VBC Beach Reads: Amanda picks Michelle Sagara, Dana Marie Bell, Julia Karr & Nora Roberts


A Note from Chelsea / VBC: All the suggested poolside reading lists we see online point to cheeky contemporary novels or lighthearted romps. Well, at VBC we know there are plenty of books featuring paranormal elements, badass heroines and sexy heroes that are perfect for reading out under the sun. So, of course, we’ve decided to do our own Beach Reads picks. Each Friday for the next several weeks, we’ll share one VBC reviewers picks for the ultimate beach reads. Today Amanda brings the mystery, shifter goodness and a bit of YA.

Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara AMANDA’S BEACH


I live in the Pacific Northwest, so laying out on the beach has never had much appeal to me. I DO love sitting out on my deck, though, Slurpee in hand and a stack of books next to me.

Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara (Chronicles of Elantra #1)
Get the book at: Book Depository or Amazon

Private Kaylin Naya is a member of the Hawks, the group that investigates crimes for the Dragon Lord. Her latest assignment sends her back to the fief of Nightshade, a place she escaped seven years ago after a series of ritual murders. The murderer is at it again, and she’s forced to investigate…and to team up with Severn Handred, a man she once considered her closest friend and whom she now wants to kill. Literally. She tries to kill him when she first sees him.

Cast in Shadow is a solid, action-packed start to this series, and the relationship between Kaylin and Severn changes and deepens with each book. They are, hands down, my favorite non-couple couple.

Hecate’s Own by Dana Marie Bell (Heart’s Desire #2)
Get the book at: Book Depository or Amazon

Mmm, shifters. I do love me a good shifter story. Zach is a wolf AND a witch, so double bonus points for him! He’s been brought up in a family of wizards, though, who have no idea how his magic is supposed to work, so they send him to the witch’s court to learn, where he screws up. Repeatedly. He gets so frustrated he hightails it out of there, leaving behind the woman he swears is his mate. There’s lots of sexual tension and funny one-liners and did I mention I loved Zach? I LOOOOOVE him. I want to cuddle him.

XVI by Julia Karr (XVI #1)
Get the book at: Book Depository or Amazon

Nina’s about to turn sixteen, the age of consent in a futuristic Chicago. Being sixteen isn’t all that great, because the girls are forced to get tattoos showing they’re of age. The tattoos are seen by some guys as an open invitation, and they don’t believe the word no actually means no.

I thought the originality of this book and the subtle digs Julia Karr takes at how materialistic our society has become were awesome, even though Nina throws some almost temper tantrums at the thought of being mistaken for a “sexteen”.

The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts (Sign of Seven #3)
Get the book at: Book Depository or Amazon

You think Nora Roberts, you don’t think paranormal, right? Wrong. From the mid-90’s through the early 2000’s, she wrote a number of trilogies, some more paranormal than others. Pagan Stone is part of the Sign of Seven trilogy (about a trio of boys who unleash an insidious and demonic evil on their 10th birthday).

Gage Turner’s never really felt like he’s a part of the town of Hawkins Hollow, and he bailed as soon as he could. Yet he comes back every Seven to help his friends Cal and Fox defend the town against the horrors that are unleashed every seven years, and this time around is no different. In between researching blood rituals and trying not to die, Gage finds himself falling for the cool and level-headed Cybil.

This is the last book in the trilogy, so the action and the danger reach a fever pitch, even as Gage and Cybil fight their growing feelings for each other. This trilogy isn’t my favorite, but I find myself reaching for Pagan Stone again and again.

6 Responses to “VBC Beach Reads: Amanda picks Michelle Sagara, Dana Marie Bell, Julia Karr & Nora Roberts”

  1. Angela says:

    I absolutely will check out M. Sagara and J. Karr as both sound really interesting. I love Dana Marie Bell’s book as they are fun and schmexy 😉 The Gray Court series is my favourite, esp. her version of Robin Goodfellow.

    • Amanda says:

      Yes! Michelle Sagara has a YA book as well (Silence) that I loved and almost included. I’ll have to check out the Grey Court series!

  2. Amy M says:

    I love that you put Nora Roberts on here. She is one of my guilty pleasures. Both her and her JD Robb books.

    • Amanda says:

      Nora Roberts IS beach reading for me. I’ve been reading her books since I was in high school…I couldn’t not include her 🙂

  3. Liz S says:

    I love Michelle Sagara Cast in… Series. What about the Hollows series by Kim Hariison or the Otherworld series by Kelly Armstrong? I think these would also make great summer reading. As to Nora Roberts, I prefer her Eve Dallas series written as J.D. Robb. I retread the entire series once a year and never get bored.

    • Amanda says:

      I tried reading the first book of the Hollows series and couldn’t get into it. I’ll have to try the Otherworld series. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Kelly Armstrong.

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