Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (28)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine where we all feature upcoming books we're eagerly anticipating.

I've altered things a little to include one book that hasn't come out yet and one that has already been published but I still haven't gotten around to reading yet.

Jennifer Van Der Berg would like you to know that the book ostensibly written about her—Born to Be Extraordinary by Eileen Codlin—is a bunch of bunk. Yes, she had a fairy godparent mess with her life, but no, she was not made into a princess or given the gift of self-confidence, and she sure as hell didn't get a hot boyfriend out of it.

Here's the REAL scoop . . .

Why I want to read it:

I love "real scoop" kind of stories. You know, where the narrator presents you with a rosy truth and then tells you the real deal, which is usually a lot less sunshine and moonbeams but is also usually filled with humor (and a happily ever after despite the snarky truth). That this disclosure story happens to deal with fairygodparents and hints at being a fractured fairy tale makes it sound awesome!

Product description of The Amulet of Samarkand (September 30, 2003):

Nathaniel is a boy magician-in-training, sold to the government by his birth parents at the age of five and sent to live as an apprentice to a master. Powerful magicians rule Britain, and its empire, and Nathaniel is told his is the "ultimate sacrifice" for a "noble destiny."

If leaving his parents and erasing his past life isn't tough enough, Nathaniel's master, Arthur Underwood, is a cold, condescending, and cruel middle-ranking magician in the Ministry of Internal Affairs...Everything changes when he is publicly humiliated by the ruthless magician Simon Lovelace and betrayed by his cowardly master who does not defend him.

Nathaniel vows revenge. In a Faustian fever, he devours magical texts and hones his magic skills, all the while trying to appear subservient to his master. When he musters the strength to summon the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus to avenge Lovelace by stealing the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, the boy magician plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything he could ever imagine.

In British author Jonathan Stroud's excellent novel, the first of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, the story switches back and forth from Bartimaeus's first-person point of view to third-person narrative about Nathaniel. Here's the best part: Bartimaeus is absolutely hilarious, with a wit that snaps, crackles, and pops. His dryly sarcastic, irreverent asides spill out into copious footnotes that no one in his or her right mind would skip over. A sophisticated, suspenseful, brilliantly crafted, dead-funny book that will leave readers anxious for more.

Why I want to read it:

I've had this series on my TBR for years. I even own all three books. It looks like one of those MG/YA action/adventure/fantasy series that appeals to both boys and girls, and I love those kinds of stories. I'm really looking forward to getting to know Bartimaeus. He sounds like he'll leave me laughing out loud. 

Have any of you read either of these books? Would you recommend them? 


  1. OMGosh, I've had the Bartimaeus series on my TBR for years too! I remember hearing it recommended for HP fans so you would think I would jump on that but somehow never did. I'm almost positive I would love it too.

  2. I do not like the cover for Extraordinary (it looks a little cheap to me) but the story sounds good.

    I read the first Bartimaeus book probably about six years ago as well as possibly the second but paused and never returned when I couldn't get my hands on the third. I remember enjoying it though.

  3. I like the sound of Extraordinary though the cover kind of sucks, I think, it's a bit cheap looking.

    The Bartimaeus book sounds nice, but kind of a mood read -like you got to be in the mood to read it :)

    Nice picks.

  4. Haven't heard of either of them. I like the sound of Extraordinary. And agree with Alex that the cover is kind of disappointing though.

  5. What? You haven't read the Bartimaeus books yet? You need to stop whatever you are doing, and start reading right now.

    I loved them, but I love fantasy books with a British feel. And there are copious footnotes full of snide remarks that are awesome.
    The world reminded me a little of Sorcery and Cecilia, by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. It also reminded me a little of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. If you liked those, you'll like Bartimaeus.

  6. The Amulet of Samarkand is a great book! It's quite a long read, so some parts may seem slow, but overall it was full of action and magic. I really think you'll like Bartimaeus, especially when the story is told from his point of view. Snarky footnotes are included! :)

  7. I read the first two Bartimaus books years ago and loved them but they sorta fell of the radar for me. You should definitely read them though, especially since you have all 3!

  8. No, I have not read or heard of these two books. They sound interesting and it's always nice to read something filled with humor!

  9. Bartimaeus is fantastic!!! (I have a review of the first book over here

    Even though its already out it is a brilliant WoW choice all the same! :D

    Amy @ Turn the Page

  10. I've read the Stroud books and they were fun! Bartimaeus is a riot!

  11. I haven't read them, but they sound intriguing. I'm always looking for new YA lit to check out, so I'll have to put them on my TBR. I thought you might like my WoW, which is a book by a new author that I'm working with: (S)Mythology by Jeremy Tarr. It's a modern day fairy tale that is wry and whimsical, and tackles life...death...and the Underworld. The book is super cute and has illustrations by artist Katy Small, which really bring the main character Sophie to life.

    You can read the first three chapters and check out the illustrations at or check out the book on Amazon here:


  12. The Jonathan Stroud book is frustrating...because I feel like I've read something by him, but can't remember what. Or maybe I'm thinking of something else.
    I don't like Extraordinary's cover.

  13. Like Alison, the name Jonathan Stroud is ringing a bunch of bells but I can't think why. At any rate, the book looks cool!

  14. Aylee, I swear sometimes it's like we're book twins :)

    Bookworm1858, I don't like the cover for Extraordinary AT ALL either. I think it's ugly. Good to know about the Bartimaeus book!

    Alex, I think the cover totally sucks. I hope they change it before the book comes out. I agree, the Bartimaeus books sound like they might be a little more MG, and I have to be in the right mood for that.

    Nic, Very disappointing! I don't know what they were thinking with that cover.

    Madigan, Haha, I'm so bad with all these great series! Footnotes and snide remarks? Sorcery and Cecilia? Awesome!

    T. B., Full of action and magic is just what I want to hear :) These snarky footnotes sound very appealing too.

    Laura, Sounds like it's good that I have all three already. Glad to hear you liked them!

    Julie, Oh I agree, I love reading books that keep me laughing :)

    Turn the Page, Thank you for the link to your review!

    Alyssa, Yay! You're all making me very excited to read this series.

    Alex, Thanks for the recommendation.

    Alison, Hm, I don't know him for anything other than this series, but now that you mention it his name does sound familiar.... I can't place it though. I don't like Extraordinary's cover either.

    Logan, Me neither! Now it's going to bug me :P


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