Book Review

Blackmail and Bibingka

It’s Christmastime in Shady Palms, but things are far from jolly for Lila Macapagal. Sure, her new business, The Brew-ha Cafe, is looking to turn a profit in its first year. And yes, she’s taken the first step in a new romance with her good friend, Jae Park. But her cousin Ronnie is back in town after ghosting the family fifteen years ago, claiming that his recent purchase of a local winery shows that he’s back on his feet and ready to give back to the Shady Palms community. Tita Rosie is thrilled with the return of her prodigal son, but Lila knows that wherever Ronnie goes, trouble follows.

She’s soon proven right when Ronnie is accused of murder, and secrets and rumors surrounding her shady cousin and those involved with the winery start piling up. Now Lila has to put away years of resentment and distrust to prove her cousin’s innocence. He may be a jerk, but he’s still family. And there’s no way her flesh and blood could actually be a murderer…right?

(Goodreads Summary) 

My Thoughts 

Ok…. is it me or is this series kind of getting old… 

I freaking loved the first book of this series, but I have noticed that the series is getting more and more meh as it goes on. The first book was amazing, the second book was good, but this book was just meh. I feel like it’s just more of the same over and over again and all the characters are starting to blend together. 

At least with the first two books, the main character had some character development, but in this book she remains in the same predicaments as the last two books. I’m so happy that she has her own business with her friends, but her love life, I just don’t get it. Jae is like a lost puppy that only appears when she needs assistance or a shoulder to lean on…. either send him on a vacation or dump him already. He serves like NO PURPOSE. 

Also… the mystery was not my favorite. It was interesting, but no major sleuthing was involved and I wasn’t entertained. 

Overall, I liked the book but I just wished for more character development and more of a depth of mystery. 

My Book Rating

4/5 Book World 

0/5 Romance 

3/5 Plot 

3/5 Characters

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Book Details

Blackmail and Bibingka by Mia P. Manansala

Genre: Cozy Mystery 

Published on October 4, 2022 by Berkley Books

Copy Read: ebook 

Pages: 270  


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