Books I’ve loved this month!

It is so rare for me to carve out time to read anything more than a fitness magazine or a cookbook – something that is easily picked up and put down. Luckily, our recent holiday involved two long (5 hour) plane rides, which meant time to dig into two novels that I absolutely loved. My littlest was occupied with her tablet on the way there and slept on my lap for the return flight, meaning the chance to be blissfully absorbed in a novel (or two!)💗

The first novel was recommended in Gone Girl author, Gillian Flynn’s, list of her favourite love stories. Such Pretty Flowers by K.L. Cerra is a dark love story about a woman searching for answers to her younger brother’s brutal suicide. At the centre of the mystery is the brother’s beautiful but unsettling florist/herbalist girlfriend, Maura. I loved the setting of Savannah (on my bucket list of southern destinations!) and the botanical elements of the story. I like love stories that are a little dark and creepy! Towards the end I read pretty furiously, eager to discover Maura’s secrets.

The second vacay novel was an advance copy of A Death at the Party by Canadian bestselling author, Amy Stuart. I was able to meet her and she even signed my copy (making me feel a little guilty for how beaten up it got by the pool!).

First, the cover art of the book is gorgeous and I was drawn to the display with every ounce of my floral-loving spirit. The story takes place over the course of a day, following the main character, Nadine, as she prepares to host a garden party in honour of her mother’s birthday. Her mother is a bestselling mystery author whose life is a rags to riches tale in the vein of JK Rowling…from single mother to Nadine to successful writer with a fortune.

The story opens with another pretty brutal death and we are left wondering why Nadine allows the man to die in front of her. Nadine is a complex character. At times I related to her quest for perfection – she loves checklists and order, worries about her children, stresses about her age and appearance. She lives in her head, ruminating over the past and holding on to so many secrets that it seems almost unfathomable that she hasn’t completely broken into pieces.

Reading this novel made me reflect on the secrets we keep from those around us and even from those closest to us. Whether it’s to maintain a veneer of outward perfection or to shield others from hurt, the weight of secrets can make it almost impossible to breathe.

While doing her mother’s makeup for the party, Nadine’s daughter does notes that she used waterproof mascara “in case you cry. Not that you ever cry.” While protesting, Nadine admits inwardly that it’s true – she buries her feelings. I can’t even begin to explain how much I related to the character at that moment. There isn’t ever time to let feelings loose – it’s always on to the next to-do list or the next project.

Again, I couldn’t put this book down as eager as I was to learn the identity and the reason for Nadine’s seeming cruelty in the opening page. It’s a great read for so many reasons but most of all for Stuart’s ability to create such believable characters.

Finally, a nonfiction title: Abigail James’ The Glow Plan. I adore Abigail James and follow her videos on YouTube and her Instagram account. She’s lovely and has such a soothing voice. This book has advice about skin care, diet, exercise and more but my favourite parts and what she is known for is her facial massage techniques.

I’ve been devoted to facial massage since doing my face yoga training and Abigail James has – in my opinion – some of the most beautiful techniques. In this book she gives a 4 week plan that includes all aspects of wellness and is designed to give you softer, plumper and more glowing skin. Definitely check this book out!

KL Cerra Such Pretty Flowers

Amy Stuart A Death at the Party (pre-order)

Abigail James The Glow Plan

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