Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Courted - Jennifer Chance (Gowns & Crowns #1)

Courted: Gowns & Crowns, Book 1There are basically two things to keep in mind regarding Jennifer Chance's Courted.  First, it's a love at first sight book.  Second, the second half of the book is much better than the first.

The story follows Emmaline, who is on vacation in Europe with her friends, taking a break from taking care of her parents, who were in an accident that left both with a lot of health problems.  Their first stop is Garronia, which is basically like a Greek version of Genovia.  Yes, that's right, it's a Ruritanian romance.  Em is out for a swim in the riptide-plagued waters of the beach, and is struggling a bit but on track to be fine, when she is rescued by the ruggedly handsome Kristos, Prince of Garronia, who is out training with his military buddies.  It's also Kristos' last day with the military, as he has to take up his place as the Crown Prince and heir apparent in the wake of the death of his older brother, Ari.  As Kristos sits comforting Em after her "near death experience" (seriously, she was fine) they start making out.  Uhm.  What?  Obvs, people catch this on camera, and suddenly there's a media storm.  And then when Em goes on a tour of the Visitor's Palace later that day, Kristos appears again, and kisses her again, really setting things off, and suddenly Kristos and Em are off to hide in a mountain chateau while Em's friends are left behind in the city, hiding in the main palace.  Of course they proceed to have crazy sex with each other in a ton of places.

Honestly, I think the story improved some after the first round of sex; up until that point, I was rolling my eyes and actually walked away from the book for a good chunk of time because it was just so... Ugh.  Love at first sight makes me nauseous, and this book was just going a bit too far for me.  But after that first time (which is not either of the characters' first times), they both (temporarily) decide that they're just going to enjoy it when it lasts, even if it won't be long-term, and the story moves on.  It introduces the queen, who was awesome, and the story does eventually spiral back around to what happens when the media turns on a former darling.  This was really one of the strongest parts of the book for me.  The way that Em's friends and family counter the media shitstorm came across as much more polished than I've seen in other places, and actually dealing with it in general was a step up from another "modern royal romance" I've read recently (The Royal We).  This second half of the book was enough to keep me interested in the series in general, though the implication that the next book will be about Lauren and Dimitri (who are one of those "we're attracted to each other but we don't like each other" couples) is an even bigger draw to me.  I do love a good bodyguard/client pairing.  This definitely wasn't a deep, intricate story.  It's most assuredly fluff, and it got off to a rough start.  But the second half did redeem it somewhat and I have hopes that the other books in the series will be more even in quality overall.

3 stars out of 5.

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