Cover Image: Blackmail and Bibingka

Blackmail and Bibingka

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Member Reviews

📧 If you’ve read the first two books on the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery series, you know to expect a number of food descriptions and recipes. You’ll learn to keep a snack nearby while reading because it will all make you hungry and crave for pastries, main dishes and coffee! This factor remains my favorite thing about these books. 

📧 We’re introduced to more characters aside from the regular residents and honestly, I felt minor confusion on some parts. And although I have some concerns with the writing, I absolutely love the holiday vibe on this book. 

📧 If you love cozy mystery, then Blackmail and Bibingka along with the first two books are great options to read. Although they have the same characters and settings, each of them have a different twists and you can definitely read them as a standalone.
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Fun, cute, contemporary cozy mystery. Light and easy to read with relatable characters and witty commentary. I hadn't read the previous books in this sort-of-series, but it absolutely was not necessary - I had no difficulty following the story and didn't feel like I was missing any inside character development. I will definitely be reading those books now, though, because I thoroughly enjoyed this. Highly recommend for fans of light contemporary mysteries / cozy mysteries.
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The novel Blackmail and Bibingka was a cozy mystery. I loved the descriptions of the food and felt hungry while reading them. I enjoyed watching Lila try to unravel the mystery and dig for clues. This time, her cousin Ronnie appears to be in the thick of things. It was his wine that may or may not have killed someone. The mystery of who was responsible for both the murder and the blackmail kept me on my toes. I like how this story takes place around Christmas. I'm craving festive Filipino foods like Bibingka and Puto Bumbong. It added even more whimsy and style to an already delightful setting.

The story itself was enjoyable. I had a great time. Once again, the author drew me right into the story. It was very focused on families, friendships, and relationships. The Brew-ha Crew is a group of people I'd like to be friends with because they're all so cool and supportive of one another. I enjoy the levity, sass, family dynamics, Filipino food, and Lila's dog. I highly recommend not only this book, Blackmail, and Bibingka, but the entire series!
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It's almost hard for me to see past the delicious food described in these stories, but another murder to solve did it. This cozy mystery is filled with the love of family, a bit of meddling, mostly good intentions, lots of humor, and of course food. How cool is the name Brew-ha Cafe?? I was so happy to find new recipes to try included at the end. I listened to the audiobook and Danice Cabanela did a fantastic job narrating the book.
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The third book in this cozy mystery series recovers the light and upbeat feel of the first one. Lila’s no-good cousin Ronnie has returned to town and almost immediately is accused of murder with a dose of blackmail on the side. Ronnie’s keeping secrets and lashing out while the family spreads holiday cheer in the town’s Winter Bash, which of course means new tasty recipes. Readers will speed through this humorous offering that also focuses on friendship. The next in the series is expected mid-2023.
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The next installment in Mia P. Manansala's Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mysteries does not disappoint. Lila Macapagal's cousin Ronnie has returned to Shady Palms after over 10 years away from home-he's taking over a failed winery with two business partners, Izzy and Pete, and investors Xander and Denise. He doesn't receive a very warm welcome from Lila and her family, but Tita Rosie (Ronnie's mother) is thrilled to have him back just in time for the holidays. Lila and her friends are busy at the Brew-ha café getting ready for the winter festival, but when one of Ronnie's investors turns out to have been murdered, everything comes to a halt. This story contains all of Manansala's beloved characters from the previous books. This Christmas cozy mystery is a great comfort read, and all of the details about Filipino dishes are delightful and appetizing.
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The third in a cozy mystery series, Blackmail and Bibingka will leave you satisfied in all the best ways.

The food descriptions are always top tier, but this book in particular may take the cake, or bibingka if you will. 

The Brew-ha Cafe is thriving under the teamwork of Lila and her two besties.  Lila is annoyed to find out her estranged cousin Ronnie is back in town after years of no contact. He’s bought a winery in town with some friends, and Lila is hesitant to trust his business dealings. Shortly after reentering their lives, Ronnie’s colleague is dead and he’s being eyed for the homicide. Lila can’t help but step in and try to figure out what really happened.

The calendar aunties- April, May and June– are as nosy and noisy as ever. We see Lila’s relationship with Jae continue to progress. I enjoy this series so much. Homicide and Halo Halo, while an excellent read, felt a bit heavier than Arsenic and Adobo and Blackmail and Bibingka, but the stories are a great balance of funny, cozy, foodie, murder-y, and wonky.

Thanks so much to letstalkbookspromo and Berkley Pub for a gifted review copy. Don’t you love Longanisa’s cute little Santa hat on the cover? While this is seasonal-ish, it’s as inclusive and diverse as you’d expect from the series.
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I really like this cozy series.  There are diverse characters and the Filipino recipes in addition to the murder and mayhem.  I enjoyed this one and finished it in a day.  It started out a little slow but quickly picked up pace to steam roll to the end.

