?It Takes Heart by Tif Marcelo

? it takes heart

Posted on August 30, 2021 by Nadene @ Totally Addicted to Reading in Reviews / 16 Comments

?It Takes Heart by Tif Marcelo, a second chance romance tells the story of Brandon Puso and Geneva Harris.  It’s the first book in the Heart Resort series and follows a Filipino-American family.

?It Takes Heart by Tif MarceloTitle: It Takes Heart
Author(s): Tif Marcelo
Series: Heart Resort #1
Narrator(s): Joy Regullano, Reuben Uy
Published by Brilliance Audio on August 10, 2021
Length: 10hrs 14mins
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Source: Kindle Unlimited, Netgalley
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Purchase: Amazon|Audible
Rating: One StarOne StarOne Star
Series Rating: One StarOne StarOne Star
Heat Level: One Flame

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.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.


Brandon Puso, the youngest of the Puso siblings, returned home to Heart Resort to help with the renovations of the resort prior to its grand re-opening. However, he would be in for the biggest surprise of his life when he discovered he would have to work with the woman who broke his heart four years ago.

Geneva Harris grew up with the Puso family and is the best friend of Brandon’s sister. Because of her bond with the family, she provided her skills as an interior designer pro bono in the renovation of Heart Resort. Little did she know Brandon would return to the resort and that she would have to work with him.

I had high hopes for It Takes Heart; it being a second chance romance. However, the romance to a back seat to the other events. The story focused on sibling dynamics. In this installment we get a story laced with secrets, drama and angst.

What I Liked

  • Beach Setting: Nothing excites more than being on the beach and the fact the story took place on beach  resort was a major plus.

  • Culture: I enjoy learning about the various cultures and It Takes Heart provided a wonderful introduction to the Filipino culture. 

  • Narration: Joy Regullano and Reuben Uy narrated. Both are new to me. The narration alternated between the chapters. It took me sometime to get with the voice of the male narrator, but after a while I came to appreciate his tone. Both narrators voices were distinct for each of the characters.

What I Disliked

  •  Characters: Unfortunately, I could not relate to any of the characters and I was not invested in Brandon and Geneva’s relationship. They all kept secrets from each other while advocating for open communicati0n among themselves. Makes no sense to me. 

  • Pacing: The story dragged in several places, making it feel like a chore to get through. After a while, I started skipping parts of the story.

  • Romance: If a book is being promoted as a contemporary romance, then I would expect the romance to be the focal point of the story. Not the blip on the radar it received here with one intimate scene thrown in for good measure. Which probably would not have happened if they were not trapped due the tropical storm. ? Never once did I feel the chemistry Brandon and Geneva supposedly shared. I am still trying to wrap my head around the reason for their break-up. As usual, failure to communicate played a major role in their break-up. In the end, it didn’t matter to me if they got back together or not.


I know other readers may feel differently, but It Takes Heart didn’t click for me. I am not sure if I will continue the series.


Story Evaluation
World Building
Writing Style
Narrator (Audio)
Overall: One StarOne StarOne Star


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16 responses to “?It Takes Heart by Tif Marcelo

  1. I so agree with you about the romance taking a backseat. I don’t know if Marcelo was focusing on the groundwork for the series, but the romance in the book did suffer a bit. That said, I still enjoyed meeting the family and am looking forward to the other books.

  2. There is nothing worse I find when reading than a book dragging. It makes it hard to read and you want to give up. Also disliking the characters isn’t great either. Lovely review.