Book Review: Blackmail and Bibingka by Mia P. Manansala – (Review by Gabriel T.) 

Gabriel T., journalist

I have so much love for Mia’s writing and the world she has built with Lila and all of Shady Palms. It had been so long since I had read a Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery, so of course I was overjoyed to be reading Mia’s amazing writing again. While this is the third book in the series, these books are written so they can be read as stand-alones or out of order as well. 

What I love about Lila is how she is so eager to solve the murder, as any mystery-lover would be, and yet, she is able to notice her flaws or mistakes, but is not afraid to keep solving the murder. She acknowledges and takes advice from family members or friends on how she can improve, in a healthy way. Mia really shows that characters aren’t perfect, but if they are willing to learn from their mistakes, they’re darn near perfect in my mind. 

Lila has such a big heart and has so much love for her family and food and that is one huge admirable aspect about her. She will do anything to protect the ones she loves and if that means snooping in the suspect’s house or tailing someone, so be it.
The descriptions of Filipino food and cooking in this book are obviously unmatched, and you will get hungry every time you read this book series. The story moves along at a wonderful pace, allowing the characters to process the death of someone, but then cutting to the chase so they can solve this hilarious and mysterious whodunnit. The pacing and plot never felt rushed and the stories always come to a wonderful close, revealing who the killer was, so Lila and her family can go back to the way things were…until another person dies that is.
It’s the perfect “Hallmark movie with a dead body” type of story and I can’t wait for book 4. I can’t recommend this book and this spectacular series enough, and if you want to know more about Mia’s amazing writing listen to her episode on my bookish podcast: Try Reading! 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.