Book Review & Aesthetic: Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Good morning! Welcome to my stop on the Arsenic and Adobo book tour, hosted by Caffeine Book Tours! This book was so much fun, and I’m so happy to be participating in a book that includes all of the food that I love from so many different cultures. UGH. My house can feature Asian dishes and Mexican dishes all in one meal, and I’m so happy that we could see both of those things in one book. Thank you to Mia P. Manansala for writing this for people like me. Thank you to the publisher and Caffeine Book Tours for my free copy of this book for participation in this tour.

Make sure to check out the rest of the tour! The schedule is here.


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Title: Arsenic and Adobo
Author: Mia P. Manansala
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Publication date: May 4, 2021

At a glance: Lila’s life seems to be the perfect blend of rom-com tropes, until she moves back home after a terrible break up and a nasty food critic (her ex boyfriend) drops dead right after eating her new dish.

🍜 Culinary Mystery

🍃 Easy Reading

🌳 Family Focused

🎲 Plot Twists

Read this if… you want not just a cosy mystery, but a culinary mystery! If you want a book with recipes in it, and a book with multicultural foods spotlighted!

Diversity Representation: author of color (filipino-american author), poc representation (filipino-american, pakistani muslim american, korean-american, mexican-american, japanese-american, black american), lgbtqiap+ representation (lesbian, bisexual, queer)

Content Warnings: Evidence planting and police intimidation, drug use, fatphobia, racism, and domestic violence

book review

Delicious, light, mouth watering, multi-cultural, comforting, and fun!

Arsenic and Adobo was such a cosy and comforting read. I was so happy while reading all of it! This is one of those fast and breezy books that you can read really quickly and have a great time. Those books are the absolute best sometimes! I loved the descriptions of food, and the diversity within this book. It really made me feel like we can come together over food and everything will be just a little bit better.

Quick Summary: Arsenic and Adobo follows Lila, a girl who has come home to recover from a horrible break up, to work in her family restaurant. While home, she has to deal with meddling aunties and saving her Tita Rosie’s restaurant. Everything starts to fall off the rails when an annoyingly rude food critic drops dead immediately after eating Lila’s experimental dessert. And of course, since Lila served him, the detective seems to think that Lila is the only suspect, unless she can find the true killer and clear her name!

The absolute best part about this book was the food. Not just the mouth watering descriptions of food, which were borderline irresistible, but the wide variety of foods! I absolutely loved that on this journey Lila and Adeena travel to restaurants featuring food from different parts of the world. The descriptions of the foods from so many different countries was so comforting. Especially to read all of those descriptions in the context of a single book! It was absolutely stunning. How often do you see such a mix of cultures and foods? Not often!

I also really loved how light the tone was. This is my first cosy mystery! Can you believe it! It inspired me to write a list of diverse cosies for my blog, because it seems so hard to find them! I love that the tone is light, and it’s full of silly twists and turns. It’s delightful, full of action, and comforting all at once. It had me guessing who was the killer the entire time, and I loved the silly mistakes that Lila made throughout. She’s only an amateur sleuth after all!

Summing it all up

Arsenic and Adobo was a delightful read. If you’re in the mood for something light, full of twists and turns, and comforting all at once, this is the book for you! The blending of so many foods from so many different places had my mouth watering the whole time. It made me feel like food can really bring us together. If only just a little bit.

aesthetics photo

I will 100% admit it with this one. I’m just trying to get you to eat some of the food mentioned in the book. All of this was just floating around in my head the entire time I was reading. I’m drooling all over again…

About the author

Mia P. Manansala (she/her) is a certified book coach and the author of ARSENIC AND ADOBO (Berkley May 4, 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 cuddling her dogs Gumiho, Max Power, and Bayley Banks (bonus points if you get all the references).

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, International Thriller Writers, the Chicago Writers Association, and the Chicago Nerd Social Club. 

Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @MPMtheWriter Or check out her website: www.miapmanansala.com


Is Arsenic and Adobo on your TBR? Do you like to read cosy mysteries? Do you love books about food as much as I do?

Goodreads | Amazon | Bookshop.org


Check out this review for Arsenic and Adobo! I’m definitely adding it to my TBR! 😍