Sometimes, to come clean, you've got to get your hands dirty ...
Celeste Pretty, a self-confessed neat freak, has found the job she was born to do: a professional organiser, de-cluttering people's homes and workplaces. Her new business gets off to a cracking start when she lands her first client, health and fitness guru Natalia Samphire, in the well-heeled suburb of Astonvale. But things get messy at Natalia's mansion when Celeste finds a blackmail note and other mysterious items. And then there's Lenny Muscat, the sexy builder renovating the place, whose constant presence is muddling Celeste's usually organised brain.
When things get decidedly suspicious at the mansion, she and Lenny have to team up to investigate. But will Celeste emerge with her heart and professional reputation unscathed?
Not too long ago I was contacted by HarperCollins Publishers Australia about reviewing Carla Caruso's latest book, 'A Pretty Mess', which was released on the 1st of October 2014. The novel is the first in a new series, the Astonvale series, and I have to say that after seeing the cover and reading the blurb I was quite curious about it and looked forward to picking it up, especially since I didn't have the chance to check out Carla Caruso's work before!
Celeste Pretty is a professional organizer; a job which is simply perfect for a neat freak like herself. She decided to start her own company called POPink and has landed her first very important job, namely helping fitness guru Natalia Samphire organise her new home. Celeste wants to do anything she can to make sure she does a good job, but at the same time she's busy dealing with her cousin and new assistant Flip and Lenny, the handsome builder who's working on Natalia's house and always seems to be around. To make matters even worse, Celeste unexpectedly discovers Natalia is being blackmailed by someone, and soon she finds herself entangled in way more than just the organizing job she signed up for...
This book can be described as a combination of enjoyable chick lit and an entertaining touch of detective/who-done-it/mystery. I really liked the plotline of the novel and it didn't take long before I was fully immersed by the story, guessing what would happen to the characters and how it would all work out in the end. It took me a bit of time to get used to the main protagonist, Celeste. There were moments when I really liked her, and then her sometimes slightly snobbish behaviour came around the corner again. However, I did warm to her as the story progressed and I definitely wouldn't mind reading other stories in which she stars as the leading lady.
Lenny, the hunky builder who works for celebrity Natalia Samphire just like Celeste, was a great male character and I think many female readers will develop a small crush on him like I did. The chemistry between him and Celeste is undeniable and really added something fun to the story. There are some colloquialisms used in the book which I wasn’t familiar with, but from the context I could get what I needed to understand what was going on, so it definitely didn’t ruin the reading experience. Overall, ‘A Pretty Mess’ is a fun and entertaining chick lit and mystery mix and I already look forward to the next part of Carla Caruso’s ‘Astonvale’ series!