Sabaa Tahir, An Ember In The Ashes Review


Title: An Ember In The Ashes

Author: Sabaa Tahir

Series: Ember in The Ashes Series (Book #1)

Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis: Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself. Source: Sabaa Tahir

I love, love, loved this book. It’s been a minute since I’ve read a fantasy novel, I’m not even sure the name of the last fantasy book I read. But I couldn’t have picked a better book to jump back into the genre with.

Sabaa Tahir gave me everything I needed with An Ember In The Ashes.

It was action packed, touching, and it had just the right amount of romance. There was something going on from beginning to end. I was on the edge of my seat from the beginning. I didn’t want to put this book down, I couldn’t wait to see what was next.

I didn’t know how I was going to feel about the different point-of-views, but I found myself enjoying it. As far as characters go, I did not like Laia at first. I thought she was whiny and weak and annoying, but she grew on me. Throughout the book she got strong and she become more sure of herself, and I started to warm up to her.

Elias…ugh, I have such a soft spot for him. He grew so much throughout the book. I found him to be relatable, we’ve all had that moment where we had to make the decision to go against the things we were taught in order the person the we want be.

I loved this book from beginning to end, and I can’t wait until I can start A Torch In The Night. I want to thank the girl at Barnes & Noble who reccomended this series to me, she has no idea how much she has blessed my life.



Reading Playlist


Like most I love listening to music while I read. I like to listen to soft music that will just fade into the background, while I’m getting into a story.  Music really helps set the tone of a story for me. Sometimes I’ll even go as far as making books their own special playlist, kind of like their own soundtrack. But when I don’t feel like putting in the extra effort, I stick with the songs that are listed below.


Sara Benincasa, D.C. Trip Review



Title: D.C. Trip

Author: Sara Benincasa

Genre: YA/Fiction

Publisher: Adaptive Studios

Synopsis: Alicia Deats is a new teacher chaperoning her very first high school trip to Washington DC, and nothing could be more terrifying than a class full of horny, backstabbing, boundary-pushing teenagers under her watch. To make matters worse, she embarrassed herself with her co-chaperone Bryan Kenner with one too many margaritas and an ill-placed vomiting incident at last year’s teacher mixer and is hoping this trip can be a fresh start for them. Alicia believes in positive reinforcement and trust to keep her students out of trouble, but best friend high school sophomores Gertie, Sivan, and Rachel have a different idea: they plan to take full advantage of the un-parented freedom that a trip to DC offers. Source: Goodreads

I loved this book so much, it is easily one of the best books that I’ve read this year (even though the year just started). I finished D.C. Trip within a few days, I just could not put it down,

This book was hilarious, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard while reading before. I found myself struggling to hold it together in the library while I was reading this. From the mischievous girls to the naïve teacher who was struggling to get her crush to like her. Benincasa’s humor shined through this novel.

D.C. Trip was not only hilarious, but it was also really relatable. The conversations between Gertie, Sivan, and Rachel reminded me a lot of my friends and I. I even related to Alicia Deats even though I’m not a teacher, but we’ve all had a crush on someone that we didn’t think like us back


This book was pure gold, and I would recommend it to anyone. I just finished it, and I’m already thinking about reading it again. I had never heard of Sara Benincasa before this, but I will definitely be checking out more of her work. I’d also never heard of Adaptive Studios, but when I went into Barnes & Noble the other day I noticed that the had their own display. After reading the backs of some them. I think I might pick up a few the next time I go book shopping.

I can’t wait to see what else Sara Benincasa does, and read more of her work.


Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game Review

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Series: Ender’s Quintet Series

Genre: Science Fiction

Synopsis: Andrew “Ender” Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. Ender may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast. Source: Barnes & Noble

Let me get started by saying, I am not a SCI-Fi fan, I would prefer not to read about aliens or about people fighting aliens. But surprisingly enough that is exactly what Ender’s Game is about, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Ender’s Game tells the story of Ender Wiggin, he was taken too battle school when he was six years old to learn how to fight “The Buggers” who are coming to destroy the rest of the human race, they don’t know when they’re coming but the school just knows they are coming. So throughout the book you see Ender grow up and become a better fighter, but you also see him start to turn into this empty shell of a person.

From the beginning you know that Ender is different, and so do all of the other characters. Ender is deadly , if I was a character in this book, I would try my hardest to keep Ender on my good side. Because he is a scary little boy, Card did a really good job of putting you inside of Ender’s head and showing you all the dark thoughts that are in there.

This book changed my mind about Sci-Fi novels, there are five books in the series, but I’m still unsure if I want to read the rest of them because I really liked the way Ender’s Game ended.

