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A Pretty Mess: an Astonvale novel by [Caruso, Carla]
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A Pretty Mess: an Astonvale novel Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 260 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Product description

Product Description

Sometimes, to come clean, you've got to get your hands dirty ... The first in the Astonvale series.

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?


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1111 KB
  • Print Length: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Impulse Australia (1 October 2014)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers (AU)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00KEZ7W0M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #244,510 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Format: Kindle Edition
A Pretty Mess by Carla Caruso
Blackmail, hot builders and witty relatable characters – my kinda read!
I’ll get my least favourite part out of the way first – I thought this story was a little slow starting – but that’s my only criticism.
Straight talking sexy builder Lenny doesn’t know what’s hit him when heroine Celeste Pretty comes to work at the same place he is. She’s a professional organiser with a curious streak. Things about their boss Natalia, just do not add up. They both make amateur super sleuths their second job as they work together to find out the truth.
I love all the cultural references to Australia – puts a really clear image of the world these characters occupy and there are some classic lines in this story that will have you laughing out loud ‘Love is like a fart – if you force it, it’s probably crap’. Lovers of contemporary romance stories will rate this high in their likes. There’s conflict, there’s tension, there’s sweet moments.
I was kindly provided with a free copy of this book from Net Galley to provide an honest review. Receiving this book for free did not influence my opinion nor review.
Karen @karensbookshaven
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Carla has always written very approachable fiction that is fun to read. But with A Pretty Mess, she has really come into her own. Yes the book is centred on a romantic interest but it is so much more than that. The book follows the (mis)adventures of Celeste Pretty as she struggles to get her personal organiser business off the ground, all the while becoming increasingly drawn into a mystery surrounding her first client, celebrity Natalie Samphire. And all the while, the very attractive builder Lenny Muscat complicates matters as he too becomes drawn into the intrigue. Celeste is a fun character, as are all of Carla's heroines, but she has her troubled side as well: her mother died of cancer when she was young and her father lives alone, hoarding untold tons of junk in the old family home. A Pretty Mess is funny, it's touching and a very enjoyable read. The RomCom is not my thing, but I think I'll always enjoy Carla Caruso. (And there's two more Celeste adventures awaiting me...) Yay!
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I found this quite refreshing, not what I expected & from a fellow Aussie. I liked the references to our country, even incorporating it to appeal to overseas readers, still retaining some of our slang, so to speak.
This issue of Us & Them is worldwide.
It's funny, romantic, a sort of a bumbling detective story ambling along. Loved Celeste & Lenny, ah give me a tradie anytime lol.
Good work, something different, which I liked. Give it a go.
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By Renee TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 October 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This was the first book I've read by this author. It's set in a fictional upper class suburb of Adelaide in South Australia. I went into this book expecting chick lit and found a fun blend of cosy mystery and romance. I found the characters relatable and likeable.

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars 72 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable story and a bit of an interesting mystery to solve 29 December 2014
By TBreakiron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Celeste possibly finds more then she bargained for when she starts working for the famous Natalia Shampshire. She has been assigned to help declutter the woman's house. Her business might finally have a chance to get off the ground. And after meeting Lenny, another person working on the house she starts to rethink her relationship with Mitchell, as despite herself she is quite attracted to Lenny. She also stumbles on to the fact that her client is possibly being blackmailed. Can she figure out what is going on without losing her job? Especially with her old boss trying to worm her way into the one she is currently working on. This was a really cute romance/mystery novel and was very well edited and I found to be a very good and entertaining read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious read 2 March 2015
By Hope - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gosh was this dull!! I read three serious books while I was reading this and the three took less time than it took me to finish this one. As another reviewer complained, there are a lot of Australian colloquialisms that do not translate well to American audiences. Even having spent time in Australia, I had some difficulties.

While there was an ostensible connection between the lead characters, there was too much intervening stuff and I could not figure out why they were attracted to each other for any reason other than looks. Speaking of looks, it is demeaning to the story to constantly say that the lead male looked like George Clooney. Give some description of his looks instead.

Finally, there were so many extraneous characters who added little to the story, were dropped and picked up again that the whole book lacked cohesiveness and interest.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Too Messy At All 17 July 2015
By Sherri_Hunter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is like a nice weekend vacation 2 August 2016
By Kellissimo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Cute read. This book is like a nice weekend vacation. It's refreshing and not a lot of work to keep up with. It's soothing. If you're looking for a Gillian Flynn or Agatha Christie mystery, this book won't fit the bill. But, if you're looking for a sweet romance with a some substance to the characters and plot rather than some of the typical romance novels that have no plot other than lustful characters fulfilling their desires, this book is perfect. It isn't graphic, either, which I liked!
4.0 out of 5 stars Love and mystery 7 January 2015
By Danielle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was interesting for me to read about how both characters struggled with insecurities when it came to existing how they felt about each other. You can tell that Celeste and Lenny were into each other but it just took them forever to let go of the things that were holding them back from expressing how they felt. Most of these romance books will only discuss how the female deals with her insecurities. It did urk me a little because I was hoping they would just say how they felt and get it over with lol. It was also nice that this wasn't the main focus. The issues Natalia were having is what happened to bring them closer together. It was like having two stories in one; finding out who was blackmailing Natalia while also trying to figure out how to develop a relationship between Celeste and Lenny.

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