Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Pages: 307 pages
Published: May 4 2021

Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala is a spicy and fun cozy mystery that I snagged via my Book of the Month subscription. The book centers around Lila Macapagal, her family, friends, and the folks in her small hometown she returns to after she finds her fianc√© cheating on her with their next-door neighbors (yes, neighborS) in Chicago. While back in town, she attempts to help revive her aunt's failing restaurant. As if that wasn't challenging enough, Lila has to face another ex-boyfriend from high school, Derek Winter, who is a local restaurant critic and who can't seem to give Lila and her aunt a break from negative food critiques. When things seem as though they can't get any worse, Derek experiences a health episode at the restaurant and later dies at the hospital as a result of it. Lila and her family are now suspects in his death. Together, with the help of some friends and community members, Lila attempts to to solve the mystery before her aunt's restaurant (and only form of livelihood) is closed ... for good! 

This book has all the makings of the light murder mystery genre, known as a cozy. What gives it depth is the inclusion of the Asian American community and the cultural contributions of the members of that community. I also appreciated the abundant and strong female characters in the book. The plot is easy to follow, making the book a relatively quick read. I think most readers could finish it in a day or two. The only thing that slowed me down is I continually had to reference the glossary and pronunciation guide in the front of the book as well as look up some words that were not provided. Having said that, I think this book might be easier read via audio or eReader, where you can either hear or quickly look up phrases with a simple click. 

Recommendation: Summer is just around the corner, and this would be a great beach read. Just make sure you have something to munch on nearby. The author provides vivid descriptions of the cuisine with some recipes in the back to try on your own! 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.


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