Review: It Takes Heart (Heart Resort #1) by Tif Marcelo

This author has grown on me over the years. When I picked up one of her books I wasn’t sure what to expect but then I was completely lost in her stories and couldn’t wait to read more from her! One thing I noticed though was Marcelo writes a variety of stories. Not just women’s fiction but romance too. I was super excited to read this latest novel that was more contempo romance than women’s fiction.

Second chance romance isn’t really my favorite troupe but I was excited to see what Marcelo did with it in this book. One of the things that I also love about Marcelo’s writing is she incorporates her culture into the lives of the characters. Marcelo is Pilipino and many of her characters are also Pilipino and I just love how much interest that adds to the stories.

I am also excited to see this is part of a new series. I loved the setting and I am excited to see that we will get to return here and get to know more about the family perhaps in future books. If you are looking for a more contempo romance that has heart and culture then I think this will be a great read for you this summer! I know I enjoyed it!


From romance author Tif Marcelo comes a heartwarming story about taking a second chance on love at a family-owned couples resort.

Heart Resort, a private resort in the Outer Banks, is a romantic getaway for couples but a hotbed of family drama for its proprietors, the Puso family. Brandon Puso, the youngest of the four siblings, prefers life on his own as a licensed contractor in DC after a falling-out with his eldest brother.

After a hurricane plows through the Outer Banks, Brandon has a change of heart. He returns to the resort to help with the grand reopening but encounters his big sister’s best friend, designer Geneva Harris, who’s there to do the same thing. But Geneva and Brandon have a secret. Years ago, they had a secret romance that ended in heartbreak.

With the resort’s future at stake, Brandon and Geneva decide to put the past aside and to keep peace with the family. But as their mutual attraction heats up, they have to decide if history will repeat itself—or if this time, love gets a second chance. (summary from Goodreads)


As I said earlier, second chance romances aren’t really my cup of tea. They generally fall in the ‘just ok’ category for me but I am usually up for romances regardless of the troupe plus I know that Marcelo does a great job with her writing and storytelling so that’s why I picked this one up happily. I thought Brandon and Geneva had some solid chemistry and I loved how both of them felt so real and complexed. They both had some baggage and that really gave me perspective into their romance and their shared history. I enjoyed seeing how their worked through this issues and ultimately decided to move forward with their feelings.

I also really liked the family dynamics in this book!There was so much culture and family dynamics in this one and I think readers will enjoy the family and culture especially if they haven’t read anything by Marcelo before. That was one of the things I recall loving about Marcelo’s books was how well she deployed culture and family in her books. So if you haven’t read anything by her before, you are in for a treat because this book really highlights both of those elements.

This book was more on the sweet and cozy side when it comes to romance, rather than hot and steamy. I really loved the sweet romance aspect of this book and I am eager to see how the romance for the siblings unfold in future books. Overall I loved the setting (Outer Banks), it was charming and romantic plus a lighthouse, and I loved the chemistry between the characters and the mix of family and culture. The only thing that I had a bit of an issue with was the pacing mid way through. It started to drag a bit toward the last third but then started picking up so it wasn’t so distracting that I would have given it a lower rating than 4 stars. Great romance!

Book Info and Rating

Format349 pages, Kindle Edition

PublishedAugust 10, 2021 by Montlake 


Free review copy provided by publisher, Montlake in partnership with the Tall Poppy Writers and Bloggers, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 4 stars

Genre: romance, contempo romance


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