North to You Review, Excerpt, Q&A and Giveaway!




North to You

Tif Marcelo

Journey to the Heart Series

Pocket Star (Simon and Schuster)

June 5, 2017

Blurb from Goodreads: 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?


North to You is a breath of fresh air in the world of second chances. Tif Marcelo takes the familiar trope of lost love, adds heat from the kitchen and heart from the family and makes it her own.

Drew and Camille haven’t seen each other since high school when she disappeared to live with her grandmother after the death of her parents. However, when they run into each other, the old chemistry still works and they are drawn to each other again.

At first, Camille keeps a lot of her life private because Drew is leaving in a few weeks for duty in Iraq and she has the commitments of her younger sister and her food truck. Slowly she opens up more and more until Drew discovers that Camille is the owner of the food truck that’s set up near his family’s restaurant and he’s pulled between his love for Camille and his loyalty to his family and their livelihood. He wavers just long enough in not telling the truth to Camille for her to feel as though she can’t trust him. This, in combination with the coincidence of who has loaned her money, is too much for Camille.

I thought this was a great start to a series as well as an awesome debut novel by Tif Marcelo. I liked how important family and friendships were to both Camille and Drew, it leant a great deal of warmth to the novel.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

rating: 4-butterflies

4 out of 5 butterflies



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Tif MarceloAuthor Info

Tif Marcelo believes in and writes about heart-eyes romance, the strength of families, and the endurance of friendship. A veteran Army Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Public Administration, she is a craft enthusiast, food-lover and the occasional half-marathon runner. As a military spouse, she has moved nine times, and this adventure shows in some of her free-spirited characters. Tif currently lives in the DC area with her own real life military hero and four children.



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Above the low hum of the traffic, the people, and the planes passing overhead, a bell chimes. Then two, then three. Soon, surround-sound church bells, signaling the start of the new day, sweep over the breadth of my view.

“Wow.” The music becomes the backdrop of the city I thought I knew. My eyes follow the path of Market Street and the twinkling outline of the Bay Bridge. It scans to the Transamerica Building, which cuts the ombré of the night sky down to the yellow of the city lights. Sights now enhanced, brought to greater depth and meaning.

“Right?” he whispers next to me.


“She is definitely beautiful.”

My breath hitches at Drew’s statement. He leans against the barrier, his back to the city lights. His eyes are solely on me.

This man and I know nothing about each other as adults except for what we revealed in the last hour. He knows nothing of my dreams and hopes. I don’t understand the life he’s chosen. And yet I’m bound to him with leftover feelings that are so innocent and pure, feelings I’m not sure where to place now that they’ve been pulled from memories packed away.

One thing is sure. Right now is perfect.

I approach him, place my hands on his chest.

He rests his fingers lightly on my waist. “Camille—”

I stop him with a kiss. Tonight has been crazy, magical, fuzzy, and weird, and I don’t want to think about consequences, my overloaded plate of responsibilities, of everything waiting for me down there, in the city below.



Describe yourself in five words or less.

Loyal. Dedicated. Empathetic. Enthusiastic. Cheerful.

What are 5 things you must have with you when you write?

I try not to get into the mindset that I need anything but a pen and paper/computer BUT:

  1. Coffee
  2. My notebook
  3. Something crunchy (almonds, cucumber rounds, Cheetoh’s—ha!)
  4. My phone on silent
  5. Marshmallow, Havanese-extraordinaire

What has been your toughest scene or book to write?

The “darkest hour” or also known as “the black moment.” It hurt my heart to bring these characters’ biggest fears to fruition. And then, to somehow recover from it was difficult because I wanted for it to come realistically and organically.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Oh, hands down, it had to be the research! This book encompassed San Francisco (the city of my child and young adulthood) and food (Filipino food, most especially). I no longer live in San Francisco, so finding another reason to look back at old pictures and to look at maps of the City brought me back! And with food, it’s been a blast cooking and eating these foods just so my descriptions are accurate. The things we sacrifice! ;P

A la Twitter style, please describe your book in 140 characters or less.

This was my agent story! I participated a PitMad Twitter pitch contest run by Brenda Drake. This is the pitch my now agent liked.

#dv #R Cami’s found a 2nd ch @ love w/Drew, til she finds out it’s his fam’s restaurant that wants her food truck out of business. #PitMad

How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

I’ve always been a writer, and my imagination have always run amok. Though I went to college and took up nursing and joined the Army, it never left me. I returned to writing through blogging when my second son was born, and continued to do so for over a decade. I began novel writing about six years ago, and was encouraged by my mother, my husband and closest friends. This journey has brought me full circle!

What do you do when you are not writing?

I’m a mom of four and a military spouse! Which means not only am I on the go every single day, as a family we are dealing with moving/deploying/temporary assignments quite regularly. Because of this, I practice yoga and run (very slowly). I love to read and binge watch shows I’m always behind on. I also craft! (currently, I’m cross-stitching something I’ve been working on for forever)

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

First and foremost, make a commitment to yourself. Set long and short-term goals in your writerly life. Be kind to yourself.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you for supporting this debut author! I hope you fall in love with NORTH TO YOU!




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