Because you can't judge a book by its cover

Monthly Archives: December 2009

bettyneelsphotobigwBetty Neels (1910-2001) was a prolific writer whose books are being republished to this day.  Betty was born in England and served as a nurse during WWII where she met her Dutch husband.  Betty, her husband, and their daughter lived in Holland after the war for 13 years until they returned to England.  Betty wrote her first book in 1969 after her retirement from nursing and, by the dint of writing four novels a year, wrote 169 novels before she died at the age of 91.

Betty’s love of Holland is evidenced by the detailed descriptions in her books.  Usually the heroine in the book is a visitor to Holland so the heroine does site seeing in whichever city or town she happens to be staying in. Betty’s books are so detailed regarding the locations of Holland that many fans have used her books to plan their travel itinerary.  (I personally plan to visit Holland someday and will use her novels to help me decide where to visit.)

Betty’s books are always sweet with the main characters having integrity, even when others do not act in the same manner towards them.  My mother was a HUGE fan, collecting all of her books and I remember my first Ebay purchase were the two Betty Neels’ books that my mother was missing from her collection.  Betty Neels wrote for Harlequin for over 30 years.  Most of Betty’s books were published by Harlequin in their regular contemporary romance line but I think it is interesting to note that her books have been continuously published since she wrote them and Harlequin published another series of editions (The Best of Betty Neels) in 2009.  I think (but I am not 100% sure) that she is the only Harlequin author to be continuously published (besides Georgette Heyer) ever.  You would think that the publishers would take note that the two continuous best sellers are both sweet romance novels and not erotica.

My mother loved Betty Neels’ books, she passed that love onto me and now my younger sister (18 years-old) loves her books.  After my mother passed away and we were going through her things, my sister and I started arguing over who got the Betty Neels collection because they are so good.  (Also, we both have fond memories of discussing the books with mom after we finished reading them.)

I highly recommend her books and some are available for ereader at both Amazon.com and eHarlequin.com.

Betty’s story as told by Betty herself.

Homepage dedicated to Betty Neels.

Halequin’s dedication to Betty upon her death in 2001.

[amazon-product]0373199619[/amazon-product]

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Ermentrude Foster has always known that she was plain, looking in the mirror attested to that fact.  So why was Dr. Rued ter Mennolt unable to keep her out of his mind.  Emmy worked as a telephone operator to help support her parents and Dr. ter Mennolt was a visiting consultant from Holland.  But fate kept throwing them together and Ruerd found himself thinking more and more of Emmy, despite the fact he was engaged to be married to the beautiful and sophisticated Anneliese.  When disaster strikes Emmy, Ruerd steps in to help her and takes her to Holland to spend the holidays with his family.

I realize I seem to be saying that everyone is my favorite author but I have to admit that Betty Neels is one of my favorites. (Of course, this is my website so most of the time I am posting about authors I enjoy.) Most of her novels take place in both England and Holland, with fabulous descriptions of both locations that really make me want to visit.  Emmy is plain and doesn’t love her job but she has a loving relationship with her parents and is willing to work to help support them.  I love Emmy’s love and dedication to her family. Ruerd’s inability to get Emmy out of his mind despite her plainness warms my heart and how long it takes him to realize why he wants to assist her so much makes me smile. I have yet to read a Betty Neels that I haven’t loved and I highly recommend it.

Rating: 1

[amazon-product]0373199600[/amazon-product]

photo_10618_20091215I read somewhere that some books are “comfort reads”, you know, those books you reread a hundred times and end up purchasing more than once because you wear your copy out.  Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings is a “comfort read” for me.  The first time I read it was in high school, I remember purchasing it at a bookstore, at random, and devouring it within two days (no mean feat considering the size of the novel). I have destroyed two paperback copies and am now working on destroying a hardbound copy (give me time and I am sure I will end up with a copy on my ereader as well).  I reread the series at least once a year, if not more.

Publisher: It all begins with the theft of the Orb that for so long protected the West from an evil god. As long as the Orb was at Riva, the prophecy went, its people would be safe from this corrupting power. Garion, a simple farm boy, is familiar with the legend of the Orb, but skeptical in matters of magic. Until, through a twist of fate, he learns not only that the story of the Orb is true, but that he must set out on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger to help recover it. For Garion is a child of destiny, and fate itself is leading him far from his home, sweeping him irrevocably toward a distant tower—and a cataclysmic confrontation with a master of the darkest magic.

Pawn of Prophecy is the first book in the Belgariad Series, a collection of five novels.  The novel begins with a boy, Garion, living on a farm with his aunt raising him.  One night, he and his aunt are forced to leave in the middle of the night to meet up with others, chasing someone who stole something but no-one will tell Garion exactly what and who they are chasing.  Garion slowly starts to realize that his aunt and the group they have met up with are very important politic figures and that what they are chasing after will change the course of history.  There is magic but it is all carefully bound by rules, which appeals to my logic nature (how you can have something as powerful as magic without careful rules to control it?!).

David Eddings does a fabulous job of giving each of the lands in the novel their own culture and history.  The world Eddings’ created is influenced by the seven Gods that exist, with each of the different lands ruled over by a specific God and taking on the characteristics of that God.  For example, the God Nedra loves gambling and chance so his followers are always making deals with each other, their God, and their culture revolves around money.

His characters are very distinctive and very witty.  Eddings cohesion of the history of the land, its people and the impact of that history on the ongoing story is unparalleled.  It is like reading Tolkien without all the boring parts (I mean really, do we really care what EVERY tree looks like in Tolkiens’ world?!).  I highly recommend it and give it a rating for violence, not sex.

Rating: 2

[amazon-product]0345468643[/amazon-product]

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With the holiday season upon us, it started me thinking about the New Year and what my New Year goals are going to be.  I am an incessant goal setter, every year I have several new resolutions that I write down (because written goals get accomplished more than unwritten goals). About mid-way through the year I like to step back and evaluate how I am doing on those goals.  This year I have decided to take a reading challenge and, after looking around on a few different blogs, I have decided to do the 100+ book challenge.  I have never kept track of how many books I read in a year but I know it is a lot.  I figure this is a great way for me to be motivated to keep track of how my reading is going.  I challenge all of you, my readers, to accept a reading challenge for the new year.  Post a comment and let me know which ones you have decided to do and mid-way through next year I will post to evaluate how we are doing.  Good reading!

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Why Ratings?
It is true you can't judge a book by its cover, you also can't judge a book's graphic content by its cover. NovelReaction's goal is to provide readers with a graphic content so they can make an informed decision regarding the books they want to read. (Also, to have a great place for people to discuss books.) So sit back, pull up a beverage, and read on!
Graphic Ratings*

1 = kissing
2 = kissing, some fondling
3 = descriptive stripping but no sex
4 = sex scene but not descriptive in details
5 = full descriptive sex scene

*I am rating a specific book by an author, not the author's style. If I am aware an author writes a specific way, I will let you know.

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