Sloth Goes Places: California

Sloth Goes Places is a feature where I share books I have tracked from previous Literary Escapes reading challenge hosted by Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book.

Today we are looking at books set in ….


This is one of the easiest states for me every year. I think I read at least one book a week set in California. I visited the state once, back in 2009, maybe, but I only got to see a very small part of the state. It was tour where with Disney in Southern California. We went to Hollywood, Jim Henson’s Studios, Jimmy Kimmel. Then onto Imagineering and Disneyland. It was great trip, but I still hope to see the northern part of the state at some point in my life. Below are some pictures from our trip. Mickey and Minnie were guests at our farewell dinner which was also attended by a Disney animator who drew something for all of us. We got to visit the Disney Archives and hold one of Walt Disney’s Oscars. The two at the bottom left were taken at Jimmy Kimmel. We did a tour, and Uncle Frank (RIP) came by. LA Ink was really popular when we visited as it was the site of a reality TV show, so obviously, we had to stop in. We also got to go to Imagineering (bottom right) which was one of the most amazing places I have ever been.

Sloth Goes Places: CaliforniaSunkissed by Kasie West
Published by Delacorte Press on May 4, 2021
Age/Genres: Contemporary, YA

Will the stars align?

Avery has always used music as an escape. But after her best friend betrays her, even her perfectly curated playlists can't help her forget what happened. To make matters worse, her parents have dragged her and her social-media-obsessed sister to a remote family camp for two months of "fun." Just when Avery is ready to give up on the summer altogether, she meets Brooks—mysterious, frustratingly charming Brooks—who just happens to be on staff—which means he's off-limits.

What starts as a disaster turns into . . . something else. As the outside world falls away, Avery embarks on a journey of self-discovery. And when Brooks offers her the chance of a lifetime, she must figure out how far is she willing to go to find out what she wants and who she wants to be.

Fan favorite Kasie West is back with another unforgettable summer romance that reminds us falling in love is full of wonder, heartache, and—most of all—surprises.

I adore West’s books, and this one took me camping. It was a lot of fun.


Sloth Goes Places: CaliforniaThe People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Published by Berkley Books on May 11, 2021
Age/Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

Though we traveled around in the book, some very important parts took place in California. This book was perfection for me, and I loved each and every bit of it.


Sloth Goes Places: CaliforniaThe Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
Published by Gallery Books on May 18, 2021
Age/Genres: Contemporary, Romance

Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. After all, her father was never around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before her daughter was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close but working constantly to stay afloat is hard...and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands.

At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98 percent compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Peña. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Peña. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get ‘to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could launch GeneticAlly’s valuation sky-high, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.

This writing duo never fails to delight me, and I had a great time with this book. I adored the family dynamic, the science, and seeing the single mom get her HEA.


Sloth Goes Places: CaliforniaInstructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon
Published by Delacorte Press on June 1, 2021
Age/Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA

Evie Thomas doesn't believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.

As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything--including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he's only just met.

Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it's that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk?

In this romantic page-turner from the author of Everything, Everything and The Sun is Also a Star, Evie has the power to see other people's romantic fates--what will happen when she finally sees her own?

I was gutted by this book, but I have to admit, the whole idea of it was utterly beautiful.

Sloth Goes Places: CaliforniaLove for Beginners by Jill Shalvis (Wildstone #7)
Published by William Morrow on June 8, 2021
Age/Genres: Contemporary, Romance

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis continues her Wildstone series with the moving story of a young woman who has to start her life—and her love life—over again.

When Emma Harris wakes up from a coma, she learns that her fiancé and her BFF have fallen in love, she’s lost her job, and the life she knew is gone. Overwhelmed but grateful to be alive, she decides to start over from scratch. Not as easy as it sounds, of course. But she’s never been a quitter, even if she wishes she could quit rehab, where her hot but evil physical therapist, Simon, puts her through the wringer.

Desperate for a new start, Emma opens a doggy day care. Unfortunately, the only space she can afford is owned by her childhood nemesis Ali Pratt. But hey, she’s been through worse, right? She tries to roll with the punches, but a friend drops his grandpa off at the doggy day care because he can’t find senior care. On top of that, she and Ali bring the term “frenemies” to a whole new level. And then another grandparent shows up. And another.

In the midst of all that, Emma realizes she’s accidentally fallen for her Evil PT. But the most horrifying thing of all is that Ali just might have turned into the best friend she’s ever had. And as Emma grows from the pain of her past and takes on her new path, she comes to learn that life isn’t what you’re given, it’s what you make of it.

It’s no secret I love Jill Shalvis’ books, and if you are looking for one set in California, she has a whole lot to pick from. I cannot recall if any of her books are set outside that state, but I know many are.

Have you read any books set in California?
Let us know in the comments!

Posted February 5, 2022 by Sam@wlabb in Sloth Goes Places / 16 Comments

16 responses to “Sloth Goes Places: California

    • I usually will look where an author is based, and I do find that many of the books are written by people who live/lived in the state. I guess California produces many authors

  1. I would imagine California is a very popular setting for books- I should see how many I can think of set there. I wouldn’t mind visiting there right now either lol.

    • Being a contemporary reader, I am always reading in books set in “the real world”, and California dominates the settings. I bet the temperatures are great in parts of CA right now.

  2. Sounds like a fun trip. I haven’t been to California much either but did visit the L.A./Hollywood area years ago. I remember doing a tour of the Warner Bros studio, watching a filming of Craig Ferguson’s talk show, and seeing the Walk of Fame and that’s about it, lol. One more book that came to mind for being set in California is When Dimple Met Rishi.

  3. Fun vacation pics! I do feel like California pops up a lot in books. I hope you get to go back and explore more of the state sometime soonish!

  4. Jen

    I’ve read so many from California too. And growing up there and having lots of friends and family still there, it’s so easy to visualize different areas♥. I’m from Northern, my husband is from southern in Orange County, we met in the middle at San Luis Obispo and now we’re in Lake Tahoe so if you ever need travel recs just holler, I’ve been pretty much everywhere lol.

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