Being single means you have to either be a strategist and/or read minds. I play the ‘Easy as Pie’ level of Sudoku on my iPhone. So you know, I haven’t found someone permanent yet. I love men. I love the way they sometimes look. The way some of them walk. The way some of them smell. The intelligence some of them have. I even love the way some of them behave. Okay, I love some men.

I’ve tried the whole meeting men but not ending up on dates. The on-line dating to meet men but not continue dating them (accurate pictures and personality descriptions would be more helpful). I’ve even tried the one night stands that didn’t end up making it as far as a one night stand. So out of pure frustration I did what every sane, single woman does to find answers. I had my palm read. Apparently according to my palm I have a man and two kids.  It was a bit of a surprise to the nice man who read my palm that none of this was true. I’ve lived my life though so I heard the little cackle from fate on that one.

A way more ‘still entertaining for me but just less entertaining for everyone else around me’ pastime is reading a good novel. I call myself a realistic romantic but others call me a cynic. That could be more accurate. So it might seem a bit odd, or not, when you hear who some of my favourite authors are.

Diana Gabaldon

Many years ago a friend lent me her copy of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (website here). I was so engrossed by this book, I struggled to put it down. I had to force myself to go to bed at night. To go to work everyday. To leave my house in the evenings to join my softball team at our games.

While I am a huge history buff, I’m not exactly sure what is romantic about traveling through time, being attacked and trying to stay alive. All while having to live without modern conveniences. Honestly, it’s the lack of toilets, running water and showers that gets me. Although the romantic part might have something to do with the very large, muscular, kind, red-headed, gorgeous man with a Scottish accent who not only had the heroine’s back and helped her survive but he believed her even though she sounded like some kind of crazy person. Ummmm, my perfect man?

When I finished this book, I was lost, I couldn’t believe it was over. I would drive down the street, tear up and tell myself the city never used to look like this. One day I was walking through a department store past the book section when I saw Diana Gabaldon’s name on a book. I read the jacket and let out a little squeal. It might have been louder than I thought though, that sometimes happens. There was more to this story. There were three more books (if you know this series you know this was obviously many years ago). I left and walked right to the bookstore in the mall so I could purchased all three books.

If I thought I had a hard time taking part in my life with the first book by this author, you can imagine how it was for me when I had to finish three more books in this series. I was not disappointed though. I absolutely love reading about Claire & Jamie, two very strong, intelligent, resourceful characters who live in a scary time and manage to still meet & fall in love.

I’ve read one of Diana Gabaldon’s books in the Lord John series. I didn’t really like it though so I couldn’t enjoy it or read any of the others. I think I was so invested in the Outlander story I had a hard time with something different. I’ll try again.

I’ve been watching the TV show and I love it. For someone who fell in love with Jamie & Claire’s story I feel that the TV show is telling it in a wonderful, ‘true to story’ way. If you haven’t read the books I’m not sure if you would feel the same but I am enjoying it. It doesn’t hurt that Sam Heughan’s portrayal of Jamie is pretty close to what I had pictured in my imagination. Hey if you haven’t read the books you can still watch the TV show for the hotness, the adventure, and the sex. It’s as good as the book.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips

At one time I belonged to one of those book clubs where you sit at home and order books from a flyer that were then delivered to your house. All while relaxing at home, on the couch, growing your ass. Basically the prehistoric version of on-line shopping. One month I ordered Nobody’s Baby But Mine by the author Susan Elizabeth Phillips (website here). For the first time, I laughed out loud while reading a book. I didn’t even care who heard me. There was so much sarcasm I felt if these two could find each other, I must be able to find someone. *In reality though, I’ve been told my amazingly dark sense of humour mixed with my outgoingness and sometimes overflowing amount of sarcasm can just be a bit overwhelming for most men. Maybe even frightening.*

I fell in love with Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ style of writing. Except for one, I now own every one of her books. I even own three of Nobody’s Baby But Mine – the original one, the paperback I bought myself when I was living in England to re-read and another paperback for when I lend it out to people I’m introducing to SEP’s work. Her books tend to all follow what seems like the same format of meet, argue & fight which leads to love & sex, break-up and then get together for good but it’s that format of passion mixed with humour and sarcasm that keeps me coming back.

While it’s nice to see the male characters grow over the course of the book, I really like watching the female characters learn about themselves. The heroines are struggling and down on their luck in some way when the story begins but during that story they all find their strength and their courage. They stand up for themselves, take care of themselves and won’t be taken for granted. Her books are always fun and entertaining to read including the last book of her’s I read, Heroes Are My Weakness. She has a new book out though so I will have to go shopping.

Jane Costello

A few or more years ago I was in Scotland for my brother’s wedding so of course I used that trip wisely. As my Mom said, “You can’t fly over for your brother’s wedding and not go somewhere else.”. I was lucky enough to add a week each in Morocco and London as well as my week in Scotland. It was a wonderful trip even though I got really sick near the end of it. The morning I was leaving to come back home I was in Heathrow Airport feeling awful and I just wanted to buy myself something so I went into a shop to check out the books.

I saw three different books by British author Jane Costello (website here). I read all three jackets and wanted to buy all three books but I figured I should control myself because what if I didn’t end up liking her writing. Well, that and I didn’t have enough money left for all three books. So I bought two. I read My Single Friend first and absolutely loved it. Then, thanks to on-line, growing your ass shopping, I bought the third book.

I love, love Jane Costello’s books. They are funny, realistic, supply me with British terms to feed my withdrawals, and oh my gosh, did I mention funny. The heroine is always having a string of bad luck when she meets a man. Which reminds me of me minus the meeting a great man and him staying part. Jane Costello also shows great imagination in her ability to come up with original bad luck for every book, which is not duplicated from her previous books. It’s very impressive. In The Time of Our Lives the heroine has everything happen from dropping her phone in a fruit salad at a breakfast buffet to breaking her arm.

Jane Costello’s version of everything though keeps me laughing. Messy crying, snorting and coughing laughing. I can’t put the book down until I finish it. I’m a little behind on my reading but I’ve already purchased The Love Shack and Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel so I can’t wait to read those when I get a chance. Plus she has a Kindle book for download called The Little Things.

I read on Jane Costello’s website that she has written a book called You Me Everything that will be available in 2018, under the pseudonym of Catherine Isaac. It will apparently be a bit different than her other books but I still can’t wait to read it.

 

Reading these authors makes me happy and hopeful about life.  They write about strong, intelligent female characters who don’t settle for a man because they need him and need to be taken care of by him. These characters choose love and their man, for their life.  While I do read other authors and other genres, these are my go-to authors for a quick, happy and hopeful about life, feeling. I even stay up to date with their new book progress by randomly checking their web-sites.