If I am going to invest my time and hard-earned cash on a book it is going to need three things in order to make me happy:
1. characters to love - I always put this first because if I don't like somebody I'm probably not going to follow them.
2. better than average writing - it doesn't have to be perfect or amazing or better than author x. It does have to have been edited properly.
3. an interesting plot - or better yet, surprise me. Here are a five books I've read recently which met my demands: The Marbury Lens, Ship Breaker, A Wise man's Fear, Matched, and Struts and Frets.
What books have you read recently that met or surpassed your requirements for a 'good book'?