Into the Unknown – This is a 1981 Reader’s Digest book that Beth had as a kid, and liked looking at the pictures. There really are a lot of cool illustrations in here, including a hellmouth from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves.
As far as the text goes, it’s one of those overviews of the paranormal that were in vogue at the time, and probably still are to some extent today. There are short chapters on astrology, witchcraft, ghosts, psychic powers, UFOs, and other such subjects. The style is the sort of thing where the writers wanted to hedge their bets, admitting when instances of the supernatural have been proven fake, but presenting most of the rest in a “hey, we’re not saying it’s true, but it COULD be” kind of way. It’s the kind of stuff that I think is fun as long as someone isn’t using it to profit from rubes.
Come Tumbling Down, by Seanan McGuire – The fifth book in the Wayward Children series is another sequel, which returns to Jack and Jill and the monster-filled Moors. Jack has returned to Eleanor West’s school, only in Jill’s body. See, Jill still wants to become a vampire, and can’t do that with her own resurrected body, so she switches with her sister. Jack, her girlfriend Alexis, and some other students venture into the Moors to stop Jill’s plans. It did kind of feel like we were revisiting this world too soon considering how many others there are to work with, and there wasn’t much new introduced in the setting. Well, the skeletal horses were pretty cool. But what happened to Jack and Jill was a loose end from the first book, so it was obviously going to come up sooner or later, and the characters were well-written.
Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe, by Carlos Hernandez – Like its predecessor, this differs a lot from most of the Rick Riordan Presents books in that it’s not really an adventure story, or at least not primarily one. A lot of it just explores the characters and their relationships, which is fine as they’re all pretty interesting. The supernatural aspects are there, but largely of secondary importance, even though that’s where the fixing the universe comes in. It’s a world where an artificially intelligent toilet is…well, maybe not normal, but accepted quite readily. It’s not the only self-aware machine in the story, either. Aside from that, an alternate version of Gabi has convinced herself that Sal’s father’s work to close the holes between universes was responsible for the destruction of part of her own world, and is trying to get help from Sal. Sal manages to prevent her plan while also helping to revise the school play of Alice in Wonderland. There’s also an interesting bit of cross-promotion in how Sal has read about Aru Shah.