Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Mini Reviews: New Releases

I'm sure most beach read lovers out there have had their eye on Christina Lauren's latest novel; how could you not with such a tropical cover like that? It did not disappoint! I'm also sharing my thoughts on a debut novel that is perfect for fans of baseball.

The Paradise Problem by Christina Lauren
Pages: 352 
Genre: Romance
Pub. Date: May 14, 2024
Publisher: Gallery
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: The Unhoneymooners,
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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."

Anna Green married Liam Weston years ago as an arrangement to qualify for the much coveted campus housing in college. After an amicable arrangement, they part ways at graduation and don't see each other for years; that is until Liam shows up on Anna's doorstepApparently, they never really divorced and he needs her help again. Liam is the heir to a major successful grocery store chain and needs to stay married for five years to obtain his inheritance. This is where Anna comes in. He needs her to pretend to be married to him and attend his sister's wedding; in turn, Anna will get a cut of the money, which she desperately needs and Liam will get his inheritance if all goes well. So, off Anna and Liam go to a private island for a family wedding and although Liam's family is pretty horrible, Anna has come to realize that he isn't. Christina Lauren's The Paradise Problem is a steamy rom-com with everything readers could want in a beach read: a tropical setting, an opposites attract romance, family drama, and a lot of witty banter.

The Paradise Problem had me laughing out loud at times. It reminded me of one of my favorite rom-coms from the 90s. Anna is a delightful character, but also very quirky; you can't help but love her. Liam is her polar opposite, so I really enjoyed how their romance unfolded. Fans of the fake marriage trope will especially enjoy this one. Also, I liked the private island setting of The Paradise Problem as this only added to the beach read appeal. Fans of romance can't go wrong with Christina Lauren's novelsThe Paradise Problem will make for great vacation reading this summer.

Welcome Home, Caroline Kline by Courtney Preiss
Pages: 368
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: April 16, 2024
Publisher: G.P. Putnam
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "A young woman's reluctant return to her Jersey Shore hometown gives her the second chance she didn’t know she needed.

In New York City, newly single Caroline Kline is stumbling her way through the recent implosion of her life. After a surprise breakup leaves her with no job, no apartment, and no backup plan, she’s unsure what to do next. That is, until her father, Leo, injures himself in a bad fall and asks her to move home to the Jersey Shore suburb she was always desperate to escape. But Leo doesn’t want his daughter to be his caretaker; he needs her to replace him as third baseman in his local men’s softball league. This isn’t just any season, he claims. This is the year they have a real shot at the World Series, the pride and joy of Glen Brook, New Jersey.

Caroline agrees to move home, concerned that Leo is hiding a more serious health condition than he’s willing to admit. As the first female player in a league full of old-school men, she’s up against more than a few challenges. And when a night gone wrong lands her in the path of her hometown crush—and first love—Caroline struggles to reconcile the life she thought she’d have with the life she might actually want."

Caroline Kline has escaped her small Jersey shore hometown for the big city, except things aren't going as planned. She is struggling in all areas of her life and things only get worse when she gets a call that her dad, Leo, has fallen and is injured. He requests she come home to help him out while he recovers. Caroline really doesn't want to return home to all her old problems and the people she'd rather avoid, but she wants to be there for her dad. Turns out, her dad wants more than a caretaker. Caroline, who used to be a softball star, would be the perfect replacement on his men's softball team. She could take his spot on the team as he is convinced that the team is going to go all the way to the Men's Softball World Series. Being that Caroline's prospects in New York City aren't great at this time, she sticks around to help out and even play on her dad's team, which isn't very welcoming to her in the least. Welcome Home, Caroline Kline by Courtney Preiss is a charming debut novel that had me laughing out loud. Fans of baseball as well as family dramas will especially appreciate this one.

To be honest, Caroline isn't a very likable character in Welcome Home, Caroline Kline. She is struggling, makes poor choices, is pretty insecure, and is a self-saboteur. She is dealing with a lot of demons and needs to get it together. Where better to do that than back at home, right? Wrong. She is forced to confront issues she has run away from, her divorced parents, her old crush, her raging temper and even the sexist behavior of the men's softball team. As time passes, Caroline does evolve and grows as a person, which helps her to confront some of her issues. I really enjoy baseball, so I loved all the details of the softball games and the team's dreams of attending the World Series. This was a cute debut novel with a lot of steamier moments than I anticipated; nonetheless, a solid summer read with a Jersey Shore setting and all the baseball details.  

So, are you a fan of Christina Lauren? Will you be adding any of these books to your summer TBR list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.



  1. These both sound like great reads - I especially love the Jersey Shore setting of the second book!

    1. Yes! It was so fun! Thanks for dropping by, Angela!


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