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A Pretty Mess

(Astonvale #1)

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  381 ratings  ·  70 reviews
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 Astonva
ebook, 247 pages
Published October 1st 2014 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia - Impulse Australia
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I was quite excited to receive this book via Net Galley, because I really enjoyed Second Chance by the same author. In fact I enjoyed Second Chance so much that my expectations might have been too high for A Pretty Mess and, as a consequence, I've struggled with this review. I just have to come right out and say, however, that this title doesn't have the instant appeal of that quirky time travel romance. This book started out promising, but I feel like it lost its way in the romance department s ...more
Odette Cortés
Aug 29, 2014 rated it liked it
When Celeste Pretty decides to start her own new organizing company, POPink, her first job uncluttering a fitness mogul’s life is very important. Trying to do her best while keeping her flaky cousin Flip under control and making a lasting first impression in more than enough on her plate. Nonetheless, she wasn’t expecting to meet Lenny the builder, whom she develops a slight crush that might escalate. But what really surprises her is that suddenly she is in the middle of a blackmail scheme, and ...more
Oct 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Summary: Celeste Pretty, a self-confessed neat freak, starts her own organizing company, POPink, which is intended to help de-clutter people’s homes and workplaces. She is off to a great start when she lands her first client, health and fitness guru Natalia Samphire, in the well-heeled suburb of Astonvale. However, things go awry because she has a hard time keeping her growing attraction to the builder Lenny and her assistant (and cousin) Flip’s behaviour under control. A blackmail note and othe ...more
Hooked On Books
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed for Hookedonbooks

Celeste and Lenny are just adorable in this. The quirkiness, the banter between the two of them made me laugh out loud! A little mystery to bring them together and spend time with one another. I could feel Celeste's battle with her own feelings regarding her Dad's environment and a certain scene she would rather have not been witness too! Lenny is just a good person all around, him offering to help Celeste's Dad. This was a fun read! I enjoyed reading this! I give this
Jasmine from How Useful It Is
Slow paced, lack of action, but good real life advices, humor, light-hearted, almost bland kind of story. Detail review here
Blessie (Mischievous Reads)
Review from: Mischievous Reads

***ARC courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers Australia via Netgalley in exchange for honest review

Celeste Pretty just landed her first client as a professional organizer and it's none other than the oh so famous health and fitness guru, Natalia Sapphire who just moved to the high life suburbs of Astonvale. A lot of pressure though, especially when there's an Adonis builder by the name of Lenny Muscat, working in the same place, who constantly gets her all riled up.
Arielle Deltoro
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Pretty Mess is a page-turning novel about love, suspense and living in the moment.

The novel takes place in Astonvale, an Australian suburb, home of the well-to-do and extremely socially aware crowd. Living in Southern California, I personally love reading novels that are based internationally and this is one of the first I’ve read based in AU.

Caruso’s characters are lively, entertaining and compelling. Celeste Pretty is a woman after my own heart; she’s organized, determined and is willing to w
Sam Still Reading
Oct 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who like cosy mysteries
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: thanks to the publisher
I adored Catch of the Day by Carla Caruso – it was sweet and funny in equal amounts. Naturally, I was excited to see she had a new book out, the first in a series starring Celeste Pretty, professional organiser and amateur sleuth. This is a slightly different direction – more cosy mystery with romantic elements than Catch of the Day, but I still enjoyed it.

Adelaide and South Australia seem to be an increasingly popular setting for romance stories these days, which suits me fine as I’m reasonably
Cindy Roesel
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
A PRETTY MESS (HarperCollinsPublishersAustralia) is the first book in novelist, Carla Caruso's, Sexy Messy Mystery Series that features organizer-extraordinaire, Celeste Pretty and hunky builder Lenny Muscat teaming up to right the wrongs in the fancy-schmancy upscale enclave of Astonvale, outside Sydney, Australia.
Celeste has given up her Interior Designer business and has landed her first client who just happens to be celebrity Natalia Samphire, creator of the Ballet-Tastic barre work-out whic
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Review first posted on my blog: http://spoonfulofhappyendings.blogspo...

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
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-books

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 t
This was on the low end for a three-star book for me. I can't quite remember what was annoying to me about this story since most of the parts I can remember were things I would have liked (thus the three stars) but the main character was irritating to me. She was a stereotypical "klutzy mess" but was supposed to be a big-time organizer? Eh.
Celeste Pretty has just opened her new business, "Professional Organizer on Pink," the initials of which she only just realized. And her first huge client is
Oct 02, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Celeste Pretty has gone out on her own in business. Being a neat freak, she's trying her hand at being a professional organiser and her first client is Natalia Samphire, a newly made health and fitness guru. While sorting out rooms, she stumbles on some objects that don't fit in with the image of a health and fitness guru. Then, on further investigation, she discovers that Natalia is being blackmailed. With the help of Lenny Muskat, the builder who is renovating Natalia's home and someo
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fun loving characters populate Astonvale in a new series by Carla Caruso. Sparks fly and barbs are exchanged as Celeste Pretty and Lenny Muscat battle into romance.

