A very cute cover. Can't forget the little dog, a staple in cozies!
Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala is a cozy mystery centered around Lila and her family who own and operate a small Filipino restaurant. It's a fun read and includes recipes for most of the dishes in the back. It's the first book of the Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery series, which also include Homicide and Halo-Halo (2022), and Blackmail and Bibingka (2022). Arsenic and Adobo won the 2022 Anthony Award and 2022 Agatha Award, both in the category Best First Novel. The author was a 2017 PitchWars mentee, which shows just how powerful that program was in launching authors' careers.
When Lila's toxic ex dies at her family's restaurant, Lila is a suspect. Knowing her innocence, she tries to solve the murder before her family restaurant has to close forever. In the process, she learns there's more than just murder happening in their small town, and every restaurant has been a victim.
I liked this story a lot. It flowed smoothly and was a fast read. While I didn't know any of the foods at the family restaurant, there was enough description to keep me oriented. There were also a couple love interests that made things exciting beyond the mystery. I could tell this was the start of a series, but it still had closure at the end.
My list of dislikes is pretty short. Mainly, as with many cozy mysteries, I didn't understand why Lila went rogue to solve this alone. Yes, she's a suspect who wants to clear her name, but she wasn't taking any advice from her lawyer, and all the evidence she would would have been inadmissible in court. However, this is my main complaint with almost every cozy, so perhaps it's just a trope I need to let slide when reading this genre.
You'll like Arsenic and Adobo if you like cozy mysteries, books with recipes for the food it describes, and a dash of (PG) romance. It may not be for you if you prefer detective mysteries or expect a higher spice level with your romantic subplots.
Have you read Arsenic and Adobo or the other books in the series? Have you read other novels by PitchWars alums? Let's discuss in the comments!
This post is for PitchWars Mentors as they sort through potential mentees and do a little internet searching to see what we’re all like.
I’ve never been a PitchWars mentee (or one in other such editing contests), but I thought I’d assemble a sense of what I’d be like to work with in this process.
I take feedback well.
Or at least my critique group hasn’t complained about me, yet. I’ve been attending weekly meetings since March 2017 where I’ve gotten feedback on ~1500 words at a time on various projects. We meet remotely now, so I’m not out of practice! My process is to accept all comments, read them, then let it marinate for at least 24 hours before acting on anything. I love feedback that sparks a new idea! I also know when to disagree and not take a note. Overall, this isn’t my first time getting critiqued, so I won’t take anything personally and I understand all feedback is to better the story.
I like communication.
I will inevitably send you questions about your critiques/comments. Especially asking you why you felt a certain way about something. If I get stuck on a fix, you can also expect me to ask for a brainstorming session. I tend to match communication styles to whoever I’m talking to. If you send gifs and jokes, so will I!
I work East Coast hours on the West Coast.
Meaning that I’m free by 2pm and have plenty of time each day to write and edit. If you looked at my submission package and wondered if we’d have enough time to do what you think needs to be done, hopefully my schedule shows you I can make it work.
I have a vision for what I want to accomplish, but I also want to hear yours.
While I have some goals in mind, which we can discuss privately, I am open to whatever you think needs attention too. This is not the first novel I’ve finished, and with no pub credits yet, I’m clearly missing something.
I have a million cat pictures.
My cats are bald, which is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you don’t want bald cat photos, I have no other cat photos to offer. My boys are below!
Hopefully, you think we'd be a good fit and you love my submission and think we can tackle it together in the allotted time. I hope this post helped you get to know we as a potential mentee!
P.S. To anyone who comes across this post later: I claim no rights to any of the gifs.