Monday, December 10, 2007

Duo Review

Katie and I are doing something different this time. I don’t know if anyone noticed, but we just happened to be reading the same book at the same time, I thought it would be fun to do dueling reviews.
So here you go – two for the price of one on

Untouched by Anna Campbell

Kristie’s Thoughts

I heard all the buzz and controversy about Claiming the Courtesan. Of course that meant I had to buy it. I haven’t read it yet – but I bought it. So when I noticed her newest book was on the shelves I decided to get it too. Then I read ‘virgin hero’ and I decided to bump it ahead of CtC.
I enjoyed this book. It wasn’t perfect and I had a few issues, but overall, I thought it a decently good read.
The Very Handsome Mathew, Lord Sheene had been held as a prisoner on a country estate since the age of fourteen when he had a fit of madness. His Evil Uncle John declared him a madman and kept him away from society for years. After a number of escape attempts Mathew finally stopped trying.
In order to calm his nephew, Evil Uncle John decided to get him a plaything – a young doxy. But his evil henchman grabbed a young widow by mistake.
At first the Very Handsome Mathew is quite rightly suspicious of our Vulnerable Young Heroine, Grace Paget. But he eventually believes her tale. Well naturally nature takes it’s course between The Very Handsome Mathew and the Vulnerable Young Heroine. I give the author kudos for the first love scene. It was Not Good for her. I found that very refreshing in a genre where it’s usually multiple orgasms first time out of the gate for hero/heroine.
But because our Very Handsome Hero was the studious sort, he managed to get things right by the second go-round and made things very good for our Vulnerable Young Heroine. When it was brought home to him how much danger she was in from the Nasty Bad Henchmen, he planned her escape at great cost to himself.
All kidding aside though, this was a pretty descent book. Mathew was delicious as the lonely young man and is pretty high up there with other very good heroes. Grace I found a bit too self-sacrificing. There is a bit at the end where I found her a little overboard in her sacrificing ways. I could see where she was coming from and kind of understand why she did what she did, but I thought the length of time much too long. I know I’m being vague here but those who’ve read this book will know what I’m talking about and those who haven’t – well, I don’t want to spoil it for them.
Also – the bad guys were pretty over the top bad, but I found this a bit campy and I could deal and enjoy that.
I don’t think this one will create quite the stir her first book did. But now I will certainly read Claiming the Courtesan and I will read future books by this author. And if you know the publisher, you will note that’s quite a concession for me *g*.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Katie's Thoughts

I have been hearing great buzz about Anna Campbell’s latest- Untouched. Last year she had created quite the stir with Claiming the Courtesan, which reminded me greatly of Anne Stuart’s A Rose at Midnight. Claiming the Courtesan is one of those books that brings out a great deal of emotion and many were burning up the message boards about this book and Anna herself.
So this weekend I grabbed a copy of Untouched not knowing what to expect. I read an excerpt from the book off Anna’s website and I had some email conversations about her thoughts about her second release. Untouched is a very different book from her first. I seriously read Untouched in less than three hours and I am on the fence on what grade I would give.
First off Anna has a way of writing remarkable characters. In Claiming the Courtesan I adored her heroine, Verity. With Untouched it is all about Matthew. Now the main reason I had to read this book is because Matthew is a virgin. There is nothing sexier to me that having a virgin hero. And Matthew is truly a virgin in every sense of the word. His evil and diabolical uncle has held him hostage since he has been eleven. Matthew is now in his mid twenties and has never kissed a woman, let alone been intimate with one. Matthew is a truly wonderful hero. He is the reason to read Untouched. When he realizes Grace, the pious widow is the ONE for him, he is a goner. He falls headlong into love. He admits his love first, has a holy experience from making love to Grace and even though she will not say those three little words back to him, he doesn’t care. He now knows love and would shout it to the sky if he could. He is faithful and generous. Yes, very, very generous when it comes to showing his love for Grace.
Now with Grace I had some issues with. Yup, she is one of THOSE widows. Not the one that is married and never had sex because her first husband is missing some parts down below, which I really hate. But Grace eloped with a much, much older man when she was only sixteen. Her husband at the time was in his fifties. Just plain…ewww. Grace has been disowned by her parents, has no money, is mistaken for a whore, kidnapped, drugged and wears black mourning clothes. If I was Grace I would have had a breakdown. But then comes Matthew and he becomes Grace’s protector and knight in shining armor.
There are also some small things that took away from my enjoyment of this book. Evil uncle gets Matthew a whore so he can have a mistress. We really never know why. He thinks Matthew will continue to go along as is, as long as he is getting some loving. Evil uncle is so… evil, just because. He is very one-dimensional and I really could not understand why he acted the way he did. Of course it comes down to money, but come on his character is a little too much.
In essence, this is a very passionate love story. Anna has an excellent way in writing some luscious love scenes. Matthew is a quick learner, and a believable one. And Grace does act the way I would expect a woman like herself to be.
The title is also very appropriate. Matthew has been untouched physically, no hugs, kisses or slaps on the back, that is until Grace enters his world. Grace is untouched in her emotions and never feeling any love from her husband or even her parents.
Even though I do have some issues with Untouched, Anna Campbell has a way of writing stories and characters that get people talking. There are not many authors out there that can do that. I have to applaud her for being able to do that.My grade is a bit lower but I would give it a 3 out of 5. The “3” is all due to Matthew. Thank you for writing a hero like Matthew!


Phyl said...

I normally just lurk here, but I wanted to say that I agree with both of you and your reactions to this book. I love Ms. Campbell's writing. I think she paces her books well, she writes compelling characters, and she creates stories that are outside the norm. I was one who liked CtC and was very much looking forward to Untouched. I wanted to love it, but I can't go quite that far. I thought the ending was a little too neat, although it made sense given who Grace really was. There were also a couple of inconsistencies that probably just mean that I'm too picky. (For example, I find it hard to believe that a large estate could be walled in and served by only 3 people who also guard Matthew. Yet Grace spends an afternoon walking for hours. Surely she could only walk in circles.) Still, it was well worth my money and her next book will be an auto-buy for me.

Kristie (J) said...

Phyl: Hello! And Welcome! As I said I haven't read CtC, but now I'm quite looking forward to it!! This wasn't an A book for me, but it was good enough that I will keep my eye out for her next one. And Mathew was one heck of a good hero wasn't he?

CindyS said...

Oh, I like the dual review and I think it was just last night I noticed two of the same cover on the sidebar ;)

Her first book didn't work for me but it was more because the heroine didn't fight. She just accepted that bad things were about to happen and when they did she didn't really react to them.

I'm wondering about this one. I'm intrigued by the hero (what romance reader wouldn't be ;)) but I'm not sure if this author is for me. I'll have to put this on the TBB list but I won't be running out to get it NOW!!


Georgie Lee said...

I missed the controversy surrounding Claiming the Courtesan but after seeing everyone's reaction to it and Untouched I have to read these books. Thanks for the reviews.

Kristie (J) said...

Georgie lee: You're most welcome. We both enjoyed this one. And I've heard about the controversy - but until I've read the book *g* can't say much about it.

Devon said...

I've had CtC for ages and haven't read it. But I was intrigued by this one. I'm definitely going to try it.