Tuesday, July 14, 2015
REVIEW: A Pretty Mess (Astonvale #1) by Carla Caruso
Author: Carla Caruso
Publisher: AUS Impulse
Publication Date: October, 2014
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Description: 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 organizer, 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 organized 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?
My Thoughts: I like books that feature strong, independent characters that aren’t too headstrong or unable to lower the walls to let people in. A Pretty Mess by new to me author Carla Caruso introduces us to Celeste Pretty, a former interior designer who has branched out into her own business of professional organizing. Her first client is local fitness celebrity Natalia Samphire, who has hired Celeste to declutter her home. Things become quite complicated for Celeste when she discovers her employer is being blackmailed by an unknown person and the presence of building contractor, Lenny Muscat, to whom Celeste finds herself strongly attracted to.
I enjoyed this book and the premise of a professional organizer and pseudo-detective. Celeste is a very likable character with some very painful scars from losing her mother as a child. Her passion to be a professional organizer gives her the ability to maintain control and order in her life and she is quite good at it. When Celeste discovers a blackmail note and some other suspicious items, she confides in Lenny and they team up to investigate who is behind it all. Lenny comes across as a ladies man and a player and Celeste tries very hard to keep him at arm’s length, but the attraction she feels is mutual. I thought Lenny was perfect for Celeste. They are both committed to their respective careers and Lenny is not interested in any serious relationships until his business is thriving and successful. I don’t usually care for “big misunderstanding” plot devices and was a little apprehensive when one happened in this book, but it played out really well and was quite enjoyable. The story moves at a good pace, kept me entertained and held my interest.
My Final Verdict: A Pretty Mess is the first book in this series and is a good start. I look forward to the next book in the series to see what is next for Celeste and Lenny and getting to know the supporting characters better.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of A Pretty Mess from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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