Monthly Recap: March

March was a month of music, writing editing my thesis and cake.


Manic about Music
I listened to a ton of music this month. Yesterday, I listened to One Direction more than fifty times. Midnight Memories is one of my favorite albums and I've only listened to it only a couple of times. I so made fun of Sandra for loving One Direction and now I'm sobbing over their awesomeness and winning at life.

Home is where my butt is.
It feels so good to be back home. Not that my thesis is over yet. I'm just trying not to stress about it too much 'cause it has to be over one day. Anyway, my city knows what spring is and I'm loving the breezy weather. It is also a little chilly but I don't mind it.

I turned 24 on March 29th and wrote a blogpost about it. Thank you so much to everyone who wished me. I feel so grateful to know so many awesome people.


I watched TV pretty sporadically but I'm caught up on most of them so that's good.

I watched all of Teen Wolf. Expect a blogpost about it to go up this week because this show demands it.
Jess' sister is in New Girl is meh. Buster, though.
The season finale of Brooklyn Nine-Nine aired. My life is over.
Suits is back! Oh, how I missed this show.
How I Met Your Mother will be over today. I don't even.


I did not watch any movies this month. But I do plan to watch a few in April.


I managed to read in between the eight books and if I manage it every month, I can get to 96 by the end of the year and maybe, get to 100 even. Eep.

Panic by Lauren Oliver
Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam
The Taking by Kimberly Derting
Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Angelfall by Susan Ee


I posted a top ten Tuesday list of authors I've never read.
I created a playlist titled Operating on Electric because music is awesome.
I posted my review of Panic by Lauren Oliver.
I started another new feature and posted about YA adventures in parts.
I posted about turning twenty-four and random favorites.


I so need to finish some series.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
World After by Susan Ee


I listened to a lot of music this month and came to certain conclusions:

Broods happened and they're so good.
Lea Michele's music reminded me why I love pop music.
One Direction is awesome.

How was your March?

Twenty-Four Today

Ah, how times change. I was 1 year and two days old in the picture above and today, I'm 24 years old. Every year seems like a milestone, crossed over and done with. It's always a bit of a bittersweet feeling but, mostly, I always look forward to the experiences that comes with reaching a certain age.

What never gets old is my love for books and stories. So today, I thought I'd share my random favorites from the big three (books, TV shows and movies) over the years.

Back to the present. Today, I plan to continue reading Angelfall by Susan Ee, have a low-key dinner with my family, and eat lots of cake. I love cake.

And oh, I started this thing back in 2009 where I buy a book as a present to myself and this year, I went with The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

Bookish, enough? I hope so.

Trend Alert: YA Adventures in Parts I

Of trends and lesser-knowns.

Last September, an article in the Publisher's Weekly asked some agents their thoughts on new trends in YA. Divided into several sections, there were talks about realistic contemporary being all the rage, a fifty-fifty speculation on whether thrillers are going to be the next big thing (a YA Gone Girl, anyone?), and an overall trilogy, paranormal and dystopian burnout. 

What struck me was a consensus of opinion on trilogy fatigue that is resulting in publishers completing two-book deals: two standalones / a title and a companion / a title and an undefined book. Debut as well as well-known authors such as R.C. Lewis (Stitching Snow, 2014), Stephanie Oakes (Minnow, 2015), Neal Shusterman (Challenger Deep, 2014), Anna-Marie McLemore (The Weight of Feathers, 2015), Corey Ann Haydu (Life by Committee, 2014), and Alexandra Sirowy (The Creeping, 2015) have all completed two-book deals in the last few years.

There've also been a rise in 'duology and a third book' deals. Yet these hardly seem to make a dent in an endless onslaught of YA trilogies.


We all love to hate and hate to love trilogies. An average reader has finished at least (this is totally my guess) one in their lifetime. It's like adventure in three parts.

Only way to YA. (Source)
There's always been talk of readers getting tired of trilogies that we now have a roadmap to guide us. Or at least, Asti does. We talked about duologies and trilogies on Twitter and I ended up asking her what first and third books in a trilogy entail as she wrote a blogpost on second book syndrome a while back. I get curious easily. Asti did an awesome job of coming up with these.

'If you love it, great, continue series. If you don't, no harm done, just move on.'
Except sometimes I want to live in a world where I don't discontinue any series I start. Ranging from disappointing to phenomenal, first book are trials of all kinds. If the first book is perfect, it sets the bar high for the rest of the trilogy. If it has potential, it might either get better in the next one or end up suffering from second book syndrome. If it sucks, it feels like a waste of everything.

