Reviews: MEANT TO BE and OUT OF THE CLEAR BLUE SKY

 

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I got a bit sporadic again last week with my blogging because my son had surgery to repair a fractured/dislocated shoulder on Thursday. He’s doing well, although not excited to be in a sling all summer, and we’re all a bit tired from our travels, our stay at the hospital, and from the run-the-clock post-op care since he got home late Friday.  I did manage to get a few reviews written this weekend as he has slept, so today I’ll be sharing my thoughts on novels from two of my favorite authors, Emily Giffin and Kristan Higgins.  No surprise, but neither of them disappointed.  Side note:  how adorable are those covers?

 

Reviews:  MEANT TO BE and OUT OF THE CLEAR BLUE SKYMeant to Be Goodreads

Author: Emily Giffin

Publication Date: May 31, 2022

Publisher:  Ballatine Books

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Emily Giffin’s latest novel Meant to Be is a captivating romance that is loosely inspired by the Kennedys, specifically John F. Kennedy Jr and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy.  It’s the story of two people from very different worlds who are both trying to find their place in the world and, in the process, manage to find each other.  Can their love overcome all the obstacles that stand in their way?

Meant to Be follows Cate and Joe.  Joe, or Joseph S. Kingsley, III, comes from a family that is practically American royalty. His father was devoted to public service, first in the military, then in politics, and then in the space program, where he was tragically killed in an accident.  Everyone in the country, including Joe’s mother, expects him to pick up his dad’s mantle and carry on with the Kingsley legacy.  Joe doesn’t know how he feels about this and has a tendency to behave recklessly as he’s trying to figure out what he wants out of life.

Cate comes from a poor background, having spent her early years living in a tiny apartment with just her mom and a revolving door of men.  Cate hates living this way and when she is a teenager, she finds her ticket out of poverty when she has the good fortune to be discovered by a modeling agency.  When she meets Joe while on the beach doing a photoshoot, their attraction is instant.  Cate wants to keep the relationship secret because if word gets out about her poor background, it’s all over for them since she doesn’t believe there’s a place for her in Joe’s world.

Giffin does an amazing job using Joe and his family to capture America’s obsession with the Kennedys and “Camelot” while at the same time creating a wholly fresh and engrossing love story of these two young people who just want to be together in spite of the pressures of class and society. Both Cate and Joe are just so well drawn. I loved the complicated dynamic of their relationship, the realistic angle as to whether their love is strong enough to withstand what would happen if Cate’s past were to be exposed.  I was completely rapt by Cate and Joe’s story that I couldn’t put the book down and actually found myself sobbing by a huge unexpected twist at the end.

Meant to Be is a beautifully written story that will capture your heart, emotionally wreck you, and still manage to leave you feeling hopeful.  4 STARS

 

Reviews:  MEANT TO BE and OUT OF THE CLEAR BLUE SKYOut of the Clear Blue Sky Goodreads

Author: Kristan Higgins

Publication Date: June 7, 2022

Publisher: Berkley Books

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

I was hooked on Kristan Higgins’ new novel Out of the Clear Blue Sky from the very first moment we meet the protagonist Lillie Silva, who is in the process of sedating a skunk so that she can sneak it into her ex-husband’s new house.  I immediately admired Lillie’s spunk and resourcefulness and, most importantly, was instantly invested in finding out what had driven her to do such a thing.

Lillie had been under the impression that she and Brad had a great life and a happy marriage.  Their only child is about to go off to college and Lillie is busy planning a wonderful European vacation for just herself and Brad.  She is therefore blindsided when, on the night of their son’s high school graduation, Brad announces that he wants a divorce, that he deserves to find joy for himself and that he is in love with someone else. Lillie is further blindsided when it turns out Brad’s new woman is Melissa, a newcomer to town whom Lillie actually introduced to Brad.  Needless to say, Lillie is both shocked and seriously ticked off that Brad has just turned her life upside down.

What I love about Higgins’ novels is that her characters are always so realistic and well drawn.  They’re full of flaws, just like us, and they find themselves in situations that are easy to relate to.  In Lillie’s case, she’s dealing with Brad’s betrayal, being an empty nester once her son goes off to college, and she also has the added challenge of how she can afford to live on just her salary.  Lillie’s journey is also very realistic in the sense that it takes time for her to work past the anger and pettiness she feels toward Brad (the skunk and other assorted hilarious pranks that I won’t spoil), before she comes out on the other side ready to move forward and heal.  I was cheering for her every step of the way, laughing out loud at some of her more petty moments, but ultimately rooting for her to find her own joy and show Brad what he was missing out on.

This novel was also fascinating it the sense that it’s a dual POV and the other POV we get is not from Brad, but instead from Melissa, the other woman.  Melissa is a seemingly irredeemable character who ended up surprising me in the end.  I can’t decide if I liked her or not, but I will say that her journey is an interesting one that kept me glued to the pages even when I wanted to shake her.

If you enjoy stories about second chances and new beginnings, with a hilarious side of revenge thrown in the mix, Out of the Clear Blue Sky is the book for you!  4.5 STARS

13 replies
  1. Angela
    Angela says:

    Emily Giffin is one of my favorite authors, so I’m always excited when she releases a new book. I was so intrigued when I found out it was inspired by the Kennedys, and I’m glad to hear it did not disappoint!

    Reply
  2. verushka
    verushka says:

    Meant to Be is an interesting premise – – I am curious to understand how Giffin depicts people’s obssessioned with the Kennedys, and how she portrays such complex characters

    Reply

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