Celeste Pretty is turning 30 and starting her own organising business after leaving an interior design firm whose boss won't seem to get out of Celeste's life. Her first client is fitness guru Natalia Samphire. Natalia's home is being renovated by contractor Lenny Muscat who is not only handy but handsome, single and owns his own hill
Jessica Alcazar
ARC provided via NetGalley by HarperCollins Publishers Australia for an honest review.

I knew I would like this book just by reading the blurb. This is my first time reading Carla Caruso, and I look forward to more in the future. This book has a little intrigue, suspense, romance, comedy and wit! The story is very entertaining and sweet. Our heroine, Celeste, is rather a neat-freak and OCD which sometimes makes her come across as snobbish, but I think that's just the perfectionist in her coming o
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like cozy mysteries with romance
Celeste Pretty is just striking out on her own as an organizer and scores a coup with the up-an-coming fitness guru, Natalie. Celeste meets Lenny, a builder who is remodeling Natalie' s home and fitness center and the chemistry between the two is immediately apparent. I gave this 4 stars because of the dialog between Celeste and Natalie, the romance wasn't just about looks it was the mental connection they make. I also enjoyed that while Celeste wasn't very sure of herself she was strong-willed, ...more
Sep 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
First, thank you NetGalley and Impulse Australia for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review.

I wasn't sure at first if I was going to like this book. But I continued reading and, about a quarter of the way through, found that I didn't want to put it down. Being a reader in the US, I did find some of the colloquialisms unfamiliar, but it wasn't difficult to decipher. I loved the characters. The author rounded them out well. The story was good and I kept reading wanting to know what h
Sankalpita (bookGeeks India)
Celeste Pretty is a budding entrepreneur. Having recently formed and founded her professional organizing company POPINK, Celeste is all set to rule the professional organizing landscape. And if the recent job that she has bagged from the celebrity health and fitness guru Natalia Samphire is any indication.......

Read the full review here -
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, read-2014
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.
Eleni Konstantine
A lovely read. It took me a little while to warm up to Celeste because of her attitude towards her non Astonvale past and seeming rigid attitudes, but she grew on me as she lightened up a little and seeing her vulnerabilities. I like the little mystery thrown in and using this as a catalyst to spend time with builder , Lenny.
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
This was a great, well-written story with memorable characters. The secondary characters were fun and a great addition to the story. Though the title says mess this book is far from it. A must-read for lovers of this genre!

I was given this book in exchange for an honest review via NETGALLEY.
Tanya Hommema
May 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book. Loved the story line and characters. Just right touch of romance and mystery! Looking foward to book two!
A light, fun, easy to read mystery novel with a little romance on the side. No murder, no violence, no explicit sex; just good clean fun. The very end was a bit convenient.
Lisa Bentley
After reading a few heavy books recently it was really nice to pick up Carla Caruso’s A Pretty Mess. It is a fun story probably best described as romantic comedy mystery that revolves around the life of Celeste Pretty.

Celeste has recently set up her own organisation business and has landed a massive celebrity client but as she organises her new clients life she discovers that not everything is as it seems. With the help of hunky builder, Lenny, Celeste tries to solve the mystery surrounding cele
Oct 30, 2014 rated it liked it
I first need to thank the author, Carla Caruso, and the publishers at Harper Collins Publishers Australia- and Netgalley, for allowing me access to this book in exchange for a free and honest review- apologies about the delay, real life has been chaotic!

I requested this book, not gonna lie, because it looked like a fun and sweet read with a hint of mystery, which has been just what I’ve wanted lately. I enjoyed this book, I really did. I do think it could have been better, which is why it is onl
Sherri Bryant
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 ...more
Feb 03, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chick-lit
Celeste Pretty just started her professional organizing business, and has landed her first client- a major celebrity. She's desperate to prove her skills in the hopes that a celebrity endorsement will lead to future success. As she's working through the clutter, she stumbles upon a blackmail scheme, and her "everything in its place" attitude can't handle the suspense of not knowing. Luckily she has contractor Lenny Muscat and her flighty assistant Flip to help her out.

I liked the Australian cul
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The plot here follows the annoyingly named Celeste Pretty, in her first foray as a professional organizer. She lands the client of a lifetime in the form of a celebrity fitness guru in the wealthy neighborhood of Astonvale.

Of course the organization of various rooms wouldn't make much of a story at all, so the author includes a hunky builder and eventual love interest for Celeste. Caruso unites the two by introducing a blackmail theme surrounding the celebrity which of course a professional orga
J Wrin
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
I'm not normally a huge cozy mystery fan but this book was chosen as a book of the month read in my Goodreads group and I wanted to give it a try.

I didn't connect very well with Celeste. Honestly, one thing I do not do well is clean and organize. I was not born with that particular skill set. Celeste's desire to clean everyone's home and work space had me shaking my head in wonder.

Otherwise, it was a good book. A quick read with more romance than plot, it would be a good book for anyone who like
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Carla Caruso was born in Adelaide, grew up amid a boisterous extended Italian family – yet somehow managed to become a bookworm...
Carla always wanted to be a novelist, annoying the kindergarten teachers by dictating long, detailed stories to them. It just took her a while to realise her childhood dream - journalism seemed a more practical course. Her media career has included stints as a newspape

Other books in the series

Astonvale (3 books)
  • Pretty Shore (Astonvale #2)
  • Pretty Famous: an Astonvale novel