Book 2 in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery series is just about to hit shelves, and if you love a good cozy mystery, than you won’t want to miss this.
Last year I read Arsenic and Adobe which was the first installment in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen series. I didn’t particular like it, which is mainly because I’m iffy on Cozy mysteries to begin with. I also had just read two other Cozies and the similarities between all three of them were way more than I could handle at the time. I had just finished reading both Hana Khan Carries On and Dial A for Aunties. Both Arsenic and Adobe and Hana Khan Carries On were focused on saving the family restaurant and I still get the two conflicted in my head sometimes. Dial A for Aunties, I really enjoyed mainly because it was so ridiculous but the posse of Aunties in both Dial A for Aunties and Arsenic and Adobe were just a little too much for me to read in back to back books.
Even though the first installment wasn’t my favorite, I still was interested in reading the sequel, because I’m pretty sure it was a timing problem when it came Arsenic and Adobe.
Homicide and Halo-Halo has a ton of things I love in a story. Strong female characters, exposure to different cultures, strong representation, a little bit of humor, and discussions around mental health. I genuinely love the mixture of Mexican, Philippine, American, and Indian cultures that are highlighted in the story. Manansala does a really great job of meshing these cohesively into the story, especially when it comes to cuisine. And let’s be real I love food and all of Manansala’s food description make my mouth water. In fact, she includes some of the recipes talked about in the story in the back of the book, which bonus points for giving me new things to try to cook!
There is alot to love with this story but it’s not enough for me to give it anything other three stars. As with the first book I had a hard time not rolling my eyes a bit through the story. I know this is a cozy mystery and they’re suppose to be comfort reads, but it’s hard for me to imagine the amount of information the police give to civilians, like that just wouldn’t happen. Incidents like this make the story seem less than realistic and gets points taken away in my book.
Manansala has an author note at the beginning of this book, that states she was in a much darker place mentally when she wrote it. I’m sure we can all agree that writing comfort stories during a Pandemic isn’t exactly easy, but her darker tone can really be felt in the story, primarily in our main characters actions and thoughts. Manansala does a great job of pointing this out for potential readers though and has done a good job incorporating the mental health aspect into the story. But once again this is a Cozy Mystery. When I go to pick it up I expect to be ‘comforted’ by it, and I just didn’t get the cozy vibes this time around.
Overall, if you like cozy mysteries you’ll really enjoy this book. If you liked Arsenic and Adobe you’ll also enjoy this one but may notice a bit of a moodier tone. It’s cute for what it is but it’s not something I would read again.
Homicide and Halo-Halo comes out February 8, 2022. Huge thank you to Berkley Publishing 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.