Title: A Pretty Mess (An Astonvale Novel)

Author: Carla Caruso

Pages: 260 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

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?

The Review

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 celebrity fitness coach Natalie Samphire.

There were times when A Pretty Mess bordered on silly, with coincidental meet cutes and a clumsy Bridget Jones-esque protagonist but it cannot be accused of having no heart. This story is chock full of sentiment and whilst it probably won’t change your life it might just put a smile on your face.

A Pretty Mess (An Astonvale Novel) by Carla Caruso is available now.

For more information regarding Carla Caruso please visit www.carlacaruso.com.au.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollins) please visit www.harpercollins.com.

Title: Love Literary Style

Author: Karen Gillespie

Pages: 280 Pages

Publisher: Henery Press

The Blurb

They say opposites attract, and what could be more opposite than a stuffy literary writer falling for a self-published romance writer?

Novelist Aaron Mite meets Laurie Lee at a writers’ colony and mistakenly believes her to be a renowned writer of important fiction. When he discovers she’s a self-published romance author, he’s already fallen in love with her.

Aaron thinks genre fiction is an affront to the fiction-writing craft. He often quotes the essayist, Arthur Krystal who says literary fiction “melts the frozen sea inside of us.” Ironically Aaron doesn’t seem to realize that he’s emotionally frozen. The vivacious Laurie, lover of flamingo-patterned attire and all things hot pink, is the one person who might be capable of melting him.

In the tradition of The Rosie ProjectLove Literary Style is a sparkling romantic comedy which pokes fun at the divide between low and high brow fiction.

The Review

Sometimes you just need a good light-hearted love story. I know I do. Recently, having read a few heavier tomes I needed a bit of escapism and I got that in the romantic comedy Love Literary Style by Karen Gillespie.

The story focuses on the chance encounter between Aaron and Laurie – in a classic case of mistaken identity both of our protagonists have started to fall in love. They say opposites attract but where do people draw the line? And how long can the other person’s flaws keep being adorable before the rose tinted spectacles are removed to reveal the truth.

I really enjoyed Love Literary Style. Not just for its cute story but also because Gillespie made a conscious effort to poke fun at the publishing industry and how there is a culture of snobbery in the publishing world over what makes a text worthwhile – the whole argument of literary fiction versus romantic fiction.

Told with a dual narrative we get to hear both sides of the argument but I must say that I sided with Laurie and believed she was far too good for the rigidity of Aaron who was in fact a jolly big snob.

If you want escapism then look no further.

Love Literary Style by Karen Gillespie is available now.

For more information regarding Henery Press (@HeneryPress) please visit www.henerypress.com.

Title: What if He’s the One?

Author: Kathy Jay

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Harper Impulse

The Blurb

The one that got away – is now LA’s hottest property!

The last time fashion student Magenta Plumtree saw aspiring actor Alex Wells, she was wearing a sexy Santa outfit and killer heels, and he was kissing her senseless! But before she got to enjoy the full benefits of her very fit friend, he left the next morning for LA and stardom…

Now ten years later Maggie’s an in-demand fashionista and her latest job? To style the stars of hit TV show Mercy of the Vampires – none other than twin hotties Alex and Nick Wells! Though if Fate has given her one more chance with the gorgeous Alex, it’s got a sick sense of humour, as Maggie has refused to wait for Mr Right and plans to embark on single motherhood! But the inconveniently electric attraction is definitely still there, and with Alex by her side through the whirl of pregnancy tests and glittering premieres, has Maggie found the one man worth waiting for?

The Review

What if He’s the One? by Kathy Jay is a love story that transcends time and distance. Sometimes you are just destined to be with someone and no amount of time will change that. This is where we meet Maggie. She has been in love with her friend Alex for years. There was once a chance that they would get together but when an opportunity for him to star in the next big fantasy programme occurs he has to take it. The only problem being that it will leave Maggie in London while he is in America.

Fast-forward ten years later and the pair meet again. The sparks are still there but has life moved on too much for them to make it work?

Kathy Jay explores so much in What if He’s the One? Unrequited love, independence, and heartbreak to name but a few; she ultimately she makes you fall in love with her two main characters. Due to the dual narrative you spend half your time in complete anguish because you know that they both still love each other and the sexual tension bounces off the page. It is almost agony to read.

If you are a fan of love stories then Kathy Jay doesn’t disappoint with What if He’s the One?

What if He’s the One? by Kathy Jay is available now.

For more information regarding Kathy Jay (@akathyjay) please visit www.kathyjay.com.

For more information regarding Harper Impulse (@HarperImpulse) please visit www.harperimpulse.com.

Title: Until You Find Me

Author: Amber Hart

Pages: 269 Pages

Publisher: Random House Publishing

The Blurb

In this steamy, electrifying novel, Amber Hart pushes contemporary romance to its wildest limits as a young woman travels halfway across the globe—and discovers the place where her heart belongs.

Raven has no idea what to expect when she travels to Africa in search of answers about her family’s past. A twenty-year-old college student from Michigan, she’s never seen anything like the beautiful, treacherous jungles of Cameroon. But nothing takes her breath away like Jospin. As soon as Raven meets the charismatic and intense young hunter, she’s instantly hooked.

Clever, rugged, and fearless, Jospin makes his living from the perils of the jungle. But falling in love with Raven could be the most dangerous thing he’s ever done. The heir to a powerful poaching empire, he holds the key to unlocking the secrets of Raven’s legacy. If she asks the wrong questions, his answers could get them both killed. And yet each and every moment spent holding Raven in his arms is worth the risk.

Raven’s getting closer to the truth. Jospin’s at the point of no return. Their chemistry is out of control, and when they forge a bond that goes beyond blood, desire will take them into uncharted territory.

The Review

Until You Find Me is the story of Raven who has set off to a world completely different to her own to try and find out the truth behind her father’s death.

Raven has come to an animal sanctuary deep in the jungle. She isn’t particularly a fan of animals, in fact, she holds them responsible for the disappearance of her father from her life. Raven grew up in America whereas her dad left to work in the jungle. They kept regular contact but now that he is dead she holds the jungle and its inhabitants responsible.

In trying to uncover the truth, Raven stumbles upon the seedy underbelly of jungle life – the killing of endangered species for meat and fur. Once she knows the truth about this world will she ever be able to get out again.

Until You Find Me had the makings of being a great story. It had a good main thread of a story – the loss of a parent, it had romance, and it had an exotic location. Personally, I feel where the story became a bit muddied was with the emphasis on the secondary story of animal meat/fur trafficking. Don’t get me wrong, this was a very interesting storyline and one that I haven’t come across in fiction before but I feel that both storylines were competing to be the main one and as a reader I didn’t know which one to prioritise. I just feel that the book came across as confused.

It is a good story though and one that will compel you to keep turning to the next page.

Until You Find Me by Amber Hart is available now.

For more information regarding Amber Hart (@AmberHartBooks) please visit www.amberhartbooks.com.

For more information regarding Random House Publishing (@PenguinRHUK) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.