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Book of the Month Review + Coupon – April 2021

Book of the Month is a monthly book subscription box. Each month, 5 curators pick out their favorite new hardcover books, and you can choose which one you want to receive on the first of the month. You can also add up to 2 additional books for only $9.99 each. (This box was named one of the best subscriptions under $15 by MSA readers in the 2021 Subscription Box Awards.)

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

Check out all of our reviews of Book Subscription Boxes for more options, too!

About this Box

The Subscription Box: Book of the Month

The Cost: $14.99 per month

COUPON: Use code MAYREADS to get your first book for just $9.99 with code MAYREADS at checkout.

The Product: Subscribers get to pick from a selection of hardcover books each month. Skip any month you aren’t interested in. Add up to two additional books for $9.99 each.

Ships to: The U.S. for free

Book of the Month April 2021 Review

These are the five book choices offered to subscribers this month. I am the worst at making decisions and this is always so tough for me each month! Luckily, this month was my birthday month and as a BOTM BFF (which means you’ve received a full year of books), I got to pick an add-on, so I went for two of the light reads I had my eye on!


Arsenic and Adobo (A Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery) by Mia P. Manansala – Retail Value $16.00 (found here for $14.40)

Book Summary from Amazon:

When Lila Macapagal moves back home to recover from a horrible breakup, her life seems to be following all the typical rom-com tropes. She’s tasked with saving her Tita Rosie’s failing restaurant, and she has to deal with a group of matchmaking aunties who shower her with love and judgment. But when a notoriously nasty food critic (who happens to be her ex-boyfriend) drops dead moments after a confrontation with Lila, her life quickly swerves from a Nora Ephron romp to an Agatha Christie case.

With the cops treating her like she’s the one and only suspect, and the shady landlord looking to finally kick the Macapagal family out and resell the storefront, Lila’s left with no choice but to conduct her own investigation. Armed with the nosy auntie network, her barista best bud, and her trusted Dachshund, Longanisa, Lila takes on this tasty, twisted case and soon finds her own neck on the chopping block…

A rom-com with a mystery twist? This sounded too good to pass up! I have to admit, I didn’t realize there would be so much talk and description of food. While I enjoyed it and it made my mouth water (it has been far too long since I have had lumpia and Pancit!), it may have distracted me just a bit from the story at hand. There were a lot of diverse characters ,which meant a lot of diverse foods, some bonding over cultural expectations, and even tones of racism which the author addressed in a note before beginning the story.

Lila has just moved home to escape a cheating boyfriend (now ex, of course) and help her Tita Rosie with her Filipino restaurant, which is not doing well. When her high school boyfriend shows up and ends up dying after eating at their restaurant (as in she had to call the ambulance while he was there), and a detective finds traces of arsenic in the rice and drugs in her locker, things aren’t looking too good. Now Lila has to figure out what is going on so that she can clear her name, avoid jail, and save her aunt’s already failing restaurant, which has now been closed indefinitely following the incident. Luckily, she and her best friend, Adeena, used to consider themselves detectives, and are on the case with Adeena’s older brother, a lawyer with whom there seems to be some history that hasn’t quite revealed itself yet.

I am about halfway through right now, and it’s just been one of those weeks where I can’t get a moment to read the way I want to, but fortunately, this is a light read (as light as murder can be!) that is easy to get back into each time I pick it up. This isn’t one of those books that I can’t put down, but I am definitely excited to find out what happens next, so I’d say this month’s pick was a decent choice!

Each month, Book of the Month includes a bookmark.

If you picked this book this month, please let me know what you think of it!


People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry – Retail Value $16.00 (found here for $12.89)

I am preparing myself for some summer beach reading, and this book sounded like it would be the perfect fit! I actually have Beach Read by this same author sitting in my summer TBR pile too, even though I have never actually read any of her books. Hopefully, I enjoy her writing! If you’ve read either of these, let me know what you think!

