Whether you're into historical fiction, page-turning thrillers or revealing memoirs, we've got something for everyone to add to their winter reading list.
Halloween might be the holiday of choice for atmospheric storytelling, but this posthumous collection of short stories by the Queen of Crime, P. D. James, puts a Christmas spin on the whodunit to delightfully macabre effect. The four tales feature a mysterious inheritance, a family reunion gone awry, an illicit affair and a questionable suicide. And while the clues are there, it's not until the final paragraph that the miscreants are revealed. You'll have visions dancing through your head…but they likely won't be sugarplums. — Alexandra Donaldson
The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories (Knopf Canada) by P. D. James, $28.
Bridget Jones is back, and this time, she's got a bun in the oven. In Helen Fielding's fourth novel about the British singleton, timed to coincide with a movie covering the same events, our charmingly awkward protagonist is the linchpin in yet another love triangle. Some time after breaking up with Mr. Darcy, they meet again and sparks fly. The trouble is, shortly thereafter, they fly with someone else, too. Then, Bridget realizes she's pregnant, and she doesn't know which man is the father. — Stacy Lee Kong
Bridget Jones's Baby: The Diaries (Knopf Canada) by Helen Fielding, $30.
In Robert Harris's latest thriller, the Pope's sudden death has triggered the secretive process of electing a new pontiff. Harris lifts the veil on the clandestine negotiations, caustic infighting and taut intrigue as the Holy See transforms the black smoke of dissent to the white smoke of consensus over a heart-pumping 72-hour period. A must for any lover of political fiction, Conclave offers a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of the Catholic Church's most critical election. — Jes Watson
Conclave (Random House Canada) by Robert Harris, $25.
It's 1996 and Jack Reacher is still a major in the U.S. army's Military Police Corps. After receiving a medal for a mission, he's ordered to report to night school—a front for an assignment involving the FBI and the CIA. The task: Find an American in Hamburg, Germany, who's trying to sell an unknown entity (a bomb? A bioweapon? Insider info?) to a jihadist organization, then discover what the entity is. Reacher is as confident and skilled as ever, and “the American” is the perfect bad guy: unpredictable, slightly unhinged and obsessed with his ultimate goal. — Andrea Karr
Night School: A Jack Reacher Novel (Delacorte Press) by Lee Child, $37.
Suspenseful weekend read
If you're looking for a clever thriller, The Twenty-Three is your ideal read. The final installment in Linwood Barclay's Promise Falls trilogy wraps up the story of a seemingly cursed town that has seen three years of horrific murders and gruesome stunts tied to the number 23. In this gripping conclusion, citizens all over the town of Promise Falls wake up one morning plagued with dizziness, racing hearts, low blood pressure and vomiting—and the mystery condition is sometimes fatal. What ensues is a dramatic search for the cause of the sudden sickness, all while past grievances, petty rivalries and the discovery of multiple new murder victims threaten to destroy many families already barely hanging on. Barclay is a master of the genre and will keep you up late into the night, torn between savouring every detail and racing to the end. Be sure to read the first two books in the trilogy before diving into this latest juicy read; you'll have a much richer sense of the characters and an even more suspense-filled journey if you follow the series from tip to tail. — AK
Try these tips to feel energized and awake even when you tossed and turned the night before.
Whether brought on by sick kids or the stress of a looming deadline, restless nights happen. Fortunately, it's possible to eat, drink and rest your way back from a sleepless night. Here's how to feel energetic and rested after a bad night's sleep.
Choose the right foods
Why does that doughnut look so very good when you're so very tired? "Sleep restriction has been clearly shown to increase appetite for calorie-dense foods," says Dr. Charles Samuels, founder and medical director at the Centre for Sleep and Human Performance in Calgary. Tara Maltman-Just, pharmacist and executive clinician at Vitality Integrative Medicine in Winnipeg, agrees. "After a night or two of sleep deprivation, we tend to go for things that will give us that instant energy surge: sugar, energy drinks, coffee, even carbohydrates," she says. "However, we'd be best served over the course of the day by making sure we're balancing each meal or snack with protein and a healthy fat."
If you're struggling to keep your eyes open, enjoy eggs with veggies for breakfast or a salad with nuts and avocado for lunch. That way, says Maltman-Just, "you give your body continuous good-quality energy that will release gradually."
Get to know joe
As caffeine-crazy Canadians, many of us can't get by without our morning (and afternoon) cups of joe. But consuming too much caffeine makes it less effective—even when we need it most, like after a long night spent tossing and turning.
To keep your brew working for you, reduce your daily caffeine consumption to one or two cups of coffee in the morning, says Dr. Samuels. "Then, interject caffeine where required," he says. "For instance, if you're sleep-deprived and need to be awake for a meeting that afternoon, that's the time you would use caffeine."
