hardly remembers has murdered his new wife and children, and is headed east toward Willa and her mother. Under police protection, Willa discovers that her mother has harboured secrets that are threatening to boil over. Has everything Willa believed about herself been a lie? But as Willa sets out to untangle the mysteries of her past, she also keeps her own secret – one that has the potential to tear apart all she holds dear.

September 2012 Releases

Done with August 2012 Releases? Here are September 2012 Releases. For future titles, check Reading Wishlist.

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[REVIEW] The Diary of a Submissive – Sophie Morgan

Sophie Morgan
The Diary of a Submissive
Penguin (UK & AU: 30th August 2012; US & CA: 4th September 2012)
Buy (US) Buy (UK) Buy (CA) Buy (Worldwide)

This is non-fiction, a memoir. The author goes on about how she’s not ashamed of her lifestyle, etc, yet the publisher’s website says “Sophie Morgan” is a pseudonym. If you’re not ashamed, why the pseudonym?

The prologue is effective, putting the reader in the spot of the voyeur. If you happened upon an alley, seeing a man pull a woman’s hair, would you break it up or watch on? Because it looks like assault, I’d break it up. But the author explains it’s a scene of Domination and submission.

So we shouldn’t intervene when we see someone being assaulted, just in case the victim is submissive? Crime doesn’t need another reason for witnesses not to come forward.

Thing is, what happens in the prologue goes against the rest of the text. Sophie Morgan insists that she’s only submissive when it comes to her sex life, only in the privacy of her home, someone else’s, or a hotel. Not out in public, where anyone could see and “misunderstand”. So I doubt the scene actually happened; it’s just an example. Which is a massive cop-out for a memoir.

From her younger years imagining she’s Maid Marion being tied up, Sophie Morgan grows up into submission. In her college years she discovers she likes being spanked. Then she’s friends-with-benefits with Tom, to whom Sophie gifts him a paddle to brand her arse with the word SLUT.

Through her journalist job, she meets James, a stockbroker and dominant with whom she falls in love. When he’s not around to “punish” her, he makes her do it herself – note the chopsticks scene. But it’s after the clothes-pegs-and-wooden-spoon scene that James abruptly breaks off contact, refusing to answer Sophie’s numerous calls, emails, and texts. When he eventually turns up on her doorstep, will she forgive him?

Sophie seems rather contradictory. She claims to have hard limits, then goes on to prove that she doesn’t. She humps someone’s leg, is branded with the word SLUT, tortures herself with chopsticks-as-clamps, and withstands clothes-pegs-as-clamps. Yet the thing that tortures her most is James’ lack of contact – she falls apart when facing the single life.

I like Sophie’s writing, the fact she’s a “grammar fascist”. But I don’t respect her because at times she doesn’t respect herself. She hates her partners for not letting her come, yet in private she doesn’t get herself off. Even alone, she still won’t take back self-control.

Tellingly, Sophie neglects to address the aftermath of “punishment”. Does she use salve on her wounds? Does the pain continue for days? How does she handle sitting down in public, at work? At the end of final chapter, Sophie delivers her ultimatum, and the epilogue shows that James has made his decision, but how did he come to decide that? Perhaps it’s James who needs to write a memoir.