'Watch out for disappointment. Tread carefully. There's no turning back now.'
There really is no turning back because the reader is now invested in the trilogy. If the second book turns out to be a filler book where the characters just seem to drift aimlessly, well, it's rage-worthy and heartbreaking. The wait? Not worth it. But if everything from the first book is intensified in the second one, the story punches harder and everything is alight with feels.

'Was the book worth it? Has your entire life been a waste? It's all up to how that final book ends.'
Trilogy finales are tricky in that they represent the last 50 pages of a standalone book. From plot to the characters, everything can start to go downhill just as the end nears. But everything can also just twist and turn the reader's mind all the way to the last page. It's one hell of a ride 'cause series enders have a habit of burning too bright. A ride that have equal chances for the trilogy to be labeled as either trash or terrific.

You got trilogic feelings in your stomach? Totally legit. (Source)
Simply put, excess of anything is exhausting and trilogies have been around a long time now. From the mere number of series I've finished, I might just get tired of going through the same steps over and over. Every now and then, we all need a break.

So what if we want a different option for our break? An option that changes the way we look at series?


Duologies are strange. It seems lazy to just label them as series because it's really just a book and its sequel. Why not just add a book instead and call it a trilogy. But is it all that simple? The answer is... complicated.

There are dualogies where we get to read both the main characters' point of views in two different books instead of just one where they alternate. In such girl-and-boy-dualogies, there's no need for the third book. Then there are books with sequels that fast-forward years later into a character's life. There are also duologies which could have been awkward and really long standalones, instead.

Dualogies are becoming Forman's forte. (Source)
So where all the stats at? I went number hunting because I want more of 'em in my life.

Despite a relatively recent surge in YA duologies, the ones that came just before 2012 were few and far between. If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman is the most popular YA duology ever.
- A Need So Beautiful and A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young
- Clarity and Perception by Kim Harrington
- If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman
- Inside Out and Outside In by Maria V. Snyder
- Juliet Immortal and Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay
- Jumping Off Swings and Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles
- Leaving Paradise and Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

But 2012 seemed to be a defining year for duologies with the release of popular titles like Rachel Hartman's Seraphina and Kendare Blake's Anna Dressed in Blood.
Anna Dressed in Blood and Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
Breathe and Resist by Sarah Crossan
Dark Kiss and Wicked Kiss by Michelle Rowen
Every Day and Rhiannon by David Levithan
Fracture and Vengeance by Megan Miranda
Masque of the Red Death and Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Pretty Crooked and Pretty Sly by Elisa Ludwig
Seraphina and Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
Silver and Gold by Talia Vance
Slide and Imposter by Jill Hathaway
Struck and Aftershock by Jennifer Bosworth
The Creative Fire and The Diamond Deep by Brenda Cooper

2013 only arrived with most duologies till date. Gayle Forman's Just One Day and Kasie West's Pivot Point were two of the popular duologies of the year.
- Arclight and Meridian by Josin L. McQuein
- All Our Yesterdays and Untitled by Cristin Terrill
- Dualed and Divided by Elsie Chapman
- Control and Catalyst by Lydia Kang
- Gated and Astray by Amy Christine Parker
- In the After and In the End by Demitria Lunetta
- Just One Day and Just One Year by Gayle Forman
- Linked and Unravel by Imogen Howson
- Mind Games and Perfect Lies by Kiersten White
- My Life Next Door and The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
- Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis
- Pivot Point and Split Second by Kasie West
- Reboot and Rebel by Amy Tintera
- Starglass and Starbreak by Phoebe North
- Starters and Enders by Lissa Price
- The Program and The Treatment by Suzanne Young
- The Rules for Disappearing and The Rules for Breaking by Ashley Elston
- The Ward and Untitled by Jordana Frankel
2014 looks like an exciting year for duologies. We've only passed the first quarter and some of the duologies have already been released. Jenny Han's To All the Boys I've Loved Before seem to be the most anticiapted release for the year.
- Alienated and Invaded by Melissa Landers
- Avalon and Polaris by Mindee Arnett
- Blackbird and Untitled by Anna Carey
- Dark Metropolis and Untitled by Jaclyn Dolamore
- Disruption and Untitled by Jessica Shirvington
- Landry Park and Untitled by Bethany Hagen
- To All the Boys I've Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
- Uninvited and Untitled by Sophie Jordan
- White Space and The Dickens Mirror by Ilsa J. Bick

Is this trend going to continue in 2015 and beyond? My answer is a yes. Just look at all the awesome in the list.
A Darker Shade of Magic and Untitled by Victoria Schwab
Kalahari and Untitled by Jessica Khoury
Kissing in America and Untitled by Margo Rabb
Passenger and Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken


What I like about the trend is that duologies offer the chance to get into a genre without the burnout factor. Currently, I'm more willing to read a dystopian duology than I am a dystopian trilogy because it just seems easier in every way. This also gives a chance for contemporaries to expand beyond one book. Right now, there either seems to be never-ending series (re: Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars) or just standalones for the genre.

