Review: Blackmail and Bibingka by Mia P. Manansala

Series: Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery #3
Author: Mia P. Manansala
Publisher: Berkley Books
Released: October 4, 2022
Received: Own

4 kitties

Ohhh! It’s that time again! No, seriously, we may only be three books in, but the new release of Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery has quickly become something I look forward to. The latest installment is Blackmail and Bibingka, and it is pure perfection.

We’re heading into the Christmas season at Shady Palms, which means there wille lots of food and festivals. And probably a murder or two, based on how things have been going here lately. Lila Macapagal will be at the center of all this chaos, naturally.

The odds of mischief and mysteries increase when Lila’s cousin, Ronnie, comes back to town. The boy has always caused trouble, and his habits don’t seem to have changed much as an adult. Though only time will tell.

“If you’ve turned up after all these years just to break Tita Rosie’s heart again, I’ll kill you. I’m serious. And Ate Bernie will help me hide the body.”

Guys! Words cannot describe how excited I’ve been for the next novel in Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery. This has quickly become my favorite cozy mystery, and if you haven’t given it a shot, please reconsider. It’s amazing.

Blackmail and Bibingka bring us back to Shady Palms – an area full of local cuisine, colorful characters, and a couple of murder cases. Like many a cozy mystery, Lila Macapagal always finds herself in the middle of these investigations. Mostly because she can’t leave well enough alone; it’s an oddly endearing trait!

I love that this story takes place during Christmastime (though I almost wish I had been patient enough to line up the holidays). It added even more charm and whimsy to an already abundant setting.

Speaking of the setting, I think I enjoyed the setup more for this particular novel. More than the beauty contest, at any rate. This time, we’re focused on establishing a new winery, which is fascinating on all fronts. It also fits in nicely with the food-oriented themes.

The mystery was enjoyable; the stakes were high (but not so high as to induce anxiety), and the characters were on point. Oh, and of course – Blackmail and Bibingka made me crave Filipino food like you wouldn’t believe. So plan for that.

As always, I’m charmed by Mia P. Manansala’s writing and cannot wait for the next addition to this series. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait more than a year or two.

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About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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