Josh's father was a minor league player for 13 years, and was never able to make it into the big time, which is why he pushes his son so hard. When his father signs him up for a championship team, Josh worries that he won't be good enough, but then finds out that the team's coach is pushing steroids on the players. With the help of his friend Jaden (a girl who is a reporter for the school paper) he manages to get proof of this and turn the coach in.
Strengths: Plenty of baseball plays, but enough other stuff going on that I remained interested.
Weaknessess: This particular investigation of steroid abuse was not as believable as Coy's Crackback or Deuker's Gym Candy.
Josh's team is playing at Cooperstown in a Hall of Fame championship game. He, his friends Benji and Jaden, and his parents all camp out while the games are going on, but Josh discovers that the umpire is being paid off by his rival's father, Mickey Mullen, who was a famous ball-player turned actor. With Jaden's reporting skills, they uncover the mystery, even though Jaden is interested in Mickey, Jr. romantically, which hurts Josh's feelings.
Strengths: The relationships in this book are strong, and there is a lot of adventure in uncovering the corruption.
Weaknesses: Again, this wasn't as believable to me, but that doesn't mean I'm not looking forward to the third book, The Best of the Best, that comes out March 22.
Daniel continues hunting down the top alien criminals, this time ending up in a small town where electronic devices are making people do strange things and all of the women have been impregnated with alien spawn by Number 5, who is also determined to ruin Daniel. Accompanied by the spirits/imaginary friends of his parents and Willy, Joe, Emma and Dana, he manages to rout the alien, undo the damage, AND have a little romance to boot.
Strengths: Short chapters and quick pacing move this story along quickly.
Weaknesses: This was WAY goofier than I remembered Daniel X being.
Patterson, James and Sadler, Adam. Daneil X: Demons and Druids.
This time Daniel is off in search of the alien outlaw Beta, whose primary form is one of fire. He must go to England to hunt him down, and after a close call with almost being eaten by a giant anemone in the shape of a little old lady driving a van, he and his friends travel back in time, meet Merlin and Arthur, and manage to vanguish Beta.
Strengths: Again, lots of action. I'll definitely keep this in mind for the reluctant readers who have to have a science fiction book for language arts.
Weaknesses: Again, rather goofy, and there's so MUCH action that there isn't a great plot or character development. But then, that's not why we are reading these!