“The Last Story of Mina Lee” by Nancy Jooyoun Kim

Thanks to Headline and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book tells the story of Mina, a South Korean immigrant to the United States and her daughter Margot. The story is told from two different viewpoints, Mina in the past and Margot in the present day. The story chronicles Mina’s life as an immigrant and Margot’s journey to find out the cause of her mother’s unexpected death.

Mina’s story is definitely the stronger of the two, but I enjoyed Margot’s too. The narrative explores the dark side of the American dream and the challenges faced by undocumented immigrants and the Korean diaspora in the United States which makes for some tough reading at some points. The novel also delves into the enduring effects of past trauma, grief and loss and was often desperately sad.

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“Mexican Gothic” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Thanks to Quercus Books and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review. 

I adored Gods of Jade and Shadow, so I was looking forward to reading this book. This book is touted as a “feminist re-imagining of Gothic fantasy” which sounded like it would be a great book to lose myself in and give myself some fun heebie-jeebies.

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“Chinglish” by Sue Cheung

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Thanks to Penguin Random House UK Children’s for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

When I requested this book, I thought it was for older teens but I think it’s probably aimed more at the younger teen/tween audience – think Jacqueline Wilson age group. The story follows Jo, a young British Chinese girl growing up in the 1980s. As an 80s kid myself, a lot of Jo’s experiences really clicked with me and there are some real laugh out loud moments, particularly in the first part of the book. The text is interspersed with Cheung’s illustrations which are quirky and fun and really enhance the narrative.

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“Girl, Serpent, Thorn” by Melissa Bashardoust

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Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

. So Girl, Serpent, Thorn sounded rather interesting despite the fact I’ve gone off YA a bit recently or maybe I’ve become a bit more picky about what I want to read when I don’t have nearly as much time to read as I used to. What piqued my interest in this book was it was clear that it was set in a slightly different world to most of the young adult fantasy settings that are usually a riff on Western European countries. I haven’t come across many Persian inspired settings before, so I was looking forward to seeing a Persian inspired story by an own voices author.

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“The Nickel Boys” by Colson Whitehead

Thanks to Little Brown and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

I’m usually pretty chill when it comes to reading negative reviews of books I really liked, different strokes for different folks and all that, but this is one of those books that I got annoyed reading any negative reviews for. Sometimes a book comes along that is just so important and expertly written that people who didn’t like it probably need their head examined.

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“Gods of Jade and Shadow” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Thanks to Quercus Books and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

I reaaaaaally loved this one. Mayan Mythology, the Jazz Age and a plucky heroine? Yes please. I’m slightly miffed I’ve never come across this author before though. I assumed this was a debut but I went to look at her Goodreads author page and she’s written loads! Publishers, can we have more money pumped into promoting authors like this please?

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“The Far Field” by Madhuri Vijay

Thanks to Grove Press and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

Shalini, a young woman from Bangalore, goes on a journey to a remote mountain village in Kashmir to try and track down a mysterious man from her family’s past. Whilst living there, Shalini experiences the past and current impacts of Kashmiri politics and conflict and uncovers the connection these have with her past, and her complex relationship with her deceased mother.

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