3 Romantic Reads to Warm Your Winter Nights

Love comes in all forms, from all places and it crosses all eras. This eclectic mix of romantic books has one unifying element… love.

The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

The best of me

No, not The Notebook. This marginally lesser-known novel by the incredible Mr. Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me, is a love story of no less emotion. The story follows Amanda and Dawson, two high school students who fall in love in early 1980s Louisiana despite their radically different backgrounds. One tragic evening, a scuffle results in an accidental shooting, thrusting young Dawson behind bars. Despite daily visits to the prison, Dawson shuns Amanda, sure that her life would be better without him in it. But fate has other ideas. A quarter of a century later, a mutual friend’s funeral draws them back to the small southern town where it all happened. In one fateful weekend, they are reunited and forced to confront the question – “What if…?”

Read if: You want to believe in true love

Best for: Doing the ugly cry

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

me before you

Fast becoming a modern classic, Me Before You is a gut-wrenching tale of unlikely love. Destiny takes charge when endearingly goofy Louisa Clark (Lou) accepts a job caring for wealthy Will Traynor, who is tragically confined to a wheelchair after a motorcycle accident. Stand-offish at first, wry Will soon warms to hapless Lou and the two fall in love. The tides turn when Lou discovers Will’s plan to travel to Switzerland to end his life, which had become unbearable before their paths crossed. Will their love cause a miracle…? Well, you’ll just have to read it and find out.

Read if: You want to feel all the feels

Best for: Doing the ugly cry some more

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

outlander

A series of eight books, historical romance Outlander – just like The Best of Me and Me Before You – has been brought to the screen to move readers and viewers alike. The story follows World War II nurse Claire Randall, who takes a second honeymoon with her husband in Scotland, only to find herself in a stone circle that unexpectedly catapults her back in time to the 1800’s (as you do). There, Claire falls for Jamie of Clan MacKenzie. With too many twists and turns to fully explain succinctly, what you need to know is this; the seamless fusion of historical fiction, sci-fi and romance shouldn’t work, but it absolutely does. This is a must-read if you want a beautiful, sweeping love story delivered in a completely fresh way.

Read if: You love a Scottish highland romance fused with time travel

Best for: Enjoying a none-traditional love story

I can’t allow this list to draw to a close without two honorary mentions.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, in which an unlikely romance taking place in India after an Australian bank robber flees his home country. And finally, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, an enchanting story set to the backdrop of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, told through the eyes of the women of medieval Camelot.

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So pour yourself a hot cup of tea, snuggle in and get ready to read romance spanning the ages. Enjoy!

5 Ways to Enjoy New Year’s Eve as a Singleton

The holidays are known to be a time when couples… well, couple. At this time of year it’s easy to feel down about not having a love to share milestone events with. But can the same be said for New Year’s Eve? As it happens, there are a number of advantages to your single status as the clock counts down to 2017. Here are five of them.

Make it a night to remember with your buddies

You have an incredible group of friends who all migrated to their various corners of the country for Christmas. Now everyone’s returned to the city and still very much in the holiday spirit, gather your nearest and dearest pals and make memories with them. Host a house party and invite people to stay with you to avoid the rush of the taxis. Being the host with the most gives you a purpose on NYE and it’s incredibly satisfying to see your closest friends having a blast in the four walls of your home.

Buy tickets to that wickedly popular club

If you’re in a relationship, you need to compromise with your other half when it comes to the ideal New Year’s Eve. If they want to stay in and you’re geared up for a night on the tiles, one of you will ultimately cave and give in. But if you’re single – now’s the time to have the New Year’s Eve you’re craving! Had your eye on that painfully trendy club? Grab a couple friends, buy your tickets and go all out!

Meet people from all over the world

One of my favourite memories of New Year’s Eve dates back to Sydney, Australia in 2004. (and yes, this does make me feel very old!) There’s something about New Year’s Eve that brings together people from the corners of the globe, and you don’t have to be overseas to experience this. Any major city is a hub of activity on December 31, so head into town and talk to everyone you cross paths with – who knows, maybe there’s a spare room with your name on it in the city you vow to visit in 2017!

