Review and Excerpt: The Aussie Next Door by Stefanie London

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☆☆➹⁀☆ 3 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

What It’s About:

American Angie Donovan has never wanted much. When you grow up getting bounced from foster home to foster home, you learn not to become attached to anything, anyone, or any place. But it only took her two days to fall in love with Australia. With her visa clock ticking,

surely she can fall in love with an Australian—and get hitched—in two months. Especially if he’s as hot and funny as her next-door neighbor…

Jace Walters has never wanted much––except a bathroom he didn’t have to share. The last cookie all to himself. And solitude. But when you grow up in a family of seven, you can kiss those things goodbye. He’s finallyliving alone and working on his syndicated comic strip in privacy. Sure, his American neighbor is distractingly sexy and annoyingly nosy, but she’ll be gone in a few months…

Except now she’s determined to find her perfect match by checking out every eligible male in the town, and her choices are even more distracting. So why does it suddenly feel like he—and his obnoxious tight-knit family, and even these two wayward dogs—could be exactly what she needs?

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My Thoughts:

When Jace Walters is forced into dog sitting a family friend’s two adorable dogs, his life is turned upside down. Ms. London’s start to The Aussie Next Door is adorable and engaging. I loved the small town setting and the strong sense of family and community. The slower pace seemed to fit the story, and there is just enough humor to add a sense of charm and appeal to the characters and plot.

The author treated Jace, an on-the-spectrum character, respectfully; she clearly made an effort to present his struggles without making the character pitiful. The character’s self doubts (especially relative to his siblings) and his avoidance of social gatherings and people is clearly evident.

I liked Angie’s bubbly personality and involvement in her adopted country. Her past is tragic because readers are told it is. Her backstory was not explored enough to make her a sympathetic character to me. In fact both main characters’ issues are developed just enough for them to be relationship hurdles and to depict two awkward adults whose insecurities and social struggles limit their ability to fit in. Exploring Angie and Jace’s backstory further would have given The Aussie Next Door more depth.

I loved the Walters clan. They’re a big, warm family. I felt drawn to each of these secondary characters.

When Jace’s ex comes back in town, I anticipated some juicy conflict and plot tension. However, their eventual meet up provides the epiphany that allows Jace to pursue Angie and help her stay in the country. While my anticipated drama would have been meatier, the reappearance of the ex-fiance did provide a nice catalyst for change.

Angie’s pursuit of immigration fraud put me off from the start. It is not a premise that I find acceptable, and that definitely colored my perception of the story and characters. I picked up the book because I’ve read and enjoyed some of Ms. London’s previous books, and if I had paid more attention to the description, I would have passed on this story.  The book and writing are not without merit, the characters and setting are interesting and the denouement is authentic.

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Excerpt:

Judging by the way Angie was talking to Elijah, smiling sweetly and toying with the end of her ponytail, she was definitely “vibing,” as Chloe put it. An ugly, foreign feeling surged up inside Jace that made him feel the exact same way as when he’d watched his brother flirting with her.

Turn around and walk away. It’s none of your damn business.

But before Jace fully thought through the consequences of his actions, he was crossing the road with Truffle leading the way. As soon as the little white dog caught sight of Angie, his tail started going a million miles a minute.

Stop. You’re not going to get involved. Don’t be a hypocrite. Other people in this town meddle and you hateit.

It was true. He came from a family of meddlers, and it drove him nuts. But maybe there was some meddling-specific chromosome that had been passed on from his parents without his knowledge, remaining dormant all this time and waiting for the right moment to strike.

“Jace.” Angie looked at him with wide eyes, almost like she was a kid with her hand stuck in the cookie jar.

“I was taking Truffle for a walk.” He raked a hand through his hair like he was totally relaxed and going about his day. The truth was, he had no bloody idea whathe was doing. “How was yoga?”

“Awesome.” For some reason, Angie’s voice seemed an octave or two higher than normal. “Super great, actually. Excellent.”

Hmm. Three ways of saying the same thing. She did that whenever she was nervous.

“Are you into yoga?” Jace asked Elijah.

“Yeah, man. With all the firewood I have to chop for the pizza oven, my back gets real tight.”

Jace resisted the urge to roll his eyes. How did he manage to say shit like that withoutcoming off like a total douchecanoe?

“But I could always use some tutoring.” Elijah shot Angie a flirty look, and her cheeks turned the prettiest shade of pink. “Any opportunity to expand my skills.”

“I’m sure Chloe could help with that,” Jace said stiffly.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Truffle sniffing around Elijah’s leg. He’d done the same thing to the coffee table earlier that morning—inspecting his target. Jace really should put a stop to it…

“I wasn’t talking about Chloe,” Elijah said, his eyes still trained on Angie.

Angie laughed and gingerly stuck her hand in the air. “I volunteer as tribute.”

Jace forgot the dog and stared at her hard. Was this one of those gray-area things he’d never understand, or did Angie really like this guy? He had no freaking clue.

Just then, Truffle jumped up on his hind legs, hooking his front paws around Elijah’s calf. His hips started to hinge back and forth, and Elijah glanced down, a what the hell do I do nowexpression on his face as he and Angie looked down at Sir Hump-a-Lot.

“What the hell?” Elijah stumbled back, and Truffle dropped down to the ground, looking mightily miffed that his sexy times were interrupted.

“Truffle!” Angie snort-laughed. “So inappropriate.”

“It’s a dominance thing,” Jace said to Elijah. “He tends to do that whenever he thinks he can overpower someone.”

Angie shot Jace a raised brow, but she squatted to give the dog a scratch behind the ears before he could figure out exactly what she was thinking. Was the comment too much? He’d blurted it out without thinking, and Elijah seemed off his game now.

© Copyright 2019 Stefanie London. All rights reserved.

 

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About the Author: Stefanie London is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance with humour, heat and heart. Also llamas. Originally from Melbourne, Australia Stefanie now lives in Toronto, Canada with her wonderful husband. She loves to read, collect lipsticks, watch zombie movies, and drink coffee.

Author Website: https://stefanie-london.com/

Promotional materials courtesy of the author and Social Butterfly PR

 

© Copyright 2019 Book Junkie Reviews. All rights reserved.

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