Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Ill-Fated Fortune by Jennifer J. Chow

Posted February 20, 2024 by meezcarrie in Book Review, clean, contemporary, cozy mystery, giveaway, Jennifer J. Chow, mystery/suspense / 18 Comments

Ill-Fated Fortune book review

Ill-Fated Fortune by Jennifer J. ChowILL-FATED FORTUNE by Jennifer J. Chow
Magical Fortune Cookie #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery/Magical Realism (Clean)
PUBLISHER: Minotaur Books
RELEASE DATE: February 20, 2024
PAGES: 319

I’m always on the lookout for books featuring multicultural characters, so I jumped at the chance to read Ill-Fated Fortune! Magical realism also happens to be a favorite of mine, which means the combination of the two was positively irresistible to me.

The women in Felicity’s family have a gift for baking enchanted goods that make the eater feel joy and peace, but thus far the gift – and any baking ability whatsoever – seems to have skipped her. Until one night when it all comes together in a batch of fortune cookies and she finally feels like she’s found her magic. Not only do her fortune cookies taste heavenly and bring happiness, but she also finds a second and unexpected gift in her ability to write predictive fortunes when everything aligns just so. I thought the magical realism elements in Ill-Fated Fortune were very well done, just enough magic to create a sense of wonder but not so unrealistic as to not seem plausible. And I adored the bunny and how it came to be in her life as well as how it helped her understand her gift – so endearing and a unique pet for a cozy!

Unfortunately for Felicity, her newly found gift also makes her the prime suspect in a murder. And since the investigation is affecting the joy (or lack thereof) with which she and her mom bake and therefore the quality & magic of their food, it must be solved ASAP. The detective seems like an interesting character, and I hope she plays a larger role in future books so we can get to know her better. She popped in and out of this one but not enough that I felt we got a good bead on her character. Felicity’s bestie Kelvin (who I think maybe could be some romance potential in the future if she lets him out of the friend zone) makes a delightful and reliable sidekick, and the mysterious Alma intrigued me. The mystery itself is somewhat relaxed with a short list of suspects and few surprises, but I still enjoyed the process of solving it along with Felicity and Kelvin.

Bottom Line: Ill-Fated Fortune by Jennifer J. Chow is a delightful blend of magical realism and cozy mystery with engaging (and diverse) characters and a layered plot. I really enjoyed Felicity and her best friend Kelvin and their dynamics, and I loved the relationship she has with her mom. The shifting magic at the bakery takes center stage almost as much as the mystery, which helps develop the characters even further, and the laid-back pace of the story makes for a relaxing read, if a bit slow in the middle. I had suspicions about whodunit but wasn’t completely sure until the reveal. A fun read, great characters, and yummy plot!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / enjoyed it!

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Jennifer J. Chow

Jennifer J. Chow writes cozies filled with hope and heritage. She is an Agatha, Anthony, and Lefty Award-nominated author. Her newest series is the Magical Fortune Cookie mysteries; the first book is Ill-Fated Fortune. Jennifer’s previous series is the L.A. Night Market Mysteries. Death by Bubble Tea was reviewed by the New York Times, featured in Woman’s World, and hit the SoCal Indie Bestseller List. Jennifer currently serves as Immediate Past President on the board of Sisters in Crime and blogs at She is an active member of Crime Writers of Color and Mystery Writers of America. Connect with her online and sign up for her newsletter at

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18 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Ill-Fated Fortune by Jennifer J. Chow

  1. I’ve never thought about writing fortunes for a fortune cookies, but it does sound like fun. (Although I’d never predict a murder) Actually, maybe it could be a game – everyone writes anonymous, outrageous fortunes for specific people, and the group votes for the winning fortune. The craziest writer wins. Silly idea. Can you tell I love game Balderdash (making up definitions for strange words)? Back to the book – sounds cute!

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