Nab a nap
Add some force to that caffeine kick by adding a 15- to 20-minute nap after you've downed a cup. "A nap is far more effective than caffeine, and a nap plus caffeine is most effective," explains Dr. Samuels. Because caffeine's alertness-boosting effect takes 30 to 60 minutes to peak, drinking a cup of coffee before snoozing will provide the benefits of a rejuvenating short stretch of sleep as well as a natural limit to the nap.
Try one of the sleeping methods to help you get a better night's rest.
This story was originally part of "Bouncing Back From A Bad Sleep" in the November 2015 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!
Canadian Living's home and garden director shows off her curves in a body con dress.
Photography by Carlyle Routh. Hair by Jukka/Davines/Plutino Group. Makeup by Jodi Urichuk/Bite Beauty/Plutino Group.
Have you ever flirted with the idea of trying a daring style but weren't quite sure how to pull it off? We found six women who were intrigued by a trend they usually avoid, then we gave them the support and style advice to help them make it their own. Here, Canadian Living's home and garden director, Sarah Gunn, steps out in a body con dress.
Much like Sarah's decor esthetic, sunny hues and pretty pastels are her wardrobe mainstays, along with ladylike fit-and-flare frocks. But there's one item of clothing Sarah has always admired on other women yet hasn't slipped into herself: a body-conscious dress. "I have curves—some in the right places and some not—and I'm not sure how to enhance the good ones and hide the bad ones in a formfitting style," says Sarah.
Karl Lagerfeld dress, $189, thebay.com. Earrings, bracelets, ring and shoes, bananarepublic.ca. Clutch, coach.com.
The first step to feeling confident in a body-hugging dress is a good foundation, a.k.a. undergarments. Sarah donned a Shapeez Tankee slip ($125, shapeez.com), an all-in-one bra, slip and shaper that helps eliminate visible bra lines and back bulges while slimming the waist and the stomach. When it comes to choosing a fitted dress, keep it sophisticated; we selected a style with elbow length sleeves and a high neckline, allowing Sarah's silhouette and her legs to be highlighted. Finally, the dress features black panels on the sides, which ever so slightly cinch the waist, helping to create the illusion of a more defined midriff.
Shop the trend:
Floral dress, $80, express.com
Zippered dress, $420, marc-cain.com
Scuba dress, $100, reitmans.com
Aspen dress, $129, bebe.com
Body con dress, $140, lechateau.com
Felicity & Coco dress, $137, nordstrom.com
Dex dress, $79, thebay.com
Dress, $210, armaniexchange.com
Franca sweater dress, $178, guess.ca
Body con dress, $50, dynamiteclothing.com
Looking to revamp your wardrobe? Now's the time to get shopping—everything's on sale!
We know the holiday season—and all the indulgence that goes with it—can take a serious hit on your bank account. But with the long stretch of sub-zero temperatures and blankets of snow ahead, it's nice to pick up a couple of new fashion items to keep you fresh. Our tip? The best bargains are surprisingly scored after the Boxing Day madness, so we went ahead and collected our top contenders to have you starting 2017 off right.
Wilfred Free skirt, $35 (from $85), aritzia.com.
L&L Relaxed Straight Denim, $24 (from $60), additionelle.com.
Wool blend coat, $80 (from $180), hm.com.
London Rebel mules, $56 (from $80), asos.com.
Suede shift dress, $15 (from $43), oldnavy.ca.
Velvet blazer, $50 (from $159), zara.com.
Marecchia boot, $50 (from $100), aldoshoes.com.
Sequin dress, $80 (from $180), eloquii.com.
Nude flounce top, $17 (from $25), forever21.com.
Utility cords, $40 (from $70), gapcanada.ca.
Plaid jacket, $129 (from $215), bananarepublic.ca.
Embroidered blouse, $30 (from $90), zara.com.
Classic flannel shirt, $9 (from $30), oldnavy.ca.
L&L Lace blouse, $16 (from $40), additionelle.com.
Minimum lace top, $52 (from $90), asos.com.
Fluffy coat, $90 (from $180), mango.com.
Textured stripe utility jacket, $60 (from $108), gapcanda.ca.
Wilfred dress, $85 (from $145), aritzia.com.
Faux leather knee-high boots, $37 (from $61), forever21.com.
Lace midi dress, $40 (from $90), zara.com.
Fluffy sweater, $30 (from $60), mango.com.
L&L Faux Shearling Coat, $84 (from $210), additionelle.com.
Merino wool sweater, $43 (from $85), bananarepublic.ca.