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Friday News: Bye, bye Sony; 3-d makeup printer; Romance novel survey; and a French portrait mystery

Friday News: Bye, bye Sony; 3-d makeup printer; Romance novel survey;...

Sony Reader Store to Close in the UK, Germany, Austria, and Australia June 16th – Well, that didn’t take long. Two months after closing the Sony Reader Store in the United States and Canada, Sony is pulling out of almost all its other markets, including Australia, the UK,and Germany, signaling an abandonment of the digital book business. As with readers in North America, those affected by the new closures will be automatically transferred to Kobo upon the June 16th closures.

Sony is abandoning selling books in every single market in the world now, other than Japan. The company has found it can remain profitable outsourcing all of the bookselling business to Kobo and earn commissions on every sale. All current and future Sony e-Readers and Xperia tablets and smartphone users will be able to buy books from Kobo in their own country. Kobo currently operates dedicated bookstores in UK, Germany, Austria, and Australia, so the transition will be smooth. –Good E-Reader

A Harvard Woman Figured Out How To 3D Print Makeup From Any Home Computer, And The Demo Is Mindblowing – Talk about disrupting the beauty industry. Grace Choi has figured out how to create makeup from a 3-d printer, and she has even built the printer. The Mink printer, Choi insists, will allow you to basically take a picture of a makeup color you like and reproduce it on the machine. Although right now the types of makeup are more powdered, Choi is working on creamier solutions, and if you check out the article, you can see how the printer works.

Choi created her own mini home 3D printer, Mink, that will retail for $300 and allow anyone to print makeup by ripping the color code off color photos on the internet. It hooks up to a computer, just like a normal printer. –Business Insider

Romance Novels in Public Libraries Patron Survey – If you want to help a Library Sciences Master’s student out, please click on the link and take a brief survey on Romance novels at public libraries. Elizabeth Tucker, a Romance reader herself, provides a description of her project below, and the survey has been approved by her university’s Institutional Review Board.

Dear DearAuthor Readers,

My name is Elizabeth Tucker, and I am a Master’s of Information and Library Science student at Southern Connecticut State University. I am currently writing my Special Project, “Romance Novels in Public Libraries: Perception versus Reality,” and I am hoping you will help me out. As a fellow romance reader, I am aware that there can be many challenges involved with getting romance novels at the public library, and when I become a professional librarian (finishing classes this summer!) I plan to bring better awareness of the romance genre to the profession.

With that in mind, I ask you to please complete this five-minute survey about your library-going and romance-reading habits. The results will be compared with a survey of public librarians to see if public librarian and romance reader perceptions align.

Thank you in advance for your help, and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

My very best,

Elizabeth Tucker

(bits dot tucker at gmail dot com)    –Survey Monkey

Is This Black Soldier the Inspiration for The Count of Monte Cristo? – This small portrait, by Emile-Jean-Horace Vernet, has not been identified, but circumstantial clues have led some to suspect that it might represent Alexandre Dumas, aka Thomas-Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie, the father of the great novelist, who bore the same name as his father. The elder Dumas was a distinguished soldier, and even suffered through a two-year captivity after his ship was wrecked off the Italian coast, and his son’s stories found inspiration in his father’s military career. A very interesting historical mystery.

During the heady early days of the French Revolution, many people of African descent rose to the defense of the ideals of liberty, equality and brotherhood. One of the most notable results of the reformation of French armed forces during the early 1790s was the creation of a cavalry brigade composed of gens de couleur libres, or free men of color. The unit came about through the efforts of Julien Raimond and other delegates to the new French government from Saint-Domingue, or Haiti, as it has been known since it won its independence in 1804. –The Root

REVIEW:  Her Kind of Trouble by Sarah Mayberry

REVIEW: Her Kind of Trouble by Sarah Mayberry

troubleDear Ms. Mayberry:

This story could have gone wrong in so many ways, and the fact that it doesn’t makes me appreciate it even more. Pretty much every time I feared it was going to go to a stupid or annoying or too obvious place, it didn’t.