Ender’s Game was adapted into a movie in 2013, which I thought was really good despite a few plot holes, but it’s definitely not as bad as other movies that have adapted into books. I would suggest reading the book before watching the movie.

I would give this book a solid 7/10. I’m giving it a 7, because I liked it enough where I could finish the book and not have a lot of complaints, but I didn’t love it enough to rush and read the rest of the series.

Until next time,



Welcome to Jay Reads

On this blog I will be posting book reviews and I will be reviewing the different bookstores that I go to. Books have always been an important part of my life, and the only thing I like better than reading books, is talking about books.

I’m excited to start this new journey, and I can’t wait to see how this blog develops.

Reading List 2017

bookshelves-632x362It’s a new year so you know what that means, NEW READS!! I have compiled a list of books that I want to read this year, this list is sure to change considering I’m at Barnes & Noble almost every week looking at and adding new books to the list. One of my goals for this year is to read more books, so I hope to check off all these books before the end of 2017. Wish me luck.

  • Genius: The Game by Leopoldo Gout (Barnes & Noble (Hardback & Paperback), Amazon (Hardback & Paperback) )
  • How It Feels To Fly by Kathryn Holmes ( Barnes & Noble (Hardback), Amazon (Hardback) )
  • Lola and The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins ( Barnes & Noble (Hardback & Paperback), Amazon (Hardback & Paperback) )
  • Three Truths and a Lie by Brent Hartinger ( Barnes & Noble (Hardback & Paperback), Amazon (Hardback & Paperback) )
  • Funny Girl: A Novel by Nick Hornby (Amazon (Hardback & Paperback) )
  • Joyland by Stephen King ( Barnes & Noble (Hardback & Paperback), Amazon (Hardback & Paperback) )
  • Son: A Psychopath and His Victims by Jack Olson (Barnes & Noble (Paperback), Amazon (Hardback & Paperback) )
  • Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn (Barnes & Noble (Hardback & Paperback), Amazon (Hardback & Paperback) )
  • Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame by Mara Wilson (Barnes & Noble (Hardback & Paperback), Amazon (Hardback & Paperback) )
  • D.C. Trip by Sara Benincasa (Barnes & Noble (Hardback & Paperback), Amazon (Hardback & Paperback) )
  • Zodiac by Romina Russell ( Barnes & Noble (Hardback & Paperback), Amazon (Hardback & Paperback) )
  • You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson (Barnes & Noble (Paperback), Amazon (Paperback) )
  • You Don’t Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism by Alida Nugent (Barnes & Noble (Paperback), Amazon (Paperback) )
  • The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae (Barnes & Noble (Hardback & Paperback), Amazon  (Hardback & Paperback) )
  • Carve The Mark by Veroncia Roth (Barnes & Noble (Hardback Only), Amazon (Hardback and Paperback))
  • Vanished by Meg Cabot (Barnes & Noble (Paperback), Amazon (Paperback) )
  • Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss (Barnes & Noble (Hardback & Paperback), Amazon (Hardback & Paperback) )
  • It by Stephen King (Barnes & Noble (Paperback), Amazon (Paperback) )

Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park Review

eleanor-parkI have to admit that I started this book months ago, and am just now finishing it. It hasn’t taking me months to finish it, because it was bad, the book was amazing. Everything that I’ve read by Rainbow Rowell has been amazing, but I just hadn’t had time to read this book.

So over the past week I picked up Eleanor & Park  again, and I finished it in a couple of days. Once I started it again I didn’t want to put it down. I don’t know how to describe the plot to you without giving anything away, so I’m just going to give you the Barnes & Noble version,

“Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits-smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love-and just how hard it pulled you under.”p1020349

At first, I rolled my eyes at how fast Eleanor & Park fell for each other, because how often do we see two 15/16 year olds claiming that they are “in love” at the very beginning of books… too often. But as I got further into the book, I found myself thinking “Wow, they are really in love.” They had a glowing, youthful love, a beautiful first love.

There were a lot of road blocks, and I mean a lot, that stood in their way. But it didn’t matter to them, it didn’t matter that they came from different backgrounds, or that they weren’t the most attractive, because they genuinely loved each other.

Eleanor & Park wasn’t only a romance novel, but also a great coming of age story. Each of the characters matured so much from the beginning to the end of the book. It’s truly about being yourself despite how others feel about it. Because the people that truly care about you will support you.

Rainbow Rowell did a fantastic job, Eleanor & Park has made it’s way onto my favorite books list. It has a home right under FanGirl, I don’t know if anything will ever top that for me. But Rowell has a way of creating worlds that you never want to leave. So much so that I get a tear in my eye when the books are over. I will definitely be reading more of her books in the future.

You can buy a copy of Eleanor & Park:





It is also available on Nook, Kindle, and you can listen to the audiobook on Audible.