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1 January 2015

Review: 'Secret Santo' by Carla Caruso (2014)

Holly Plume is a bookseller by day and a romance blogger by night, dishing out scathing reviews under her pseudonym, Sultry Scarlet. When she scores an invite to the publishing event of the year, Holly couldn't be more excited. Finally a chance to meet her favourite author, the mysterious thriller writer known only as AJ Ruffo.

When Holly literally falls into the arms of the mysterious and charming Santo Randolfi, she's sure it must be AJ. After all, Santo has tousled good looks, dark curls, luscious lips . . . He's exactly what she'd imagined. But when Santo reveals he's actually the author of a romance novel Holly recently slammed on her blog, keeping her online identity a secret becomes vital.

As Holly struggles to keep Santo from learning the truth, she realizes just how much she likes him. But when he discovers who she is, will their relationship be over before it's even begun?

Thanks to the lovely people over at Penguin Books Australia I received a review copy of Carla Caruso’s Christmas-themed short story ‘Secret Santo’ via NetGalley. I was introduced to Carla Caruso’s work earlier this year when I got the chance to read and review her novel ‘A Pretty Mess’ (click here to read my review), a book which I really enjoyed. As soon as I read the blurb of this short story I added it to my December TBR-list, because I immediately loved the sound of Holly, the main character who is a bookseller by day and a romance blogger by night. I was really curious to check out the story and hoped I would enjoy it as much as I hoped I would!

Holly Plume has one passion in her life: books. She loves her job as a book seller and devotes all of her remaining free time to her blog where she reviews romance novels under the pseudonym Sultry Scarlet. All her hard work pays off when she is invited to one of the biggest publishing events of the year where she hopes to meet her favourite author, AJ Ruffo. While at the party, she accidentally falls into the arms of a handsome man named Santo Randolfi. Holly is certain it must be AJ Ruffo, but when he tells her he is actually a romance author whose novel she recently gave an extremely bad review on her blog, things start to get complicated…

I loved the plotline of this short story, especially since I could easily relate to Holly since I’m also a book blogger and a big Christmas fan, just like she is. A touch of romance is added to the story by Holly bumping into Santo Randolfi at the big publishing party she is invited to, and with it comes a bit of mystery as well, since I found myself guessing until the end who Santo really is. I just thought it was a shame that the story was so short, because I think it would have been really interesting to read an entire novel starring Holly and her adventures within the blogging and publishing world!

Carla Caruso’s writing style is quite quick-paced with enough details and just really comfortable to read. I love short stories, because they are incredibly easy to pick up during your lunch break or on your commute to work, and this one is simply perfect for the holiday season. ‘Secret Santo’ is a fun, feel-good and festive Christmas novella; a great and quick read to pick up to get ready for the holidays!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Thanks so much, Jody. Love your gorgeous site! Merry Chrissy

  2. I loved this book too. I giggled every time a new character was mentioned as they all had Christmas themed names.

    Look out for the latest one from this author (Pretty Famous) - you got a mention in the Acknowledgments. (Me too).