Hello, bookish friends — 

I’m Sarah Sinclair, the Indy’s ad director and real estate editor, switching hats to bring you this installment of All Booked while my dear colleague Emily bonds with her new baby. I trust you’ve been enjoying our kaleidoscope of coverage with various Indy pals pitching in; I’ll do my best to carry on the entertaining lineup.

I don’t know about you, but one of the things I love about summer in Santa Barbara is how it lingers. Don’t tell the students who’ve been summoned back to school this week, but in my book, summer lasts through August, September, and sometimes into October. My reading list reflects this season, with light-hearted beach reads that will keep you entertained ’til the weather turns chilly:

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

I picked up It Ends With Us in the Dallas airport last month on my way home from a conference. It was the perfect change of pace after overstuffing my brain for three days in an air-conditioned hotel ballroom. I had never before read anything by Colleen Hoover, but judging by how many of her tomes were on the airport bookstore bestseller shelves, I may be the last one to her fan club. This multi-pronged love story is told through the eyes of protagonist Lily Bloom — a young woman who loves gardening and flowers but is mortified by her name. Although this novel touches on serious themes including domestic violence and homelessness, its main storyline is a love triangle that spans 20 years and ends in a cliffhanger. 

It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover

I had to see what happened next, so I continued my fluffy summer reading with Hoover’s sequel It Starts With Us (a k a It Ends with Us #2). I’m listening to this one and at about halfway through, I can’t yet tell you if it’s quite as good, but it keeps the pace and style of the first book. I’m enjoying the way the story bounces back and forth through time, in part by utilizing a device from the first novel: a series of never-sent-letters that teenage Lily wrote to Ellen (yes, THE Ellen) in lieu of keeping a diary. The audiobook switches between male and female narrators, which keeps the dialogue lively.

Three of my previous reads would make great late-summer reading fodder as well. Here they are in quick succession:

Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

If you’ve been reading along with our head bookworm, Emily, you’ll know that she loves author Taylor Jenkins Reid. After Em turned me on to TJR during the pandemic, I burned through her entire bibliography, with Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo attaining top spots on my all-time favorites list. The story of a world-class female tennis player who comes out of retirement to rejoin the pro circuit, Carrie Soto Is Back is no Daisy or Evelyn, but a worthy summer read nonetheless.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Lessons in Chemistry was one of the hottest titles on last summer’s fiction list. Friends of mine had widely varying opinions on this bestseller. I enjoyed it more than I thought I was going to, and enough to recommend it. Written by Bonnie Garmus, it’s the story of a quirky female chemist in the 1960s, a time when neither quirky nor chemist were commonly accepted traits in women. It spans serious themes and is spiked with hilarious scenes, plus features great supporting characters that keep things interesting.

Group by Christie Tate

The only nonfiction title of the lot, Group is a memoir about a young female attorney who attends group therapy sessions wherein fairly outlandish homework assignments are carried out by author Christie Tate and her even more outlandish group-mates. Released in 2020, the audio version of this one is narrated by the author, which makes the details — both laugh- ’til-you-cry humorous and punch-in-the-gut gritty — hit even harder. Warning: There’s sensitive material involved with pretty explicit descriptions, which shouldn’t be altogether surprising. I loved it.

If you’ve got summer recs to add to our lists, please let us know, fluffy or not. Keep reading the Independent … and keep reading!


Below, you will find a few bookish events coming up in Santa Barbara. If you are hosting a bookish event in Santa Barbara, be sure to submit the event to our online events calendar.

Book Discussion: The Voyage of the Cormorant by Christian Beamish

Wednesday, August 16, 6:00 p.m., Carpinteria Community Library
Author Molly Arbuthnott – Oscar the Ferry Cat 
Wednesday, August 16, 11:45 a.m. Faulkner Gallery, S.B. Central Library
Online Seminar: The Descent of Man by Charles Darwin, Chapter Three
Saturday, August 19, Noon. Virtual
Carpinteria Community Read 2023 Author Talk: Christian Beamish – The Voyage of the Cormorant
Sunday, August 20, 3:00 p.m., Carpinteria Community Library
Book Launch: UCSB Professor Yunte Huang – Daughter of the Dragon: Anna May Wong’s Rendezvous with American History
Tuesday, August 22, 6:00 p.m. Chaucer’s Books
Montecito Book Club
Tuesday, August 22, Noon, Montecito Library
Book Talk and Signing – Rancho Guadalasca: The Last Ranch of of California’s Central Coast
Wednesday, August 23, 5:30 p.m., Alhecama Theatre
California Readin’ Club – Interstate: Essays from California by José Vadi
Thursday, August 24, 6:00 p.m. Faulkner Gallery West, S.B. Central Library
Club de Lectura ~ Spanish Book Club
Lunes/Monday, August 28, 4:00 p.m., Carpinteria Community Library


We at the Independent get many books sent to us by local authors, sometimes too many! It’s practically impossible for us to read and review them all, but just because we are busy bees does not mean that they aren’t worth the attention. In an attempt to not completely drop the ball, we have compiled a list of books here that have a local spin. They are all either written by a local author, feature someone in our community, or have another tie to Santa Barbara. I urge you to look through this list. Perhaps you will find your new favorite read!

The following are the most recent titles that have been sent to us. Click here for a more comprehensive list.

Side by Side: the Sacred Art of Couples Aging with Wisdom & Love by Caryl & Jay Casbon 
Meat My Fish by Kiki Astor 
Daughter of the Dragon by Yunte Huang 
Luigi Mischief & Love with an Italian Cat by D.M. Jennings 
Eli’s Road Less Traveled by Monty Rieck 

If you are a local author and would like us to feature your book in this section, please email allbooked@independent.com with the subject line “Local Author Spotlight.”


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