North to YouAuthor: Tif Marcelo
Series: Journey to the Heart #1
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release date: June 5th 2017
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo
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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?
The GingerSnap’s review
I picked this book as part of our “Foodie February” theme, and oooh am I glad I did! I love any romance that somehow includes food in the plot, and this book delivered. I was drooling every time the word “panini” was mentioned, and by the time cake pops were being crafted, I was so hungry I was ready to raid my kitchen, book in hand.
This book follows the trials and tribulations of Camille Marino and Drew Bautista. Camille is the owner of Lucianna, a food truck that she runs with her best friend, Jasmine. The truck is dedicated to turning out delicious Italian-inspired eats that Camille crafts herself, using the knowledge and prowess her grandmother taught her. Camille is also the sole guardian of her little sister, Ally, a talented young artist with big dreams. Between juggling the truck and Ally, Camille’s plate is already pretty full, but then she runs into Drew, the guy she fell hard and fast for in high school. Drew is on leave from the Army before his deployment to Iraq, and has returned to his hometown of San Francisco to repair his strained relationship with his father. Twists are thrown in when Drew’s father’s business interferes with his relationship with Cami. Meanwhile, Cami is busy dealing with her own drama, trying to sort out a financial crisis and a major change in her plans for the truck.
I LOVE Cami. I love that she doesn’t abandon her business to run after Drew. Many times throughout the book, Drew asks her on a date and she declines, knowing she has to take care of her business first. She is also the best big sister/mother to Ally, supporting her dreams and never telling her that achieving them wasn’t possible, that they are out of reach or budget. Cami is a truly independent woman with big goals, and while those goals do get compromised for love, it’s not the same old story we’ve all heard before of a woman giving up her career to follow a man. Thank you, Tif Marcelo, for giving us a different version of this story.
I also love Drew’s character. He’s so openly emotional; he knows how much he cares for Cami and he puts it right out on the table, no grumpiness over feeling feelings or caring for someone. I also like that, like Cami, he sticks to his morals, refusing to give up his dream despite familial pressure, though his loyalty to his family is shown time and time again throughout the book. In fact, the Bautista family dynamic is something I would have loved to see even more of in this book. More scenes of them all together, cooking, arguing, laughing, would have been welcome. The moments between Drew and his Mom or Drew and his cousin Bryn were so enjoyable to read that I wanted to read more of those connections.
It’s so rare to read a book where both characters get exactly what they want without having to sacrifice each other. The HEA at the end of this book is so well-written and well-deserved, and that combined with the recipe inspiration I’ve gotten from this book, makes it a firm favourite.
I would recommend this book to…
Foodies, San-Fran residents/lovers, lovers of diverse romances, lovers of second-chance romances