Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. ManansalaArsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala
Series: Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery #1
Published by Berkley on May 4, 2021
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Also in this series: Murder and Mamon

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.

About Arsenic and Adobo

Lila’s returned home to help with the family’s failing Filipino restaurant. Unfortunately, Shady Palms is a small town and she can’t escape her food blogger/restaurant reviewer ex who seems to have it out for the restaurant, consistently giving it bad reviews. Because that’s not stressful enough, the landlord who wants the restaurant off his property is her ex’s new stepdad. Yikes!

When the landlord and the ex come to eat lunch, Lila’s ire is up and she makes no bones about being angry with the ex constantly criticizing the restaurant in his reviews. And then he ends up facedown in his dessert. Dead from poisoning which makes her the prime suspect.

My thoughts about Arsenic and Adobo

This book was so much fun to read! Lila is likable and relatable – trying to figure out what she wants, feeling pressure to meet her family’s expectations. I loved her interactions with her extended Filipino family – grudges going back to grade school but knowing that they’d have her back when it mattered. The imperious gambling grandmother was terrifying and hysterical. I loved that the huge colorful cast of characters was diverse in all sorts of ways – ethnicity, religion, sexuality and even eating habits. The author did a great job of giving each character their own voice and quirks.

The food descriptions were amazing! Lila’s bestie works at a coffee shop and her drink concoctions sounded so good. The book includes recipes and chicken adobo is happening!

The mystery was well done – lots of layers and interlocking pieces, several suspects with believable motives. Plus there were hints of a love triangle – hopefully, that gets explored in future books.

Other books

dial a for aunties
Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
accidentally engaged
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto has a similar overly involved family vibe with fierce aunts. Dark humor, romance, and more descriptions of delicious food.

Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron is a steamy romance between main characters with families who are exceptionally interested and opinionated about their love lives. Funny with lots of luscious food descriptions.

In conclusion

This fast-paced debut cozy mystery will make you laugh, cringe, and salivate simultaneously.

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley for the ARC.

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About Mia P. Manansala

Mia P. Manansala is a book coach and the author of ARSENIC AND ADOBO (Berkley 2021), the first in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery series.

She uses humor (and murder) to explore aspects of the Filipino diaspora, queerness, and her millennial love for pop culture.

She is the winner of the 2018 Hugh Holton Award, the 2018 Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award, the 2017 William F. Deeck – Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers, and the 2016 Mystery Writers of America/Helen McCloy Scholarship. She’s also a 2017 Pitch Wars alum and 2018-2020 mentor.

A lover of all things geeky, Mia spends her days procrastibaking, playing JRPGs and dating sims, reading cozy mysteries, and dreaming of becoming best buds with Wonder Woman and Kamala Khan.

When she’s not sassing her ever-so-patient husband, she’s cuddling her dogs Max Power and Bayley Banks (bonus points to those who get the name references) at her home just outside of Chicago.

Mia is quite the joiner, as she is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Color, Banyan: Asian American Writers Collective, the Chicago Writers Association, and the Chicago Nerd Social Club.

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