Book Reviews

Book Review: The Last Story of Mina Lee

“What would the world look like if she made it her own, even temporarily, for a moment, fleeting, so that she could experience again the throb, the hunger of being alive, eyes wide, teeth showing?”

The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim is a gripping tale. It’s addictive, edgy, and so full of truth.

And I really mean addictive! I could not resist picking this up while I was still in the middle of another book. But I had to finish it asap. No regrets!

The story goes back-and-forth between Margot and Mina, two women trying to make their way on the West Coast.

Margot, set in the present, discovers her mother’s body, still and unmistakably dead. Despite her initial shock, suspicion immediately sets in. As Margot goes on a quest to discover the truth about her mother’s untimely demise, she ends up discovering more about her mother – and herself – than she thought possible.

The story of Mina, Margot’s mother, is set in the beginning of her new life in the United States, years that lead up to and include Margot’s birth. She finds, with mixed feelings, camaraderie in coworkers and a few new friends. Through her new relationships and finding her way in a new place, Mina must navigate the murky waters that come with starting over while coping with the pains of the past.

As Margot traverses the mysteries surrounding her mother’s death, she must also grapple with the mysteries of her own mind. How much of her life has been shaped by who she thought her mother was? Who could Margot be if she allowed herself to just be?

This novel explores immigration, power, status, the American dream, loss, heartbreak, and what it means to belong. The characters learn lessons on owning their lives for who they are and what they have done – and it some cases, what they have not done.

This is a mystery without reading like a mystery. The characters are diverse and well-developed. I like that the storyline alternates between Margot and Mina – vastly different but similar in ways that run deeper than the surface.

Have you read The Last Story of Mina Lee? Leave me a comment and let me know what you thought or if it’s on your tbr!

Happy reading, friends! 🙂


Coming Soon in 2020/2021! My Anticipated Book Releases

This post is not sponsored and I am not affiliated with any authors or companies mentioned. Opinions are my own.

Happy September, friends!

The end of 2020 may be in sight but my TBR pile keeps on growing.

This fall, in addition to some first-time selections, I want to re-read Daniel Mason’s The Piano Tuner and Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood. (Review of The Hazel Wood and The Night Country coming soon in prep for the January 2021 release of Tales from the Hinterland!)

The end of 2020 and beginning of 2021 are bringing more selections I’m looking forward to. Browse 7 of my upcoming picks below and check out more from these great sites:

Penguin Random House’s article Our Most Anticipated Books for Fall

HarperCollins Coming Soon

Bookstr New Books for Summer and Fall 2020

Macmillan Publishers Coming Soon

What books are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!

The Writer's Library by Nancy Pearl & Jeff Schwager

The Writer’s Library by Nancy Pearl and Jeff Schwager – 8 September 2020 A book about writers talking about books that impacted them. What’s not to like??

Cursed Objects by J. W. Ocker

Cursed Objects by J. W. Ocker – 15 September 2020 – Is there a lover of spooky stuff in your life? This book is for them!

Comfort & Joy by Kristin Hannah

Comfort & Joy by Kristin Hannah – 6 October 2020 – A story of Joy, recently divorced, who finds herself alone at the holidays and takes a trip to the Pacific Northwest, where what she least expects awaits: a semblance of love and family. Will she find the courage to believe in love again before it’s too late?

(My son has been asking to put up the Christmas tree, so you could say our house is getting into the Christmas spirit!)

This Just Speaks to Me by Hoda Kotb

This Just Speaks to Me by Hoda Kotb – 13 October 2020 – I’m not familiar with TV-Hoda but my son and I like her children’s book I’ve Loved You Since Forever (it’s perfect for bedtime).

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey – 20 October 2020 – I love a good memoir. Matthew McConaughey seems like a good egg, and his memoir promises to be nothing short of honest.

Siri, Who Am I? by Sam Tschida

Siri, Who Am I? by Sam Tschida – 12 January 2021 – A young woman wakes up in the hospital with amnesia and must use her Instagram feed to find out who she is. Will she learn more than she bargained for? Quirk Books: “But as Mia and Max work backward through her Instagram and across Los Angeles to learn more about her, they discover an ugly truth behind her perfect Instagram feed, and evidence that her head wound was no accident. Did Mia have it coming? And if so, is it too late for her to rewrite her story?”

Tales from the Hinterland by Melissa Albert

Tales from the Hinterland by Melissa Albert – 12 January 2021 – The hauntingly captivating stories about the Hinterland will finally be available on a bookshelf near you!