39 Clues Book 3: The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis:
The third book in The 39 Clues multimedia series was a little heavy on annoying bad-guy point-of-view (and there are several annoying bad guys), but I was swept up in the action nonetheless. This entry takes Amy and Dan to Japan, where we are treated to some interesting history of the Yakuza and a dollop of alchemy. Perhaps what this series does best is incorporate some learning that might spur reluctant readers to seek out other books on topics they like. Amy and Dan are still struggling with the "Trust No One" rule about the Cahill family, but they are forced into some unlikely alliances. I don't want to give any key plot development away, but I thought one character's point of view should have been excluded--when we learn this person't thoughts, it solves the mystery of which side the person is on. This one was about the same length as Book 2, and my guess is this is the standard, and Book 1 was only longer to set the stage. For an adult, this makes for barely an hour of reading, but it was a fun, action-packed hour. I like Amy and Dan, and their adventures are interesting.
My review of Book 1, Maze of Bones
My review of Book 2, One False Note
Percy Jackson: The Demigod Files by Rick Riordan: This is a pre-Book 5 release, and a cynic would say its only purpose is to generate cash for Disney/Hyperion from readers desperately waiting for Book 5 (May! Yay!). I probably wouldn't have paid $12.95 for it, but bn.com had a good price with the member discount and I needed something else to get to free shipping. I'm glad I did! The three short stories are the meat of the book, and they're excellent adventures. I wouldn't read them if you haven't read the four books in the series, as some information from the books is revealed. The rest is mildly entertaining filler--a map of Camp Half-Blood, a crossword puzzle, a guide to the Greek gods, and a diagram of Annabelle's trunk, but the stories are worth it. "The Stolen Chariot" was released online for free quite some time ago, but now I can get rid of my printout that's sitting on the shelf next to the series books, and the other two stories were new to me. In short, not an essential read, but the stories make it very tempting for a Percy Jackson fan.