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Meant To Be

(The Destiny Series #1)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  119 ratings  ·  51 reviews
(Women's Fiction) Sometimes you’re already committed to the wrong person when fate finally brings you the right one.

When NYU professor Daniel Gardner’s career-obsessed wife convinces him to move to the suburbs, he hopes it’s a first step toward starting the family he longs to have. Instead of domestic bliss he finds his neighbor, Marienne Valeti. She loves her freelance de
Published August 26th 2012 by Smashwords Edition (first published August 25th 2012)
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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  119 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
This isn't the typical book that I would read. I was so nervous to read this that I had to put this down a couple times after starting. Truthfully, I don't do well with angst. This book is about a married woman and a married man who become friends. Neither of them have a perfect marriage but they are good people. Neither of them are cheaters. This was hard to read at times, not because of the writing, but because I felt so many emotions for these characters. I really enjoyed this book and can't ...more
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rating: A ... Heat: Warm

Meant to Be follows the de-evolution of two marriages and the burgeoning of a once in a lifetime friendship. A story about two individuals, their lives running parallel to one another, becoming entangled and irreversibly connected. Soul mates finally finding their true other half.

When Marienne Valeti and Daniel Gardner, recent neighbors, first meet while volunteering for the local theatre, they discover they have many things in common. And, more importantly, they really e

Maria Rose
Meant to be by Karen Stivali is a lovely, heartwarming and somewhat poignant story of two people who through fate and circumstance become friends while married to other people. There is no cheating in the story, and one wonders how a romance can be achieved in this situation, but the author takes care to show the developing friendship between Daniel and Marienne at the same time as their own marriages start to unravel. When they are both single again, will they take this chance to explore a futu ...more
*A copy of this book was provided for free by the author in exchange for an honest review.*

So this turns out super ranty, proceed at your own risk.

Full Rant behind the spoiler tag:
(view spoiler)
Karen Booth
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't read Meant To Be fast enough. I absolutely adored the main characters, Marienne and Daniel. They had me firmly in their clutches from the word go (and please, Daniel, put me in your very capable clutches) that I couldn't keep from thinking about them, wondering what would happen. Their complex and unconventional relationship rings true at every turn, allowing them to leap off the page and worm their way into your psyche. Meant To Be is a compelling, funny and sweet tale that will brea ...more
Julie Joyce
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read many friends-to-lovers stories, but this one had a quality and depth to it that the others failed to achieve. It was so full of emotion--the highs and lows of love--but the authenticity of the story and the characters never changed. It was so believable. Karen does a wonderful job taking us on a journey full of humour and heart. I truly loved Meant to Be.
Literati Literature Lovers
A Reason
A Season
A Lifetime

The above three lines were the inspiration behind Karen Stivali’s first full-length novel, Meant To Be. How do we know which purpose someone is filling when they come into our life? We don’t. We can never predict who our “lifetime people” will be.

Marienne Valeti, a graphic artist, had a difficult life growing up as she struggled to fit in with her family and seemed to always fall for the wrong guy, including her husband Frank. But how you could you not adore Marienne?
Kim Gauger
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
meant to be

This story gets you in the feels department. There is no cheating with the two main characters and they say true to their vows. Loved the dynamics in the characters and the friendship they have. A great read
Stephanie Collins
I won this title a while back from Karen and kept having other titles come up that had to get read yesterday for review. I finally took advantage of some downtime from work and real life to read this title and let me tell you … WHY DID I NOT PUT THIS HIGHER IN THE LIST!!!

We have two incredible people stuck in marriages that aren't working but they both have so much honor to them that they stay in hopes that things will work out. When Daniel and Marienne meet the first time you can sense the kins
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes things happen for a reason and brings a chance for a once in a lifetime friendship that is simply meant to be ...

