My house is full of books. This is likely to happen in a family "led" by a writer/father and a teacher-librarian/mother. The habit of reading aloud to each other had its beginnings even before we had children, when my husband and I used to take turns reading the Harry Potter series books to each other, a chapter at a time, to ensure that neither one of us read ahead of the other. Bedtime reading is a special time. For my son, he prefers the Time Warp Trio novels. My daughter likes novels a bit longer than those. After she and I were finished reading the Harry Potter novels (me for the second time, she for the first), we wanted to find a new series that three of us could enjoy together. My friend Rum, author of the blog booksinthespotlight.blogspot.com, highly recommended the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. In very atypical fashion, we actually watched the movie before reading the books. I can say with all sincerity that the movie was a horrible adaptation of the book, second in its awfulness only to the Spiderwick Chronicles film (which my daughter, husband and I also read together and enjoyed immensely). The Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan are awesome, and here's just a few reasons why.
1) He knows his mythology.
These books deal with Greek mythology, no surprise there, but his knowledge of the various legends and monsters is incredible. Often, I'd see my husband sneak to his computer after one of our reading sessions to look up a character mentioned as part of the plot. He has modern interpretations of them, but these new twists stay true to the creatures, deities and heroes.
2) He "lays the pipes".
I borrowed this expression from my husband. The solutions to the mysteries in the books are not so-out-there-you'd-never-guess (such as in some Agatha Christie plots). Riordan sets up key clues in the story that make sense. This doesn't mean he makes it totally obvious - the family's had some very energetic discussions about what some of the prophecies mean - but he also doesn't pull a rabbit out of his hat as the improbable solution.
3) It's age appropriate, yet with cross-generational appeal.
Percy is a 12 year old with dyslexia and ADHD. He's a great protagonist, especially for kids who believe themselves to be failures. He becomes good friends with Annabeth - and that's all it is as a tween, unlike what the movie would have you believe. Grover the satyr is an environmentalist, not the stereotypical horny goat from the film.
I could go on, but you get the idea. Readers of this blog will know how much I like the works of Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins, and Maggie Stiefnativ (I think I just mangled her name) - dd Rick Riordan to that list.