Recent Reads | The Paradise Problem and The Search Party

Posted May 24, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments

Recent Reads | The Paradise Problem and The Search PartyThe Paradise Problem by Christina Lauren
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Published by Gallery Books on May 14, 2024
Also by this author: The Unhoneymooners, Twice in a Blue Moon, The Honey-Don't List, In a Holidaze, The Soulmate Equation, Something Wilder, The True Love Experiment, The Honeymoon Crashers
Format: Hardcover (352 pages) • Source: Book of the Month
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Christina Lauren, returns with a delicious new romance between the buttoned-up heir of a grocery chain and his free-spirited artist ex as they fake their relationship in order to receive a massive inheritance.

Anna Green thought she was marrying Liam “West” Weston for access to subsidized family housing while at UCLA. She also thought she’d signed divorce papers when the graduation caps were tossed, and they both went on their merry ways.

Three years later, Anna is a starving artist living paycheck to paycheck while West is a Stanford professor. He may be one of four heirs to the Weston Foods conglomerate, but he has little interest in working for the heartless corporation his family built from the ground up. He is interested, however, in his one-hundred-million-dollar inheritance. There’s just one catch.

Due to an antiquated clause in his grandfather’s will, Liam won’t see a penny until he’s been happily married for five years. Just when Liam thinks he’s in the home stretch, pressure mounts from his family to see this mysterious spouse, and he has no choice but to turn to the one person he’s afraid to introduce to his one-percenter parents—his unpolished, not-so-ex-wife.

But in the presence of his family, Liam’s fears quickly shift from whether the feisty, foul-mouthed, paint-splattered Anna can play the part to whether the toxic world of wealth will corrupt someone as pure of heart as his surprisingly grounded and loyal wife. Liam will have to ask himself if the price tag on his flimsy cover story is worth losing true love that sprouted from a lie.

Man, Christina Lauren has truly done it again. I know I’m a relatively new reader of theirs but I just think they’re in the top-echelon of contemporary romance / rom-com writers. I noted on my Instagram caption that each year I most look forward to new books by Emily Henry, Abby Jimenez, and Christina Lauren. These gals are my top auto-read authors for romance… and none of them have disappointed. ALL three 2024 releases by them were five stars for me.

THE PARADISE PROBLEM has a marriage of convenience trope, super duper rich people with inheritance on the line, a tropical setting with a wedding involved… genuinely what more could I want? Excellent characters with fun personalities, a ton of sexual tension, and really funny moments? Yes, all of those too!

Anna and West got married almost five years ago to secure cheap family student housing. Anna didn’t exactly read the finer details of their contract and surprise! They’re still married and West needs her to be his guest to his sister’s wedding on a private island in Indonesia so he can collect his multi-hundred-million-dollar inheritance.

While this was the usual steamy, tension-filled rom-com from Christina Lauren, there were definitely some heavier elements involved too. West’s family is…something else. The two of them were not set up for an easy trip, especially with Anna actually being a broke artist instead of the med student he thought she was when they first got married. It was so frustrating to read about his terrible father and how everyone enabled him, but the ending of the book was satisfying on all fronts.

This is absolutely a top favorite from Christina Lauren for me and I’ll be recommending it to everyone!

Recent Reads | The Paradise Problem and The Search PartyThe Search Party by Hannah Richell
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Simon and Schuster on January 16, 2024
Format: Audio/Physical (338 pages) • Source: Purchased, Spotify Audiobooks
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A spellbinding locked-room mystery about a glamping trip gone horribly wrong when a powerful storm leaves the participants stranded and forced to confront long-held secrets and a shocking disappearance.

Max and Annie Kingsley have left the London rat race with their twelve-year-old son to set up a glamping site in the wilds of Cornwall. Eager for a dry run ahead of their opening, they invite three old university friends and their families for a long-needed reunion. But the festivities soon go awry as tensions arise between the children (and subsequently their parents), explosive secrets come to light, and a sudden storm moves in, cutting them off from help as one in the group disappears.

Moving between the police investigation, a hospital room, and the catastrophic weekend, The Search Party is a propulsive and twisty destination thriller about the tenuous bonds of friendship and the lengths parents will go to protect their children—perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Lucy Foley.

I got to be a few books behind on my Goodreads challenge and was really in the mood to pick up a mystery/thriller. I described four books and their titles to my friend without offering my opinions on the author or if they had good reviews, and had her pick my next read! She went for THE SEARCH PARTY and I have to say – I really enjoyed it!

The book follows a group of people who have been friends for 20+ years as they head into the country for a glamping weekend. One of the couples from the group has decided to leave the hustle and bustle of London to start up their new endeavor with their twelve-year old adopted son. There are multiple other couples and children along for the weekend and honestly it was really hard to keep track of them, especially at first.

The author did a great job at including a lot of red herrings and twists. There were little things I picked up on throughout the book that I tucked away for later and still didn’t manage to figure it all out. There were only a couple of things that I guessed correctly.

It’s a little bit of a slow-build – I wasn’t super engaged or interested at first and suddenly I realized that it actually had captivated me and I didn’t even know it. The ending was great and just twisty enough. I would definitely recommend this one if you like books with big friend groups and secrets being revealed!

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