Meant To Be is the story of two people who form an unconventional friendship that blossoms into love that only comes when soulmates find each other. It is a story about finding your true soulmate while already in a committed relationship. The story follows the relationship of two couples who become neighbors and the unconventional friendship and love that blossoms between tw
Samantha March
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Karen Stivali is on tour now with CLP Blog Tours and Meant to Be. This is a true romance story, and one that I found difficult to put down. Readers follow the journey of love between neighbors Daniel Gardner and Marienne Valeti – though both are married to other people. What starts as an innocent friendship turns into a tortuous friendship as both Daniel and Marienne realize they are falling for each other. Both remain loyal in their marriages and their friendship only grows stronger throughout ...more
Jul 25, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is exactly as described. And I really should have read the description better before I jumped at the chance to get a review copy because unhappily married suburbanites are not my thing in the best of circumstances, and there's nothing in this book that sold them to me.

In fact, because I was so disinterested in the main couple, other things I might let slide in a book I was more engaged in, drove me up a wall in this one.

Early on in the book, Maryanne goes on and on about how she's not
Janna ♥ I'm A Sweet And Sassy Book Whore ♥
Daniel Gardner is a professor at NYU. He has a very career driven wife and is happy living in the suburbs with neighbors who have turned into his best friends. Daniel’s wife, Justine, is disappointed that Daniel only wants to be a professor at NYU and doesn’t dream to go beyond what fulfills him.

Marianne Valeti is a freelance designer, an awesome baker, and married to a career driven husband who has become best friends with Daniel after working together on the set of the local play. Frank, Mari
Trader (RedHotBlueReads)
I've been reading this author for a few years now having started with her contemporary romance, and how I missed this one, I don't know. I love the theme of this book -- what happens if you find out that maybe you married the wrong person? What happens if your soul mate shows up after you've already committed to someone else? I should note that there is no cheating in this book as both parties do honor their vows.

Daniel and Marienne are both married and are moving through their lives not partic
Lucy Felthouse
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Article first published as eBook Review: Meant To Be by Karen Stivali on Blogcritics.

Meant To Be is an erotic romance with an emphasis on the romance. There are sex scenes, but they're not overly graphic, but this is the perfect tone for the book, which is beautiful and happy-sigh-inducing throughout.

This is the tale of two couples who are neighbours. NYU professor Daniel Gardner has recently moved to the suburbs with his wife, Justine. He hopes this is going to be the next step in his marriage
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blurb: Sometimes you’re already committed to the wrong person when fate finally brings you the right one. When NYU professor Daniel Gardner’s career-obsessed wife convinces him to move to the suburbs, he hopes it’s a first step toward starting the family he longs to have. Instead of domestic bliss he finds his neighbor, Marienne Valeti. She loves her freelance design job, but must contend with a growing sense of isolation created by her husband’s indifference. A penchant for good books, bad movi ...more
Soulmates do exist– a very moving story.

I’ve read Karen Stilvali’s M/M romance books (and loved them) but this is the first M/F story of hers that I’ve read. All I can say is why did I wait so long to read this? The word epic comes to mind when I think about this story which spans several years. If you read the blurb but didn’t read all the way to the end you might think that this story involves cheating spouses. Let me assure you that it does not!

Daniel and Justine Gardner live in the suburbs a
Zeljka Rankovic
Jul 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am usually the one for fast-paced stories full of adventures and surprises and suspense... but this slow-burning, friends-to-lovers story was so good, it didn't even need any of those things: with few surprises and unexpected happenings, it still managed to keep the attention and make me turn yet another page in expectation of the passion that had been brewing and brewing finally exploding. And, boy, that was one hell of an explosion!

"I want you," he said as he approached her. "I want you." He
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't finish this book fast enough. I didn't want to put it down until it was done and then I wanted more. Well written, beautiful, heartfelt and emotional. The author makes the words flow together perfectly and with such intrigue that the reader can't help being sucked in til the last word. The intimate scenes are beautifully written with just enough detail.

When you are married to one person but attracted to another, what do you do? You continue to live the life you have committed to.

Eden Finley
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a little different to my normal taste. It's a sweet romance. It was written well and it's somewhere between tame and steamy.

The story follows Daniel and Marienne, neighbours who meet through her husband. Both of them are in imperfect marriages and they spark up a friendship.

