Science Fiction · Uncategorized

Revenant Gun – Yoon Ha Lee

5 Stars

Revenant Gun is the stunning end to Yoon Ha Lee’s incredible Machineries of Empire trilogy.

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Cover from Goodreads

When Shuos Jedao wakes up for the first time, several things go wrong. His few memories tell him that he’s a seventeen-year-old cadet–but his body belongs to a man decades older. Hexarch Nirai Kujen orders Jedao to reconquer the fractured hexarchate on his behalf even though Jedao has no memory of ever being a soldier, let alone a general. Surely a knack for video games doesn’t qualify you to take charge of an army?

Soon Jedao learns the situation is even worse. The Kel soldiers under his command may be compelled to obey him, but they hate him thanks to a massacre he can’t remember committing. Kujen’s friendliness can’t hide the fact that he’s a tyrant. And what’s worse, Jedao and Kujen are being hunted by an enemy who knows more about Jedao and his crimes than he does himself…

Just as in the first two books, we’re kept guessing until the end. How is Jedao going to pull this off? What is Cheris up to? Who is the real villain in all of this?

I love that even after two books, I didn’t see half of the twists coming! So many moving parts, so many opportunities for betrayal and backstabbing! So many Jedaos! I was biting my nails throughout the story, unable to stop turning the pages.

Not only does the plot continue to be amazing, the characters are so incredibly fleshed out. Jedao continues to be a really conflicting and conflicted character with a lot of nuances. He’s a mass murderer, among other things, but I couldn’t help but hope for redemption and happiness for him. He’s a fascinating character.

Cheris is equally fascinating, balancing her own personality with remnants of Jedao in her head. I’d have liked to spend more time with her throughout the story.

We also get POV sections from other characters, Inneser, Brezan, Kujen, Hemiola and Mikodez, all of which have rich inner landscapes and backstories. None of the characters ever felt thin. I love that the servitor Hemiola remixes dramas when it is bored.

Revenant Gun wouldn’t be the amazing space opera that it is without incredible battles and high stakes, and oh did Yoon Ha Lee deliver. The stakes are so very high and the battles are so very tense. Revenant Gun is a delightfully balanced story with a satisfying end.

Revenant Gun is on sale now at all your favorite retailers*.

Thank you to Rebellion Publishing for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review. 

*This post contains affiliate links. Please consider supporting this blog by purchasing this book using my affiliate link. 

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Graphic Novel · Uncategorized

The Tea Dragon Society – Katie O’Neill

5 Stars

I was given an eARC by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 

Oh. My. Goodness. The Tea Dragon Society is Just. Too. Cute.

This adorable graphic story was first published on Tumblr by Katie O’Neill and has been adapted to book form by Oni Press. Unlike most of the books I review, this one has a much younger intended audience.

I stumbled across a page of the comic early on – only three or four pages had been posted by then and was absolutely enchanted. Greta is a part-goblin girl in training to be a blacksmith when she happens upon a tea dragon. The world of tea dragons opens up to her, and The Tea Dragon Society is her journey of discovering the dragons, their keepers, and their history.

As Greta discovers the history of tea dragons and their keepers, The Tea Dragon Society shows the power and rewards of kindness, gentleness, and patience. Even strong blacksmiths can be all of those things.

Additionally, the book features same-sex relationships with about as much fanfare as an apple sitting on the table. I love when same-sex relationships are regarded as mundane – just as normal as any other relationship.

The art is ethereal and cute in a really attractive way. Each page is beautiful and could easily be hung on a wall.

The Tea Dragon Society is a heart-meltingly sweet, beautifully illustrated story of friendship, kindness, and craft and will be published on October 31, 2017.

Cookbook · Uncategorized

Hey There, Dumpling! – Kenny Lao

5 Stars

I originally checked this book out from the library, as I often do with cookbooks. I’m such a collector that I have to do *something* to limit my purchasing. So I generally check cookbooks out from the library before I decide whether or not to buy. Often I’ll find one or two, maybe four recipes from a book, try them out and return the book. In this case, each page held a new treasure and I had to purchase a copy for myself.

A photo of the cover of Hey There, Dumpling!
My copy of Hey There, Dumpling!

Lao, the man behind the famous dumpling restaurant Rickshaw, writes in a fun voice and has a really beginner friendly approach to dumplings. Lots of tasty, easy to follow recipes of dumplings and more. I really appreciated his troubleshooting guide for common dumpling making and cooking mistakes. We’ve made some of the recipes in this book and they’ve all turned out deliciously awesome. I love the variety of dumpling, sauce and sides as well as the pre-planned menu suggestions.

 

A version of this review was first published on Goodreads on February 4, 2017.

Cookbook · Uncategorized

The Wildcrafted Cocktail – Ellen Zachos

I received an e-ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.

4 Stars

Some of these recipes sound seriously delicious. Others, like the Hobbit Hollow, which features acorn and mushroom flavors sound like Radagast the Brown wrote them (as a friend commented when I read her the recipe) and I’m not entirely sure they’re flavors I’m willing to try. I’m enthusiastically waiting for the weather in the Pacific Northwest to warm up so that I may try foraging for some of the ingredients needed to make some of these tasty sounding cocktails and infusions!

I’ll be honest, foraging for some of the ingredients used in the book is more work than I’ll ever be willing to put in, but there’s a nice selection of recipes I can make from things I have easy enough access to in my own yard or friends’ yards. I haven’t yet made any of the recipes because the ones I want to try are out of season, but I’m looking forward to when they are in season and I can try them out! The recipes are easy enough to follow and I anticipate interesting tasting results!

This book was beautifully designed with lovely photographs and a fun Northwest style throughout the book, even though it’s inclusive of foraged foods from other regions of the country. My only gripe is that I wish recipes had some kind of visual cue as to what season to forage the ingredients in. So many of the foraged ingredients are seasonal, it would be nice to have an at-a-glance way to tell what recipes I can make in each season, rather than having to research every ingredient before I can decide what to make when. That aside, I appreciated the responsible foraging tips Zachos included throughout.

This review was first published to Goodreads on April 7, 2017.

Uncategorized

Welcome!

Welcome to my little corner of the internet!

Alex Can Read is a labor of love and geekery. I’ve been reading voraciously since the 3rd grade and I don’t see myself slowing down anytime soon.

I’ve been dipping my toes in the pond of book reviews on Goodreads, and I figured it might as well be time to take the plunge and start the blog I’ve been talking about for so long.

Alex Can Read is very likely to be heavy on Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Science Fiction and the YA versions thereof. You’re also likely to encounter Cookbook reviews and the occasional Horror and Comic review. Every so often, I get a wild hair and read something outside of that scope, but you’ll be as surprised as I when that happens.

Come along with me on this wild ride, because I can read, and I wanna talk about it.