I'll start with the one I finished tonight. The bff lent me The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey last year but due to the great reading ADD of 2009 I just finished it. I love this woman's writing. This is the first book in her series on elementals. Each book is based on a fairy tale (yay) and this one is based on Beauty and the Beast (YAY!). Rose is an orphan whose father left her with no money. Plus she is a scholarly woman with IDEAS which makes her more unmarriageable than being poor. She receives a post as a governess in San Francisco but arrives to find there are NO children, just a mysterious employer named Jason Cameron who has her translating strange ancient texts through a speaking tube because of his "disfiguring accident." He messed with Magick he shouldn't have and is part wolf. There's intrigue and a horrible, morally corrupt, smarmy assistant and falling in love.
The other great book I finished a few weeks ago is Soulless by Gail Carriger. It's the first book in the new Parasol Protectorate series. It's historical / paranormal / tough kick butt girl / werewolf / vampire / steampunk and I need more! The world building is pretty thorough so I don't want to spill it all here.