I am normally a bah humbug type person, but this is another book I’ve read that is set at Christmas time.  And what goes better with Christmas then murder?  Am I right thriller lovers?  I like the writing style and that this cozy series continues to delve into the characters and make them well rounded.  I also like that the book focuses on family and friendship as amateur sleuth Lila gets to the bottom of things.

Ronnie is a new addition to the family dynamic after ghosting his family.  You’re left to wonder if he is a bad boy or just doing his own thing.

I am usually pretty good at guessing who did it in a cozy, but this one kept me guessing which is always a good thing.

While this is the third book in the series, you can easily read it as a stand alone.  But I suggest reading the whole series.
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I loved the third book in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery series, Blackmail and Bibingka! I’ve enjoyed the other two in this series and I have learned a lot about Filipino food and culture. 

Lila is working at the cafe she started with her friend when her cousin that she hasn’t seen in years suddenly shows up. No one knows what Ronnie has been up to, but they assume it’s no good. He is back having purchased a local winery and he’s proving to the family he is a good guy. After a woman is found dead at his new winery, Lila knows she has to help defend her family. 

As always, the book was full of delicious sounding food and recipes. I knew Ronnie was up to something, but it was fun to see Lila do her thing and help solve the mystery. I do wish we got more of Lila and Jae, but hopefully there’s a 4th book that explores this more! 

Thank you so much to @berkleybooks and @prhaudio for my gifted copies.
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Raise your hand if you love a good holiday cozy mystery?! I’m a huge cozy mystery reader but around the holidays is when I make an except! Also if there is food featured, you can count me in!

The newest installment in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Series by Mia Manansala is Blackmail & Bibingka. It’s Christmas time and Tita Rosie’s estranged son Ronnie is back & while Tita Rosie is over the moon, Lila and the rest of the crew are skeptical. When one of Ronnie’s newest investors is found murdered, Lila and Brew Ha crew are on the hunt (again) for a murderer.

All our usual characters are back but the aunties antics felt less over the top, which was a plus for me. I love a good dysfunctional family story, but I don’t like when the support character’s antics end up overshadowing the story or our main characters. Lila’s character seems to have grown quite a bit as well, and I was happy to see that she’s a bit smarter when it comes to hunting down murderers. AKA, doesn’t just run into situations without preparing for them.

I enjoyed Arsenic and Adobo. I thought it was cute, if not a bit predictable. Homicide and Halo-Halo was a bit over the top and just a little bit too unrealistic for my taste. I was really on the fence about continuing on to the third book in the series, but I honestly think it’s my favorite in the series so far.  The mystery element in this third installment was also a more complex than our last murder, which bumped this up in the ratings for me. It even took me about half the book to zero in on our suspect.

But you know what my favorite thing about this series is?? The fact that I can practically smell the food in this book. I love learning about cultures & especially learning about the food. For some people food may have been mentioned one too many times, but not for me. Manansala literally knocks food descriptions out of the park, so be warned you will get hungry.

My only complaint was that while the story takes place during the Christmas season, which makes this a holiday read, but I felt that was the most forgettable part of the story. This whole story could have been put into pretty much any season without a substantial change to the plot line. I did enjoy learning more about traditional Filipino Christmas food, but I could have used a little more of a holiday atmosphere to really tie everything together more.

If you enjoy Dial A for Aunties or The Fortunes of Jaded Women, then the Tito Rosie’s Kitchen Series is perfect for you!

Blackmail and Bibingka is out now! Huge thank you to Berkley Books for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion.  If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my instagram @speakingof.books.
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Mia Mananasala nails it again with solid cultural and food rep, but I think the family drama with cousin Ronnie overshadowed the murder mystery this time. There wasn't enough there about the person who was killed or who committed the crime for me to care one way or the other.  

Overall I'm still really enjoying the series, this one just wasn't my favorite.  All I want to know is when the Calendar Crew are getting their spinoff?!
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This is the second book I've read in the series of cozy mysteries with a Filipina restaurant and food service setting. The trope of someone dying from ingesting food or drink and the culprit having to be found is not unusual in culinary mysteries. The food is unusual however, and rather heavy and rich for younger customers who these days I believe to be more diet conscious and health conscious.  I enjoy cozies, especially culinary ones, and had hoped that the restaurant had more modern versions of old recipes to offer. 

 I wonder about the audience for the books and how many would find the cultural contexts interesting and likeable, but the food not fused enough with the modern tastes to be considered not only exotic and a delicacy but also more healthy. 

I loved the colorful book cover and the colorful characters!
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Short synopsis: When Lila Macapagal’s cousin Ronnie comes back to Shady Palms, she knows trouble usually follows him. When he’s accused of murdering one of his business partners, Lila steps in to help prove his innocence. 

My thoughts: Man this book made me hungry, and now I’m determined to try some of the Filipino cuisine described! 

To be completely transparent, I have not read the first two books in the series. That being said, I feel like the author did a great job at updating the reader on how characters are related to each other and the prior relationships. I didn’t feel too lost. 