Book Summary from Amazon:

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

Verdict: I am not quite as far along in this month’s Book of the Month book as I would like to be, but so far, I am enjoying it. It’s entertainment that doesn’t take too much thought or effort, and the fun mix of quirky rom-com with the mysterious murder aspect is unique and combines two of my favorite genres. As I said, this isn’t one of those books that has engrossed me so much that I can’t put it down, but each time I pick it up, I find that I am enjoying myself… and possibly salivating a bit at the incredibly detailed and frequent descriptions of food!

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this book if you sign up today? Yes, but you may be able to choose this book as an add-on. April 20th is the LAST DAY to sign up for Book of the Month to receive the April selections – learn more about the options here.

COUPON: Use code MAYREADS to get your first book for just $9.99 with code MAYREADS at checkout.

Check out all of our Book of the Month reviews and see what other book subscriptions made our favorites list!

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What do you think of the Book of the Month subscription? Which book (or books) did you pick this month?

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Written by Brandi Dowell

Brandi Dowell

Brandi has loved the idea of subscription boxes since joining Birchbox in 2013. Now that she’s a mother of 3, she loves finding unique boxes to educate and entertain her kids while enjoying some more pampering boxes for herself. Her favorites these days are Lillypost, KiwiCo boxes & Wicked Good Perfume!

Posted in Book of the Month Reviews, Book Subscription Boxes, Subscription Box Reviews| Tags: book of the month | 11 comments

Comments (11)

  1. I’m having some trouble with Arsenic and Adobo. I find the characters are all so mean to each other, and as I read, the conflicts just multiply. I’m not even invested in the mystery much. I don’t think I’ve ever not finished a BOTM book…this might be the first.

  2. I chose People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry and can’t wait to receive it. I was late making my choice and BOTM informed me that my selection was a popular one and they had to order more copies resulting in a delay. That’s fine though as I’m currently reading The Secret History and haven’t finished yet.

    Brandi – I hope you let us know in future reviews what you think of Beach Read and People We Meet On Vacation. Emily Henry is a brilliant writer and I adored Beach Read.

    • Oh wow! At least they were able to order more copies! It’s something to look forward to! I’ll definitely share once I get to those books. I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed Beach Read! Now I’m really looking forward to relaxing and reading both of those! 🙂

  3. I chose the same books for April and just started reading Arsenic and Adobo this Sunday. I am at 1/3 of the book, I’m salivating (not a bit but a lot 😛 ) at the description of food and disappointed I don’t have a Filipino restaurant in the area since I’d love to try some dishes (especially the sweets).

    • There are a couple of recipes at the end that I want to try! I’m enjoying the food talk but struggling to get in to the book itself – the characters, storyline and “script” just seem off. Not sure if it’s because it’s meant to be a lighter read or what but it just feels kind of… amateur? (Not sure that’s the right word).

      • Yes, me too! I also noticed that one recipe is incomplete – there are some pages missing at the end in the BOTM edition- and I read on Reddit that the author posted the entire recipe on her Twitter account.

        I see what you mean about the storyline/characters, at least from what I’ve seen so far. I don’t know if the characters will be presented more in depth or not (perhaps the main ones?) and I did find some parts a bit off (I don’t want to spoil, but some encounters with some characters described at the beginning let me puzzled). with that being said, I am curious to find out who did it and if I picked the right person and the right motive- I’d love to be wrong-, and it’s pretty much what propels me.

      • I actually finished the book and I agree, some certain encounters were surprising and a bit puzzling! It’s kind of like the entire thing wasn’t hashed out before being written, maybe? I think I was okay with the ending, but definitely stand by my thoughts that it wasn’t necessarily a “must-read.” Let me know what you think when you get to the end! 🙂

    • Haha glad I am not the only one salivating! Why does everything have to sound so yummy? lol

    • @Brandy Dowell I finished “arsenic and adobo” and agree with you: it was a comfort read, but not a “must read”.
      My preferred “comfort-read-sleuth” is Agatha Raisin (love her character, how she has a full personality and the way she evolves during the series) , so, since i’ve learned about the passing of her author, I’ve been trying to “replace” her, but won’t be with Lila.

      P.s. I can’t find the address for the tips, but the BOTM choices for may are out

  4. I like book of the month but I also wish that they would include some bookish items.

    • That would definitely be fun! 🙂

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