Stay up however late you please

If your other half’s an early bird and you’re a night owl, NYE can be a tough one to agree on. One of you is waiting for midnight to strike before their bed beckons; but to you, the night begins at 12:01am! If you don’t have anyone to go home to, you can stay up dancing and laughing with your friends until the sun rises!

Embrace the thrill of the midnight kiss

But I don’t know who I’ll be with when the clock strikes midnight,” I hear you wail…! Fear not, my single compadre – the thrill of the midnight kiss is the best part of being single on New Year’s! If you’re out at the wickedly popular club and you’re meeting people from all over the world, you’re already well on your way. Just be sure you’re conveniently locked in conversation with that cute Italian as the minutes fall through the hourglass on this year, and that coveted midnight smooch is yours for the taking.

Now if you don’t mind, I’m off to brush up on my lyrics to Auld Lang Syne…!

Top 5 Holiday Movies To Watch With Your Love

The weather outside is frightful! It’s time to cozy up and watch some festive classics. Whether you’re snuggling up with your love, your friends and family, or you’re watching solo, these movies are guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart. Enjoy!

The Holiday

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A feel-good tale of two single women swapping their Los Angeles and London homes during the holidays in the hopes of avoiding romance over the festive season. What will they do when love does indeed cross their path…? The Holiday is delightfully romantic and in parts deliciously cheesy, and will have you laughing and crying simultaneously. I may or may not have watched this lovely movie tonight, sobbed like a baby and enjoyed it immensely.

Watch if: Unexpected intercontinental romances are your jam

Best for: Feeling festively romantic

Love Actually

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This festive staple follows a group of eight couples as they traverse their love lives during the festive season, as their stories unknowingly intertwine. It’s funny, sweet, romantic and brilliantly written. A personal favourite and a must-watch!

Watch if: You like your Christmas movies with a British flavour

Best for: Feeling festively romantic… in London.

Home Alone

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A Christmas movie list simply isn’t complete without this holiday season staple! Watch as a young Kevin McCallister fends for himself when, in a rush to make their flight to Paris, his family forgets about their son and leaves him behind. After burglars target his family’s home in a quiet suburban street, the quick-thinking 8-year-old sets a series of wince-worthy booby-traps to ensnare the would-be bandits. Hilarity ensues!

Watch if: It’s been almost 365 days since you last watched Home Alone, and frankly that’s too long

Best for: Feeling nostalgic about Christmases past

Elf

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“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is…” (come on, you know it!) “singing loud for all to hear!” Adult-sized, child-like elf Buddy – played brilliantly by Will Ferrell – returns to New York City in search of his father, who he hears has made Santa’s naughty list. Buddy’s innocent behavior in a city of non-believers is as heartwarming as it is hilarious, and culminates with Santa’s sleigh crashing in Central Park. The sleigh can’t power up without Christmas cheer. And if that scene doesn’t make you a little glassy-eyed, you may be more Grinch than Elf!

Watch if: You need to be reminded of all that’s good in the season

Best for: Feeling full of festive cheer

Die Hard (no, really)

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This one’s a little controversial in terms of holidays movies, but Die Hard movies one and two are both set on Christmas Eve! If you want to see Bruce Willis aka reluctant hero John McClane chasing a group of bad guys around L.A. and Washington D.C. to a background of tinsel and Christmas trees, this is the movie for you. After all, nothing gets the heart racing like an action movie. Yippee-ki-yay..!

Watch if: You need some retro action hero Bruce Willis in your holidays (who doesn’t?)

Best for: Giving you a different kind of holiday movie

Do you have more Christmas movie recommendations? Tweet me @cheryljmuir!

Confidence-Boosting Tips For Every Dater

Confidence is sexy. And it really is the secret sauce to successful dating.

Whether you’re trying to catch the eye of that handsome fella in the coffee shop or secure your second date, it all starts with you. Here’s what you need to know.