As a person who despises cheating story lines, I was pleased to find both Daniel and Marienne respectful of their vows, even when their marriages weren't the best. Having said this, some of their inner monologu
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: slow-burn
Standalone, HEA/HFN, Slow burn, M/F.
There is a sequel, HOLDING ON, The Destiny Series Book 2, if you want.

This book is a pleasure to read. I love it.

It screams reality. It's realistic. It's refreshing. It's the every day life of grow up peoples. There is no unnecessary drama. No drama plot. No cheating. Just life. There is little to no sexe until the end, and it's not overly descriptive.
This book is not a traditional romance troop between two people. This is Slow burn. The whole book is about
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
Amanda's review posted on Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

4.5 Stars

Meant to Be is a love story, but not a traditional romance story. It is about finding the right person after committing yourself to another. Both Daniel and Marienne start out as new neighbors and become friends when the two couples start spending time together. What developed between Marienne and Daniel was real and meaningful for both of them. Each of them are very private individuals but they seem to confide in one another and sh
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are in the mood for a unique twist to the friends to lovers romance trope, then Meant To Be by Karen Stivali is the book for you. This is an engaging, well-written novel with an authentic love story that took complete hold of my mind, body, and soul. The two main characters light up the pages with their amusing banter, genuineness, and need for companionship.

New neighbors Marienne Valeti and Daniel Gardner get to know each other through their love for community theater. As their friendshi
Jessy (Jessy's Book Club)
Usually I read as a means of escape. That’s why I read about controlling anti-heroes when in real life I wouldn’t go near one with a pole But once in a while I read a book like this one; a contemporary romance that feels so real…like it could be happening to someone you know.

It was an easy book to read with a good flow. I really loved the banter between Daniel and Marienne. From the first day they just clicked. It was easy to hate Frank and Justine and root for Daniel and Marienne. Maybe too eas
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
eBook received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

With so many books out there I often look to my favourite authors to introduce me to new authors. That's how Karen Stivali's books have found their way into my life. Meant to Be was my first and definitely won't be my last by this author.

I think I smiled the whole time I was reading this book. Marienne and Daniel are married to other people for the majority of this book. Ordinarily this is something I would shy away from but as th
Full Review posted on Book Lovin' Mamas

I had such a hard time putting down this book because I wanted to find out what would happen next to Daniel and Marienne.
I was so mad on what Frank was doing to Marienne when the truth came out at the end, and I was happy with what finally happened at the ending.
I definitely cannot wait to read the next installment to Daniel and Marienne’s story now, and I look forward to reading other books from Karen Stivali as well.
This book may make you mad on the signi
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a sweet read. First I have to say that I do not like cheating (emotionally or physically in any book). But, something about this story tugs at the heartstrings.

Daniel is married to a woman that he should so not be married to. She cares only about her career and herself. She is an extremely unlikeable character. Daniel is so sweet and tries to be a good husband to her. They move to the suburbs and meet Frank and Marienn. Frank is just as self centered as Justine. Marienn is a sweet nurturing
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this novel for an honest review so here goes nothing.

This book is about two neighbors Daniel and Marienne who meet by chance helping out with the local theater group, and from the minute they meet you can tell they were meant to be together. BUT they are both married to people who are the total opposites of themselves. I know opposites attract but both Frank and Justine seem a better fit together then with their current spouse. This is a classic love story from the beginning
Aug 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Meant to Be is a well written, passionate, friends to lovers story that is very realistic. Almost too realistic. I started and stopped this book a few times due to the emotions that it evoked. The two lead characters, Daniel and Marienne, are married to other people. They form a friendship and when an event occurs and the four of them are faced with decisions, Daniel and Marienne are there for each other.

This book was a surpris
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was not as gushy sweet as I thought it'd be (which is fine, I just thought that's what I was going into). I am going to say, I think the description of this book gives too much away. Obviously you can figure out on your own what is going to happen but I think a little mystery of what happens in the marriages would have been better.
The spouses in this book are easy to hate. I loved Daniel and Marienne's sweet friendship & that they never fought. Always loyal to each other no matter what
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Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker, and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies, and fictional British men.

Other books in the series

The Destiny Series (2 books)
  • Holding On (The Destiny Series, #2)