Thursday, April 04, 2013

Jennie Shortridge's Newest Novel Debuts, Circle of Magic Books by Tamora Pierce

Though I was unable to attend this event, I have read all but the latest of Jennie Shortridge's novels, and I loved them all. She's an amazing writer, (and a talented singer, it appears) and this event sounds like it was quite a hit!

Music and Memory in Seattle
Jennie Shortridge launched her new book, Love Water Memory (Gallery
Books), Tuesday night at Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle with
readings bookended and punctuated by music from the Rejections (and
Trailing Spouses). The band, whose first gig was at the launch party for
Erica Bauermeister's The Lost Art of Mixing, is composed of
 and spouses: Shortridge on vocals, her husband, Matt Gani, on guitar and vocals; Paul Mariz
(husband of Laurie Frankel) on guitar and vocals; Ben Bauermeister
(husband of Erica) on violin; Garth Stein on bass; and Stephanie Kallos
on keyboard, vocals and percussion. And what a band it is! Shortridge is
a soulful, lyrical singer, and Kallos is a sultry songstress who soloed
on "They Can't Take That Away from Me." The violin perfectly complements
the guitars, the vocal backup is a pleasure. Lucky attendees found a CD
taped under their chairs, and you can download the songs on Shortridge's
website (highly

Aside from the sheer joy of the music, the songs in the set fit nicely
with Shortridge's readings. In Love Water Memory, Lucie finds herself
far from home, suffering from amnesia. Her fiancé, Brady, finds
her and takes her back to Seattle, where she is a stranger to him and to
herself. One of her first connections with her past is at the piano in
the basement of their house, where she finds herself playing "They Can't
Take That Away from Me" in the middle of the night. As Lucie begins to
recall her life, she sometimes longs to leave it; as she falls in love
again with Brady, he becomes distant. If you've read any of Shortridge's
books (When She Flew, etc.), you will guess how this ends, but that
doesn't lessen the journey you will take with Lucie and Brady one whit.
Get the book, download the music, and settle in for a treat. --Marilyn
Dahl, from Shelf Awareness
I've been reading Tamora Pierce's "Circle of Magic" YA fantasy series for the past 6 weeks, and I have to say that I'm really enjoying them. I've read most of the other series that Pierce has put out, including her Lioness series and Protector of the Small and her "Dog" series, the latter of which I think I enjoyed the most because Becca Cooper was such a kick-butt heroine.
Then someone mentioned this Circle of Magic series, and I knew that I had to get my own copies ASAP. I started with Sandry's Book, (#1) and found myself slipping easily into this latest world Pierce created, where four children are brought together by a mage named Nico, who uses his powers to find children whose magic isn't of the usual variety. Sandry, who is an orphaned noble, has weaver magic that uses fabric and thread to do its bidding, while Tris, a merchant's child, barely has control over weather magic, which uses air, lightening and water to create storms. Daja is basically a gypsy child whose family perished at sea, leaving her an outcast with her people. She has fire magic and can create living metal trees and other wonders by working with a forge and her magic. Briar is a street rat and a thief whose magic involves anything green and growing, from trees to grass and flowers in the soil. Each of these characters has their own book, but the stories within that book still include each of the other children, whom I gather are somewhere around 10-12 years old.
I have just completed Daja's book and I'm now on book 4, which is Briars book and the last of the series, or the first part of the series, I believe.
Pierce is one of the best YA writers in existence, and one of the few who write, and have been writing, strong female protagonists into their books since the 80s. I like to think that there are whole schools, gaggles and bundles of women out there who grew up reading about Alana and Becca Cooper, and were inspired to forge on through the sexist nonsense and patriarchal crap that society and industry throws at women and become whatever profession they felt called to become, be it traditionally male or not. I like to think there are a lot of female firefighters, truck drivers, rocket scientists and astronaughts, to name a few, who can trace their intestinal fortitude to Tamora Pierce's books of girls and women who refused to let someone else define who they are and what they can be, or shape their destiny.
Unfortunately, since I had a male child, I can't pass these books on to my son, who wouldn't find them particularly interesting. But, I hope one day to be able to hand them to a female grandchild and say "Read these and dream!"
BTW, I am looking forward to the grand reopening of our local branch of the King County Library System in Maple Valley next week. The place is supposed to be remodeled and refreshed, and hopefully it will have even easier access to books, videos and computers. I have really missed the MV Library these past 4 weeks, and I am looking forward to discussing "Maine" by J Courtney Sullivan, with my Tuesday night book group in the new library on April 9.

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