Her Kind of Trouble is about growth and maturity and the ways people change — and the ways they stay the same. In the opening chapter, aspiring fashion designer Vivian meets her new brother-in-law by marriage at her sister’s wedding, and instantly recognizes a rebellious, good-time-seeking kindred spirit in Seth. A very sexy kindred spirit. Over champagne and a joint (Oh Harlequin! I hardly know you!), they share a passionate interlude in a limo, and then cheerfully part.

Ten years later, a lot has changed for Vivian. Her career has taken a different path, though one that’s still creative and her. She still loves sex just as much, but is less interested in one-nighters. And the woman who was once sure “there would be no cozy domestic arrangements in her future” and “there would definitely be no babies,” has discovered she’s quite susceptible to the charms of her nephews, though not to the point of giving up her career when her (now ex-) lover demanded it. She’s settled down in Australia to be closer to her family, and is honored when her sister asks her to be guardian to the boys, though surprised that Seth will be her co-guardian:

she was privately boggled at her sister’s choice. Being based overseas, she’d seen Seth only a handful of times in the past ten years, but the family grapevine had kept her up-to-date on the headlines of his life. She knew for example, that he’d given up on the band seven years ago and had been bumming around in various jobs in the nightclub and bar scene ever since. She knew that he was still a total pants man, showing up with a new girlfriend every six months without fail.

She’s even more surprised to learn the big news about Seth: he’s going to be a father himself.

A strange feeling gripped her. A little like vertigo, but not. In her secret hear of hearts, she’d kept a casual eye on Seth, ensuring she knew enough but not too much about his life. Not because she was interested in him romantically, God forbid, but because he was the male approximation of her on Jason’s side of the family — the younger sibling, a bit of a screw up, never one to color within the lines. In a strange way, he’d become the benchmark for her own success — or not — over the years. As long as he was still single, it was okay that things hadn’t worked out with Franco and she was alone again.

Seth actually is still single; he’s going to be co-parenting with his ex, Lola. (Although — be still my heart! — they did consider abortion. SuperRomances are truly a world away from Harlequin Presents.) And he’s just as boggled by his brother’s choice of flakey Vivian as she was by their choice of him — and makes the mistake of saying so. Which brings a furious Vivian to his door, just in time to be there for a shattering phone call.

The rest of the story is at times fun and sexy and at times desperately sad. Seth is left to bring up a daughter alone, a responsibility he faces with anxious but loving determination. Vivian is too sympathetic — and too drawn to him — to stay away. Inevitably, hotness ensues. (I’m not sure how believable all that sex is for the single, working, sleep-deprived dad of a preemie newborn, but eh, who wants perfect realism in romance?) They’re also getting to know each other as their more mature selves — no longer so reckless and irresponsible, but still striking wonderful sparks of humor, mutual understanding, and chemistry. It’s a relationship which has a lot of potential, but it’s innately limited:

That was the way it had always been between them, right from the start. A battle of wills. A game. A dance. Parry, thrust, advance, retreat. Neither of them giving any ground. Neither of them showing any weakness.

It had always been part of the fun. Part of the danger and challenge.

It has also stopped them from talking about what they were to each other, what place they held in each other’s lives. God forbid they let their guards down. God forbid they show weakness or risk hurt.

Still, neither Seth nor Vivian is obnoxiously stubborn. Both have good reason to be nervous about getting involved, but they don’t cling desperately to those reasons when it’s clear that something is developing between them anyway. Everything that happens feels right for who they are. And though what happens to Lola could seem terribly convenient in a romance, it’s so very clear that it’s not, for anyone involved. Although she barely appears, her character is given a great deal of narrative time and respect, and I wept for her.

I cried again at the end of the story, this time happy tears because it felt so true and right. (Yeah, I was probably pretty softened up by the sad parts.) There were a couple of elements to the book I wasn’t crazy about: Seth’s self-consciousness about any “threat” to his masculinity is something I’m really tired of in contemporary romance. (He’ll wear a baby sling, but he just has to comment on it: “Yeah, I know, this thing is ridiculous, the most emasculating invention in the history of the world. But she loves it.”) And the writing style tends towards “tell,” though done skillfully through the thoughts of the characters. But I was genuinely happy to see these sharp, funny, unapologetically themselves people find their right paths and each other. B+

Sincerely,

Willaful

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