Book Review – East in Paradise

Posted September 12, 2017 by Kathy in 5 stars, Book Review / 6 Comments

Book Review – East in ParadiseEast in Paradise Series: Journey to the Heart #2
by Tif Marcelo
Published by Pocket Star on September 4, 2017
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Pages: 390
Format: Ebook
Source: Publisher
Buy on AmazonBarnes & Noble

When an entrepreneur and an Army reservist end up in their own reality show fauxmance, they have to decide whether their love exists just for the cameras...or if it’s for real in this warmhearted romance, perfect for foodies and wine lovers!

Bryn Aquino, the former manager of a Filipino restaurant, knows the value of hard work. With a shiny new MBA in tow and an investor, she’s ready to start her own business: a culinary retreat where visitors can relax, cook, and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Dubbed Paraiso Retreats, she leases the childhood home of army reservist Mitchell Dunford—who returned from Afghanistan to revive his family’s vineyard—but finds herself in a bind when her investor pulls out of the business.

When the retreat catches an internet live stream producer’s eye through social media channels, Bryn is offered the opportunity of a lifetime—to document her journey in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Excited, Bryn happily agrees to the arrangement...only to find out that she’s going to have to fake an onscreen romance with her indifferent landlord in order to keep her audience interested.

As Mitchell and Bryn put on a show for the cameras, they find their romance isn’t hard to fake. They’ve got more in common under their bluster, banter, and doubts. As their relationship heats up and the cameras keep rolling, the line between show and reality blurs. And when the pressures of family, business, and the audience stack against them, will their romance survive internet stardom? Or was it just for show?


East in Paradise is another delicious treat from author Tif Marcelo.  I loved this book!

Bryn Aquino has always been a hard worker.  She worked hard to earn her MBA and as a manager for her uncle’s restaurant. Now it is her time to pursue her dream of starting a business. A culinary retreat where visitors can relax and cook is Bryn’s dream, inspired by her Mother. Finding the perfect location is key and Bryn has her sights on a family vineyard, owned by Mitchell Dunford.  Mitchell is an Army reservist finally home after years of service to our country. Being home is a blessing but the vineyard has been neglected and Mitchell has a lot of work ahead to bring their family business back to life. The moment Bryn and Mitchell meet there is tension but beneath it is an attraction they try to ignore. Starting their business relationship as landlord and tenant is rocky, but the opportunity to star in an internet reality show is the answer to save both of their dreams.  But faking a relationship in front of cameras is hard, especially when their feelings for each other are real. How can Bryn and Mitchell save their dreams and their hearts in front of millions of watchers?  You’ll have to read East in Paradise to find out how!

I loved everything about East in Paradise!  Bryn and Mitchell are great, together and as individual characters. They have heated arguments but beneath that is a strong connection. Their banter is sexy and funny. Bryn and Mitchell are both loyal to their families but find the courage to stand up for their dreams.  They make mistakes along the way but their honest and open communication makes their relationship strong.  Their love story is full of passion and romance. I fell in love with Bryn and Mitchell.

Along with the romance there is a story about family. Just as in the first book, North to You, author Tif Marcelo shows readers the strong bonds Filipino families have.  As a Filipina-American I’ve made a strong connection with the characters of this series.  This series Journey to the Heart has been a journey to my past.  As I read these books I relived my childhood memories of my family and the love poured into our meals.  I remember the special care my Mom and Lola (Grandmother) took in preparing our meals with a side of motherly advice. My Mom has become ill (with early signs of dementia) and my Lola has passed away, so I cherish those memories. Author Tif Marcelo touched my heart and I can’t wait to read more from her.

East in Paradise is a must read. There is romance, family and food! It’s a perfect blend to warm your heart.

I received this book as a member of the XOXperts, XOXO After Dark’s official street team, in exchange for an honest review. Visit for the best in romance, urban fantasy and women’s fiction.


Rating Report
Overall: five-stars

About Tif Marcelo

Tif 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.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 COYER Summer Reading List
  • 2017 New Release Challenge


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6 responses to “Book Review – East in Paradise

  1. I just bought the first book in this series, and now the second book sounds like it might be a winner too. I have to admit, I shed a few tears reading your review. Thank you for sharing.

    • Kathy

      Thanks Sam!!! I think this series came at the right time for me since my Mom has had health issues. I hope you enjoy both books.

  2. I’m really glad that you’re enjoying this series. I’m always interested in hearing about diverse books and how the diverse readers respond to them. I’m really glad that this book was able to bring back your past. I know that reading books about the small town South does the same for me. Great review.

    • Kathy

      I feel that way too with books set in California, especially the San Francisco bay area where I grew up. It does make a difference when you have something in common with the characters. Thanks Melanie!