I finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last night. Excellent, excellent read. None of that Angsty Harry we had to suffer through last book. A refreshing lack of overly used adverbs and "Snape sneered"s. Hell, Harry even came across as a competent, dare I say even confident, wizard. I don't know how much of all this is my evolution as a reader and writer myself or improvement (whether intentional or unintentional) of Rowling's writing. Probably both on some level.
And, I'm very happy to report, I was right about the direction of Harry's love life. There were a few hints in Order of the Phoenix, and I caught them and guessed accurately. Of course, I was totally wrong on who the Half-blood Prince is, but can't get 'em all. The story was very engaging, well-crafted, and smart. That is to say that the kids actually talked to the adults about things and we still had a story, which wouldn't have happened in some of the earlier books.
I'm definitely looking forward to Book 7, although it seems like we got a wealth of info in Book 6 that might prevent things from being finished in just one more book, but that could just be the epic fantasy writer in me talking. That was actually the hardest thing about reading this book: I had to go to work the next day instead of diving into my own epic seven-book saga. Some writers get discouraged after reading a phenomenal work, thinking that their work stinks, that they'll never finish, that they'll never have that talent/success/whatever. I get inspired. I think, "I know I can do this too." And I want to start proving it. Immediately. Makes the reality of being trapped in a crummy job to pay the bills all the more frustrating to deal with. (Translation: After finishing Book 6 last night, I sobbed because I had to go back to work; then that of course snowballed into my sobbing even longer because--barring our miracles--I have to work potentially even only 6 weeks after giving birth to Andrew.)
So go read this great book, and then let it inspire you.