Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view


Monday News: Sony’s future, focus groups and creativity, copyright v. revenge porn, and a provocative South African ad

Monday News: Sony’s future, focus groups and creativity, copyright v. revenge...

Japan Industrial Partners, which specialises in turnarounds and buyouts in manufacturing, said it aimed to reach an agreement by the end of March to buy the PC business.

A small player in the global PC business, Sony has often been criticised for having too much under its wing.

If the PC deal comes together, a new company will be established, both sides said.

Sony said it would concentrate on its line-up of smartphones and tablets and “cease planning, design and development of PC products”. –Aljazeera America


The author further points out that when the Doctor Who update was focus grouped in 2005, it showed dismally, even though it has become a huge success since. When we talk about fostering an environment of creative risk and introducing novelty in the Romance genre, I think Anderson provides some crucial food for thought:

It takes time for new products to be adopted by the public. It generally takes a small passionate group of “sneezers” (people who get excited about something new and start telling everyone they possibly can) to get behind a new product and make it a success. This is down to familiarity and status quo bias amongst the general public – we don’t tend to like “new” and “different” things when they first appear – but once people begin getting excited this initial resistance can soon be broken down. The problem is that a focus group will only enforce these biases. How can genuinely new and exciting products ever reach the market when faced with these hurdles? –Jamie Anderson’s blog

I have to admit that I have been very frustrated with attempts to have the safe harbor provision eliminated, precisely because of the speech-chilling possibilities; at the same time, though, I agree that victims of revenge porn need an easier legal route to justice. Enter the DMCA, which protects copyright of selfie photographs, so many of which are later used in the execution of revenge porn schemes:

Many of the lawsuits against revenge porn websites are for tort claims like stalking, harassment or invasion of privacy. The problem is that most stalking and harassment laws are not applicable to revenge porn submitters because there is no repeated course of conduct or direct communication with the victim.

. . .

More than 80 percent of revenge porn photos are selfies, meaning that, as the “authors” of their selfies, the majority of victims own the copyright in their photos. Victims can use the takedown provisions Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) to de-index websites with their photos from search engines like Google and ask the websites themselves to remove the photos, all without having to hire a lawyer–The Atlantic

Daily Deals: Historical love stories, sagas, and a Roman thriller

Daily Deals: Historical love stories, sagas, and a Roman thriller

Rushed to the Altar (Blackwater Brides Series #1) by Jane FeatherRushed to the Altar by Jane Feather. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

From New York Times bestselling author Jane Feather comes the first of a wonderful new trilogy, The Blackwater Brides, set in the sensually im-proper Georgian period, in which three noble brothers discover they will be forced to find brides under highly unusual circumstances.

Jasper Sullivan, Earl of Blackwater, needs a prostitute. Not in the usual way, however. His wealthy uncle’s will promises to divide his huge fortune among his nephews if each rescues a fallen woman . . . by marrying her! And since Jasper’s estates were already mortgaged to the hilt before he inherited them, when he catches a pretty young prostitute trying to pick his pocket, he immediately makes his proposal.

Clarissa Astley is not at all what Jasper believes. The orphaned daughter of a prosperous merchant, she is searching the seedier districts of London for her young brother, abducted by their evil guardian, who wants the little boy’s inheritance. But she needs powerful help, and the darkly handsome Earl of Blackwater is certainly that. So she pretends to be exactly what he assumed— a risky charade for an innocent virgin. But when passion flares between Jasper and Clarissa, the deception becomes even more difficult to handle. . . .

I haven’t read Feather in years, but I used to love her. I thought she was leaving historical romance to write historical fiction. Some of the later books I had read by her in the early 2000s were light on the romance. One reviewer said that while it is set in Georgian times, the time period was not important and the story could have taken place at any time.

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The Dogs of Rome: A Commissario Alec Blume Novel by Conor FitzgeraldThe Dogs of Rome: A Commissario Alec Blume Novel by Conor Fitzgerald. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

On a hot summer morning, Arturo Clemente is sloppily murdered in his Roman apartment by a mysterious slasher. When his wife, an eminent politician, finds his body, she swiftly springs into action–by calling the Ministry of the Interior.

By the time police inspector Alec Blume arrives at the scene, evidence has been collected, command taken, and, in short–his investigation has been compromised. As the details of the case continue to trickle out, Blume soon realizes he is being watched from on high–and that solving this crime may be the least of his worries. Losing sleep and unsure who to trust, Blume feels the case spinning out of control: does anyone involved even want justice? At what price will it come? And who runs this town–the police, the politicians, or organized criminals?

In this riveting novel, we are introduced to Blume, an American expatriate and seasoned police veteran. Intelligent yet sometimes petulant, instinctive yet flawed, Blume is a likeable and trustworthy protagonist for this, the first installment of a gritty and promising series.

Gritty crime in a European setting. Recommended by PW but not by Kirkus who said that it was a dour procedural.

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Roses by Leila MeachamRoses by Leila Meacham. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Spanning the 20th century, the story of Roses takes place in a small East Texas town against the backdrop of the powerful timber and cotton industries, industries controlled by the scions of the town’s founding families. Cotton tycoon Mary Toliver and timber magnate Percy Warwick should have married but unwisely did not, and now must deal with the deceit, secrets, and tragedies of their choice and the loss of what might have been—not just for themselves but for their children, and children’s children. With expert, unabashed, big-canvas storytelling, Roses covers a hundred years, three generations of Texans and the explosive combination of passion for work and longing for love.

Doesn’t sound like this is a great book for romance lovers but maybe for readers of sagas? Doesn’t sound like any of the characters actually get their HEA because unrequited love and poor choices give more emotional power to the story. Thanks to Kim for bringing this to my attention as well as the deal below.

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The Bride Of Larkspear Sherry ThomasThe Bride Of Larkspear by Sherry Thomas. $ .99.

From the Jacket Copy:

What distinguishes this bed is the woman attached to it–her wrists tied behind her to one of the excessively sturdy bedposts.
And this being a work of Eros, she is, of course, naked.

My bride does not look at me. She is determined, as ever, to shunt me to the periphery of her existence, even on this, our wedding night.

I touch her. Her skin is as cool as marble, the flesh beneath firm and resilient. I turn her face to look into her eyes, haughty eyes that have scorned me for as long as I remember.

“Why are my hands tied?” she murmurs. “Are you afraid of them?”

“Of course,” I reply, “A man who stalks a lioness should ever be wary.”

“And what does a man do when he has caught said lioness and put her in a cage?”

I brush aside a strand of hair that has fallen before her eyes. “He teaches her that captivity can be wonderfully enjoyable.”

This is fairly short companion story to Tempting the Bride. It has, according to the reviewers, distasteful things like dirty talk and back door action. I figured that was right up the alley of the DA readership.

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