Author: Donaldson, Stephen R.
What a varied catalog of works this man has produced. The epic fantasy of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever (all three series), the science-fiction/space opera of the Gap Series and (my personal favorite) the two-volume series Mordant's Need. If there is one thing Donaldson can do, it's create elaborate worlds. Personally, I recommend Mordant's Need above the other two - the Gap Series is VERY dark and not for everyone and the Thomas Covenant series (for me at least) trails off in the end. If you like high fantasy, I would just go with the first three volumes of that. I confess - I started the third Chronicles and couldn't make it past the first couple of chapters. Addendum: In doing some research for this post, I discovered that Donaldson wrote four mysteries under a pseudonym, but has now published them under his real name. I think I will have to check these out.
Book: Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison
Here's the start to another great urban fantasy series, The Hollows, with Rachel Morgan the witch, Jenks the pixy and Ivy the vampire. Of course there are also elves, demons, shape-shifters, and fairies (nasty little creatures). There are fourteen books total - I confess that I haven't read the last one yet even though I've had it for a while, because I just don't want the story to end. I did start re-reading them from the beginning since I tend to read very fast and I wanted to make sure I caught every nuance before finishing up the series. As with the other series I've recommended, I envy those of you who have yet to start. Enjoy the journey into The Hollows!