Favorite surprise books of the year

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post on Rainy Day Ramblings where a range of topics from books to blogging are discussed.

This week we’re talking about the books that surprised us this year. My surprises all either turned out more interesting or slightly different than I expected. They’re usually but not always a new series I started.

City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong–this was the most surprising book of the year–very unexpected

I have read some of Kelley Armstrong’s fantasy so even though I read that this was a mystery I kept expecting some fantasy element. Surprises–the setting in northern Canada and the creepiness factor. I really like that setting and the mystery . . . and the fact I liked the creepiness!

Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine

Arabella is such a fun protagonist. She’s heroic with lots of integrity, humor and honor. I love the steampunk, alternate history setting and there are so many interesting characters. Great world building.

Linesman by S.K. Dunstall

The protagonist is unaware of how special he is. For years he’s been told what a loser he is. When someone sees his potential he doesn’t really believe it. However, he gives his loyalty and hard work to his new employer even though he doesn’t believe he’s very important.

I read books 1 and 2 of this series within a week. (I’ve saved book 3, because I think these three books are all the books the author has written. I hope the author writes more books either in this world or in a completely different world soon.) This is a science fiction space opera–one of my favorite genres.

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

I loved the latest book in the Mercy Thompson series. Mercy is on her own and though the pack is looking for her she has to save herself–communications are cut off between her and the pack. I love what a strong and smart person she is. This book does such a good job of showing that.

Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

What a good find this series is. Li from Me and My Books blog gives me so many great recommendations. I’m always glad when I read a book she recommends!

The places the characters visit, St. Mary’s and all the different plot twists in the books create a great series and big surprises. This time travel science fiction series has quite a few in the series and I’m loving each one.

An Accidental Death by Peter Grainger

This British police procedural series is so good. D.C. Smith is a great character. His superiors don’t always like him, because he’s so unpredictable. He’s after the truth–and the more political superiors sometimes want the easy or political solution. I’ve read several of these mysteries and each is quite different from the one before, but each has a very satisfying mystery.

Iron Lake by William Kent Kreuger

I love the setting of these books (the northern Minnesota lake country). The main character is part Irish and part Anishinaabe Indian. He’s the former sheriff–voted out of office when he made a mistake before the beginning of this book. It cost him dearly. He’s no longer sheriff and he lives apart from his wife and children now. In this book he has to confront both his own demons and enemies.

The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

Walt Longmire is such a good character. And I love his best friend–Henry Standing Bear–who always gives Walt great advice as well as giving dating advice! I’ve watched some of the TV series so I see Robert Blake in my minds-eye as the sheriff and Katee Sackhoff as Deputy Victoria Moretti even though she’s described differently in the books. (Katee Sackhoff isn’t Italian.) I also really like the audio narrator (George Guidall) of these books. This book is the first in the series and surprised me in so many ways. I have had to keep myself from reading all the books in a couple of weeks!

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

The narrator of this book calls herself “Murderbot.” She has such a distinct voice and is so different. She doesn’t like humans much and though she’s self-aware she has to hide it. All sh really wants to do is watch soap operas. I love the world building and the “Murderbot.”

What are your most surprising books of the year? Have you read any of these books? How did you like?