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2. A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

Jen's picture

Taking place over the span of 24 hours, this inventive novel follows a rotating cast of raucous characters through the snowy streets of Philadelphia. The book centers around Madeline Altamari, an aspiring jazz singer who is nine years old. Left to her own devices after the sudden death of her mother nearly a year ago incapacitates her father, Madeline is smart mouthed, grieving and about to have the adventure of her lifetime on Christmas Eve Eve. 

Add Madeline's principal who has it out for her because she is her mama's daughter; her favorite teacher Miss Sarina Green, recently returned to Philly after a divorce; and the owner of the Cat's Pajamas, Lorca, who is facing the club's imminent demise along with several other colorful characters and you have a highly entertaining whirlwind of a novel with a healthy dash of magical realism rounding out the entire affair. It's a small book, and though it can easily be devoured in one sitting it will remain with the reader long after the last, powerful line. A recommended read for music lovers, prose lovers, and really just about anyone with a sense of humor and wonder.

The Distance

Vita's picture

At the intermission of a London opera performance, elegant socialite Charlotte Alton makes eye contact with a mysterious man who hands her a battered Christmas ornament before disappearing. It’s a message for Karla, an underworld fixer who can make information disappear—Charlotte Alton’s powerful and amoral alter ego. The invitation to meet is Charlotte’s first step onto a dark path that will bring together old enemies and new in a twisty puzzle-box of a thriller exploring intersections between the worlds of crime, intelligence gathering, police work, and high society. Elegantly written and tightly plotted, every detail matters in this dark and gripping debut.

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