My Favorite Beach/Vacation/Anytime Reads

So, August is now upon us (side note: how is that even possible? If you asked me what month it is, I’d say June). If you’re lucky, you might be heading off on vacation—might have a long weekend to look forward to. Personally, August is a bit of a busy month for me, but I’m still going to try to steal a few days of Me Time, preferably at the beach (what’s the point of living in SoCal if you DON’T go to the beach every now and then)? But, whether you are headed on vacation or having a staycation, I present to you…My favorite Beach Reads.

I don’t mean Beach Reads in the sense it’s come to embody (though I DO love those kinds of books as well). While the books on my list ARE compulsively readable, and are my go-to escapes when I’m stressed AND relaxing, they’re also well-written, with awesome world-building, dynamic characters, and full of toe-curling romance. They’re books/series I cherish enough that when a new book comes out, I savor every word—I wait until I have free time (aka vacation) to enjoy them and sink into their worlds.

But really, whether you’re on the beach or have a long flight or just have some free time, these are books that you can get completely absorbed in & will make the hours fly by—as well as books that will leave an aching (but good) hole in your heart when you’ve finished reading them. (These are more of the adult variety, so… younger readers, beware.)

Nalini Singh


Okay, that’s not a book. It’s an author, and she’s one of my all-time favorites. Her two series—the Guild Hunter series and the Psy-Changeling series—are two of my most beloved series EVER. I read them all on my kindle, then adored them so much that I bought every book in print as well. I just finished the latest in the Guild Hunter series (ARCHANGEL’S STORM) and it did NOT disappoint. (If you think you don’t like angels…think again.) I am addicted to Nalini Singh’s work, and just…read her books, okay? The first book in the Guild Hunter series is Angels’ Blood—and the first in the Psy-Changeling series is Slave to Sensation (please, do not let the cover deter you). Both series have such intricate, vibrant worlds and such well-drawn, memorable characters. *sigh*

J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood Series


Okay, so this is my OTHER current obsession. I read Dark Lover (the first book) and was immediately hooked: on the world, on the well-drawn heroines, on the absurdly, absurdly sexy dudes. I love this series with an undying, wild passion, and have reread it all a few times now. It’s action-packed, super sexy, and just…God help me if I ever meet J. R. Ward, because I’ll probably faint on the spot. (My favorite book in the series is easily Book 3—Lover Awakened. Though it’s a close tie with Dark Lover. Annnnd I am so ridiculously excited for The King, the next installment in the series, that I could DIE.)

Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison


This was my gateway drug to paranormal romance, and I will be a Thea Harrison Fangirl for the rest of my LIFE. She’s an insta-buy author for me, and it’s no surprise that J. R. Ward blurbed her book, saying that fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood would love it. I’ve recommended it to a few friends now, who have all gobbled it down. It’s crack. Pure book crack. The rest of the books in the Elder Races series are just as addictive (Book #4, Oracle’s Moon, is a tie with Dragon Bound for my favorite in the series), and I can’t wait for the next installment (Kinked) in November.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon


This book is looong (perfect for an endless flight!), but it is SO DAMN GOOD. Fellow PubCrawler Alex Bracken introduced me to it, and…Jesus. Just Jesus Christ. Jamie Fraser, I love you. (They’re also adapting it for television and I am just…dying at the thought of it.) This book has everything: history (the historical details are wonderful, actually), action, romance, hot-hot-hot sexytimes, and…Jamie. I can’t even THINK about this book & the characters without my heart hurting (in that good way).

Annnd I could keep going, but I’ll stop here. Even if you’re NOT going to the beach or on vacation, you should definitely pick up these books. They’re wonderful and memorable and now have a special place in my heart.


13 Responses to My Favorite Beach/Vacation/Anytime Reads

  1. Michelle Aug 5 2013 at 4:16 am #

    i am so happy to see nalini singh included. i am obsessed with her all books too! such excellent writing, excellent world building and her characters are so real they’re practically flesh and blood (case in point, Kaleb from Heart of Obsidian the latest Psy-Changeling book).

    • Sarah J. Maas Aug 5 2013 at 1:24 pm #

      Ahhhh! YAY for another Nalini Singh fan!! I’m halfway through HEART OF OBSIDIAN and savoring EVERY WORD. I did NOT expect to love Kaleb so much! You’re so right about the characters feeling like flesh and blood–it KILLS me that they aren’t real. *sighhhhhhhhhhh*

  2. Julie Eshbaugh Aug 5 2013 at 6:05 am #

    Hey Sarah! Great recs! I was introduced to OUTLANDER by a woman I met in physical therapy after a car accident. She was never without it! Great to see it included here. I will check out these others also. (Other friends have recommended Nalini Singh but I’ve yet to try her – maybe this summer is the time!) Great post! 🙂

    • Sarah J. Maas Aug 5 2013 at 1:25 pm #

      Thanks, Julie!! You would LOVE Nalini Singh’s work–it’s seriously so, so, so good.

  3. Natalie Aguirre Aug 5 2013 at 7:44 am #

    Not heard of any of these books. Thanks for sharing them. Your book will be at the top of my list. Can’t wait to read your next book.

  4. Diyana Aug 5 2013 at 9:32 am #

    Hey Sarah! I’ve always wanted to read Nalini’s stuff, so you might have just persuaded me to buy a copy 😀 I’ve actually got a copy of Outlander, but the heft is very intimidating.

    I LOVE the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. My bestie introduced it to me — we were trading favourite sexy fantasy / paranormal reads. My rec: Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series (starting with Darkfever). We both fell in love with each others’ recs so it was a WIN WIN all around (and now we have more fandoms than ever!)

    If you haven’t read the Fever series, I highly recommend it. It’s got a kickass heroine (Mac’s arc is quite awesome, promise), Fae of the Seelie and Unseelie court, and sexual tension you can slice with a knife. What more could a summer read want? 😀

    • Sarah J. Maas Aug 5 2013 at 1:27 pm #

      Okay, you are my FAVORITE person for reccing a new series, because I have been looking and looking for a new series to get obsessed with that’s on the same level as Nalini Singh/JR Ward, and…yay!!! THANK YOU!!

      And YAY for the BDB!!! *fistbump* (And definitely read Nalini Singh…I can’t tell which series to rec first. I read the GUILD HUNTER books first, but the PSY-CHANGELING books are just as good. I honestly can’t decide which I love more.)

  5. Christa Aug 6 2013 at 10:42 am #

    I love the Outlander series! Despite their large size I remember devouring them all so quickly. I still need to read the latest 2.

    Will definitely need to check out some of these other recommendations!

  6. Jen Aug 6 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    I love J.R. Ward’s books

  7. suri Aug 11 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    A friend just introduced me to the Outlander series – and omg Jamie freaking Fraser. That man makes me blush.

    • suri Aug 11 2013 at 8:25 pm #

      Have you read the Unbound series by Rachel Vincent? It’s fantastic!

  8. Alexa Y. Aug 12 2013 at 7:43 am #

    SARAH! I believe you will be VERY happy to learn that I just started reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood series — and I’m really enjoying it. So far, Wrath’s book (DARK LOVER) is still my all-time favorite, though I also enjoyed LOVER ETERNAL and LOVER AWAKENED (particularly the ending of that one). I’m about to start the 4th book and can’t wait! I’ll also happily check out all these other books you’ve recommended 😉

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.