Friends with ARCs (Mabuhay Edition!) | Arsenic and Adobo + Q&A with Mia Manansala

This upcoming Saturday, June 12th is the Philippines' Independence Day and if you're a long time follower of my blog, then you know that Alexa and I have celebrated almost every year since 2014 with a feature called Mabuhay, as a way to not only celebrate Filipinos in literature but to share a little bit of ourselves too. 

We're kicking things off today by reviewing Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala plus we have a little Q&A with her too! There are three questions on my blog and then make sure to head over to Alexa's blog to see three more questions this lovely author answered for us. 

Arsenic and Adobo (Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery #1) by Mia P. Manansala
I had never read a cozy mystery before so I wasn't really sure what to expect! But after reading Arsenic and Adobo I can see why that phrase fits it so well. While the mystery is central to the story, it's not super suspenseful (although I was still surprised by the outcome!) and you know things will end well, similar to expecting a happily-ever-after in a romance. Between that and all the nods for Filipino food and culture, it truly was a cozy, fun read for me! 

Lila Macapagal has come back home and thrown herself into saving her Tita Rosie's failing restaurant. (Note: Tita means Aunt!) But at the same time, Lila is recovering from a bad break-up, dealing with well-meaning but nosy aunties (oh how I related to this), and just trying to figure out what's next. When her hometown ex-boyfriend and infamous nasty food critic drops dead at the restaurant after eating their food (and having a confrontation with her), the mystery aspect kicks in. The cops are treating Lila and her family like the suspects and Lila decides that she needs to take matters into her own hands to find out the truth. 

Again, the story was just fun! I loved seeing the aunties and their unsurprising gossip skills help Lila with her investigation. Lila's best friend is also a big part of the book and not only did I enjoy their friendship, but I also enjoyed the banter between them as they decided to be their own little Sherlock and Holmes duo. There was even romance in the book, which you know is always a plus for me. And most importantly of all, I thought the author did a great job of weaving in Filipino culture throughout. 

What's your favorite Filipino dish? | Sisig! No one in my family knows how to make it so whenever have an occasion, such a holiday or birthday, we order it and it's just so good. 

Q&A with Mia P. Manansala
1. What aspects of Filipino culture would you like to see more of in the books you read?
Our mythology and art. I love folklore, fairytales, and mythology, but my immediate family weren’t storytellers so I don’t know much about Filipino ones. My mom was able to get me a few Filipino books in English or with both English and Tagalog, but I always wanted more. A big dream of mine is to someday write a middle-grade fantasy series inspired by Filipino mythology. We also have amazing artists and artisans, and I think it says a lot that our national hero is a writer.

2. As a Filipino, what do you find special or inspirational about Filipino culture?
The dedication to family and community. I understand how it can become toxic, but I also know how comforting and motivating it can be to have people to rely on and a place to go back to should something go wrong. I’m answering these questions a few days before my book debuts, but the love and support I’ve been getting from the Filipino community since my book was first announced has been overwhelming.

3. Name one book (or more, if you'd like) by a Filipino author that you'd recommend.
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
Any Day With You by Mae Respicio
My Fate According To The Butterfly by Gail D. Villanueva
Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier
Anything (this is not a title, I mean literally any books) by Erin Entrada Kelly
On my TBR: Never Have I Ever by Isabel Yap, We Belong by Cookie Hiponia Everman, Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles, and many, many more.

Thank you Mia for answering our questions!
Thank you all for joining us today! 
Don't forget to check out Alexa's blog to see the rest of the Q&A with Mia! 
We have one more Mabuhay post tomorrow so see you then :)

Collaborative feature with Alexa. We read ARCs together and post our reviews on the same date.


with love,