Last night my book club and I had the first fire pit of the year, and today it’s cool and rainy with temperatures in the low 60s. Gotta love spring in Wisconsin!
I still have Christmas in April on my mind, though, and I checked in with a few more authors whose Christmas-themed books I read. If you missed last week’s post, I mentioned the fact that over the past decade or so “Christmas in April” has come to represent a volunteer drive and heightened volunteer activity for a number of non-profits, so I thought it would be an interesting opportunity to ask the authors to share their favorite charities and we’d highlight them as part of the post.
I’m happy to say that my Christmas reading was varied and fun!
Do you follow Tule Publishing? Tule is a mostly e-publishing platform started by Jane Porter, and they are doing great work with some very popular authors. Jane was also part of Tule’s The Cowboys of Copper Mountain: A Christmas Collection I mentioned last weekand her novella, Christmas at Copper Mountain, was as delightful as the other titles.
Harley, a wary widow who has lost her whole family in a plane crash, takes a temporary housekeeping position at a ranch, but is thrown for a loop when the taciturn owner’s twelve-year-old twins show up, having run away from their boarding school early. Mack and Molly have never truly experienced Christmas, and have a strained relationship with their father, but when Harley lets down her own guard to try to help the family heal, the rancher doesn’t exactly appreciate her efforts, no matter how attracted to Harley he is.
Jane is passionate about World Vision, which she has supported for nearly 20 years “starting with sponsoring a child in Africa in 1998, to the 5 children I sponsor today, to helping build a school for girls in Zambia, to providing uniforms and books and school fees for girls all over the world. I love that World Vision takes care of US families and children, as well as aiding women who are trying to become small business owners. I believe in World Vision's mission with my whole heart.”
I had the joy of reading Jamie Pope’s Harlequin Kimani title, Kissed By Christmas. I haven’t had the chance to read too much by Jamie (aka Sugar Jamison and Ginger Jamison) but what I have, I’ve loved - especially her Sugar Jamison Curvy Girl/Perfect Fit series.
Kissed By Christmas was a delightful read, and melded a touching romance between a FDNY EMT and a school teacher transplanted from the beach paradise of Hideaway Island, Florida to snowy New York. When Hallie slips in the snow and suffers a concussion, Asa is the first responder, and after they realize they live on the same floor in their apartment building, Asa checks in on her and romance blooms. Sharing a snow-kissed New York Christmas almost makes Hallie decide she can make it work in New York, but then they meet up in her idyllic hometown, and things get a little dicey when Hallie’s ex wants to win her back and her family exerts pressure for her to move home. This was such a perfect romantic Christmas read!
Jamie’s spotlight charity is Sandy Hook Promise—“I'm a teacher in a town that borders Newtown. All of us know someone who was there that day. Nicole Hockley is the managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan Hockley who was killed that day. I’ve seen her speak and I feel strongly that we all need to get more involved in combatting gun violence. Sandy Hook Promise provides education to prevent gun-related deaths due to crime, suicide, and accidental discharge.”
Another holiday favorite last year was Anita Hughes’ Christmas in Paris, which I adored (and which received a great review, too.) A Christmas romance in Paris. Need we say more? Add in an adorable meet/cute: a sweetheart of a hero and a lovely heroine who is falling in love without quite realizing it, while she looks for her perfect mate in all the wrong places. Completely charming. (Hughes has another seasonal book this year, Christmas in London — happy sigh —which is already available for pre-order.)
Hughes’ favorite charity is charity: water—“My daughter founded a chapter of Charitywater.org when she was a freshman in high school. Her involvement really opened my eyes to the terrible deprivation caused by lack of water and I was so proud of her for wanting to make a difference.”
Are you a fan of Jaci Burton? I love her Play-By-Play (sports romance) series, so when I saw a Christmas bundle from Burton available last year, I scooped it up! Show Me and Unwrapped were romantically satisfying and even hotter than her typical fare—almost better than a crackling fire to warm you up after a day in the snow! Show Me and Unwrapped both featured heroines whose day-to-day lives are a little more buttoned-up than maybe they’d like, but when the right circumstances and partners show up, they’re willing to explore their wilder sides. (More erotic than her hot but traditional titles, so keep that in mind. Still, if that’s your thing, it’s hard to go wrong with Jaci Burton.)
Burton’s favorite charity is Feeding America—“They're a nationwide network of food banks whose mission is to provide food to people in need. I wholeheartedly believe that no one should ever go hungry, and I support their mission of networking and volunteerism.”
Finally, I was able to catch up with a Whiskey Creek Christmas title from Brenda Novak. The Heart of Christmas originally came out in 2014, but I snagged an audio copy just after Christmas and really enjoyed it! The innkeeper has a naughty one night stand that has some truly unexpected consequences for her and her idyllic hometown.
Brenda is on deadline so she couldn’t send any commentary for this, but that’s not a problem, is it, since everyone knows Brenda’s fave charity mission: finding a cure for diabetes. You can learn more about her work on this issue at her website.
So there you have it - a few holiday recommendations, a reminder to do good work and support good causes, and some options that you may want to consider.
Thanks to all of the authors who participated, and to Tantor Audio, Tule, St. Martin’s, and Harlequin for their help in acquiring the titles.