Hello there. It's been a while since I saw one of those threads showing up, so I'll kick start one myself this time around.
I am always ona prowl for good books and recently came upon some gems that not everyone might have heard of. So here goes a wall of text about few books I think are cool. I hope for some follow up.
1) Peter Watts _Blindsight_
This one is pretty heavy. It is a reasonably hard sci-fi with rather disturbing and thought provoking themes. I don't want to spoil much of those, since some of ideas are quite interesting and unexpected. The general synopsis is that humanity got its first, definitive prove of aliens existance. And they sent a ship to check on the alien object moving towards solar system. This straightforward story pretty much veers into cosmic horror. It has a sequel called _Echopraxia_, but I haven't gotten to it.
Peter Watts also authored _Rifters_ series. This time instead of space the action focuses more on depths of the ocean. After completing the first tome of trilogy I can say that it shapes up quite interesting. Very focused on character's psychology, not very much on action.
2) Dan Simmons _Hyperion Cantos_
Ok, this one is weird. Starts bit like a typical sci-fi with a framing device of group of characters sharing their life stories but by the second book it hits some strange metaphysical concepts and becomes... Weird. Still a very good read and it is easy to get invested into characters and story. I just wish I better undestood what the hell has happened. Though that might be me being stupid.
3) Sandy MItchell _Ciaphas Cain_ books.
This is a much lighter one. Despite being set in established universe of Warhammer 40K it can be pretty much enjoyed by anyone. Inspired by _Flashman Memoirs_ it tells a story Ciaphas Cain, Imperial Commisar and self-admitted coward. Who through twists of fate and bit of ingenuity always gets into worst possible situations and comes out looking like a hero. And the more heroic his reputation gets, the more danger he gets set into... Series is as much comedy as setting allows and at times it can get hilarious.
4) Scott R. Bakker _Secon Apocalypse_
Aaaand we're back to the heavyweights. It is very difficult to speak about the books without spoiling much. Especially given that the author is good at playing the setting cards very well, revealing bits and pieces of what is actually going on. Lets just say that the first trilogy is set during an event that is the setting version of First Crusade. And one of main characters is result of eugenics program meant to get as close as possible to omnisicence. More or less, if we simplify it for the sake of synopsis here.
5) Jim Butcher _Dresden Files; Codex Alera_
Because no list of books I like is complete without Jim Butcher. His books are light, easy to read and immensly entertaining. _Dresden Files_ is marriage of criminal noir fiction with Urban Fantasy. Main character is private eye and a wizard in one. He gets into various trouble. _Codex Alera_ is result of a bet. Someone said to Jim Butcher in online discussion that good set up is more importand than good workmanship and you can't get a good book from a silly idea. Jim asked him for two ideas to base book around. Those were "pokemon" and "lost Roman legion". The result is a series set in world where everyone has access to elemental powers granted by spirits called furies... Everyone except for the protagonist Tavi... Watching a character without powers in the world of empowered individuals makes for a nice change from "I am protagonist so I have special powers" cliche.
6) Brandon Sanderson _Stormlight Archive_
Pretty much anything from Cosmere meta-verse by Brandon Sanderson I consider pure gold. _Mistborn_, _Elantris_, _Warbreaker_. The _Stormlight Archive_ is so far his biggest project with 2 books out of planned 10 being out. It epitomizes what I love in his style - great magic system, well thought out cultures... It takes a while to piece together what is going on, but once you start getting hang of it the books are next to impossible to put away.
7) Ann Leckie _Imperial Radch_
And to close this post a bit of space opera. It has a pretty unique protagonist (small spoiler: she used to be a spaceship) and includes a rather interesting dominant culture. A quirk that makes it a little of atypical read is that Radch does not distinguish between genders. As in Radchai language has no gender pronouns (to simulate it in English it uses exclusively female pronouns). And while it is not a main point of novels it creates a weird perspective shift. And before anyone decides to skip it, no it has no of SJW bullshit and does not force any specific view on those issues.