Alright, so I had to limit myself with this list because there were a lot of books I read in 2017 that I was pleasantly surprised by. Honestly, a lot of my favorite books of 2017 (keep an eye out for my post next week!) could be on this list, but I tried to keep the focus more on books that I was surprised by how much I enjoyed, but that aren’t necessarily my favorites of 2017.
Though I do have to admit, I couldn’t completely stop myself from including a few of my favorites on this list. Can you guess which ones they are?
A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
In hindsight, I really shouldn’t be surprised by how much I wound up loving A Promise of Fire, but it just took me so completely by surprise when I read it that it’s easily one of my most surprising reads of 2018.
Epic fantasy and romance are two of my favorite genres, and I think part of why I like Sarah J. Maas’ books so much is because of how they blend the two, though I would still consider them to be firmly in the fantasy genre. So I’ve always enjoyed fantasy with romance in it, but it never occurred to me to look for fantasy books in the romance genre.
This was my first foray into fantasy romance, and I loved it! I really can’t wait for the final book in the trilogy to come out (this coming Tuesday!), and I’m really excited to explore more fantasy romance books. If you have any recommendations, definitely let me know in the comments, because I really can’t find many fantasy books put out by romance publishers.
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Paranormal romance is one of the romance subgenres that I really don’t gravitate towards, so I can’t say I was overly excited to read Moon Called when my book club selected it earlier this year. Imagine my surprise when I became completely hooked on this series! I seriously read the first five in maybe four days.
I’ve mentioned it before on my blog, but I was just really impressed by how the series progressed from book to book and how seemingly minor side plots were fleshed out into entire books. I also really liked Mercy, of course, and seeing her and the side characters develop with the series. And I just generally liked the world that Briggs created and seeing it expand with each installment in the series. I still need to read the last book in the series (I’m not ready to admit it’s over yet), as well as the spinoff series that Briggs started. But yeah, definitely a series I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it!
Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell
I’m really not sure what made me decide to pick up this book, because I don’t read a ton of contemporaries, let alone sports romances, and I hadn’t read many m/m romances at the time I read Illegal Contact. But someone in my book club recommended it and I felt like reading it, and I’m so glad I did. I was completely blown away by it, and the sequel is probably one of my most anticipated books of 2018.
I thought it’d be a quick fun read, and it was, but it was so much more than that. Hassell just writes such real and complex characters and does an amazing job showing their development throughout the course of the book. I really loved watching Gavin and Noah fall in love with each other and I was really impressed with the worldbuilding in this book and how some of the issues that Gavin and Noah faced were addressed and resolved. Seriously, this book is just so delightful and I was not prepared for how much I wound up loving it.
In light of emerging information about Hassell’s inappropriate behavior, I no longer stand by this review of Illegal Contact. Please see this post for more details.
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
I’ve said before that, as much as I love Sarah J. Maas, I was not excited for the Chaol novella. Like, I planned to read it and was sure I’d enjoy it, but I didn’t have a strong opinion about it. Then they announced that the novella was being turned into a novel and that the final Throne of Glass book was getting pushed back, and I was not happy. I just didn’t see how Tower of Dawn was necessary, so even though I preordered it, I didn’t really plan to read it for a while until I started hearing such good things about it.
As it turns out, I was very pleasantly surprised by this book and enjoyed it even more than A Court of Wings and Ruin. It was fun seeing characters come back from the previous novellas and having them grow significantly and take on a vital role in this series, and I really loved the world of the Southern Continent and getting to know more about it and the history of the world in general. It wound up being an excellent addition to the series and I’m sorry I ever doubted Maas, though I’ll admit I still have my reservations about how she plans to conclude this series. But my fingers are crossed!
Going Dark by Monica McCarty
I really shouldn’t be surprised anymore when I read a contemporary romance and wind up loving it, but for some reason I still am. I’ve never read a military romance and I assumed Going Dark (another book club pick) would be a fun read, but again, I was caught off guard by how much I wound up liking it.
I thought Annie and Dean were both excellent characters, and the combination of tension between them and suspense in the SEAL part of the story kept me racing through it. Plus I liked the inclusions of the conversations between them that drew on political topics in today’s culture, like feminism and the military, which just added another layer to the story. Seriously, the whole thing was really well done. I’m so mad I have to wait for the rest of the platoon’s stories, because I’ve been spoiled lately by reading old, completed series. I’m very excited for the next book to come out!
There you have it! Five of my most surprising reads of 2017. This list clearly shows that it’s to my benefit to read outside of my preferred genres, as I never know when I’ll find one of my next favorites! Like I said, I have a few more that spring to mind, but you’ll see them on my favorites list.
What were some of your most surprising reads of 2017? Let me know in the comments!