I Was In Food And Romance Heaven: North To You by Tif Marcelo

I Was In Food And Romance Heaven: North To You by Tif MarceloNorth to You (Journey to the Heart #1)
by Tif Marcelo
Series: Journey To the Heart
Release Date: June 5th 2017
Published by Pocket Books
Genres: Adult, Chicklit, Contemporary, Romance
Format: eBook
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Source: Purchased

In this warmhearted and charming debut from Tif Marcelo, a food truck chef and her long lost Army love clash when they cross paths in San Francisco.

Camille Marino has got a full plate. As the sole guardian of her eighteen-year-old sister and the head chef and owner of a food truck, she’s used to life being a juggling act. With food to cook, social media accounts to manage, and a little sister to look after, she doesn’t have time for much else.

That is, until Drew Bautista walks back into her life.

Drew is Camille’s former high school crush and he returns to San Francisco to repair his relationship with his father before he ships out for deployment. By helping his father renovate his failing Filipino restaurant, he hopes to win back his respect. But when sparks fly between Drew and Camille—his father’s major competition and sworn enemy—Drew is conflicted. Should he join his father in the war against her food truck? Or surrender to the woman who’s given him a second chance at love?

Purchased in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Well, this book was charming, and sweet and so very endearing! I owe Ari big time for introducing me to North To You, a foodie romance debut that swept me off my feet. It’s not always that I encounter a debut novel that immediately makes me fall in love with the author’s writing, and turn me into a life-long fan, but Tif Marcelo’s North To You did exactly that for me.

This is a book that has a lot of heart to it, and it’s all thanks to the lovable characters. These are characters that are built up so solidly throughout the book that you grow to know every aspect of their personalities intimately. And what great personalities they had! I immediately clicked with the heroine, Camille, a passionate food truck owner,  because of how resilient she was. She has had many obstacles thrown her way, but she continued to rise up from every difficult situation she has faced. Camille was hardworking, and very devoted to her sister’s success and happiness; the sacrifices she made for her sister warmed my heart! I just wanted for her to find the happiness she deserved. And she find that with Drew, quite possibly one of the best love interests I have ever read. Drew, a military man, was back home in San Francisco to help his family out with the family restaurant renovations. I loved this guy so much. He was a sweetheart, a complete gentleman, and kind beyond words. I easily warmed up to his character, and was giddy that we got his POV as well. There’s nothing to hate about this guy, and even when he did falter, it’s easy to forgive him.

His and Camille’s relationship was a highlight of North To You. It was a second-chance romance, but not in the typical way. These two knew each other as high-school freshmen, and had a lot of chemistry together, but nothing happened because Camille moved away. When they unexpectedly meet again at a festival, their connection sparks alive. I loved their budding romance! Camille is initially hesitant because she’s very resistant to opening up to someone else, and with Drew’s deployment to Iraq looming over, their relationship could have easily gone awry. However, Tif Marcelo weaves their relationship in a way that makes you forget about those elements. There’s a comfort level to their romance that had me smiling. With all the banter, the fun touristy dates they go on, the steamy chemistry, and the emotional conversations they had, there was absolutely no way I could not have gone gaga over this lovable couple. I just loved them so much.

North To You was much more than a fluffy romance though. Family plays a significant role here. We see that through the relationships between Camille and her sister, as well as Drew and his family. I loved how Drew’s family was depicted here. This is a Filipino American family that reminded me a lot of my own.  The expectations that Drew’s father had for him, the big family meals, and the loyalty and love between the family members were brilliantly written. I love when families are portrayed with all their complexities. Before I wrap up this review, I’ve got to mention all the food and restaurant references. With Camille’s food truck which featured yummy paninis, and Drew’s dad’s restaurant with all the Filipino food, I was just constantly hungry throughout the book! I also really liked how Tif Marcelo discussed the impact, good and bad, of social media on small businesses. I thought it added another something special to the book.

Alright. I loved this book, so please buy it. I promise you, you won’t regret it. It’s pure food and romance heaven, and doesn’t that sound amazing?

Have you read any foodie romance novels?
Let me know in the comments below!

