September 9, 2020

Book Review: East in Paradise (Journey to the Heart #2)

East in Paradise is the second novel in Tif Marcelo's Journey to the Heart series, which are contemporary romances that feature a Filipino-American lead and also have a fun food-related aspect. This companion sequel is about Bryn Aquino, who is pursuing her dream to set up a Filipino culinary retreat. She finds the perfect spot and sinks in the majority of her investment... until her finances are put in jeopardy when her investor suddenly has to back out. Luckily, right around the same time this happens, Bryn receives an offer from a website to have a web series dedicated to following her journey to creating her dream retreat that could cover the gap. She doesn't inform her new landlord about this new development, but he accidentally stumbles into a stream and winds up getting way. more involved than either of them expected (or wanted).

If you're on the hunt for a quick, easy read, East in Paradise would be an excellent choice. It's got a charming story, both in terms of the budding romance between our protagonists and the goings-on around that for them both (Bryn with her work to set up this retreat, and Mitchell trying to figure out what he wants to do now and dealing with his PTSD post-military service). It was easy enough to be rooting for a happy outcome for both our characters, who are both tough cookies but also have soft, vulnerable centers. It was also a simple thing to be in favor of their romance! Their chemistry was pretty undeniable, even if it did start out being antagonistic, and I was just eager to see more sweet moments between them as the book went on. Throw in a great setting (it's set mostly in a vineyard near a charming little town), a sprinkling of Filipino family culture, strong secondary characters and a dash of Filipino cuisine, and you've got a solid combination overall.

East in Paradise was a fun read with a cute premise that centers around a sweet romance between two likable characters. I really enjoyed reading it, and could also totally see it being made into a film (which I would 100% like to watch, thank you). It also left me curious about who the main couple in the third and last book in the series would be, so I'm looking forward to eventually reading that one as well.

Pub Info: September 4, 2017 by Pocket Star | Add it on Goodreads | Buy the book!


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