I don't think there's anything to say about Harry Potter anymore. You either love it and know all about it, or you don't read this blog. Either way, yes, we finished that one (actually listened to Jim Dale read it to all of us) and then watched the movie and then I took Harper to a GameStop where she traded in some older Wii games and got LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7. So it was a multimedia event, I tell you.
The third Gregor book was my favorite of the series so far. It's richer, more wide-ranging and seems to be taking the series to a darker but also more rewarding place than I first suspected.
The third Familiars book is action-packed but also pretty dark. The authors do a good job at keeping it moving and throwing in lots of fun one-liners to keep it getting too bad, but the unending zombie hordes, along with the illustrations, will make sure you don't think this is just a cutesy animal series. No, indeed.
Swindle has been out for a while. He's turned this into a series as well, but the first one is very much a stand-alone book. Some kids find an old Babe Ruth baseball card in an abandoned house and take it to a collector. He gives them a couple hundred bucks and they're happy. Then they see him on TV saying he's going to auction it off for upwards of a miiillion dollars! Without a receipt and just being kids, they decide their only recourse is to try to steal it back. Then they figure out he has quite a lot of security on his shop. And the meanest Doberman Pinscher in the world. But they just happen to know a dog whispering girl in their class. And a computer hacker. And a climber. And so on. So we get a Ocean's 11-type heist thriller for the upper elementary set with a very satisfying conclusion.
Swindle is actually the first pick for my spouse and daughter's newly-formed Mother/Daughter book club they've formed with some other mom/daughter combos they are friends with. It'll be interesting to see how that goes!