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  • Ooo I am excited Nick, as I actually own this one and it sounds like I am in for a treat. I like that it has depth, and foodie books always make me smile.

    • Yay, Kim, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. 🙂

  • Food and romance heaven?? Sign me up!! It sounds super cute and I love the sounds of the families! Lovely review, Nick!

    • Yes! Total heaven! Thanks, Cyn!

  • I have never heard of the book or the author but I will check it out now for sure!

    • She’s a debut, Sam, but yes definitely check this out.

  • I do like books that makes me hungry 😀 Makes me want to try new recipes too

    • I love and hate them! And same! I just want to eat everything.

    • I love and hate them! And same! I just want to eat everything.

  • Have you seen the movie What To ExpectWhen You’re Expecting? This reminds me a bit of Anna Kendrick’s storyline in the movie. I like that chick flick, very entertaining just like this book from the sound of it

    • I have not, but I’ll need to!

  • Ari

    I’m so happy you enjoyed this one, Nick!!! This book literally had everything and the romance killed all my feels. This is definitely my favorite debut book for this year and I hope the sequel is just as good.

    • I’m so happy I read your review! I know, it’s definitely one of mine too. I’m excited for the sequel as well. Did you get it off of NG?

      • Ari

        I did!

  • I would like this because I need more light and fluffy romances and I do like a strong focus on family. Plus, the whole food cart theme intrigues me as Portland is a big food cart city. Going to check my library for this one. Thanks for the recommendation, Nick.

    • Yes, it’s the perfect read for you, Heidi! 🙂

  • I added this one to my wish list when you were loving it on Twitter. I mean I can’t turn down a foodie romance!!

    • You will LOVE this!

  • I loved this book! I’m Filipino American and I identified with pressure Drew felt from his father. This had me crying. I’m also from SF Bay Area so their touristy dates brought back memories of my dates with my husband. Everything about this book touched my heart and my stomach lol. Great review!

    • Yay! I’m so happy to hear you loved it too. And that’s so wonderful that you connected so much to the story. Ha! I have a love-hate relationship with foodie books, because they get me so so hungry!

  • It’s been forever since I’ve read a good foodie romance. Will definitely have to pick this one up.

    • This is a good one, so definitely check it out.

  • Aww this sounds wonderful. I mean, San Fran & food trucks? <3<3 I'm crushing on Drew already! 😀

    • You’ve got to read this!!

  • The cover is SO unique. 😁 Thanks for sharing. Awesome review. I’ll check it out. ❤️

    • I hope you like it! 🙂

  • Angel @Angel Reads

    Nick! I need it now okay. You have convinced. I mean that isn’t really hard to go, but arhh. Thanks for the review.

    • Yes! You need it! 🙂

  • This just looks so darn adorable. I need read it. I did add it to my TBR from your twitter recommendation.

    • I’m so excited for you to read it!

  • This one caught my eye on Goodreads a while back and I thought it looked so cute. I LOVE food, so I am a big fan of romances with food involved. lol! I definitely need to check this one out. Great review!

    • It was super cute, Julie, and omg all the food involved just made me hungry.

  • This sounds soooo good! As a bit of a foodie myself, I’m super excited to read about a heroine who owns a food truck…maybe some of her menu items will inspire me to cook something. Camille and Drew’s relationship sounds all kinds of swoon worthy, and I’m happy to hear that family plays such a big role in this one too. Hooray for book recs from you, Nick! 😄

    • YES! You will love all the food references. She makes these amazing-sounding paninis! *drools*
      You’re welcome! <3

  • Nick, why are you so much better at putting into words why a book was good than me? This is exactly what made this book awesome. Sure, it was awesomely fluffy and cute, but it had depth to it as well. I loved the tourist dates they had and I loved all the mentions of food (seriously, this book made me hungry). I adored the family element to this. Drew’s family were awesome getting all up in people’s business. And his dad! He didn’t know where the line was til he crossed it but he cared. The dynamic between Drew and his dad was brilliant because they just didn’t know what to say to each other ever but they both wanted to try. I think they got there in the end, just took them a while.

    I can safely say I am one of the people who bought it because you said so and I do not regret it.