This was such a fun cozy mystery, with fun family dynamics and kept me flipping the pages. 

Read if you love: 
- Learning about diverse cultures
- Food in books
- Eccentric families 
- Cozy mysteries
- Reading books in a series 

Thank you to Berkley and Netgalley for the complementary book in exchange for an honest review. This one is out now!
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I have been a fan of Lila and Rita Rosie and the crew calendar since day one. Love the cultural insights and oh my God love the FOOD descriptions. It’s no secret this series makes me crave every single thing they talk about and at the same time grab me with a mystery. This third book, I have to admit, wasn’t my favorite. In terms of plot/mystery, it was little on the predictable side. Other than that, the characters interactions were just as good as always. And of course he food!
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This is book #3 in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery. I loved the cast of characters and the fact that everything centered around food. While this could be read as a standalone, I felt a bit in the dark about some of the background of the characters and what happened previously. The mystery itself was a great story and I would definitely classify this as a nice and cozy mystery. However, I felt like I was missing something in knowing the characters better, which I believe would have been solved by reading the first two books. Overall it was a fun book with lots of cool food and I loved the family dynamics of the aunt, her niece, the cousin, and all the close friends that were like family.  This one centers around the holidays too so if you are looking for another holiday read then you should check this one out.
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Lila and the Brew-ha Café crew, after the tumultuous events of the summer, are enjoying a period of calmness and success and are busy planning a special menu for the town’s upcoming winter festival. But the happiness can’t last—Lila’s trouble-making cousin, Ronnie, whom the family hasn’t seen in fifteen years, arrives in town with plans to take over the Shady Palms Winery with his business partners. 

Lila expects the worst from her cousin, and she is proven right Ronnie is arrested for her murder. As much as she distrusts her cousin, though, his business partners and investors have as many secrets as Ronnie and act just as suspiciously. Since Ronnie is family and Lila adores her aunt, she decides to investigate the murder.

I love reading cozy mysteries during the winter, and since this takes place in the lead up to Christmas, it’s perfect timing. As in the previous books in the series, it’s full of wonderful descriptions of Filipino food (and I appreciate the respect given to vegans) along with recipes. Longganisa, Lila’s dachshund, prances around in costumes and makes a cute canine friend, and Lila engages her friends and Calendar Aunties to help with the case which has satisfying twists and a killer confrontation. 

Though this is book three, it can be read as a stand-alone, and even readers who are not always fans of cozy mysteries like this series because of Lila’s strong personality, the diverse characters, and the grounded plots. Even better, Manansala is contracted for three more books!
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Blackmail and Bibingka, A Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery #3, finds Lila Macapal back for yet another sleuthing adventure. Similar to the first two books, Lila finds herself embroiled a murder mystery in Shady Pines after the sudden return of her cousin. Even though he wronged the family many years ago, Lila sets out to prove his innocence.   

I caution you NOT to read this novel on an empty stomach. The savory Filipino dishes will have your mouth watering with its incredible descriptions. This cozy mystery serves up family traditions, a simple mystery and a cast of characters you'll love.  

Rating 3.5

Thank you Berkley for the complimentary copy.
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This is the third book in the Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery series and I think it was my favorite.  It's Christmastime and Tita Rosie's son returns home after a 15 year absence to start a winery in town.  It's not all great as Tita Rosie gets blackmailed by someone and her son is accused of murder. 

This was a good cozy mystery.  I just re-read the second book in the series and my criticism of that was that there were too many characters to keep straight and this book had more! But, since I had just read the second one I didn't feel so overwhelmed with all the characters and instead loved being immersed in Lila's world in Shady Palms. I enjoyed the mystery and the characters and the food!  

*Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an advanced copy.  Opinions are my own.
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Thank you Get Red PR and Berkeley for a copy of this novel.

This series is just so good! Each book hits the mark and brings to life a fun town and zany case of characters. This book is laugh-out-loud and easy to read. It brings the festive cheer with a mystery at the center.

Plus, amazing food!
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Mia P. Manansala has done it again with Blackmail and Bibingka, the third installment in Tita Rosie's Kitchen series! 

In Blackmail and Bibingka readers are introduced to Ronnie, the estranged son of Tita Rosie. Though Tita Rosie is overjoyed, Lila and her crew of aunties have their concerns and reservations. Which are justified when one of the main investors in Ronnie's new business ends up murdered.

These cozy mysteries are so smart, and fun. What truly makes them work is the close knit family and the constant conversation of food. Yes, food. One of the most interesting ways to learn about cultures is through their food and Manansala does this so well. Tita Rosie's restaurant and now Lila's coffee shop serve as the perfect backdrop to the constant shenanigans of Lila trying to play detective.

Tita Rosie's Kitchen is one of my favorite series and for good reason. They are well written, filled with humor and have twists and turns for days. I highly recommend checking out Blackmail and Bibingka!
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