Love yourself first

I know this sounds corny beyond belief. But it’s true. You need to build your future relationship on a foundation of deep love and respect for yourself. While this all sounds rather lovely and fluffy, there are practical ways to achieve this. Essentially, you need to prepare your mind to ensure you’re able to receive love. “How?” I hear you ask. I have a couple tricks to share with you!

Value your unique quirks

We all have our own little habits and idiosyncrasies which make us unique. The great thing is this attracts the right person because it makes you stand out. Love bright colors? Wear them. Book worm? Hang out in bookstores. Comic book obsessed? Get yourself to a comic con. Not only are you allowing your freak flag to fly, increasing your confidence and self-worth massively, but you’re more likely to meet a guy on your wavelength who’s interested in these things, too.

Prepare your mind for love

Affirmations work like a charm. Phrases such as, “I am worthy of the love I desire” or “I am beautiful. I am loved. I am worthy” are powerful. Schedule them on your iPhone to pop up throughout the day. Stick them on your bathroom mirror. On the side of your hard drive at work. Journal on your perfect day. Who are you waking up next to? How does your day start? What do you say to one another? Write about it in detail and evoke all of your senses. Type it up and set it as a reminder on your phone. Read it every morning. Feel into it as if it’s already happening.

Take care of yourself

Self-care has become such a buzz word that it’s reached the point of sounding cliché. But you really do need to take care of yourself to attract the right partner. It’s about nourishing yourself from the inside out. Whether it’s moving your body, eating well, or making sure you have a massage or a manicure every couple weeks, do something that makes your mind and your body feel good.

Have a purpose beyond dating

It’s really dull, and actually quite sad, when you go on a date with someone and your date buddy has no conversation outside of the dates they’ve recently been on. Don’t let that be you. It’s incredibly attractive to have ambition and a focus outside of dating. Whether it’s volunteering or a really challenging work project, busy yourself with something to compliment your quest for love.

If you take only one lesson here, allow it to be this.

Love yourself first.

A relationship based on a foundation of deep self-worth is one that will last far beyond that nervous number exchange at Starbucks.


Connect with Author Cheryl J. Muir on Facebook 

7 Ways To Drive Any Woman Wild

All the small things… remember that song?

Saucy word play aside, it really is the small things about you that make our pulse race. And it might not be what you think. Whether we’ve just started dating or we’re happily coupled up, here are seven times you drove us absolutely wild without even knowing it.

When you brushed past us at the restaurant

When we’re truly into you, all it takes it a small touch in public. Accidentally-on-purpose brush past us. Lightly graze our arm with your fingertips. Rest your hand on our lower back. Because we know what’s coming when we get home.

When you wore that cologne

We have absolutely no idea what it is, but you smell amazing. It’s like success and sophistication mixed with a whole heap of sexy. Wear it again. We’ll find our own way to thank you.

When you opened the door for us

In an era when chivalry is as hard to find as a seat in Starbucks, gentlemanly acts make us swoon. Yes, we’re strong and independent. But showing your noble side makes us feel safe and protected. And it’s sexy!

When you shared your fantasies with us

There’s nothing sexier than when you share your saucy confessions with us. It makes us see you in a whole new light and we feel closer to you knowing you trust us with your innermost desires. And it also makes us feel more comfortable sharing our desires with you.

When you looked at us across the room

Sometimes you look sexier from afar, glancing at us from across a crowded room and looking at us in that way.

When you wore a suit

Tailored. Smart. Sexy. Whether it’s for that important client meeting or a big interview, we love how you look in a suit. Any time. For any reason. Find a reason. Just…. YES.

When you gave back

“What’s that babe? You’re volunteering for the hospital foundation? We LOVE when you’re kind. Generosity is HOT.

Do you know what’s sexiest of all? The fact that you weren’t trying in these moments.

You were just being the best version of yourself, and you won us over. That’s all you need to do. It’s simple, confident and sexy.


More from Cheryl Muir – To read the first three chapters of Cheryl’s erotic crime thriller, Angel of the Night, click here