I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala
Series: Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery #1
Genres: Mystery, Cozy
Published by Berkley on May 4, 2021
Buy on Amazon
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…
Here is what I thought
Okay, so lets just start this by the fact that cozies should not have to come with content warnings. They are cozy for a reason and so to me that means it doesn’t need to have any hardcore topics or taboo things that will offend people. They are just fun fluffy reads!!
Lila has moved back home after a horrible breakup and is working in her aunt’s Filipino restuarant and things were going pretty good until Derek walked in. Derek is her ex-boyfriend from a long time ago and it seems that for some reason he thinks himself a food critic and writes for the local paper. He also seems to have it out for her aunts restuarant so she was not happy to see him. This time though he comes in with his stepfather and they both order a few things.
Lila is not happy to see him but there is not a lot she can do about, but try and be nice and polite. Things don’t go so well when he ends up face down in some of his food. At first she thought he was just being his horrible self but then she realized something was really wrong.
It seems that someone had it in for the horrible food critic but it’s Lila that ends up on the suspect list because she was serving him and he was her ex. It didn’t help that he was bent on ruining her aunts restuarant. In comes the detective who seems to fixate on Lila as the killer. It doesn’t help when some things are found in her locker, so now Lila has to do a bit of sluething to get herself off the list, but it’s not going to be that easy.
I was really excited about this one but it was ruined a little by some content and the fact that it just didn’t feel very cozy. I am okay with grumpy policeman but this detective was just so rude and then expected his friendship with the aunt to be just fine. He shuts down their livelihood (the restuarant) and arrest her niece and then expects her to be just fine about things. Well, at least the aunt gave him a piece of her mind!
There is a bit of fat shaming in this book that might make people mad. It bothered me but I also have been to the Philippines and have friends who are Filipino and I am a plus size gal and I know how blunt they can be about weight! So that part just felt authentic to me, but doesn’t mean I had to like it.
I thought that the mystery in the story was pretty decent but was a bit overshadowed by things I didn’t think were very cozy in the story and the rude detective.
Reading this book will also make you hungry and because I have been to the Philippines it was exciting to be able to say oh I know what that is!! 🙂
Would I recommend it? Yes and no. I think this is just one that is hard to know how people will feel about it which is just strange for a cozy.