Well...if YOUR life could use improving greatly...here are a few of the good books I've been reading in the last little bit. I've discovered some terrific Canadian authors...and some others that simply appear to be better known in Canada...and then a few that are just awesome finds thanks to the Bakka Pheonix bookstore.
the "Blending" series by Sharon Green
I truly enjoy this series about the struggles of a group of individuals to uncover deep mechanations of the nobles and stay alive in the process...all while learning how to overcome their personal obstacles and use their high talent magic - both alone and as a "Blending."
The first two books (Convergence & Competitions) were rather impressive in that they managed to simultaneously have solid, logical endings and be quite obviously more "Parts I & II" than books 1 & 2 of a series. The third one, however, ends in a cliff hanger. I highly advise having book 4 available immediately for continuation. Warning: Not recommended for younger readers due to sexual content.
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
A highly witty combination of radio drama noir, wizardry & mystery. I'm on book 2 at the moment... Both Scott & I have laughed out loud during our readings...although I think many things that evoke a laugh from Scott are getting an "amused throat chuckle" from me. Rather than give a redundant content warning, I shall remind you once again...this is noir. No, really.
Poison Study & Magic Study by Marie Snyder
These two were a discovery made last summer. Fun, witty, and at times dark and very personal feeling - Marie Snyder draws me in with her Strong Female Protagonist and then makes me laugh with her quirky know-it-all side characters. Not recommended for younger readers due to slight sexual content.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
This one has been sitting on my shelf almost long enough for a re-read...and it tempts me ever so much. Our first Bakka-Pheonix find, this is the ultimate caper novel...about a theif who likes to steal for the sake of stealing...and sits on his gold wondering what on earth he will do with it all...except, of course, go steal more of it in more extravagant ways. And then things start to fall apart...and that's where the novel gets REALLY good. Sequel is out in trade paperback...and on my "to buy" list as soon as I have the money. Scott's language filter is at a higher setting than mine - he advises me that this book contains the "f-word."
Deerskin by Robin McKinley
Are you prepared for the roller coaster ride that is Robin McKinley's retelling of this old tale? She takes you deep inside this dark and sinister story...which I re-read on a fairly regular basis for the sheer catharsis of the thing. And then, you find yourself going "awww" at the cuteness of sharp little puppy teeth! Deerskin is Robin McKinley at her best. WARNING: This book takes you through the reality, although not the actual description of a very disturbing rape. I don't recommend it for the faint of heart...but if you can get through it, the catharsis and the terrificness is worth it.
Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers
When my grandmother saw me reading this over Christmas, she remarked that it was the best of Dorothy Sayer's Harriet Vane books. And I'm not sure if it's the terrific setting of a fictional Oxford women's college or the fantastic character arc that Harriet (one of the Original Strong Female Protagonists of mystery fiction) goes through...but I have to admit, she's right. But then, she always is.
The Bone Garden by Tess Garritson
I haven't been so immersed and intrigued with a historical mystery since Laurie King's Locked Rooms (one of my favorites). This novel starts in the present and the swoops back to spend most of its time in the early years of medical science...with a mystery and conspiracy that kept me guessing for a good long while. The occasional returns to the present day setting only serve to highlight the history being shown in the past...Garritson manages to show off all the cool research she's done into early American medicine without seeming awkward or intrusive. Instead, the modern scenes only serve as brief signposts...and then back you hurtle into the central story.