In the end, it may seem as if duologies are pointless because why not just add a book? I've often wondered about this and after finishing two duologies, they didn't seem redundant to me. However, my opinion of them is still evolving. Meanwhile, I'm ready for series that aren't trilogies.

Are you partial towards YA adventures in parts? Willing to duology or are trilogies enough? Excited about any of the titles? Any other thoughts?

P.S. I've also made a Goodreads list for duologies and companions.

Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic | Lauren Oliver | YA Contemporary Thriller | HarperCollins | 4 March 2014 | 416 (eARC)

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of twelve thousand people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She'd never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game; he's sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he's not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.


For the town of Carp, Panic is more than just a feeling. It's a rite of passage. It gives the town's sheriff something to investigate on and the townspeople something to look forward to in the summer. Most importantly, it gives its winner a chance to get the hell out of Carp. Panic is very real. But proving oneself worthy of winning more than 50K is more real than that. The catch? You'll never know who the judges are and you won't know what the challenges are until the day of. It's like a reality TV show that really has no script.

So something can always go wrong. And it does.

For starters, the stakes are high. The police are after anyone who may be playing Panic. The players are in for some real surprises and the ones who are really good at it do not even want the money so much. There's just this need to prove that they can play which is just really disappointing. When doing tasks, the players are all afraid but right before and after them, they're all...casual. This is what made Panic so drudging to me. The challenges are stupid and reckless but they really require hardcore courage to complete them. But I never got that from either Heather or Dodge.

Heather takes part in the game on a whim; though it's very clear what, or who, spurs her decision. Her life is hard and the only people who are constant in her life are her little sister, Lily and her best friend, Bishop. But Lily is having a hard time dealing with how things are at home while, Bishop seems distant right when Heather admits to herself that she might be falling for him. Nat, her other best friend, is just busy trying to win Panic so she can go to Hollywood to and start her modeling career.

Dodge is playing Panic for revenge. Despite everything that led him to that decision, I could never discount the feeling that the revenge aspect was stupid. Probably because it is. And that's all I got on him even though half the book is from his perspective. His role is typical; will-do-anything-to-win which got really old, really fast.

As a game, Panic isn't all it's cracked up to be. There is never any sense of desperation, the desperation to win. The competitive streak. That could be because of the way things proceeded because the revelation wasn't surprising to me as I picked off on all the hints before. By the time the end rolled in, everything just fizzled out.

I was never fully invested in the characters because their reasons for playing Panic did not equal the risks involved. Moreover, the tiny hints about the whole mystery took the surprise out of the whole thing. With a plot that never really grabbed me and characters who acted predictably, for me, Panic turned out to be a forgettable read. 

'Why did time have to be the wrong kind of relative?' 
'It was so strange, the way that life moved forward: the twists and the dead ends, the sudden opportunities. She supposed if you could predict or foresee everything that was going to happen, you'd lose the motivation to go through it all. The promise was always in the possibility.'

Playlist: Operating on Electric

Image Source: Tea Palm
Sometimes I just want to listen to music that gets my blood pumping with electric energy. And because everything is bibliophilic with me, some of the lyrics remind me of characters that I love.

I discovered this song when I was sixteen and I recently started listening to it again. Still as amazing.

This song just works.

So hauntingly electric. Spectrum oozes energy.

Love the electro house beat of the song.

Radioactive is a classic.

This song gives me goosebumps because it's so good.

Songs like these fuels my energy like nothing else does. Also, Damaged is such a Ronan Lynch *cough* and Kavinsky *cough* song.

It's slightly creepy but that's why I love it.

DLZ was featured on Damon Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries so I always relate it to him.

The chorus, me loves.

Pretty much the song that gave me the final nudge to make this playlist.

This song gives me the chills. I also like to think that Monster will remind me of the main character from A Monster Calls (do you see my dedication, sigh).

Beautiful. Breathing Underwater is such a Mara Dyer/Noah Shaw song.


An unconventional disco tune that I just can't get enough of.

Operating on Electric by Sana on Grooveshark

Like my playlisting skills? Any of the songs?