Friday, May 15, 2015

Review: The Australian by Lesley Young

The Australian 
by Lesley Young
Series: Crime Royalty #2
Pub Date:  March 25, 2015
Publisher:  L.A.Y. Books
Pages:  286
Format: eARC
Source: Xpresso Book Tours

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

Imagine leaving behind all that you know and starting over halfway around the world. Imagine you’ve got no gut instinct to rely on, no natural-born ability to read people or sort out lies from truth. Imagine your heart goes haywire every time you stare into a certain pair of deeply mesmerizing dark eyes. Now you’re in Charlie Sykes’ (highly sensible) shoes . . . 

Charlie Sykes takes everything and everyone at face value, and believes life would be a lot easier if everyone else did, too. Jace Knight, international Aussie hotelier and purported playboy, has never met anyone like the absurdly literal and obliviously beautiful American who applies to his personal assistant position. 

The trouble is, how do you seduce a woman whose definition of flirting comes straight out of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary? That, and he’s not the only one after Charlie. Seems Mr. Knight may not be a reformed criminal after all.

Charlie soon finds herself caught up in a whirlwind of dangerous international espionage that takes her from the hip streets of Sydney to the majestic Great Barrier Reef and the wild, desolate outback. A terrible trap’s being laid, but how will Charlie protect herself and prevent a devastating betrayal when she can’t even sort out what her heart’s telling her? 

I don't give many 5-star reviews (only 5 out of 125 books to date this year). So you know when I do give a 5-star, I really enjoyed the book. And I really really enjoyed this book, mainly due to our quirky female lead character, Charlie Sykes. She is my favorite female character of the year so far.

Charlie suffers from Pervasive Development Disorder... which seems a bit like Asperger's to me. She has trouble with social clues and deciphering emotions. This makes Charlie a very literal, logical and straight-forward person. I loved the way her mind worked - and I think we would get along very well. I felt very protective of her throughout the whole book, so I was absolutely livid at these law enforcement officers who were putting her through the ringer. I wanted to throttle them! And since I work in the same field, that is saying something. Charlie was obviously not equipped to deal with the situations they were putting her in - and they knew it. She is such a different sort of lead character than we usually see in contemporary romance, it was refreshing to have someone so unique and endearing.

Jace Knight (great name) is our anti-hero, a rich bad boy trying to go straight and doing that the best way he knew how. You can tell that Jace has never met anyone like Charlie, and he is captivated by her from their first meeting. He was also very protective of her, and I loved him for that (even though he did trick her a couple times). I could not fault anything with their relationship - the pacing worked well with the story and Jace seemed to honestly care about Charlie.

The "villains" in the story are who we usually think of as good guys - intelligence agents and international law enforcement. Working in this field, I cringed at the actions these people were taking. I can only hope people in my agency would never conduct themselves in this fashion.

Overall, The Australian was a breath of fresh air. I recommend it to fans of contemporary romance who are in a reading slump, or are looking for something different than the standard, often annoying, new adult heroines pervading the genre at the moment.

Some of my favorite Charlie-isms:
  • I do not believe it is appropriate or professional to engage in coitus with one's employer.
  • Arousal was not a mental disorder.
  • Apparently on occasion when I am exposed to new environments I go wide-eyed like an imaginary alien might upon arriving on Earth. 
  • It was worse than the second grade spring blossom play when all I was supposed to say was part of a poem, "violets are blue," and instead, peed my pants. 
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