Friday, July 8, 2022

Death by Bubble Tea by Jennifer J. Chow

 Death by Bubble Tea

Book Summary

Two cousins who start a food stall at their local night market get a serving of murder in this first novel of a delicious new cozy mystery series by Jennifer J. Chow, author of Mimi Lee Gets a Clue.

When Yale Yee discovers her cousin Celine is visiting from Hong Kong, she is obliged to play tour guide to a relative she hasn’t seen in twenty years. Not only that, but her father thinks it’s a wonderful idea for them to bond by running a food stall together at the Eastwood Village Night Market. Yale hasn’t cooked in years, and she hardly considers Celine’s career as a social media influencer as adequate experience, but because she’s just lost her job at her local bookstore, she feels she has no choice.
Yale and Celine serve small dishes and refreshing drinks, and while business is slow, it eventually picks up thanks to Celine’s surprisingly useful marketing ideas. They’re quite shocked that their bubble tea, in particular, is a hit—literally—when one of their customers turns up dead. Yale and Celine are prime suspects due to the gold flakes that Celine added to the sweet drink as a garnish. Though the two cousins are polar opposites in every way, they must work together to find out what really happened to the victim or the only thing they’ll be serving is time.
My Thoughts

Death by Bubble Tea by Jennifer J. Chow is the debut of LA Night Market series.  We meet Yale Yee who lives in Los Angeles, and her cousin, Celine who is visiting from Hong Kong.  Yale’s father asks the pair to run his stall at the Eastwood Village Night Market which will feature some items that Yale has wanted her father to add to the menu of the family restaurant.  Yale will do the food and beverages while Celine will be in charge of marketing and decorations.  After a bumpy start, the evening turns out to be a hit.  As Yale is walking home, her cart hits an obstacle near the fountain.  It turns out to be a dead woman.  Yale later learns that the victim has visited their stall at the market and purchased a drink. Yale and Celine find themselves at the top of the suspect list because Celine added gold flakes to the drink (without letting Yale know).  The two cousins must work together if they are going to clear their names and restore the reputation of the Yee family restaurant.

I like the concept for Death by Bubble Tea.  There are few cozy mysteries that feature people of Asian descent.  There are mouthwatering food descriptions (I really need to find a good Chinese restaurant in my area).  I was not a fan of either main character.  Yale and Celine are opposites.  Yale avoids technology while Celine posts pictures of food and drinks on Instagram.  Celine likes fashionable clothes and high-end everything.  Yale is happy to wear comfortable clothing and work in the local bookstore.  Yale loves books which I can relate to, but she is also a bit of Debbie downer.  She is still mourning the loss of her mother and feels that her mother’s death was her fault.  The reason why Celine had to depart Hong Kong was silly in my opinion.  I did not feel it warranted banishment.  The mystery had several suspects along with misdirection.  The clues are subtle.  You never know what detail might be important.  The mystery can be solved before the reveal for those who are avid armchair sleuths.  I liked that there was a complete wrap up.  I did feel that the medical examiner should have been more on the ball.  I know it is fiction, but there does need to be realism. Certain details did not track with the supposition.  I was not a fan of Yale’s old high school rival.  He is an obnoxious jerk (Yale should have told his mother what he was doing).  I found the pacing of Death by Bubble Tea to be slow courtesy of the overly detailed descriptions.  I liked Yale’s sweet father.  He is a good man with a big heart. It was interesting learning about the night market.  It sounds like quite a festival with the food, costumes, games, and socializing.  Death by Bubble Tea was a mixed bag for me.  Death by Bubble Tea is a culinary cozy with a brilliant beverage, night market magic, a poisoned ninja, a nasty nemesis, a determined detective, enticing nibbles, and a cold killer.

Death by Bubble Tea is available from Amazon*.  I suggest you download a sample of Death by Bubble Tea so you can judge the book for yourself.  While it was not a good fit for me, others love it.  That is the beauty of books!  You can find Jennifer J. Chow's other novels here.  If you follow Jennifer J. Chow on Amazon, you will receive an email when she has a new book release.  I appreciate you stopping by today and reading my review.  Tomorrow I am featuring Blueberry Bungalow by Konnie Viner.  There will be a recipe for blueberry pie as well as a giveaway.  Please stop by tomorrow to check it out.  I hope that you have a uplifting day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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