Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Review: Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala


About the Book

Cozy Mystery



Release Date
May 4, 2021

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The first book in a new culinary cozy series full of sharp humor and delectable dishes—one that might just be killer....

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She's tasked with saving her Tita Rosie's failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.

With the cops treating her like she's the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila's left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…

My Review

After a bad relationship break up, Lila Macapagal moves back to her hometown of Shady Palms, Illinois.  Her aunt needs help in running her restaurant.  Lila is more than ready for a change and only too happy to help out.  When her former boyfriend, who is also a restaurant critic, writes nasty things about their restaurant, Lila has a huge public argument with him.  He happens to die while eating there and all eyes turn toward Lila as the killer.  

It’s obvious that the police don’t want to look past Lila as the culprit, so she has to figure this out herself.  With a little help from her friends, Lila does her own investigating.  She discovers many people in her small town have secrets.  It’s up to Lila to discover a killer and clear her name.

What a surprising delight this story turned out to be.  I have to admit, I was attracted to the cover and being a huge fan of the cozy mystery genre, I couldn’t resist reading this one.  

I immediately fell in love with Lila and her wacky aunties.  The author did a great job of bringing the characters to life.  I really cared about the good guys, while hating the bad guys.  Lila has a couple of opportunities for romance, but she’s taking things slowly.  This means the mystery takes center stage as readers try to figure out whodunit.

I didn’t figure things out until near the end.  There were several different possible suspects - all with a good reason to do away with this baddie.  I was totally captivated with this storyline.  It kept me on my toes.

The story has everything from humor to mystery to much family drama.  I’m impressed that this is the author’s first book as she did an excellent job of bringing this story to life.  I’m more than ready to read the next book in this series and re-visit Lila and her family.

For reading challenges:

Cruisin’ thru the Cozies Reading Challenge 2021
Literary Escapes Reading Challenge 2021 (Illinois)
Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge 2021

FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a free Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.


  1. That is a great cover and this book seems to be getting a lot of attention, which sounds like it is well deserved! Glad to hear you enjoyed this one!

  2. This series can only be fun! Daschund? No cat?? Hmmm...

    Glad you enjoyed it, sure me and Elza will too!

    Elza Reads

  3. Oh I'm so glad you enjoyed it! This one is on my TBR. It looks great!

  4. I always like a plot where the ex-boyfriend dies but perhaps I have issues.


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